What determines a birth rate? – Or: The Russian population problem

At a press conference last November, as Vladimir Putin was massing troops along the border with Ukraine, he was asked what keeps him up at night. Putin answered that one of the main problems Russia faces today was its population decline and its threat to the country's economy. He added: "From a humanitarian point of view … Continue reading What determines a birth rate? – Or: The Russian population problem

The scapegoat problem: What’s missing in the gasoline price debate

Every time the prices at the gas stations are way up, there is (at least here in Germany) the same discussion.  That discussion goes along with the following question: Are the oil companies taking advantage of their customers, charging extra high prices to maximise their profits? The correct answer to this question is probably: Of … Continue reading The scapegoat problem: What’s missing in the gasoline price debate

Little more than hot air: What will change if natural gas is paid in rubles

Putin is demanding payment in rubles for its natural gas exports. However, the contracts are denominated in euros and dollars. One would think that Putin would benefit from a change towards the ruble (why else would he act that way). But that's not the case at all. Let's compare the two payment methods.  Method 1 is the … Continue reading Little more than hot air: What will change if natural gas is paid in rubles

What’s the problem with rising prices?

Inflation is back. After many years of low inflation rates, prices have recently risen in much of the world.  The chart below shows the inflation rate of the G20 countries compared to the same month a year ago (I took the chart from here).   In this post, I would like to answer the following question: Is this rising inflation … Continue reading What’s the problem with rising prices?