A Modern Medieval Nightmare

Streets that lack asphalt, houses without water and electricity and whole communities wanting in proper access to schooling and healthcare— while this might sound like a description of a medieval town this is the reality for hundred millions of people in India. The Indian slums are known as prime examples of the economic theory of the poverty traps. What this theory states is that a certain set of factors such as low level of savings, poor education and/or poor healthcare can cause a self-perpet...
More

Sweden’s experiment with the 6-hour work day

Happier staff.  Increased profits.  Lower turnover rate.  These are just a few of the reported benefits of the six-hour work day, adopted this year by employers across Sweden - from retirement homes to car centers and hospitals. This approach is not entirely new.  Thirteen years ago, Toyota service centers in the coastal city of Gothenburg cut shifts for their mechanics.  The company reported rising profits and increased staff satisfaction as a result, and the concept has been in place ever s...
More

Chapter 9: Bankruptcy

Currently struggling with a $72 billion debt Puerto Rico, the US territory, has been approved to appear in the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to restructure a portion of its large debt.  The small island territory first began struggling back in 2006 when a recession hit.  Over 9 years that recession has not let up, and the debt continued to pile on and is now 64% larger than it originally was.  With the debt situation showing absolutely no signs of improving, Puerto Rico previously passed a law all...
More

China Marks a Reform Milestone

Buried in the maelstrom surrounding the terrorist attacks in Paris, International Monetary Fund staffers recommended on Friday that the Chinese renminbi join the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies. There are two requirements for a currency to be accepted into this elite echelon: it must be, in the words of IMF director Christine Lagarde, widely used and freely usable. While the currency has been by any metric widely used for a while now, Friday’s announcement was seen as a v...
More

When a huge corruption takes place in a huge nonprofit organization – the 2015 FIFA corruption scandal

The FIFA World Cup that takes place every four years is one of the most celebrated sports gatherings in the world. Millions of soccer fans around the globe would go to the stadiums or sit in front of their televisions for hours, while the players will toil hard on the fields hoping to represent the pride of their home countries and catch the eyes of scouts of prestigious soccer clubs. The entire atmosphere seems positive and meaningful, to say the least. Thus, to many soccer fans it might sou...
More

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Brazil

Brazil has had little to celebrate as of late. Unemployment has jumped to 7.6% in August, up from 5% a year ago. With an inflation rate of 9.5% significantly greater than an increase in nominal wages of 6.3% over the last 12 months, real wages have actually fallen by 3.2%. Household consumption, the main driver of Brazil’s recent economic growth, is thus expected to fall by 4.0% by the end of the year. The Central Bank of Brazil now expects GDP to contract by 2.7% in 2015, accentuating a recessi...
More

Greece Staves Off a Crisis…For Now

After weeks of tense, acrimonious negotiations, the Eurogroup of European finance ministers and the government of Greece hashed out an agreement to extend the troubled southern European’s bailout program by six months. In broad terms, the agreement allows Greece to access an additional $273 billion from its bailout, but only after certain conditions set by the Eurogroup are met. Greece will have to submit a series of reforms to the IMF and EU by Monday and if they aren’t sufficient, another E...
More

How Greece’s Debt Crisis Could Collide with the War in Ukraine

The landslide election victory for the far-left SYRIZA in January’s Greek elections has led to fear in many European capitals that Greece could move into Russia’s orbit. The current and most pressing issue for Greece is whether or not its government and the European Union will agree to an extension of the fiscally troubled nation’s $273 billion bailout. The present disagreements between the two sides are stark. After a meeting Wednesday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis did not even cons...
More

Where in the World is Commie San Diego?

Perhaps you remember the hullabaloo a while back over the Initial Public Offering of the Alibaba Group in America. It was a joyous occasion, with many a news anchor prattling on about record numbers and almost certainly more than a few lines of cocaine snorted off of Wall Street glass tables. But there was also a tinge of sadness in the investment bonanza. An old rival of these United States passed away that day, one whom we stood toe to toe with several times over the past few decades. But thos...
More

The Middle East is in Crisis. So Why is the Price of Oil Plunging?

A terrorist group is seizing key oil fields in northern Iraq. Libya lacks a definitive central government. The United States and the European Union are actively sanctioning two of the world’s top five oil producers, Russia and Iran. Five years ago, the current geopolitical climate may have been cause for a surge in oil prices, but today it is the backdrop of a fall to the lowest price level oil has seen nearly in four years. The precipitous decline can be attributed to a complex web of geopoliti...
More