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Matias Vernengo

Matias Vernengo

Econ Prof at @BucknellU Co-editor of ROKE & Co-Editor in Chief of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

Articles by Matias Vernengo

Thinking about Inflation: A conversation with Marc Lavoie

4 days ago

[embedded content]The conversation on inflation with Marc Lavoie at the Fields Institute in Toronto. I think that there was an agreement, between us, and most people in the room that the oligopolistic view of inflation does not hold water. I tried to discuss the Argentinean case on the basis of a piece that I co-wrote with Fabián Amico and Franklin Serrano, published in the local version of Le Monde Diplomatique online. A longer version, also in Spanish, here. An English version is in the works, btw.

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Lance Taylor (1940-2022) and his legacy

14 days ago

With Lance in Beijing (2001)I took Lance’s macro class in the Fall of 1995 at the New School for Social Research (NSSR), and then was his Teaching Assistant for two years. The book we formally used was Income Distribution, Inflation and Growth: Lectures on Structuralist Macroeconomic Theory, in which the terms (not the concepts) for wage-led and profit-led economies were first used (at least that’s what I think; profit-led does not appear in the index, I must note). But classes were based on his notes, on what became his next book Reconstructing Macroeconomics (he thanked me for all the input in my copy; I had to learn how to read his handwriting, which was not easy). In many ways, my thinking was influenced more by the Sraffian professors at the NSSR, both John Eatwell (I was also his TA

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Modern Money Theory in the Tropics: A Reply to Agustin Mario

June 23, 2022

Our reply to a very inaccurate discussion of our views on MMT by Agustin Mario. From the abstract:This paper responds to some inaccuracies on the discussion of our views on Modern Money Theory (MMT), as discussed by Agustin Mario. We believe that while is correct in noting that autonomous spending generates taxes, and fiscal balances are a result, MMT authors overlook the difficulties in pursuing expansionary fiscal policy in the developing countries. These are limited by the existence of an external constraint that cannot be solved with a flexible exchange rate policy regime. Foreign reserves and capital controls are needed.In particular, I want to emphasize that the notion that we said in any place, or that it is implied that Esteban and I believe in supply side constrained growth is

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Course/discussion: A very short Introduction to the theory of value and distribution

May 30, 2022

A few years back in Colombia, we discussed with a group of students about a possible reading group of Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (PCMC).  After the pandemic I thought that the experience with Zoom perhaps created the conditions for that. But I also have a concern expressed here several times (see here and here) about the lack of understanding of the theory of value and distribution and its importance for policy analysis, and not just among mainstream economists.At any rate, I decided to give 6 Lectures online (that I will record and post eventually) on the theory of value and distribution. It will cover from before Adam Smith to modern times. Authors discussed will include Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Marginalist ones (Clark, Marshall, Wicksell), Sraffa, Samuelson

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The economic and social consequences of the war on Europe and Italy

May 12, 2022

By Sergio CesarattoWith a certain pride I remember having already mentioned for some years, within the framework of my economic courses, political realism in international relations and International Political Economy. I did so in academic contexts in which an uncritical Europeanism based on liberal thinking prevailed (and prevails) according to which the world is divided into good and bad. The book, which I suggested for reading to my students (Sorensen 2005), published in Italian by Bocconi University Press (Egea), had some pages dedicated to the enlargement of NATO to the East, dutifully presenting the opposite thesis. In particular, an important letter addressed in 1997 to President Clinton by 50 eminent personalities opposed to such an enlargement was cited (McGuire 1998). Since

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What is heterodox economics? Some clarifications

May 6, 2022

Long ago I wrote on the meaning of heterodox economics. I suggested that it should be defined in its own terms, not as a reaction to the mainstream or orthodox approach, and as a unified set of propositions.[1] In other words, heterodox economics would be a set of principles that would be backed by a certain community. Of course, the sociology of that community would lead to some degree of debate and dissent within heterodoxy, as it is in fact the case within the mainstream. There is, one might add, significant confusion about the meaning of marginalist and neoclassical economics, and also there is no monolithic and consensual approach within the orthodoxy. The mainstream is somewhat fragmented, and there are more than a few neoclassical or marginalist schools. Some, like the Austrians,

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A new Pink Tide in Latin America?

April 20, 2022

[embedded content]Episode 52 of the Podcast Missão Desenvolvimento with Paulo Gala and Eduardo Crespo discussing the possible new Pink Tide in Latin America (in Portuguese).

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Blog Moving to Substack (and first post)

April 11, 2022

"Where is Everybody?"The blog will continue here for announcements, messages and links to more substantive pieces. But those will be posted from now on at Substack. I might also post videos in another platform. But more on that later. Link for first post (on whether the US is a failed State, something that got some traction during the pandemic, particularly in the aftermath of the January 6 riot) here.

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Some thoughts on inflation and what not to do about it

March 13, 2022

I have written extensively over the years on inflation and some of that is here in the blog (see this or this, or this more recently on Volcker the inflation dragon slayer, if you believe in fairy tales; there’s way more if you search the blog; I also highly recommend this paper by Perry and Cline in ROKE, which is open, btw). My more recent piece on inflation came out recently in Catalyst, just before the war in Ukraine (on the war see this by Palley, and this old piece by Gary Leupp after the Crimean crisis in 2014), and the spike in oil, and foodstuff prices. But although this exacerbates things, the gist of my argument remains the same.Inflation which had accelerated because of the supply constraints, and not because of the recovery or excess demand (sure the economy recovers fast in

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Beyond Vulgar Economics: Conceição Tavares and Heteredox Economics

March 10, 2022

My paper (in Spanish) for a book on social thinkers in Latin America edited by Marcelo Rougier and Juan Odisio, and that I presented in a few venues since 2020, is now revised and done. The book includes chapters on Raúl Prebisch, Aníbal Pinto, Víctor Urquidi, Celso Furtado, Juan Noyola Vázquez, Helio Jaguaribe, Aldo Ferrer, and Osvaldo Sunkel, besides mine on Maria da Conceição Tavares. A version available here.

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Ukraine: what will be done and what should be done?

March 1, 2022

By Thomas PalleyWhile rightly condemning Russia for its invasion, the mainstream media continues to selectively report the history behind these events. In my view, its omissions are intentional and contribute to the tragedy. They inflame public understanding, render a diplomatic resolution more difficult, and lock us into a worse trajectory. Let me make further clear my argument: (1) President Putin is head of the Russian state which is under slow-motion implacable attack by US-led NATO. (2) After failing to secure a satisfactory diplomatic resolution, he has taken action to head off that attack.If you accept those two propositions, the Ukraine story is massively more complicated than simply claiming Putin is an aggressor and we (the US) are good. There will be no lasting peace until

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American Exceptionalism and the Liberal Menace: the US and Ukraine

February 14, 2022

By Tom PalleyAmerican exceptionalism is the most dangerous doctrine in the world, and it has been on full display in the current Ukraine crisis. Worse yet, the loudest advocates have been America’s elite liberal class.The doctrine of exceptionalism holds that the US is inherently different from and superior to other nations. That superiority means the US is subject to a different standard. Its actions are claimed to be benevolent and above international law, and the US is entitled to intervene at will around the world, including building a global network of military bases and garrisons that it would never permit another power to have.Read rest here.

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Review of Keynesian Economics is out!

February 12, 2022

We are delighted to announce the publication of Volume 10, Issue 1 of the Review of Keynesian Economics. We invite you to visit the website where you can read all the article abstracts and download two free articles.The issue focuses on monetary macroeconomics. The lead article is Professor Marc Lavoie’s 2021 Godley-Tobin Memorial Lecture titled Godley versus Tobin on monetary matters. That is followed by an article by Federal Reserve economist Jeremy Rudd titled Why do we think that inflation expectations matter for inflation? (And should we?). Additionally, there is an article on the role of risk and uncertainty in Keynes’ and Kalecki’s interest rate theory; an article providing a modern theory of animal spirits founded on contemporary psychological theory; an article on pre-Keynesian

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JERZY OSIATYŃSKI 1941-2022

February 11, 2022

By Jan Toporowski*Jerzy completed his matriculation at Juliusz Słowacki Liceum in Warsaw and went on to study economics in the elite foreign trade faculty of the Main School of Planning and Statistics (Szkoła Główna Planowania i Statystyki SGPiS – now reverted to its pre-War name of the Main School of Commerce Szkoła Główna Handlowa). He completed his PhD there and by then had fallen into the circle of economists around Michał Kalecki, who lectured on the economics of capitalism and convened seminars on economic planning and development economics. Jerzy started teaching, and was remembered as a charismatic teacher who made himself available to students and was willing to explain, instead of just repeating dogmas. His brother Wiktor became a well-known writer. A concert-pianist sister

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Classical Political Economy or the Surplus Approach

February 11, 2022

[embedded content]Here our other conversation with LP Rochon, about the chapter on Classical or Surplus approach authors. My co-author, Suranjana Nabar-Bhaduri and I talk about the Real Bills Doctrine, Bullionism, Say’s Law the implications for theories of crisis. And about several authors, Smith, Ricardo, Tooke and more.

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2022 Godley-Tobin Memorial Lecture: Paul Krugman

January 20, 2022

The editors of ROKE are pleased to announce that Professor Paul Krugman has agreed to give the 2022 Godley–Tobin Memorial Lecture. Professor Krugman is Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has also taught at MIT, Princeton University, and Yale University. Like James Tobin, Professor Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (2008) and the American Economics Association’s John Bates Clark Medal (1991). Professor Krugman’s work has focused on international economics and macroeconomics. He is a prominent American public intellectual who is widely recognized for his regular column in The New York Times. The title of Professor Krugman’s lecture is “The enduring relevance of Tobinomics”.The lecture will be held at

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What’s Left of Cambridge Economics?

January 15, 2022

A new piece by Jamie Galbraith on Project Syndicate, that reviews some recent books, but deals essentially with what happened to heterodox economics, a theme that has been treated here often (on the definition of heterodox economics go here). Jamie provides an apt definition, on the basis of what he got at Cambridge back in the 1970s. In his words:When I attended the University of Cambridge in 1974-75, I read Keynes, met Piero Sraffa, listened to Joan Robinson, and studied with Kaldor, Luigi Pasinetti, Richard Goodwin, Ajit Singh, Wynne Godley, Robin Marris, and Adrian Wood. Back then, it was understood at Cambridge that markets do nothing like what Coyle claims they do. Just as Einstein had erased Euclid’s axiom of parallels, Keynes’s General Theory had long since obliterated the supply

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On the origins of Sraffa’s equations

January 15, 2022

Giancarlo de Vivo suggests that the Sraffian equations come from Marx’s schemes of reproduction, and that the inspiration was in a footnote from the editor, Karl Kautsky, in the Theories of Suplus Value. Here a letter from Maurice Dobb and Piero Sraffa to Kautsky, from 1929, asking to use his edition as the basis for an English translation (originals in Kautsky’s archives):De Vivo’s views are discussed in a book edited by Massimo Pivetti, which is certainly worth reading (I have the Spanish edition). I never thought of this genealogy of the Sraffian price equations as being controversial, but I have been re-reading some discussion about Sraffa’s contributions between Pierangelo Garegnani and Marxist authors (from the 1970s) as a result of the events related to the latter’s ten year death

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The IMF’s 2018 Stand-By Arrangement with Argentina: An Ultra Vires Act?

January 15, 2022

A good paper by Karina Patricio and Chris Marsh that deserves a wider readership, in particular if you are interested on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and it’s policies. The paper argues that the IMF agreement is legally void, and might lend support (the authors do not say so) to a more radical view, suggesting that Argentina should not pay. From the abstract:The 36-month exceptional access Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the Republic of Argentina approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June 2018, later augmented in October 2018, represents the largest programme in the history of the Fund. The programme, however, has failed in all its core objectives. While the programme has been subject to macroeconomic critiques, this is the first study that integrates such analyses

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The US and Russia: beware of Neocons and liberals preaching democracy promotion

December 9, 2021

By Thomas Palley (guest blogger)Every week my e-mail box receives a steady stream of articles aimed at cultivating public animus to Russia. The articles are always wrapped in a narrative in which Russia is a threat to democracy in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. The effect is to create public support for hardline action (economic and/or military) against Russia.The insidious underside of this campaign is it paves the way for a scenario in which Ukraine provokes Russia, thereby drawing a Russian response that is then used as a pretext for US engagement. In such circumstances, the public would have been primed for action and would almost certainly fail to disentangle the truth.What is terrifying is the scope of the stream, which spans the spectrum from far-right to center-left.Read

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A Materialist-Institutionalist Model of Capitalist Social Reproduction

December 8, 2021

By David Fields (guest Blogger)One of the defining features of classical political economy, particularly Marx, is the schema of a class system based on those who control the means of production, capitalists, and those who do not, wage labor. Yet, the intricacies of capitalist reality are more complex. As such, is it possible to formulate a model that better captures integrated social processes? Below is my attempt to do just that. This model, in my view, allows for greater attention to be devoted to analyzing the extent to which particular forms of social status and social class, allowing for intersectionality, are reproduced by general cultural conditions that affect the social division of labor, which, in turn, shape said conditions, ensuing different forms of social stratification. It

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On the Worldly Philosophy at Radio UNAL

November 17, 2021

Interview in Spanish to Radio UNAL with Óscar Morillo. We discuss the the origins of political economy and their importance and the continuous relevance for the understanding of modern capitalism. Link here.

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Garegnani: Ten Years After

November 8, 2021

This event organized by the Italian Post Keynesian Network. I wrote about Garegnani’s contributions when he passed away here in the blog. We will discuss some of the issues he raised, but also the new directions of Sraffian economics.

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Review of Keynesian Economics issue on Financialization

November 8, 2021

Volume 9, Issue 4 of the Review of Keynesian Economics is now available. The issue is devoted to the twin topics of “financialization” and the “macroeconomics of international finance”. The first paper by Michael Hudson analyzes the impact on distributional outcomes of adding capital gains to and subtracting rent seeking activity from GDP. The second paper examines financialization’s rolling sector dynamics whereby it loads the economy with debt. The third paper by Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matias Vernengo explores how financialization has fostered premature deindustrialization in Latin America. The fourth paper by Biagio Bossone looks at the implications of the actions of international portfolio actors for policy sovereignty. The fifth paper empirically examines the effectiveness of

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