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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. . […]

Regular readers know I take statistics quite seriously. So, as it turns out, did Stephen Jay Gould who, in the most poignant story about statistics of which I am aware, explained how important it is to go beyond the abstractions of central tendencies and understand the distribution of variation within the numbers. And right now, […]

Narrative economics

Posted: 10 January 2017 in Uncategorized

Mainstream economists, it seems, have finally discovered the role of narrative in economics. But their work ignores previous research on the topic—and fails to identify the narratives at work in other areas, including academic economic theory itself. The current head of the American Economic Association, Robert J. Shiller, delivered “Narrative Economics” as his presidential address at the […]

During the recent presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to revitalize American manufacturing—and bring back “good” manufacturing jobs. So did Hillary Clinton. What neither candidate was willing to acknowledge is that, while manufacturing output was already on the rebound after the Great Recession, the jobs weren’t going to come back. As is clear from the chart […]

It’s now official, Truth is dead. Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year, after seeing a spike in frequency this year in the context of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States.* Many of us are neither surprised nor dismayed by the realization […]

Funding for public higher education has been decreasing in recent decades and, as schools rely increasingly on tuition for revenue, student debt has been rising. That much is pretty well known. What is less a matter of public knowledge and debate is the link between growing racial and ethnic diversity and the decline in funding. […]

Yes, the late Richard Rorty got it spot on: Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being […]

The pollsters got it wrong again, just as they did with the Brexit vote and the Colombia peace vote. In each case, they incorrectly predicted one side would win—Hillary Clinton, Remain, and yes—and many of us were taken in by the apparent certainty of the results. I certainly was. In each case, I told family […]

  Are mainstream economists responsible for electing Donald Trump? I think they deserve a significant share of the blame. So, as it turns out, does Dani Rodrick. My argument is that, when mainstream economists in the United States embraced and celebrated neoliberalism—both the conservative and liberal versions—they participated in creating the conditions for Trump’s victory in the […]

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 […]