Browsing articles tagged with " economics"
Feb 24, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on Questioning econocracy

Questioning econocracy

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.

Oct 6, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on The deserving rich?

The deserving rich?

Nancy Folbre takes issue with Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw’s defense of the one percent:

The rich are not like you and me. They contribute far more to society than everybody else, so argues Harvard University economist Gregory Mankiw in his essay “Defending the One Percent.” Mankiw’s praise for talented superstars such as Steven Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Steven Spielberg quickly blooms into a more general argument that competitive labor markets pay workers what they deserve. This is music to the ears of high earners, and it sings to a very human desire to believe that the world is fair….

Some of us contribute more than members of the top one percent to the economy, and some of us contribute less. None of us gets exactly what we deserve. One difference between the rich and us is that they have more money. They also enjoy—both as cause and effect—a lot more power.

Read her blog here; read her working paper on “just desserts” here.

Sep 15, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on What could a democratized economy look like?

What could a democratized economy look like?

Econ4’s Gar Alperovitz describes a pluralist commonwealth – an alternative to the concentration of wealth and power:

Source: The Democracy Collaborative.

May 10, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Funny numbers: counting unemployment

Funny numbers: counting unemployment

In this “Economics for the Rest of Us” podcast, Diptherio breaks down the peculiar ways “unemployment” is measured by the U.S. government. Check it out here.

Diptherio visual

Apr 22, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Economic orthodoxy: where vision goes to die

Economic orthodoxy: where vision goes to die

Econ4’s Gerald Friedman laments the blindness of orthodox economics:

When I conducted an assessment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals and found that they could produce robust growth, the negative reaction among powerful liberal economists was swift and vehement. How much, I wondered, did this reflect personal disappointment being rationalized into a political economy of despair? Professional economists tend to embrace an economic theory that government can do little more than fuss around the edges. From that stance, what do they have to offer ordinary people for whom the economy is not working? Not a whole lot.

Read Friedman’s full piece here.

PS: The debate on the Sanders proposals between Friedman and his critics is recapped here and here.

Nov 22, 2015
boyce
Comments Off on Where water flows to money

Where water flows to money

Engineers think water flows downhill. Economists think it flows to money. We think they’re right, and it’s wrong. Read what’s happening in California here:

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. — Outside her two-story tract home in this working-class town, Debbie Alberts, a part-time food service worker, has torn out most of the lawn. She has given up daily showers and cut her family’s water use nearly in half, to just 178 gallons per person each day.

A little more than 100 miles west, a resident of the fashionable Los Angeles hills has been labeled “the Wet Prince of Bel Air” after drinking up more than 30,000 gallons of water each day — the equivalent of 400 toilet flushes each hour with two showers running constantly, with enough water left over to keep the lawn perfectly green.

Only one of them has been fined for excessive water use: Ms. Alberts.

More here.

Nov 7, 2015
boyce
Comments Off on Lazy ideology

Lazy ideology

In his column in the business pages of the New York Times, Eduardo Porter writes that discredited notions still guide policy on aid to the poor:

Actual experience, from the richest country in the world to some of the poorest places on the planet, suggests that cash assistance can be of enormous help for the poor. And freeing them from what President Ronald Reagan memorably termed the “spider’s web of dependency” — also known as forcing the poor to swim or sink — is not the cure-all for social ills its supporters claim….

Abhijit Banerjee, a director of the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, released a paper with three colleagues last week that carefully assessed the effects of seven cash-transfer programs in Mexico, Morocco, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Indonesia. It found “no systematic evidence that cash transfer programs discourage work.”

A World Bank report from 2014 examined cash assistance programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America and found, contrary to popular stereotype, the money was not typically squandered on things like alcohol and tobacco.

Still, Professor Banerjee observed, in many countries, “we encounter the idea that handouts will make people lazy.”

Professor Banerjee suggests the spread of welfare aversion around the world might be an American confection. “Many governments have economic advisers with degrees from the United States who share the same ideology,” he said. “Ideology is much more pervasive than the facts.”

Read more here.

Jul 11, 2015
boyce
Comments Off on It’s Our Economy

It’s Our Economy

The “It’s Our Economy” project works for economic democracy:

It’s Our Economy is dedicated to changing the dynamic of the current economy designed for the wealthiest to an economy built on principles of equity, cooperation, and sustainability. An economy that puts people and the planet before profits would reduce the wealth divide while giving people more control over their economic lives. We believe that a more just, modern, and restorative economy would involve the people in economic decision-making in both their communities and the nation more broadly.

This basic idea is economic democracy.

Check out their website here.

May 23, 2015
boyce
Comments Off on An international student call for pluralism in economics

An international student call for pluralism in economics

From an open letter signed by student associations from across the world:

It is not only the world economy that is in crisis. The teaching of economics is in crisis too, and this crisis has consequences far beyond the university walls. What is taught shapes the minds of the next generation of policymakers, and therefore shapes the societies we live in. We, over 65 associations of economics students from over 30 different countries, believe it is time to reconsider the way economics is taught.

Read more here.

May 10, 2015
boyce
Comments Off on A user’s guide to economics

A user’s guide to economics

The author of Economics: A User’s Guide breaks down the scientific aspirations – or pretensions – of neoclassical economics:

Source: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13830

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