Is ‘First Past the Post’ the Fairest Voting System? Why?

No, because plurality severely underrepresents minority viewpoints (gives them no voice at all), and even a majority viewpoint can be underrepresented if that side of the political spectrum simply runs more candidates, thus splitting the vote (i.e., the spoiler effect). For example, Nader acting as a spoiler for Gore in Florida 2000 and Jorgensen arguably… Continue reading Is ‘First Past the Post’ the Fairest Voting System? Why?

Review of The Cold War: A World History

(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

Why Does the Fed Have a 2% Inflation Target?

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?

The Causes of the Financial Crisis

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

Review of All the Devils Are Here

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