Friday, April 3, 2009

Interesting (and to Some Extent, Fun) Graphics

Here are a number of items to that you can share with your students. The first is quite serious, the rest are less so.

The first is a well-done and sobering graphic that many of you are probably already using. It was from an edition of The New York Times early in March. That means the data is a bit dated, but if anything the situation is probably darker than it was in March. It's an interactive map depicting unemployment rates across the United States on a county by county basis. It can be adjusted to show the rate as of January, 2009 or the one year change in unemployment to that date. It can filter all counties by metropolitan areas, rural areas, manufacturing centers and areas with housing bubbles. You can also zoom in to the state level to more easily find a specific county and surrounding areas.

The second graphic was actually the April Fool's Day contribution from The Economist magazine. The story indicates that the parent company of the magazine is opening an appropriately focused theme park named Econoland. The park has three main areas: Financial Fantasyland, Underwater Adventure Land, and the Magic Jungle of International Politics. My guess is this could offer a great discussion starter when you find yourself with a few extra minutes.

Finally, the comic strip, Frazz, offers an insight into commodity markets that most educators are familiar with.
(Click on the image to see the entire strip.)

Frankly, it's a wonder that derivatives haven't been developed...oh wait, according to this story on National Public Radio, it's been tried.

I look forward to your comments.

This post relates to the following Keystone Economic Principles:
2. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
4. Economic systems influence choices.
5. Incentives produce “predictable” responses.

6. Do what you do best; trade for the rest.
8. Quantity and quality of available resources impact living standards.


Aaron Wade said...

I think the Econoland is quite realistic. We are as we speak struggling over all of these different types of crisis. The unemployment chart scared me a little. I noticed that all of the states are taking a huge hit from this collapsing economy. But what struck me most was the lunchtime story. It definitely reminded me: First, that my lunch was exactly the same way back then, and second, we have seen and have gone through this lunchtime bargaining in real business. whether through buying stocks on margin or promising to pay off someone and not being able to.

Aaron Wade said...

Econoland is so true. We are going through exactly everything that is shown in that mock theme park. The unemployment chart scared me. It showed me the gravit of the lowering unemployment rate and what areas are suffering the most. Finally, the lunchtime scame was ironc. He ran the lunchroom the exact same way we are running our economy especially the stock market.