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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. . […]

The economic crises that came to a head in 2008 and the massive response—by the U.S. government and corporations themselves—reshaped the world we live in.* Although sectors of the U.S. economy are still in one of their longest expansions, most people recognize that the recovery has been profoundly uneven and the economic gains have not […]

I have been arguing, since 2016 (e.g., here, here, and here), that one of the likely outcomes of the kind of corporate tax cuts Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have supported—and, as we saw, eventually rammed through—would be an increase in inequality. That’s because corporations would likely use a portion of their higher profits […]

This is the first in a series of blog posts on the utopian dimensions of healthcare. I’ve written quite a bit about the U.S. healthcare dystopia over the years—including a seven-part series back in 2016.* But I haven’t yet addressed the utopian dimensions of healthcare reform. The appearance of the new issue of Jacobin Magazine, […]

Donald Trump’s decision to impose import tariffs—on solar panels and washing machines now, and perhaps on steel and aluminum down the line—has once again opened up the war concerning international trade. It’s not a trade war per se (although Trump’s free-trade opponents have invoked that specter, that the governments of other countries may retaliate with […]

Ed Wolff is right: For the vast majority of Americans, fluctuations in the stock market have relatively little effect on their wealth, or well-being, for that matter. That’s because, as his research shows (and as I illustrate in the chart above), the bottom 90 percent of Americans own (either directly or indirectly) a tiny share—16 […]

Must come down. . . I’m not referring to karma or the application of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. No, it’s just the way capitalism works. Take the stock market, for example. Last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 666 points, or 2.5 percent, its biggest percentage decline since the Brexit turmoil in […]

One of the most important stories I read, but did not write about, while I was away was the launch of the World Inequality Report 2018.* The authors of the report confirm what Branko Milanovic and others had previously discovered: that a representation of the unequal gains in world economic growth in recent decades looks like an […]

Liberal mainstream economists all seem to be lip-synching Bobby McFerrin these days. Worried about automation? Be happy, write Laura Tyson and Susan Lund, since “these marvelous new technologies promise higher productivity, greater efficiency, and more safety, flexibility, and convenience.” Worried about the different positions in current debates about economic policy? Be happy, writes Justin Wolfers, and rely […]

Dwight Billings—Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Kentucky, preeminent scholar of Appalachia, and occasional contributor to this blog—just completed a chapter for a collection of critical responses to J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, edited by Anthony Harkins, which will be published by West Virginia University Press. He has kindly agreed to allow me to publish […]