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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. . […]

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 […]

It is extraordinary that the hegemonic economic theory in the world today—neoclassical economics—still lacks an adequate theory of the firm. It beggars belief both because neoclassical economics is the predominant theory that is taught to hundreds of thousands of students every year and used to make sense of the world and formulate policy in countless think thanks […]

Now that President Trump has begun carrying out his campaign pledges to undo America’s trade ties, formally withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and announcing he will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, it’s time to analyze what this means. As it turns out, I’d already started to do this before the election, with […]

Like many liberal economic nationalists, who are concerned about both inequality and economic growth, Michael Lind attempts to make a distinction between “takers” and “makers.” As against conservative economic nationalists, who blame immigrants and the welfare-dependent poor, Lind focuses his attention on the “rent-extracting, unproductive rich” for undermining the dynamism and fairness of contemporary capitalism. The […]

The capitalist machine is broken—and no one seems to know how to fix it. The machine I’m referring to is the one whereby the “capitalist” (i.e., the boards of directors of large corporations) converts the “surplus” (i.e., corporate profits) into additional “capital” (i.e., nonresidential fixed investment)—thereby preserving the pact with the devil: the capitalists are the ones […]

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 […]

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 […]