Are We being cheated ?

Chris is an excellent IT manager of a big foreign company in Software Industry. He is tall, quite thin and looks very smart and intellectual with shiny hair and fashion glasses. Once day, he decided to improve his computer and went to IBM shop to buy a new printer. At IBM shop, X was attracted by a modern printer called “Laser Writer E” but it costs 1000$ and seems quite expensive. After a long time bargaining, they found it difficult to reach an agreement. Suddenly, the seller came across an idea. He took a tool-kit and began to open the printer. Then, he attached a chip which made the printer work more slowly and sold it for Chris at 500$. “You are lucky Chris! With a chip, the printer must be more expensive but I just sell at half price” said the seller. Chris happily went home with a thought that he had a good bargain!!!

How do you think about Chris in this story? To be honest, he is not intelligent as his appearance or even he is stupid ^_^ However, before laughing at Chris, all of us should ask ourselves: ”Are we deceived like Chris?”Ironically, we are because we are living in a postmodern society which is preoccupied by the power of consumer goods, information and media images. Our perceptions are shaped and consequently, restricted to what we hear from others( marketing staffs, sellers or even scientists), what we see in television( news, advertisement ,social issues) and  what we feel about ourselves ( smart buyers ? knowledgeable students ? environment supporters? ) As a result, which we absolutely believe in might be wrong. In the outside world, there are thousands of plots going behind you (obviously, there is a camouflage of the printer which has cheated Chris). So, Be careful! Today, the smartest could be the dullest.

Through the story of Chris, all you guys would come in mind with a question:” How are we deceived and in what ways and what fields?” The most popular and powerful tools used here is the mass media. This might be a television program, a radio talk show, a newspaper or just a fascinating poster you catch on the street.  Our next step is to together delve in and discover the advertising technology, UFO catching announcement and global warming issue. So, try to keep on .But if you think these problems are not related, you are wrong again! ^_^

What do the posters not tell you?

Firstly, we would look at the advertising technology .Remembering that every day when we walk on the pavement to the workplaces or shops, we easily see a very big poster with the image of perfectly beautiful women. Her beauty goes beyond what we can ever imagine. All of other girls who catch this image would admire and wish to possess such an attractive appearance. To be honest, when I (as a man) saw this poster I thought that:”Oh! She is an angel! Why is she not my wife? ^_^”However, our perceptions have been cheated in this case .With the aid of make-up technology and computer software such as Photoshop, an usual girl (sometimes even ugly) has become the beautiful model . The clip below would show to do this (Interestingly, this video is about a man!)

So, please tell me what you think about this clip. The man in the in the poster seems to be Jack Effron – the famous character of the film “High school musical” and the idol of many teenage girls!

Are you a smart Television Viewer?

In the second place, we would find out why the shocking and strange things are very popular today, especially on the television. I would like to take UFO (unidentified flying objects) as an example .One of the most interesting distinction of human is that the more enigmatic things we confront, the more we try to decode it. As a result, whether we believe in the existence of UFO or not, we are always attracted by the news and videos about the appearance of UFO. The UK department of defense has estimated that there are 231 cases of seeing aliens or UFO just in the first 6 months in2009. This figure exceeds the statistics of 285 cases in the whole year 2008, 135 cases in 2007 and only 97 cases in 2006. Ridiculously, some people are so affirmative that they had been kidnapped and sexual abused by the aliens! However, let’s look at the historical record of UFO. The modern era of UFO’s began one sunny day on June 24th, 1947, when Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot flying his small airplane near Mt Rainer in Washington State observed several objects in the sky that he later described as looking like “saucers skipping across water”. After that, the term “Flying saucers” are flooding in American newspapers.

(New Jersey-US 7/1952)

(New York –US 1966)

(Rode Island-US 1967)

Following this incidence, US motion picture industry experience a boom of film about UFO, alien. Some famous films are “Star War” , ”Startrek” ,” Alien”… This trend accidentally shapes our perception and belief of these strangers coming from faraway planets. Gradually, we fall in the trap of fraudulent newspaper editor, TV program producers or just those who want to be well-known. They has been exploiting our belief to accomplish their own commercial benefits by making a fuss about UFO or even creating fake evidences to cheat us –unfortunately, the naive audiences. So far, all of you would have a question:”How is this happening?” Let’s focus on the video and discover whether it is a fallacy or not.

My advice is “Do not believe anything until you can see it in reality and touch it” (of course, if UFO is real, touching the aliens might be dangerous for all of us! )^_^

The fake global warming

In these two above section, it is clear that the Television editors and poster makers are liar. But I am sure that some of you guys would think that these tricks seem to be familiar and are not surprising because you have heard a lot about the deception of media. However, have you ever had doubts on the environmental issues like the global warming? Is the global warming overestimated?

In reality, the global warming is not as serious as we thought. It is made fuss by the media, politicians and even environmentalists for their own purposes. When the global warming goes into each conversations, debates or conversations; it usually accompanies with the image of the melting ice cap in two pole and Greenland, the flooded Venice (Italia) and Bahamas, the greenhouse effect and the destruction of ozone layer. “If the average temperature rise more 2 degree, the earth would be flooded” has become a common statement. Ironically, we are convinced in the global warming because these fake evidences are impressive and powerful enough to scare us. But, it’s time to get rid of the pessimism. These are some reasons why global warming is just the man-made rather than the natural phenomena.

1. In the past century, we have recorded more snow storm than ever before.

2. Seventh grade physics shows that CO2’s molecular weight makes it very heavy. It can’t rise high enough to cause the greenhouse effect.

Yes, there is a greenhouse effect, but it’s mostly caused by water vapour! H2O is much lighter than CO2.

3. College freshman statistics will show you that the error rate in temperature samples used is greater than the claimed temperature rise.

4. Glaciers in Greenland have recently been shown to be getting thicker, not thinner. Same with Antarctic ice, which is never mentioned by warming alarmists.

5. Stories of polar bears declining are lies, according to US government’s own figures.

6. CO2 is plant food! When the earth was young, there was very little free oxygen. It was poisonous to the few life forms here (primitive bacteria and plants). It increased to today’s levels partly as exhaust from plants and partly from a few comets “visiting.”

7. Why is it that the big scares always mean big profits for companies connected to governments. E.g. GE owns NBC, which is scaring us. But GE makes big dollars from sales of generators, nuclear, windmills, and solar panels to governments.

8. Those who want US to completely change our lives are immune. How about Al Gore making his millions – driving his SUVs, owning several energy-inefficient HOMES… He tells us to stop using gas, while he is private-jetting around to give big money speeches?

9. About 7 years ago, the US government-connected scientists and insiders were trying to scare us with the coming ice age!

10. Volcanoes and the ocean are by FAR larger sources of CO2 and other “greenhouse” gases. Many, many, many multiples of the amounts we exhaust.

11/NASA was actually caught faking “warming” data. They simply copied September temperatures and submitted the same figures for October. They then claimed October was the hottest it’s been in decades.

12/For the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 30.5°F (-0.83°C) for January, which was 0.3°F (0.2°C) below the 20th century mean and the 49th coolest January on record, based on preliminary data.

Pennsylvania Puzzle Picture: Find Al Gore.

1 hour snowfall in Pennsylvania.

(the information and pictures are from written by)

It is not to say that we have the right to continue emitting the polluted chemical into the air and overuse the fossil fuels. However, we should be aware of which is the real problems we are coping with today. Instead of wasting billion dollars in global warming funds or appealing to reduce the industrialized growth, the governments should allocate money in practical plans to improve the standard of living for the poor. They need vehicles to transport, refrigerators to keep food and a fast-developing economy to give them products rather than solar panels and windmills which are so expensive to be applied.

Are you a victim or an accomplice of cheating plots of the supermarkets?

In this section, I would mention some information related to microeconomics all you guys have just studied in IU university. We know that the economists use the term “Price Elasticity of Demand” to refer the responsiveness of the buyers to a change in the price of good. It is computed as the percentage change in quantity demanded divided by the percentage change in price. This means if the price elasticity of demand is high, the buyers would reduce the consumption of that good dramatically when the price increases. But the most interesting outcome this calculation tells the sellers is that when the price of elasticity of demand is low, an increase in the price leads to a decrease in quantity demanded that is proportional smaller. So the total revenue = the quantity X the price would increases.

As a result, all the sellers in the market of inelastic good such as food, rice, water would increase the price when they plan to get more money. Of course, because we are buyer, we don’t like the price increase so we never tell the buyers which good has the low price elasticity of demand among thousand ones in the supermarkets. However, the supermarkets have ways to discover this matter. More surprisingly, we (the buyers) are a part of their plans and we are helping the supermarkets cheat us!!! But, how are they doing this?

The supermarkets usually get evidence what you are willing to pay by giving us the “Discount vouchers”. Actually, you are very happy when receiving the discount cards and you flock into the supermarkets to buy goods. However, in return for getting the lower price on certain items, you allow the stores to keep records of what you buy and how you react to the change in the price. You are attracted by the very small benefits (because you never receive highly valuable vouchers) but you accidentally forget the overall and long-term benefits(because the sellers would base on the your information to adjust the price to get their additional profits which must be your loss).If you go to supermarkets in your hometown , you should notice that the price of the same good in two supermarket is slightly different. For example, the orange juice in Coop-mart might be more expensive than Big C but the apple juice in Big C is cheaper. It is because orange juice is the favorite drink of Coop-mart‘s customers( according to the information Coop-mart collected), so buyers will purchase a lot of orange juice no matter how the price change. So the Coop-mart considers orange juice as an inelastic good and they increase the price to get more profit. Then those goods will be put in the most attracting, convenient and touchable places (in the middle, in frontline) on the selves, so the buyers are more likely to purchase it. Overall, we put ourselves in the price trap of the supermarkets.

Not only the traditional retailer like supermarkets but also the on-line retailers like use the price trap. It has been a scandal that the Amazon can identify each customer by putting a tracing advice called “cookie” on his computer. Amazon used to tailor their prices based on their records of individual customers. As a result, two readers buying the same book would be offered different price based on tendencies in previous purchases.

How could the story of Chris be true?

The most astounding trick is found in the world of computer. It is well-acclaimed that IBM is a giant in the Computer Industry. It has prestige and reputation with high-quality computers and technological advices. However, not many people have ever heard about the price strategies of IBM. In reality, IBM designed and mass-produced one type of printers but sold them with different prices. Of course, IBM made difference by slowing down the cheaper printers. This method seems to be very wasteful at the first glance. However, the cost is much less expensive than inventing a new kind of printer! We can list many manufacturers in the computer industry employing the same method. They are Intel with their chips and other software companies in Silicon Valley.

Therefore, the real cost of producing a new version product is actually less expensive than the old version!!!

PS: In this writing, I had shared with you some ways how we are being tricked in all fields of life. Although, they are just a small part of fallacies we catch, they might help you to see the world which we are living in with different perspectives. Let’s remember that everything we firmly believe in may be wrong. Let’s try to use our sociological imagination when evaluating each incidence, we would find more astounding and interesting things in life. I also recommend all you guys some of my favorite books which would reverse your perception of the world. They are “Outliers”, “The Blinks” (Malcolm Gladwell); “The Undercover Economist” (Tim Hartford) and “Freakonomics” ( Steven Levitt).Let’s try reading and discussing together. Everybody who have the same experience, please contact me. I think we would have interesting conversation about this. ^-^


Book: ” The undercover economist”


One response to “Are We being cheated ?

  1. Le Phuoc Trung


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