Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I take tests

Economics test #1: I passed this one, so apparently I understand the simple version of "opportunity cost." I remember something from undergrad after all.

Economics test #2: Failed this one, and it's especially annoying because the author didn't give an answer. It's about differentiating between fair trade coffee farming and free range chicken farming. I think Johan has the answer in the comments, if it matters.

As to the larger question the author raises about whether fair trade coffee does any good, I think the argument against it is weak - it really is a premium value added that's superior to regular coffee, not just a way to price discriminate. And if you believe the "unfair trade" coffee workers are paid as badly as their employers can get away with already, then the unfair trade employers can't push wages down all that much further when they lose market share to the fair traders. Michael G.'s comment about emphasizing quality production over social conscience might be the best solution, though.

Real world test: Enough with the exploited workers - what about my needs? I own a Toyota Prius, and I "needed" to install an "Electric Vehicle" switch that would keep the gas engine from turning on. This switch is already installed in Priuses sold outside of North America, and somebody figured out how to rewire our Priuses to enable the switch, and posted the instructions on the Internet. I did it without electrocuting myself. The directions said an average person would take two hours to do it; I took about six. Once again, I'm way above average.

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