My bachelor's degree is in economics, so I figure that I ought to have something to say about it. Maybe some day.
In the mean time, I think that a good place to start is with facts, therefore, I am starting to collect economic facts. I will post facts as I find them in the media as well as build an archive of other resources. The economic fact archive is here, and I just started a new section for the economics of learning.
Here is the worldometers which displays all kind of interesting real-time facts.
From CNN.com 8/25/07
The cheapest car in the world is being released during a time of good fortune for many Indians. While two-thirds of the country's population still struggles on $1 a day, millions of people here have emerged from grinding poverty into the lower middle class.
What is amazing about this snippet is not the fact that India is producing a cheap car, but that two-thirds of India's population still lives on $1 a day! Half the world's population lives on less than $2 a day according to http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
Hmmm, so the world's population is about about 6.7 billion, and half is 3.35 billion, so it would cost about $2.4 trillion a year to double the income of the poorest 50% of the world. Seems like a good place to start; I wonder how one would go about distributing it? One could spin some really interesting numbers by looking at this list of the world's GDP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29
The bottom line is that the world's GDP is about $48 trillion, with the US having about $13 trillion and the Euorpean Union with $14 trillion, which are interesting numbers in their own right.
Having pondered this for a moment, it is not as simple as it seems. It is possible that someone living on $2 a day in one part of the world is living better than someone living on $5 a day in another part of the world.
From Wikipedia - World Economy
Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum...
The phrase "losing control" is what grabbed me here; nations as political entities are losing control both internally and externally. There was also a factoid from globalissues.org which said that 51 of the 100 world's wealthiest bodies are corporations. Tie all of that together and you could come to the conclusion that an international corporation might be better able to address world issues than geopolitical bodies, or even groups of geopolitical bodies such as the UN.
From cnn.com 7/25/07
The paper reports that GM has about 280 dealers for every point of U.S. market share, while Ford and Chrysler have about 270. By contrast, Toyota Motor has about 1,400 dealers and 16 percent market share, which gives it only about 90 for each market-share point.
I have often wondered how much of the US automakers' woes have to do with their dealers getting a large portion of the profit from the sale of the vehicle and even the maintenance. It also rairses the question of how all of the this impacts the overall competitiveness of the US automakers, expecially as it relates to the issue that we hear so much about; the cost and burden of health benefits for the manufacturers employees and retirees?
From cnn.com 7/15/05
De Beers estimates the potential market for industrial diamond applications at $50 billion -- nearly as much as the $60 billion worldwide gem diamond jewelry sales and several times the $16.7 billion worth of diamonds in that jewelry.
From cnn.com 9/18/04
Reality check: Over the long run, housing has risen at around one percentage point a year ahead of inflation. That implies more T-bill-like returns in the future.
In Boston, the median home sells for 3.3 times median income. In San Diego it's 5.2 times and in San Francisco 4.2 times.With $6.8 trillion in mortgage debt at year-end, banks now own 45 percent of our homes, the highest level on record.
From cnn.com 9/17/04
In the 1980s, many Savings and Loans failed because of poor management, risky loans and investments, and in some cases, fraud. Taxpayers were left with a $132 billion tab to cover federal guarantees to S&L customers.
From cnn.com 9/16/04
Fed Reserve says net worth rose to $45.9 trillion from $45.3 trillion in the previous quarter... Total U.S. borrowing, excluding the financial sector, rose at a seasonally adjusted 7.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter, slightly slower than its upwardly revised 9.1 percent growth in the first quarter.... The total level of nonfinancial debt outstanding at the end of the second quarter was $23.220 trillion, in seasonally adjusted terms. (ms - $45.9 trillion divided by 280 million citizens = $160,714 per US citizen, I wonder how that is skewed across the population? See: http://oregonstate.edu/instruction/anth484/wpsipp.html or http://www.lcurve.org/)
If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.) - from http://www.lcurve.org/
From economist.com 8/30/04
....The poverty line it eventually adopted, a line first drawn by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration, remains in place today, adjusted for inflation, but otherwise scarcely altered. Two parents, bringing up two kids, are judged to be poor if they live on less than $18,660 a year (for an unencumbered individual, the threshold is $9,573). On Thursday August 26th, the Census Bureau revealed that 35.9m Americans, or 12.5% of the population, fell below this poverty line in 2003, 1.3m more than the year before.
It is worth reading the entire article at http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3146724
Who are the people at economist.com, you ask? Know your sources; here is a link to the Economist Group's description of themselves: http://www.economist.com/help/DisplayHelp.cfm?folder=663377#About_The_Economist
From business2.com 8/30/04
Americans spend about $30 billion a year on music
From WashingtonPost.com 8/26/04
The Census Bureau's definition of poverty varies by the size of the household. For instance, the threshold for a family of four was $18,810, while for two people it was $12,015.
Meanwhile, the median household income, when adjusted for inflation, remained basically flat last year at $43,318. Whites, blacks and Asians saw no noticeable change, but income fell 2.6 percent for Hispanics to $32,997. Whites had the highest income at $47,777.
From CNN.com 8/26/04
The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.5 percent from 12.1 percent -- as the poverty rate among children jumped to its highest level in 10 years. The rate for adults 18-to-64 and 65 and older remained steady.
The bureau also said that the share of aggregate income for the lowest 20 percent of Americans fell to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent.
From CNN.com 8/24/04
......a procedure that could help reduce the $221 billion America now spends on cardiac health care .
From fortune.com 8/17/04
On wireless telecommunications technology: Wireless is now a $325 billion industry that has altered the way many people around the world communicate and even behave.... Wireless has also remade the $500 billion U.S. communications industry
From CNN.com 8/11/04
Bush is talking about investigating the possibility of replacing the IRS with a national sales tax. If so.... Rep. John Linder, R-Ga., has introduced a bill -- with 54 House co-sponsors -- to replace the income tax with a 23 percent sales tax on all purchases....and with provisions for low income and/or medical exceptions.... In fact, that 23 percent rate is probably not what the rate would actually be, anyway. Bartlett said in the real world, it would be closer to 30 percent.
From CNN.com, 07/30/04
The White House said Friday the federal budget deficit will grow to $445 billion this fiscal year, a new record....