CrisisMaven’s Economics Study Guide

(For statistical material go to our References section!)

This blog has two main purposes:

  1. It is meant to comment upon and elucidate matters of economic inquiry and economic policy,
  2. and it acts as a systematic study guide in economics meant to complement more traditional teaching approaches.

This Study Guide is still a work in progress (and will probably always be)  since I can’t work full-time on this blog naturally (it earns me no money) and since I try also to comment current critical developments (Bloom of Doom series) or try to refute common Economic Fallacies at the same time. One of the high priority projects is the Reference List which will eventually range in the thousands of links to economic data (current or historic), indicators, statistics, bibliographies and other sources to complement not only this Study Guide but also as a kind of one-stop shop for anyone looking for economic data sources, be they on the web or in libraries or currently in print.

What CrisisMaven believes sets this collection of articles and overviews apart is that each single post or article attempts to look at a certain well-circumscribed subject within the vast field of economics for once through the collecting lens of some current event, as CrisisMaven believes it is only then that one’s mind will be receptive and interested in such subject, as well as each post tries to analyse the matter at hand in enough depth so that a reader, when finished, may with some confidence claim to have understood it thoroughly enough to follow any spirited discussion, be it with academics, researchers, practitioners in the field or other interested laymen (and women).

And over time, when this blog has grown enough to encompass most subjects in sufficient number and ramification, even if one were to feel unsure about some issue one should be able to come back here and then find the missing pieces in sufficient number and sophistication to once again continue such discussion with confidence when next convenient.

To facilitate this endeavour this blog will on one hand contain said posts mostly reflecting on a current topic and explore it in at least such depth that anyone but the most casual reader will after perusal feel confident conversing about the subject as well as certain dedicated pages of a more general nature, such as references with overviews like economic timelines, e.g. stock quotes, indices, purchasing power comparisons, population figures and the like. True to his style, CrisisMaven will attempt to never, except in the most exceptional cases, maintain tables of his own but rather provide link registers that point to relevant websites and occasionally to books in or out of print if he feels the information cannot be conveyed in any easier way. Another service will be particular study guides pertaining to a certain subject or economic school of thought, citing both CrisisMaven’s own posts as well as reliable sources from the Internet. In fact, all sources will always be accessible directly from the page that CrisisMaven provides, though some may point to books, so that the link actually points to the respective bibliographical information e.g. in an online library or an online bookshop, regardless of the book still being in print. There is one post of a more general nature titled “What’s wrong with Economics?” which will eventually provide a basic reader in economics from which you will be able to find your way around this blog in a systematic fashion as well as material from other more voluminous sources on the Internet. In a sense, you could call this article the backbone of this whole venture.

To the (college) student

If you take the time to search and read carefully you should as a rule be able to find lots of information here that will make it easier for you to cope with assignments of a not too technical nature provided the respective topic has already been covered by CrisisMaven. This of course takes and CrisisMaven has, if you will, already a pretty heavy syllabus which he tries to work off over time and which, due to the nature of some of the subjects, requires it be done in a certain order while at the same trying to follow the cues that political and economic events provide.

And had it not been for the crises that began to visibly unfold round about 2007 (with its roots dating back to the beginning of last century actually – which will be explained in some early posts) CrisisMaven might not have bothered, since, and you will probably concur, he felt that no one wanted to listen to the more arcane details of economic laws and operations, causes and effects – everything seemed so well organised, securitisation had taken all the risk out of investing and lending, and anyone who would have predicted that it would be exactly these complex machinations that would soon destroy more banking capital than had ever been created by all mankind ever since banks in our meaning of the word sprung up between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, he would (actually no need to resort to the subjunctive here) have been ridiculed and ostracised. How things can change in only a few months!

So when, say, you were given an assignment on “The Ethical and Economic Implications of Commodity Speculation” you might turn to a post titled “Economic Fallacy II: Speculation is Harmful?“. If you hover your mouse over any link you will not only see a preview of the respective website (if it is HTML not a document) but also a detailed “friendly name” often with one of the most poignant quotes from the source referenced. This should normally be a sufficient guide for you to decide if you want to follow this lead or read on.

Links as a rule

  • will always open the page in a new window or tab respectively,
  • will normally not be changed unless the link becomes “orphaned” in which case CrisisMaven will try to replace it with a fitting substitute.

Thus you could, once you’ve acquainted yourself with the site and CrisisMaven’s style, bookmark certain pages as a source of references and build up on them without fear that important content might be moved. Of course, this being a not-for-profit and free site without pad content, this is not a legal guarantee and no part of this site shall be construed as a warranty whether express or implied and CrisisMaven will not be liable for any material or immaterial or consequential damages. If you use this material be sure to double-check yourself that it suits your purpose and when you quote, esp. extensively be sure to review the respective intellectual property situation in each case.

When quoting or reprinting CrisisMaven’s material you are free to do so provided you credit him truthfully and it is greatly appreciated if you include a link to the actual page (link path) the material is gleaned from (this can be done, as is CrisisMaven’s style himself, implicitly by using a HTML hyperlink with the link address plus “friendly name”). See our “Copyright Policy” also.

As already mentioned in our “Editorial Policy” standard references are often made to Wikipedia. Handy as Wikipedia may be please do not take it “prima facie”, don’t take everything for granted. Should CrisisMaven strongly disagree with (part of)  a particular Wikipedia article he will of course try to say so if warranted at that point, but if not, don’t take it as a blind endorsement as, in fact, you shouldn’t with any source CrisisMaven links to.

And as a last reminder: this is very much a work in progress – it will take months (from now, end of January 2010) until the basic tenets of economics will have been covered, always interrupted by these blessings in disguise, current economic events and disasters (of which you will see some more in the coming months and years) which will provide the welcome backdrop to explain or disprove common wisdom and which will add spice to the otherwise a bit dry subject. And precisely because CrisisMaven wants to cultivate a bit more entertaining some subjects may require a little more deliberation and a conscious effort not to copy and regurgitate what every other textbook you’re probably already familiar with propounds.

  1. 2011-06-20 at 00:23

    This is a great study guide. Thank you for sharing.

  2. flo
    2011-03-28 at 23:30

    if you wanna help to improve my blog please send me an e-mail at the address above. By the way your blog is awesome! keep the good work!

  3. 2010-04-22 at 18:19


    you and your readers must be among the first to know that MSNBC have published a video that calls the Fed the godfather of the greatest con and cover-up!

    See or or, in case any one disappears…

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. 2010-02-19 at 01:08

    I am looking forward to reading “the more arcane details of economic laws and operations, causes and effects” as you spend time writing and developing your site.

    • 2010-02-19 at 12:24

      Thanks, I am working on it. But it will be slow for two reasons: the arguments should dovetail with the other posts on the blog (i.e. those commenting on recent events) plus I have to anticipate all the criticisms from all schools and that means constructing the path of reasoning in a rather compelling way. While there are good textbooks, they all (in my opinion) suffer from leaving flanks open to attack by a school that begs to differ; thus academic economics today is no better than theology. And there are so many “compelling” proofs out there, even in the non-scientific, more popular domain. One example is that with the increase in the money supply debt does rise in tandem (there’s this graph with the two curves running in parallel). This is tautologic though: when someone has money and he doesn’t stuff it under the mattress nor does he immediately spend it, he will bring it to the bank, i.e. lend it to the bank or lend it to someone else. Bingo! The same amount of money is someone’s credit and another one’s debt, nothing mysterious here and not a scheming conspiracy of e.g. the Rothschilds (that’s by no means apologetic – I try to keep my distance on all sides). And so it goes on and on with popular as well as arcane arguments. Take the famous multiplier: it may exist, I don’t argue with that. Since we don’t have laboratory conditions in economics, you’ll always find two academic treatises on the same event that prove and disprove that a stimulus has worked etc. But the point against any multiplier is that much easier: whenever you spend money on a stimulus you need to take it from somewhere. EITHER by taxation OR through credit, e.g. emission of bonds. When you deduct that outflow of money first, then the influx by funneling it back into the economy can NEVER be positive on balance, since some of the money collected is lost in the process of collection and redistribution. There’s only ONE way to NOMINALLY have a multiplier that doesn’t first contract the ecomony by more than its outcome: money inflation. That’s having your cake and eat it. Every three year old can see through this scheme, however, you can clad it in so much mathematics that the three year old gives up arguing. And that’s what’s happening today. This blog is to give people back the power of argument in economics.

  5. Theo
    2010-02-17 at 00:59

    It all looks great Crisismaven. Sound out for help when you need it, okay? Those of us here are just as busy as everyone else, but with more hands on deck, don’t be too shy to ask, alright?

    And, at some point, you should get paid for your work. I have some ideas for you to chew on so next year (and those years ahead) can be rewarding.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work. No worries. It’s all good.

  6. Sharon
    2010-01-30 at 11:56

    Thanks for your note on – yourself and economics students may also be interested in a collaborative blog of original work myself and two colleagues have recently initiated:

    And also these sites, if you are not already aware:

  7. 2010-01-29 at 22:45

    Awesome Idea! Thanks for letting me know about your terrific resource!

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