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Two giants of mainstream economics—Joseph Stiglitz and Lawrence Summers—have been engaged in an acrimonious, titanic battle in recent weeks. The question is, what’s it all about? And, even more important, what’s at stake in this debate? At first glance, the intense, even personal back-and-forth between Stiglitz and Summers seems a bit odd. Both economists are […]

After learning that Joseph Stiglitz had been invited to give a lecture on inequality at the University of Oxford, I asked my friend Stephen Whitefield, Professor of Politics, University Lecturer in Politics, and Rhodes Pelczynski Tutorial Fellow in Politics, Pembroke College, to offer his sense of Stiglitz’s lecture. I am pleased to publish his comments here. It was a […]

Economic inequality is arguably the crucial issue facing contemporary capitalism—especially in the United States but also across the entire world economy. Over the course of the last four decades, income inequality has soared in the United States, as the share of pre-tax national income captured by the top 1 percent (the red line in the […]

Yesterday, in a comment on my “Culture Beyond Capitalism,” which was reposted on the Real-World Economics Review blog, “Econoclast” requested I post the entry on “Capitalism” I wrote for Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Here, then, is the text of the pre-publication version of that entry. Capitalism David F. Ruccio While the capitalist system is […]

Oxfam’s headline-grabbing numbers are bad enough: “Eight men are as rich as half the world.” But the international organization has presented an even more serious and severe indictment of current economic arrangements—which can’t be glossed over by merely encouraging those at the top to pay more taxes. In the background paper, “An Economy for the 99 […]

Mainstream economists continue to invoke the rent-seeking argument (as I have argued before, e.g., here and here) to make sense of rising inequality. So, I asked Joseph Collins, a professor of Political Economy at the University of Sydney and a specialist in rent theory, landed property, and extractive industry, to make sense of the current […]

A constant refrain among mainstream economists and pundits since the crash of 2007-08 has been that, while the state of mainstream macroeconomics is poor, all is well within microeconomics. The problems within macroeconomics are, of course, well known: Mainstream macroeconomists didn’t predict the crash. They didn’t even include the possibility of such a crash within their theory […]

Is anyone else struck by the contradiction between what is actually going on in the world and the fact that, for those in charge, it’s just business as usual? Consider, for example, the decision to drop the charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with the April 2015 death in policy custody of […]

Next week, after the Memorial Day recess, the entire House is expected to take up the bill, which last week was approved (by a vote of 29-10) within the House Natural Resources Committee, with support from the White House, to handle the Puerto Rico debt crisis. The folks at the Wall Street Journal couldn’t be happier. The […]

Joseph Stiglitz usefully explains that there’s more than one theory of the distribution of income. One theory, he writes, focuses on competitive markets (according to which “factors of production” receive their marginal contributions to production, the “just deserts” of capitalism); the other, on power (“including the ability to exercise monopoly control or, in labor markets, […]