economics

Why Are These Massive Cargo Ships Trapped At 29 US Ports?

You’ve probably read about it, even if it didn’t really register. Something about a backlog. Something about unions. Imports and exports. Now the dispute that’s paralysing 29 ports on the US West Coast has the potential to affect all of us — and to empty the shelves in countless stores.


How Asteroid Mining Could Pay For Our First Space Colony

Many of us dream of living on other planets, but are two things we’ll need before it can actually happen: money and raw materials. Now some companies say they have a solution to this problem. They will mine asteroids for valuable metal ores, and for basic resources like water that we’ll need once we’re far from Earth.


The First Licensed US Bitcoin Exchange Will Open Today

The bitcoin service provider Coinbase is set to make history later today: it’s going to launch the first licensed US exchange for the currency, approved in 24 jurisdictions around the country.


Brazil Is Keeping Its Promise To Avoid The US Internet

Brazil was not bluffing last year, when it said that it wanted to disconnect from the United States-controlled internet due to the NSA’s obscenely invasive surveillance tactics. The country is about to stretch a cable from the northern city of Fortaleza all the way to Portugal, and they have vowed not to use a single US vendor to do it.


Questions For The '90s: Should Robots Pay Taxes? Can Africa Be Saved?

The March-April 1986 issue of The Futurist magazine looked at the far off, futuristic decade of the 1990s. In an article titled “Issues for the 1990s”, Edith Weiner and Arnold Brown examined what they saw as the emerging concerns of the world. Well, the world as seen from 1980s America.


Nigeria's Using A Biometric ID Card That Doubles As A Debit Card

Make all the “Dear Friend” email scam jokes that you want — Nigeria now has one of the most sophisticated government-issued ID systems in the world. A new nationwide card that rolls out this week collects biometric information to prevent fraud and includes a debit card feature backed by MasterCard.


Swag, Vapes And Econ: My Day At The North American Bitcoin Conference

Bitcoin may have emerged from a shadowy corner of the internet, but soon, it will have its own government affairs office in Washington. According to the crypto-currency’s biggest advocates, who assembled at the second North American Bitcoin Conference this weekend in Chicago, Bitcoin is all grown up. In reality, it’s entering adolescence — which is way more interesting.


What Gives Paper Money Its Actual Value?

Money is just tinted paper printed with different numbers on it. So what gives the ol’ greenbacks its value? The bills used to be tied to the gold standard, but now it’s up to the Federal Reserve to control how many bills there are. So why can’t they just decide to print out ridiculous amounts of bills to make everyone rich?


A Glimpse Of How We'll Use Our Land In 2051

It’s the year 2051. Welcome to a view of the American landscape. Urban areas have swollen with people. Range and pasturelands have shrunk. There’s a bit more forest than there was back in 2014, a result of economic incentives driving more timber production. These are a few of the predictions of a new study on how people will use privately held U.S. lands in coming decades.


Artisanal Bread And Wine Might Be Bad For Australia's Economy

You’d think a renewed focus on handmade products would be good for a country’s economy. That’s not the sentiment in Australia, with a new report claiming that handcrafted industries which require more employee hours, like bread baking and winemaking, are to blame for the country’s sagging productivity.