Thursday, November 13, 2014

personal reputation

Today, I would like to say something about my personal reputation. Although it might have little to do with its economic term, I just have a compulsion to share my views by virtue of this topic.
To tell the truth, I find it hard to describe my own reputation in the eyes of my friends. But I think some of them will use two keywords, rich and pompous, to describe what I am. However, it is just far from the truth. When in high school, I was the chief editor in the school magazine. As a well-known poet and football team leader on the campus, I always presented myself as a sunny and literary boy. So why does everything change so much? I think it might be due to the fact that I bought my first car bmw x5 after arriving in USA for study. From then on, I have made a totally different impression on those friends growing together with me for buying a pricy car in the mind of many Chinese people. As matter of fact, I did not buy this car at a high price. The reason why imported cars are sold expensively in China is due to the massive tariff. Given the well-developed second-handed car market in USA, there has existed a great price difference between China and USA. It is just how I come across as a rich man to my Chinese friends. 
This unexpected reputation really takes me by surprise, given that I am still the athletic boy who enjoys the poem underneath. I have to admit that I enjoyed the change at the beginning. Coming to find that I was from a rich family, some of my classmates even started to butter me up. For example, many people would invite me to dine outside and ask about my experience in USA. On some gathering occasions, many people would keep complimenting me. When introducing me to other friends, they would even boast my wealth, either intentionally or unintentionally. Hence, many people also started to feel curious and even admire my pompous life as they would assume. However, I am still nothing less than who I was before going abroad. 
Later on, I began to feel tired of this reputation. After breaking up with my girlfriend since high school due to the long-distance relationship, I was left deep in pain every day. When going outside with my friends for a heart-to-heart chat, I also overheard that someone had attributed my breakup to a betrayal arising from the pompous life. As many other people shared the same view, some of them even claimed that I had given my love to another richer girl. It is also the moment when I realized that this reputation had come as a bad thing to me. However, it is far from the end. Those classmates who once suck up to me also started to make some unexpected request of me, such as finding an internship position in the bank or dealing with a failed visa application. One girl even asked me to arrange an American high school for her sister as if I had been the American president. This personal reputation has messed up my life completely. In an attempt to get rid of it, I decide to ride a bicycle from now on.   

Friday, October 31, 2014

Organizational Conflict

We can always find brokers in our daily life. When you buy something as a consumer, you may negotiate with a broker to reduce the price and costs. When you are an employer, the broker you employed needs to guarantee your interests. However, these two aspects are always in a conflict. So it is rather difficult for a broker to handle the relationship between the two and solve the conflict. 
In a simple model, the board of directors will hire brokers, and those professional brokers should be responsible for the interests of the board of directors and guarantee the smooth operation of the subsidiary enterprises. And this is a simple model of entrusted agents. As a good professional broker, one needs to consider the demand of the market so as to develop the enterprise. An enterprise can ensure its development and interests only through meeting the market demand, that is to say, meeting the demand of consumers. For consumers, saving the cost, choosing high cost performance and satisfying their desire are the basic appeal, which, sometimes, may go against the demand of the board of directors. So the work of brokers contributes greatly to the success of an enterprise. 
A recent example impressed me most. Luo Yonghao, a former English teacher in China, began to engage in the business of mobile phones. He released the first mobile phone t1 in May this year and achieved a big success. He mentioned such a conflict in the launch event of his mobile phones. He believed that an aesthetically outstanding mobile phone should not change desktop wallpaper, and that placing the photos of his wife and kid on the desktop was an aesthetic mistake. Meanwhile, he also held that mobile phones with 800w pixel were more mature in imaging technology than those with 1300w pixel. However, forced by the market demand, the mobile phones launched this time adopted 1300w pixel and their desktop wallpaper was also changeable. He expressed that once his enterprise grew big enough, he would be loyal to his own idea, because he believed that the aesthetical standard and user experience of the public should be guided by the elite. I quite agree with this idea, and believe this is one of the marvelous measures of a broker. We have been consistently guided by Apple since its birth. In contrast, HTC and Samsung have never surpassed the position of Apple even though they directly target for the market. An enterprise can be called successful if it is able to satisfy the needs of its users, but it can be called great only when it is able to guide the consumers. 

Let’s see another example in my daily life. I have a good friend in Nanjing and his family runs a snacks factory. When he was a child, the factory had an accident and caught fire, but their insurance company didn’t want to shoulder the responsibility. Judging from the characteristics of China’s insurance, there is inducement and soil for insurance companies to infringe the rights and interests of insurance consumers. For instance, insurance products are very complex, the insurance market has information asymmetry, and the status of the two sides are not equal. Relative to the insurance company, insurance consumers are at a weak position. At this time, a professional broker should act on behalf of the spirit of contract, and solve problems in accordance with the contract. They shouldn’t seek profits by taking advantage of consumers’ weakness. Such behaviors will only bring negative effects to the insurance industry, and do harm to the reputation and development of the enterprise or even the whole industry in the long run. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

efficiency and fairness

New York Times reported a hypothetical case: when two men did equal work, how to let the one that had occupied more benefits share the benefits. The article points out “the same labor, the same salary” and I agree this idea. This indicates that the author also agrees with the basic principle of more pay for more work. But when such two men cooperate with each other and accordingly get more benefit than that when they work separately, things change and unequal distribution appears. This topic leads me to think more about efficiency and fairness. 
First of all, the benefits distributor in this experiment is a machine. Naturally, I will wonder how to distribute benefits in a team in real life. And firstly, I think of contracts. Contracts decide the proportion of the benefits each person gets in distribution. If so, on the premise of contracts, the rich should get more payment. This is because he took an upper hand when entering into the contracts. Maybe he commands more key resources (such as funds, technology, more favorable chances). This time, if the rich is willing to share more benefits with the fellow men or society, this will be a moral question --- contract allocation, I believe, is fundamental. Secondly, the government has exerted a considerable impact on redistribution, such as the universal health care by Obama in the last term, high welfare in Nordic countries and the heavy taxes for high-income earners. Someone would say such behaviors can be found only in experiments; how could redistribution exert a positive impact on economic growth? Besides, we also know that any measures against inequality taken by the governments will have a negative impact on the country's GDP. For example, don’t you think a generous aid to the poor will undermine their driving force for work? Don’t you think taxes for the rich will undermine their efforts to become wealthier? You are all right, but I believe that the driving force is not the only thing that matters. The resources are equally important. In a highly unequal society, many men are in short of resources. My uncle worked in China Post. Although they have government support but their performance is not as good as the private courier companies. This is exactly because private courier company offers an additional incentive policy for each delivery staff. Such distribution promotes efficiency but it loses equity. 

Before my high education, I received all of my education in China, where once a time there was absolute fairness. When I was a kid, in my textbooks, western capitalism was frequently criticized for intensifying social contradictions and enlarging the gap between the rich and poor. I deem that, in future society when there is great wealth, this problem may be solved. Maybe at that time, people will not satisfy their humane demands by materials. Only then can men have a equal status and income in its real sense. This society is somewhat similar to Switzerland nowadays. Therefore, I consider that it is better to pursue an equal chance than an equal benefit so that people may have better choices when concluding contracts. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Future Income Risk

I’m a junior student majored in economics. I will be graduated within about one year. There are multiple employment possibilities after my graduation, and I may also continue my study as a graduate student. I know clearly that there are a lot I can do with to control my income risk in the future, and strict control over my own life decisions is an important means to guarantee my income and manage relevant risks. 
First of all, I believe that I will follow two main occupational directions in the future: to work for a bank or governmental department, or to become self employed or get engaged in my family business.
For the first situation, I have to admit that at the present stage, it’s essentially important for me to work hard on all the courses required by the college. While taking my economics courses, I’m spending as much time as possible in statistics, expecting to graduate with double degrees. Apparently, nowadays the society is moving forward rapidly, and the concept of BIG DATA has been widely accepted. In my opinion, statistics will become even more important in the future society. Most people will prefer data-based results in decision-making process. In addition to my learning at school, my resume is so competitive because of the social activities I attended and the internship experience I have got. I forced myself to do more practical and voluntary work in my vocations, which turns out to have enriched my working and social knowledge and made me more competitive when applying for a job and getting a stable salary. Take one of my cousins as an example. After he graduated as a major of CS from Syracuse University, he got employed by China Telecom. He has just worked for one year and the monthly pay is about $1000, which can just support his daily life (it is a satisfactory income for graduates in China, though). But his post is quite stable, and he has very promising career prospect and very good welfares. For me, working for a bank or governmental department will be a choice. It means that I’m not allowed to commit any political mistake and I have to avoid those university associations related to as Falungong or Tibetan independence (People who work for Chinese government must receive personal background survey, which practically influences his career and post promotion.). I consider this as a risk too. 
As for the second situation, I will not have to be worried about my resume so that my learning can be more specifically oriented. If I want to become self employed in the future, it will be necessary for me to learn some basic knowledge about business starting. I also must understand the elementary composition of corporation, the control over cash flow, operation cost and profit. In that case, my income will be influenced by my personal quality and the macroeconomic environment, which is more demanding. On the one hand, I will have to learn harder to develop higher sense of responsibility in order to bear my duty. On the other hand, the macroeconomic environment becomes a critical risk factor for me in that case. Innumerable middle and small-sized enterprises were closed down under the attack of the financial crisis in 2008. Such risk is just beyond control. If I intend to get a position in my family business, I possibly have to pay more attention to learning from my parents and knowing how to handle and control interpersonal relationships. The factors influential on my income will be similar to those if I want to start my own business.   

Besides, many other factors, such as the stability of my parents’ income and my social human relations and position, will also be very helpful when I get employed. Neither I nor my family has debts or large loans. I’m in very good physical condition, except that I have congenital hepatopathy, which may worsen to serious disease if I drink or live in irregular pattern. In order to avoid such income risk, I must live in a regular pattern and stay away from alcohol. 

Friday, October 3, 2014


 I am a student in Professor Arvan's Econ 490 class, writing under an alias to protect my privacy, using the name of a famous economist Elinor Ostrom as part of my alias. 

As students, there are always someone who can not choose their favorite courses due to low Internet speed at the beginning of each semester; who are always snatched seats by outrageous people; students majoring economy can not find appropriate time for reserving tutors; who can not choose their favorite lawyers when dealing with tickets in legal office; who can only wait in line for long for billiards tables in union; who must order small office rooms through long term reservation in advance. As students, we are often forced into waiting list, and how can we solve this kind of problems? The answer is IlliniBucks, with which, we can free from waiting in line and find the resources we want rapidly, thus saving time.
I think the issuance of IlliniBucks must be limited. If the sales are unlimited, it will lose its practical effects under the circumstance of everyone owning IlliniBucks. And as the issuer of IlliniBucks, the school should issue equal amount of IlliniBucks to all students each year or each semester and the sales between students among be better prohibited. In general, students with better school achievements are encouraged in the old system of the school, where student who perform well in study can have the tight to select courses in priority, which I think is healthy. But if the sales of IlliniBucks by money are promoted in school, IlliniBucks will be the priority for wealthy students, leading to the transfer from study encouragement to wealthy encouragement, which is unhealthy measure. At the meantime, I think graduates should own the highest level of priority for selecting courses, which is even higher than the selection through IlliniBucks, for that only in this way, can graduates be guaranteed to select the courses they want most, avoiding the delay of graduation of graduates due to their failure in selecting courses.
The IlliniBucks is better to be reserved in i-card, with a certain amount each semester, which will be reset automatically in next semester with another time of issuance of certain amount. This measure can make students check the amount of IlliniBucks at the end of each semester and finish using all IlliniBucks before finishing of each semester. As a result, people will feel it is a waster to leave IlliniBucks so as to encourage the using of IlliniBucks. At the meantime, IllniBucks can also be used as a kind of care for vulnerable groups and award for students with extraordinary contributions, such as disabled students and core students in Basketball team.
It is inevitable for some problems arising as to IlliniBucks system, such as which one should be in priority of two who are both using IlliniBucks for selecting courses; the problem of comparison like auction arising in ordering courts by two people with IlliniBucks; someone will be forced to help seniors to occupy positions with IlliniBucks (there is the rule of obeying elders among Asian students) and so on. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

the great team and the great boss----MANCHESTER UNITED

     I am a student in Professor Arvan's Econ 490 class, writing under an alias to protect my privacy, using the name of a famous economist Elinor Ostrom as part of my alias.       Over the years, I have been a fan of Manchester United Football Club. After reading the article, the fist organization that came to my mind is Manchester United. I think the ups and downs of Manchester United in recent seasons can perfectly illustrate the ideas of the article.        Sir Ferguson served as the head coach of Manchester United from 1986 until 2013, and won 38 trophies. During his tenure, he is reputed as the greatest coach in history, and the Manchester United also completed a renaissance, becoming the football club that has the highest market value of foot. Needless to say, Ferguson had an absolute right when he managed the Manchester United, he could decide the sales of players in the club without being controlled by the owner of football team, amd develop long-term plans for the team, without the least apprehension of being dismissed because of poor performance in a season. Meanwhile, Sir Ferguson is indeed a powerful manager, who attaches emphasis to the training of team and is good at using young people, this can be proved by the 92 training session and Cristiano Ronaldo. He knows how to develop long-term plans, is good at reconciling players' contradictions and adjusting the locker room atmosphere, and keeps abreast with the advanced concepts of world soccer. Meanwhile, he is a manager willing to communicate with other personnel, including team's investors, players, associate coaches and even cleaning staff -- I had read the apology letter that Sir Ferguson wrote to a cleaner who was fired by the team, which greatly maintained the team's image. Under his leadership, the team had extremely healthy operation. This excellent manager had effective communication with subordinates, and could solve problems in a timely manner. Sir Ferguson is also able to stimulate players' enthusiasm, enabled players to have a strong sense of collective responsibility, the new players often reminded themselves that "I play football under the guidance of the great Sir Ferguson". After the World Cup in Germany, he tried his best to defuse the contradictions between Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, united members of the organization, thus ensured the future glory of Manchester United. I think this is the key to Sir Ferguson's success in Manchester United.       Sir Ferguson retired in 2013. His successor Moyes had poor performance and refreshed the worst records of Manchester United. Moyes also wants to be a "dictator" like Sir Ferguson, however, due to his poor management ability, he cannot adjust the atmosphere in the locker room, but he is still reluctant to change his tactical style or learn any advanced football philosophy, he guides the Manchester United to a downward trajectory.     All powerful organizations are inseparable from good managers.  Although there are differences between management models, but it is undisputed that a manager plays great role in the success of a organization.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Transaction costs

I am a student in Professor Arvan's Econ 490 class, writing under an alias to protect my privacy, using the name of a famous economist Elinor Ostrom as part of my alias.

On summer vacation, I have developed some exciting plans. There are some options about what I would like to do or my expects expect me to do. Firstly, I can run a noodle shop in the downtown together with my friends. Secondly, I can intern in a beauty parlor which is a family business. Thirdly, I can take part in a volunteer program in Bangkok. Fourthly, I can spend my time in Bali Island. Fifthly, I can intern in a bank. It is obvious that this summer vacation has been too short for me to fulfill so many plans. So I need to choose among them. Although my parents really want me to intern in their beauty parlor, I just feel that it is out of line with my interest completely. What is more, I really feel so interested in running a noodle shop because of the fresh ideas and passion it has involved. But in the end, I still decided to intern in the beauty parlor and thus missed the chance to set up my own business. However, the study in the beauty parlor is still worth the effort. That is because I have a taste of the hard work of my parents and also manage to prove my ability to them. For example, I once helped them in purchasing the body-shaping laser equipment abroad. I also tried to buy the household goods with high performance-cost-ratio in Taobao. In a word, I have made the best use of my ability as an international student to create my value. After the one-month internship, I also decided to act as a volunteer in Thailand rather than travel around Bali Island. Although it will be a good experience for me to relax myself and enjoy the view of Southern Asia in Bali Island, I still chose to volunteer in Thailand as a southeastern country. It has been a training of greater meaning to me. When in Thailand, I tried my best to teacher children there English and Chinese. Those children also brought me to ride an elephant and eat the local fruit, which is not available in Bali Island. I could have enjoyed my vacation in Bali Island, but I just feel that I should make better use of my youth to do something meaningful. At the end of the vacation, I also interned in a branch of China Merchant Bank. During this one-month vacation, I also missed out the opportunity to get together with my classmates because of the internship, which made me feel a little sad. I still believe the internship is a worthy experience. Through the two internships, I have also managed to compare the advantage and disadvantage between two companies. What is more, I also tried to give some advice to my parents. After having a taste of the strict costume management, performance requirement and enterprise culture in China Merchant Bank, I have also identified the shortcoming of my family business. It has impressed my parents so much. We are faced with various choices in daily life. Although the transaction  cost is an important consideration, I think it is even more important to learn something from what we are engaged in.