Thursday , November 21 2019
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Tag Archives: Economics

The origins of MMT

The origins of MMT Many mainstream economists seem to think the idea behind Modern Monetary Theory is new and originates from economic cranks. New? Cranks? How about reading one of the great founders of neoclassical economics – Knut Wicksell. This is what Wicksell wrote in 1898 on ‘pure credit systems’ in Interest and Prices (Geldzins und Güterpreise), 1936 (1898), p. 68f: It is possible to go even further. There is no real need for any money at all if a...

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Economists — a perniciously overconfident tribe

Economists — a perniciously overconfident tribe We economists trudge relentlessly toward Asymptopia, where data are unlimited and estimates are consistent, where the laws of large numbers apply perfectly and where the full intricacies of the economy are completely revealed … Worst of all, when we feel pumped up with our progress, a tectonic shift can occur, like the Panic of 2008, making it seem as though our long journey has left us disappointingly close...

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‘Nobel prize’ winning plumbers

‘Nobel prize’ winning plumbers There is no reason to believe, as the political economy view would have it, that politics always trumps policies. We can now go one step further and invert the hierarchy between policies and politics … The focus on the broad INSTITUTIONS as a necessary and sufficient condition for anything good to happen is somewhat misplaced … There is considerable slack to improve institutions and policy at the margin … These changes will...

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Skidelsky on the uselessness of ‘New Keynesian’ economics

Whereas the Great Depression of the 1930s produced Keynesian economics, and the stagflation of the 1970s produced Milton Friedman’s monetarism, the Great Recession has produced no similar intellectual shift. This is deeply depressing to young students of economics, who hoped for a suitably challenging response from the profession. Why has there been none? Krugman’s answer is typically ingenious: the old macroeconomics was, as the saying goes, “good enough for government work”...

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The past and future of economics

The past and future of economics One sign that something historically new has indeed appeared is if scholars begin reading the past in a new light. Accordingly, one of the most significant books to come out of the UK in recent years would have to be Robert Skidelsky’s Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics. Ostensibly an attempt to answer the question of why mainstream economics rendered itself so useless in the years immediately before and...

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Why Wall Street shorts economists and their DSGE models

Why Wall Street shorts economists and their DSGE models Very few Wall Street firms find the DSGE models useful … This should come as no surprise to anyone who has looked closely at the models. Can an economy of hundreds of millions of individuals and tens of thousands of different firms be distilled into just one household and one firm, which rationally optimize their risk-adjusted discounted expected returns over an infinite future? There is no empirical...

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Le capitalisme spéculatif

Il n’y a pas de «solution» aux difficultés que pose le capitalisme spéculatif. L’Ecole de Palo Alto a montré qu’on ne peut trouver de réponse à un problème en raisonnant dans le cadre qu’il dessine. Comme le capitalisme contemporain se nourrit d’une infinie spéculation sur les promesses de l’avenir, ce n’est pas en formulant de nouvelles promesses qu’on échappera à sa logique. Même «alternatives», elles entretiendront les mêmes chimères. La seule façon de sortir de labyrinthe,...

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Japan announces a stimulus as the Right take over Bolivia

Just a short blog post today (short in research) as I devote Wednesday’s to other writing and I have to travel a lot today. More a collection of snippets that I come across over the course of a day’s work. Today, we think about Bolivia and the right-wing thugs that have overthrown a legitimate government advancing the well-being of its people. We also see senior progressive politicians falling into a myriad of lies and misconceptions about the monetary system and handing political...

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Austerity delusions

 If failing to understand some basic Keynes­ian relations is a part of the explanation of what happened, there was also another, and more subtle, story behind the confounded economics of austerity. There was an odd confusion in policy thinking between the real need for institutional reform in Europe and the imagined need for austerity – two quite different things … An analogy can help to make the point clearer: it is as if a person had asked for an antibiotic for his fever,...

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