More in Global Economy


3 months

Uncertainty and the Countdown to the US Presidential Elections

·        JP Morgan analyse the impact of 14,000 presidential Tweets ·        Gold breaks out to the upside despite US$ strength ·        China backs down slightly over Hong Kong ·        Trump berates Fed Chair and China

3 months

US Multinationals Bring Foreign Earnings Back Home

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 largely eliminated taxes on US multinational corporations when they bring profits earned in other countries back to the use. As a result, there has been a dramatic rise in the dividends that U.S. parent companies received from their their foreign affiliates. Sarah A. Atkinson and Jessica McCloskey of the US Census Bureau offer some striking illustrations of this change, along with other data on international flows of investment in and out of the US economy, in "Direct Investment Positions for 2018: Country and Industry Detail," published in the August 2019 Survey of Current Business. 

3 months

Satellite Data Economics, Night Lights, and More

The dark area outlined in red is North Korea. The rest of the peninsula below, illuminated, is South Korea.

3 months

Nonrenewable Resources: The Pattern of Higher Extraction, Falling Prices

Here's an economic puzzle about non-renewable resources, including energy resources but also minerals. One might expect that the least expensive locations for these resources would be exploited first. Thus, one might expect production costs for such resources to rise over time. If demand for such resources is also rising over time, intuition suggests that this combination should tend to raise prices for non-renewable.

3 months

Marge Piercy on Why Work Matters

I sometimes struggle, when teaching about unemployment, to explain just why work matters. It's straightforward enough to note that elevated unemployment leads to loss of economic output, lower tax payments, and greater need for government welfare benefits. I can refer to evidence on how unemployment is connected to social ills like bankruptcy, divorce, depression, and even suicide. But this listing of consequences, while a necessary part of teaching the economics of unemployment, doesn't quite touch the human heart of the issue. The poet Marge Piercy, in her 1973 poem "To be of use," gives a more concise and powerful sense of why useful work matters so much.

3 months

Taming the Demon of Work

As a meditation for Labor Day, I offer the story of the Benedictine monks of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico. They had a booming dot-com start-up in the late 1990s as digital scribes--and then they shut it down because it was interfering with their main purpose in life. Jonathan Malesic tells the story in "Taming the Demon: How Desert Monks Put Work in Its Place" (Commonweal, February 2, 2019). Malesic starts the story this way:

3 months

H.L. Mencken on Capitalism vs. Socialism

This characteristically pungent comment is from H.L. Mencken’s 1956 collection, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebooks (Johns Hopkins University Press edition, 1997, p. 264):