Railroad lessons for the new Panama Canal

  The New Panama Canal: A Risky Bet takes a detailed look at how construction and technological problems plague the project. This passage caught my eye: In simple terms, to be successful, the new canal needs enough water, durable concrete and locks big enough to safely accommodate the larger ships. On all three counts, it has failed to meet expectations, according to dozens of … [Read more...]

Inflation! Debasement! May edition

Hyperinflation-era German currency Source: Flikr Creative Commons Welcome back to the monthly inflation! debasement! update.  We’re keeping track of that nefarious phenomenon of which Speaker of the House Paul Ryan warned that, no matter what the data tell us, accelerating inflation and a depreciating currency are just around the corner.  Here are the latest data through May 2016: … [Read more...]

No, we shouldn’t go back to the gold standard

Source: Flikr Creative Commons I usually wake up to the sound of NPR's Morning Edition. Today, I got a rude awakening hearing the story, "Trump Favors Returning To The Gold Standard, Few Economists Agree."  Jim Zarroli does a nice job presenting the issue in a calm, "on the one hand, on the other hand" manner. I'll be more blunt: going back to the gold standard is a terrible idea.  I wrote … [Read more...]