economics

Here is everything we've released this week, wrapped up into one neat blog post. We hope you enjoy it.

How much money is in the world?

There are few things more futile than trying to count all of the money in the world. Even many governments have no idea how much currency they have issued. But that won't stop Chuck and Josh from trying and explaining why we can't be sure how much money exists and the problems with flooding the world markets with bread.

Why There is No Dollar Sign On Your Menu, Explained

You may have noticed that some menus have no dollar signs. We explain here why.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

On any given week, Josh and Chuck read a lot of interesting articles. Read this post with links to the best articles they've read this week.

How Bitcoin Works

In 2008 Bitcoin, the world's first decentralized, anarchistic all-digital currency, was introduced to the world. Its value has risen, fallen and risen again and speculators, techies, libertarians and economists alike are taking it seriously.

There's this excellent recent analogy just sitting there staring us in the face as a perfectly good answer to the question of whether cutting or increasing spending is viable solution to our debt crisis that's creating such acrimony among Congress and waffling from the president. Just a couple years after it first crashed, pretty much all economists point to a single factor that more than any other sealed the global financial fate into that of doomed: illiquidity.

An Overview of the Current Debt Crisis, Chewed Up and Regurgitated Just for You

What, exactly, just happened? Just how close did we come to the brink of financial disaster with the haggling over the debt ceiling? What would that disaster look like? And what was the big stinking problem with the negotiations; in other words, what took so long? A lot better journalists than me have dedicated some very good ink to these questions concerning the raising of the federal debt limit.

Investment Strategy: Park High Risk Funds into Bloodless Coups

The very neat and succinct blog Parapolitical took the opportunity provided by recent murmurs about the military coup that the Greek government could face as a result of failed austerity measures and a desire to stay in the European Union to highlight a study conducted in 2004 by Harvard Business researcher Dr. Catherine Duggan. In it, Duggan surveyed the economies of 27 nations following coups each experienced between 1980 and 1997. She found that foreign investors prefer right wing paramilitary coups over left wing paramilitary coups by a landslide.

Regulating Speculation; or, Economics is a Soft Science at Best

It frightens and confuses me that the field of economics, a discipline that we as a nation put such thorough and abiding stock into to make large, sweeping decisions that affect everyone, like how to allocate health care among Americans or whether to undertake air strikes in a foreign country, is so uncertain a field that it is subject to politicization. Indeed, the very economist at whose feet one sits, whether it be Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes, is nearly synonymous in the U.S. with which political party one is affiliated.

Chuck and I did a podcast a while back on the Ig Nobel Prizes, which were hosted at Harvard on October 1. The podcast was based on a fine article by the fine writer Robert Lamb and he apparently keeps tabs on this sort of thing, because he bullied us into writing posts on some of the winners. Of course Robert's all like, "I get the best ones," because it was his idea to write about them. Here's his fine, fine post.