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Monday, October 13, 2008

Relearning Economics

So I've taken up the habit of reading the newspaper when I'm out to dinner during the week, since it's not bad for studying and anyhow it's infinitely more interesting than whatever soap opera or slapstick show playing on tv.

Originally I just read the section for English-learners, which consists of a dialogue and a translation. The horoscopes (according to the Chinese zodiac and the year you were born, not the Greek zodiac and the month-ish period) are on the same page, so I started reading those and asking the restaurant bosses about stuff I don't know. Actually, trying to understand a word you don't know through description in another language is a pretty good learning process. So, now, the boss always asks me, "Mike, did you see your horoscope today? You understand"?

I've now moved on, though, to a little learn-econ-through-comics strip. It's a little tough to understand, but it's in the "learning" section of the paper, so it's nowhere near as tough as a real article, which would surely destroy me were I to get near it. The strip is a little odd, and has the kind of pictures you might imagine if you've watched any japanimation - characters with big eyes, close-up shots of them screaming, sweat beading on their heads, oddly over-reacting to things other characters say. But it's accompanied by some pictures and graphs, so it's possible for me to follow along, even if some of the words are unclear.

What this all leads up to: I learned yesterday about the reason for the freakish drop in the value of the Won. I had said that I'd expect the opposite to happen; as people shift their assets out of dollars and into more stable currencies, the value of the dollar should fall. But, according to the article, on the whole, that's not what happened, because: in order to have enough cash on hand to survive bank runs, American banks had to buy back a lot of dollars from abroad. In buying loads and loads of dollars, the banks apparently pushed up their price. Voila!

I am hoping none of my former econ professors are reading my blog. The shame!

On the other hand, for any humanities professors out there: I tried to start reading Ulysses but it's really difficult. So I switched to Chekhov.


Jamal said...

Do you like Chekhov? I have never found him that interesting. I recognize his importance for basically creating the genre of the short story, but I can't say that I've been able to muster anything more than a historical appreciation. As for Ulysses, I too have not braved that storm.

innuendo said...

I like to Chekhov.

PS you asked for it

Mike said...

Wow, I was expecting something even less subtle.