Economic Concepts

Economic concepts are widely used but not always defined clearly. Read up on the nature of capitalism, learn how much power the Fed really has and more.


The online company has its fingers in just about every e-commerce enterprise; it's even caused many organizations to go out of business. Yet the U.S. government has not tried to stop Amazon's growth. Why's that?

Spending goes up on construction and repairs after a disaster. But experts say it doesn't make the local economy better.

We place faith in our money and financial systems. But have we put so much faith in them that we're not equate money and religion — or money to, ahem, our eternal salvation?

Saying that all it takes to succeed in the U.S. is effort and personal responsibility is an oversimplification of the actual circumstances surrounding poverty.

More U.S. women are planning on having babies, says the CDC. What's behind the birth rate bump?

Is adding up the inflation and unemployment rates the most effective way to judge our misery?

Sure, ride-sharing is a big part of the collaborative economy, but other services, from health care to energy credits, are turning consumers into borrowers, too.

The idea is that the government gives everyone a set amount of money, just for existing. Would it fly in the U.S.?

Basic income is guaranteed to everybody, no matter who you are, whether you work or not. And it could be way simpler than some existing welfare systems.

With enough natural resources, robots and replicators, a la "Star Trek," money could definitely become outdated.

Crowdfunding sounds like an easy way to raise funds for a project or product when a bank or family members won't help you out. But while some projects have raised millions, most have actually flamed out.

Burger consumption can predict more than your chances of gaining weight. It can also determine currency equality. Meanwhile, men's underwear is a good indicator of the state of the economy. But how?

Since 1960, the U.S. Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling 78 times. In times past, this was a routine assignment but not anymore. What is the debt ceiling, and why has it become so controversial now?

Inflation is often defined as too many dollars chasing too few goods. But what does that really mean? And how does it affect the price of goods?

Just like the rest of us, superpowers can have trouble paying the bills. But instead of using a Visa card with a really high limit, the U.S. borrows money from its citizens. What it owes is called the national debt. Why does it matter?

Countries around the world, collectively, have run up at least $40 trillion in debt, but some are worse off than others. Which nations have the largest slices of that massive debt pie?

Some places rise in a blaze of glory, growing and flourishing to become the envy of the world. Other towns seem destined for success -- until their luck runs out.

How did once run-down neighborhoods like Times Square and the Bowery become such gleaming jewels of New York City geography? It took time, but a process known as gentrification transformed these areas into some of the hottest properties in New York.

According to some economists, the most recent U.S. recession ended in June 2009, but why can't we see it? It may surprise you to learn that the economy is showing signs of life, and here are 10 of the most vital.

Remember when airlines served full meals or when you could hear your favorite up-and-coming band on mainstream radio? Those days are gone thanks to governmental deregulation. Here are a few other effects of deregulation that we didn't see coming.

If you think recessions are scary, could you imagine entering another one right after it ends? The idea of a double-dip recession scares the pants off most consumers and economists, but would we know the warning signs?

Free enterprise means unfettered industry powered by profit-focused individuals. But after the labor and finance abuses of the Gilded Age, many people felt the men at the top got too much of the pie. Where are we now?

It might seem impossible for a stagnant economy and high inflation rates to coexist, but that exact situation -- known as stagflation -- existed in the 1970s. Could it happen again? How can it be prevented?

An economic bubble forms when an asset is allowed to irrationally increase in value before crashing down to earth and leaving a financial mess behind. As the global economy continues its freefall, people are waiting for the next bubble to pop.

Research shows that happy workers are productive ones, so the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan took the radical step of measuring the impact of the country's happiness on its economy. Is Gross National Happiness a reliable economic indicator?

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