Category Archives: Economies and economics

General discussions of economies and economics, non-technical.

Why Corbyn is Right and Blair is Wrong

Tony Blair, like a lot of mainstream people, is mystified why anyone would support Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the UK Labour Party, but then he’s mystified why anyone would think invading Iraq illegally based on a lie was stupid and wrong, so his views are not worth discussing.

The useful thing to discuss is whether it can be sensible to oppose austerity, and possibly some of the other ills of the modern world like rising inequality and social discord, and a feral and destructive financial system. Young Labourite Rosie Fletcher is right, this is not 1980, and a few things have become clearer since then, to those who will look.

For example, economic performance in the neoliberal era has never equalled the economic performance of the postwar mixed social-democratic economies.

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Megalogenis’ apologia for the neoliberal strategy

[The recent TV series by George Megalogenis on how neoliberal market reforms allegedly saved Australia from the Global Financial Crisis caused me to read his 2012 book on the same theme, wondering if any evidence at all might be found for such an unlikely (but widely believed) claim. I have written my response into the book I’m working on, as follows.]

[A version published on Independent Australia 1 May.]

Despite their mediocrity and failure, and their lack of basis in human nature or defensible theory, the rightness of free competitive markets is taken almost completely for granted in mainstream discussion. That was true when neoliberalism was introduced in the 1980s and it remains true today. Back in the 1980s, I would look out for the basis for the praise being heaped on the latest reform. All I ever seemed to find was the circular reference back to free markets, which were self-evidently good. The mantra of the open, competitive economy is repeated a thousand times a day. Such immersion can lead one to doubt one’s reason and common sense, so it may be useful to search for any robust logic in the daily deluge.

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Politician Raises Taxes, Voters Happy

[Probably last post until Sept – see previous post.  The tax-cutting mania may have started in California, so it’s fitting if CA shows the way back.  It was always nonsense.  The real reason is to shrink government.  Governments get in the way of rich people making money, because a few of the things they do are good for the rest of us.  Well, used to be good for the rest of us.  So Jerry Brown may be among the most subversive people on the planet at the moment, because he’s showing government isn’t all bad.  It can do good stuff.  Of course the lesson will probably be lost on Oz for another decade, it usually takes about that long.]

 

There’s a case to be made that Jerry Brown is the most successful high-profile Democrat in America today. And there is simply no debating that, after four decades in the national limelight, he stands out as an intellectually dynamic and politically untethered leader in a time of gridlock, frustration and dysfunction.

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Sydney Book Launch, Gleebooks, 4 May

Sack the Economists will be launched by Professor Steve Keen, author of Debunking Economics and winner of the Revere Award for his clear warnings of the approaching Global Financial Crisis.

RSVP Gleebooks  or phone 02 9660 2333
Sunday, 4th May 2014, 3:30 for 4 pm, Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW.

The flier below can be downloaded here: LaunchAd&CoverGlee (pdf 300k), or as jpg from the image.  Please feel free to distribute it.

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More Effective Remedies for Inequality than Piketty’s

[A new book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is drawing a lot of comment – here and here.  My own comment on it is now posted on Real World Economics Review blog.]

I have read only reviews of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, but clearly it is valuable for documenting the nature and history of inequality over the past century or three, and for highlighting the excessive political power that flows from super-wealth.  Yet he frames it in terms of capital and capitalism and, for all the quality of his diagnosis, his main prescription evidently is just to tax the wealthy, through income and inheritance taxes.

The trouble is, capital and capitalism are very ill-defined.  To speak of capitalism is to invite an un-constructive shouting match.  Capitalism has caused great harm to people and the world!  Yes but capitalism is what has made us rich!

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Canberra and Sydney Book Launches

A reminder of tomorrow’s launch in Canberra;  more details below.

Also note that the Sydney launch will be 4 May at Gleebooks, featuring Steve Keen.

Sydney, Sunday 4 May, 3:30 for 4

Book launched by well-known iconoclastic economist Professor Steve Keen
Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road Glebe NSW 2037 Sydney.
Free, but please register (link and more details to be added real soon now – i.e. after tomorrow). Continue reading