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Most of us pay the taxes we’re required to pay. That’s because there aren’t many ways to avoid them. Sales, property, payroll, or income—the tax is paid at the time of the purchase, the amount is deducted from our paychecks, or the records go directly to the government. There’s no real way around them. And we […]

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. . […]

Where does all the surplus in the U.S. economy go? Well, a large chunk of it is captured by the top 1 percent, whose share of national income almost doubled between 1970 and 2014—from 11 percent to 20.2 percent. Equally interesting is the composition of that growing share of national income, which we can decompose thanks […]

Capitalism is a giant machine for pumping out the surplus from workers—just like feudalism, slavery, and other class-based economies before it. That’s from one perspective. But the capitalist machine isn’t just about the “vampire thirst for the living blood of labor.” It also involves various mechanisms for capturing that surplus—in the form of dividends, CEO salaries, interest payments, […]

The share of income captured by the 1 percent more than doubled (from 10 to 20.1 percent) between 1980 and 2013. How did they do it? Well, we know the tiny group at the top received much higher CEO salaries as well as stock dividends, capital gains, interest payments, and rent on the land and buildings they […]

Lots of folks have been asking me about the significance of the so-called Nobel Prize in economics that was awarded yesterday to Richard Thaler. They’re interested because they’ve read or heard about the large catalog of exceptions to the usual neoclassical rule of rational decision-making that has been compiled by Thaler and other behavioral economists. […]

Apologists for mainstream economics (such as Noah Smith) like to claim that things are OK because good empirical research is crowding out bad theory. I have no doubt about the fact that the theory of mainstream economics has been bad. But is the empirical research any better? Not, as I see it, in the academy, […]

There are plenty of reasons to be interested in—and, even more, concerned about—Facebook. Many of them are raised in the recent review of Facebook-related books by John Lanchester [ht: db]: the fragmentation of the polity (via the targeting of posts), the dissemination of “fake news” (which played an important role in the 2016 U.S. presidential […]

There’s nothing that gets mainstream economists going like a proposal to raise workers’ wages. Except the idea of raising workers’ wages in other countries. Then you’re screwing with both wages and international trade. And mainstream thinkers just won’t allow that. That’s why Eduardo Porter considers the AFL-CIO’s proposal that the North American Free Trade Agreement […]

Beyond market vs. state

Posted: 7 August 2017 in Uncategorized

At one time, from the late-1970s until the last couple of years, Britain—or at least the British ruling class—was in love with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism was the common sense of both major political parties—the Tories and Labor (plus, the Conservative coalition partner Liberal Democrats)—as well as most large corporations and wealthy individuals. As Andy Beckett explains, […]