Money Mondays: Opportunity Cost

Two weeks ago we talked about supply and demand. Whenever you buy something (playing a role in demand), you give up the opportunity to buy something else. Alternatively, whenever you decide to do something with your time (such as watch a movie), you forgo the opportunity to do something else (such as finish your homework). Whether the alternative option has a monetary value or not, there is a cost to not choosing that option. This is referred to as opportunity cost.

Looking Back at LIFE, by Cliff Muller

Here’s an example from Investopedia: “The opportunity cost of going to college is the money you would have earned if you worked instead. On the one hand, you lose four years of salary while getting your degree; on the other hand, you hope to earn more during your career, thanks to your education, to offset the lost wages.”

You have to think about which option may give you the greatest amount of benefit in the long-term. If you hadn’t gone to college, maybe you could be making $20,000 a year right now rather than spending almost that much on tuition. However, when you leave college you may find a job that pays you $40,000 a year. That’s twice as much as you would be making if you had not gone to college! Whenever you choose to purchase (or not purchase) something, you are making a choice that has an effect on the economy.

If you’re still feeling unsure about what opportunity cost is, check out this podcast from the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Economic Lowdown site. Or try playing the Game of Life, available in Andersen Library’s Teaching Tools Collection on the main floor.

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Adam Braun and The Promise of a Pencil

clip art of a pencilAdam Braun, New York Times bestselling author and founder/CEO of Pencils of Promise, will talk about “The promise of a pencil: How an ordinary person can create extraordinary change” on Mon., Oct. 6, at 7pm in the Young Auditorium. It’s the first Fall 2014 Contemporary Issues Lecture!

Pencils of Promise was founded in 2008, and funds programs including building schools, training teachers, and providing secondary school scholarships to students in several countries, to fulfill its mission of every child having access to quality education. You can watch Braun’s Google Zeitgeist talk online from the organization’s “Founder’s Story” web page. You also can read “Adam Braun: How he started Pencils of Promise” from or find articles in Library databases including “Children and Youth: Child Beggar Who Asked for Pencil Inspires Man to Build 206 Schools” (Africa News, May 12, 2014, Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic).

Charity Navigator has not yet rated Pencils of Promise, because it has not filed seven years’ worth of IRS form 990 (“Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax”), however, at the site you can create a free account and read the 990s filed for several years (2008-2012).

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Databases on Trial

No, we’re not going to send our databases to jail. We’re just trying on some new products to see how they fit. This month, we are trialing ten databases. Take a look at the Database Trials page, give the products a try and let us know what you think.

  • Ambrose Digital Video offers high-quality academic videos in art, history, literature, music, science, political science, geography and more.
  • EBSCO Business eBook Collection offers additional business ebooks beyond the eBook Academic Collection.
  • EconLit with Full Text (EBSCO) gives us additional full-text journals beyond our current EconLit subscription that would help to support the new Master’s of Economics degree.
  • First World War Portal (Adam Matthew) features primary source material on World War I, including personal narratives, propaganda and recruitment, and visual perspectives and narratives.
  • Forbes Digital Archive contains the full backfile of Forbes magazine articles published from 1917-2000.
  • Mintel offers global market research in four economies: US, UK, China, and Brazil. It covers product innovation, consumer trends, and market analysis.
  • Reference USA is a directory of U.S. companies.
  • Routledge Handbooks Online offers handbooks in 22 subject areas in the humanities and social sciences.
  • SimplyMap is an award-winning web-based mapping (GIS) application for business and marketing
  • World Market Intelligence tracks 23 industries, 75,000 company profiles (including SWOT analysis), 100 country profiles, and macroeconomic data feeds covering 200+ countries.
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New Stuff Tuesday – September 30, 2014


The Best American Poetry:
Guest editor Terrance Hayes
Series editor David Lehman
PS615 .B474 2014
New Arrivals, 2nd floor

Every year since 1988 the fine folks at Scribner Poetry have come out with a new volume containing the cream of the year’s poetry crop. This year the guest editor is Terrance Hayes, so they are his knowledgeable opinions that shape the volume. Hayes has authored four collections of poems, all receiving high accolades and/or awards. Here he has selected a wide ranging collection of other people’s poetry representing the vast diversity of American culture. The A-Z of authors includes Sherman Alexie, Kwame Dawes, Rita Dove, Ray Gonzalez, Sharon Olds, Rachel Zucker, and many more. If you’d like to see the full list of who’s poetry is this volume, you can check Amazon.

David Lehman, the series editor, challenges us in his introduction to consider these questions about poetry: “is it dead, does it matter, is there too much of it, does anyone anywhere buy books of poetry?” He points out that the demise of poetry has been forecast for decades, and at Ivy League schools English majors are fading into the woodwork, being replaced by other majors such as those in the sciences. Who is to write poetry? Lucky for us Terrance Hayes found some wonderful practitioners, from the tried and true to the new on the scene. From the outset of his unusual interview as introduction, Hayes sets the tone for what is to come, both playful and serious. He includes three of his original “centos,” that meld lines from the poems in the anthology into one new poem and reflect major themes of the volume. These are created in place of explaining the recurring themes, so are worth reading (don’t skip the intro!).

I wish I were more of a poetry aficionado, so could draw you in by offering up witty and insightful comments about some poems in the collection. That’s not going to happen. There are, however, brief paragraph or so long sections on each poet at the back of the book, often including enlightening tidbits about their poem. Definitely peruse those too. If you read the poems collected here and would like to offer us your comments, you are certainly welcome to do so below.

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Money Mondays: Market Equilibrium

Last week we talked about supply and demand. This week we’ll focus on the relationship between those two concepts. The Law of Supply and Demand, illustrated by the graph below, states that there is an equilibrium between supply and demand. This equilibrium represents the place where the greatest amount of goods can be sold at the highest price. Sometimes supply is low and demand is high (this is called a shortage), and therefore the price is high. Other times the supply is high and the demand is low (this is called an excess), and therefore the price is low. One of the reasons this concept exists is because there is competition in the marketplace. We’ll talk about competition in a few weeks.

Law of Supply & Demand graph

Let’s revisit our example from last week. We learned that when the Xbox One came out last December, there was high demand and low supply. This means there was a shortage of Xbox Ones at the launch. There were a limited number of consoles but many people wanted to buy one, so the price was high. If Microsoft had more consoles ready, pushing us closer to the market equilibrium, the consoles may have sold for a lower price but the total number of consoles sold would have been greater. In this situation, everyone is better off. More people would have an Xbox One and the company would have made the greatest amount of profit.

For more information on supply and demand, check out these resources available through the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Economic Lowdown website:

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Friday Fun: Word Games

Lots of us go to the site to get definitions, but there are some word games there, too!

When you complete a quiz you’ll be able to compare your score to the average score overall, or the average score for your age group.

How’s your vocabulary? Take the 10-question quiz.

Try Spell It: The commonly misspelled words quiz.

Play Name That Thing, a visual vocabulary quiz.

And see how well you do on a true/false “quick quiz about stuff worth knowing.”

The Firefly Five Language Visual Dictionary coverAnd if the visual vocabulary quiz sparks your interest, Andersen Library has visual dictionaries you can use to create your own quizzes, or just to learn more! Search Research@UWW (Books Media and more UW Whitewater) to find title such as Merriam-Webster’s Spanish-English visual dictionary (Reference Collection, 2nd Floor, PC4629 .M47 2011), Merriam-Webster’s visual dictionary (Curriculum Collection, Textbook, 2nd Floor PE1629.M47 M4 2010), and The Firefly five language visual dictionary (Reference Collection, 2nd Floor, P361 .C668 2004). There’s also Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary Online to try!


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El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude)

Dr. Rubén Medina, poet and chair of the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese at UW-Madison, spoke about The Labyrinth of Solitude, written by Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz, on Tues., Sept. 23, at 3:45pm as part of the Latino Heritage Lecture Series, and the 2014/2015 Conversation on Race. Were you, like me, unable to attend?

Would you like to learn more on your own? Andersen Library can help you with that!

Copies of El laberinto de la soledad are available in both Spanish (Main Collection, 3rd Floor, F1210 .P3 1968) and English (Main Collection, 3rd Floor, F1210 .P313). Search Research@UWW to find other works by Paz, including The poems of Octavio Paz (Browsing Books, 2nd floor PQ7297.P285 A2 2012) and One earth, four or five worlds: Reflections on contemporary history (Main Collection, 3rd Floor, D842.5 .P3913 1985).

Search other databases such as Literature Criticism Online or Literary Reference Center for articles about Paz’s writings. Among what you can find: “How and why I wrote the Labyrinth of Solitude: An elucidation” (Hopscotch: A Cultural Review, 2000, vol.2:no.1, pp.60-71), “Octavio Paz” (in Magill’s survey of world literature, 2009, Rev. ed., pp.1-6), and “Octavio Paz” (in Twentieth-Century literary criticism, 2008, vol.211, pp.174-360).

Please ask a librarian for assistance with finding additional materials.

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Resume Doctor is in! Sept.23-25


Does your resume need a “check-up”?  The Resume Doctor will be held in the Andersen Library on September 23rd-25th from 1PM-4PM each day. No appointments are needed, just stop in with your resume and trained Career and Leadership Development staff will review it to give you helpful advice.

      • Tues. Sept. 23, 1-4pm
      • Weds. Sept. 24, 1-4pm
      • Thurs. Sept. 25, 1-4pm

After getting your resume reviewed, you will be all set to rock that interview.  If you are in need of more professional attire, stop in to shop for FREE September 25th-26th at the Warhawk Success Closet in UC68. Clothing will be available for all from 10AM-2PM and from 5PM-7PM.

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New Stuff Tuesday – September 23, 2014


Console Wars:
Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
by Blake J. Harris
HD9993.E452 H37 2014
New Arrivals, 2nd floor

Remember video game classics like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario? The two companies that created those games, Sega and Nintendo respectively, have quite a history. Whether you’re interested in gaming or in how a small company breaks into an established industry and becomes a major competitor, Console Wars is the perfect read for you. In the early 1990′s, Nintendo had the video game market cornered. However, when Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Mattel, became President and CEO of Sega, the company gave Nintendo a fight for market share. The book is derived from interviews with employees from both companies and describes how Sega discovered their competitive advantage and revolutionized an industry. And if you still need a reason to read this book, the foreword is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (who worked together on movies like This is the End and Superbad) and is delightfully amusing.

If you want to learn more about the video game industry, check out the database IBISWorld for a detailed industry overview. You can also find more information about Nintendo and Sega (which is a subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings) with LexisNexis Academic.

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Money Mondays: Supply & Demand

Supply and demand are two foundational concepts in economics. According to Investopedia, supply “describes the total amount of a specific good or service that is available to consumers…. [All] else being equal, the supply provided by producers will rise if the price rises because all firms look to maximize profits.” Demand, as Investopedia explains, “describes a consumer’s desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service. Holding all other factors constant, the price of a good or service increases as its demand increases and vice versa.” Often when people talk about supply and demand, they are talking about the relationship between the two concepts, referred to as the Law of Supply and Demand. We’ll talk about this concept more next week.

Supply & Demand Non Sequitur Comic by Wiley

So what do these two concepts look like in our everyday life? When the Xbox One came out last December, more than 2 million consoles were sold within 18 days. Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president of strategy and marketing, stated that demand was exceeding supply. This indicates that consumers were very willing to buy the product (high demand), but that Microsoft did not have enough consoles to sell to everyone who wanted one (low supply). When we discuss market equilibrium next week, we’ll talk about how having too much or not enough demand can affect the price and supply of products available to purchase.

For more information on supply and demand, check out these resources available through the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Economic Lowdown website:

Also, consider reading the book Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It, by Adrian Slywotzky, available in Andersen Library’s Main Collection (call number: HB801 .S56 2011).

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