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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. . […]

From the very beginning, the area of mainstream economics devoted to Third World development has been imbued with a utopian impulse. The basic idea has been that traditional societies need to be transformed in order to pass through the various stages of growth and, if successful, they will eventually climb the ladder of progress and […]

It was Paul Samuelson who, in 1997, declared with morbid optimism that “Funeral by funeral, economics does make progress.”* What Samuelson presumed is that, over time, wrong ideas would be killed and laid to rest and better ideas would flourish, thus creating the foundation for progress in economic thought. That’s what I consider to be […]

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 […]

I’ll admit, there are times when I regret the fact that I’m a relativist. Wouldn’t it be nice, I say to myself on occasion, to be able to claim—beyond a shadow of a doubt, to my students, colleagues, or readers of this blog—that something or other (neoclassical economics or capitalism or name your poison) is […]

According to the Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, loneliness represents a growing health epidemic in the United States. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real […]

  I’ve been over this before. But I continue to be amazed at the ubiquitous, facile references to science, evidence, and facts and the derision that is directed at the proposition that we live in a post-truth world. On topics as diverse as climate change, globalization, and the role of the working-class in electing Donald […]

It wasn’t a homogeneous block—whether the white working-class or anti-immigrant nativists or the victims of globalization—that put Donald Trump into the White House. That’s the kind of reductionist narrative that has proliferated both before and after the fateful 2016 presidential election, all in an attempt to make sense of Trump’s “base.” Instead, it was a […]

Almost very time MFA hears a mainstream economist speak—on topics ranging from the danger of raising the minimum wage to how we all benefit from free trade and globalization—she responds, “Where did they get their degree, from a Cracker Jack box?” No doubt, she’d react in the same manner if she listened to the members […]

Corporate duplicity, it seems, knows no bounds. First, ExxonMobil misled the public about climate change for years, even as its research echoed the growing scientific consensus that global warming is real and caused by human activity. Then, while various states attorneys-general launched investigations of whether Exxon deceived shareholders and the public to protect its profits, the Wall […]