Tutor profile: Justin Y.
Subject: Political Science
Explain the debate between command and market economy and why this difference matters today.
In Macroeconomics there are essentially two large principles that clash with one another. One is based upon the belief that the market should be controlled and shaped, while the other believes that it is a natural system that should be left to its own devices. These, are the command and market economic theories respectively. A command economy focuses on controlling policy through the use of government measures to control the ebb and flow of the economy. A market economy lets the private sector develop its own natural tendencies without much interference from the government. Examples of command economies include Keynesian economics and Communist government monetary policy, while examples of market economies include Friedman's monetarist economics and the policies of the 1980s that reflected a shift towards less restrictive governments. The world today is controlled by either one or the other (or a combination of both) of these two schools of economic thought. Keynesian economics focuses on utilizing government policy to affect the outcome of economic crises. During recessions like the Great Depression, the model presented by John Maynard Keynes (the founder of Keynesian economics) was to increase government spending while lowering taxes. During period of economic growth, the government should save, and increase taxes. This policy was adopted by the United States government in the 1930s to combat severe unemployment and a lack of demand for goods and services. However, this policy was discarded after its failure to affect stagflation (rising inflation and high unemployment) in the 1970s created by the oil crisis in the Middle East. Many communist governments including China and the former Soviet Republic had command economies that directly controlled the distribution of goods and services. However, these governments were forced to accept less restrictive measures because their systems of control adversely affected the production of food to the point of massive starvation. After the failure of Keynesian economics to control stagflation, an economist from the Chicago School of Economics, Milton Friedman, proposed another idea: let the private sector sort itself out and increase the monetary supply. These ideas stemmed from the classical school of thought in the economic theory developed in the 18th century by economists such as John Stuart Mill that believed that economies were essentially self-regulating systems. After the 1970s the Monetarist policy of thought became more popular and Friedman even served aboard the economic advisory board under the Reagan administration in the 1980s. As the Cold War was drawing to a close, many governments, including democracies that had adopted command economies (such as Great Britain under the control by the Labour Party in the 1970s) began to shift to market economies that were in part influenced by Friedmans' theories. The USSR under Gorbachev adopted more relaxed policies on economic control, while China's most influential minister of the 80s Deng Xiaoping also adopted more open market reforms for the PRC. Very soon, much of the known world began to utilize open market reforms that espoused less direct control of their economies, allowing the free market to run naturally under the private sector and individual interest. Today, the debate still rages on between these two schools of thought. Command economies have the benefit of relieving sectors of the economy quickly through decisive action, but their actions may backfire and even make things worse. Market economies let the natural flow of the private sector control things, but this can lead to corruption and the creation of monopolies that don't compete with one another. A balanced government requires the benefits of both in order to function properly and efficiently. But finding that balance is tricky, even with the knowledge given to us by Keynes and Friedman.
Subject: World History
What are the similarities and differences between the Western Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty?
These two empires, the Western Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty are essentially both very large, incorporating, centralized, and bureaucratic governments. The empire of Rome at its apex incorporated territory all across the Mediterranean, the Levant, Gaul (Modern France), Germany, and the British Isles. China's Han dynasty incorporated a large territory as well, including much of what would become the country's modern borders in south and east china. Both governments not only persisted for many years, but also maintained a very stable and lengthy period of control through the use of bureaucracy. Both divided up their empires into more manageable provinces that were placed until local and regional control. Currency between these areas was uniform throughout. Trade throughout the Mediterranean and throughout the Indian Ocean and the East China Sea provided ample ways to sustain economic growth for both empires. The difference between these empires is one of culture. The Romans, since their days as a republic, were an adaptable, malleable, culture, one based on the inclusivity of both peoples and ideas. The Romans borrowed their culture from their predecessors on the Italian peninsula, the Etruscans, and their religion from the Greeks. The Romans absorbed and adopted new ideas into their military or economy. For example, during the first Punic war with Carthage, the Romans were outmatched at sea, because their war vessels were inferior to their enemies' and as a result, they modified their triremes to possess a boarding ramp (called a "Corvus") that was modeled after captured Carthaginian ships. The Romans possessed a system of inclusivity into Roman society for captured or indoctrinated peoples. Foreigners were allowed to fight as auxiliaries for the Roman empire and after a period of service, could become citizens of Rome. This game them rights, and the ability to vote and hold property. This inclusivity allowed this empire to remain flexible throughout its long history. The Chinese, on the other hand, were more homogenous in structure and culture. Although various client peoples existed in the Han dynasty, the dominant group was the Han-people, the largest ethnic group in China today. The Han dynasty maintained stability by limiting interaction with outside groups and made themselves self-reliant. Scientific innovation was self-reliant rather than based on incorporating outside ideas. This cultural difference plays a very large role in how these empires developed and why and when they fell. Although the Roman empire at its heyday included a large territory with various groups of people, this ultimately contributed greatly to the dissolution of its government and culture. The reliance on client kingdoms in the empire like the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, along with the need for foreign auxiliaries to support its dwindling numbers of legions, meant that the empire lost its homogeneity and strength in central power. By the time that Rome fell in 476 AD, the empire had lost most of its territory and had a foreign religion, Christianity, to replace its Greco-Roman roots. It would be some time before the successor groups in Europe would restore themselves in culture and scientific innovation to the level of success as the Romans. The Chinese on the other hand maintained their homogeneity even after the fall of the Han Dynasty and continued to emphasize centralized cultural values like Taoism and Confuscianism well into the early 20th century when the last great Chinese dynasty the Qing adopted briefly the western values of Democracy.
Subject: US History
Explain the consequences of the United States joining Allied Powers in World War 1. How is the outcome of this action relevant to the status of America today?
Although playing a fairly minor role in the First World War (having only joined in 1917, three years after the start of hostilities in Europe), the ramifications were massive. The introduction of fresh troops, vehicles, and supplies to the European battlefields accelerated the collapse of the German defense, and thus put an end to the war more quickly than had the American government remained neutral. After the war, the American economy (not having been devastated by the effects of total war) bloomed and the 1920s became a time of decadent spending and unprecedented wealth for many, which also led to the overspending and the resultant Great Depression that plagued the country in the 1930s. Diplomatically, the United States became a chief negotiator amongst the allied powers, creating the League of Nations that would establish a prototype "United Nations" and arbitrated peace talks amongst France, Great Britain, Germany, and the other nations of Europe. The intervention of the United States into global affairs reversed a shift in American policy that would become the first sign of major interventionist activities in second World War, the Cold War, and in the world today. Overall, the First World War demonstrated for the first time the military-industrial might the United States possessed, and thus it's intervention became the first steps towards the foundations for the modern industrial complex the country now possesses and the global primacy when dealing with other countries at war or in peacetime. The Second World War would only push this process further down the line; it was in 1917 where the drive towards this outcome began.
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