Wednesday , April 8 2020
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EconoSpeak

The Econospeak blog, which succeeded MaxSpeak (co-founded by Barkley Rosser, a Professor of Economics at James Madison University and Max Sawicky, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute) is a multi-author blog . Self-described as “annals of the economically incorrect”, this frequently updated blog analyzes daily news from an economic perspective, but requires a strong economics background.

Remdesivir and Transfer Pricing III

Robert Waldmann posted his Remdesivir III: I do not understand the need for “evidence-based medicine” or rather I do not understand how the phrase is used by doctors. There is no evidence that Covid 19 patients (without heart disease) do better without Chloroquine. I learn that “evidence based medicine” does not imply choosing the therapy that a fair balance of evidence suggests is best for the patient. Pharmaceuticals are presumed guilty until proven safe and effective. The evidence is...

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Philip W. Anderson, RIP

1977 physics Nobel Prize winner Philip Warren Anderson has died at a Princeton nursing home at age 96, cause not reported.  He received his prize for work in "condensed matter physics," a label he coined.  His work, done at Bell Labs (later he was at Princeton U.), had relevance for the functioning of circuits in computers and other important uses.  He also did important work on antiferromagnetism, the Higgs particle, spin glassses, and several other topics, with several effects named for...

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The D Word

Yes, depression, and not the psychological type, although the economic type leads to the psychological type, whether ot not it is the other  way around (see Keynes' "animal spirits).I often make fun of Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post, but in Washington Post today he raised the possibility that we are going into a depression, not just a bad recession.  On TV this evening I heard Austen Goolsby throw it out as well.  I suspect we are going to hear it a lot more.The problem is not...

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The Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal

The Covid-19 pandemic won’t last forever, and at some point we will have to return to figuring out how to respond to the climate crisis.  (What a depressing opening line.  No, I have no desire to live in a world of permanent crisis.)  Is the answer a Green New Deal?  Challenge has just published my analysis of this; you can find the link here.Abstract: The Green New Deal, an attractive agenda of increased investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, is not remotely...

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Credit Spreads: Comparing COVID-19 to the Collapse of Lehman Brothers

On March 18, Reuters noted something I have been following of late: Concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on corporate America's balance sheets has tripled the premium investors are demanding to hold even the highest-rated corporate bonds. The difference between the average yield of investment-grade U.S. bonds over virtually risk-free Treasuries widened to 303 basis points (bps) on Wednesday, according to the ICE/BofA investment grade index. That's up from 101 bps at the start of the...

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In 2020 A March Of Madness

Just before the end of February, President Trump declared that there were only 15 Covid-19 cases in the US, and that "they will soon go to zero."  Deaths have now passed 3,000 and yesterday Trump declared that because we might have had over 2 million dead if nothing had been done, it would show "we did a good job" if deaths kept to "only" 100,000 to 200,000.  To do this "good job" he has extended his "social distancing" policy to the end of April rather than Easter, April 12 (my birthday)....

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Remdesivir and Transfer Pricing Part II

Now that I sketched out the transfer pricing for Gilead Sciences with respect to their successful HIV and Hep C products (as much as I can say based on publicly available information), it is time to speculate a bit on how Remdesivir may play out. There is a lot we do not know including whether this treatment receives regulatory approval and how it will be priced if it does. Note for example this story: More than 150 organisations and individuals on Monday urged US biotechnology firm Gilead...

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Is Pompeo The Worst Secretary Of State Ever?

This is the title of a column in today's Washington Post by Jackson Diehl.  His answer is an unequivocal "yes," and I must say on thinking about it I know of no others clearly worse than him, maybe not even any  as bad as him.Diehl focuses on some general incompetence but then focuses on two specific issues that I have posted on here previously.  The most important one, which is getting more serious by the minute, involves Iran.  It is increasingly clear that Pompeo is probably the lead...

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Richard Epstein: Peak Dishonesty

Epstein is the doyen of libertarian legal theorists.  Larry Tisch Professor of law at NYU and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, he has vast influence throughout the conservative world, including the White House.His latest jag is calling for an early end to isolation policies to contain the coronavirus.  In a nutshell, his argument is that the virus responsible for this pandemic exhibits a range of toxicities, and that evolutionary forces will naturally and fairly quickly shift this...

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Remdesivir and Transfer Pricing

Gilead Sciences is conducting phase III trials to explore whether this treatment – which did not turn out to be effective against Ebola – might be effective in treating COVID-19. We all hope it will be and if it does pass phase III trials, national income tax authorities will later have to address the transfer pricing implications of any profits Gilead Sciences generates. This blog post is the first of two with this one setting up some basic transfer pricing principles by noting Gilead’s...

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