Misinformed, my opinion on opinions

I respect the right for everyone to have an opinion.

I also support freedom of speech.

But if your opinion is either:

  1. Not founded on any information, data, research, etc.
  2. Founded on false information, propaganda, etc.

Then you need to willing to accept that your opinion is flawed.

I have an opinion on almost everything, most of them are flawed. For example, I have an opinion on 50 Shades of Grey, in that there is a general negative connotation towards the book.

But my opinion is flawed because I have neither watched the movie, read the book, or done any prior research about what the story is about. I just simply have an opinion. I think everyone does.

However, if an advocate of the book/movie were to come up to me and be open to explaining the story and how there are beautiful nuances to the storytelling and creativity, I need to be completely willing to hear them out so I can better understand the situation.

In the same breath, if you have an opinion that is founded on false information (i.e. you read one source or you are a victim to propaganda) then you need to do a better job and understanding the topic through diverse sources, or else you fall into the spiraling trap of confirmation bias.

The best politicians and economists are not those that completely dismiss the other side. Instead, they understand many areas and try to utilize the best out of each perspective.

Full stop. I am a liberal. (Though, there are different left-right opinions regarding politics, economics, society, etc.)

But that doesn’t mean I support extremist liberal ideas, nor do I completely condemn all the ideas of the right.

I am a liberal (socially), but I respect capitalism and markets (more right-wing). I also believe in certain conservative approaches to tradition.

Full stop. I do not think Donald Trump is a good president. (Even though my opinion has no jurisdiction. I can Canadian, eh.).

I do not like many of the things Donald Trump says are does. But I’ve also done my research. And instead of condemning all the bad things he has done, I will point out the good things he has done:

  1. I believe that reducing the corporate tax rate in 2018 was a smart move on his part to help from billions of dollars worth of money back to America from overseas (Example: Apple)
  2. He is the only President willing to challenge China’s rising supreme power, which I believe can be a tactical move (however I do not necessarily agree with how he has approached the matter, nor his methods). I believe that China has had a bigger upside in trade with America and also has been a country known to curve around certain guidelines. However, I also believe that challenging China is roughly 20 years too late.
  3. Donald Trump has been active in trying to repair relationships between that of South Korea and North Korea.
  4. Donald Trump puts America first.

I remember back in 2016 when disliking Trump was an automatic response. It almost felt like “I hate Trump” could be a personality trait, just like my opinion on 50-Shades is. Yet, Trump had not become President yet, nor did we know what he planned to do, nor did many people actually understand his campaign. I personally believe that my opinion to dislike him is just a bit more grounded in information, having been a person who actively seeks to understand both sides of the situation. My opinion on 50 Shades of Grey? Not so grounded.

Opinions are powerful. And I respect people’s right to have them, and I believe sharing opinions is an even more powerful tool to incite debate and discussion.

I am still trying to understand how I can better understand people that fall into the first two categories (no information, or misinformed people).

Most of my opinions, as I mentioned, are flawed. But when I do have a strong opinion on something, I want people to know that I don’t carry that thought without any extensive research are thought on why I have that certain perspective. I want to know how I can help people understand the topics that I am passionate about. It is difficult for me to reach out to these types of people, and a part of me just wants to walk away and not debate with people who I know are clearly misinformed, but if I do that, I am afraid that my opinion will slowly die off. We live in a world of a sharing-digital era, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t share my opinions.

If you see yourself having an opinion that is not based on information, I urge you to be open about someone helping you better understand the situation.

If you believe you are misinformed on an opinion, or that you only have on side of the story,, I urge you to seek out more diverse sources and talk to people more familiar with the matter.

So, does anyone want to explain to me why 50 Shades of Grey is a good story?

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fighting climate change

Climate change—or let’s be blunt here, global warming—is a difficult topic of discussion not only because no one genuinely understands the ramifications of a warming Earth, but also because there is not one unified blueprint to tackling the problem.

We fight fire with water. We fight obesity with exercising and dieting. We fight lethargy with sleep. We fight boredom with Netflix. But how exactly do we stop global warming?

First off, this is a global issue. When one person is obese, that individual can fight obesity with independent exercising and dieting. But global warming requires the entire world—or at least, a large majority of the population—to come together and tackle the issue. And this is where we have a quagmire because pollution is an externality: 

“For economists, the problem is that polluters are not required to bear the full cost of the pollution they create in terms of the costs to wider society.”

My proposed solution?

Look. I won’t give you one.

Because, let’s be honest, we all know how to reduce our carbon footprint.

And if you legitimately don’t know how to help the environment, then you’re not being creative enough.

Instead, I urge you to think more about what it means to our world if we don’t do anything. And I mean now. And even if it means baby steps towards a better future, at least we are doing something, anything.

Because in a world where everyone wants to take take take, let’s remember that we need to give back to Mother Earth too.

Baby steps

Baby steps

It’s all about baby steps

I still remember these words from

my grade 8-9 basketball coach

1% better every day

Whether that be personal life, academics, career, health, or basketball

1% better every day

Don’t worry about being a millionaire overnight

Celebrities aren’t made by one movie (they usually did several crappy movies before the star in the movie that “makes” their career)

Rome wasn’t built in one day

It’s not a lot, but baby steps eventually turn into strides, and before you even realize it, you will be running fast towards your goals

Money

Modern money has no intrinsic value

and I think that makes it the most fascinating case study ever

The USD is the global reserve currency and 60% of world transactions are dealt in USD

That’s crazy

The USD is backed by US.

But if the country’s economy fails, like Venezuela, Ecuador, or Zimbabwe, then the currency also fails. Zimbabwe now uses the USD after their currency fell to a value of zero. Now you can get 100 trillion dollar Zimbabwe bills on eBay for roughly $80

Money has value not intrinsically, but universally is accepted as valuable because of a universal trust

This is the reason a lot of things in our world exists

Communities, religions, brands, Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies

Even the local bar you go to, which might not intrinsically be better than the pub two doors over, will garner more people if there is a higher perceived trust of value

Certain parts of India don’t accept the 10 rupee coin because it is perceived as non-legit, despite being fully and legitimately backed by the Central Bank of India

psychologically, we want to tag along on what everyone else uses

and that’s why money is valuable: because we all deem it to be

But what if one day we don’t?

That is why money is so interesting. It is a platform for power, but also a platform subject to collapse

why your college doesn’t matter. AT ALL

What college you attend is almost Not important at all.

Instead, you should be the type of person who could attend a prestigious college.

In fact, it was two professors, one from Princeton, who actually released a paper in 2002 that detailed why attending super-selective colleges had no impact on future career salaries (economic benefits)

How did the study work?

Well, it tracked students who 1) went to prestigious colleges

And then for the control group, 2) students who were admitted but did not attend top prestigious colleges (either due to $$$ or personal reasons, which is not apparently important in this study).

After extensive research, there showed absolutely no difference in the economic long-term benefits of attending a top college.

The salary boost was “generally indistinguishable from zero”

Top universities are not so good at developing students’ potential as they are at spotting future potential and offering spots to these bright students.

That’s not to say that prestigious colleges don’t offer much better resources and networking. They do and will surely add a kickstart to your career. But in the long-run, it doesn’t matter so much as where you went as a student as much as what type of hard-working student you are.

Also, I need to note that salary is definitively not the best measure of future success; however, when you ask most college students these days why they are attending college, the most common response you’ll receive is “for a job/money.” So, I am sure this answer should offer a lot of solace to students who are still worried about not attending Harvard.

Good Luck.


Source: Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables

Different circumstances

Today I went to Milton Herschel School and man this school is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen

It must be over 4 times as big as Vilanova’s 250 acre campus

Children lived in mansions which houses up to 14 kids

The school where they took classes looked more like a tiny college

And there was just so much free land and greenery

But the students at MHS all come from underprivileged communities

Which is good and bad

Good because it allows kids without the right circumstances to flourish through support and education

Bad because some times the circumstances of a child isn’t where they go to school or how much money you throw at them

The graduating classes of MHS often have huge disparity in terms of where the children end up

My friend who goes to Villanova has friends at Princeton, UPenn, Georgetown and other esteemed universities

But out of his 200 graduating class, he notes several who have dropped out of college after one or few semesters and maybe 15 have ended up starting families already before they’ve turned 20, which also forces them to leave school

It’s an interesting case study of whether or not it’s possible to “help” people through institutions like MHS

How can we truly help people besides simply financially and educationally? I think personal life and EQ skills are just as important to teach besides a good education and scholarships for school

Not everyone is fit for school

But everyone is fit for life. And I think life skills is something we need to better teach future generations

finite desires

The first thing we learn in any introductory economics class is the definition of economics, which is widely accepted to be how we, as rational humans, with infinite desires, should act in a world with finitely scarce resources.

There are two important notes here:

  1. Humans are rational
  2. We have infinite desires

Both of these concepts, when looked at carefully, actually seem very contradicting if you’ve lived past your teenage years.

Because, well, 1) humans are the exact opposite of rational, and 2) if we had infinite desires, why do people give away their goods to other people?

Economists rarely address the legitimacy of the rational choice model, unless you study the field of behavioral economics which blends psychology with microeconomics.

Most people understand though that we really aren’t rational.

The second note is humans having infinite desires, which also seems a bit off.

If I had infinite desires, why would I ever choose to share what I have with other people?

Rather, in life, my decisions aren’t actually to obtain as many goods as possible. Don’t get me wrong: material goods are great. But there is a limit.

The richest people often end up starting philanthropic work because there is indefinitely a point in our lives when we realize that earning income, although is necessary for modern day survival, does, in fact, feel rewarding, what is more fulfilling is actually giving.

To flip the terms:

Humans are irrational and we have finite desires.

With this framework, we shall see how humanity should better reflect choices.

This will be a future topic I will address once I’ve learned more about this framework. If you are interested in this framework, I learned it in my humanities professor’s amazing book that brings economics into conversation with Thomas Aquinas.

You can find it here: Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy