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Tag Archives: The destruction of the middle class

Is the So-Called “Manufacturing Renaissance” a Mirage?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente As readers may know, I was a model railroader when young, and I still buy Model Railroader. The picture of America I have is very much like the sort of town that one might model in the steam-to-diesel era, and much like the town I grew up in. My model town, besides the main line and the yard, would have spurs for a lot of small industries, like the local brewery, or the local lumberyard, or the local meatpacking plant. All that is now gone; today one would...

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A New Assessment of the Role of Offshoring in the Decline in US Manufacturing Employment

Yves here. While this paper confirms what I suspect are most readers’ intuitions about offshoring, it’s nice to have it made official. By Christoph Boehm, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin, Aaron Flaaen, Senior Economist, Research and Statistics Division, Federal Reserve Board, and Nitya Pandalai-Nayar, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin. Originally published at VoxEU What has caused the rapid decline in US manufacturing employment in...

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Life, Deferred: Student Debt Postpones Key Milestones for Millions of Americans

By Natalia Abrams, the Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis, and Cody Hounanian, the Program Director of Student Debt Crisis. Originally published at openDemocracy Student debt has been solely responsible for the majority of my decision-making as an adult(Erin – Portland, Maine) The student debt crisis is not the burden of a single generation. It impacts Baby Boomers in their 60s and 70s; Gen Xers in their 40s and 50s; Millennials in their 20s and 30s – as well as Gen Z high school...

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No, Productivity Does Not Explain Income

Yves here. Even though the mere use of the word “productivity” might lead readers to expect a wonky post, this is a highly accessible treatment when the argument is clearly stated. More like this, please. Mind you, that does not mean I find all elements of author Blair Fix’s argument equally convincing but the spare exposition is commendable. By Blair Fix,  a PhD student at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. His PhD work focuses on the development of...

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Bretton Woods Institutions: Enforcers, Not Saviours?

By Anis Chowdhury, Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University & University of New South Wales (Australia), who has held senior United Nations positions in New York and Bangkok, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, who was Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development, Food and Agriculture Organization, and who received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2007. Originally published by Inter Press Service...

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Austerity Has Made People Less Prepared for a No Deal Brexit

Yves here. Most commentary on the economic impact of Brexit has focused on the effects on trade, commerce, investment, the financial sector….with comparatively little on how it will affect ordinary people. By Duncan Exley, author of The End of Aspiration? Social mobility and our children’s fading prospects(Policy Press 2019) available here at a 20 per cent discount. He is the former Director of The Equality Trust. Originally published at openDemocracy The government is keen to reassure us...

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How Capitalism Exploits Our Fear of Old Age

Yves here. I don’t mean to be a nay-sayer, but having developed major orthopedic problems after an accident, I find it hard to be cheery about getting old. This article makes a passing mention of financial stress among the elderly. A new story in the Financial Times, adding to a 2018 study Greying of US Bankruptcy, chronicles the rising level of indebtedness. Key sections: In 1991, over-65s made up only 2 per cent of bankruptcy filers, but by 2016 that had risen to more than 12 per cent, says...

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Deskilling Among Manufacturing Production Workers

Yves here. This finding about manufacturing skills should be no surprise, but it is useful to have confirmation. My father ran paper mills, and he always made sure to schedule his time so he would talk to workers on every shift each day. He understood that their know-how was critical. By David Kunst, PhD candidate in Economics, Tinbergen Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Originally published at VoxEU Has technological progress in manufacturing been skill-biased or deskilling? This...

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Britain After Brexit: Welcome to the Vulture Restaurant

Yves here. We pointed out some time ago that the idea that the UK would get a favorable trade deal with the US post-Brexit, and particularly post a crash-out, was bonkers, so it’s good to have official confirmation, even if it comes from the likes of Larry Summers. The US typically dictates terms in bi-lateral trade deals, allowing at most only a bit of face-saving terms-tweaking at the margin. The power imbalance will be even more pronounced in trade negotiation in the wake of Brexit because...

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Michael Hudson: Why Frances Coppola’s “The Case for the People’s Quantitative Easing” Is for Banks, Not the People

Yves here. I must confess to not having read Frances Coppola’s new book, but based on Martin Wolf’s and Michael Hudson’s recap of its thesis, I am at a loss to understand how Coppola could see her “people’s quantitative easing” as anything other than another subsidy to banks and bank lending. More and more economists have concluded that the level of financialization in advanced economies serves as a drag on growth. The IMF determined that the optimal level of financial development was that...

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