Wednesday, January 29, 2020
A fixed exchange rate Essay In the light of recent British economic experience, critically assess the view that allowing the pound to float is better for Britain than having a fixed exchange rate. The UK government can choose to fix or float the exchange rate. But what do these terms mean? Which method is better than the other? By defining what fixed and floating exchange rate systems are, and by using the recent experiences of the British economy, it is possible to shed a little light on the issues surrounding the control of exchange rates. A floating exchange rate system is a system of supply and demand for pounds. If, for example, the UK is in deficit due to excess imports from a particular country, then the pound should depreciate against the currency of that country. This happens because UK importers sell extra pounds on the foreign exchange markets in order to buy the other countrys currency to pay for those imports. Now there is an excess supply of pounds which lowers the sterling exchange rate. So, provided that the Marshall-Lerner elasticity conditions are fulfilled, the lower price of exports and the higher price of imports will, over time, improve the UK balance of payments. 1 The system should therefore regulate itself making it sustainable and leaving no pressure on reserves. A fixed exchange rate can take different forms. One is an adjustable peg system where the currency is pegged to another currency, but can be adjusted in small movements if necessary. Another is an independently fixed exchange rate where the UK would not allow any fluctuations. This policy would encourage investment but leave the currency open to speculation. The final form is that of monetary union which leaves exchange rate control in the hands of an independent central bank. The Euro is the most recent example of monetary union, and the debate as to whether Britain should join makes this topic extremely relevant. There are different measures of the exchange rate. Individual exchange rates or nominal exchange rates measure one currency against another, such as the i /$ or the $/i. This measurement is bilateral and does not take into account multilateral trade relationships. A more useful measurement is the effective exchange rate (EER) which takes an average value of a basket of currencies, which weights the relative importance of the currencies involved as trading partners for the UK. A measurement, which gives a stronger representation of UK competitiveness is the real exchange rate (RER or REX). This exchange rate takes into account the price of UK goods relative to the price of foreign goods and then multiplies it by the effective exchange rate. 2 There are a few arguments in favour of a fixed exchange rate. First, there are no significant fluctuations in the exchange rate under a fixed rate system. This adds stability to the economy as it reduces market uncertainty for potential investors. If they know that the value of their assets will not, in the foreseeable future, suddenly fall in value, then investment becomes a safer venture. Patrick Minford argues against this saying that the euro/dollar rate is very volatile and as a result it is even possible that our overall exchange risk would rise. 3 He also argues that a well managed country should not have much of a problem with exchange risk in general4 It is though, a strong point that a fixed exchange rate does increase security for investors. A fixed exchange rate also prevents against speculative currency attacks. They (monetary unions) can act to weaken the speculative instruments available in the capital markets for betting against the currency parities they are defending5 So a fixed currency prevents big money merchants from literally betting against a currency. Also prevented are the occurrence of competitive devaluations where a country deliberately undervalues its currency to boost its economy. An external exchange rate also creates the need for tight discipline within the domestic economy in terms of fiscal and monetary policy. 6 There are also disadvantages in having a fixed exchange rate. If exchange rates are controlled by an independent central bank then domestic control of the exchange rate is relinquished. This prevents the manipulation of the exchange rate during times of particular need, and makes asymmetric shocks harder to deal with. If the UK is in recession and the rest of the Euro zone is not, then its recession may last longer and deepen because interest rates cannot be lowered7 This will result in a fluctuations in unemployment, output and prices that are much greater than if the exchange rate is flexible. This makes the adjustment process long lasting and more painful. One advantage of a floating exchange rate is that it is self-adjusting. If a currency is valued too highly then, exports decrease, imports increase and currency flows out of the country and the rate of exchange falls. If the currency is too low then the reverse happens. So any imbalances are able to automatically correct themselves via the exchange rate. Not being tied in to a fixed exchange mechanism allows for freedom of internal economic policy as we mentioned previously. The opportunity for large scale speculation may be reduced as rates are allowed to move up and down without restriction. This in turn means that a country has less need for reserves. The disadvantages of a floating exchange rate are: an increased uncertainty for traders which may lead to less investment; the threat of price instability through increasing import prices; and, a floating exchange rate may actually encourage speculation through co-ordinated buying and selling of sterling. The recent economic performance of the UK can be used to can evaluate the effect of a fixed or floating exchange rate as both methods have been used. Between 1990-1992, the UK entered into the exchange rate mechanism (ERM) which fixed the sterling against other Euro currencies. Unemployment rates, GDP levels and export volumes can all be used as indicators of the UKs economic performance during this period. Below is a table which shows indices for export volumes, unemployment rates and the average exchange rate against sterling during the period of 1979-2000. Table 1. Export, Unemployment and Exchange Rate Indices 1979-2000 1990=100 Year Exports Unemployment rates Average rates against sterling Source: www. statistics. gov. uk/Statbase National Statistics Website Actual figures: Authors own work Fig. 1 further illustrates these figures. Fig. 1 Fig. 1 shows that between 1979 and 2000, exports rose at a fairly constant rate with a slight halt in 1985. From Table 1, unemployment rates have varied during the same period from a high of 11. 9% in 1984 to 5. 7% in 2000, but have remained in what is a relatively small band compared to the exchange rate. The exchange rate has had the greatest variance, ranging from 127. 8% to 84. 8% of the base year, falling rapidly from 1981 until 1995 with a slight reprieve in 1987. During the ERM years between 1990 and 1993 we can see some definite trends in both unemployment and the exchange rate. Between 1990 and 1993 unemployment rose by 3. 6%. Following the UKs exit from the ERM, unemployment fell again and has continued falling until 2000. The unemployment figures are interesting as they seem to have a cyclical pattern. Did the fixing of the exchange rate increase unemployment or was this the result of the trade cycle? There is evidence that it was not due to the trade cycle. The UKs pattern of unemployment rates which are typically akin to those of the US, differed greatly at this time. Between 1990 and 1993 the increase in UK levels of unemployment is much larger than that of the US. The UK level of unemployment rose 4. 4% between 1990-93 whereas the US level only rose 1. 3%. US levels actually fell between 1992 and 1993 when UK levels rose. 8 It was not a period of cyclical unemployment that caused the unusually large increase in unemployment. One other argument is that the Lawson Boom of the late 1980s, and the inability to sustain such growth, may have in increased unemployment in the early 1990s. The exchange rate as we know remained constant between 1990 and 1992, which can be seen in Fig. 1. What is interesting, is the effect of the UK leaving the ERM on the exchange rate. The 1993 floating exchange rate is 8% lower than the previous year when the rate was fixed and stayed low until 1997 when the New Labour government came to power. This tells us that the natural level of the sterling exchange rate was lower than its fixed rate within the ERM. The level of economic growth (measured by GDP) also deviates from the norm between 1990 and 1993. Growth was slower in this period as can be seen in Fig. 2 below. Fig. 2 It could be argued that this was an after effect of the Lawson Boom of the late 1980s rather than the UKs membership of the ERM. The trend is similar for export levels. If we take a closer look at Fig. 3 below, there is a slowdown in the growth of UK exports during the time that the UK was a member of the ERM. Fig. 3 On exiting the ERM in late 1992 the volume of exports increased at a rate faster than any time previously. It is likely that the increase in exports was caused by the low value of the pound after it was forced out of the ERM. The lower-valued pound makes UK goods relatively cheaper than goods of other countries, and encourages foreign buyers. So, when the pound is fixed at a value above its natural level it can have an adverse effect on the level of exports. Another reason why export volumes may have decreased, could be due to an increase in domestic prices which is a sign of a growing economy. So it could be argued that the whilst the Lawson boom increased the wealth of the economy, at the same time it had a negative effect on the level of UK exports. There is certainly some evidence then that being attached to a fixed currency can have a negative effect on unemployment, export volumes and GDP. This evidence though, is inconclusive as the data from the key period is clouded by another historic economic event, the Lawson Boom. Patrick Minford argues that, fixed exchange rates can work given a number of characteristics within the monetary environment. These characteristics are: symmetric industries, automatic stabilisers, freedom of movement of labour and flexible wages. 9 However, these conditions are not met within the Euro zone. There are advantages in belonging to a fixed exchange rate system but currently the disadvantages leave a serious doubt over whether it is the better option. The sacrifice of monetary and fiscal policy must be compensated for with significant gains in economic security. There are doubts as to whether a fixed exchange rate system is better than a floating system. If a fixed rate system is joined, then it is imperative that it is joined at the right rate or the problems of the ERM will re-surface and Britain may suffer for many years to come. Even if it is joined at the right rate, over a lengthy period of time that correct rate is likely to change. Bibliography 1. Griffiths A Wall S (1997) Applied Economics 7th Edition. Longman, London 2. Curwen P (1997) Understanding the UK Economy. Fourth Edition, Macmillan, London 3. Patrick Minford (2002) Should Britain Join the Euro Institute of Economic Affairs Occasional Paper 126 4. Will Hutton (1997) The State Were In Vintage. 5. National Statistics Website www. statistics. gov. uk/Statbase 6. OECD Economic Outlook Volume 2002/2 No. 72 December 1 Griffiths and Wall p. 625 2 Curwen, Understanding the UK economy p. 599 3 Patrick Minford, Should Britain Join the Euro (Institute of Economic Affairs 2002) p. 25 4 Patrick Minford, ibid. p. 31 5 Will Hutton, The State Were In (Vintage 1996) p. 316 6 Griffiths Wall p. 626 7 Patrick Minford, ibid. p. 43 8 OECD Economic Outlook Volume 2002/2 No. 72 December, Annex Table 14: Unemployment rates: commonly used definitions 9 Patrick Minford, ibid. p. 43.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Creative Intelligence of Walt Disney Creative intelligence comes in many different forms, with makers and masters leading the way. Walt Disney was both a maker and a master of visual/spatial intelligence. Our class and creativity experts have agreed that if something is creative then it has to be novel and of high quality. Walt DisneyÃ¢â¬â¢s artwork and animation certainly were. For example, he produced the first full-length animated musical feature film and the first full-color television programming, among other things (Ã¢â¬Å"WaltÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ). Walt Disney has been a huge part of my limited artistic life. I wish I had even a hundredth of his talent! But unfortunately I hate doing arts and crafts and have no talent or patience for them. So Walt Disney is not a model for what I want to do with my life. But I do enjoy art for entertainment, especially cartoons, and greatly admire Walt Disney for his creative genius. He not only created and drew Mickey Mouse, but he also did his voice. It amazes me how someone could be that good at art. Not only does his work have great aesthetic beauty but it also invokes great emotion too. In grade school I hated art class but any art projects that could possibly be influenced by his works were because I love his animation. My favorite movies were always Walt Disney Pictures, especially the animated ones. His animation seems so real it is almost like you can become a part of it. And because my family and I go to Walt Disney World every year I have grown up experiencing his works in real life and have enjoyed every minute of it. No matter how many times I see a work it is always as enjoyable as the first time I saw it, if not more so. I could never grow tired of a work by Walt Disney. I know I will enjoy his creations even when I am an old lady. Relation between the Child and the Adult Creator: Walt Disney showed very early interests in art and drawing. By the age of seven Walt would sell his drawings and small sketches to his neighbors to make some extra money. One interesting story about his creativity that I come across every time I write a paper about Walt Disney is when Walt convinced his sister Ruth to help him paint the side of their house with tar.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Chretien De TroyesÃ¢â¬â¢ Arthurian Romances are one of the best and most brilliant works of medieval literature. Originally, in Old French, modern translations are widely available. In fact, even today, years later, they continue to be an invaluable asset to both literature and human history. Chretien De Troyes works include four complete poems Ã¢â¬â Erec et Enide, Cliges, Yvain and Lancelot, and the fifth, last, unfinished one called Perceval, le Conte du Graal (Perceval, the story of the Grail). Erec is the tale of one of ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s knights, who after several trials finally understands his loved for his betrothed, Enide . Several other Arthurian knights including Kay, Lancelot and Gawain too are mentioned in the text. Ã¢â¬Å"The court of Arthur is filled with magnificent things and people, led by the fabulous Arthur himself. The knights pursue games of chance and test of strength; when theyÃ¢â¬â¢re not doing that, theyÃ¢â¬â¢re wooing women . Ã¢â¬ The next romance, Cliges too uses ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s magnificent court as its backdrop . Ã¢â¬ Both Cliges and Yvain have love triangles and adventure. Lancelot, though is almost all about a hero rescuing his lover, the beautiful Guinevere . And lastly, ChretienÃ¢â¬â¢s unfinished piece: Perceval, and the Holy Grail. Before studying the text of the work, it is important to understand the time it was written in. Little is known about Troyes life, but most believe he lived somewhere in the 1100Ã¢â¬â¢s. It is also known that he was in close association with his patroness Countess Marie de Champagne. This time has a great influence on the subjects and stories of his work, and other works of Arthurian Literature. The eleventh and twelfth centuries were a time of Ã¢â¬ËrenaisanceÃ¢â¬â¢ in Europe. Europe had been gripped in the Dark Ages for years, but this is when barbarism was slowly rooted out, to be replaced by missionaries and churches. Social activites too took a new turn. Several universities and centres were set up. In fact, towns were planned, with proper structure and organization. Culture also took a newe dimension altogether. This is when Arthurian literautre was born. With the concept of castles and romances, chivalry and battle, courtly love, stories were dramatized and preserved; written in the form of poems or essays. This is exactly why Arthurian literature deals with princes, knights, castles, adventure and battle. Similarly, Troyes work too reflects much of the world of the renaissance. Perceval is believed to be the first account of the Holy Grail; but Troyes died before completing the masterpiece. In quest for a complete poem, many attempted to write an ending to it. Of these, four versions are widely known, and accepted. The first continuation is called the Pseudo-Wauchier Continuation, the second is attributed to Wauchier de Danain, the third by Gerbert, and the fourth is ManessierÃ¢â¬â¢s continuation, the only one with a true ending. But despite the efforts to write continuations, the original incomplete version in itself has its own charm, aura, and mysteriousness. Perceval is the Grail knight or one of the Grail knights in numerous medieval and modern stories of the Grail quest . Ã¢â¬ Perceval is a bright and spirited young man brought up in the woods, by his mother. His mother raises him in the forest of Wales, away from civilization to protect him from the horrors of war and battle. One day, Perceval sees some knights in the woods. It is here that his interest in chilvalry and knighthood is aroused. His mother objects vehemently, fearing to lose him like her other sons, but Perceval insists, and heads out for King ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s court. The Holy Grail was the most sought after treasure. In fact, all of ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s knights were in quest of it. At ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s court, the kingÃ¢â¬â¢s senschal (steward) Sir Kay mocks him. A jester at the castle prophecizes that Perceval will be a great knight. Perceval rides away, and comes across another castle, where he decides to stay. Here he is trained under Gornemant. Gournemant teaches Perceval all the tactics and strategies of combat, and later, advises him not to be impolite or ask too many questions anywhere. Now Perceval leaves, looking for his mother. On his journey, he comes across yet another castle, where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Blancheflor. Blancheflor is GornemantÃ¢â¬â¢s niece, and her followers are weakened by hunger and famine. She tells Perceval of the intentions of Anguingueron, the seneschal of the evil knight Clamadeu of the Isles. He intends to attack them. Perceval, touched, commits himself to Blacheflor, and promises to help her. Perceval defeats Anguingueron and his men the next day. Clamadeu waits, hoping that eventually starvation would kill Blanchflor and her men, but luckily, a ship full of food arrives. Eventually, Clamadeu is forced to battle against Perceval; he begs for mercy after Perceval defeats him. Perceval sends both Anguingueron and Clamadeu to ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s court. At the court, Arthur and his wife learn of PercevalÃ¢â¬â¢s heroism and courage in battle. But Perceval has to continue on his journey. He has to find his mother. At a river, he comes across the Fisher King, who offers him lodging for a night. In the castle, Perceval sees the fisherman lying there already. Perceval witnesses a strange procession, in which odd and peculiar things are being carried from one chamber to another. A squire enters carrying a sword with engraved blade, another squire enters carrying a white lance on whose tip blood oozed and flowed down onto the squireÃ¢â¬â¢s hand. Perceval refrains from asking about this lance, recalling GornemantÃ¢â¬â¢s admonishment. More squires bring in candelabras. A maiden brings in a grail held in both hands [for Chretien, it is a serving dish], and the room becomes brightly illuminated [presumably because of the contents of the grail]. Another brings in a silver carving platter. The grail is made of gold and set with precious stones-it and the platter are carried to another chamber. Perceval fails to ask who is being served by the grail. They dine at an ivory table. The grail returns borne in the opposite direction. Later that night, the Fisher King excuses himself and has to be carried off to his bedroom, and Perceval again fails to ask what ails him. The next morning, Perceval discovers that the hall is deserted and everyone has left . Ã¢â¬ Outside the castle, he comes across a maiden. She tells him that had he asked about the grail, or the platter, it would have brought the king great relief, and may even have cured him. She also informs him that his mother is dead. Later that day, Perceval is warned against the Ã¢â¬Ëhaughty knight of the Heath. Ã¢â¬â¢ But he challenges him, and defeats him. The haughty knight and his maiden set out for ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s court. On their way, they come across King Arthur and his men, who are ironically looking for Perceval. But the king does not recognize Perceval by face. He releases the Ã¢â¬Ëhaughty knightÃ¢â¬â¢ from imprisonment, and hands him over to his nephew Gawain. Later, Perceval too is wandering around ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s camp. ArthurÃ¢â¬â¢s men find him asleep on a horse, but Perceval soon defeats them, including the arrogant Kay. The king asks Gawain to deal with the fiery Perceval, and not through combat. They soon become friends. But now Perceval is consumed by curiosity. He wants to know who was served by the grail and the silver platter, and why the lance bled. Here Chretien relates the tale of Gawain. Later, he continues with PercevalÃ¢â¬â¢s story. He has been wandering for years. He goes to see a hermit, and tells him of his wandering, and the grail. The hermit reminds him of how his mother died of sorrow, and that he was being made to repent her death. The hermit believes that the man served by the grail is PercevalÃ¢â¬â¢s uncle. Perceval agrees to repent for his sins. GawainÃ¢â¬â¢s tale again picks up from hereon. GawainÃ¢â¬â¢s story is in contrast to that of Perceval. Gawain is more professional, and less naive in battle. He also finds his long lost mother and grandmother, and his sister, about whom he had never known. The narrative breaks off shortly. Even though the story ends abruptly, one does arrive to the conclusion that Perceval is indeed, a good knight. Literally speaking, he has all the valous and heroism of a great warrior and an honorable knight. He is brilliant in battle, being able to defeat the best of warriors, fighting everyone and anyone who challenges him. But apart from the literal sense, Perceval continues to be one of the most famous and mysterious knights in medieval literature. The most important fact behind this is that many can, till today, relate to him. Throughout the text, we see him as confident and brave, but never evil. In a deeper, emtional sense, Perceval is not just a good knight. He is a good man. Many critics believe that Perceval, apart from being an Arthurian romance is also one of the earliest works on spirituality, and what we call Ã¢â¬Ëexistentialism. Ã¢â¬â¢ This is clearly evident from the ending of the original text. Perceval commits himself to spending a life similar to that of the hermit, in search of spirtual enlightenment and communion with God. ChretienÃ¢â¬â¢s writings and works are very popular. In fact, that can be estimated by looking at the number of languages his works have been translated into. In fact, it is not just the translations. ChretienÃ¢â¬â¢s works also provided inspiration and ideas to many fine works of literature. ChretienÃ¢â¬â¢s story was also the inspiration for one of the greatest romances of the Middle Ages, Wolfram von EschenbachÃ¢â¬â¢s Parzival (c. 1200-1210) . Ã¢â¬ Chretien has also been called the creator of the modern novel, and is believed to have reinvented the lost genre of narrative romance. Many of his works seem theatrical, as if they are meant to be performed on stage, rather than being read on paper. Perceval, like other works of Arthurian romances has the strong element of romance, drama and tragedy. Arthurian romances though were heavily dependent on one common theme Ã¢â¬â of battle. No Arthurian romance was complete without battle or warfare. The spirit and art of war, honor, courage, manhood, combat and duels were all cardinal to the stories. The male protagonists were brave men of honor. Another important aspect was the romance. All these themes of blended together created one of the most cherished style of literature called Ã¢â¬Ëmedieval literature. Ã¢â¬â¢ Even though Arthurian romance and literature was famous with the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Lais of Marie de France, but it was the work of Chretein De Troyes that brought the genre back into full swing. Medieval literature did suffer a setback, and was in the background for a considerable time, but was revived again especially after Lord TennysonÃ¢â¬â¢s poem IdyllÃ¢â¬â¢s of the King. These adventurous stories have formed the basis of innumerable books and movies. The reason again, remains that even centuries later, they continue to arouse our interest. We can still relate to the heroic characters, their strengths, their weaknesses and the general human condition, which has remain unchanged through centuries.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
The Conflict over Political and Natural Law In SophoclesÃ¢â¬â¢ tragedy Antigone there are many major political conflicts present. Some of these include the role of women in politics, claims of justice versus claims of the family, individualism versus patriotism, the state versus religion, and obligation to the versus the obligation to ones conscience among others. But the conflict I have chosen to examine is that of the law of the gods or natural law versus the law of humans or the political law. In order to do this I will be focusing on three sections of argument: what occurs in Antigone to prompt this conflict, how Plato would react to and resolve this conflict, and finally how I would evaluate this conflict and work to decipher whichÃ¢â¬ ¦show more contentÃ¢â¬ ¦His natural law was not based on what the gods had enlisted as the right and wrong but rather that there was an inherent truth about the world and pursuing it was of the most supreme priority of an effective leader, bec ause without being guided by this truth the leader would establish false political law and would falter eventually. That being said, Plato would react to this play by realizing that Creon had the right intentions, because he believed that what he was doing truly was the right thing to do, but he allowed his anger with Polyneices, due to him being a traitor and fighting Thebes, along with his immense pride about not wanting to be proved wrong by a women to cloud his reason. Plato would describe Creon as having a soul not fit to be the ruler of a just city because his appetitive and spirited parts supersede that of reason, which is by far most important to Plato. The only person Plato saw to be a fit ruler was a Ã¢â¬Å"Philosopher-king,Ã¢â¬ since he would understand the Ã¢â¬Å"GoodsÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"TruthsÃ¢â¬ of the world and would lead the city towards them. But this is only possible if the people are obedient; Plato shows this through his noble lie, where all the people ar e chosen to a specific role in society based on their characteristics and are forced stay in that role throughout their lives. So Plato would see that Creon was on the right track to getting their but since he was anShow MoreRelatedEssay on Antigone and Tragedy Archetypes and Art917 Words Ã |Ã 4 PagesAntigone as a heroic and tragic archetype must internally struggle with individuality and morality versus established rule and law and she can be seen as externally fighting between her sister as an outward display of her internal conflict. Antigone then is a unique archetype as a heroine and her power and powerlessness are defining to her as a woman in politics. Her sister, Ismene is portrayed as much weaker and can be said to be metaphorical in that individual morality is weak as compared to establishedRead MoreEssay on Comparing Positive and Natural Law1443 Words Ã |Ã 6 PagesPositive and Natural Law Ã¢â¬Å"Do what you believe is right.Ã¢â¬ This is a phrase common to us all, brought to our attention by parents, reinforced by teachers, and preached by leaders. But how does one define what is right? 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