Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that Economics has played a role in my life for much longer than I had known. My earliest recollection regarding the subject dates back to when my family bought a small business in the heart of the North Carolina countryside. It was the biggest gas station and grocery store in the tri-county area and people came from far and wide to get their everyday goods. My parents purchased the store-station hybrid in the summer of 2004; they’d been harping about it being a good time to buy considering the state of the economy. Little did I know that this word that sounded like a grotesque surgical procedure to me at the time, was in fact what shaped my family’s financial future, the course of my life, and thus far the shape of our society.
Things started out well and I flew from California to the East Coast to be with my father.
During the long hours at the store my father taught me the basics of running a business. My father told me people who bought sofas and tractors far away indirectly helped run our store. A confusing concept at the time, I mulled it over to no avail. He explained to me that the customers of our store were paid by the local factories in which they were employed. The local factories manufactured textiles and tractor parts to be sold to furniture and tractor companies across the world. Those companies in turn produced sofas and tractors to be bought by their customers, meaning, if those companies did well and tractors and sofas were bought our store would also do well.
The understanding of my first economic concept was an astounding revelation to me. People who never even knew of our store were the ones who kept things running smoothly. As the summer went on, my father taught me much more in regards to running the store. Already acquainted with the basics of supply and demand, I began developing a shrewd sense of what we would buy to sell, how much we would buy to sell, and how much we would sell it for. My father taught me that it was imperative that the store have strong leadership, or else no matter how well the economy was doing, things would fall apart. He compared our store to a farm. The crops of a farm were analogous to the goods in our store. The weather on the farm was the economy. When the weather was good, a bountiful harvest would ensue. My father stressed that we were the farmers and no matter how good the weather may be, a bad farmer would not be able to yield a strong harvest. This form of decisions in respect to the economy really garnered my attention and fostered interest.
I learned a lot during those longs hours at the store with my father. The seeds for a passion for economics were planted in my mind that summer. Those seeds didn’t take root until the latter half of my senior year in high school when I was exposed to economics once again. The memories of managing the store with my father and being mindful of the economy all rushed back as I was introduced to more concepts of a subject which seems to have infinite possibilities.
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