The sphere of economics is one of the most difficult sciences for mankind. Nevertheless, scientists do not abandon their attempts to study this system, using a variety of tools that increase the effectiveness of research. A coefficient was chosen to analyze the economic situation in different regions called the McDonald’s burger index. In the Middle East, dining at international restaurant chains such as McDonald’s often costs more than at local restaurants. Despite the fact that for Europe and America, this index does not lose its relevance and effectiveness, Heffez decided to invent his own variable for local countries. Falafel was taken as a basis, serving as a topical, popular dish for local states, which, from an economic point of view, was called upon to perform the function of a coefficient.
Thus, the author wrote an article devoted to this innovation, where he tried to explain the relevance and effectiveness of the introduction of such a coefficient and analyzed the data obtained. The Arab Spring has drawn attention to the economic causes of instability in the Middle East. In a region where more than one in four young people is unemployed, the top priority is how well people can afford basic food. The Falafel Index is culturally appropriate and based on the real buying habits that ordinary citizens bring to the market. Falafel shops tend to be modest franchises and serve locally produced-food.
This article is devoted to the fact that the author assumes the introduction of a new coefficient in the world economy. The key idea is to increase the efficiency of assessing the economic situation and finances of countries, in this case, the Middle East. The article presents the falafel index (FI), which serves as an innovation in this area. This method is similar to the Big Mac Index (BMI) developed by The Economist and used by the journal to estimate PPPs around the world (Heffez, 2014). Although the BMI method is rated by Clements as not entirely perfect, Heffez argues that the BMI is not suitable for the Middle East since the Big Mac sandwich is not available here.
Choosing the price of a falafel sandwich to estimate PPPs for Middle Eastern currencies seems reasonable. In particular, Wilson believes that FI allows Heffez to come to two interesting conclusions related to the value of some local currencies (Heffez, 2014). First, the Qatari and Saudi currencies are currently undervalued, while the Israeli currency is grossly overvalued. It is important to note that it is the prices of products that are decisive factors in assessing the economic situation in principle, so falafel that is available and relevant throughout the region is suitable.
Article Structure and Organization
As noted above, the choice of falafel as also a factor, like a McDonald’s burger, is justified. The author of the article devotes most of the research to describing and integrating the invention into the system rather than calculating the economy. Therefore statistical data cannot be provided. At the same time, the principles and criteria according to which the falafel index operates are generally consistent with economic laws (Heffez, 2014). It is necessary to note the main drawback of the article, which is the lack of comparative analysis and methodology for evaluating effectiveness.
From the point of view of the organization of the text, the article does not have any negative elements. The author consistently reveals all the nuances, starting from the argumentation of the need for such an innovation and smoothly moving into the integration of a new method. Heffez is sure that this method needs to be improved in order to apply it to the scale of a complete picture of the region (Heffez, 2014). However, he notes that the falafel index is enough to characterize and analyze the economy and its stability. All thoughts go sequentially, maintaining a common, easy-to-understand structure.
The article appears to be balanced as it does not contain unsubstantiated or biased claims. The author relies solely on logical arguments and explanations and tries to illustrate his claims. The picture with the graph shows the correlation between falafel prices in different countries and monthly GDP per capita and also illustrates the author’s conclusion about the value of some currencies (Heffez, 2014). The fact is that the information given in it is already present on the chart; however, it adds clarity to the article for the inexperienced reader.
The article uses all three types of rhetorical references. The author does not use many references of a scientific, pathetic kind; he is a fairly experienced researcher, but he confines himself to mention his involvement in the Washington Institute. The author, apparently, relies mainly on logos; he uses logical arguments, arguing that BMI is not suitable for the Middle East, and also introducing FI and showing the results obtained using it (Heffez, 2014). The use of logos seems to be a good choice for articles of this type, as they present a method for estimating PPPs, an abstract concept used in economics. The word choice seems appropriate for the format of the article and its target audience. The article was published in the famous American business magazine Forbes, not in a scientific journal. Consequently, the use of scientific jargon would make the article incomprehensible to some potential readers (Heffez, 2014). Therefore, Heffez chooses simpler and less formal words, such as “soft,” “big EQ,” and “falafelnomics,” but does not abuse informality.
Sources Used in the Article
Heffez does not cite any sources in the text; the author uses authoritative sources that are popular in many countries, in particular in the region he analyzes. He also notes that the phrase falafel index is not his discovery but that it was mentioned before. In this case, reliability is not fundamental because the author only takes the concept of FI from the journal and develops it independently. Nevertheless, as a result of the analysis of sources, one can see that the articles are either scientific or journalistic and time-tested. At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize the preserved specificity of the literature, strictly related to the field of economics, management, or control systems (Heffez, 2014). This suggests that Heffez uses special literature, the author does not include many stories in his article, and those included are used mainly as illustrations. For example, Heffez writes about the mentioned comedy West Bank Story to demonstrate that falafel is an important part of the local culture.
As a result, analysis of the article cannot unambiguously conclude whether the falafel index is an effective idea. The author of the invention painted a large number of advantages of such a coefficient and also compared it with the Big Mac law already in force. However, the falafel index is not fully developed, which makes it difficult to introduce it into a full-fledged system of economic control of the region. In addition, as already noted, the author does not provide a sufficient number of measurements and calculations, which does not allow us to confirm the correct operation of the entire mechanism. It is important to emphasize that the principle of analogy does not work in economics since mistakes can be very serious and have dire consequences. Therefore, it is necessary to be guided not by the analogy with the Big Mac but by the actual evidence base. However, one cannot deny the potential workability of this idea since the author is guided by a number of scientific works related to the economy and also quite fully argues for the relevance of the falafel index in the East region. In other words, this development has potential. However, research, calculations, and editing of the theory for economic realities are required.
Heffez, A. (2014). The falafel index: A way to assess purchasing power in the Middle East. Forbes. Web.