13 June 2014

Unjust Deserts

Brad DeLong

Suppose that, somehow, you are paid your genuine marginal product to society. The fact that you are lucky enough to be in a position to extract your marginal product is a matter of, well, luck. Others are not so lucky. Others find that their bargaining power is limited – perhaps to what their standard of living would be if they moved to the Yukon and lived off the land. Do you deserve your luck? By definition, no: nobody deserves luck. And what do you owe those who would be in a position to get what they deserve if you had not been lucky enough to get there first?

You can be a beneficiary of racism even if you’re not a racist

Ezra Klein on the multiplier effects of racist institutions

11 June 2014

No, David Brooks, we don’t need less democracy

Matt O'Brien

Do Conservatives Have Any New Ideas?

There may be a more fundamental problem with reforming conservative ideas. Over the last few decades, the definition of “conservative” has hardened into dogma. “Less government” -- deregulation, lower taxes and privatization -- is “conservative.” Any policy that doesn't include cutting government is “liberal.” 
But there are a lot more ways to use government than not to use it, so the universe of “conservative” policy is therefore much smaller than the set of “liberal” ones. There are a million and one interventions, but there’s only one free market.

04 June 2014

Unemployment: It’s Not Personal

Paul Krugman

Reading "Capital": Chapters 10, 11, and 12

Ryan Avent

The main problem is a meta-problem, in other words. Inequality matters because, like it or not, inequality matters. In most states of the world, inequality will tend to rise unless countered, by economic shocks or deliberate policy choices. Active concern over and management of inequality may help reduce the odds that society rejects as unjust the institutions underlying an economy, potentially in chaotic and violent fashion.

Inflation targeting vs price-level targeting: A new survey of theory and empirics

Michael Hatcher & Patrick Minford