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    9 Things Janet Yellen Tried to Say Carefully as the Dow Plunged

    Janet Yellen appeared to emerge with her confidence intact this afternoon after her first press conference as chairman of the Federal Reserve. However, stock markets dropped sharply when, as head of the nation’s central bank, she said the Fed may begin to raise interest rates “six months” after the final … More

    In Cristina Kirchner’s Argentina, Christmas Shoppers Are Muscled Aside by Looters

    Earlier this month, widespread looting broke out in “at least 19 of Argentina’s 23 provinces” when mobs took advantage of strikes by police demanding pay raises to match inflation” by “shattering glass doors and stealing everything from mattresses and mobile phones to prams and beer,” according to news reports in … More

    What Makes Black Friday Possible?

    Black Friday has come and gone in the United States. As you’re surely aware, millions of shoppers are spent the day after Thanksgiving pouring into stores searching for bargains. True to the nature of capitalism, that’s good for the buyers and good for the sellers as well. In Venezuela, a … More

    The Fed Inflation-Unemployment Trade-Off: Outlasting the Energizer Bunny

    George Selgin has a new post on the Free Banking Blog that highlights the economic quandary the Fed now has the U.S. in. The post uses subtle sarcasm to make an excellent point, but many readers may miss Selgin’s main idea. Selgin starts by discussing the current policy debate surrounding … More

    European Central Bank Lowers Interest Rates, Trumping "Zero Lower Bound" Theory

    The European Central Bank (ECB) lowered a key interest rate to 0.25 percent on Thursday. This is a big deal, since it demonstrates that the ECB has the ability and the will to stabilize euro inflation, which has fallen below the ECB’s target and become a drag on real growth. … More

    Japan’s Revolving Door Tax

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to increase Japan’s sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent next year. Abe and his close ally Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Bank of Japan, have long advocated for increasing Japan’s money supply by targeting a higher inflation rate in an attempt to … More

    The Fed’s Monetary Policy Matters, Too

    It’s easy to get distracted with news like the guessing game of who will replace Ben Bernanke. But the more important issue is: What is the U.S. doing with its monetary policy and why? What we’ve learned about monetary policy since the Fed was created is surely more important than … More

    Are Americans Better Off Today Than They Were Four Decades Ago?

    Many pundits and politicians argue that middle-class incomes have stagnated over the past generation. But more accurate data show that the typical household’s income has risen by at least one-fifth in recent decades. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich expressed this view when he argued that we have gone through … More

    China Makes Life More Difficult for Foreign Companies

    It is widely hoped—in the U.S., China, and elsewhere—that the new Chinese government headed by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will restart economic reform. While the answer is still unclear, circumstantial evidence is piling up, and it isn’t good. Beijing is treating foreign companies very poorly, contributing to a poor … More

    Brazil Turns Away from Capital Controls

    Last week, Brazil announced that it is finally eliminating its most prominent tax on foreign portfolio investment. This reversal is the most recent reminder of the negative effects of capital controls. Capital controls are measures, sometimes in the form of taxes or fees, that limit the movement of capital into … More