I’ll be the first to admit that USA’s financial crisis is difficult to comprehend. I follow it in the news, I’ve tried my hand at economics courses. To be honest, all that I’ve learned is that I just don’t understand economics. So, if I were to tell you that the Big Mac – yes, the monstrous mystery meat sandwich that McDonald’s is famous for – could explain not only our financial crisis, but the economic development of the rest of the world, would you believe me?

Princeton’s Orley C. Ashenfelter believes so. The Atlantic reported on Ashenfelter’s research paper, which presents the idea that the Big Mac can explain the big issue that have had economists scratching their heads for years: how do poor nations become rich?

The paper addresses three topics:
1. The Rise of the West
2. The Rise of the Rest
3. The Great Recession

These aren’t easy issues to understand if you aren’t an economist, and the idea of using the Golden Arches to explain economic growth is pretty groundbreaking. When my mouth wasn’t watering for fries, I actually learned that the economy isn’t so hard to understand. Supersize Burgers = Supersize economy.

Is McDonald’s and food in general the perfect way to gauge a nation’s economy? How does this model work for you?