CategoryEconomics

Eating Tomorrow

A few weeks ago there was a talk on Agroecology by Timothy A. Wise. That term is widely used outside the U.S. for what we’d call sustainable or restorative agriculture. That part of the talk was good, but far more interesting were the stories from the book which the talk summarized, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food. The author traveled the...

Deficits and the Money Markets

What are the negative consequences of large government deficits? Often the “aha moments” of understanding economics come in the midst of reading articles in The Economist. Not usually from the actual words, but from some fact coupled with flashbacks of learnings from all the books I’ve been reading. The latest of those was from an article in the November 2nd magazine, talking...

Boomerang, by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is the author of The Big Short and a rare storyteller who can convey complex economic topics as stories with interesting characters and plots. Boomerang tells stories in and around the financial meltdown (a.k.a. Panic) of 2008-2009, but for Americans these are mostly the far less discussed stories of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, and Germany. The fact that Iceland was able (within a...

Decimalization

Have I mentioned I love a good assumption? Have I mentioned my fascination with norms that were normal for our grandparents which seem totally odd today? Did you think 29 knuts in one sickle, and 17 sickles in a galleon was making fun of non-metric countries? Nope! It was making fund of pre-decimal British pounds, shillings, and pence. Note too this video is from 1970, not 1870 or 1670. In 1969...

Worthless Currency

From all my readings of the history of currencies, I felt the need to create a my own collection of worthless paper currencies. The first of these are on their way now, but in the meantime, I came across a website selling souvenir Zero Euro bills, and what better way to begin this collection than with a paper bill commemorating Euro’s most famous anti-Capitalist economist, Karl Marx. You...

What is Money (currency)?

A good question recently came up on Quora: What is the concept of currency? How am I simply able to buy things and services with just a piece of paper? You have an item or provide a service someone else wants. They give you a token in return. You have needs for other items and services. Those providers accept your token. Each token represents historic effort. The harder it was to produce or...

Broken Bargain

American banks fail when unregulated, and they fail when improperly regulated. That is the one sentence summary of Broken Bargain by Kathleen Day, the latest book in my series trying to understand how the financial system is failing. My key learnings from his book are highly unlikely what the author intended. She’s a bit too anti-bank for my taste. We’d seem to agree on 99% of what is...

As Judged by Profits

This idea of corporations with a purpose beyond just shareholders continues to be discussed in the news. This week in The Economist published an op-ed “What Corporations are for” ($), repeating the Friedman Doctrine and dissing the 181 signers of at the Business Roundtable earlier this month. The key word in the Economist’s essay is their measure of success of American business...

$1 Trillion to $20 Trillion in 50 Years

This year I turned 50 and and with that half century milestone, I’ve been looking back quite a bit more than normal this year. Case in point, in my recent post on the $80 trillion world economy, I pointed out there that the U.S. economy is one quarter of the total, or $20 trillion. 50 years ago, back in 1969, the U.S. economy was only $1 trillion (World Bank, reported in non-inflationary...

The $80 Trillion World Economy

When the news talks about “the economy” they always talk about percentages, especially growth or recession. Meanwhile, the U.S. GDP (a flawed but popular measure) is almost $20 trillion, almost one quarter of the $80 trillion world economy. The $80 Trillion World Economy in One Chart Put the pretty picture and the giant numbers aside for a moment and take a step back. The U.S. news is...

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