A wealth bubble?

Here is a question to consider:

Is there a wealth bubble? When monetary resources are tied up in banks, investor accounts, and savings, does this in some sense create a bubble that inhibits economic flow and productivity?

AB — 21 August 2009

Does Bubbleconomics offer solutions, or is it all negative?

Someone with a critical eye might look at Bubbleconomics as a negative endeavor. So this is a valid question: Are we just mouthing off about how bad the human economics system is, or do we offer solutions?

One answer to that is that Bubbleconomics is very much an exploratory project. Our ideas are in discovery and might be looked at as trial balloons or straw men — certainly not sacred cows, if you will permit another cliche.

While we are not interested in recommending government policy, we do recognize that governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals might undertake projects to combat the negative human effects of economic bubbles or to exploit the resultant entrepreneurial opportunities. Such projects could take place on a large or small scale.

For example, I was thinking this morning about the growing phenomenon of homeless tent cities in the U.S. The tent city in Sacramento, Calif., has received much recent attention due to its being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Naturally the recent upsurge in such settlements brings to mind the Hoovervilles that emerged during the U.S. Great Depression. But we might also consider favelas or shanty towns like the ones in Brazil, or refuge camps. (See this panorama view of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro.)

If the Big Bubble hypothesis is correct, the world could see an increasing need for such settlements as economies collapse and populations are displaced. What might be the needs and opportunities arising as a result? What are the possibilities for creating intentional settlements, low-cost housing, products, and technologies targeted at the increasing needs for such encampments?

These seem like fruitful areas for exploration, and I am certain that innovators, entrepreneurs, charities, governments, and researchers are already investigating them.

One recent example I came across is EDAR (Everyone Deserves a Roof), a non-profit organization that distributes mobile shelters that have been compared to covered shopping carts.

AB — 15 March 2009

Levels of Economic Bubbles

It seems useful to identify several levels of economic bubbles:

Personal bubble: The economic bubble formed by an individual or a family created and maintained by self-interested behavior (See “Defining terms in Bubbleconomics“)

Microbubble: An economic bubble formed on a relatively small level, such as in a limited geographic location or niche market

Macrobubble: A large bubble that plays a major economic role in a large economy, globally, or in a major industry or industries

The Big Bubble: The theoretic global bubble consisting of the entire world economy based on unsustainable growth (See “Defining terms in Bubbleconomics“)

AB — 16 March 2009