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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

The Kosovo precedent

In the early days of the Ukraine invasion, one of the main lines pushed by Putin’s defenders was that the expansion of NATO posed a threat to Russia and that Ukraine was about to join. This didn’t stand up to even momentary scrutiny. The Baltic States had been members since 2004 without doing anything to threaten Russia. And while Ukraine’s constitution included a goal of joining NATO, Zelenskiy was describing this as a ‘remote dream’ even before the invasion took place, and clearly...

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What is really going on?

Yanis Varoufakis . . . what is really going on? My answer: A half-century long power play, led by corporations, Wall Street, governments and central banks, has gone badly wrong. As a result, the West’s authorities now face an impossible choice: Push conglomerates and even states into cascading bankruptcies, or allow inflation to go unchecked. For 50 years, the US economy has sustained the net exports of Europe, Japan, South Korea, then China and other emerging economies, while the...

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DFO optimism, homebuyer competition, Architecture index, mortgage purchase apps, builder confidence

This makes sense to me. We have had a post-Covid war slowdown in federal spending that is evidenced by the decelerating economy. But the federal deficit is still high enough to keep things muddling through at modest growth, helped some by the rate hikes whichare universally believed to slow things down when in fact the increased deficit spending for the additional federal interest expense adds a bit of (highly regressive) support for the economy: It has fallen off with the...

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Britain: the new El Salvador?

When I first found out that the UK Treasury proposes to issue Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as part of a general push to make Britain a world centre for crypto-currency, I assumed that this was a Boris Johnson stunt. The obvious model is El Salvador, where Johnson-style demagogue Nayib Bukele has made Bitcoin legal tender, with results ranging from disappointing to disastrous depending on who you read. It turns out, however, that the source of the push is Rishi Sunak, until recently...

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Structuring the economy to give money to the rich is inflationary

from Dean Baker I just read this NYT column by Bryan Stryker, on how Democrats can win back the working class. I have no idea how its proposals poll, but as an economic matter, they will do little to help the working class. The big problem with Stryker’s argument is that it assumes that the working class will somehow benefit from having more manufacturing jobs. This would have been true 20-years-ago when noncollege educated workers in manufacturing enjoyed a substantial pay premium over...

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A Path to a 4-day week (with 8-hour days)

Suppose(!) an Oz government or IR tribunal, wanted to shift the standard working week to four eight-hour days.Here’s one possible path: Reduce standard working week from 38 hours to 35, a demand of the trade union movement that’s been on the books for the last 50 years. With four weeks annual leave and 10 public holidays per year, that implies just over 1600 hours per year (excluding sick leave etc) 1/.. Now move to the four-day, 32 hour week, with the proviso that the full...

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Reaching for Utopia

Last week, I presented a webinar to the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders Uni. The slides are here – I’ll update when the video becomes available Summary: From four-day weeks to unconditional basic income to free education, it’s possible to imagine a future where society’s focus has moved from consumption to quality of life. Share this:Like this:Like Loading...

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What I’ve been doing and saying

My latest Substack newsletter, a report on what I’ve been up to in June and early July. My biggest news is that I’ve decided to take a break from commenting on day-to-day politics. Even starting with low expectations, I’ve been deeply disappointed by the Albanese government. That feeling seems to be widely shared, especially as regards Covid and Climate. Perhaps the public response will turn things around, but I don’t have anything much to add beyond what I’ve said already....

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