Economics: A Simple Twist on Normalcy by Kirsten L. Kelly is an excellent reading for the general public and students just being introduced to economics for the first time. The author discusses consumer choices, elasticity, inelasticity, substitute goods, the link between education and income, the housing bubble and many other topical items in contemporary economics.
Gasoline is an example of an inelastic good for consumers dependent upon a car. Cigarettes are an inelastic good for people who smoke. There are substitutes like artificial cigarettes, but these don’t provide the same thrill. Increases in the price don’t impact demand substantially. There are no available goods that provide the same substitute for a cigarette. Higher taxes will not entice enough people to quit smoking. The known health consequences of smoking don’t preclude investors from purchasing tobacco company stocks.
Kirsten L. Kelly discusses pharmaceutical patent monopolies in some detail. Traditionally, expiring pharmaceutical patents have provided opportunities for other manufacturers to develop generic versions of the basic formulation. The author’s discussion does not include other available modalities like nutrition, vitamin support, diet and exercise.
For instance, there are supplements like blood sugar balance which seek to normalize glucose levels with proprietary combinations of substances like magnesium, zinc, elemental chromium, bitter melon, lipoic acid, quercitin and vanadium. In addition, the author does not discuss that the word cure cannot be utilized in connection with any treatment or modality. This requirement will comply with the Food and Drug Administration protocols which discourage manufacturers from claiming cures on treatment modalities designed to manage pain and the symptoms thereof.
The author discusses some of the coping strategies employed by consumers during the Great Recession. People used coupons as an outlet to replace lost jobs. Barter was another method employed to conduct trade when people did not have cash. McDonald’s grew during the recession by offering the Dollar Menu and other customized products which appealed to the cost conscious consumers.
McDonald’s does offer some health food choices like fish sandwiches, eggs, salads, tea and yogurt. These choices are better for dieters. Overall, the author believes that food should be set forth in advertising as a need and not a want. The use of the word lean is preferable over providing fat content.
The author discusses the housing bubble, bad mortgage lending practices and foreclosures. These problems could have been lessened by employing standard lending practices in place by lending institutions for decades. Aside from this, the author did not mention about increasing Section 8 which provides people with housing without the downside of risky mortgages for people who can’t afford to repay.
All or most of the lending paperwork is avoided. Unsound uses of properties are avoided like utilizing equity for frivolous purposes. Traditionally, equity should be used to upgrade income producing properties, trade up to better properties or build upon the owner’s existing stock of income producing properties in the portfolio.
The author provides data to show how lifetime earnings increase for the college educated over people with no college. There should be more discussion about the incomes of workers in the skilled trades, as well as small business proprietors.
Economics: A Simple Twist on Normalcy by Kirsten L. Kelly is a good book to read for consumers who wish to understand the economics of households. The presentation is easy to read, although the discussion of game theory and economic payoffs could be elusive for readers who are not familiar with probabilistic scenarios or conditional probabilities.