This column takes a look at The Economist’s Big Mac index, the newspaper’s tongue-in-cheek way of determining whether currencies are over- or undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar. . . . → Read More: Burgernomics

CPI & COLAs: Still costing us a bundle

In preparing a lecture on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a popular measure of consumer price inflation, I was reminded of some of the measurement and policy issues involved. . . . → Read More: CPI & COLAs: Still costing us a bundle

Mexico and France

The Institute for Economics and Peace released its Mexican Peace Index. Here’s a brief discussion and a comparison of Mexico’s economic record with that of France. . . . → Read More: Mexico and France

Neighbors: Blessing or Curse?

Refugees constitute the 30th-largest “country” in the world—larger than Argentina, Canada, Kenya, Malaysia, or Poland. We need a better way to prevent the wars that create them. . . . → Read More: Neighbors: Blessing or Curse?

Energy prices

Energy prices are dropping, or so it is said. The full-scale advent of “fracking,” the extraction of natural gas (and oil) by new commercial technology, is unlocking vast new supplies in the United States and upsetting pricing on the energy markets. I decided to have a look at the numbers provided by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. . . . → Read More: Energy prices

Ronald Coase

Ronald Coase died in September 2013 at the age of 102. More famous than he was perhaps comfortable with, he made great contributions to rectify shortcomings in the cartoon economics of ordinary economics textbooks. This column elaborates on one example. . . . → Read More: Ronald Coase

Focal points and fuzzy borders

In the 1960s a slogan from the anti-Vietnam war movement in the United States urged people to ‘make love, not war’. In 2006—half a century later—Amos Oz published a book, How to Cure a Fanatic, in which he introduces an alternative phrase: ‘make peace, not love.’ He urges us to be more imaginative in peacemaking. The creation of fuzzy borders is one idea. . . . → Read More: Focal points and fuzzy borders

Child’s Play: The Business of Guns in America

R Muggah, with J Brauer [Copy of a piece in the Huffington Post, posted: 05/05/2013 9:42 am]

Children are at the front line of America’s gun debate. More young citizens are killed and maimed each year by gunfire than all United States soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Homicide is one of the leading . . . → Read More: Child’s Play: The Business of Guns in America

U.S. government spending—back to the 1930s

In popular lore, government looms large in the economy. This is mostly because it has assumed more transfer functions. In contrast, the function of governing itself, and the expense associated with it, was by 2011 smaller than at any time since the 1930s. . . . → Read More: U.S. government spending—back to the 1930s

Political risk, uncertainty, and falling business investment

The 2008/9 world economic crisis, and the ongoing malaise, is often blamed on “business.” But it is political uncertainty and instability that makes business unwilling to invest and to generate jobs. The ultimate responsibility for this lies with voters who need to make decisive and intelligent choices regarding political representation. . . . → Read More: Political risk, uncertainty, and falling business investment

The trillion dollar club

London 2012’s economic gold, silver, and bronze went to the U.S., China, and India. What will be the economic standings by the time of Rio 2016 or of Istanbul 2020? . . . → Read More: The trillion dollar club

The U.S. economy: Back to trend?

Reading the economic tea-leaves is hard. On the view that most analysts and the media hold, the U.S. economy is under-performing. But on another view, the U.S. is right back on track. . . . → Read More: The U.S. economy: Back to trend?