How Rich am I?
Heard a talk today from the founder of Gapminder
, a non-profit company that creates Flash and shockwave pieces that are somewhere between information visualization, socially motivated art, and interactive educational pieces. Be sure to check out the Human Development Trends, and the Dollar Street (photos of real homes of real people who live on $1-2 per day, $2-5 per day, to $100 per day). See also: Understanding USA
for more nice pictures of statistics.
posted by zpousman
on Mar 25, 2004 -
China's Building Blitz.
In scale and pace, the building boom currently sweeping over China has no precedent in human history. China is spending about $375 billion each year on construction, nearly 16 percent its gross domestic product. In the process, it is using 54.7 percent of the world's production of concrete, 36.1 percent of the world's steel, and 30.4 percent of the world's coal.
posted by four panels
on Mar 20, 2004 -
Say goodbye to more jobs?
This is an interesting research report from the Gartner Group on the future of banking, money and economic transition. One of the participants at a conference that Gartner cites is Bernard Leitaer, who is interviewed here.
Leitaer is the author of the book The Future of Money.
He argues " the malaise Japan has suffered since the early 1990s reflects an economic challenge the whole developed world has begun to face. Today, European and U.S. factories, too, suffer from overcapacity. The vaunted productivity growth spurred by the digital revolution has raised the economy’s stall speed. If the natural growth rate of the U.S. economy has risen to 4% annually, anything less than that rate will cause firms to trim capacity. A firm’s revenue growth often must come at the expense of competitors as well as its own profits because companies have trouble raising prices. In response, companies cut costs any way they can, usually by laying off employees and squeezing suppliers, which causes further layoffs. For developed countries, the safety valves
that limited damage during contractions in manufacturing may not work. In past recessions, laid-off factory workers in the Great Lakes states, for example, could migrate to the growing Sun Belt to find new jobs. In the present transition, areas with job growth may lie overseas." The long heralded rise of the information economy, the death of distance and the rise of the
global knowledge workers
is paradigm shift that our goverment leader's
seem ill equiped to handle.
posted by thedailygrowl
on Mar 16, 2004 -
: a comprehensive description and analysis of the country or region's historical setting, geography, society, economy, political system, and foreign policy.
posted by hama7
on Feb 8, 2004 -
Art In Ruins
chronicles the economic and cultural transformation of Providence, Rhode Island through the eyes of artists, architects, and urban planners.
posted by PrinceValium
on Feb 7, 2004 -
Live From Davos:
Frank talk and subtle spin as heads of state take Q&A from corporate honchos, in a session heavy on talk of terror: John Ashcroft
shares the stage with Prince Turki al Faisal al Saud, Pervez Musharraf
touts his vision of "enlightened moderation," the handsome young King of Jordan
keeps his finger on the roadmap, and embattled Ecuadoran president Lucio Gutierrez
takes a break from the tear gas to reassure skeptical capital markets. CSPAN for foreign filmgoers. (RealPlayer and Windows Media)
posted by hairyeyeball
on Jan 26, 2004 -
An interesting documentary
I stumbled across about international banking's rise to power through history. It features poor quality video with not-quite-synced audio, yet it kept me riveted. Part two
goes on to explain how the country will never be able to escape debt under the current monetary system.
posted by timb
on Jan 24, 2004 -
I.M.F. Report Says U.S. Deficits Threaten World Economy
With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund. Prepared by a team of I.M.F. economists, the report sounded a loud alarm about the shaky fiscal foundation of the United States, questioning the wisdom of the Bush administration's tax cuts and warning that large budget deficits pose "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world. The report warns that the United States' net financial obligations to the rest of the world could be equal to 40 percent of its total economy within a few years--"an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country," according to the fund, that could play havoc with the value of the dollar and international exchange rates.
From The Brookings Institute: Sustained Budget Deficits: Longer-Run U.S. Economic Performance and the Risk of Financial and Fiscal Disarray
(Full Report PDF
posted by y2karl
on Jan 8, 2004 -
Good Bye, Horatio Alger The other day I found myself reading a leftist rag that made outrageous claims about America. It said that we are becoming a society in which the poor tend to stay poor, no matter how hard they work; in which sons are much more likely to inherit the socioeconomic status of their father than they were a generation ago. The name of the leftist rag? Business Week, which published an article titled "Waking Up From the American Dream." The article summarizes recent research showing that social mobility in the United States (which was never as high as legend had it) has declined considerably over the past few decades. If you put that research together with other research that shows a drastic increase in income and wealth inequality, you reach an uncomfortable conclusion: America looks more and more like a class-ridden society. And guess what? Our political leaders are doing everything they can to fortify class inequality, while denouncing anyone who complains--or even points out what is happening--as a practitioner of "class warfare."
So how do
you move on up in the jobless recovery
posted by y2karl
on Jan 1, 2004 -
Some economists debate
why we can and if we should give gifts for Christmas. Because a gift is likely to be valued less by the recipient than for the giver, Christmas has been considered by some to be a "deadweight loss" equivalent to tearing up banknotes. To get around this, other economists propose that the value of the gift for the recipient comes from the process of finding a rare gift. On the other hand, perhaps this is one case where we should rethink
the basic rationality assumption that economic decisions can be explained by models that maximize individual wealth.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Dec 24, 2003 -
Looking for a job? Well, one of the hot temp agencies
in the nation is FPI, Inc.
Recruting from an active base of some 80,000 people across the nation
, and enjoying exemption from competitive bidding
(although reform is on the way
), FPI produces garments and textile goods. In fact, it's the largest supplier of clothing and textiles for the U.S. government
. Net sales for fiscal year 2001 were $583.5 million and, despite an economic shortfall, they rose to $678.7 million in 2002. What accounts for such an unlikely success? Well, the secret can be found in FPI's labor base. FPI only employs prisoners, paying them between $.23 and $1.15 an hour. Of course, with so many resumes to choose from
, factory expansion
and rising sales figures and profitability
(PDF), who knows just how high PDI's lustre will soar?
posted by ed
on Nov 20, 2003 -
Problems in infinite decision theory [pdf].
You are in hell and facing an eternity of torment, but the devil offers you a way out, which you can take once and only once at any time from now on. Today, if you ask him to, the devil will toss a fair coin once and if it comes up heads you are free (but if tails then you face eternal torment with no possibility of reprieve). You don’t have to play today, though, because tomorrow the devil will make the deal slightly more favourable to you (and you know this): he’ll toss the coin twice but just one head will free you. The day after, the offer will improve further: 3 tosses with just one head needed. And so on (4 tosses, 5 tosses, ….1000 tosses …) for the rest of time if needed. So, given that the devil will give you better odds on every day after this one, but that you want to escape from hell some time, when should accept his offer? More discussion here
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Nov 3, 2003 -
"Wal-Mart controls a large and rapidly increasing share of the business done by most every major U.S. consumer-products company: 28% of Dial total sales, 24% of Del Monte Foods, 23% of Clorox, 23% of Revlon... Wal-Mart plans to open 1,000 more supercenters in the U.S. alone over the next five years.. giving it control over 35% of U.S. food sales and 25% of drugstore sales...The $12 billion worth of Chinese goods Wal-Mart bought in 2002 represented 10% of all U.S. imports from China." Setting aside questions of monopoly, isn't this a potentially dangerous monoculture
posted by alms
on Oct 15, 2003 -
According to stats [1
] gathered in this BusinessWeek story
, Marriage in America truly is a fading institution. Married Couple Households "have slipped from nearly 80% in the 1950s to just 50.7% today. That means that the U.S.'s 86 million single adults could soon define the new majority. Already, unmarrieds make up 42% of the workforce, 40% of home buyers, and 35% of voters..."
As a percentage, Never-marrieds, Late-marrieds, Widow(er)s, Single-sex Relationships and Unmarried Cohabitation all have grown significantly, while traditional marriage (and remarriage) has faded. I had no idea that there had been such a downturn. BusinessWeek's angle is that this is an emerging dominant demographic, and will be targeted as a whole, like Gen-X or the Baby Boomers. I Guess that means more flavors of Single-Serving Hot Pockets are on the way.
posted by kokogiak
on Oct 14, 2003 -
This Guy in Minnesota just got laid-off
and he's spending his time following around Bush's economic team on their tour of the upper midwest as they share their "upbeat outlook
" on our nation's economy. He's following their tourmobile
with his own tourmobile
and has been chasing them around in parkinglots and at fast food places. He finally cornered the Treasury Secretary whose advice to the job-seeker was to "just wait." What's your economic reality? Is it closer to the sunny optimism of the big shiny tourbus, or the laid-off reality of the homemade minivan? (Check out the particularly funny bit about how he stumbled on the entire press corps only when he was looking for a dumpster.)
posted by amoeba
on Jul 30, 2003 -
Is the budget deficit
going to be the other shoe that drops on the Bush administration? In the OMB's mid-session review [pdf]
, it admits the federal budget deficit would balloon to a record $455 billion this fiscal year after absorbing immediate costs from the war in Iraq, and then climb $20 billion higher in 2004. That's a 50% increase since the administration's last forecast five months ago. At least a few economists
think even that number is underestimated. To top it off, the consequences of an increasingly large deficit and accompanying tax cuts are being passed on to the states.
How's that for a neat twist on federalism?
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Jul 15, 2003 -
Liberals are going the extra mile to validate economic insanity by Conservatives. Do some people have an economic advantage? Do majorities have something in common that minorities don't share? I went to Japan this year, and sure, being a minority sucks. Does that mean that there is whiteness or blackness or asianness, or the new and exciting hispanicness? No. There's no such thing.
Stop the madness: Race and Gender are just more games for people who need hobbies. Insanity inside.
posted by ewkpates
on Jun 20, 2003 -
All the economy needs is love.
"Japan is suffering from deflation and I think there are a lot of people who want to be helped," said one businessman, who had already been hugged twice. Excuse me, fuller has to go camp out in the Sailor Mercury hug line now.
posted by jfuller
on Jun 4, 2003 -
I was wrong. Free market trade policies hurt the poor.
“As leader of the delegation from the United Kingdom [to Seattle in 1999], I was convinced that the expansion of world trade had the potential to bring major benefits to developing countries and would be one of the key means by which world poverty would be tackled... I now believe that this approach is wrong and misguided.”
posted by raaka
on May 19, 2003 -
The National Priorities Project Database
provides a dynamic, numbers and graphs comparison of federal and state spending from 1983 to today. Compare labor costs in Louisiana to military spending in Maine, or infectious disease spending in Idaho to hunger in Hawaii. For the political-thread MeFier in your life who has everything, but could use some actual data now and then.
posted by gramcracker
on May 13, 2003 -
What if oil was traded in euros?
"Even more alarming, and completely unreported in the U.S. media, are significant monetary shifts in the reserve funds of foreign governments away from the dollar with movements towards the euro. It appears that the world community ... seems poised to respond with economic retribution if the U.S. government is regarded as an uncontrollable and dangerous superpower." An analysis of the previous link.
Apologies to those I
posted by Birichini
on Apr 23, 2003 -
Oops! IMF Admits Failed Policies
International financial integration should also help countries to reduce economic volatility, the study said, but in reality this has not happened.
"Indeed, the process of capital account liberalization appears to have been accompanied in some cases by increased vulnerability to crises," the report said.
"Globalization has heightened these risks since cross-country financial linkages amplify the effects of various shocks and transmit them more quickly across national borders."
In the last 10 years, developing countries from Thailand and Russia to Argentina, have seen their economies collapse, even though many of them were trying to follow IMF-prescribed open market policies.
So does this mean corporate facism harms the world's poor?
posted by nofundy
on Mar 19, 2003 -
A group of over 300 residents and merchants in California’s Bay Area has established a local currency called BREAD (a rough acronym for Bay Area Regional Exchange and Development), based on hours of work valued at $12 an hour. Through the BREAD network, which now has over $20,000 worth of currency in circulation, members can pay for dinner, carpentry, childcare, tutoring, clerical assistance or organic produce. Tired of traditional activism, founder Miyoko Sakashita wanted to create a positive local economy and “stop our resources from supporting global corporations that are not accountable to people and the environment.” Check it out at Breadhours.org
posted by bureaustyle
on Mar 15, 2003 -
Turncoats in Bermuda shorts
. Arianna Huffington continues to skewer offshore tax shelters in her latest Salon opinion piece. Despite her patriot-speak denouncing these corporations for avoiding taxes while our young men are getting ready to die for their country, she does shine the light on a growing problem – “basic fairness and economic justice” – or, the lack of it. How can the average American not be outraged at this, when so many of us are expected to be able to account for even the smallest charitable donation we would dare to use as a tax write-off?
posted by archimago
on Mar 13, 2003 -
Bush Cited Non-Existent eport
There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim
Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.
posted by orange swan
on Feb 24, 2003 -
Salon going down?
Looks like it. According to this article, they may not make it past Feburary. Even with 47,300 paying subscribers, it still can't pay the bills. What's it take these days?
posted by Hackworth
on Feb 14, 2003 -
The New Global Job Shift.
The next round of globalization is sending upscale jobs offshore. They include basic research, chip design, engineering--even financial analysis.
posted by Ty Webb
on Jan 31, 2003 -
There Ultimate Standings.
ESPN has done a ranking of the relative value of each major U.S. sports franchise not in terms of mere victories, or championships, or even felony convictions, but in terms of how much value (as calculated here
) each franchise is providing its fans. Stunned to see perrennial winners such as the Yankees & Lakers pushed down to the 20s, while small market teams like Green Bay, San Antonio & Sacramento dominate. Clearly life IS better in the small towns, at least for sports fans. Here's
a more in depth explanation of what it all means.
posted by jonson
on Jan 21, 2003 -
US income distribution moves towards 3rd world profile?
- US Census Bureau
data on growing family income inequality, 1947 to 2001. Also see: The
(for a graphic depiction of current US wealth distribution).
"The most egalitarian countries have a Gini index in the 20s. European
countries like Germany, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Norway, and Sweden all fall in that
range, according to World Bank figures. Canada and Australia are just over 30. The United States
is around 40...Once inequality reaches 50 percent, disparities become glaringly obvious, to the
point where they undermine a society's sense of unity and common purpose....Sierra Leone takes
the prize. At 63 percent, it offers the world's most extreme example of inequality."
By multiple measures, income
in the US is rapidly increasing, and a substantial percentage of middle class Americans may be gradually sliding into poverty.
posted by troutfishing
on Jan 15, 2003 -
China. Abandons Communism.
May be about to lose its shirt.
While everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning about the state of America, here's one American who thinks the state of the Middle Kingdom is at least equally interesting (as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
posted by jfuller
on Nov 12, 2002 -