All posts by Alexander

Hi there! My name is Alexander Racher and I am a first year student studying Economics and Business at UW, with a minor in entrepreneurship. I enjoy learning and talking about the practical uses of economics and hope to continue meeting like-minded individuals. I act as the Academic Director of Economics Society and try to make myself available for any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out!

Economics and Investments: Analyzing related investments

This post is concerning the importance of related investments, in a series of posts that will cover topics such as forms of investments, strategies and methods. If you have a specific request, email us at

In economics, we learn about elasticity in several different forms such as price elasticity of demand, income elasticity of demand, elasticity and cross-elasticity of demand. In analyzing the elasticity of a certain commodity, we evaluate how influential a factor is in determining the new price or demand of the commodity. These concepts are key to understanding the effects that take place in the marketplace. George Liu wrote an important article regarding the influence of NAFTA to our economy that can be found here.

Cross-elasticity of demand explains that a rise of a substitute in consumption will result in an increase in the demand of the commodity. For example, if the price of windows laptops increase, it is likely that the demand for Macbooks will increase. Likewise, if a price of a complement decreases, the demand will increase for the related commodity. For example, if the price of ketchup decreases, the demand for hamburgers will increase.

On a micro-economic level, investors should look for similar relations. For example, if an investor expects Apple to release a new, revolutionary iPhone with an huge increase in sales, while the AAPL stock may be too expensive for the investor, an investment in a related company may be suitable. An example of this is Zaggs, a company that specializes in making screen protectors for smartphones, or Speck Products, a company that makes several different designs for iPhone cases. Likewise, if AAPL’s new phone will be taking a huge portion of sales then it is likely that the stock in competitors such as Samsung and LG will go down.

From a macro-economic stance, the effects on things such as trade agreements and government policies heavily influence the market. For example, if the government encourages further immigration, it is likely the real estate market will experience further growth.

If the stock of one competing company increases, it is likely the stock of a related company will decrease.

It is important for investors to look for relations between different investments, as well as the overall market to finding the best value and understanding why a certain investment is going up or down.

Feel free to email us at or me personally at for any questions or concerns.

Economics and Investing: Making money regardless of where the market is heading

This is post one concerning the different types of investments, in a series of posts that will cover topics such as forms of investments, strategies and methods. If you have a specific request, email us at

Economics covers a very broad range of categories and ideas, one of which being: investing. It is first important to know about the different factors that economics has on the market, both on a micro and macro scale, as well as the many different forms of investments. (See different forms of investments here:

One common misconception involved in investing is the belief that markets have to be doing well in order to make money. This is not true. While I, and most people hope that our economy as well as the global economy is growing and more jobs are being created, it is important to know that you can make money even if the market fails. This is exemplified in the movie, “The Big Short,” for example.

Trading currencies tend to be an effective and relatively low-risk method of protecting your assets. If for example you feel that a new policy will cause the Canadian dollar to drop significantly, you may want to transfer some of your Canadian currency into a traditionally stable market such as the United States, Norway or simply investing in another asset such as gold. Likewise, if you feel that the Canadian dollar is on the rise, you may transfer your other assets and foreign currencies into more Canadian dollars.

There are many different methods of investing throughout the various stages of the business cycle, however, I will largely be focusing on longing and shorting stocks.

“Longing” stocks is the term that describes how we traditionally view investing. The basic idea of longing a stock, is to purchase a share, or multiple shares in a given company and predicting that the value of share will go up in the long run, where you can sell it for a higher price and profit the difference. This is the most common form of trading stocks. Popular markets and market determinants such as DOW Jones, TSX, NASDAQ, NYSE have demonstrated that longing is an effective method, as these markets have grown over the long run. There are of course exceptions, for example, the technology industry may be growing, yet companies that specialize in selling VCR’s and VCR machines will be losing value in their stock. Likewise, the energy market may be falling yet there will be exceptions. Another benefit of longing a stock instead of shorting it is the fact that the most amount of money one can lose from investing is the money they put it. For example, if you purchased one stock at $40 and in the very unlikely scenario they become bankrupt and the value of the stock plummets, the most you can lose is $40. Longing stocks are a popular and effective method of making money over the long run, especially with a diversified portfolio.

“Shorting” stocks, is essentially betting on a particular stock to go down in value, for supply to exceed demand. How this works is, through your broker you sell someone else’s share in a company, or multiple shares, for the current price (let’s use $40 as an example) then buy back the stock at a new price and pay the former owner back their stock. The goal is to sell the stock for more than you buy it for, for example, sell it at $40, buy it back at $20, make $20 profit. This can be a very effective trading method in a falling market or industry. However, shorting is not as popular as longing stocks for a few reasons. One is that traditionally markets have been growing over time. The more common fear though is the unlimited risk involved with shorting stocks. While in longing, you can only lose what you invest, which would be $40 in the example above, in shorting, you must eventually pay back the stock regardless of the new price. So, if in our example above, the $40 stock rises to $4000, you will lose $3960 on the trade at the minimum. Shorting is still an attractive option if you see an almost definite downgrade in a stock, for example, an accounting scandal just being reported in the media for a specific company.

It is important to keep in mind that an investor should remain disciplined and diversified regardless of their trading method.

I hope that clears up some of the more basic forms of investments, stay tuned for more information and strategies in the following weeks. Feel free to email us at or me personally at for any questions or concerns.