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A Primer on Futures Contracts

Dr. Hassan Shirvani Futures contracts, together with options and swaps, are examples of the derivative securities which are so-called because they derive their values from the performances of other financial assets or commodities.  As such, they are essentially side bets, not unlike placing bets in a horse race.  Given their wide popularity on Wall Street as highly effective investment and hedging instruments, this post briefly…

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Myth of the Free Markets: A Catholic Perspective

By Dr. Hassan M. Shirvani The importance of economic education in fostering higher levels of social welfare and political stability is widely acknowledged.  However, judging by the poor quality of most public economic debates, the level of economic literacy, even in major industrial countries, seems to be still awfully low.  This is particularly evidenced by the increasing tendency of many debaters to refute the views of their opponents, not…

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Quantitative Easing, Helicopter Money, and the Coronavirus Crisis

Helicopter with falling money

Exceptional economic and financial crises often demand exceptional remedies.  It was in this spirit that many governments, fearing another Great Depression, intervened heavily in their economies during the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  While the adopted fiscal actions, involving both government expenditures and tax cuts, were quite substantial, they were nevertheless easily eclipsed by the massive levels of central bank monetary interventions.  In the United States, for example, the level of…

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