The US states are massively in debt, and public-sector layoffs are causing unemployment to stay high, even while the private sector recovers.
The Federal Reserve can create dollars from nothing, and at the moment inflation is apparently a minor concern compared to deflation.
What would happen if the Federal Reserve assumed much or all of the debt of the states? They could pay off the debts ex nihilo
at a speed of their choosing, while allowing the states to create or save jobs. They could also simply grant money to those states that have relatively little debt. Does anything like this happen, and should it? [Not an economist]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Sep 14, 2010 -
Is there an economic measure that describes what proportion of GDP is produced by firms of different sizes? [more inside]
posted by nowoutside
on Sep 13, 2010 -
I'm reading Marx's "Capital" Vol. I and I'm looking for a "Dummy's Guide" to his economic theories. [more inside]
posted by facetious
on Sep 11, 2010 -
While looking at used Priuses on Craigslist (Minneapolis), I discovered a dealer in Faribault, MN
that sells "repairable" cars. I started wondering where the money was in "repairable" cars and whether it was a scam or not. [more inside]
posted by radioaction
on Sep 1, 2010 -
Help me find the name of this "Marxist Sceptic" thinker. I remember reading on aldaily.com within the last few months about a Marxist thinker who essentially came to the conclusion that though desirable, no socialist system of government would exist in the immediate future. I'm not sure if it was an obituary or something else.
posted by atrazine
on Aug 20, 2010 -
I'm going to be starting up a new research agenda on the economics of marijuana policy with an undergraduate student this fall, and I'm looking for materials which can help both me and my student navigate through the legal jungle that is US marijuana policy. I had a few questions. [more inside]
posted by scunning
on Jun 30, 2010 -
Approximately how much of the productivity gains of the past 125 years has been a result of using fossil fuels? [more inside]
posted by TheOtherSide
on Jun 30, 2010 -
A desperate college student needs your advice, and also needs his homework checked. [more inside]
posted by andrewsa
on Jun 27, 2010 -
Is this poll bogus? A conservative friend has sent me a link to this poll
, conducted by Zogby International (which appears reputable), that gives low scores on "economic enlightenment" to women, the less-wealthy, infrequent Wal-Mart shoppers, non-Nascar fans, the unmarried, union members, Obama voters, etc., and doesn't correlate it with college attendance. [more inside]
posted by rleamon
on Jun 9, 2010 -
Our stores are full of billions of items. What percentage of these things actually get bought and used? What happens to it all in the end? [more inside]
posted by serena15221
on Jun 4, 2010 -
Can you think of examples where a firm tried marketing a more expensive "fair trade" version of a standardized manufactured commodity in parallel? [more inside]
posted by eagle-bear
on May 19, 2010 -
Where can I learn - in a hurry - the technological basics of the telecommunications/internet infrastructure? [more inside]
posted by moorooka
on May 14, 2010 -
How can I as an "economist" make the most of an extended internship interview with a financial planner? [more inside]
posted by handle_unknown
on May 12, 2010 -
Why doesn't the law of supply and demand seem to apply to certain professionals? For instance, there seems to be an abundance of lawyers. I've never met a lawyer who was too busy and had to turn down work. Yet they all seem to charge $250-500 or more an hour. I've also looked for programmers and designers. It's extremely difficult to find anyone good, and when you do, they're almost always too busy to take any additional work. Yet they still charge much less than lawyers. What factors are causing this?
posted by lsemel
on May 11, 2010 -
Can anyone recommend a book which explains the basics of economic theory in a way accessible to physicists/mathematicians? [more inside]
posted by snoktruix
on Apr 24, 2010 -
I'm 24 and I already have an undergraduate degree. Now I want to study something completely different: economics. Turns out it's a little trickier than I first thought [rant inside] [more inside]
posted by Zen_is_Lev
on Apr 22, 2010 -
Is there an 'expiry date' on your studies when it comes to being admitted to a PhD? I'm thinking of working for a while first. [more inside]
posted by moorooka
on Apr 22, 2010 -
The volcanic activity of this past week has revealed a significant weakness in our existing infrastructure.
But what happens if Eyjafjallajokull's big sister Hekla erupts as it did in 1912? I am less interested in the most obvious impacts, but rather am fascinated by the unseen shifts that would have to occur in the background. [more inside]
posted by ghostpony
on Apr 19, 2010 -
What are the best articles and books that thoughtfully look back and analyze the financial crisis so far and its causes?
posted by shivohum
on Apr 18, 2010 -
Does anyone know of a quick hit economic dashboard where I can get all the economic data in a snapshot? [more inside]
posted by blahblah
on Apr 13, 2010 -
I last flew in September and the price was 300 bucks for one way non-stop flight. Now, in April, it's 600 dollars for the non-stop, and the cheapest flight has a layover, AND is 80 (380) dollars more. Is there a reason for the large increase in flying costs these past 6 months? [more inside]
posted by symbioid
on Apr 13, 2010 -
In an OLS regression the coefficient is b = cov(X,Y)/var(X). What is the plain english interpretation of this coefficient in terms of variations (ie. b is the variation in Y that can be explained by variation in X)?
How does this relate to r^2?
posted by bucksox
on Apr 8, 2010 -
I just read this in passing: "The State of Washington pretty well went broke on the Townsend Plan (during the 1930s) without getting the economic benefits it had hoped for. (I simplify, but it's a reasonable summary.)"
I can find references to Francis Townsend
, and his plan. What I haven't been able to find are any specific references to the state of Washington trying it out, with middling to bad effects. Anyone? Bueller? Thanks in advance.
posted by aurelian
on Mar 22, 2010 -
Simple economics simulation for demonstrating economic concepts and instilling a gut feel for what various regulatory interventions would do? [more inside]
posted by ahaynes
on Mar 12, 2010 -
Help me get my head around the rationale or philosophy behind the budget for the U.S. Department of Defense. According to my rough numbers, it is more than 10 times that of the Department of Education. What is the justification / business case? Jobs? DARPA? China? I don't get it. Please enlighten me.
posted by jasondigitized
on Mar 8, 2010 -
Economics for clotheshorses: Help me learn how consumer goods and services & manufacturing and business practices have changed for better and/or worse. [more inside]
posted by stuck on an island
on Feb 25, 2010 -
I've heard it said that (in theory) the advent of a cure for cancer would cause a serious financial crisis because of the vast scale of the healthcare complex devoted to current treatments. So, the obvious question: Is there any credible evidence that promising (not woo-woo) therapies for diseases such as cancer and diabetes have been derailed because of the sheer scale of financial and institutional resources invested in the status quo?
posted by dacoit
on Feb 17, 2010 -
From a Reuters newsreport
about Greece's government response plan to their economic meltdown: "From 1. Jan. 2011, every transaction above 1,500 euros between natural persons and businesses, or between businesses, will not be considered legal if it is done in cash. Transactions will have to be done through debit or credit cards" Are they doing this for any other reason than making it easier to collect a sales tax? How can they enforce it? What will happen if someone pays for an item with over 1500 euros in cash, will someone repossess it? Have other countries done something like this?
posted by Kattullus
on Feb 15, 2010 -
When I was in 4th (maybe 5th) grade, we were shown a series of educational programs where a dude with magical powers helped kids solve everyday problems (what leisure activity is the best? how should I invest my allowance to get what I most desire?) through basic ecnomic principles. What is this show? [more inside]
posted by codacorolla
on Feb 5, 2010 -
The story of how Corporations became legal people using the 14th amendment is pretty famous. But that's a US phenomenon. How did it work out in other countries? Are corporations legal people in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia etc? [more inside]
posted by moorooka
on Jan 22, 2010 -
Profit has been an effective motivator for progress in a variety of areas in our society. But often when left unchecked by regulation or social norms, the drive for profits leads to exploitation and abuse. What are some examples of systems where profit is still an effective driver, but where regulations do a good job of curbing abuse?
posted by parallax7d
on Jan 13, 2010 -
What common salad bar items provide the best ratio of weight versus nutrient value for optimal cost-effectiveness? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock
on Jan 8, 2010 -
With hundreds of years of accumulated data on how economies 'work' available for analysis, how is it possible that it is still unclear (it seems) whether or not - and to what extent - a government should boost an economy that is in a slowdown? [more inside]
posted by woodblock100
on Dec 27, 2009 -
"Sweatshops"? Overseas labor.
looking for pros and cons; discussion on how to define/evaluate whether work done overseas is beneficial or harmful for the workers and country involved. [more inside]
posted by ebesan
on Dec 19, 2009 -
I used to have a really nice chart showing the growth of the US GDP from the early 1800s through now. I think it was a Fed chart with the recession eras shaded. Can anyone help me find this?
posted by aburd
on Dec 9, 2009 -
What if all the major world economies defaulted on their external debts at once? [more inside]
posted by Geppp
on Dec 8, 2009 -
Is it better, environmentally speaking, to buy a physical CD for £6 and have it mailed to me, or to buy a digital copy for £7? [more inside]
posted by mstillwell
on Nov 30, 2009 -
Why is my energy company asking me to cut back on energy use? The grocery store doesn't try to get me to buy less food. The gas station doesn't try to help me get better mileage. [more inside]
posted by ecorrocio
on Nov 11, 2009 -
Considering grad school for public policy, economics, international development. Help me sort out my life. [more inside]
posted by ropeladder
on Nov 3, 2009 -