The Economics of Bedford Falls (Part III)

[Note: This is the final post in a series highlighting some of the financial aspects and broad economic lessons of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You can find part one here and part two here.] Economist Don Boudreaux recently outlined ten foundational lessons that should be learned in every well-taught principles of economics course. Continue Reading...

The Economics of Bedford Falls (Part II)

[Note: This is the second post in a series highlighting some of the financial aspects and broad economic lessons of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You can find part one here and part three here.]  George’s Life Savings in a Life Insurance Policy George attempts to secure a loan from Potter based on his life insurance policy. Continue Reading...

The Economics of Bedford Falls (Part I)

Upon it’s initial release in 1946, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life was something of a financial flop, failing to reach the break-even point of $6.3 million. Although it was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it wasn’t until subsequent decades that it became recognized as one of the greatest Christmas film ever made.* The film is long overdue for another reappraisal, for it’s also one of the best films ever created about economics and financial services. Continue Reading...

What Exactly Does “Middle Class” Mean?

Whether they wear boxers or briefs is none of my concern. Nor do I care whether they choose to use a PC or a Mac. When it comes to presidential candidates one of the least-asked question I want answered is, “What do you mean when you say ‘middle class?’” This undefined group of citizens seems to be a favorite of politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. Continue Reading...

The 6 Elves of Capitalism

In “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” the famous fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, a cobbler and his wife struggle to survive, barely making enough to eat (never mind investing in the future of their business). Continue Reading...

Uber, New York Traffic, and Spirituality

Riding to LaGuardia at the end of a business trip to New York City this past Saturday, my cab driver complained of the traffic in Midtown. In a non-malicious way (for a New Yorker), he suggested that the general increase in recent times might be due to the ride-sharing service Uber. Continue Reading...

3 Modern Economic Lessons from an Ancient Tax on Windows

King William III of England needed money, so in 1696 he decided to implement a new property tax. To make sure the tax was progressive (i.e., affected the rich more than the poor), the parliament devised a seemingly clever idea: they’d use the number of windows as an index for the value of a house. Continue Reading...