Blog Dictionary

Below please find definitions for terms routinely used throughout this website.

Of House and Homestead

Cistern – a tank (often times underground) for storing water, especially one supplying taps or as part of a flushing toilet

Co-operative – a farm, business, or other organization which is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits

Frost Line – the maximum depth of ground below which the soil does not freeze in winter

Greywater – water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines; not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers; may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products

Potable – drinkable

Solar Hot Water – the conversion of sunlight into renewable energy for water heating using a solar thermal collector.

Thermal Mass – describes the ability of a material to store heat; something many construction materials can do to a greater or lesser extent

Thermosiphon – a physical effect and refers to a method of passive heat exchange based on natural convection, which circulates a fluid without the necessity of a mechanical pump

The Financial Clan

Bailout – an act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse

Bail-In – financial assistance to a failing bank by taking some of the deposits of its creditors (people who put their money in the bank)

BRICS – refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the largest emerging markets – often times having the S not capitalized because it is generally regarded as a much smaller player than the other BRICS nations

Central Bank – a national bank that provides financial and banking services for its country’s government and commercial banking system, as well as implementing the government’s monetary policy and issuing currency

Consumer Price Index (CPI) – (in the US) an index of the variation in prices for retail goods and other items

Coup d’Etat – a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government

Creditor – a person or company who has lent money to another person or company (this includes people who put their money in a bank)

Currency Peg – the act of fixing the value of one’s currency to another country’s currency, or to some hard asset such as gold (examples: the US dollar was pegged to gold in 1900 at 20 dollars to 1oz of gold; or in 2014 the Swiss franc was pegged to the euro at 1.20 francs per euro)

De-Dollarization – a process by which the US dollar is used less and less in conducting financial transactions around the world, a side effect of which is dollars currently held abroad returning back to the US (an increase in the domestic supply of US dollars)

Default – failure to repay a loan

Deficit Spending – spending more than one generates in revenue

Deflation – A contraction in the supply of money, often leading to a decrease in the cost of consumer goods because individuals and companies are forced to drop their prices in order to sell goods in an environment where there is less money going around.

Demand Destruction – a permanent downward shift in the demand of a commodity, such as energy products, induced by a prolonged period of either high prices or constrained supply

Derivative – an contractual arrangement or product (such as a future, option, or warrant) whose value derives from and is dependent on the value of an underlying asset, such as a commodity, currency, or security; commonly used by financial firms as a sort of insurance policy in order to hedge against the unexpected happening, but ultimately depends on the ability of the other party to make good on the deal (example: when the price of oil is at $100/barrel, an oil company may take out a derivative contract that allows them to sell oil for $60 in the event that the price of oil ever falls lower than they’d like – it would make sense to exercise this option if the price went below $60).

Fiat Currency – paper money made legal tender by a government decree; not redeemable for any hard asset such as gold

Fractional Reserve Banking – A banking system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash-on-hand and are available for withdrawal, typically 0-10% (i.e. if an individual deposits $100 in the bank, the bank likely only keeps $0-$10 of that deposit on hand, whereas the rest is loaned out to other people)

Gold Standard – a system by which the value of a currency is defined in terms of gold, for which the currency can be exchanged

Hard Asset – often refer to items such as buildings, precious metals, cash or other fungible assets, and are generally considered particularly valuable because they can be used to produce or purchase other goods or services

Hegemony – leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others

High Frequency Trading Algorithm – a sophisticated trading program using proprietary trading strategies carried out by computers to move in and out of positions in seconds or fractions of a second, aiming to capture sometimes a fraction of a cent in profit on every trade

International Monetary Fund (IMF) – an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, that is often viewed as the “lender of last resort” to distressed economies

Keynesian Economics – the prevailing modern-day theory of economics, developed by John Maynard Keynes in the early 1900’s, that generally advocates the use of government spending and intervention to stabilize the economy

Liquid – easily convertible to cash

Inflation – an increase in the supply of money in a society, often associated with rising prices / declining purchasing power

Insolvent – unable to pay debts owed

Mainstream Media – those media disseminated via the largest distribution channels, which therefore represent what the majority of media consumers are likely to encounter; also denotes those media generally reflective of the prevailing currents of thought, influence, or activity

Negative Interest Rate Policy  (NIRP) – An experimental policy implemented by central banks whereby banks are charged a negative interest rate to keep their money on deposit overnight

Reserve Currency – a strong currency widely used in international trade that a central bank is prepared to hold as part of its foreign exchange reserves (held at central banks because it is regarded as having universal value and can therefore be used to buy other currencies and conduct business anywhere)

Reserve – cash or some other highly liquid (easily convertible to cash) asset that is not required for immediate use but is available if it becomes needed

Repatriation – the process of returning one’s assets currently held abroad back to its actual country of ownership (i.e. Germany holding its gold at Fort Knox for safe keeping asking for it back)

SWIFT – The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication – the method by which basically all international banking transactions are processed (i.e. if you wire money to anybody overseas you will need to enter a “SWIFT code” for the recipient’s bank)

Too Big to Fail (TBTF) – banks that are generally considered too important to continued functioning of the world’s financial system to allow to go bankrupt

Quantitative Easing – the introduction of new money into the money supply by a central bank

Volatility – a measure for variation of price of a financial instrument over time (the more a price fluctuates the high its volatility)

WWOOFing While Pregnant

Allium – a bulbous plant of a genus that includes the onion and its relatives (e.g., garlic, leek, and chives)

Chooks – A chicken or fowl

Compost – decayed organic material used as a fertilizer for growing plants

Lucerne – sometimes called Alfalfa, it can be substituted with anything that is friable but rich in nitrogen, such as straw mixed with grass clippings, mulched garden material, etc.

Humus – the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms

Mob – a herd of animals (term used in Australia)

Monospeciation – The process by which a single organism is largely isolated and raised segregated from other organisms

Pathogen – a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause diseas

Permaculture – the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient

Swale – a low or hollow place, especially a marshy depression between ridges

WWOOF – Willing Workers on Organic Farms; a loose network of national organisations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms


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