A Closer Look At Consumer Spending

We always hear reporters saying that, “Consumer spending makes up more than 70% of the economy…” Mike Mandel, former chief economist at Newsweek, believes the reporters are misleading us. Yes, the consumer component of GDP is 70% of all spending.…

Is It Over?

Imagine a “u” attached to a slightly (or considerably) higher upside down “u” and you are looking at 2 business cycles. A business cycle includes a peak, a contraction, a trough, and an expansion. Most people think that this recession started…

The Economic Significance of BRIs

When slicing a bagel, most people use a knife.  Others prefer the bagel guillotine or the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer.  With annual sales near 80,000, the bagel guillotine has been described as “history’s most successful bagel-controlling device” by its inventor. In…

PIIGS at the Trough

Debt can be complicated. 1.National borrowing is good. It leads to growth and recovery. In 1792, Alexander Hamilton said that a national debt could be a blessing. In 1936, John Maynard Keynes said that debt was good. Each realized that…

The Best Places to Start a Business

Timothy Taylor, in his Teaching Company course, “America and the New Global Economy,” says that Mahatma Gandhi wanted farms and businesses to remain small so that there would be no exploitation. After Gandhi, the business climate remained unwelcoming with the…

The GDP and Measuring Happiness

Ed Koch, when he was NYC

Measuring Happiness

On September 27, I questioned whether anyone could develop a better measure of well-being than the GDP even when Dr. Stiglitz’s commission suggested the possibility. Perhaps confirming the challenge, several lists of state happiness levels were recently publicized. The 2008…

A Stimulating Idea From China

The place is Inner Mongolia. The city is Ordos. Actually, within 18 miles, there are two Ordos. One looks like a normal city. Built with stimulus money, the second Ordos looks complete except for one detail; there are no people.…

Challenging the GDP

Articles describing Dr. Stiglitz’s conclusions about the weaknesses of the GDP omit one key piece of information. Can an equally objective statistic replace it? When Simon Kuznets developed the GDP concept during the 1930s, he selected quantifiable variables that could…