192 definitions by abu yahya

the sum of the capital account balance and the current account balance; put another way, the net change in financial reserves of a country, whether in the form of income (current account) or foreign investments (capital account)

For example, in all years since 1980, the USA has run a large-to-huge current account deficit, but in most years it has run a capital account surplus that is almost as big as the current account deficit. As a result, the USA has run a medium-to-large balance of payments deficit over this period.

A commonly-overlooked byproduct of BoP is that it determines whether or not a currency can be used as an international reserve currency. Despite repeated efforts by the governments of the EU and Japan to get their currencies established as such, they have failed to dent the US dollar's global primacy as the money for international transactions. This is because EU member states and Japan (as well as other major economies) run very large surpluses in their BoP. Japan, in particular, imports extremely little, and retains huge reserves rather than invest all of its net export earnings overseas. As a consequence, overseas holdings of euros or yen are much to small to serve as an alternative to the US dollar.
Since the oil embargo of the 1970's, the US has run a balance of payments deficit because its trade deficit was enormous; prior to the embargo, the US BoP deficit was large because the US exported such an enormous amount of finance capital. As a consequence, the balance of payments deficit has persisted since the end of the Korean War (1953).
by Abu Yahya February 14, 2009
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The ability of an economic system to provide what people what, given their incomes. Given the fact that incomes and resources are both finite, efficiency will be of the utmost importance in determining if people's wants are satisfied by the workings of the economic system.
Free market economies usually provide high levels of economic efficiency.
by abu yahya June 23, 2008
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(POLICY) an extreme form of capitalism created in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. In some cases, as in Chile (1973), the disaster is a coup d'etat with the express purpose of imposing disaster capitalism. In other cases, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it is a genuine natural disaster that literally kills.

After some disasters, the authorities in some countries may well respond by imposing "reforms" that would have been impossible before. These include: (1) privatization of public property, making it unavailable to the indigenous people; (2) arbitrary elimination of laws ("deregulation"); and (3) slashing democratically chosen programs that help ordinary citizens ("austerity programs").

The concept was popularized in Naomi Klein's excellent 2007 book, *The Shock Doctrine*.
"Disaster capitalism" is neoliberalism imposed undemocratically. It exploits natural disasters, civil wars, foreign invasions, coups d'etat, terrorism, or explicit deception. It always seeks to make its changes irreversible.

Naomi Klein mostly blames the International Monetary Fund, but there are other culprits as well.
by Abu Yahya July 10, 2010
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taking an investment position that will benefit if the value of the stock goes down. Traditionally, "shorting a stock" means borrowing shares of stock from another broker, selling them, then buying them back (after the price has fallen) in order to return the stocks to the broker from whom they were borrowed.

You can short a stock using a derivative; this can include buying futures in the stock (i.e., a contract to sell someone else the stocks); or buying a put option (also called a put). A third way is to write a call (i.e., a call option, also known as a call) for the stock.
Shorting a stock usually requires a great deal of skill and courage; even the most talented short will only make money during rare crises.
by Abu Yahya April 04, 2010
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*noun*; from Greek, θεός {god} + δίκαιον (justice). Literally, "the justice of God." Specifically, the attempt to explain God's ways to mortals.

The term was used by Gottfried Leibniz for his book {Théodicée} explaining how an omnipotent and benevolent God could allow suffering in the universe. Leibniz took the approach that this was the "best of all possible worlds," meaning that God could not have made this world better in any one respect, without making it worse in others.

In 1759, Voltaire published the novel *Candide* which was essentially a very long satire of Leibniz' views. The character of Dr. Pangloss is based on Leibniz, although it has been argued that Voltaire misrepresented Leibniz' views.

In common usage, the term *theodicy* refers to any defense of a thing based on the claim that whatever that thing does is the best possible. The obvious example is neoclassical economics, which insists that whatever outcome achieved by "the market," it is the best one that could possibly exist. It's a fallacy because it uses circular reasoning, and it is unfalsifiable.
Privileged and successful groups need religion for a very different purpose, namely legitimation. Their members are convinced that they deserve their good fortune and that the poor deserve their misfortune. {Max} Weber calls this the "theodicy of good fortune"...

Anthony Waterman in 2002 put forward the suggestion that Smith could be read as offering a kind of Augustinian theodicy of the market. According to him, Smith's idea could be interpreted as thus: just like God put governments in place to restrain sin, the institution of the market also restrains sin.

Nimi Wariboko, *God and Money: A Theology of Money in a Globalizing World* (2008)
by Abu Yahya March 23, 2009
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to introduce a thing as currency, e.g., silver, gold, copper. In nearly all cases, when something has been monetized, it is legal tender and debtors are legally obligated to accept it as payment for debt.

Debt can also be monetized. A government can either buy the debt of companies whose growth it favors as a matter of policy (as in pre-War Japan) or permit its own bonds to be be used as banking reserves (for the creation of money).
In 1878 Congress passed the Bland Bill, which monetized silver at a ratio of 16:1 to gold.
by Abu Yahya January 23, 2009
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The idea that, if you mitigate the consequences of a particular type of accident, then that type of accident will necessarily occur much more frequently, more than negating the initial benefit.

The CF assumes that human nature is perverse and seeks to equalize consequences. Hence, improved automotive technologies such as air bags, ABS, space frames, etc. will be offset (or more than offset) by careless driving, leading to increased highway fatalities.

FALSIFICATION: Empirical evidence shows that, while reducing consequences increases risky behavior, overall safety/health outcomes are better. Insurance companies with a stake in reducing claims verify this.

More generally, the CF confuses all forms of risk-taking, such as faster highway speeds, with fecklessness. Increased speed and convenience (for motorists) has utility; and there is no principle in welfare economics that says risk-taking will increase by an amount sufficient to offset the safety measures.
The massively overrated book *Freakanomics* (Dubner & Leavitt) includes many examples of the curmudgeon's fallacy.
by Abu Yahya August 22, 2008
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