Jan 11, 2018

Economic theory of relativity

Writing in the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert describes recent research on the human aversion to inequality:

As any parent knows, children watch carefully when goodies are divvied up. A few years ago, a team of psychologists set out to study how kids too young to wield the word “unfair” would respond to unfairness. They recruited a bunch of preschoolers and grouped them in pairs. The children were offered some blocks to play with and then, after a while, were asked to put them away. As a reward for tidying up, the kids were given stickers. No matter how much each child had contributed to the cleanup effort, one received four stickers and the other two. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children shouldn’t be expected to grasp the idea of counting before the age of four. But even three-year-olds seemed to understand when they’d been screwed. Most of the two-sticker recipients looked enviously at the holdings of their partners. Some said they wanted more. A number of the four-sticker recipients also seemed dismayed by the distribution, or perhaps by their partners’ protests, and handed over some of their winnings. “We can . . . be confident that these actions were guided by an understanding of equality, because in all cases they offered one and only one sticker, which made the outcomes equal,” the researchers reported. The results, they concluded, show that “the emotional response to unfairness emerges very early.”

Read more here.

Jan 7, 2018

Union made

It ain’t rocket science, folks:

Dec 31, 2017

Trickle up

From the new World Inequality Report:

Income shares of the top 1% versus bottom 50% in the United States

Read all about it here.

Dec 7, 2017

Connect these dots

Act 1: Let’s cut taxes!

Act 2: Look at that terrible deficit!

Act 3: Let’s cut Medicare and Social Security!

Now playing at a circus near you:

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America’s deficit. “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said…

Ryan’s remarks add to the growing signs that top Republicans aim to cut government spending next year. Republicans are close to passing a tax bill nonpartisan analysts say would increase the deficit by at least $1 trillion over a decade. Trump recently called on Congress to move to cut welfare spending after the tax bill, and Senate Republicans have cited the need to reduce the national deficit while growing the economy.

“You also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn’t the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said last week.

Read more here.

Nov 16, 2017

California working

A video from the Labor Center at UC-Berkeley reports on the employment and growth results of progressive state policies in California:

Source: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/california-is-working/

Nov 12, 2017

Land of opportunity?

From a new report on wealth inequality in America:

The three wealthiest people in the United States — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — now own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 160 million people or 63 million households.

Read it here.

Nov 8, 2017

Shares of the 1 percent

Check out the graphics at the World Wealth & Income Database:

Source: http://wid.world/

Nov 4, 2017

“Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Law & Economics”

A new video from APPEAL – the Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and the Law – challenges the “pro-efficiency” and “anti-regulation” ideology purveyed under the banner of “Law and Economics”:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoak05emri4&feature=youtu.be

Oct 21, 2017

The human & economic costs of pollution

A new report identifies the #1 cause of death worldwide: pollution.

Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released Thursday in the Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses — or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.

Read more here.

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