‘I Dream of Gini’ – Measuring Income Inequality

One of the problems with economics is that economists use complex words like “coefficient,” making a term like “Gini coefficient” unpopular before people even know what it means. If the term referred to some abstract number that people use to explain recessions it probably wouldn’t be worth explaining. This number, however, has been connected to fetal mortality and the likelihood that crazies will go shooting up our preschools, so it’s worth a little more than a dismissive glance.… [Read more]

The Cargo Cults of America

People do some funny things when they don’t understand what’s going on. In the 1940s, the U.S. built a lot of air strips on tropical islands where the most advanced technology was the fishing net. The inhabitants of these islands thought that the airplanes were almost as miraculous as the cargo they brought. They had no concept of industrial manufacturing, so when they decided that they wanted some of that cargo, the only way they could think to go about it was to imitate the strange behaviors of the people who received the cargo.… [Read more]

Not the Zombie Apocalypse

An interesting thing happened the other day. Some guy decided to eat some other guy’s face.  The details are a bit sketchy, but you can imagine that a lot of people were horrified. There were also a few people who were jubilant. You see, horrified people are really easy to manipulate, and a properly executed bit of misdirection can take good advantage of a properly horrified populace.… [Read more]

The Parasitic Economy

Even if we don’t understand all of the details, we’re familiar with how the economy works. People earn money by working, they spend that money on goods and services or invest it in businesses. In either case the majority of that money received by businesses goes towards paying wages, purchasing capital, and paying various forms of rent and leases.… [Read more]