The rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing has made it easier than ever before for people to find out their genotype. When coupled with affordable prices (around £150), it comes as no surprise that popularity has soared over recent years. Companies which are innovative have especially thrived. In the case of Pathway Genomics, advances in medicine have been merged with artificial intelligence to provide precise results. Another factor of this substantial growth is the increase in savvy consumers aiming to maximise utility from health insurance plans. However, we must question if it really is the consumers who benefit, or rather the insurance providers.
Poverty can be defined in absolute or relative terms. Absolute poverty refers to individuals not having the sufficient resources to meet basic needs to survive, whereas relative poverty defines poverty in relation to the economic status of other members of society. During my World Challenge expedition to Malaysia, I could witness first-hand the impact of poverty on individuals that were living under $1.90 a day (the World Bank set the new global poverty line at $1.90 using 2011 prices). At the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines in Malaysia, poverty rates had fallen to 0.6 per cent of the population in 2014 compared to 50 per cent, in 1970. However, there are still areas of poverty that exist throughout Malaysia that deny families the basic needs, such as accessible clean water, shelter and adequate sanitation.
Economic growth. It is the key to rising wages and living standards all over the world and the last half a century or so has seen millions of people in developing nations escape poverty and see their living standards soar through the benefits of economic growth, whilst in developed nations such as the United Kingdom, we have been witnessing these effects for more than two centuries, as shown in the graph below.
The figures for economic growth are barely out of the news and are constantly politicised due to their extreme importance to the quality of life within economies. This importance has meant that much macroeconomic theory has been developed with the aim of attempting to explain the key causes of economic growth, with endogenous growth theories being examples which attempt to offer an explanation for one of the most important causes, technological progress due to innovation. The prevailing consensus is that, particularly in the long run, due to the diminishing marginal returns on physical capital and labour in an economy, the key to constant growth comes from improvements in the intellectual capital within an economy via innovation. However, although the above graph seems to suggest growth will continue indefinitely, there is suspicion by many that there is not a limitless amount of technological progress to be made and that all the largest steps forward have been made already, meaning that growth will eventually plateau, seemingly harming the credibility of endogenous growth theories.
Advertisements follow you everywhere. From social media to online shopping, we see more and more websites using online advertisements to generate revenue from businesses who are trying to reach the ever-growing online audience. They can track your history to great lengths to provide you with 'what you want to see'. Social networking giants tapped into the profit-churning machine long ago, an example being Facebook in 2012. It obtained a total revenue of over $12 billion in 2015, most of which was derived from advertising. More recently, Snapchat introduced adverts - now almost half its revenue is derived from it. People have long found pop-ups and adverts a pain, yet more companies (such as Reddit) are following suit in implementing them. Therefore, I have come to ask a question: is advertising beneficial for all online websites?
I realised the question can be answered using game theory. If you are not yet familiar with the concept of game theory, don’t worry – A Rational Econ is working on a guide to it. For now, just see if you can follow. The payoff matrix below is used to illustrate the options of two large players in the social media industry - Firm A (player 1) and Firm B (player 2). Each box shows the revenue players get when they choose a particular strategy, with the first number (top right) indicating the payoff to player 1 and the second number (bottom left) the payoff player 2 would receive. Let’s assume that for these two businesses advertising increases revenue; therefore, when both players advertise, the total payoff is higher than when only one or neither advertise. Although adverts go against consumer’s best interest, there is high demand for it on social media from businesses as they have the ability to reach a massive audience. Thus, as soon as either form of social media starts using adverts, businesses will pay money to promote on the platform.
The exchange rate at time of posting: 1 GBP (British Pound) = 5.53 MYR (Malaysian Ringgit).
We are all aware of the growing tourist industry. South-east Asia is aware of it. Malaysia is emerging as an international tourism destination, attracting tourists from various cultures, backgrounds and companies. I, myself, visited Malaysia and neighbouring Borneo as part of a World Challenge  expedition; the goal being to explore and live within the confines of a developing society. Travel and tourism (T&T), in 2016, generated a total contribution of MYR 167.5bn to Malaysia’s GDP, composing 13.7% of it. This contribution is due to rise to approximately MYR 174.6bn by year end (2017). Further into this article, we explore the real causes of this growth.
It is important to note that tourism (in total) contributed 12.0% of total employment, 1,700,500 jobs, in 2016. Not only is this forecast to rise by 1.8% in 2017, but investment in T&T is due to rise by 8.2%, also. These rises are just between the last two years – and there has only been one fall in total contribution (between 2007 and 2008) – but it has been on the rise since then. If you take a look at the graph  (below), you can see that, since 2008, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP has been on the consistent rise; notice the projected rise by 2027, to almost a 300-billion-ringgit contribution to GDP.
If the government believed that education should create equal opportunities for all members of society, they may wish to abolish private education in the UK. Some studies show that individuals with a private education background have more education, job and social opportunities than those who were educated by the state. Abolishing private education removes the differential bias of universities which tend towards those who are privately educated, creating more opportunities for those who were not to receive a private education in the first place, thus increasing their utility.