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Economic Decision Making

ECO105 Macroeconomics

Module 3 Discussion

DQ1 Economic Decision Making

BACKGROUND

 

In the early 1990s, crime emerged as perhaps the central issue in domestic American politics. The rate of violent and property crimes had risen steadily for decades, and the increase during the 1980s was pronounced — in 1980, there were 597 violent crimes per 100,000 persons, while in 1991 there were 758 such crimes per 100,000 persons, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

 

The rise in crime rates led to efforts to extend prison sentences, often by mandating minimum sentences for particular crimes (e.g., “three strikes” laws) and by putting an end to the discretion that allowed judges to impose variable sentences. As prison sentences grew, so did the inmate population: In 1980, there were about 500,000 people in state and federal prisons and local jails. In 1995, that number was 1.6 million; in 2005 it reached 2.2 million.

 

The exploding inmate population necessitated a boom in federal and state prison construction. Much of the prison boom has been concentrated in small towns and rural areas that have seen their economic base erode as industry and factories close down or relocate. One study reported that 350 rural counties saw prisons open between 1980 and 2001. The possibilities of employment and a boost for local businesses are often part of the campaign to bring prisons to such localities, and have led some small towns to offer extraordinary concessions to attract them. Among the offerings are free land, road construction and infrastructure upgrades.

 

The promised benefits, however, are not always realized. The jobs that new prisons bring are often filled by outsiders. Local workers may not be qualified for some positions, such as corrections officer, and may find that the work for which they are qualified is being performed instead by prison labor. Secondary benefits, such as contracts with local businesses to provide goods or services to the prison, may not last, as prison management chooses to renegotiate contracts or outsource aspects of the work. A 2003 study of prisons (see the Resources section (Links to an external site.)) sited in rural communities found that there was no overall effect on local employment, per capita income or consumer spending, three leading indicators of economic vitality.

 

For discussion, consider the following:

 

Imagine that you are members of a planning commission for a small, rural community that is economically depressed. The state wants to build another prison and thinks some state-owned land in your area would be the ideal location. Either, you will favor the idea of hosting a prison in your community, or you are against it. Create a persuasive presentation that makes your case either for or against bringing a prison to town.

 

For replies, compare and contrast your answers with fellow classmates.

 

Make sure if you are utilizing outside sources to document where the information was retrieved. Document those sources in your post/reply.

 

DQ2 Current Event Article Discussion

 

Each week, we will discuss different topics relating to Macroeconomics and show examples of real world application through this current event discussion forum.

 

Each classmate will be responsible for providing an article for discussion.  Please read all directions before posting. You only have to post one article throughout the course, so find your name on the list to learn when it is your turn, and what topic to cover! Everyone will “reply” to the articles posted.

 

Schedule of current event topics and posts dates (Modules):

 

Module 1 – Chapter 1 – I will provide the article and topic of discussion.

 

Module 2 – Chapter 2 – Hailey A., Jessica G., Jeel R.

 

Module 3 –  Chapter 3 –  Nicholas, B., William G., Sarah S.

 

                     Chapter 4 – Ronald C., Megan H., Eli S.

 

Module 4 – Chapter 5 –  Madeline C., Megan K., Matthew S.

 

                   Chapter 7 – Kennith C., David K.

 

Module 5 – Chapter 11 – Katherine C., Amber M., Rolanda V.

 

                    Chapter 13 – Ashlee D., Christian O.

 

Module 6 – Chapter 14 -Deanna S., Cassandra O., Elizabeth W.

 

                    Chapter 15- Brian G., Amisha R.

 

Your task is two-fold:

 

1) When it is your turn to post an article – Find a current article (6 months old or sooner), provide the link and a short (1 paragraph summary), and the class will discuss thoughts. Your article should reflect the chapter/topic we are discussing. You must post the link to the discussion forum on Monday by 11:55 pm. This will count as a separate assignment, so do not count it as one of your replies toward discussion. This is only when it is your week for the initial reply.

 

2) When it is not your week to post an article – Reply to other student article posts/summaries. Think about how the topic relates to what we are covering in the chapters. Does this concept affect you directly/indirectly? What are the impacts on economics?

 

(You are also required to write up a summary of the article, how it relates to the topics we covered in class and your personal thoughts, via a word document. There is a rubric provided under Assignments for the individual assignments. This part will not be due until Module 7, but I want you to be prepared.)

 

You will receive a separate grade for your post with the article and summary, so it does not count as a discussion reply. If you need more explanation, please send me an email.

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