Economic Ideas

Much more than money, economics is about tradeoffs. Thinking economically involves cost and benefit, marginal analysis and seeing that there is no free lunch. Econlife tries to convey these economic ideas, which serve as the foundation of economics and help people make decisions personally, professionally and as voters.

The Special Side of a New Twenty Dollar Bill

Harriet Tubman might soon be on a new twenty dollar bill. Enslaved in Maryland by the owner of a small farm, Harriet Tubman (c.1822-1913) ran away when she was approximately 18. She left her husband and family behind but repeatedly…

How Legos Helped to Build a Vaccination Center

Albrecht Broemme had to figure out the design of Germany’s Covid-19 vaccination centers at two airport terminals, a concert venue, a velodrome, an ice rink, and a convention hall. So, he used Legos. Below, Mr. Broemme is holding a picture…

When Does Money Make Us Feel Good?

In 1974, a University of Pennsylvania economist concluded that there was a happiness plateau. Yes, we feel increasingly good as our income grows. But not beyond $75,000. Called the Easterlin Paradox, even if your earnings continue upward, they don’t bring…

Why Amazon Is Buying a Freighter Fleet

Just 16 years ago, we needed a $25 minimum order to get Amazon’s free Super Saver Shipping for an 8 to 10 day wait. An extra $9.48 got us two-day delivery and $16.48, one day. But then in 2009, they…

Where and Why We Moved During 2020

We seem to be moving less: Let’s see where and why. Interstate Migration Where? U-Haul publishes an annual report of its top destinations. Comparing the net gain of the one-way trucks that enter to those that leave, they rank the…

A Bit of Bitcoin Geography

Our story starts in San Francisco with a programmer, Stefan Thomas, who has a cache of 7,002 Bitcoin worth approximately $220 million (on January 12). During 2011, he was given those Bitcoin for making this animated video. Do take a…

A Big Mac Mystery

The Economist created the Big Mac Index in 1986 to compare the price of the Big Mac in different countries. Their goal, they said, was to make exchange rate talk more “digestible.” However, the January 16 Index also generated some…

How to Pay For a $1.9 Trillion Package

Through massive pandemic aid, the 2020 CARES Act ballooned the federal deficit. With spending far exceeding revenue, the difference was $2.8 trillion:   Now, President-elect Biden has proposed a new $1.9 trillion relief package. It includes payments to Americans who…

Grading Global Economic Health

Last month, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its Global Competitiveness Report. The topics are broad and the questions are varied. Based on Executive Opinion Surveys from 126 economies, the answers are supposed to provide insight about short and long…

Celebrating Wikipedia’s Birthday

During a 2007 episode of The Office, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) said Wikipedia was “the best thing ever.” His reason? “Anyone in the world can write anything they want on any subject.” The show’s writers thought they had Michael expressing…