and public policy
floors and ceilings
This workshop explores the role of government in a market economy.
The classroom activities emphasize that government protects property
rights, corrects market failures, provides for pure public goods,
and provides other goods and services. They also show how some government
policies can have unintended consequences.
Kendra Cheese's 9th grade
honors class at Lakewood Senior High School in Lakewood, Colorado,
learns how the protection of property rights conserves and develops
Steve Reich's class at Valhalla
High School in Valhalla, New York, uses the Corny Fuel Mystery to
learn about public choice policy.
At Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida, Heather
Anderson's class explores how surpluses and shortages are
often the unintended consequences of price floors and price ceilings.
Dee Mecham and his class
at Kamehameha High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, demonstrate how price
controls can have negative, unintended consequences.
"I was trying to introduce the concept of
property rights and the fact that if people own something they take
very good care of it 99% of the time. Is there some way that we can
introduce the world to this concept: that if we have individual ownership
of things then we might be able to preserve our environment better
than we can with laws and courts? When I asked them [the students]
to apply that principle to a new situation the problem arises, they'll
look immediately to government, 'we'll pass more laws and everything
will be just dandy.' Yet they know that things don't work necessarily
with more laws … So the ultimate goal is that they can start thinking
outside of what they have over the last several years: that government,
by passing laws, can correct all problems."