Mapping the world's opinions

Welcome to Economics

This is a place to read about and contribute to economic discussions. Discover the controversies surrounding the world of banking, wealth, inequality, and business.
Welcome to Economics
Welcome to Economics
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Should churches pay taxes?

Church tax exemption is hotly debated. Although several countries require church members to pay a tax, many consider churches as tax-exempt. In discussions related to this policy, a nation’s perception of religious freedom and the common good is pivotal. Does the tax-exempt status of churches protect or violate these values?

What are the views on the US - China trade war?

Donald Trump's protectionist economic policies led to the introduction of tariffs on $550 billion worth of imports from China. President Xi Jinping responded with tariffs of his own, affecting some $185 billion worth of US-made products. As the two global economic behemoths enter a trade war, what are the implications for both economies and the rest of the world?

Is Universal Basic Income a good idea?

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a type of program in which all people receive a regular sum of money unconditionally, regardless of employment or current wages. Proposed UBI programs vary across the world, allowing different UBI programs to align with both progressive and conservative goals. Several UBI pilot studies have been tried throughout the world, and the interpretations of results vary wid...

What are the pros and cons of capitalism?

Capitalism is an economic system in which the four factors of production (entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor) are owned by private entities with the aim of generating a profit. Capitalism requires a free market economy driven by supply and demand. There is a lack of government intervention. Competition helps keep prices moderate and production efficient. This stands in o...

Mapping the world's opinions.

How should we address homelessness?

A homeless individual lacks a permanent and safe nighttime residence. Approximately 150 million people worldwide suffer from homelessness. Although a wide variety of potential solutions exist, experts disagree about the correct response to this widespread problem.

Should you give money to beggars?

For people fortunate enough to have extra money in their pockets, giving it away can be fraught with stress. The decision to give or not to give money to homeless people has real-world consequences. This question is not concerned with the legality of giving money, but rather with the moral and ethical dilemma that goes along with it.

What caused the American Civil War?

The American Civil War (1861-1865) officially began with the battle of Fort Sumter on April 12th-13th, 1861 and fundamentally shifted the trajectory of American history. Arguably the first instance of modern total war for the United States, the war impacted virtually every facet of American society. However, different perceptions of its origins and legacy persist across regions and demographics i...

Are economic sanctions effective?

Economic sanctions are trade restrictions imposed on a country or group in an attempt to create economic pressure. This pressure may or may not incite behavioral change, typically political or economic in nature. Economic sanctions have long been used as a political tool between nations, but should they be used this way?

Are rent caps a good idea?

Rent caps, which set limits on permissible rent charges or cap annual rent increases during tenancies, have been adopted by many cities as a way of curbing rising rents. But do rent caps actually work? Do they keep city rents affordable? Or are they part of the problem?

Should the Fed remove the mandate on sustainable maximum employment and focus on price stability?

The Federal Reserve currently has a dual mandate: (1) price stability; and (2) maximum sustainable employment. The original purpose of the Federal Reserve system, signed into law in 1913 by then President Woodrow Wilson, was to essentially provide effective management of the national currency and provide oversight of the banking system for nationwide financial stability. However, in 1977, the Fede...

Who should bear the cost of public tertiary education?

The cost of tertiary education varies across the world. With many expenses to cover including room and board, basic utilities and salaries for professors, how should these operating costs be funded? This debate revolves around equity, socio-economic factors, and the role of tertiary education in society.

Should birth control be free?

Birth control has many positive impacts, including pregnancy prevention, protection from STDs, and allowing regulation of the menstrual cycle. However, these products can cost large amounts of money, the onus of payment for which is generally on women. Should these products be free, or should they cost money?

Do tech monopolies stifle or spur innovation?

A technological monopoly occurs when one company exclusively controls the right to sell a service or product. A company that holds a technological monopoly is free to set prices as high or as low as they want, due to the lack of competition in the given field. This debate is centered on the role of the government in the economy and whether tech companies have an incentive to self-regulate their in...

Is socialism ethical?

Socialism is the political belief the government should redistribute wealth to close the economic gap in society. Many argue that this is a far better way to live, as all citizens can life with the secure knowledge that they will be protected by the state. But is it ethical for this to happen because the state took money away from another citizen?

Is there too much money in football?

From humble beginnings, football has exploded into one of the most-watched sports in the world. Far from being just a game, football is now a multi-billion dollar industry. But does compromise the integrity of the game? Would football be better if there was less money involved?

What are the positions on gun control?

There are more than 300,000,000 guns in the United States. Guns have claimed the lives of more American citizens than all the wars since the American revolution put together. With guns holding a unique place in the American psyche, should there be measures in place to limit gun ownership? What should these measures look like?

Will coronavirus herald the end of capitalism?

The US is already experiencing record unemployment, and stock markets are crashing all over the world. The economic impact of coronavirus is already huge. Does this mean the end of capitalism? Or are we reading too much into this economic shock? Previous economic crashes, such as 2008, made no change at all to the global capitalist economy, so why would coronavirus?

Is the Met Gala distasteful?

The first Monday in May is a huge part of the fashion social calendar. Every year, the Met Gala is thrown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to benefit the Costume Institute. The event raises huge amounts of money, but is it just an excuse for capitalist worship of excess?

Is Bitcoin the future?

Since its inception since 2008, the world has looked at Bitcoin with cautious fascination. In 2013 Bitcoin started to generate interest as investors and buyers explored the possibility of Bitcoin emerging as the predominant international currency. The bursting of the Bitcoin bubble several years later did much to dampen its outlook but is Bitcoin the future of money?

Should the wealthy pay more taxes?

Western societies have become more economically unequal, with a small minority holding the majority of the wealth while public services continue to decline. The back drop of austerity has made this inequality even starker, leading many to question whether the richest should be paying more to help fund public services?

Are vaccines safe?

Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. "Anti-vaxxers” have firm convictions about vaccines’ harmful effects and many people believe their children have been harmed by vaccines. Others have ‘vaccine hesistancy’: they are not inherently anti-vaccine, but are concerned or confused by the mixed m...

Is political correctness detrimental to society?

Although founded on the idea that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, political correctness is frequently used to dismiss opinions as racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic. What is the real impact of political correctness? Does it foster harmony, or is it a weapon to stifle debate and dismiss controversial opinions as invalid?

Do deficits matter?

For decades, politicians and economists have condemned deficits as evil. Today, there is a lively debate about whether deficits matter and whether there are advantages to running them. Most notably Modern Monetary Theory encourages the government to run deficits in order to achieve its objectives of full employment and investment.

Is growth investing superior to value investing?

Investors in stocks are often divided into two camps: value invests or growth investors. Over the past few years, growth as an investment factor has vastly outpaced the value factor. This has led to renewed calls of "the death of value investing."

Is private equity good for the economy?

Private equity firms have been called "locusts" by the German chancellor Angela Merkel but proponents argue that private equity investors make companies more efficient, create economic growth and provide good economic returns to investors.

Is shale oil a sustainable business model?

The drilling of shale oil has been hailed as revolution that has brought cheap gas and oil to American and made America a net exporter of oil and natural gas. However, there is serious debate as to whether shale is a sustainable business model given the high number of bankruptcies in the sector.

Should central banks target 2% inflation?

Inflation targeting went from being a radical view to the new orthodoxy of central banking. After most central banks have adopted it in practice, they have almost all converged on 2% as the right inflation target, although some emerging market central banks have higher inflation targets.

Is gold a good investment?

Is gold a good investment? Will it lead to capital preservation and help and investor realize a return on investment? The question is polarizing, with some investors known as "gold bugs" being obsessed by it and others being completely dismissive of gold as an investment.

Should healthcare be free?

Access to healthcare is essential for our quality of life and longevity. However, healthcare doesn't come cheap. Should individuals be forced to pay their own healthcare costs? Is healthcare a marketable commodity or an inalienable human right?

Should we break up the Big Tech companies?

The Big Tech companies - epitomized by the big four of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google - have grown to become some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world. This prominent status has attracted intense public scrutiny of Big Tech's sometimes controversial business practices. Various public officials, politicians, and regulatory bodies have expressed concerns about the potentia...

Is college education worth it?

The ever-rising costs of a university degree, coupled with increasing numbers of unemployed graduates, has left the latest generation of students pondering over whether a college education is worth it. Do the benefits of a college degree outweigh the costs?

Should abortion be legal?

Throughout the world, abortions and a woman's right to have them remain taboo. As abortion is illegal in many countries, women sometimes going to extreme and dangerous lengths to obtain them. Going beyond whether or not terminating a pregnancy is right or wrong, what are the pros and cons of abortion? And should abortion as a medical procedure be legal?

How should the West deal with Vladimir Putin?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for two decades. In that time he has rebuilt Russia's military, imprisoned and killed political opponents at home and abroad, annexed Crimea, gone to war with Georgia and Ukraine, deployed troops to Syria, and plundered the country. An increasingly authoritarian figure, Putin continues to divide Western countries, how should they deal with him?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalization?

For its proponents, globalization improves citizens' lives via the unbridled distribution of jobs, capital, and technology across international borders, promoting peace through deeper economic ties between nations. For its detractors, the globalized movement of goods and people has fueled inequality, led to the destruction of the environment, and created a race to the bottom, keeping workers' sala...

Is inflation understated?

The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in prices consumers pay for different goods over time, and is often used as a benchmark for inflation. However, the inflation levels it suggests are not without controversy, and are often accused of being over- or understated. So what is the truth? And why would it be either?

Should recreational marijuana be legal?

Following a public outcry over the case of Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy who was prohibited from bringing back a life-changing supply of cannabis oil from Canada, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has now been made legal in the UK. Unsurprisingly this has re-ignited the ongoing question: should we legalise the recreational use of cannabis?

Should you go vegan?

Consuming meat is a big part of some diets around the world, particularly in western food traditions. However, with production being land and resource intensive, and with a number of environmental and health impacts to consider we must ask, should we be going vegan?

What are the pros and cons of monopolies?

The word monopolies has negative connotations in economic history, but recently monopolies have been praised by people such as Warren Buffett and Peter Thiel. The arguments for and against are not new, but now they have better empirical support.

Did Alexander Hamilton's financial plan put America first?

Of all the founding fathers of the American nation, Alexander Hamilton remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial characters. In his role as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton submitted a financial plan to Congress designed to reduce the national debt by creating a national bank and encouraging economic diversification and the establishment of a manufacturing economy. But more than 200 y...

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