A New Kind of Map Where Norway is Next to Peru

To grasp the huge size of the U.S. GDP we can identify countries that have similar nominal output to individual states like California and Brazil.

How the Trans-Pacific Partnership is About New Balance and Nike

Looking at tires, fashion and NAFTA, we can see the lost jobs opposition to free trade and the pro free trade response.

Printing Money: Canada’s Hundred Dollar Bill Problem

Does the Canadian $100 bill melt? During November 2011, Canada started circulating state-of-the-art polymer $100 bills. Very tough to counterfeit and unusually resilient, plastic-based currency is supposed to be far better than the traditional paper (made from linen and cotton) bill.…

Election Economics: How Successful is the US Healthcare System?

It might be tough to use statistics to judge US health care. Among OECD countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), from 1980 to 1999, for life expectancy, the US ranked #19 and Canada was #5. However, the order flips–US…

Tricky Oil Questions

1. Asked to list the world’s biggest oil consumers, most of us would be correct if we started with the US and China. With the US at 20.5% and China, 11.4% for 2011, we are almost at one-third of world…

Should We Keep the Penny?

Because cost is up and use is down, the Royal Canadian Mint stopped producing pennies and, during the fall, will stop distributing those that exist. Should we also eliminate the penny? Pennies are expensive. At 2 1/2 cents a piece, making…

Do You Care If You’ve Got Mail?

In Canada, when postal workers went on strike because of wage cut proposals, many people were saying, “Who Cares?” In the U.S., Hallmark and Amazon have said that they do care about the future of the Postal Service. If asked,…

Greener Money

Hearing that Canada was switching to plastic money this year, I imagined…plastic. It turns out that plastic money looks and feels pretty much like the cotton-based paper currency we now use.  Why make the change? Money was one reason. Although…