Join our mailing list

* indicates required

Tags Matching:

economics


  • Originally published 09/20/2013

    PUP

    Test

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Richard D. Wolff: How Capitalism's Great Relocation Pauperised America's "Middle Class"

    Richard D Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a visiting professor in the graduate programme in international affairs of the New School University, New York City. Richard also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. His most recent book is Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It (2009). A full archive of Richard's work, including videos and podcasts, can be found on his site.Detroit's struggle with bankruptcy might find some relief, or at least distraction, by presenting its desperate economic and social conditions as a tourist attraction. "Visit Detroit," today's advertisement might begin, "see your region's future here and now: the streets, neighborhoods, abandoned buildings, and the desolation. Scary, yes, but more gripping than any imaginary ghost story."

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Niall Ferguson: The Regulated States of America

    In "Democracy in America," published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. "The inhabitant of the United States," he wrote, "has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it."Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. "In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals."What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: "Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools."

  • Originally published 05/20/2013

    Paul Krugman: The Mythical '70s

    Paul Krugman is a Princeton economist and an op-ed columnist for the New York Times.Matt O’Brien is probably right to suggest that Michael Kinsley’s problems — and those of quite a few other people, some of whom have real influence on policy — is that they’re still living in the 1970s. I do, however, resent that thing about 60-year-old men …But it’s actually even worse than Matt says. For the 1970s such people remember as a cautionary tale bears little resemblance to the 1970s that actually happened.In elite mythology, the origins of the crisis of the 70s, like the supposed origins of our current crisis, lay in excess: too much debt, too much coddling of those slovenly proles via a strong welfare state. The suffering of 1979-82 was necessary payback.None of that is remotely true.There was no deficit problem: government debt was low and stable or falling as a share of GDP during the 70s. Rising welfare rolls may have been a big political problem, but a runaway welfare state more broadly just wasn’t an issue — hey, these days right-wingers complaining about a nation of takers tend to use the low-dependency 70s as a baseline.

  • Originally published 05/13/2013

    Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

    Credit: Oxford University Press.This book has a rather unusual genesis. David McBride from Oxford University Press emailed me in July 2010 and asked me if I wanted to write a book about the turn to austerity in economic policy. I had been playing with a book idea called “The End of the Liberal World” for a while but really hadn't been getting all that far with it. Dave's offer seemed to be a ready-made alternative project. After all, someone had to write such a book, and since I had, as bankers say, “skin in the game” here, for reasons I shall elaborate below, I said yes. Shortly thereafter Geoffrey Kirkman, Associate Director of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, where I am a faculty fellow, wondered if there was anything that I would like to make into a short video. I say yes – I'd do something about this new book that I have agreed to write.

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Manuel Barcia: Niall Ferguson Does a Romney

    Dr. Manuel Barcia is Deputy Director at the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Leeds.Over the past few years as gays, lesbians and transsexuals made social gains across the world, they have found themselves at the end of all sorts of accusations from those who see these advances as a threat to their precious status quo. They have been blamed for earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist attacks. Now, in a very subtle way, the responsibility for the current economic crisis has been blamed on one of them, the famous and well-respected 20th century economist John Maynard Keynes. This time, however, the gay bashing did not come from some religious extremist in the American Midwest or Indonesia, but from Professor Niall Ferguson, a well-known British historian who plies his trade at Harvard University. 

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Paul Krugman on Niall Ferguson

    After his Keynesianism-is-gay remarks got him in trouble, Niall Ferguson did the right thing and offered a straightforward, no excuses apology. Unfortunately, it seems that he has reverted to type; sigh.But this does seem to call for an update on a subject I have written about occasionally: the remarkable way in which the Great Recession, by bringing us back into a world of persistent inadequate demand, has unleashed a sort of reign of error among anti-Keynesian economists and pundits. And I’m not talking about the usual Heritage or Cato hacks; I’m talking about people with serious reputations either for research or for seemingly judicious commentary.Oh, and by “error” I don’t mean “views I disagree with”; I mean raw conceptual or empirical banana-peel episodes, the kind of thing that defenders of these men (who have a lot of defenders) try to justify not by claiming that they were right, but by claiming that they didn’t say what they did, in fact, say....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Niall Ferguson publishes open letter in "Harvard Crimson"

    Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University.Last week I said something stupid about John Maynard Keynes.  Asked to comment on Keynes’ famous observation “In the long run we are all dead,” I suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’ wife Lydia miscarried.I was duly attacked for my remarks and offered an immediate and unqualified apology. But this did not suffice for some critics, who insisted that I was guilty not just of stupidity but also of homophobia. I have no doubt that at least some students were influenced by these allegations. Nobody would want to study with a bigot. I therefore owe it to students—former and prospective—to make it unambiguously clear that I am no such thing.

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Michael Lind: Is Revolution Coming to the U.S.?

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. Will the third revolutionary wave hit the U.S. next? The revolutions in today’s world are getting ever closer to America.Revolutions tend to occur in waves, triggered by the aftermath of wars, like the world wars, or by revolutions in leading countries, like the French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the last generation, there have been four regional waves of revolution. With the end of the Cold War, communist regimes were swept from power from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, surviving only in a few countries including China, North Korea and Cuba. Unable to justify themselves with the pretense of fighting communism, military dictatorships were swept away in Latin America. Then the Arab Spring triggered a wave of populist if not necessarily democratic revolutions against autocracies in North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Andrew Edwards: How Austerity Pushed American Colonists to Revolt

    Andrew Edwards is a PhD student in American history at Princeton University. The opinions expressed are his own.As the euro area tries to wrestle member states into fiscal submission through bailouts, austerity and capital controls, it would be well advised to consider a historical precedent: the American Revolution.In the early 18th century, North America held a role in the British Empire that was similar to the one occupied by Cyprus or Slovenia in the euro area today. Americans were slavers, smugglers, rumrunners and fanatics -- as “opulent, commercial, thriving” as they were irresponsible and fiscally profligate. But as the empire struggled to stay solvent after the Seven Years War, the government of Prime Minister George Grenville attempted to bring the colonists to heel in the name of fiscal austerity.“The Circumstances of the Times, the Necessities of the Country, and the Abilities of the Colonies, concur in requiring an American Revenue,” wrote Thomas Whately, a Grenville ally, in 1765.

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Harvard historian apologizes for homophobic remark

    The prominent academic and public intellectual Niall Ferguson posted an “unqualified apology” to his blog Saturday after coming under fire for making seemingly anti-gay remarks at a recent public appearance.Ferguson, a historian at Harvard University and regular contributor to Newsweek, told attendees of the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., that the mid-century British economist John Maynard Keynes “didn’t care about future generations” because “he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of ‘poetry’ rather than procreated,” according to a financial journalist who attended the conference....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Trashing Keynes for Being Gay is Nothing New

    J.M. Keynes (right) and Duncan Grant in 1913.Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson told a group of financiers and investors last Saturday that John Maynard Keynes was a flawed economist who didn't care about future generations because he was childless and gay.Tom Kostigen, a reporter for Financial Advisor magazine, first reported on the story:Ferguson asked the audience [at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.] how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of "poetry" rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive.It gets worse.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Niall Ferguson: Keynes was wrong because he was childless and gay

    Harvard Professor and author Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes' economic philosophy was flawed and he didn't care about future generations because he was gay and didn't have children.Speaking at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., in front of a group of more than 500 financial advisors and investors, Ferguson responded to a question about Keynes' famous philosophy of self-interest versus the economic philosophy of Edmund Burke, who believed there was a social contract among the living, as well as the dead. Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of "poetry" rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive. It gets worse. Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it's only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an "effete" member of society. Apparently, in Ferguson's world, if you are gay or childless, you cannot care about future generations nor society....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Daniel Altman: The Wealthy Elizabethan Merchant Who Explains CNN’s Bad Boston Coverage

    Daniel Altman teaches economics at New York University's Stern School of Business and is chief economist of Big Think.Last week, during the frantic hunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, CNN wrongly reported that a man had been arrested. The news network soon corrected its error, but not in time to avoid a chorus of "how could this happen?" from, mostly, other media. Their explanations centered mainly on the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle. But for the real reason, you'd have to ask Sir Thomas Gresham.Gresham was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and an exceptionally wealthy London merchant. Having realized that British money was losing its value because of the shoddy coinage standards of the queen's predecessors, Gresham suggested she create a new, more trustworthy money that could not be confused with the old specie. This act -- though not the first of its kind in recorded history -- gave rise to what is now known as Gresham's Law: "Bad money drives out good."

  • Originally published 04/08/2013

    In history departments, it’s up with capitalism

    A specter is haunting university history departments: the specter of capitalism.After decades of “history from below,” focusing on women, minorities and other marginalized people seizing their destiny, a new generation of scholars is increasingly turning to what, strangely, risked becoming the most marginalized group of all: the bosses, bankers and brokers who run the economy.Even before the financial crisis, courses in “the history of capitalism” — as the new discipline bills itself — began proliferating on campuses, along with dissertations on once deeply unsexy topics like insurance, banking and regulation. The events of 2008 and their long aftermath have given urgency to the scholarly realization that it really is the economy, stupid....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    David Moss: there’s a reason for deposit insurance

    ...If the nation has a father of bank insurance, it is Joshua Forman, one of the promoters of the Erie Canal. Early in the 19th century, New York State had a string of bank failures, and Martin Van Buren, then governor, asked him to restructure the banking industry. Forman’s insight was that banks were vulnerable to chain-reaction panics. As he put it — in a line unearthed by the Harvard Business School historian David Moss — “banks constitute a system, being peculiarly sensitive to one another’s operations, and not a mere aggregate of free agents.”In 1829, Forman proposed an insurance fund capitalized by mandatory contributions from the state’s banks. Debate in the State Assembly was heated. Critics said failures could overwhelm the fund; they also argued that its very existence would reduce the “public scrutiny and watchfulness” that restrained bankers from reckless lending. This remains the intellectual argument against insurance today. But Forman’s plan was enacted, and subsequently five other states adopted plans.All did not go smoothly. In the 1840s, during a national depression, 11 banks in New York State failed and the insurance fund — as prophesied — was threatened with insolvency. The state sold bonds to bail it out....

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Gordon N. Bardos: Marxists in the State Department

    Gordon N. Bardos is a Balkan politics and security specialist based in New York. Don’t laugh—but maybe Joe McCarthy was on to something. And the problem might be even more serious than he realized. Stepping back from contemporary policy debates reveals that Marx’s materialist view of history and Lenin’s voluntarism have been the ideological basis for many of our imperial misadventures from the Balkans to the Mideast to Central Asia.Actual commies are probably not crawling Washington’s hallowed halls. But a very Marxist-Leninist understanding of human nature and historical change has nevertheless had a significant impact on U.S. foreign-policy making in recent decades. Some forty years ago, Walker Connor, one of the deans of the study of ethnic nationalism, had already observed (and decried) the ”propensity on the part of American statesmen and scholars of the post-World War II era to assume that economic considerations represent the determining force in human affairs.” This “unwarranted exaggeration of the influence of material factors” on the world is of course a direct outgrowth of Marx’s belief that existence determines consciousness....

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: The Religious Roots of the Minimum Wage

    Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. He is the author of Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (Yale University Press).Will raising the minimum wage put more money in the pockets of America’s working poor? Or will it have the opposite effect, throwing more poor people out of work?That’s the question we ask whenever anyone proposes a hike in the minimum wage, as President Obama did in his State of the Union Address. But it’s also the wrong question, diverting us from the biggest one of all: what are the rights that we share as human beings?Minimum-wage opponents say we all have the right to pursue our own happiness—and to maximize our self-interest—so long as we respect others’ right to do the same. Proponents counter that everyone has a right to certain necessities of life—food, clothing, and shelter—and that no one can be happy if some of us are deprived.And the proponents have Pope Benedict XVI on their side....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Channelling George Washington: The Worthless Continental

    A 1779 fifty-five dollar note printed by the Continental Congress. Via Wiki Commons."Welcome to the Continental Congress.""I'm not sure what you mean by that, Mr. President.""I mean we're on our way to a visit to the people who almost lost the American Revolution -- if we continue to try to maintain the illusion that our money has any value when the interest rate for borrowing it is zero and we try to solve our mounting debt problems by printing it by the billions.""Was that what happened to the Continental Congress?""Congress printed dollars at a fantastic rate in 1776. It seemed to work beautifully. They shipped it to the various states and they built forts, warships and mustered new regiments for the Continental Army. We were a dynamic new nation -- until we lost a couple of battles. Suddenly people started thinking that if we lost the war, these pieces of paper would be worth nothing. NOTHING. That's when our dollars started to depreciate.""How could you tell that was happening?"

  • Originally published 07/27/2014

    Jane Cobden: Carrying on Her Father's Work

    Among libertarians and classical liberals, the name Richard Cobden (1804–1865) evokes admiration and applause. His activities — and successes — on behalf of freedom, free markets, and government retrenchment are legendary. Most famously, he cofounded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. Those trade restrictions had made food expensive for England’s working class while enriching the landed aristocracy....Cobden’s legacy is much appreciated by libertarians, but one aspect of it is largely unknown. (I only just learned of it, thanks to my alert friend Gary Chartier.) Cobden’s third daughter and fourth child, Emma Jane Catherine Cobden (later Unwin after she married publisher Thomas Fisher Unwin), carried on his work. Born in 1851, she was a liberal activist worthy of her distinguished father.