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The Grinch (from the Dr. Seuss children’s book) and Santa are often invoked to describe what’s happening with consumer spending around the holidays. If consumers are able to spend more, then Santa’s responsible. But if they’re unable to spend more, then they’re forced to be more penny-pinching (which isn’t like the Grinch really, but more like Scrooge; either way, there’s the sense of Christmas being ruined).
Black Monday, Black Friday, Green Monday, Black Thursday, Silver
Thursday, Red Thursday, Black Tuesday—How to keep track? The more famous of
these phrases refer to either political or economic/financial events. Black usually
symbolizes something negative (and when finance-related, usually refers to a
market crash), but it also suggests something positive (being “in the black,” or
out of debt). All the days near Thanksgiving called “black” are “black” in this
way. Red seems to refer to fire, communism, being “in the red” (in debt), or
Thursday is caused by retail workers being forced to work on Thanksgiving).
“White” days are often religious. “Blue” and “purple” and sometimes “pink” tend
to be for social causes. For some reason, British miners like these
appellations—they have Red Friday
and White Thursday.
Silver does come up—Silver Thursday
refers to a commodities market panic that began with a steep drop in the price of
silver in 1980.
The Postal Savings System began in 1911 as a means
for communities without banks to allow their citizens access to basic banking
services. The system was seen as a means for banking without directly competing
with banks. The height of utilization was during the period after the Great
Depression through the end of World War II, when traditional banks
reestablished themselves as secure sources of financial services.
Do you throw coins into a fountain when you see that others
have done so? A comprehensive and
project on wishing well use in Southern California has been posted on the
internet by University of California, Irvine, anthropology professor Bill Maurer.
The 2006 project bases its findings on interviews of people throwing coins into
fountains and states that:
Although the exact origins of this
practice are unknown, offering money to water is an old tradition that can be
dated back to Roman-British and Celtic mythology. Since then, the tradition of
making a wish with a coin has been passed down through generations by
socialization, evolving from a religious ritual into a fun, yet superstitious,
cultural practice in Southern California.
Perhaps you enjoy being read to out loud. Perhaps you enjoy
being read to on subjects related to central banking. Perhaps you would enjoy
being read the Wikipedia entries for central banks around the world. If so, and
your reader was to read the following beginning sentences for central bank entries, you would hear:
The central bank of Trinidad and Tobago is the central
bank of Trinidad and Tobago . . . . The central bank of Yemen is the central bank of
Yemen . . . . The central bank of The Bahamas is the central bank of The Bahamas . . . . The
central bank of Jordan is the central bank of Jordan . . .
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Amy Farber, and Max Livingston
In two recent posts on New York and New Jersey and a series of interactive graphics, we explored the effect of the Great Recession on school district finances. But if we expand our scope a little wider, we see that school finances have been changing significantly over the past century. This makes sense, as schools have also changed a lot. Although we may take our current system for granted, schools at the turn of the century looked rather different from their present-day counterparts. As ideas of how to educate students changed, and as education became more common in the population, momentous changes took place not only in how education is imparted, but also in how much education costs and how it’s funded.
Quesnay, an eighteenth-century brain surgeon and physician to France’s King Louis XV, was also
the first to put economic data into a table. He became
interested in economics while serving the king at Versailles. Quesnay led the physiocrats, the
first economic school of thinking and supporters of a reduction in taxes on
agriculture and of relatively laissez-faire policy. In 1758, he wrote Tableau Oeconomique (Economic Table - the table itself
appears on Roman numeral p. x), which explores the relationship between
economic classes. (You can view the tabular
part of the original manuscript of the Economic Table on the Archives de France website and a larger image here.)
The visual representation of information, knowledge, or data has been around since the time of the caveman. But it wasn’t until 1786,
Playfair, a Scottish engineer, published The Commercial and Political
Atlas, illustrating for the first time how economic data could be represented by charts. Playfair’s work preceded
that of Florence
acknowledged as the founder of modern nursing—who used information graphics
in the 1850s to convince Queen Victoria that reform was needed in the British
military health service. Nightingale developed the Coxcomb chart—a combination of stacked pie and bar charts—to assess
mortality among soldiers during the Crimean War.
In 1965, Baby-Boomer kids may have been treated to TV footage
of a high-stepping chorus line and thousands of people cheering to the background
tune “Happy Days
Are Here Again.” They may have
noticed the tinny sound of the singing and the antiquated clothing styles of
the people in the footage and, not knowing why they were looking at this,
thought: Hey, this is a really great song.
Money has been a topic of keen interest throughout
history. As noted in a previous
post, this fascination has extended into artwork created
centuries ago through modern times. One artist who expanded the concept of what
people perceive as art was Andy Warhol.
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