In one of my recent posts about public opinion on the Occupy movement, I mentioned that people blame the problems of this country on a variety of things. One of these things is the deficit, and how much money we owe to other countries. This is something I have been thinking about over the years, knowing full well I was not an economics or political science major. The two main thoughts that cross my mind are, why can’t every country just start over, clean slate? and, more likely, what if each country sat down and evened up? If Belgium owed Germany $5 ($=Euro), and Germany owed Belgium $10, what if they just evened up and Germany owed Belgium $5. I know that it is much more complicated than this, and there are things to consider, but here is an infographic that shows debts in Europe and the US. And who knows, maybe one of our students will be inspired by this, and grow up to solve the problem.
In this infographic, you can click on a country in the circle and see what they owe to whom. The amount of space each country takes up on the circles edge represents how much they owe overall. This would be a great economic, political, and math lesson. As an economic or political lesson, with intense research on budgeting, the class can brainstorm ways to come up with the money owed over a certain number of years. They can use taxes, budget cuts and other methods and see if they can get us back to debt free in a certain amount of time. They can also see the importance of interest rates and decide whom to pay off first. They may even get into groups, each group representing a country. Each group will research economic problems in their respective countries and come up with solutions and share them with other countries.
In math, students can convert the money from Euros to dollars. They can also watch the conversion rate change and back in their economics class they can discuss the changes and the implications of this. They can also add