Nigeria's Using a Biometric ID Card That Doubles As a Debit Card

Make all the "Dear Friend" email scam jokes that you want—Nigeria now has one of the most sophisticated government-issued ID systems in the world. A new nationwide card that rolls out this week collects biometric information to prevent fraud and includes a debit card feature backed by MasterCard. » 9/02/14 7:50pm 9/02/14 7:50pm

A single clothing company consumes 1% of the world's cotton

The largest companies consume a shockingly huge amount of the world's natural resources. Ikea, for instance, uses 17.8 million cubic yards of wood a year. When it comes to cotton, there's VF Corp., a relatively unknown corporation that owns some of the best-known clothing brands in the world. » 8/28/14 7:15pm 8/28/14 7:15pm

Swag, Vapes, and Econ: My Day at the North American Bitcoin Conference

Bitcoin may have emerged from a shadowy corner of the internet, but soon, it'll have its own government affairs office in Washington. According to the crypto-currency's biggest advocates, who assembled at the second North American Bitcoin Conference this weekend in Chicago, Bitcoin is all grown up. In reality, it's… » 7/21/14 2:08pm 7/21/14 2:08pm

What gives paper money its actual value?

Money is just tinted paper printed with different numbers on it. So what gives the ol' greenbacks its value? The bills used to be tied to the gold standard but now, it's up to The Fed to control how many bills there are. So why can't they just decide to print out ridiculous amounts of bill to make everyone rich? » 6/24/14 1:42am 6/24/14 1:42am

A Glimpse Of How We’ll Use Our Land In 2051

It's the year 2051. Welcome to a view of the American landscape. Urban areas have swollen with people. Range and pasturelands have shrunk. There's a bit more forest than there was back in 2014, a result of economic incentives driving more timber production. These are a few of the predictions of a new study on how… » 5/11/14 9:00am 5/11/14 9:00am

Super-Specific Artisanal Goods Might Be Bad for the Economy

You'd think a renewed focus on handmade products would be good for a country's economy. That's not the sentiment in Australia, where a new report is claiming that handcrafted industries which require more employee hours, like bread baking and winemaking, are to blame for the country's sagging productivity. » 5/04/14 3:00pm 5/04/14 3:00pm

Single Vending Machine Replaces Last Shop in English Town

So clever, so depressing: the English town of Clifton, having dwindled in economic strength over the years, has responded to the loss of its last place to shop with a giant vending machine. The so-called Speedy Shop—really, an over-sized, building-shaped machine standing alone in a dreary parking lot—is meant to help… » 4/10/14 3:20pm 4/10/14 3:20pm

Is Amazon Art a Ripoff?

It’s been more than a week since Amazon launched Amazon Art, a marketplace for fine art where online shoppers can one-click-buy directly from galleries. And while it’s great to imagine disrupting one of the wackiest, most unregulated markets in the world, the question remains: Just how good of a deal are you getting… » 8/16/13 2:20pm 8/16/13 2:20pm

Do China's New Skyscrapers Really Signal an Economic Downturn?

Skyscrapers have been symbols of economic plentitude since Daniel Burnham, the architect behind some of the earliest tall buildings, said “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.” But is it possible that tall buildings also precipitate crashes? According to one analyst, yes—and China, in… » 8/10/13 2:59pm 8/10/13 2:59pm