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Fun Board Games That Also Teach Economics

IMG_20141214_195354860_TOP_SMALLGetting bored over the holiday break, or need to kill time waiting for the New Year to arrive?  Board games provide a great diversion but if you are like me, you find some of the classic board games to be a bit dull. Fortunately, I have found a couple of games that are not only loads of fun to play, but also offer some great economic lessons.

When considering board games and economic you might think of Monopoly, since it deals in money, trading, mortgages and rent. But Monopoly is one of the worst games there is, both in terms of game design and the economic concepts taught.

Why Everyone Hates Monopoly

First, Monopoly is hated by many people who are regular game players. A popular board game ranking site, boardgamegeek.com, ranks Monopoly at 11,689 on its list, a few places behind games like Old Maid. Why? The game follows a tired sequence that gamers like to call the ‘roll your dice, move your mice’ mechanic, so most players are bored while it is not their turn. It also is a game where once one person gets the upper hand, everyone else must play out the game in despair with little hope of winning.

More importantly, Monopoly teaches bad economic concepts. Unlike real life, there are rarely any situations where people are forced to pay someone for a service they do not want or need. Yes, some real estate or hotels may be more expensive than we would like, but there are always alternatives, even more so now with the rise of services like Airbnb. Also, contrary to popular belief, while monopolies are a theoretical economic possibility, there have never been any monopolies in history that have actually succeeded.

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Don’t Push the Big Red Button!

pizza buttonIt’s here, and it’s just in time for the holidays! Domino’s has unleashed a quick order button housed in a micro-sized pizza box. Amazon already unveiled their Dash Button, which allows customers to order frequently purchased items through Amazon Prime at the touch of a button. It was only a matter of time before the pizza gods would bless us with the same kind of convenience and fun; no one can resist pushing a big button.

The first batch of buttons is slated for release in the U.K. this December, with a second batch scheduled for February. Domino’s has said that they will let the public know when plans are finalized for releasing the button in other places.

Hyperloop: Speed Into The Future

hyperloop-new-ftHype About Hyperloop

In 2013, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, revealed a high-speed ground transport concept called Hyperloop. This announcement came shortly after the California high-speed rail car plans were unveiled. California’s bullet train is reported to cost a minimum of $70 billion to link Sacramento to San Diego. Musk, among others, found California’s

Could there be a Future for Brick and Mortar?

brickandmortarIn recent times, it has seemed like online shopping is slowly pushing in-store shopping out of the picture. There are a lot of reasons why switching to online shopping makes sense. It doesn’t involve leaving the house and driving to a store, and sometimes sales tax is eliminated or the product is sold at a lower price than in-store. But brick and mortar stores might not be going the way of the dodo.

This week, Amazon opened its first retail store ever. In an ironic twist of fate,the online company that is so often credited with killing brick and mortar bookstores
is now looking to expand by opening its own physical location. Books sold in the store are offered at online prices, and they even come with customer reviews printed on cards. Located in Seattle, the new store primarily appears to be an experiment. As of yet, there are no firm plans to build more stores, but if this one goes well, Amazon hopes to open more locations.

It’s not quite clear what Amazon is hoping to achieve with this store, but it is probably safe to assume that they have legitimate reasons for venturing into the physical realm. Business News Daily reported on a study that found consumers still prefer to purchase in person. Many who participated in the study said they will often use the internet to research and browse before purchasing, but they prefer to make their actual purchases in a physical store.

HP Divided In Hopes To Conquer

HP-LogoThe Great Depression scorched the 1930s like a wildfire, showing no bias and engulfing millions in the crippling flames of economic crisis. In 1939, as the Depression came to an end, a technology ingenue arose from the smog.On New Year’s Day in 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded Hewlett Packard inside a backyard garage. Now, after 76 years and periodic highs and lows, HP ceases to exist as the entity originally forged in Packard’s garage.

A company whose standard

My Winning Presidential – Double – Ticket (Except They’re Both Dead)

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Like many Americans, I’ve been immersed in the 2016 Presidential debates. Truthfully, I’m not the least bit impressed. They seem like nothing more than a series of clown shows. I’d rather curl up with a cup of fair-trade coffee and read Nietzsche. So last night, I decided to create my own Presidential ticket. I’m calling it Election Fantasy Football.

Back in the eighties when I was attending a Catholic Jesuit high school in my native Columbus, Ohio, one of the requirements for graduation was to recite all of the U.S. Presidents in order with their terms in office. My recall is good, so I jogged my memory in search of the one president most closely aligned with my libertarian bent.  

Drum roll please. My choice……………

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. President

And for his running mate, I chose Jack Kemp, former New York Congressman and Housing Secretary under George H.W. Bush.

Below, I’ll make the argument as to why Americans should support a Coolidge/Kemp Presidential ticket. But before you read this, I want to remind you not to get too far upstream with your excitement because they’re both dead.

The Case for Coolidge

I know, I know term limits – as well as Coolidge’s death – would prohibit this fantasy from occurring. But work with me here. As the 30th U.S. President, he was a modest and humble man (unlike Trump), and he is arguably the last true laissez-faire, libertarian-oriented political leader to see the Oval Office.