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Tag Archives: Commentary

Imposing Sanctions on Russian Energy Exports

March 3, 2022: By Oleg Ustenko, economic advisor to the president of Ukraine, and Simon Johnson, MIT. Contact: [email protected] This post is taken from a one page memo, currently circulating. Sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are not degrading Russian energy production capacity or putting enough pressure on Russian financial markets. On the contrary, the price of Brent crude has risen from $80 at the end of 2021 to $90 pre-invasion and reached $113 per...

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Leverage

By James Kwak One of Congress’s top priorities this week and next is to pass some kind of funding bill that will keep the federal government operating past December 11. There are basically two ways this could happen. Option A is that Congress could pass a continuing resolution that maintains funding at current levels until, say, the end of January—that is, when we’ll have a new Congress and a new administration. Option B is to pass an omnibus fiscal year 2021 spending bill that...

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Leverage

By James Kwak One of Congress’s top priorities this week and next is to pass some kind of funding bill that will keep the federal government operating past December 11. There are basically two ways this could happen. Option A is that Congress could pass a continuing resolution that maintains funding at current levels until, say, the end of January—that is, when we’ll have a new Congress and a new administration. Option B is to pass an omnibus fiscal year 2021 spending bill that...

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The COVID-19 Economy: What Can We Do?

By James Kwak Today, the Washington Post’s Outlook section published my article on the future of the American economy in the wake of the pandemic. They invited me to write it because of my earlier blog post on “Winners and Losers.” (Hey, despite all appearances, maybe blogs are still worth writing.) Photo by skeezeThe article is pretty gloomy. The short summary is that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate and reinforce the two primary economic trends of our time: consolidation and...

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The COVID-19 Economy: What Can We Do?

By James Kwak Today, the Washington Post’s Outlook section published my article on the future of the American economy in the wake of the pandemic. They invited me to write it because of my earlier blog post on “Winners and Losers.” (Hey, despite all appearances, maybe blogs are still worth writing.) Photo by skeezeThe article is pretty gloomy. The short summary is that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate and reinforce the two primary economic trends of our time: consolidation and...

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COVID-19: Winners and Losers

By James Kwak I think it’s highly likely that the dust will clear eventually and that our economy will come back to life at some point in the next two or three years. I know there are certain disaster scenarios that can’t be ruled out, but I think they are unlikely. I’m not going to guess when things will return to a semblance of normal. Really, no one knows. Photo by Free-Photos from PixabayThe question for now is: what will that economy look like? A few things, I think, are clear. The...

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COVID-19: Winners and Losers

By James Kwak I think it’s highly likely that the dust will clear eventually and that our economy will come back to life at some point in the next two or three years. I know there are certain disaster scenarios that can’t be ruled out, but I think they are unlikely. I’m not going to guess when things will return to a semblance of normal. Really, no one knows. Photo by Free-Photos from PixabayThe question for now is: what will that economy look like? A few things, I think, are clear. The...

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COVID-19: Inequality

By James Kwak By some measures, in the short term, COVID-19 will surely reduce inequality of wealth, and probably inequality of income as well. As a purely mechanical matter, the rich have a lot more money to lose when the stock market crashes and most sectors of the economy grind to a halt. Photo by Free-Photos from PixabayAt the same time, however, this pandemic is throwing into stark relief how unequal the lives of Americans are today. Most of the upper-middle class and rich seem to...

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COVID-19: Inequality

By James Kwak By some measures, in the short term, COVID-19 will surely reduce inequality of wealth, and probably inequality of income as well. As a purely mechanical matter, the rich have a lot more money to lose when the stock market crashes and most sectors of the economy grind to a halt. Photo by Free-Photos from PixabayAt the same time, however, this pandemic is throwing into stark relief how unequal the lives of Americans are today. Most of the upper-middle class and rich seem to...

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COVID-19: The Butcher, the Brewer, and the Baker

By James Kwak “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” —Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations Image by Mandy Fontana from PixabayThis is the most famous line from the most famous justification of market capitalism. Smith’s point is that it is individual self-interest that drives the economy. In the next paragraph, he goes on to describe how gains from trade explain the division of labor in...

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