image from ThriftBooks I found Peter Zeihan's The Accidental Superpower to be a very interesting, informative, and entertaining book. It seems to be a great introduction to geopolitics, especially with its awesome maps. The first half of the book is brilliant, describing the geographical advantages that led to America's rise. As he describes in the book,… Continue reading Review of The Accidental Superpower
(image via Fundamental Stocks) Well, inflation involves a currency losing value. So, in one sense, inflation is bad for any security denominated in that currency because the buying power of that amount of money decreases. In regards to why some stocks react very negatively to inflation news, this has more to do with expected interest rates.… Continue reading Why is inflation bad for stocks?
(image via goodreads) Odd Arne Westad's The Cold War is simply a must-read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the world today. Despite having lived through the Cold War -- and as someone who probably pays closer attention to current events, world politics, and history than your average American -- there was a… Continue reading Review of The Cold War: A World History
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we-L7w1K5Zo "Boo! Different political party!" You may have noticed how political debates in the U.S. these days tend to be two sides shouting and hurling insults at each other. Do you want to do something about it? Well, the first step is to be able to understand what you believe and why. If your only… Continue reading How I define Conservativism and Liberalism
The 2% level is rather arbitrary, but the basic idea is to set a small positive number because it is a lot easier for central banks to fight inflation (a rising price level) than for them to fight deflation (falling prices). The reason is simple: to fight inflation, it can slow spending by raising interest… Continue reading Why Does the Fed Have a 2% Inflation Target?
As I see it, the main cause was systemic, namely the securitization of mortgages (e.g., CDOs). This means mortgages being repackaged by lenders and resold to other investors who wanted the income from the monthly payments. This was first done in 1970 by the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA or Ginnie Mae), but securitization didn’t really start taking… Continue reading The Causes of the Financial Crisis
It boils down to two main reasons: The problem is extremely difficult.The field of macroeconomics has been corrupted by politics. Regarding the first problem, it’s an issue of complexity. Just like molecules do not act like sums of atoms (and thus chemistry bears little resemblance to physics), humans do not act like sums of organs,… Continue reading Why Can’t Economics Accurately Predict the Timings of Recessions?
Image from goodreads.com I consider All the Devils Are Here to be the best book on the financial crisis I have read so far, edging out Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics and significantly better than Michael Lewis's excellent Big Short. Roubini excels more at explaining more of the economics in systemic big-picture terms and also laying… Continue reading Review of All the Devils Are Here
In regards to the big Supreme Court decision on Romneycare Obamacare, there's been much hand-wringing on how this is a tax on doing nothing. This does seem odd, until you realize that a penalty or tax on one group but not on a second group is economically identical to having no penalty or tax on the first group but a tax credit… Continue reading The Economics Behind the Individual Mandate
Now that the economy appears to be on the right track again, I'd like to revisit what I think was the cause of the 2001 recession. I run across too many people who take a partisan stance and blame it on Dubya or blame it on Clinton. Really, the President doesn't have as much power… Continue reading Whom to Blame for the Recession?