Daniel Alpert explains why the economy ain’t what it used to be:
We are in an age of global oversupply: an oversupply of global labor (hence high underemployment); an oversupply of global productive capacity (hence ultra-low inflation); and an oversupply of global capital (hence low interest rates)….
[O]ne can’t properly understand the financial crisis without appreciating how the rise of the emerging nations distorted the economies of rich countries. And you can’t chart a course to more growth and stability in the developed world without recognizing that many of these distorting forces are still at work. Cheaper credit through monetary easing, for example, doesn’t yield much in an era when cheap capital already exists in abundance.
Can we get out of this mess? We can, but we need a fresh playbook.
Read his Times op-ed piece here.
What are CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), anyway? Paddy Hirsch of Marketplace explains how financial institutions used them to build the house of cards that came tumbling down five years ago and plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Jason Sattler writes that Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking a good question:
Why does the government give the big banks a better deal than it gives students?
It’s question so perfect that people can’t stop talking about it.
The first standalone bill from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would not only prevent student loan rates from doubling, it would cut them down to the same rate the Fed charges banks to borrow money overnight for the next 12 months. And the idea has taken off like wildfire, with more than 400,000 people signing on to support the legislation.
Read more here.
Econ4′s Gerald Friedman writes:
Even while scholarship has exposed the fallacy of austerity economics and this news has reached wide audiences through Twitter and the Colbert Report, the United States government is embracing austerity’s policy prescriptions… The ghost of bad austerity economics continues to haunt, and even to drive, the living.
Read his piece here.
The revelation by UMass-Amherst researchers that a key Harvard study used to support austerity economics was based on sloppy (mis)use of data has created a sensation in the media and the economics profession. Paul Krugman explains the selling power of junk economics:
The intellectual edifice of austerity economics rests largely on two academic papers that were seized on by policy makers, without ever having been properly vetted, because they said what the Very Serious People wanted to hear.
Read Krugman’s piece here.
Read a brief summary by UMass economists here.
See links to media coverage here.
Econ4′s Juliet Schor calls for getting real to create jobs for youth:
It is not surprising to learn that last year’s class suffered the highest level of stress on record, according to an annual survey of college freshmen taken over the past quarter century.
One reason the situation is so bad in the US is that nearly all the burden of adjustment since 2008 has been to lay people off, rather than share hours, as was done in Europe.
Read more here.
In the models of neo-classical economics times like the present are assumed away. But when we’re actually living through them, we need to recognise that measures that result in higher hours can be counter-productive by creating more unemployment and investor pessimism. Similarly, responding to shortfalls in pension programs by asking people to stay in the labour force more years further dis-equilibrates the market by creating more demand for a limited number of jobs.