From a review of the new book, The Econocracy:
The most devastating evidence in this book concerns what goes into making an economist. The authors analysed 174 economics modules … making this the most comprehensive curriculum review I know of. Focusing on the exams that undergraduates were asked to prepare for, they found a heavy reliance on multiple choice. The vast bulk of the questions asked students either to describe a model or theory, or to show how economic events could be explained by them. Rarely were they asked to assess the models themselves. In essence, they were being tested on whether they had memorised the catechism and could recite it under invigilation.
Full review here.
Read more about the book here.
Economist Mark Paul makes the case for guaranteed employment in an interview with Tucker Carlson:
A timely addition to the curriculum from the University of Washington:
The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit — and take advantage of our lowered guard to bombard us with bullshit of the second order. The majority of administrative activity, whether in private business or the public sphere, seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit.
We’re sick of it. It’s time to do something, and as educators, one constructive thing we know how to do is to teach people. So, the aim of this course is to help students navigate the bullshit-rich modern environment by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combating it with effective analysis and argument.
The upward redistribution of income in the U.S. is undermining the nation’s Social Security:
if you’re a millionaire, February 16th is the last day that you will pay into the social security for the entire year. That’s because the Federal payroll tax cap is set at $127,000, so any money made beyond this point, is not subject to taxation that would fund this very crucial Federal social program.
See Real News Network interview with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research here.
U.S. National Park Service employees defend the people’s commons:
Read about it here.
Inequality by the numbers:
Source: “Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries,” by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
Portland, Oregon, has instituted a first-ever tax on corporations that pay their CEOs more than 100 times as much as their workers. Econ4’s Doug Smith told the Portland City Council:
“Instead of building a real economy beneficial to all, these unethical pay practices spread outsourcing, offshoring, tax avoidance, downsizing and the substitution of good-paying permanent jobs with temporary, precarious employment.”
Read about it here.
Here are the 50 states, ranked from “most shortchanged” to “least shortchanged” by the U.S. government. The ranking is based on an index combining: (i) votes in the Electoral College per state resident and (ii) benefits received per tax dollars paid to the federal government.
Source: New York Times.
Econ4’s Jim Boyce and Peter Barnes, author of With Liberty and Dividends for All, break down how universal basic income could be funded by common wealth:
The wealth we inherit and create together is worth trillions of dollars, yet we presently derive almost no income from it. Our joint inheritance includes invaluable gifts of nature such as our atmosphere, minerals and fresh water, and socially created assets such as our legal and financial infrastructure, without which private corporations couldn’t exist, much less thrive. If our common assets were better managed, they could pay every American, including children, several hundred dollars a month.
Read their piece here.
AT&T’s proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner is raising eyebrows – and fundamental questions about the purposes of antitrust law, writes James Stewart in the Times:
Politicians were piling on this week to criticize the deal, including Donald J. Trump; Tim Kaine, the Democratic nominee for vice president; and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota….
A younger generation of antitrust scholars who are rethinking the nation’s fundamental approach to antitrust law may prove even more influential.
In vertical mergers, a company buys a supplier; in horizontal mergers, direct competitors combine.
But the new generation harks back to the original trustbusters of the early 20th century, who were most concerned about preventing corporations from gaining too much power.
“The antitrust system as it stands is focused on prices to consumers, innovation and efficiencies,” Mr. Wu said. “That reflects the triumph of the University of Chicago school of economics. But there’s an older tradition, embodied by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, that says a concentration of too much power in too few hands is bad for democracy and bad for consumers.”