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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Econ201 Posts

From Big Think Chief Economist Daniel Altman: the economic knowledge you need to navigate a volatile world.

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Econ201

Your Choice: Work Longer or Die Younger

Livework
over 2 years ago

How about this for an argument to raise the retirement age: If you don't keep working, your community could die off.  That's the threat posed by an intersection of biology and economics which could finally make some famous two-hundred-year-old predictions come true.  As the world's population grows ...

Econ201

Why You Still Can't Trust Rating Agencies

Sad_strange_happy
over 2 years ago

Credit-rating agencies were among the bogeymen of the global financial crisis, and for good reason. Moody's, Standard and Poor's, Fitch, and others failed to appraise the real risks of billions of dollars in securities that eventually went bad.  Now, they're trying to act responsible by jumping on ...

Econ201

Showdown in Iowa: Why Markets Beat Models

Iowa
over 2 years ago

An interesting thing happened yesterday in American politics.  Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, beat Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, by just eight votes in the Iowa caucuses.  But the really interesting thing was how the people who tried to forecast the result ...

Econ201

The One Economic Policy America Truly Needs

Meritocracy
over 2 years ago

Americans are unhappy with inequality.  Americans are unhappy with campaign financing. Americans are unhappy with differences in pay and unemployment.  And more than anything, Americans are unhappy that the American dream - going from rags to riches - seems to be fading away. Actually, Americans ...

Econ201

A Little Thing Called General Equilibrium

Equilibrium
almost 3 years ago

Economic growth is a tough thing to control if the tools you’re using only deal with one part of the economy.  The problem is that when you push on one end of an economy, you might be pulling on the other, and vice versa.  It’s a lesson that people who work in international development are finally ...

Econ201

Getting Too Tough on China?

China_yuan
almost 3 years ago

In recent weeks members of Congress have again moved to punish China for keeping its currency at a low value relative to the dollar.  It’s fashionable and easy to blame vast, mysterious, authoritarian China for our economic problems.  It’s also not quite fair.  In fact, China’s currency policy ...

Econ201

The Euro Zone: It’s All Greek to Me

Eu
almost 3 years ago

What’s the Big Idea? How many drachmas do you want to bet that Europe’s not out of the woods yet? Faced with the prospect of a Greek default with dire repercussions for European markets, EU leaders Merkel and Sarkozy scrambled in October to craft a complex rescue package. Then at the 11th hour ...

Econ201

Why A Greek “No” May Be No Bad Thing

Greece_protest
almost 3 years ago

Markets shuddered when George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, said he would call a referendum on the latest bailout package being offered by Europe’s economic powers.  What scared the markets most was apparently the possibility that the Greeks would choose according to their own interests ...

Econ201

A 21st Century Growth Story With a Happy Ending

Growth-plant
almost 3 years ago

While countries in North America and Europe suffer through a downturn that has people questioning the very foundations of their economies, something far more positive is happening in South America.  Countries that swung for decades between left-wing populism and right-wing authoritarianism have ...

Econ201

How Bush Sent the Protesters to Wall Street

Tax
almost 3 years ago

Though the Bush administration never admitted it, its tax cuts would almost certainly push the incomes of rich and poor further apart.  As incomes became more widely dispersed, the gap in wealth between rich and poor would quickly grow as well.  Even to a non-economist, the reason was easy to see ...

Econ201

Bernanke's Dilemma

Bern
almost 3 years ago

  When a country’s politicians can’t get their economic policies right, what’s a central banker to do?  Though central banks are supposed to control inflation, that’s not always their only job.  The Federal Reserve Act, for example, gives America’s central bank a mandate of “maximum employment ...