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.

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Since World War II, Congress has voted to modify the debt ceiling 98 times — 21 of those since 2001. It used to be a routine adjustment to pay for the government's spending, but not anymore. What is it and why is it so controversial?

By Dave Roos

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?

By Dave Roos

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?

By Dave Roos

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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?

By Cristen Conger

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.

By Joseph Miller

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.

By Dave Roos

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.

By Ed Grabianowski

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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.

By Linda C. Brinson

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?

By Dave Roos

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?

By Jessika Toothman

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?

By Dave Roos

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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.

By Dave Roos

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?

By Josh Clark

We can't live without food. But sometimes instead of nourishing our bodies, it can actually kill us. And it's no cheap (or easy) task to get that food off the market. These are 10 of the biggest food recalls in history.

By Jane McGrath

When you want sound financial advice, you probably don't think to consult the woman selling $30 tubes of lipstick at the cosmetics counter. But could she have a better handle on the whims of the economy than your CPA does?

By Cristen Conger

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In the type of free market Adam Smith, father of capitalism, imagined, markets would correct themselves in the face of recession by weeding out weak businesses and individuals. Why bail out bad failing business, then?

By Josh Clark

It may not be pretty, but recessions affect us all. So how do they occur? Trace the economy's path in the 21st century from subprime collapse to the mortgage crisis to the credit market crisis.

Imagine a world without cash or credit cards. You'd barter to get what you need and want. Today, people and businesses are still trading goods and services. But can these cash-free transactions be taxed?

By Jane McGrath

E-commerce, or shopping online, offers advantages for both consumers and retailers. See how to make the most of online shopping.

By Dave Roos

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While the history of e-commerce is short, e-commerce has changed how we do business online. Learn more about the history of e-commerce.

By Dave Roos

Bleak images from the Great Depression strike fear in the hearts of people who believe that a recession in the United States could cause history to repeat itself. But does recession always lead to depression?

By Josh Clark

Imagine a tightrope walker with ESP and a degree in economics -- that's essentially the Federal Reserve Chairman. By changing the interest rate, the Fed can offset inflation and unemployment. But how?

By Josh Clark

In a free market economy, the law of supply and demand dominates. But if the economy is in a downward spiral, could the government really save it?

By Josh Clark

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Socialism is more than just agrarian communes: It's a principle, lifestyle and economic system that aims toward cooperative, ideal societies. But does it work?

By Alia Hoyt

The essence of capitalism is economic freedom and the belief that widespread personal wealth will lead to societal well-being. But does anyone even practice true capitalism these days?

By Julia Layton