Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Liberty Arcade

I've recently found a fun teaching tool: The Liberty Arcade. It was created by the IHS to teach social science principles. It includes "The Tragedy of the Bunnies" (Tragedy of the Commons); a comparative advantage game, and several others that I've yet to explore.

I think these could be very helpful in trying to explain otherwise boring concepts. Check them out!

(My students will be playing the comparative advantage game this week.)

I like their comparative advantage game. I hesitate to mention Settlers of Catan (again), but maybe just ask if any of them have ever played it and whether they noticed any real-world principles at work in it. Suggest that the "robber" might more appropriately be named "the government."

Found a copy of Hayek's Road to Serfdom, readers digest edition on line yesterday, with the cartoon. I've already given away one copy, and intend to print more.
Sorry, you'll have to explain yourself. I am unfamiliar with Settlers or Catan.
Settlers is a board game set on hexagonal tiles (cf. Central Plane Theory). The way to wealth (and winning) is trade. There are various resources, and various abilities to develop them. (economies of scale) There is the aforementioned robber, who taxes all, but disproportionately the rich, and enforces redistribution of wealth. It is possible to develop comparative advantages and trade for what you want, or one can try to be self-sufficient (losers). Another road to wealth is through government favors, (Development Cards) which include Soldiers, Monopolies, gifts, and transportation franchises. The more players the more fun, because the trade is more dynamic.
Its simple, my 5 year old plays and wins, but its useful for those who have no inkling of economic principles, and I enjoy drawing inferences from it.
In the same vein, here is a game that teaches folks about the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade.

click here to play
Wiki on the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade: "Prices of goods are ultimately determined by the prices of their inputs." Is this statement true? If not, does the whole H-O model fall under its presumptions? The game is fun though, and relatively similar to the liberty arcade one.
I can tell you that H-O does not hold up. It's in the history section of international trade theory, which is a confused field in the first place. Take ECG 748 if you don't believe me.
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