The Nanny Nation

Barry Ritholtz, in his new book Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy writes, "The iconic image is the American cowboy. You can picture him on a cattle drive, wearily watching over his herd. All he needed to get by were his wits, his horse -- and his trusty Winchester."

Will the "Green Revolution" Ever Hit Africa?

To most people in the developed world, agricultural science is a bit of an afterthought. We go to the grocery store and decide between small, vibrantly red cherry tomatoes and charmingly misshapen heirloom tomatoes. We buy big, juicy oranges and know that when we peel them the juice will run over our fingers and the sticky scent will linger. We can choose between 10 different kinds of apples, no matter the season. At no point during our shopping do most of us stop to think about the technology used to produce this bounty. ...

Navigating the Natural Resource Curse

When oil was discovered in 2007 off the shores of small, sturdy Ghana, the country's government officials called the discovery "perhaps the greatest managerial challenge" the country had faced since independence. John Kufuor, Ghana's president at the time, warned that "instead of a being a blessing, oil sometimes proves the undoing of many ... nations who come by this precious commodity."

Ghana's reaction no doubt surprised oil-starved observers in developed countries, but the Ghanaian officials were referring to the "resource curse" that has wreaked havoc in other resource-rich, developing countries. Natural-resource wealth not only increases civil violence but, in a bizarre development paradox, is linked to lower economic growth.

Is There a Market for "Conscious Capitalists"?

The iconic libertarian Milton Friedman once said “The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” Michael Strong, founder of innovative charter schools, and John Mackey, C.E.O. of Whole Foods, agree with Friedman, and have their own libertarian vision. They […]

Swine Flu and the Economy

Feeling a little feverish? Throat a little scratchy? You may be relieved to know that the last time a great swine flu epidemic was predicted it didn’t materialize. In 1976, the U.S. government predicted that 1 million Americans would die from a swine flu epidemic — but only one did. Meanwhile, this post at Foreign […]

Animal Spirits: A Q&A With George Akerlof

It’s safe to say that macroeconomists haven’t been very popular lately. In fact, many people blame the profession for such sins as failing to predict the housing bubble and encouraging the deregulation of the financial industry. In their new book Animal Spirits, the economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller propose a new macroeconomic framework — […]

Are Carbon Offsets Too Good to Be True?

Feeling a little guilty about that flight to London last month? No problem — you can offset that trip with credits from a reforestation project in Nicaragua, available at The thriving carbon-offset market in the U.S. allows individuals and companies to voluntarily offset their carbon footprints relatively painlessly — just point, click, and pay. […]

A "Spasmodic, Improvisational Response": Richard Posner Tackles the New Depression

Please welcome to our corps of in-house bloggers Dwyer Gunn, a young writer who has studied economics at Wellesley, worked in finance, and been a research assistant at the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory. “The biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” as described by Richard Posner, began in December of 2007 amidst plunging […]