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Tag Archives: The dismal science

Best of Mankiw: Errors and Tangles in the World’s Best-Selling Economics Textbooks

Yves here. This piece is delicious as well as important. Peter Bofinger, who is an authority in his own right as a former member of the German Council of Economic Experts, does a major takedown of Harvard professor Greg Mankiw’s foundational economic texts. The reason this matters is that introductory economics textbooks are a major, if not the major, route for institutionalizing economic ideology. Dictionaries play a similar role in stabilizing and regularizing languages. We made a casual...

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Economist Dennis Snower Says Economics Nears a New Paradigm

Yves here. I have difficulty understanding how anyone can convince themselves that the economics discipline is about to turn over a new leaf. The criticisms Snower lists are hardly new. You’ll find them all and more in ECONNED, which is now over ten years old, as well as in Steve Keen’s earlier Debunking Economics. Keynes’ critique, that economies have no propensity to a stable equilibrium is even older and vastly better known, yet much to his frustration, his theories were treated as a mere...

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Polarization, Then a Crash: Michael Hudson on the Rentier Economy

Yves here. Lynn Fries of GPE Newsdocs sat down with Michael Hudson to discuss the Covid-19 economy. Hudson describes how our present form of capitalism has distorted the role of government and how that is increasing general and Covid-related misery. By Lynn Fries. Originally published at GPE Newdocs LYNN FRIES: Hello and welcome. I’m Lynn Fries producer of Global Political Economy or GPEnewsdocs. I am delighted to have Michael Hudson joining us today. He will be discussing how under a...

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Larry Summers’ Opposition to $2000 Covid Payments Confirms Our Classic: “Why Larry Summers Should Not Be Permitted to Run Anything More Important than a Dog Pound”

Unfortunately, it looks like Larry Summers will always be with us: I don't get how anyone with a straight face can believe one time 2000 dollar checks would overheat the economy. https://t.co/NFWSZ4qyRQ — Nathan Tankus (@NathanTankus) December 24, 2020 Or as reader Doug put it: Mr. Summers, The particular temperature of the economy is — and this will quite obviously come as a bit of a shock to you — of no importance right now. People are suffering. I realize in using the word “people”, I...

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Explaining Fiscal Multipliers, a Stealthy but Important Budget Battleground (Part 1)

Yves here. One of the big sources of the lack of democratic influence on policy is the way so many elements of fiscal decisions are hostage to economists’ beliefs, many of which are at best outdated, just plain wrong, or shamelessly abused (one example of abuse comes below). The presumption that economists know better shuts off many key decisions from debate. Nathan Tankus below explains the role of fiscal multipliers, which in lay-speak is “how many dollars of GDP growth does a dollar of...

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Why We Need to Adopt Friedrich Engels’ Thinking on Science in These Times

Yves here. One of the oddities of history is how some thinkers who are influential in their time are relegated to lesser positions over time, while others see their stature elevated. Erasmus was a best seller in his day and is still recognized as seminal. At the time of his death, Confucius was in despair that his beliefs had not gotten much of a following. By contrast, Friedrich Engels, a name often invoked with hostility, since Engels, with Marx, was notorious as a father of Communism....

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Jamie Galbraith: How Jason Furman and Lawrence Summers Reinforce a Destructive, Debunked Mainstream Paradigm to Support Deficit Spending

Yves here. Some readers may regard debates within the economic academy as quaint. That’s a huge mistake. Economists are the only social scientists with a seat at the policy table. Mainstream theory, even when it is demonstrably false, still drives key government decisions, such as the aversion to deficit spending. As we’ve written, the British government ran sustained deficits during the country’s most prosperous decades, in its Industrial Revolution. The US has run consistent deficits; the...

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The Gospel of Capitalism is the Biggest Turkey of All

Yves here. This post describes Eugene McCarraher’s contention that modern capitalism has assumed many of the features of religion. And it’s not hard to find plenty of corroboration, one being the sense of moral outrage about defaulting on debt…..which goes back well before the industrial era. For instance, consider Michael Hudson’s work on debt jubilees and his view that Christ’s real offense was taking on money-lenders and advocating for debt forgiveness. But McCarraher focuses on the role...

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Loneliness, Happiness, and Love in Times of Covid-19

Lambert here: Sorry for the lack of original posts, but our continuing server-side difficulties have made production really, really difficult. Hopefully, we will be back to normal soon. By Daniel Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar, Barnard College; Network Coordinator, IZA. Originally published at VoxEU. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed not only how people spend time, but with whom they spend it. Partnered people may be spending more time with a spouse or cohabitor while singles spend more...

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Dealing with the Second Wave: Subsidies, Instead of Ordering Closures

Yves here. We’ve banged on about the need for income replacement if/when governments need to restrict activities to combat Covid. And Congress is still unable to agree on what the next round of stimulus should look like. Subsidies would certainly be an easier pill to swallow than yet more lockdowns and mandatory closures and would help more firms make it though the crisis. But it’s not clear the US would do something so sensible, or have the capacity to monitor compliance. By Daniel Gros,...

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