Monday, 31 December 2012

Financing the Future

Since the beginning of December, many Hungarian students have been protesting against a series of government measures which include both a cutback of state-financed university places and an obligatory contract which requires state-financed students to work in Hungary for at least 10 years upon graduation. The decisions outraged university students, applicants and teachers alike - yet in many other countries, university costs are indeed financed by the students themselves. Who is right? What could be the optimal solution for Hungarian higher education? 

The sign reads: My future. Source: index.hu

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

We wish you a very economic Christmas

Schoolonomic would like to wish Merry Christmas and an undisturbed festive season to all of it's past, present and future readers. In today's post, we will explore the economic background of the holidays - what effects does gift-giving have on our economies?

Source: blog.dollardays.com

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Glassmaking and economics

On November 6th 2012, our class has visited a glassmaking factory at Orosháza, a Hungarian city with a strong tradition of glassmaking. The factory belongs to Guardian, one of the largest industrial glass producer companies in the world. We have seen the process of float glass-making in it's totality – from the immense heat of the glass furnace to the high-tech, automatised error scanning system. But how does this relate to the field of economics? Read below.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

The world of Pareto

After a week of absence Schoolonomic returns with a new post on a set of seemingly unrelated, yet similarily named phenomena. The Pareto efficiency wasn't the only contribution of Vilfred Pareto to the field of economics, but also an index, a chart, a law, a distribution and a principle. Today's post will explain each, to get a better grasp of the Italian economist's heritage.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Why doesn't the world have more child prodigies?

From time to time, the internet is capable of highlighting extraordinary young talents.Two of the recent stories are those of Deepika Kurup, from the USA who invented a water purificator based on solar energy, and Kevin Doe, who has built a radio - from junk, in Sierra Leone. Why both kids are extraordinarily talented, the large differences between their achievements raise some important economic questions. Why didn't the inventions happen vice versa? What limits child talent's emergence and potential? And most importantly, are there economic strategies which may contribute to the emergence of such prodigies?

Mozart, one of the world's most famous child prodigies
has been afflicted by poverty himself in his later life.
Source: Wikimedia

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Resource Course - Can a economy be sick?


Most readers would be ready to assume that if a once-poor nation suddenly stumbles on a handful of natural resources, then it's economic (and perhaps, political) progress would suddenly skyrocket, and it's citizens would be much better off than before... Unfortunately, such assumptions are not alway true. The poetically named Resource Curse, a.k.a. the Paradox of Plenty, and it's subset, the Dutch Disease serve with alarming examples about how a natural resource boom might actually strangle economic progress and cause political instability. Today's post, primarily based on Michael L. Ross's paper from UCLA, presents the competing explanations.

All in all, I wish we had discovered water. - Sheik Ahmed Yamani, Oil minister, Saudi Arabia

Source: Guardian Images

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Economist of the Week - William Ashley

Economics is the social science "written in the language of mathematics" (to paraphrase Galilei). In such a discipline, it is  fundamental that economic theories and explanations of phenomena should be testable - yet the world economy with it's dynamic, ever-changing pattern rarely offers us controlled experiments. It is hence quintessential that economic phenomena of the past are deeply explored and explained. This is the task of economic historians, and William Ashley was one of the first of them.

Source: Wikimedia

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Do we need to fear the fiscal cliff? II.


As promised in our post yesterday, today we will examine the arguments in favour of and against going over the fiscal cliff. In order to do so, we will construct them around the four questions already mentioned: does the cessation of tax cuts brings down debt? Does it hurt the economy? Do debts hurt the economy? And which one of the two is more important?


Monday, 19 November 2012

Do we need to fear the fiscal cliff? I.


While Barack Obama has won the 2012 presidential election on November 7th, allowing him to remain president for a second term, he may not cheer for long. The "fiscal cliff", as named by the FED president Ben Bernarke is inevitably approaching, dividing Democrats and Republicans alike - but what exactly is the fiscal cliff? And should it be feared? This short essay will aim to provide answers to these questions, split in two parts; today's post will examine the status quo, while tomorrow we will examine the predicted effects of possible scenarios.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Economist of The Week - Alfred Marshall


In the latter half of the 19th century, a drastic shift of paradigms began to emerge in economic thought. Dubbed the Neoclassical, or Marginal Revolution, a new generation of economists began to embrace the theory of marginal utility and simultaneously, a more mathemathical approach towards mathematics. This week's economist is the "champion" of this new movement, and one of the most influential economists ever, whose ideas are still in everyday use - Alfred Marshall.

Source: Wikimedia

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Behavioural economics: A Short Introduction

Why would a psychologist win the Nobel Prize in Economics? The answer to this question is possibly the most visible sign of an emerging trend in contemporary economics research. Behavioural economics aims to study the emotional, social, psychological factors in economic decision-making, challenging the largely dominant paradigm that every economic decision is made rationally. But how did that paradigm appear? What are the goals of behavioural economics today? This post aims to provide answers to these questions.

Update: Certain elements of our description of the German Historical School were incorrect and have been rewritten. We'd like to apologise for the inconvenience.

Source: uchicago.edu

Monday, 12 November 2012

Announcement

We'd like to apologise to our readers for the unexpected hiatus - don't worry, Schoolonomic is now back online starting tomorrow, with an updated posting schedule. Instead of the previous, daily posts (often of volatile quality), the new schedule will present four articles a week. These will come on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the Economist of the Week series delayed from the previous Wednesdays to Thursdays. Through these changes, I hope to create content which is both more structured and more interesting to readers; current plans include posts more related to contemporary issues and to the mathematical underpinnings of economics.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Economist of The Week - Vilfredo Pareto

In present day economics, the name Pareto sound familiar to many - this Italian economist is chiefly known for the Pareto efficiency, named after him. Yet the field of economics owes much more to this Italian economist; he was one of the first to use the tools of mathematics, statistics and the scientific method in a discipline theresofar dominated (except for the German School) by the Adam Smith heritage of inductive, theoretical approach.

Source: Wikimedia

Monday, 5 November 2012

How can money serve as a replicator?

As promised in our post yesterday, we will lay out the elemental principles of how money (or precisely, capital) can act as a form of replicator, dubbed "mon" by the Hungarian mathematician László Mérő. Firstly, we'll prove how "mons" are different from "memes"; simultaneously that they indeed exist; and finally, how their presence changes the way scientists may observe the field of economics, by applying the methods of genetic biology and memetics to it.
(Warning: If you're scared away by proofs for scientific phenomena, scroll down to the last paragraph. You'd loose out on the essence of the post, though. Don't worry - it's not as tough as it seems.)

Source:article.wn.com

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Memes, 'temes' and other replicators

It is and established fact that the basic principles of biological inheritance are embedded inside our genes, determining the biological properties of every being's descendants. And ever since Richard Dawkins's 1976 book The Selfish Gene, scientists have been exploring the possibility that it is not the beings, but rather the genes themselves which replicate. This not only revolutionarized genetics - but has also started a new line of research which, by today has become relatively accepted on its own: memetics, the research of thought patterns acting as replicators.
Even some internet memes may qualify as scientific replicators.
Even some internet memes may qualify as scientific replicators.


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Did the Romans really invent "flexible" glass?

A relatively unknown, yet intriguing myth about Ancient Rome tells us about the Roman emperor Tiberius executing a glassmaker for allegedly inventing something called 'vitrum flexile' - flexible glass, which didn't break and could be bended by hand. But why did he do so? And could it actually happen? In our answer, we will provide a short guide into the theory of disruptive innovation.

Source: Wordpress.com

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pooponomics - the human waste industry

There is an old euphemism telling about a place which 'even the king visits on foot'. And while it's certainly not an usual topic of dinner conversations, waste disposal has a bigger economic impact on our lives than most of us would think. The following infographic tells virtually everything about the topic one could imagine - should you still dare to ask, you're free to go ahead.

Readers note: I'll be on a family holiday starting Monday until Friday, without a connection to the Internet. Due to this, Schoolonomic will temporarily stop posting until then - do not worry, we'll be back.

Pooponomics: The Economy of Human Waste


Friday, 26 October 2012

Did the West abandon Hungary in 1956? - Part II.

In our previous post, we have written about the origins of two simultaneous Cold War crises - they happened on opposing sides of the Iron Curtain, for different reasons, yet their simultaneity had profound consequences for both events. This post will explore the effects the Suez Crisis had  on the Hungarian Revolution and vice versa.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Economist of The Week - Carl Menger

The late 19th century saw the emergence of modern economics in general, regarding not only the tools and principles of quantitative measurement, but regarding modern macroeconomic schools of thought as well. The earliest of these, the Austrian School of Economics was founded by the economist Carl Menger, and it has a devoted group of proponents to this day.

Source: Wikimedia

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Did the West abandon Hungary in 1956? - Part I.

Exactly 56 years ago, a series of protests by Hungarian university students turned into what became the first example of a popular uprising against an oppressive Soviet regime, and a key moment in modern Hungarian history - the Revolution of 1956. While the revolution is commemorated each year, it is often forgotten that it's success largely depended on foreign politics - not unlike the revolutions of 1848 and 1703. This two-post-long series will explain the origins and implications of the Suez Crisis on the Hungarian cause - and in the second post, will try to determine whether there was a realistic chance of foreign assistance for the revolutionaries.



Monday, 22 October 2012

Are there advantages of Somali piracy?

When we think of piracy, many of us imagine long-bearded, English or Spanish-speaking buccaneers sailing in the waters of the Caribbean, pillaging ships of all insignia sometime during the early 18th century. But lately, the term piracy has been attributed to another group of seafarers - the former fishermen of Somalia. Exploring their socio-economic backgrounds and history, this post aims to explore the economic effects of their activities.

Source: Wordpress.com

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hungarian pension disparities

Pensions and government benefits for senior citizens are both a big and controversial component of state expenditures all around the developed countries - Hungary is no exception. Government expenditures on pensions made up 10.1% in 2002 - roughly the same amount as in other European countries, but the ratio of pensioners to the active workforce is very high. This article deals with the question of economic sustainability, political gridlock and pension disparities.

Source: www.towntalk.co.uk

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

On inequality and the Gini coefficient

This week's edition of The Economist (October 13th-19th 2012) deals excessively with the problems caused by inequality. Empirical evidence shows that higher inequality correlates with higher political instability and reduced investment rates, the mentioned study being just one of the many. And while inequality seems hardly measurable, it's actually quite easy, thanks to two scientists - economist Max O.Lorenz and statistician Corrado Gini. This post will firstly tell about the Gini coefficient, a common measure of inequality, and secondly list intriguing phenomena regarding it's use.

Source: liberation.typepad.com

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Economist of The Week - Wilhelm Roscher

Throughout the 300-year old history of modern economic thought, various schools of thought have risen and fallen out of favour as new ideas and theories took their place. And while some of these approaches have been holding sway since the end of the 19th century, there is one school in particular, which, albeit fell out of favour by now, have once held an enormous sway on both European and American economics. The school's name is the German Historical School of Economics, and this article discusses the life of it's founder, Wilhelm Roscher.

Source: Wikimedia

Monday, 15 October 2012

And this year's Nobel Prize goes to...

Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University and Lloyd Shapley of the UCLA. But what did these scholars accomplish to gain this years' award? Who handles out the Nobel Prizes in Economics? And which countries provide the biggest number of laureates to the world? Read below to learn about the history, geographical distribution and other related facts.
Source: slate.com

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Short Guide to 1920's Government Finance

In contemporary Hungary - severely affected by the financial crisis -, seeking foreign financing for government expenditures is not an easy business. With current yield rates for 10-year government bonds are around 7%, long-term market financing is not an option - yet the government is reluctant to seek help from the IMF, despite a debt to GDP rate of 74.6 percent in 2011.  Nonetheless, there have been multiple examples of the Hungarian government 'giving in to foreign pressure' - the most classical example is the one immediately after the First World War, which in the end lead to the establishment of the independent Hungarian central bank.

Népszövetségi Kölcsön [League of Nations Loan]
Source:  © IWM (Art.IWM PST 5759)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The economics of terrorism

In this blog, we have written about the economic implications of spam e-mails, music festivals, and casinos among others - but the economic implications of terrorism are especially intriguing and controversial. The following video shows not the side of the regulators, but the terrorist themselves.Loretta Napoleoni, a long time investigator of the Italian terrorist group called the Red Brigades, presents a talk at TED about her findings.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Economist of The Week - Karl Marx

The name sound familiar to everyone - Karl Marx, the German scientist is arguably one of the most famous and influential economic thinkers, possibly seconding only Adam Smith. And while his ideas have generally fell out of favour by the beginning of this century, we all know how recent those developments are. This post will aim to provide an insight into the life and economic viewpoints of Marx, trying to separate these bits of information from the subsequent political and ideological effects his works have had on subsequent generations.

Source: Wikimedia

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Does spamming make people rich?

We have all been annoyed by them - advertisements, pop-ups, spam letters, 'you-won' windows and the list goes on. And many ask: why are spam emails being spent at all? The answer would seem obvious: because they are (at least somewhat) effective as a method of marketing. But is that assumption testable, and the profits measurable? It would appear that they are - and seven computer scientists at the UCLA, Los Angeles did just that.

Source: Washington Post

Monday, 8 October 2012

7 Biggest Crashes of All Time, IV.

In the fourth post of our series on stock market crashes (the first three posts can be found here(about 1907), here(about 1929), and here(about 1987)), we present a unique one - firstly, because this particular crash originated and stayed in Japan, instead of the USA, and secondly, because it wasn't a traditional crash at all, but more of a gradual collapse. Nonetheless, it's effects had probably the most severe consequences in modern financial history. Intrigued? Then scroll below to read about the Japanese asset price bubble, bursting in 1990.

Source: foreignpolicyblogs.com

5.
The Lost Decade
Date: Starting in March 1990
Location: Japan
Causes: burst of the 1980's asset price bubble
Duration of panic: N/A
Biggest percentage change of market index: -63.2% until August 1992 (Nikkei 225)
Length of recession: 13 years
Results: A decade of deflation and economic mismanagement called the Lost Decade, followed by stagnation/slow growth


Sunday, 7 October 2012

The power of the informal economy

The motor of supply and demand is a powerful and insuperable one. If a demand exists for a certain product or service, sooner or later someone will be there to provide supply - even when when doing so is illegal, eg. the Mafia alcohol trade during the Prohibition.This creates a huge market for goods and services worldwide - the so-called informal economy, which employs 1.8 billion (!) people worldwide. The following presentation held by American journalist, who investigated such enterprises for four years, provides an intriguing glimpse into the world of this shadow economy.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

History of the USA paper currency

As we have shown in our posts on monetary policy, the creation of paper money - and later, pure fiat money, money which derives it's value only from a governmental guarantee - was a lenghty and often chaotic process. This was especially the case in the United States of America, where the lack of a federal central bank made issuing a strong local currency difficult at best. The following infographic tells the intriguing history of the United States dollar, going back more than 200 years.

Click on the image to enlarge.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Economic School of The Week - Classical Economics

Our regular readers may have noticed that this Wednesday we wrote about student finances rather than one of the regular Economist of The Week posts. This was no coincidence - today's post is while being an integral part of the series, aims to conclude and summarise the first major era of the economic sciences, classical economics. 

Note: Click on the names of the economists to read about them in further detail.

Source: Wikimedia

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

University accomodation costs in UK

October 15th - the deadline for an application for a Oxford or Cambridge degree in the United Kingdom - is steadily approaching. Many students - among them myself - are interested in studying abroad, yet to many this poses severe financial problems. While tuition fees are stable and calculable, costs of accomodation can vary a great degree and this makes the calculation the total abroad costs uncertain at best. However, the following infographic may shred some light on the issue, and make deciding between universities easier.


The True Cost of Going to University


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The mysterious pricing of Bordeaux wines

Ever since the founding of the first commodity exchange in Amsterdam in 1602, there has been an interest at one time or another in everything tradeable - ranging from tulips to grain, and to quality Bordeaux red wines. Hundreds of professionals specialise in the trade, distribution and pricing of these delicacies - yet for a long time, most of their price predictions, based on intuition and tasting, fell short of subsequent results. To this point, this seems like a standard case of price unpredictability - but recently, the research of Orley Ashenfelter, an economist at Princeton has shown that wine prices CAN be predicted. Flabbergasted? Read below, and we will tell you how.

The seemingly unpredictable price of Bordeaux red wine actually is mainly influenced by the weather.
Source: Daily Telegraph

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Euro Crisis Explained, III. - How it all began

In the first post of our series on the Euro Crisis, we have argued that the growth of the financial crisis into a bigger, governmental debt crisis was triggered by two factors - the one being the ECB's 'failure' to act as a lender of last resort to countries in trouble, while the other being the formulation and bust of the European housing bubble. Today's post aims to explain the first factor - but to understand the totality of the causes which lead here, we have to go back to the founding of the European Union. Join us in our travel back in time below.

Source: Europejski Portal

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Euro Crisis Explained, II. - The Euro in The Crosshairs

Continuing our line of European crisis posts, we present this video detailing the origins and the problems of the common curency. Our detailed assessment of the problem will come on Monday - until then, keep on reading us and have a nice weekend.

Reader's notice: Starting this Sunday, I'll divide this blog's posts into two categories - 'working day posts' will be the longer, essay-like pieces detailing various economic issues, while 'weekend' posts will focus more on the light side, presenting infographics, videos and the like. Our hope is that the new changes will lead to more predictable and higher-quality posts.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Economics of Booze

We have already thoroughly discussed in our Mafia Economics post the significance of the alcohol trade in the 1920's. And while regulations come and regulations go, people's aptitude for beverages never changes - or so it seems. The following infographic represents the contemporary American alcohol industry. 


Alcohol: A Recession-Proof Industry?
Browse more infographics.

Friday, 28 September 2012

A brief history of tax havens

 Seychelles, Bahama, The Cayman Islands - most readers have heard the name of at least one, and usually not due to their magnificent landscape. These territories are all tax havens, which have converted their entire legislation with the sole purpose of trying to attract investors wishing to evade - or as they call it, 'optimize' taxes of their home country. But what is their story? Why did tax havens form in the first place, how much money they house, and can they be stopped (or even should be stopped?) Read the article to discover the answers to all your evasion-related questions.

Click on the image to enlarge. Source: Visual.ly

Thursday, 27 September 2012

All in! - Why Casinos Are Good For The Economy

What do Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Monte Carlo have in common? The answer is obvious – they all started as small settlements, growing into huge cities due to their success as gambling resorts. Hence on the first look, gambling seems like a powerful engine of the economy – but on the other hand, it also increases crime, causes addiction, and it really is just a transfer of money from gamblers to casino owners, not creating real productive value. So what is the truth? Schoolonomic believes that despite their social setbacks, casinos have several positive macroeconomic effects. Why? We will explain below.

Source: Destination360.com

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Economist of The Week - John Stuart Mill

Periods come and periods go – and it isn't any different with the economic sciences. Today's economist in many ways represents the end of the era of classical economics, and the beginning of a new age of economic thought. Not only his work concludes and finalises the ideas of his legendary predecessors, but he also was a famous philosopher, a child prodigy and an outstanding intellect. His name is John Stuart Mill.

Source:Wikipedia Commons

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

School day off and Marshallian curves

Yesterday, on the Monday of September 24th, around 9:30 CET, construction workers outside our secondary school have cut a water pipe. As a result, the owner of the school buffer has raised the price of bottled water from 260 HUF to 600 HUF (although only temporarily, and as a joke). And while most of us very just happy that school came to a quick end due to the risk of infestation, the story has some important economic consequences as well. Wondering how? Read below.


Source: Peak Oil Technology

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Euro Crisis Explained, I. - What's With All The Debt?

Welcome back to Euro Crisis Explained! In our first post on the origins of the European financial crisis,  we have argued that Eurozone governments, like  Greece, Ireland and Portugal, Spain and Italy - the GIPSI countries, known without Ireland as the PIGS - had troubles financing their debts due to high interest rates forced upon them by the markets. However, that is just one side of the story. Countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Portugal have accumulated substantial government deficits on their own - and if your read below, we will explain how. 

Government debt in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal is one of the biggest problems of the Great Recession.
Source: Gaijinpot.com

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A post you can't refuse... - Mafia Economics

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse" - says Don Vito Corleone, and thousands of fans of the movie 'The Godfather' fans experience the same goose bumps they did back in 1972. Even if you did not see the movie - you should -, you are most likely familiar with the story of Michael Corleone, youngest son of the Don who goes from being an outsider to the head of the organisation. But there are some facts even fans don't know about - for example, that besides being a movie classic, 'The Godfather' serves us with important lessons on supply and demand and the role of government. How? Read below.  

Source: HowManyAreThere.net

Saturday, 22 September 2012

What Is Game Theory?

Reader's of Schoolonomic already know by now that economics is not an isolated discipline - the non-conclusive list of connections includes history, philosophy, psychology and also mathematics. And while we have written extensively about the first three, so far has been little coverage of the latter.
So to open a new line of explanatory posts aimed at explaining mathematical economic concepts, this post will cover game theory, the mathematic study of decision-making.

Game theory's practical applications include poker, chess and several other forms of classical games.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Euro Crisis Explained, Introduction

Starting from this Friday, Schoolonomic will expand the scope of it's covered topics by introducing a new form of articles - from now on, once or twice a week, one of this blog's posts will be a coverage of contemporary economic events, providing an unique opinion and explanation on the issue, most likely using examples of economic, historical and political history. This week's first post is about the euro - how did the countries of the European Union reach their current, volatile debt status, and why is it a problem? Look at the infographic below to discover, and read our explanation on the matter below.

Source: Infographics Archive

Thursday, 20 September 2012

7 Biggest Crashes of All Time, III.

Many people believe that the 1929 Crash was the biggest of all time in terms of percentage change – and while that has been the case for decades after 1929, the winner of the dubious glory of being the biggest percentile fall in the DJIA belongs to another crisis – the relatively unknown, yet still very real and consequential Black Monday of 1987.

Brokers of Drexel Burnham in panic after the collapse of the 1987 bubble.
Source: Media.Nowlive.net


5.
The Black Monday (The crash of 1987)
Date: October 19th 1987
Location: USA
Causes: shady IPOs, junk bonds, program trading
Duration of panic: 1 day
Biggest percentage change of market index: -22.61% (DJIA)
Length of recession: none
Results: a temporary halt in the 18-year long bear market of 1982

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Economist of The Week - Thomas Malthus

Merely two decades after the appearance of Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations, the public discussion was already being turned upside down. Economists like David Ricardo expanded and explained his then-utopian concepts of free markets and unrestricted capitalism, while others like Jean-Babtiste Say spread it abroad – and with the French Revolution starting it 1789 – aiming at achieving human and governmental perfection –, it looked as if the atmosphere of the earliest 19th century was one of utter optimism.
Not everyone shared this optimism, however. This week's economist was an 'outcast' – and while being severely criticised by both his contemporaries and successors, his ideas are one of the most influential ones of classical economics – his name is Thomas Malthus.

Thomas Malthus, father of sustainability, and population theory
Source: Wikimedia

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Rise and Fall of The Gold Standard, II.

If you've read our first post on Gold standard (the monetary policy where the nation's currency is pegged to a fixed amount of gold), you know that in the 1870's it came and took the world like a storm. The reliability of prices lead to utopistic efforts of international financial co-operation. Where did the dream disappear then? Read below to discover the story of the slow demise of the gold standard, finally disappearing exactly one century after it's popularity peak.
McKinley, President of USA advocating the gold standard on a poster.
Source: Center for History and Media

Monday, 17 September 2012

Anatomy of a Diamond

The following post is a guest post by Christina Mann.

A diamond's cut determines a huge part of its value and what kind of price it will fetch in the market. A beautifully done cut on a diamond can spell all the difference between a sparkling, brilliant stone and one that is lackluster and dull. The cut also determines the diamond's proportions, ability to reflect light, and the symmetry of its facets...all the aspects that contribute to a shining, much-desired diamond whether it's loose or set in a jewelry piece.
This new infographic from Brilliance gives readers the basics of a diamond’s anatomy in a no-nonsense, highly informative manner. You can learn about the components of a diamond (table, crown, girdle, pavilion, and culet) in-depth, and educate yourself on how to evaluate the cut of a diamond via helpful diagrams. There are also handy tips and advice interspersed in the infographic which can prove especially helpful for first-time diamond buyers. Brilliance also features a chart on how the company determines the “make” of a diamond.

An interesting infographic regarding diamond shapes and prices.
An interesting infographic regarding diamond shapes and prices.

Christina Mann works for Brilliance, an online diamond retail company specializing in loose diamonds and diamond jewelry. She is interested in the engagement rings which Hollywood stars parade, and always keeps her eyes peeled for the latest in Tinseltown bridal bling.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Rise and Fall of the Gold Standard, 1.5

During the 19th century, the gold standard came and conquered Europe (and other parts of the world) like a storm. And even though in the end it fell - as it will be demonstrated in our post tomorrow, the metal itself still held in high esteem for historical, investment and aesthetical reasons. Check out the infographic below to expand your knowledge on King Midas's metal - and read about the principal reason of it's demise as an universal medium of exchange and other fun facts below the picture.

Source: Visual.ly

Saturday, 15 September 2012

What are the hottest currencies?

We have written excessively about the role of national currencies in recent days - ranging from the description of 19th century currency union, to the description of the gold standard and much more. What may still leave some readers wondering is that which currencies are the hottest ones, the most used in international trade?  Ever wondered why don't we trade in Russian rubles or Chinese renminbis instead of US dollars? Check out the infographic below, and then read on to get your answers.




Friday, 14 September 2012

What The Heck Is a Federation? - Your Humble Guide to Forms of Government

The biggest blockbuster of European political news was the September 12th speech of Manuel Barroso, head of the European Comission, calling for the European Union to unite together as "a democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty". There has been both rejoice and outrage, supporters visualising a global superpower European Federation, while opponents feared a 'bureaucratic superstate'. But who is right – and more importantly, what on earth is a federation - or a superstate? Read below to discover.

The night lights of the European Union enlight the question of Federation
Source: 123rf.com