Risk and uncertainty
After rocky 2008, U.S. consumers seek stable ground in 2009
An economy besieged on a number of fronts in 2008 staggers into 2009 with rising unemployment, falling house prices, and strained financial markets. A recessionary environment poses formidable challenges for U.S. consumers in the coming year.
Paying for crime and punishment
Criminals aren't the only ones who pay for their crimes - so does everyone else, in the form of taxes to build and operate prisons and put police on the streets. With a slow economy contributing to a rise in crime, the associated costs may also be on the rise.
Steady growth on horizon at home and abroad
Low inflation and continued gains in the job market combine to lay the groundwork for economic expansion in 2005. Variables such as energy costs and geopolitical instability inject some uncertainty into the coming year?s picture, but the economic outlook is generally positive.
Spanning the Western Hemisphere: Free Trade Area of the Americas
Thirty-four countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean would make up the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) if negotiations currently under way are successful in establishing this new trading bloc. While the FTAA would bring a number of benefits to its members, the economies involved differ greatly in development and structure, and finding consensus will be challenging.
Global economies anticipate a tepid 2009
The long global economic expansion hit the wall in 2008 as financial markets worldwide slumped and many advanced and developing economies experienced slower growth or recession. Few expect a recovery to be swift, and 2009 could see slow growth persist.
The past, present, and future of futures
The exchanges on which futures contracts are traded have come a long way from their 19th-century origins and now play a major role in the global financial system.
Consumer debt: how much is too much?
Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy, and consumers shoulder record levels of personal debt. Determining when household debt becomes too heavy, however, is no simple matter. Whether consumers are struggling with their obligations or are managing their debt adequately depends on the criteria used to measure household debt.
Financial volatility and electoral uncertainty in Latin America
In past years, Latin American economies have experienced volatility during busy electoral cycles. Will this year?s elections threaten the region?s hard-won financial stability?