Definitions

Important keywords and phrases found throughout Grant's.

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Bretton woods

The cavernous Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, N.H., was the scene in 1944 for the refashioning of the world’s monetary system. Representatives of. . . . [more]

Collateralized debt obligation

A mortgage-acquisition contraption disastrously popular in the early and mid-2000s. Collateralized debt obligations (CDO) financed these assets with layers of liabilities. Equity was. . . . [more]

Deflation

A derangement of money or credit, a symptom of which is falling prices. Not to be confused with a benign, i.e., downward shift in the composite supply curve, a symptom of which is also . . . . [more]

European Central Bank

The amalgamation of the 17 national central banks in the euro zone. While the constituent national banks pool their balance sheets for common policy, each NCB continues to exist as a distinct . . . [more]

Federal Reserve

America’s central bank, called into being by the Federal Reserve Act, which President Woodrow Wilson signed (using four gold pens) on Dec. 23, 1913. The act projected an institution to. . . . The act projected an institution to . . . [more]

Fiat money

Scrip that derives its value from the imprimatur of a government. Today’s dollar, for instance, owes its value not to the cost of the high-grade paper on which it’s printed, but to the legend the . . . . [more]

Gold standard

A monetary system under which currencies were defined by gold and redeemable into gold. Exchange rates were fixed, and gold moved freely from one gold-standard country to another. . . . [more]

Hyperinflation

Inflation of 50% a month for at least one month is the threshold at which a conventional inflation becomes a hyperinflation, judged economist Phillip Cagan in his 1956 study. . . . [more]

Interest rate

The cost of hiring money or credit. The rate of interest is the amount of interest per unit of time, typically one year. Thus, at 1% per annum, the borrower of $100 would annually. . . . [more]

Yield curve

The alignment of interest rates over time. On a piece of graph paper, draw a horizontal axis and a vertical axis. Along the horizontal axis, mark down intervals of time, 24 hours to. . . . [more]

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What the figures say is obvious enough. But what do they mean? Click for a guided tour of the statistics.

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