Best Columns: Saving money, Gauging wealth
Saving energy saves money
There is “little, if any, relief in sight at the fuel pump or from soaring utility bills,” says John F. Wasik in Bloomberg. For those willing to set aside a “deer-in-the-headlights attitude,” though, lower energy bills await. Do a free energy audit of your house at the Department of Energy’s Web site. Insulating windows can save a bundle. To counter high gas prices, buy a fuel-efficient car—but instead of buying a $20,000+ hybrid like the Toyota Prius, look for a cheap, small car, drive less, and invest the savings. Where to invest? An energy fund. “If you can’t beat oil prices, join Wall Street in profiting from them.”
A new way to gauge national wealth
If you want to know the median national income of a particular country, says Tim Harford in Slate, just look at IMF figures: The U.S. is ninth, with $46,000 GDP per head; Luxembourg is first, with $102,000. But for many poorer countries, the number looks very different if you count people born in a country, “regardless of where they now live,” instead of its current residents. Under that measure—dubbed “income per natural” by its creators, Lant Pritchett and Michael Clemens—the average income in countries like Samoa and Guyana more than doubles. Why? “Migration has made a lot of migrants richer.” But you’d never know it from looking at “traditional measures of income.”
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