Archive of posts in category “economy”

  • In 1970 the staff at Irish high-street banks went on strike for six months. Ordinary punters found themselves unable to cash cheques or withdraw money, living as they did in those pre-ATM days where all transactions had to be performed in person.

    So local pubs and shops stepped up to fill the need:

    “Pub-goers would bring their salary payments into the pub and convert them into cash from the register, often hanging out for a few pints afterward. While nobody knew exactly when the strike was going to end, pub owners were generally optimistic and willing to trust that their regulars’ checks would be honored post-strike.”

    The actions by pubs kept the economy afloat and saved countless local businesses. It was possible for them to play this role because they had many of the same qualities that a small-town bank would have, namely knowledge of their customers’ creditworthiness and strong social connections to enforce obligations:

    “At this point, pubs were arbiters of actual loans. Pub owners also often had a reasonable idea of their patrons’ level of income, net worth, and reliability in paying bar tabs, putting them in what could be seen as an even better position than a bank lender to evaluate the overall risk profile of a borrower.”


  • Interesting: although Americans earn more, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1960, the cost of iconic days out like baseball games or Disneyland is less affordable now than it was then.

    Everything is more expensive, but in particular the costs around the periphery have increased to absurd levels: parking at the ball game and Disneyland, popcorn at the cinema.

    It illustrates how difficult it is to measure inflation properly – and justifies the pinch that so many people are feeling. #

  • A sobering look at the seeming paradox that, while untold economic ruin has been unleashed on the world, to say nothing of the human misery, the US stock market has done nothing but climb. In answering that question, Neil Irwin and Weiyi Cai discover who the pandemic’s economic winners and losers have been, and why those who’ve lost out have seen their losses masked by gains elsewhere. #