Why the Yuan works for China, but won’t work for (Insert 3WC here)

 

money-938269_1920

I was asked once, could the Chinese Yuan work for some third world country in Africa. I immediately thought about it, and listed off a reel of reasons, nowhere close to the list of official reasons that I have seen, why the currency would not work. However, I felt they were valid thought points that did not seem to be considered.

China has created an amalgamation of socialism and capitalism that would make Marx proud. I believe Marx stated communism was the evolution of the current capitalist system (Wallerstein, 1974: 387) (something I feel has often been missed in the drive to convert the world). However, China is large enough to be a self-contained market, and impose the socialist ideals within, while productive enough to demand capitalistically any shortfall from the global market. This is where the value of the current Yuan system comes into play.

As it stands, the Yuan is soft-pegged to the dollar, at an undervalued rate. The best way of describing this is that the Yuan that is shown to the outside world as cheaper than the Yuan that is used in China. A very simplistic way of looking at it would be the following (fake) example:

China sends out one Internal Yuan (IY), to buy coal worth 0.8IY on the global market. One Yuan is traded.

This coal powers a plant that produces (with other inputs; and China’s notorious cheap labour) a good that is worth 3IY.

This good is then sold on the market for 3 Yuan, valued at 2.4IY.

As long as this Chinese firm/government is ensuring that there is a profit on this good in terms of IY, there creates opportunity for growth (Boy, has there been growth).

open-pit-mining-3554216_1920

This sounds ludicrous, and extremely un-capitalistic, until a very special point is raised. China predominantly imports raw materials. Raw materials are notorious for being cheap, and are being sourced famously from Africa (where China is doing something very interesting with their labour pool, a later blog). These raw materials are then transformed via the secondary sector into something fantastic, and sent out into the world at a much higher price.

Through this, the government has managed to create a socialist country with a capitalist face. This is entirely due to China’s productivity, fear of authority, and ability somehow to control the population absolutely (the new social credit system seemingly enforcing this point). China is enabled as a capitalist trade partner due to their willingness to trade and interact with the world in the more-capitalist-than-not global economy. What is equally important is that China is able to do this on a massive scale due to their cheap cost of labour, and extensive labour pool.

socialism-152783_1280

However, in the case of the mythical third-world country considering the acceptance of the yuan, the reverse interaction would occur. They would pay more for imports, as does China, except unlike China, they are importing the very finished goods that are more expensive, while exporting raw materials traditionally. The export of Yuan-priced raw materials discounts these goods on the global market to all but others who use the Yuan, and similarly increase the price of imports from China, as the ‘discount’ placed would no longer apply.

This sounds like a great arrangement for the People’s Republic of China! The trade partner, however, would suffer from the negative effects of adopting the Yuan, the increased cost of importing from China, as well as the discount on the currency in the global market, hurting their ability to trade with anyone else.

I hope I have made this thought more accessible than talking the very real and relevant central bank concerns. Leave any thoughts or requests below.

Reference: Wallerstein, I, 1974. The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol 16, Issue 4, Pages 387 – 415

Seen at: http://bev.berkeley.edu/ipe/readings/Wallerstein.pdf

Images Free Use from Pixabay.

Disclaimer:
I have many thoughts and they are based on experience, my knowledge of economics, and discussions I have with my friends and peers, who are very educated people with a lot of experience in their fields. I will not say all the world problems are solved over a bottle of brandy, but at the same time, I definitely think some interesting thoughts arise, sadly without Harvard Referencing. I do not claim these as original, unique ideas; however, I do claim them due to research over the years in politics, philosophy and economics, brewing in the cauldron of my thoughts. As such, they will not be referenced, as they have been distilled through informal discussions, life experience, and my own personal understanding, unless they are referring specifically to any recent news piece or article.

ONL 172 Topic 5

And so we come to the end of the course. It has been quite a journey. I never saw myself leading a group, let alone organizing meetings, sharing work and eagerly participating in discussions that boiled down to how much we all don’t know about a subject. It was so much fun.

There are so many ways I could end this off, but I think how my group has decided to do it is probably the best. Breaking it down into my experiences with the group (how can I not?), the content, and how I will (and need!) to adapt my teaching style forward.

First (and maybe the best part) is having to meet and interact with the people in PBL Group 6. What a diverse set of characters, from serious to fun to eager to learn. And I don’t mean ranging between people. Everyone in the group was this. Getting it done when it needed to be, making jokes, always smiling, and such a pleasure to work with and learn with. I will definitely miss the weekly meetings, and was really sad to say goodbye to everyone in our last meeting this week. The facilitators definitely stepped up. Jo almost always had a friendly smile, and was always eager to share any good ideas for apps when the group almost got bogged down deciding. She just had to hear what we were thinking and one came to her mind immediately. Such a pleasure to work with.

In terms of the content, I definitely feel I have jumped ahead months of trial and error in terms of the teaching techniques I would be using with my students. Where before I was thinking I would have to slowly get them (and myself!) used to online, I understand now its not the pace you adapt, but the methods you use to adapt that is really important. I am definitely looking forward to leaving them some adapted interactive apps to work through, and hope that they take the time to engage with it properly – to reward themselves for choosing to learn.

The internet is such a broad place to source information from, and I am also more comfortable in searching, and more importantly knowing how and what to search, for information. I can’t pinpoint exactly how I will be moving forward, outside of some interactive presentations (for sure) where questions can be answered within children slides (in a far more entertaining method than mere slides!). I need also research how those who have gone before have resolved this challenge. I am looking forward to it, when the time comes 🙂

There is no next time.

Good bye all

Ryan

 

ONL 172 Topic 4

This topic was almost overwhelming. There is so much information on lesson design in any space, and the online is no exception. Trying to wrap my head around how the presentation needs to change from offline to online, in a way that encourages collaboration, participation and engagement from the students left me with a headache or two. Even trying to think on how to approach this blog is daunting in of itself.

My engagement with the content showed that matching classroom environments with correct content presentation is of paramount importance. Keeping this vague (as my more precise approaches for the two I have taught, and the ways I want to try are in the group work) being aware of who the students are is increasingly more important in the modern world.

With all that has come before, if you mismatch student interests with content presentation, you are at high risk of leaving the students uninterested, and merely visiting the space, instead of wanting to engage, and make it their own (much like my brief excursions into VBA when the need arises). Further than that, communicating with students and interacting with them in a space they prefer (email vs twitter vs discord vs whatsapp) can also lead to significant swings in student engagement levels.

I have started on this road, critically reflecting on how I present to my students, and how to increase their activity outside of the classroom, however I still need to take the next step and engage with them more online, as well as present my content correctly. Finding the correct way for each class is my challenge going forward, and I look forward to it :).

Sadly, this blog is a bit shorter than the rest, but I must be off to a birthday lunch. Will try edit in some more when/if something else comes to mind.

The group was really accommodating of my confusion with the topic, and I feel I ended up contributing something useful, I discussed the some ways that I want to try engage with my students in the online space in the future, based off what I have heard works, and what I want to try next for both Statistics (which I currently lecture) and Economics (my major).

 

Till next time

Ryan

References:

It was another prezi-tation, found at: https://prezi.com/view/HjQdi6ee6mC1WMwihRIq/

ONL 172 Topic 3

So this topic was fairly cool. Loved getting into it, as it delved into many things I have experienced, heard of, and even feared about online collaboration.

I have had a non-entirely-unearned fear of group-work back from my uni days, where I must admit I was burnt fairly badly in one of my courses. I also have an awareness of the negative sides of social media, from many stories I have come across over the years (some I even managed to discuss under the “Risk” categories of this week’s presentation on Padlet.

I am aware of the differences between work division and work collaboration, but this week really brought those to the front, showing how much easier it can be, when properly managed, to have a good discussion with your peers on any subject matter. It also brought up how confusing some social media interactions can be when people are not entirely sure what is happening (as an outsider) or when there is little control over who replies when. I understand the online space enables a wonderful environment for fast paced interaction on a global level; but sometimes that can be a bit confusing when everyone talks at once ;).

I enjoyed this topic as it allowed me to research some “urban legends” I guess I have held in the back of my mind regarding social media. It was a great experience to actually put some of them to rest, and really analyse my digital footprint, as well as plan and structure how I want to go forward with it.

The topic also helped me to realize that just because everyone is working on a project, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is good collaboration (Henry Ford’s production line comes to mind. Every person does their part, and only their part). Which means that the challenge comes in even before any work has started: How do you keep people engaged and wanting to communicate with each other? This is especially a problem when you start to encounter people like my former self, with a healthy hesitance to engage in the group part of group-work 😀

I wont say that I have an answer to this question just yet, as I am almost convinced there is a healthy contribution from group demographics and preferences as well; but it is definitely something I will be considering in the near future with my classes coming up next year :).

Till next time

Ryan

References:

For the group work, I researched the risks of online engagement (references in the Padlet) and enjoyed reading and learning about the Deep learning Malin was talking about (as can be seen above, I definitely have some work to do on that, and look forward to it too 😀 )

Padlet: https://padlet.com/cki2/i1msbkihh3rn

 

ONL 172 Topic 2

Hi again

It is time for the Topic 2 write up, and from leader to contributor is quite a big jump. I must admit, I didn’t quite expect to put my feet up and relax with popcorn and coke, but it was still very interesting to listen to Per discuss and put forward his ideas on how and where he wanted us to go. The group seems to be on board with unpacking, rather than explaining, the topic, which is really awesome.

I have always been someone who wants to know why the world works that way, rather than this is “how” it works. For topic two we chose the second topic of discussing the Massively Open Online Courses (I must admit, the first topic did absolutely nothing to gain my attention. Sara Mortsell even touched on that shortly with how even architects can have rights to photo’s you’ve taken of your own house! Also, everything on the internet can and will be taken out of context, given enough time. I’m more certain of that than the monkeys and Shakespeare 😛 )

With the MOOC (this time using Coggle (link below)) we identified the major branches required for structuring a MOOC. The Challenges, Opportunities, the Technological Aspects, the Student Perspectives, and probably most importantly for someone like myself, the Pedagogical changes/adaptions required to engage with students in the online space.

To explain every aspect of every branch in the coggle would definitely be too much, and thankfully we decided to expand special branches, the ones that really inspired us (Group 6) to really learn, as opposed to visit ;), what it means to involve ourselves in a MOOC.

I went deeper into my field of interest and I found some lovely papers discussing how the approach of teachers in the online space needs (or doesn’t need – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it) to change. On the one hand, I did find it interesting, and of use, to realise that sometimes a shorter video on a point of a concept can do more for a student than a longer one fully unpacking that concept itself, even if it is something as substantially linked as some of the statistical concepts I have to unpack in class. I guess I need to adapt my thinking to how a computer program works. The code to execute a function can be quite short, as each variable and output can be handled seperately, where the main function just calls them. This is definitely something I will be keeping in mind in the future.

The other trick is to make sure that students engage with the content when completing assignments. Being able to answer a question does little if no learning or understanding has occurred. This is something I do not have the answer to yet, but something I will be looking out for as I dwell on my time in this course.

Till next time

Ryan

References:

The coggle can be found here:  https://coggle.it/diagram/Wedow3iayQABWHGt/be64470a8b537a3dccd4914ac45ef206df93c8d4ea944de048990c73a2b74e83

I found a few interesting papers to read during the topic as well

Hansch, A., Newman, C., Hillers, L., Schildhauer, T., McConachie, K., Schmidt, P., 2015. Video and Online Learning: Critical Reflections and Findings from the Field. Alexnader von Humboldt Institut fur Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin.
Accessed Online

Cole, A.W., Timmerman,.C.E., 2015. What do current college students think about MOOCs. MERLOT Journal of Online Learnign and Teaching, Vol 11 No 2 June 2015. Accessed online.

Chen Zhenghao, Brandon Alcorn, Gayle Christensen, Nicholas Eriksson, Daphne Koller, Ezekiel J. Emanuel: “Who’s Benefiting from MOOCs, and Why”, Harvard Business Review (2015). September 22.
https://hbr.org/2015/09/whos-benefiting-from-moocs-and-why

Hibbert, M. 2014. “What makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling”. Educause Review. Seen: October 2017, At: https://www.educause.edu/

This paper was of great interest for a non-academic reason, as my mother’s maiden name is Hibbert, and my sister’s name is Melanie 😀

 

ONL 172 Topic 1

Hi all

I must admit, I haven’t managed to keep up with posting these blogs as much as I was imagining them, editing them, and I suppose keeping them in a safe place in case they were lost. Unfortunately, as this is an online course, about becoming more comfortable with the online space, hiding them away from the world doesn’t quite serve the purpose of having them written.

The first topic was a great one for me as it opened my eyes to a problem I am currently having with my students. Often I was finding them able to follow the discussions in class, and even perform the necessary actions under supervision, but unable to follow through on their own, or even in a test environment. I realised there is a link between how information was gained before the internet, and how the internet has changed research techniques, even for something as inane as general knowledge.

Before the internet, you had to be an active participant to gain information. You had to search for something in a library, attend a course, engage in conversation, and so many more activities. After the internet, Google has all the answers. Information is a sentence and a few clicks away. Which is not a bad thing, but it does make one (even myself!) lazy in how to store this information. It’s much easier to become like a tourist and cramming a few key words and phrases into the short-term memory (or bookmarking a few pages) instead of learning and remembering how things work. While this is a great approach for the internet; it is a bit lackluster for day-to-day studying and learning.

The real trick, that I am hoping this course helps me with in terms of my future career in education, is how to assist the students who are more prone to “tour” a subject realize they want to immigrate, and own the ‘culture’.

It was amazing being able to lead the first topic in group 6, especially as I was having these ideas early on, and have  a wonderful and competent group to work with. I decided that a presentation app would be the best way forward, and after checking that the group was happy with this, went off to search the world wide web for some suitable choices. I managed to find a good few, but my heart was stolen by Prezi (and I have even used it to update my CV!) and its ability to ‘inflict’ (or I suppose hide) just the write amount of information on those who are wanting.

The group came together wonderfully, and we managed to get a presentation out the ONL 172 group on time. Prezi did everthing I hoped it to, and I can definitely say that after the first topic this course was shaping up to be something I would never regret doing 🙂

Till next time (i.e. later today xD)

Ryan

References:

This won’t be a full on reference list, but rather just the place for some extra information that was used.

The links on the ONL 172 website did enough to get the old noggin turning over, with David White definitely setting the scene for this topic.

The “prez”antation is found here: https://prezi.com/view/P53D6guVMvjnMVznpUmx/

For the most part, the group decided to go with a more narrow approach, and we came up with Studenthood, Barriers to Digital Literacy, and What is Digital Literacy. We decided to narrow down the topic to a more focused discussion on these 3 points.

Halfway into Topic 1 and…

Hey everyone

So ONL 172 has started full force, and I somehow managed to end up the sole leader for Topic 1. It definitely sounded the coolest topic to choose, and was the one I wanted; but I do somewhat think that maybe it was uncontested for a reason. As it turns out, I am somewhat battling to find time to fit everything in! With work, work, studies and other commitments, this fortnight is a killer. Then again, there is never a good time to get things down, and procrastination is definitely a thing.

This last week has been interesting . Thankfully the ONL website has some really cool links I’ve been paying attention to, and the team seems to be on board. I will definitely do a more detailed blog (with all the juicy references) for the end of the topic. For now, don’t want to give too much away. But I know I am enjoying just thinking about what constitutes Tech natives, and tech visitors, and how I can tie it into the presentation (or am I just saying that 😉 )

The group (PBL 6) seems like a great group of very smart people, who are not shying away from what they think they need to do, and and what needs to be done. The meetings have gone well, and the 2nd one for the group (led and organised by the hapless leader) should go smoothly :). I must admit, not being too sure of what online program to use. emaze looked really cool, as does PowerPoint. But PowerPoint almost makes me think I’m dodging the point of this. If I’m not breaking new ground and getting out of my comfort zone, there is little chance I’ll be able to relate to the next, or even this, generation in the confusing world of ever-changing tech.

I have tried to use various quiz apps for the students I lecture, with varying degrees of success, more often than not being a victim of slow internet. But the students have enjoyed them when I managed to get it going, and worked hard to prepare. We even ran a Kahoot competition for the one course; where I ended up seeing faces I hadn’t seen since the start of the term! The reaction to some of my other attempts have been equally positive; and the real challenge has moved away from doubting the usefulness of tech in the classroom, to finding ones that suit what I am looking to do!

Although, all that said, the biggest problem I have with learning tech, is forgetting to write down my password for all the accounts :’).

My Journey into the busy world of Richar…. Online Learning

Hi all

So this will be detailing my interaction with Online Learning, as I learn more about it (online no less), figure out the in’s and out’s, and try my best to put my own unique twist into the learning experience.

How exactly I will be doing that? Well, if you know, drop a line, otherwise I’ll definitely make it happen as I go along. Blog’s don’t write themselves afterall :).

Definitely looking forward to the experience, thankfully the teachers (of the teachers) know what is potting, and this will definitely be an adventure to remember in the years to come.

For now, that is all, and I’ll be back with a much longer blog (and more after that too) when topics are assigned.

See you all then