How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . And Why Poor Countries Stay Poor

I have just finished reading How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . And Why Poor Countries Stay Poor by Erik Reinert. The book is interesting for it engages what should be the main question of economics, why are some countries rich and other countries poor? This crucial question is woefully under researched and barely discussed in mainstream economics. I have completed two years of economics study in university without yet having heard an explanation for this phenomenon.

Reinert’s main argument is that the wealth of a nation is based upon the economic activities it specialises in. Poor countries are poor because they specialise in agriculture and the production of raw materials. This is an economic dead end as it does not allow for increases in productivity or innovation, which is how countries get rich. On the other hand, rich countries got rich by industrialising and building up a manufacturing base. Continue reading “How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . And Why Poor Countries Stay Poor”

Pay More, Get More

Once upon a time there was a car manufacturer. One day he proposed to double his workers wages. The business community was stunned. Was this man insane? A socialist? Did he not understand the laws of economics? Surely his business would instantly go bankrupt and nothing more would be heard of him. In response he simply pointed out that with a wage increase his workers could now afford to buy the cars they made. Business boomed, profits rose and the company redesigned the entire car industry. The man’s name was Henry Ford. Continue reading “Pay More, Get More”

Just Who Is Rick Santorum?

(This article was originally written for The College Tribune in January. I was anxious to talk about Santorum because I didn’t think he’d be around for much longer.)

Do you think homosexuals are destroying America? Do you think the government should stop giving money to black people? Do you think universities are brain washing students? Do you think contraceptives are damaging society? Don’t believe in Evolution or Global Warming? If so then you’ll love Rick Santorum, who’s running for the Republican nomination for President. The former Senator from Pennslyvania hit the headlines after winning the Iowa primary three weeks ago. Continue reading “Just Who Is Rick Santorum?”

New Dawn or More of the Same?

This time last year there was a political earthquake that changed the shape of Irish politics. Fianna Fail suffered the worst defeat in its history and lost its dominance over Irish politics. The political system in place since 1932 was destroyed. Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein made enormous and unprecedented gains, while the losses suffered by Fianna Fail and the Green Party were so great many commentators questioned if they would survive. A Fine-Gael-Labour coalition was formed with the largest majority in history. One year on, how has the new government fared? Has it redefined the way politics operate or is it simply a case of new faces, same old story? Continue reading “New Dawn or More of the Same?”

Politics and Economics Cartoons

Sometimes just talking about politics and economics can be a bit dry so here’s some good cartoons to lighten it up a bit while still making a good point.

More or less sums up how stock markets work.

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Continue reading “Politics and Economics Cartoons”

Why Black People Are Paid Less Than White People

Decades after the Civil Rights Movement, Black workers earn significantly worse than White workers. The gap is either 40% or 25% depending on whether the average or median census data is used, but the fact remains that there is a large gap. Why is this the case? Is it due to discrimination or is it because of better skills and education levels among White people? Continue reading “Why Black People Are Paid Less Than White People”