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Barkley Rosser

Barkley Rosser

I remember how loud it was. I was a young Economics undergraduate, and most professors didn’t really slam points home the way Dr. Rosser did. He would bang on the table and throw things around the classroom. Not for the faint of heart, but he definitely kept my attention and made me smile. It is hard to not smile around J. Barkley Rosser, especially when he gets going on economic theory. The passion comes through and encourages you to come along with it in a truly contagious way. After meeting him, it is as if you can just tell that anybody who knows that much and has that much to say deserves your attention.

Articles by Barkley Rosser

“I shall Defend The Rights Of Parents”

2 days ago

“I shall Defend The Rights Of Parents”

This is what new Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said when he made an executive order on the first day of his term to ban school systems from having mask mandates. Some systems will not go along, including that in Arlington and mine in the city of Harrisonburg. He claims to be defending the rights of parents, somehow not noting that he is violating the rights of parents who do not want their children be forced to be in school with unmasked children, thus raising their chances of getting Covid-19.

He also ended the mandate that all state workers be vaccinated. This affects me personally. Indeed, a message has come from the president of my university, which is a VA state one, that there is now no vaccine

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Is The Downward Sloping Phillips Curve Back?

3 days ago

Is The Downward Sloping Phillips Curve Back?

 Maybe. We have gotten so used to the idea that to the extent it is even meaningful it is flat at an inflation rate of 2%, nobody talks about the old textbook Phillips Curve that slopes down.  But there is some evidence that out of all these pandemic upheavals it may be back, at least for a while. If this is the case then indeed there may be a tradeoff, and the higher inflation the US is experiencing may be due partly to strong fiscal and monetary stimulus, with that also bringing about higher growth and lower unemployment, the latter somehow not getting noticed by much of the media in all the moaning and wailing about inflation.

A possible simple measure of all this might be to compare the US and the

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Is The Downward Sloping Phillips Curve Back?

5 days ago

Maybe. We have gotten so used to the idea that to the extent it is even meaningful it is flat at inflation rate of 2%, nobody talks about the old textbook Phillips Curve that slopes down.  But there is some evidence that out of all these pandemic upheavals it may be back, at least for awhile. If this is the case then indeed there may be a tradeoff, and the higher inflation the US is experiencing may be due partly to strong fiscal and monetary stimulus, with that also bringing about higher growth and lower unemployment, the latter somehow not getting noticed by much of the media in all the moaning and wailing about inflation.A possible simple measure of all this might be to compare the US and the EU. So as of the first Economist of the year, the US had an inflation rate of 6.8% last year

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The Central Asian Alphabet Issue

7 days ago

The Central Asian Alphabet Issue

 It remains too soon to comment in detail on the current upheaval in Kazakhstan as it is simply impossible to figure out what is happening, with multiple conflicting accounts and claims coming from many sources. Rather I want to comment on a deeper question that has been brought up in connection with this, although not central to it, but one that affects Kazakhstan’s Central Asian neighbors as well: what alphabet should they use? This is something that is an ongoing issue in several of these nations with changes happening.

Prior to 1928 all of what are now the five Central Asian nations that used to be republics of the USSR: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan used some variation of

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Incoming Virginia Governor Youngkin Goes In All Anti-Environment

9 days ago

Incoming Virginia Governor Youngkin Goes In All Anti-Environment

 Incoming GOP Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has just announced his choice for Secretary of Natural Resources, Andrew Wheeler, a longtime coal lobbyist, who served as Trump’s EPA director in the latter part of his term. He has an utterly abysmal environmental record, so bad I cannot think of a single thing he did that I can applaud or even just vaguely approve of. It was just simply all bad.

He combined blocking new rules such as limiting mercury emissions into water and many others, with shutting down the Scientific Advisory Board, to simply ceasing to enforce existing legislation, most notably the Clean Water Act. This appointment follows Youngkin having already declared his

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The Central Asian Alphabet Issue

10 days ago

It remains too soon to comment in detail on the current upheaval in Kazakhstan as it is simply impossible to figure out what is happening, with multiple conflicting accounts and claims coming from many sources. Rather I want to comment on a deeper question that has been brought up in connection with this, although not central to it, but one that affects Kazakhstan’s Central Asian neighbors as well: what alphabet should they use? This is something that is an ongoing issue in several of these nations with changes happening.Prior to 1928 all of what are now the five Central Asian nations that used to be republics of the USSR: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan used some variation of the Arabid alphabet, with Russia conquering the Samarkand and Bukhara khanates

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Classicalism and Revolution

11 days ago

Classicalism and Revolution, Econospeak, Barkley Rosser

 For those of you of a branch of Orthodox Christianity still using the Julian calendar, such as the Russian branch, Merry Christmas! I am tempted to comment on the situation in Kazakhstan, but I think we do not know what is going on there yet, so not now.

Instead somehow I have been thinking about something that has something to do with economics, but I am going to look at it in other fields, namely the relationship between classicalism and revolution.  That this is complicated in that in economics we think of “classical economics” as something that is old and out date, the economics of Adam Smith, highly conventional if somewhat simplistic.  But then we usually identify Karl Marx as being

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Incoming Virginia Governor Youngkin Goes In All Anti-Environment

12 days ago

Incoming GOP Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has just announced his choice for Secretary of Natural Resourxes, Andrew Wheeler, a longtime coal lobbyist, who seved as Trump’s EPA director in the latter part of his term. He has an utterly abysmal environmental record, so bad I cannot think of a single thing he did that I can applaud or even ust vaguely approve ot. It was just simply all bad.He combined blocking new rules such as limiting mercury emissions into water and many others, with shutting down the Scientific Advisory Board, to simply ceasing to enforce existing legislation, most notably the Clean Water Act. This appointment follows Youngkin having already declared his intention to remove Virginia from the 11 state regional cap and trade system in the Northeast for GHGs. He may be

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Classicaism and Revolution

13 days ago

For those of you of a branch of Orthodox Christianity still using the Julian calendar, such as the Russian branch, Merry Christmas! I am tempted to comment on the situation in Kazakhstan, but I think we do not know what is going on there yet, so not now.Instead somehow I have been thinking about something that has something to do with economics, but I am going to look at it in other fields, namely the relationship between classicalism and revolution.  That this is complicated in that in economics we think of "classical economics" as something that is old and out date, the economics of Adam Smith, highly conventional if somewhat simplistic.  But then we usually identify Karl Marx as being a classical economist, but then he was also a revolutionary. However, modern neoclassical economists

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Dare I Disagree With David Ignatius?

19 days ago

Dare I Disagree With David Ignatius?

 In today’s Washington Post (Dec. 31 ), intel columnist David Ignatius had a ten question multiple choice quiz about what will happen in 2022. He provided his own answers at the end, effectively forecasting.  Many I agree with and some, speculative about tech developments and such like, I have no opinion on.  However, on two very important ones, I think I disagree with him, if not overwhelmingly so.

One of these was about prospects for Iran and the US and others to put back together the JCPOA nuclear deal that Donald Trump removed the US from.  I am burned as I expected Biden to quickly rejoin the deal with minimum fuss once he got back in office. But he did not do so, insisting on demanding all sorts of

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Dare I Disagree With David Ignatius?

20 days ago

In today’s Washington Post, intel columnist David Ignatius had a ten question multiple choice quiz about what will happen in 2022. He provided his own answers at the end, effectively forecasts.  Many I agree with and some, speculative about tech developments and such like, I have no opinion on.  However on two very important ones I think I disagree with him, if not overwhelmingly so.One of these was about prospects for Iran and the US and others to put back together the JCPOA nuclear deal that Donald Trump removed the US from.  I am burned as I expected Biden to quickly rejoin the deal with minimum fuss once he got back in office. But he did not do so, insisting on demanding all sorts of extra things out of Iran about missiles and this and that.  No deal has been made and now Iran has a

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Paul Samuelson On Knut Wicksell

21 days ago

Paul Samuelson On Knut Wicksell

 Something I have been doing for several years now is serving as Senior Coeditor of the Fourth Edition of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, with the original one published back in 1894 in London (my coeditors are Matias Vernengo and Esteban Perez). As part of this effort, a multi-year project, I have been reading cover-to-cover, the entire Third Edition, co-edited by Steve Durlauf and Larry Blume, which came out several years ago.  It is 15 volumes, just shy of 15,000 pages, with about 3800 entries, with at least 37 Nobel Prize winners contributing to them.  I have been at this for two and a half years and am nearing the end, possibly finishing even before New Year’s, although maybe just a bit shy.

Entries

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Memorializing Memorial

21 days ago

On Tuesday, the Russian Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the International Memorial Foundation, the oldest human rights group in Russia, founded in the final years of the Soviet regime by Andrei Sakharov, to investigate crimes carried out by the Stalin regime. They were officially labeled a "foreign agent" in 2016. They are being dissolved for sllegedly failing to follow through on the many requirements that an organization labeled that is supposed to do.On Wednesday a lower court in Moscow ordered the dissolution of its companion group, the Memorial Human Rights Center. That will go to appeal, so may be awhile before the final order for its dissolution comes. But that looks pretty inevitable.  It was actually labeled a foreign agent  in 2014, but it is being banned as a supposed

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Paul Samuelson On Knut Wicksell

22 days ago

Something I have been dong for several years now is serving as Senior Coeditor of the Fourth Edition of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, with the original one published back in 1894 in London (my coeditors are Matias Vernengo and Esteban Perez). As part of this effort, a multi-year project, I have been reading cover-to-cover, the entire Third Edition, coedited by Steve Durlauf and Larry Blume, which came out several years ago.  It is 15 volumes, just shy of 15,000 pages, with about 3800 entries, with at least 37 Nobel Prize winners contributing to them.  I have been at this for two and a half years and am nearing the end, possibly finishing even before New Year’s, although maybe just a bit shy.Entries are still there from the 1890s, with quite a few written by F.Y. Edgeworth.

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A Looming Anniversary Passes

23 days ago

A Looming Anniversary Passes

 Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union.  I previously posted here about this looming anniversary, arguing that the large troop buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border along with the many strong demands being made by V.V. Putin of various parties reflected his high awareness of this looking anniversary, which has been only barely mentioned or noticed in the western media.  

As it is, the anniversary passed without an invasion. Not only that there are reports from such sources as NPR, France 24, The Hill, and some other sources, although not yet such places as the NY Times or the Washington Post, that Putin has ordered a withdrawal of something like 10,000 of those troops out of

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A Looming Anniversary Passes

25 days ago

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union.  I previously posted here about this looming anniversary, arguing that the large troop buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border along with the many strong demands being made by V.V. Putin of various parties reflected his high awareness of this looking anniversary, which has been only barely mentioned or noticed in the western media.  As it is, the anniversary passed without an invasion. Not only that there are reports from such sources as NPR, France 24, The Hill, and some other sources, although not yet such places as the NY Times or the Washington Post, that Putin has ordered a withdrawal of something like 10,000 of those troops out of about 104,000 reportedly there. This certainly still leaves a large enough

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It’s A Wonderful Life: Faux Populism

26 days ago

It’s A Wonderful Life: Faux Populism

 Somewhere I never saw a full version of this classic, Its a Wonderful Life, but here it is on Christmas Eve, an official Christmas classic. I was always suspicious of it, from all I had heard, but it looks less worth than I had heard. I mean, really, local bank owner gets into real estate problems? And the well-intentioned owner is somehow some great hero? He is offered total control of local monopolies. Heck, today’s WaPo noted that the real hero is the wife, played by Donna Reed, Indeed she saves the day in many ways, including the final money pile-on to save him.

OK, so now I have finally seen the whole thing, but, I think I got the bottom line already above. 

Merry Christmas, you all

Barkley

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It’s A Wonderful Life: Faux Populism

27 days ago

Somewhere I never saw a full version of this classic, Its a Wonderful Life, but here it is on Christmas Eve, an official Christmas classic. I was always suspicious of it, from all I had heard, but it looks less worth than I had heard. I mean, really, local bank owner gets into real estate problems? And the well-intentioned owner is somehow some great hero? He is offered total control of local monopolies. Heck, today’s WaPo noted that the real hero is the wife, played by Donna Reed, Indeed she saves the day in many ways, including the final money pile-on to save him.OK, so now I have finally seen the whole thing, but, I think I got the bottom line already above. Merry Christmas, you allBarkley Rosser

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RIP Sharon L. O’Hare

27 days ago

If Barkley is writing about it, it warrants space on AB.

RIP Sharon L. O’Hare, Econospeak, Barley Rosser

I know, I know, my part of this blog is increasingly resembling an obituary column. But, heck, people I know who are conneted to econ keep dying, although this one was not as well known as others. Sharon Lyn O’Hare was a former student of mine 40 years ago at James Madison University, and while she never finished her PhD at Boston College, she was a decade later a colleague of mine in our department for five years. After then she left academia and ended up holding a high position in the City of Richmond government, director of its Office of Economics and Management, before retiring early.

She moved back to her home, Staunton, VA, 25

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RIP Sharon L. O’Hare

29 days ago

I know, I know, my part of this blog is increasingly resembling an obituary column. But, heck, people I know who are conneted to econ keep dying, although this one was not as well known as others. Sharon Lyn O’Hare was a former student of mine 40 years ago at James Madison University, and while she never finished her PhD at Boston College, she was a decade later a colleague of mine in our department for five years. After then she left academia and ended up holding a high position in the City of Richmond government, director of its Office of Economics and Management, before retiring early.She moved back to her home, Staunton, VA, 25 miles southwest of here, where her mother, Nancy O’Hare, lived also an old friend and former Speech and Pathology prof at JMU as well as a former mayor of

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A Looming Anniversary

December 14, 2021

A Looming Anniversary

 Sighhhh…

The possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is now front-page news, with little sign that Putin is going to move his massive military buildup by the border back anytime soon, even if he does not invade.  After the phone call this past week between him and Biden, supposedly lower-level negotiations have started, but it is unlikely Putin is going to be given anything dramatic that he has been demanding, such as a written guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO, something that polls now say 58% of Ukrainians support in the face of the ongoing threats and invasions and annexations and other provocations that Putin keeps indulging himself in, with a loud stream of propaganda over the past year that involves simply

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A Looming Anniversary

December 12, 2021

Sighhhh…The possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is now front page news, with little sign that Putin is going to move his massive military buildup by the border back anytime soon, even if he does not invade.  After the phone call this past week between him and Biden, supposedly lower level negotiations have started, but it is unlikely Putin is going to be given anything dramatic that he has been demanding, such as a written guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO, something that polls now say 58% of Ukrainians support in the face of the ongoing threats and invasions and annexations and other provocations that Putin keeps indulging himself in, with a loud stream of propaganda over the past year that involves simply questioning there being any legitimacy to a Ukrainian state

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More Partsanization Of The Environment

December 12, 2021

More Partsanization Of The Environment

 The Environmental Protection Agency was founded during the presidency of Republican Richard Nixon, if perhaps with some lack of enthusiasm. The first national cap and trade (or “tradable emissions permits”) system, for SO2, was instituted during the presidency of Republican George H.W. Bush. In 2008, Republican John McCain had an alternative plan to that proposed by Democrat Barack Obama for dealing with global warming, not all that different, mostly perhaps in scale.  Likewise even in 2012, while he was less specific, Republican Mitt Romney still at least gave lip service to doing something about this matter.

While he is not outright denying that global warming is happening as the more extreme members of

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More Partsanization Of The Environment

December 10, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency was founded during the presidency of Republican Richard Nixon, if perhaps with some lack of enthusiasm. The first national cap and trade (or "tradable emissions permits") system, for SO2, was instituted during the presidency of Republican George H.W. Bush. In 2008, Republican John McCain had an alternative plan to that proposed by Democrat Barack Obama for dealing with global warming, not all that different, mostly perhaps in scale.  Likewise even in 2012, while he was less specific, Republican Mitt Romney still at least gave lip service to doing something about this matter.While he is not outright denying that global warming is happening as the more extreme members of his party argue, incoming Republican Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin,

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RIP Sir Geoffrey C. Harcourt

December 8, 2021

Yes, Geoff Harcourt died yesterday at age 90, not sure what of. It seems I am writing too many of these recently, but his passing deserves notice.  He is most famous for his book from 1972 Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital, which expanded on an earlier JEL paper on the topic. This has long been viewed as the clearest general discussion of that topic there is, although many people were involved in those controversies, from Piero Sraffa Joan Robinson through Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow, to quite a few others, including Don Harris, father of current US VP Kamala Harris, with even me getting in on it in some later stages with a few articles. But he wrote the definitive work, which may also have been so definitive because he explained the whole thing so well.From

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RIP David M. Grether

December 5, 2021

RIP David M. Grether

 I have only just now learned that Dave Grether died on Sept. 12 of causes unreported at age 82. He was an emeritus prof of econ at Cal Tech.  He received his PhD in 1969 from Stanford in econometrics. He soon was at Cal Tech where he spent the rest of his career, soon becoming an early figure in experimental economics, co-authoring papers with a colleague, Charles Plott, whom many think should have shared the Nobel Prize with Vernon Smith for founding experimental economics. Dave’s most famous paper was with Plott in 1979 in the AER on preference reversals, an anomaly in which people are seen to violate a standard axiom of rational preferences in economic theory, although they found that if people redo the experiment numerous

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RIP David M. Grether

December 3, 2021

I have only just now learned that Dave Grether died on Sept. 12 of causes unreported at age 82. He was an emeritus prof of econ at Cal Tech.  He received his PhD in 1969 from Stanford in econometrics. He soon was at Cal Tech where he spent the rest of his career, soon becoming an early figure in experimental economics, coauthoring papers with colleague, Charles Plott, whom many think should have shared the Nobel Prize with Vernon Smith for founding experimental economics. Dave’s most famous paper was with Plott in 1979 in the AER on preference reversals, an anomaly in which people are seen to violate a standard axiom of rational preferences in economic theory, although they found that if people redo the experiment numerous times they tend to start behaving more like economic theory

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Playing With The Strategic Petroleum Reserve

November 25, 2021

EconoSpeak: Playing With The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Barkley Rosser

Over the last month crude oil prices have noticeably declined from in the neighborhood of $85-86 per barrel to $78-80 per barrel. But there has been only a very small decline in retail gasoline prices, and the headlines even as of yesterday was all about “sharply rising gas prices.” 

So, Pres. Biden has moved to release a record amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, getting several other nations to also release such reserves, including UK, South Korea, Japan, Inda, and maybe even China.  What was the result on crude oil markets? Not much. Brent slightly declined while WTI actually slightly increased, the markets perceiving this as largely a very short term

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Playing With The Strategic Petroleum Reserve

November 24, 2021

Over the last month crude oil prices have noticeably declined from in the neighborhood of $85-86 per barrel to $78-80 per barrel. But there has been only a very small decline in retail gasoline prices, and the headlines even as of yesterday was all about "sharply rising gas prices." So, Pres. Biden has moved to release a record amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, getting several other nations to also release such reserves, including UK, South Korea, Japan, Inda, and maybe even China.  What was the result on crude oil markets? Not much. Brent slightly declined while WTI actually slightly increased, the markets perceiving this as largely a very short term move. Of course, Biden has also asked the FTC to look into oil prices not lowering retail prices after the crude oil

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Repeated Lying About Lying

November 20, 2021

Repeated Lying About Lying

 Of course, Donald Trump has been using this Big Lie method of simply endlessly repeating a Big Lie and successfully so with his claim that last year’s presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen,” according to the latest poll I just saw on the order of 70% of Republicans accepting this Big Lie.

But this practice seems to be spreading for yet more degeneration happening as figures who have not done this like Trump now seem to be imitating him also.  The latest is Hugh Hewitt, a conservative who is a columnist for WaPo and usually avoids this sort of flagrant lying. But he seems to have caught the bug.

I rarely listen to his radio show, but yesterday (Nov. 15) I inadvertently heard it when it was turned on for a

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