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Big Picture Economics: How to Navigate the New Global Economy

Book Description

Navigate the economy with this insightful new book

The world is awash with economic information. Governments release reports. Pundits give their interpretation on television. And the stock market may go its own way, confusing everyone. How can you better understand what it means for you?

Big Picture Economics, a new book by award-winning columnist and futurist Joel Naroff and veteran journalist Ron Scherer, says the thread that ties everything together is "context."

The authors show how consumers, business, the Federal Reserve, and government take into account what's going on around them to make critical decisions like buying new products, building new factories, changing interest rates, or setting budget goals. The book provides a clear roadmap to understanding the whole story behind the global economy.

Big Picture Economics helps readers understand how context impacts decisions and decision makers.

  • The Federal Reserve and Congress in formulating economic policy

  • Consumers in a shopper nation and what makes us buy or not buy

  • Corporations making decisions on whether to build new factories and buy other companies

  • The federal budget that must deal with complex issues, including the reduction of health care spending

  • A simple test for tax cuts or increases: will they help the economy grow?

  • Where to produce and where to sell in a global economy that is more like a Mobius strip than a flat world

  • International events that can ripple through the economy and ultimately affect workers in the Midwest

  • Technology, such as intelligent drones to wearable computers, are changing the future

  • Experts laud the book for its perceptive insights:

    "It all sounds like common sense, but it is actually based on a close, expert reading of economic history and what that history implies for the future. Read this book to become a more educated judge of economic policy."

    —Robert Moffitt, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University

    "Naroff and Scherer show how seemingly unrelated things like an upgrade of the Panama Canal, a Tex-Mex restaurant's menu change, or how many Americans are overweight turn out to be intricately linked to our daily experiences. What brings the book to life is the authors' focus on these hidden interconnections."

    —Brendan Conway, blogger and columnist, Barron's

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover Page
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright
    4. Dedication
    5. Contents
    6. Preface
    7. Acknowledgments
    8. Chapter 1: Introduction to the Economics of Context
      1. Adapting to the Economy—View from the Cab of a Truck
      2. The Service Sector—The Enchilada Stops Here
      3. The Cash Register Stops Singing
      4. Celebrate for 15 Minutes
      5. What Does Economics Teach Us about Context?
      6. Economic Theory and Fiscal and Monetary Policy
      7. Notes
    9. Chapter 2: The Federal Reserve, Congress, and the Use of Context in Economic Policy *
      1. Public Policy Spreads a Wide Ripple
      2. The View from the Hill
      3. Why the Economic Forecast Matters
      4. Economic Assumptions Matter: The Rosy Scenario
      5. Does One Policy Fit All?
      6. A Bank Loaded with Economists
      7. The Importance of the Beige Book
      8. From Beige to Blue and Green
      9. Fed Policy
      10. From Bubbles to Fed Meetings
      11. The Fed Goofs
      12. Notes
    10. Chapter 3: We Are All Economists and Don't Know It
      1. Context Tells Us What We Can Afford
      2. Frugal in Arizona
      3. The Economy Gets Worse
      4. Public Officials as Economic Forecasters
      5. A Mayor as Economist
      6. Tampa's Faulty Economic Model
      7. Changing the Economic DNA
      8. How an Educator Put on an Economist's Hat
      9. A Fiscal Grand Canyon
      10. Crow Solutions
      11. The Business Owner as Economist
      12. Greg Parker: From Fast Food to Economics
      13. Convenience Store Economics
      14. Things Are Bad, So Expand
      15. Notes
    11. Chapter 4: How a Perfect World Would Work
      1. How We Got Here
      2. Building the U.S. Economy: A Journey through Time
      3. Money Makes the World Go 'Round
      4. Money Is Not Enough (Don't We Know That!)
      5. The Banking System Made Simple
      6. Big Brother Is Watching Over Us
      7. The World Is Our Oyster and We Are Its
    12. Chapter 5: Shopper Nation: Why We Buy or Don't Buy
      1. What Causes the Itch to Spend?
      2. Seniors Get the Jobs but the Pay Leaves Many Cold
      3. “Charg-It”
      4. Why Debt Is Good—or Bad
      5. The Rich Worry, Too
      6. Economic Theory of Wealth
      7. Feeling Good? Buy a Car
      8. Notes
    13. Chapter 6: How Is a Can of Tuna Like a Smartphone? Yes, Context!
      1. A Company Decides to Build Chips
      2. The Urge to Merge Depends on Context
      3. The Corporate Tax Conundrum
      4. Corporations Are People, Too, and They React Accordingly
      5. To Regulate or Not Regulate, That Is the Question!
      6. Notes
    14. Chapter 7: When to Spend, When to Cut, and When to Scratch Your Head Over the Federal Budget
      1. Impact of Health Care on the Budget
      2. Doubts from a Doctor
      3. What If Lower Health Care Spending Continues?
      4. How the Budget Interacts with the Economy
      5. It's Not the Deficit but the Interest That Matters
      6. Notes
    15. Chapter 8: Tax Policy: Does Cutting Taxes Cure All Ills?
      1. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Tax Cut
      2. How Much Do Americans Make and What Are They Taxed?
      3. While the Distribution of Income Is Good or Inevitable, It Still Matters When It Comes to Tax Policy
      4. Is the Answer to Every Economy Ill to Cut Corporate Taxes?
      5. Notes
    16. Chapter 9: Monetary Policy: Money, or Maybe the Federal Reserve, Makes the World Go 'Round
      1. How Monetary Policy Works
      2. Problems Facing the Fed
      3. Meltdown of the U.S. Financial System
      4. The Correct Way to Evaluate the Policies
      5. Notes
    17. Chapter 10: The Panama Canal Widens and the Middle Class Grows in China—How Does That Affect Indiana?
      1. Ports Get Ready for Change
      2. The View from the West Coast
      3. Trade beyond the Canal
      4. History: The Moat around Fortress America Has Dried Up
      5. Even Small Countries Can Crash the World Economy
      6. Free Trade Is a Goal, but Fair Trade Is a Necessity
      7. Currency Manipulation Has Negative Implications beyond the Obvious
      8. Notes
    18. Chapter 11: What Do We Do Now?
      1. “The Future Ain't What It Used to Be”
      2. Flying Robots, 3D Printers, and the Future
      3. Will the Consumer Continue to Reign? Maybe, Maybe Not
      4. Fracking: Controversial but Changing the Future
      5. Can We Squeeze More Out of the Ground?
      6. The Economics of More Energy
      7. The Aging of Boomers Will Change the Economy Once Again
      8. Notes
    19. About the Authors