Browsing Category Economics

Regional inequality: also a housing supply problem

Over the past few years compelling evidence has come out suggesting that housing policy errors are behind slow productivity growth, wealth inequality, and the cost of living crisis. But a raft of new work suggests housing policy errors might also be a key explanation for rising regional inequality in the West, and more specifically the rise of the Englands South East and the relative decline…

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Social Economy

What we need is a social economy, an economy that recognizes purposes and values beyond maximizing private gains by any means necessary, which is the sole goal of hyper-financialized economies.
Given the dominance of profit-maximizing markets and the state, we naturally assume these are the economy. But there is a third sector, the community economy, which is comprised of everything that isn’t directly controlled by profit-maximizing companies or the state.

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There Is Only One Empire: Finance

There is only one global empire: finance. China and the U.S. both exist within the Empire of Finance. Virtually every mercantile nation with access to global markets lives, works and thrives/dies within the Empire of Finance. Every nation that allows capital to flow into its economy is subservient to the Empire of Finance. Every nation with capital and debt markets exposed to (or dependent on) global financial flows is just another fiefdom in the Empire of Finance.There’s an entire sub-industry in journalism devoted to the idea that China is poised to replace the U.S. as the “global empire” / hegemon. This notion of global empire being something like a baton that gets passed from nation-state to nation-state is seriously misleading, in my view, for this reason:

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We Do These Things Because They’re Easy: Our All-Consuming Dependence on Debt

Our national philosophy now is “we do these things because they’re easy”– and relying on debt to pay today’s expenses is at the top of the list. What’s easier than tapping a line of credit to buy whatever you want or need? Nothing’s easier than borrowing money, especially at super-low rates of interest.On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a famous speech announcing the national goal of going to the moon by the end of the decade. (JFK’s speech on going to the moon.) In a memorable line, Kennedy said we would pursue the many elements of the space program “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

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The Inevitability Of DeGrowth

Of the 7.5 billion humans on the planet, virtually every individual wants to enjoy a high-energy consumption “middle-class” lifestyle. As a generous estimate, 1.5 billion people enjoy a high-energy consumption lifestyle today; the remaining six billion are aspirants hungry for all the goodies enjoyed by the 1.5 billion—all goodies based on affordable, abundant energy.Even though we don’t know precisely how the future will unfold, we know a few things:

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Bernanke and Growth

A rebuttal to Bernanke: Starting wiht his points…slow median income growth, especially for male workers. Hourly wages for males have declined since 1979. Declining rates of intergenerational mobility. Social dysfunction in economically marginalized groups. Political alienation.

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We Need a New American (Social) Revolution

Solutions abound outside the confines of the elite-controlled centralized status quo.I’m going to tell a story here using charts–a story that leads to one conclusion: we need a New American Social Revolution–a peaceful revolution that transforms our understanding of the corrupt, destructive status quo we currently inhabit, an understanding that leads to a withdrawal of our consent of the governed and a national search for new social, political and economic structures that actually serve the interests of the entire citizenry rather than the interests of a self-serving parasitic elite.

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Automation and jobs

If you are prognosticating in about 1970, and someone asks, “what will happen now that women want to join the workforce, but office automation is going to destroy all their jobs?” It would be a pretty gloomy forecast.

What actually happened: Female labor force increased from 20 million to 75 million. The female participation rate increased from below 35% to 60%. Women’s wages relative to men rose — they moved in to higher productivity activities than typing the same memo over a hundred times. Businesses expanded. And no, 55 million men are not out on the streets begging for spare change.

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