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Real-World Economics Review

Wren-Lewis trying to cope with ideology

from Lars Syll Simon Wren-Lewis has also commented on the study by Mohsen Javdani and Ha-Joon Chang — on economics and ideology — that I wrote about earlier today. Says Wren-Lewis: I also, from my own experience, want to suggest that in their formal discourse (seminars, refereeing etc) academic economists normally pretend that this ideological bias does not exist. I cannot recall anyone in any seminar saying something like ‘you only assume that because of your ideology/politics’. This has...

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Who is to blame for Argentina’s economic crisis?

from Mark Weisbrot Argentines remember the role the IMF played in the last depression. They also remember the improvement in their lives under Kirchnerism. What are we to make of Argentina’s surprise election results on August 11, which jolted pollsters and analysts alike, and roiled the country’s financial markets? In the presidential primary for the country’s October election, the opposition ticket of Alberto Fernández trounced President Mauricio Macri by an unexpected margin of 15.6...

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Coming apart

from David Ruccio American capitalism is coming apart at the seams. Truth be told, it’s been coming apart for decades now—and that trend has only continued during the recovery from the worst crash since the 1930s. A good indicator of the shredding of the U.S. economic and social fabric is the difference in the level of compensation of Chief Executive Officers of major American corporations compared to that of the average worker. While they labor, workers create value, some of which...

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We need more redistribution

from Lars Syll Income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient rose by about 36% in the 1980s under Thatcher, but the real story is the share of income that goes to people at the very top: According to Greg Mankiw … in the United States the 1%’s share of total income, excluding capital gains, rose from about 8 percent in 1973 to 17 percent in 2010. Between 2010 and 2015 it’s risen from 17% to 22%!! It’s incredibly concentrated even among the super-rich. The top 0.01%’s share of...

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Economics and ideology

from Lars Syll Mainstream (neoclassical) economics has always put a strong emphasis on the positivist conception of the discipline, characterizing economists and their views as objective, unbiased, and non-ideological … Acknowledging that ideology resides quite comfortably in our economics departments would have huge intellectual implications, both theoretical and practical. In spite (or because?) of that, the matter has never been directly subjected to empirical scrutiny. In a recent...

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What the German government must do now to turn around an unsustainable economy

from Norbert Häring Germany’s economic output contracted in the second quarter and most indications point to a worsening in the third quarter, which is just halfway through. The culprit is only superficially Donald Trump with his trade wars. The German economy has been on an unsustainable path in several respects. Now the government is called upon to act courageously and intelligently to ensure that a deep restructuring crisis is avoided. The German success model was not sustainable...

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Good news: The stock market is plunging

from Dean Baker The stock market enjoys a mythological place not only among mainstream media types, but also among many progressives. For some reason this measure of expected future corporate profits is taken as a measure of economic well-being. The fact that the media obsesses over the stock market hardly needs to be mentioned. If there is one item about the economy that we can be sure will be repeated every day, it is the movement in the Dow or the S&P 500. And, needless to say, an...

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Statistics and mathematics — not very helpful for understanding economies

from Lars Syll Statistical science is not really very helpful for understanding or forecasting complex evolving self-healing organic ambiguous social systems – economies, in other words. A statistician may have done the programming, but when you press a button on a computer keyboard and ask the computer to find some good patterns, better get clear a sad fact: computers do not think. They do exactly what the programmer told them to do and nothing more. They look for the patterns that we...

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Progressive policies may hurt the stock market. that’s not a bad thing.

from Dean Baker Last week, we saw the media terrified over a plunge in the stock market following an escalation of Donald Trump’s trade war with China. There are good reasons to be concerned about Trump’s ill-defined trade war and reality TV tactics, but the plunge in the stock market is not one of them. While the idea that the stock market is a measure of the health of the economy permeates news reporting and popular understanding, it has no basis in economics. The stock market is a...

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No reality, please. We’re economists!

from Lars Syll Mathematics, especially through the work of David Hilbert, became increasingly viewed as a discipline properly concerned with providing a pool of frameworks for possible realities. No longer was mathematics seen as the language of (non-social) nature, abstracted from the study of the latter. Rather, it was conceived as a practice concerned with formulating systems comprising sets of axioms and their deductive consequences, with these systems in effect taking on a life of...

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