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   As I tell my students, nothing gets a mainstream economist frothing at the mouth quite like mentioning Karl Polanyi. Or at least it used to, when mainstream economists actually knew who Polanyi was and grasped—however dismissively—what he wrote about the history of capitalism. To his credit, Eric Hilt (pdf) appears to know something about […]

Yesterday, I showed that conventional thinking about factor shares has been finally overturned: they are not necessarily constant, especially within existing economic institutions. In fact, labor’s shares have been declining for decades now. The opposite is true of capital’s shares: they’ve been rising for almost three decades. The profit share of national income has, of […]

Apparently, “late capitalism” is the term that is being widely used to capture and make sense of the irrational and increasingly grotesque features of contemporary economy and society. There’s even a recent novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, by Peter Mountford. A reader [ht: ra] wrote in wanting to know what I thought about the label, […]

2o16 will be remembered by many for the troubling signs associated with Brexit and Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential race. But, for the world’s billionaires, it was a great year. According to Forbes [ht: ja], It was a record year for the richest people on earth, as the number of billionaires jumped 13% to […]

Themes of 2016

Posted: 6 January 2017 in Uncategorized

Looking back over the past year, here are the ten major themes I found in my blog posts: inequality critique of mainstream economics the U.S. presidential election, especially Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump class and surplus epistemology, especially uncertainty utopia working-class corporations and capital academy critique of liberalism We’ll see what happens in the current year. . […]

President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to bribe Carrier into keeping 800 manufacturing jobs in Indiana, instead of moving them to one of its Mexican plants, has met with opposition from mainstream economists, both liberal and conservative. Clearly, it’s not about the size of the deal (although $7 million in incentives to keep less than one thousand […]

Class issues became central to the 2016 presidential campaign in ways that I can’t recall for any other election in my lifetime. And even now, during the post-election debate, the references to class remain widespread. It’s not that the discussion of class in relation to the election has been particularly interesting or revealing. Americans, especially political pundits, still […]

Technically, there is no Nobel Prize in economics. What it is, instead, is the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which members of the Nobel family and a previous winner (Friedrich von Hayek) have criticized. So, where did the prize come from? As Avner Offer explains, The Nobel prize came […]

Yesterday, I argued that capitalism has, over the course of its history, generated movements of masses of people, both within and between nations. However, in the United States, the effects of capitalism’s laws of population are mostly ignored, as are the links between internal and external migrations of workers. Instead, the discussion tends to focus only on the consequences of […]

Capitalism has, from the very beginning, generated movements of masses of people, both within and between nations. On one hand, the development of capitalism has disrupted and in many cases destroyed other modes of production and ways of life, and forced workers to have the freedom to sell their ability to work elsewhere—sometimes within their home countries (e.g., […]