Caffeine Highs and Lows

Among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, euro-zone consumers are cutting back. As one Milan café owner explained, “Since the beginning of the year most of our regulars cut their coffees from around four to two a day. Sometimes,…

Beer Economics

In China, 1/2 liter of beer costs 9 minutes of work. To calculate how many minutes of work it takes to buy beer in 150 countries, Swiss bank UBS researchers divided the median wage in that country by the price of 1/2…

Pork Problems

Announcing the cancellation of this year’s bacon eating contest, Major League Eating (“the world body that governs all stomach-centric sports’) said,  “We cannot, in good conscience, allow [top ranked eater] Joey Chestnut to eat bacon during a global pork shortage,…We…

Living Solo: Part 2

Soup and ready-made meals sales are soaring in Brazil. The reason is probably more singles. In the United Arab Emirates, if you are over 30 and female, there is a 60% chance you are unmarried. For Japan, 31.5% of all households…

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…

Who Really Won the Olympics?

Sometimes it is tough to decide who really is #1. Ask me who won the Olympics and I, as a former history teacher, might say the Mongol Empire. If you were to outline the Mongol Empire (1280AD) on a map,…

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…

(Mc)Wages Around the World

It can be tough to compare wages around the world. While lots of people could be called iPhone assemblers or auto workers or t-shirt makers, depending on the country, factory conditions, time off, the work day, all really differ. Not…