At times, the economy seems like a Times Square billboard with news headlines flashing in random patterns. Consider the disparate messages we hear regularly: Consumer spending is up. The value of the Chinese currency is artificially high. The stock market is down. The Federal Reserve is lowering interest rates. Congress is cutting spending. Panama is expanding the canal. It’s hard to know what all of it means. And it definitely makes you wonder: What is the thread tying all of these factors together?
Context is the answer, say economist Joel Naroff and journalist Ron Scherer. In their new book, Big Picture Economics: How to Navigate the New Global Economy, the authors show how understanding economic context—your own personal roadmap—is important to everyone from truck drivers and mayors to the presidents of universities and entrepreneurs.
“Every sector of the economy—the consumer, business, the Federal Reserve, international trade, and government—needs to look at what’s going on around them when they make critical decisions like buying new products, building new factories, hiking or lowering interest rates, or setting budget goals,” says Naroff. “Decoding the mysteries of a tumultuous economy is not easy, but our book can help people put the pieces together and form frameworks for future decision-making.”
With unique insight, a candid approach, and the expertise to back it up, the authors examine such diverse and seemingly unrelated events as the expansion of the Panama Canal, a Tex-Mex restaurant’s menu change, and Americans cutting back on their healthcare spending, and show how they are linked to the changes coursing through the economy. Big Picture Economics illustrates how context impacts decisions and decision-makers.
- The Federal Reserve and Congress in formulating economic policy
- Consumers in a shopper nation and what makes us buy or not buy
- Corporations making decisions on whether to build new factories and buy other companies
- The federal budget that must deal with complex issues, including the reduction of healthcare spending
- A simple test for tax cuts or increases: Will they help the economy grow?
- Where to produce and where to sell in a global economy that is more like a Mobius strip than a flat world
- International events that can ripple through the economy and ultimately affect workers in the Midwest
- Technology, such as intelligent drones and wearable computers, that is changing the future
“We think of the book as not only a readable way to better understand the global economy, but also a guide to how to use this information to make financial decisions and plan for the future,” says Scherer. “Wealthy individuals, global corporations, and governments have been using the insights and advice you’ll find in our book for years, and now you can apply that same knowledge to take control of your destiny.”
"A breath of fresh air, with lucid and perceptive insights on every page. It all sounds like common sense, but it is actually based on a close, expert reading of economic history and what that history implies for the future. Read this book to become a more educated judge of economic policy!"
—Robert Moffitt, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University