A kind of visualisation that has become very popular in recent months is the “bar chart race” that compares things on one attribute, over a long time period. You may already have seen chart races of the most popular YouTubers or songs, but some of the most eye-opening races show an aspect of economic history.(more…)
Archive for the 'Macroeconomics' Category
Figures this released by the ONS on this week show that the UK has officially entered a recession; the second recession the UK has suffered in three years. David Cameron has said that these figures were very disappointing while Ed Miliband has called them catastrophic. But how catastrophic is a double dip recession for the UK? There are a number of reasons to doubt the media’s, and some politicians, doomsday predictions.
Economic history is a bit of an unloved child within economics. Once at the centre of the subject it has fallen by the wayside in the rush to be scientific of recent years. Indeed most undergraduate courses no longer teach any economic history as a core subject and many don’t offer any option whatsoever. So why am I going on about economic history? Well, it turns out it’s very interesting indeed…
A Scientist for Every Issue
What sparked my interest in economic history was actually a book which had very little to do with the past. (more…)
A house of cards
Unless you have been living in a hole for the last year then you have probably heard that the European financial system is in a bit of a mess. Put simply, the countries of the Euro-zone have borrowed quite a lot of money. Some of the people that governments have borrowed this money off of have become less than convinced that the euro-zone countries pay it back. As a result debt holders have been selling a lot more than buying, which has forced the price/value of these loans down and interest rates up. All-in-all, not too pretty.
The question most people are asking, is how likely is it that the cost of debt gets so high for a country (say Italy), that it will have no choice but to default on its debt. This is a very hard question to answer.
So turning to the other side of the story, what happens if a country defaults? I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at one of the more colourful periods in financial history, the Spanish Bankruptcies. (more…)
Ever wondered where all the money in the world is and where it is spent? Have a play with this amazing map to find out: http://xkcd.com/980/huge/
Stephen Kinsella has kindly agreed to write a short article for us about his new book Quick Win Economics. This is a great book for those who want to explore economics in the context of daily life.
QUICK WIN ECONOMICS, Oaktree Press, 2011
by Stephen Kinsella, Lecturer in Economics, University of Limerick.
Q: What is this book about?
Quickwin Economics looks at the 100 most common questions asked in economics and gives short, commonsense answers, normally with a chart, graph, or example to back these answers up. The emphasis is on rapid understanding of the key elements of an idea, with links to further readings, other important concepts, or real world examples given just after every entry.
Q: Who is it for?
The book is written to be halfway between a Wikipedia entry and a textbook. It portrays economics as an unfinished conversation rather than a canon of knowledge. Economics as it exists today is as full of contradictions as it is full of promise and insight. Readers will get a sense of this from the book.
Q: Can you give us a feel for the book?
Sure. Here’s something I wrote for the book about Monetary Policy. It’s an extra entry, but you’ll get the idea of the book right away.