Now It’s Chocolate

According to one recent news article, a Cadbury chocolate bar is missing 2 chunks but the price is the same. First we had a hedge fund trying to corner the cocoa bean market. Then came political turmoil in the world’s…

More Conspicuous (Coffee) Consumption

The same story. But now it is about coffee. Increasingly affluent, the Chinese have begun to drink more coffee (in addition to using more oil, eating more meat and buying more handbags). When talking about China, the International Coffee Organization…

Bikes-For-Hire and the British Coastline

London’s new bikes-for-hire program is about more than bikes. Launched this summer, the program had to solve a mismatch between supply and demand. In certain places there were too few bikes for the number of people who wanted them. In…

From China to Iowa

We can travel very quickly from China to Iowa. In an excellent report from The Economist on feeding the world, you can see how an increasingly affluent Chinese urban consumer affects many of us. One example connects more Chinese meat…

Oil Dilemmas

The good news? We are driving more again–more miles than any year since 2007. The bad news? We are driving more again–more miles than any year since 2007.. Here are the facts from a WSJ article. With the recession and higher…

Cotton Markets

On November 10, 2009, the price of 1 pound of cotton was 59.2 cents. A year later it was $1.02 and now, it is close to $1.90. For many of us, the result will be more expensive jeans, more polyester,…

Paying Less For a House

In an interesting Politico opinion column, journalist Michael Kinsley wonders why everyone seems to assume that climbing home prices are good. He points out that most people are happy when the prices of essentials like gas go down. So why…

Happy Rice Farmers

With a typical Egyptian household spending 38.3% of its budget on food in 2008, you can see why soaring food prices could fuel turmoil. But what about the other side? For Senegal farmer and trader, Ndeye Sarr Diop, rising rice…

A Race Between Supply and Demand

In a wonderful Chip Bok cartoon, a child starts by asking, “Why are gas prices so high?” and is told, “Turmoil in the Mid East.” Then, asking about the turmoil, he is told the source is “High Food Prices.” The…

Oscar Markets

Can a crowd be smarter than an individual? In The Wisdom of Crowds, business columnist James Surowiecki, says “Sometimes, yes.” Starting with a crowd betting on the weight of an ox and ending with the crowd and democracy, Surowiecki looks…