A Trade Dispute About My Washing Machine

I suspect that my new LG washing machine was more expensive than it should have been. Made by a South Korean firm, this washing machine (and others like it) was the target of a complaint that Whirlpool filed with the US Department…

What Can We Learn From Downton Abbey Economics?

Downton Abbey can tell us a lot about the British economy…but not everything. We know the aristocracy is struggling. Many of the 700 families who had controlled 80% of all acreage during the 1870s faced financial collapse 50 years later.…

Income Tax History: Timeless Issues

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin said that “…in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” With taxes, we can also be certain that the system will be complex and people will question its fairness. Complexity: Because professional athletes pay…

Big Macs and Currency Manipulators

In China, a Big Mac costs close to the equivalent of $2.44. That same burger in the US is $4.20. The basic idea is PPP, purchasing power parity. The dollar can buy more when the yuan is undervalued. And President…

Playing Chicken With China?

Yesterday’s headlines about the US taking China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for unfair auto and auto parts subsidies took me to chicken feet and The Economist’s Sinodependency Index. Knowing the major firms that depend on China for revenue…

A Made in the USA Mandate

To introduce our first international trade discussion in class, I usually ask students to check where their clothing and shoes have been made. Finding labels that say “Made in China, Made in Thailand, Made in Peru…,” they first see how…

World Trade Spin

We might be able to divide the world between economic thinkers and everyone else. I noted yesterday that economist Gregory Mankiw, as President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers chair, said that outsourcing was probably a plus in the long run.…

The Norwegian Butter Crisis

Reserves were low, demand was high and prices skyrocketed. No, not oil. Butter. Butter demand surged in Norway several months ago when a low carb high fat diet swept the nation. At the same time, the supply of butter plunged…

Apple Looks Unappetizing in Argentina

By Mira Korber, guest blogger. While wandering the streets of Buenos Aires, I wondered why the shop windows seemed devoid of any new Apple products. Electronics stores touted the antepenultimate model of the iPod Nano as the new (overpriced) great…

Are X-Men Human?

The U.S. government had to decide whether X-Men are human. Our story starts with the U.S. Customs office. Included in a very long list of items that enter the U.S. are “dolls” and “toys.” According to Customs officials, any figure…