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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. . […]

Income inequality continues to grow in the United States—which represents the very definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” According to recent data by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, from 1979 through 2006, the share of pre-tax income going to the bottom 50 percent of U.S. households fell […]

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 […]

I understand readers’ attention is mostly focused on today’s election. However, it is not too soon to look beyond the results themselves, to consider the economic policies of the new administration. If Hillary Clinton is elected (as seems likely), reducing “labor market monopsony” appears to be one of the directions economic policy will be going.   For decades […]

Mainstream economists have finally discovered the importance of institutions. But they get it all wrong. Take Daron Acemoglu (of MIT) and Jim Robinson (of the University of Chicago). In their view (according to Adam Davidson), Donald Trump threatens to disrupt the institutions that serve as the basis of “American Exceptionalism.” The problem is, the United States does […]

To read National Public Radio’s [ht: ja] article on the latest World Bank report on Poverty and Shared Prosperity: Taking on Inequality, you’d think the problem of global poverty was well on the way to being solved. Is that just wishful thinking? In terms of the headline numbers, the author of the article is correct: In […]

Yesterday, I questioned the case—presented by Jason Furman and the White House Council of Economic Advisers—that the Obama administration had made a “historic achievement in reducing inequality.” James Kwak, as it turns out, had much the same reaction: inequality is every bit the problem we’ve always thought it was. It’s not as bad today as […]

Inequality may be the “defining challenge of our time.” But you wouldn’t know so from Monday evening’s presidential debate, in which neither candidate directly addressed the issue. But the Obama administration seems to be in full gear—with an op-ed piece by chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman and an extensive report by […]

source For neoclassical economists (like Gregory Mankiw, in his bestselling textbook, Principles of Microeconomics), the major effect of labor unions is that they cause unemployment, by setting a wage rate that exceeds the equilibrium price for labor. According to this story, while union workers (“insiders”) may benefit, unemployed non-union workers (“outsiders”) lose out.* So, their overall conclusion is, unions ultimately […]