Essay about Economic Exchange Journal

Submitted By juliawong88
Words: 941
Pages: 4

Economic Exchange of a student from 8/6-8/2013 My three-day economic exchange journal has invoked self-reflection as to what I define as my personal economic activity and how I go about classifying specific expenses. Aside from the typical cash/credit exchanges, a major nonmonetary payment for me involves the investment of time. Though free-time is considered by Marshall Sahlins (The Original Affluent Society) to be a form of wealth, the reality for most Americans (myself included) is that "time is money". The more time I allot towards non-income producing activities, the less potential I have to earn money. However, I do see a potential for "return" on certain time "investments" which I have also taken into account. Two examples of this would be towards my health and education. I categorize working-out as a short-term loss of time spent earning income and the price of a gym membership, yet a long-term yield in maintaining physical and mental health. The cost of healthcare and insurance is expensive and by maintaining my fitness, I am hoping to avoid obesity related healthcare costs in my future. This preventative effort includes (but is not limited to) diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances, cognitive decline, and cancers. Additionally, having a healthy physical profile helps to keep my cost of insurance premiums at the low end of the spectrum. I also consider education to be a short-term expense of both time and money, but again an investment towards future yield in the career-path I am pursuing which is medicine. I consider extra study time also an investment towards gaining the grades and knowledge needed towards my future career. Essentially I am internally redistributing my time to provide across different types of wealth: monetary, intellectual, and health. Aside from my "investments" I do need to supplement my day-to-day expenses of wants and needs with my job in a research lab. Because my research is related to my career goals, I also consider it an investment towards experience within the medical field. Typically I fulfill my wants and needs through market exchange. Satisfying my wants and needs seem to be interrelated, my wants can develop from needs and vice versa. I have a health need in correcting my eyesight but also a want for an extra set of eyeglasses. My want for a pet produced needs for my pet, which is why I bought my dog the heartworm medication. I'm not sure whether to classify my mouse-trap purchase as a need or a want. I'm leaning towards considering it a need though because even though I may want to get rid of the pests, they are a disease carrying health-risk to my living conditions. Unfortunately a major need, subsistence was not well represented in my three-day journal besides my Qdoba lunch because I had already shopped for and prepared my meals earlier. Of the three forms of exchange discussed in class, I feel that I am participating in reciprocity the least. The only time I participated in that was when I helped a friend who locked his keys in his car. I picked him up, drove him to his apartment to get a spare and drove him back to his car. Perhaps one day I can depend on him to return the favor if I am ever in a "jam." This makes me realize that friendship is a major source of reciprocity exchange. Therefore having friends does provide a form of social wealth that can be measured through reciprocity ranging from favors to emotional support. If I could improve on my distribution of economic exchange, I'd like to include more time for leisure (because I do agree with Sahlins' argument of affluence) and also social wealth in the form of friendship or kinship.

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