Protesters ask the government to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. The 1933 act, which separated the activities of commercial and investment banks, was partially repealed in 1999, and some people think this may have contributed to the Great Recession. Charles Hutchins/FLckr/CC By 2.0 According to legend, the 17th-century French King Louis XIV once called a meeting of wealthy businessmen and industrialists and asked what the monarchy could do to support the economy. Their response — "Leave us alone." Over the ensuing centuries, the economic policy that became known as "laissez-faire" (French for "leave it alone") has been embraced by free-market capitalists and demonized by progressive reformers. But rather than praise or bash the policy, let's explore the economic rationale behind laissez-faire and see how it really works in action. Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand Known as both the "father of economics" and the "father of capitalism," no figure did more to extol the … [Read more...] about How Does Laissez-Faire Economics Really Work?
How monetary system works
National currencies are vitally important to the way modern economies operate. They allow us to consistently express the value of an item across borders of countries, oceans, and cultures. Wealth can be easily stored or transported as currency. Currencies are also deeply embedded in our cultures and our psyche. Think about how familiar you are with the price of things. If you've grown up in the United States, you think of everything in "dollars," just like you think about distances in inches and miles. On January 1, 2002, the euro became the single currency of 12 member states of the European Union. This will make it the second largest currency in the world (the U.S. dollar being the largest). It will also be the largest currency event in the history of the world. Twelve national currencies will evaporate and be replaced by the euro. In this article, we'll look at the monumental task of changing 12 countries' entire monetary systems to a new, single system, and why this … [Read more...] about How the Euro Works
Depending on who’s defining it, to whom, and why, SB Nation is either a popular website best-known for puckish, irreverent coverage and such whimsical projects as Jon Bois’s 17776, or a sprawling network of “team” or “fan” websites, each tightly focused on a particular topic, like the New York Mets or professional boxing. In either iteration, it is a foundational element of one of digital media’s foremost enterprises. Twelve years ago, SB Nation began as a do-it-yourself venture, by and for fans, more a community of communities than a journalistic endeavor. It has since evolved and rebranded itself and emerged as Vox Media, which was valued at $1 billion in 2015 after a $200 million round of funding from NBCUniversal. The SB Nation network itself, consisting of 319 team websites, has remained in place, a vast operation read by millions of people every month and powered by unpaid and underpaid labor. These sites are run by managers who are … [Read more...] about How SB Nation Profits Off An Army Of Exploited Workers
Football Image GalleryMike Zarrilli/Getty ImagesQuarterback Matthew Stafford #7 of the Georgia Bulldogs gets a pass off while linebacker Phillip Wheeler #41 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets closes in. See more football pictures. BCS stands for Bowl Championship Series. It turns out to be one of the most complex statistical systems that we can encounter in daily life. Unlike other National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports, college football does not have an end-of-season tournament or playoff series. Instead, any Division I-A team with a winning record can play in a post-season competition called a bowl game. These games bring publicity and money to the colleges and universities that participate in them. But with winners of 25 different bowls all claiming to be the number one, it's been hard to call any one team the "National Champion." In 1998, the Bowl Championship Series debuted and promised to solve this problem. The BCS divides the glut of post-season games into two … [Read more...] about How are the college football rankings determined?
A very crude rain barrel catching the rainwater from the spout. See more green living pictures. Photo courtesy of Martin Bowker/istockphoto.com We have evidence that collecting rainwater in cisterns was a common practice in the Middle East more than 4,000 years ago, and its origins probably go back much farther than that. In arid climates, or on islands like Gibraltar that lack river systems, trapping and storing large volumes of rainwater is a practical necessity, and the popularity of this relatively pure source of water is growing -- again [source: Gerston]. At a time when many municipal water districts are experiencing water shortages and consumers are being hit with higher water and sewage bills, the benefits of free water falling from the sky are more attractive than they have been in decades. Once a common feature in yards and farms across the United States, rain barrels are experiencing a renaissance. Rain barrels are containers designed to trap and store … [Read more...] about How Rain Barrels Work