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Brilliant Economics by Phil Thornton

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In the bible, the book of Genesis relates how Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dream about thin and fatty cows as a forecast of seven years of boom followed by seven years of bust ending in widespread famine. This must be one of the first recorded business cycles but clearly it wasn’t the last – as the events of the first 12 years of this decade have shown otherwise. It may also be a rare example of an accurate economic forecast.

In a perfect world there would be no business cycles, as they cause a lot of money to be wasted both on the way up and on the way down. During a boom people tend to make reckless decisions such as buying shares or ...

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