Tag Archives: Economics

Our Amazing Debt (Cosmos Parodoy)

  In preparation for Reason’s latest parody video I’ve spent a lot of time trying to grasp just how ginormous twenty trillion dollars actually is. Some of the (mathematically questionable) analogies I came up with, but scrapped are:  If you listened to “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John twenty trillion times, it would last longer than the universe read more »

Why Building a Wall is Beyond Stupid

I’m not proud of the fact that Donald Trump’s ridiculous protectionist rhetoric seems to irritate me more than anything else he does. Our new president contains multitudes of horrific policies, personal failings, and grammar shortcuts that a better person than me would overheat about first. Yet his moronic call for walls and tariffs hits a read more »

Money News Around the World

Please tell the Pulitzer Prize committee to give me an award for doing an entire story not based on a Donald Trump tweet. Maybe a new category? In any case, the latest episode of Mostly Weekly explores money around the world, from Britain’s new vegan-friendly £5 note, to Venezuela where inflation is so rampant shopkeepers read more »

A Dozen Eggs Cost $150 in (Socialist) Venezuela

One of the horrors Bernie Sanders unleashed on America during his campaign is screwing up the definition of “socialism” for an entire generation of college students. Socialism is the public ownership of the means of production. Unfortunately now whole swaths of rank-and-file Bern victims think socialism means “cute Nordic countries.” Sweden and Denmark have high taxes read more »

How Far a Buck Goes in Every State

The Tax Foundation calculated how far a dollar goes in every U.S. state based on factors like food and housing. It turns out (and this will shock you) that it’s way more expensive to live in New York, where I voluntarily dwell for some reason, than in Oklahoma, where everyone smiles a lot and owns read more »

EconPop: It’s A Wonderful Life

In this yuletide edition of EconPop I do a spot-on Jimmy Stewart impression, explain banking and loans, then how the concept of moral hazard leads to robbing liquor stores. If you spent your entire childhood watching this film every Christmas like clockwork, and your parents are bankers but you never have anything to talk to read more »

EconPop: The Treasure of the Sierre Madre

  In this installment of EconPop we delve into The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart. The film is worth watching for two reasons: first, Humphey Bogart goes on a psychotic homicidal rampage, which is funny to watch if the only film you’ve otherwise seen him in is Casablanca. There’s also an old-timey prospector character read more »

The Economics of Elysium

  I love cyborg movies, particularly if they’re in space. But Elysium is the first science fiction film I’ve seen where the economics is less believable than the footage of robots battling to the death. In this episode of EconPop we cover income inequality, the fallacy Zero Sum Game thinking, why Malthus was wrong, and read more »

The Economics of Wall-E

  Wall-E is one of my favorite romantic comedies. I like pretty much any movie which involves robots, but on top of the cute cybernetic characters it’s also a brilliant film. It’s visually stunning, and for some reason Pixar characters can really ham up emotions without irritating me, so that it tugs on the ‘ol read more »

The Economics of Ghostbusters

In my favorite episode of EconPop so far, the green screen experts over at Emergent Order productions manage to insert me into Ghostbusters, one of my all-time favorite films. This might be the closest I ever come to acting alongside Bill Murray. After injecting some funny lines into the 1980’s classic, we move onto the underlying read more »

The Economics of Dallas Buyers Club

Recently a badass film company in Austin, called Emergent Order, asked me to host EconPop: a webseries about finding the economics in popular culture, then making it funny. I have a blast making these, and look forward to finding more. In our inaugural episode we explore Dallas Buyers Club. It’s no small feat to make AIDS and read more »

Why We’ll Never Run out of Resources

It would be a major inconvenience if the Earth ran out of things I enjoy using, such as petroleum, or seltzer water. You might be the sort of bloke who settles down after a hard day of work to enjoy a nice, cool bucket of tungsten. Luckily for us, we’re never going to run out read more »

Malthus was Wrong

Once in a while some gloomy Gus at a cocktail party will posit that if we ever solve world hunger, everyone will have so many babies that they’ll eat all the food, and the whole world will be reduced to one big field of cannibalistic toddlers. Thomas Malthus originally pioneered this depressing theory; that if read more »

Offshoring, Nonsense & Robots

Excepting this “recession” I keep hearing about, if you asked the average American “where have all the jobs gone?” they would likely say “China.” There’s also a high probability that they would further denounce those damned top hat-wearing plutocrats who shipped our jobs overseas, and the complicit politicians who permit said evil. We need to read more »

Robots, Scud Missiles & Free Trade

A friend and I recently got into an argument about whether or not we should reduce tariffs, as happened a few months back with South Korea. My logic was, “Sure, free trade benefits everybody, and the more investments and markets a foreign nation has over here, the less likely they are to encourage people to read more »

Aliens Aren’t Visiting Earth

Using the most conservative estimate possible, I calculated that there are at least 1.75 trillion other planets in the universe. If we use a moderate (and more likely estimate) there are upwards of 45 trillion planets. (Science wonks are welcome to e-mail me better figures. I will probably stand by my position that the number read more »

Why I’m Hoarding Gold (soon)

Recently an economist friend confided to me that the dollar as a currency will probably pop like a balloon in about a decade. (It will not “deflate.” Deflation means completely different things when you’re talking about currencies and balloons.) Needless to say the notion of our economy imploding ten years hence and everybody standing around read more »

Housing Prices & Cost of Living Adjustment

Yesterday I returned to Washington. The cost of everything skyrocketed the moment our plane smacked tarmac, so later tonight I will resume skulking the streets of Georgetown clutching a scalpel and bottle of ether to try and eek out my Netflicks subscription through pilfered kidneys. My last article used beer as a microcosm for determining read more »

Beer Prices & Cost of Living Adjustment

As I have detected no correlation whatsoever between living in Washington DC and actually obtaining a job in Washington DC, I decided to extend my holiday visit in Oklahoma by a week. This afforded me the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and tornadoes, to hit on girls less immediately put-off by my “career” read more »

How to Make an International Bank Transfer

Scotland has finally sent me my money back, and just in the nick of time: it’s the holidays and I need that cash to make sure the Heaton family Christmas tree is properly stocked with bottles of whiskey wrapped in festive paper as if decorated by flamboyantly homosexual street vagrants. Whilst living in Scotland last read more »