Oh, The Joys of Looking Back at 2015.
Each week, ‘The Economist Explains’ blog expounds on subjects ranging from current events to economics, from philosophical or scientific issues to everyday oddities. Let’s take a quick look at a few of its headlines during 2015:
- Why the Swiss unpegged the Swiss franc (January 18, 2015). Remember when the Swiss National Bank removed its currency peg last January? The Swiss franc realized double-digit gains in value and the Swiss stock market dropped.
- Everything you want to know about falling oil prices (March 18, 2015). “The main reason for falling prices is increased supply from America thanks to its fracking boom, which has reduced its demand for oil imports. Other countries, notably Saudi Arabia, have been loth to curb supply lest they lose their share of the global oil market.”
- Why so many Dutch people work part time (May 11, 2015). More than one-half of the working population in Netherlands is employed part-time – a higher percentage than anywhere else in the world. “This is partly a relic of prevailing Christian attitudes which said that mothers should be home for tea time and partly down to the wide availability of well-paid “first tier” part-time jobs.”
- What Greece must do to receive a new bail-out (July 14, 2015). After challenging negotiations, Greece and its European creditors cut a deal, allowing the country to remain in the euro area.
- China’s botched stock market rescue (July 30, 2015). Chinese stocks lost nearly a third of their value last summer. China’s authorities “resorted to heavy-handed measures to prop up swooning share prices, from pressuring banks to buy stocks to blocking big investors from selling theirs.”
- Why is the Nobel prize in chemistry given for things that are not chemistry (October 7, 2015)? Apparently, five of the last 10 Nobel chemistry prizes have been awarded for pursuits that might better be described as biology. A possible explanation is “the diversity of chemistry prizes reflects the fact that chemistry is found everywhere…”
- How the Fed will raise interest rates (December 14, 2015). Just as the Fed employed unconventional monetary tools to stimulate the economy, it is using new policy tools to try to increase the Fed funds rate.
We hope 2015 has been a memorable and rewarding year for you, and we look forward to working with you in the New Year.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”
–Rene Descartes, French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist