22 April 2014

A guide to navigating our arguments over race

Paul Waldman

On one side, liberals have been appalled and dismayed at the kind of ugliness the Obama presidency has brought out in so many people. They’re also gobsmacked by the conservative refusal to acknowledge the persistence of racism in so many areas of American life. On the other side, it is almost impossible to overstate the degree to which conservatives believe they are constantly subjected to unfair accusations of racism. 

Accounting for Discouraged Workers in the Unemployment Rate

B. Ravikumar and Lin Shao

18 April 2014

A veteran programmer explains how the stock market became “rigged”

Max Ehrenfreund

Innovation: The Government Was Crucial After All

Jeff Madrick

“The great advances of civilization,” wrote Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom, his influential best seller published in 1962, “whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” He did not say what he made of the state-sponsored art of Athens’s Periclean Age or the Medici family, who, as Europe’s dominant bankers but then as Florentine rulers, commissioned and financed so much Renaissance art. Or the Spanish court that gave us Velázquez. Or the many public universities that produced great scientists in our times. Or, even just before Friedman was writing, what could he have made of the Manhattan Project of the US government, which produced the atomic bomb? Or the National Institutes of Health, whose government-supported grants led to many of the most important pharmaceutical breakthroughs? 
We could perhaps forgive Friedman’s ill-informed remarks as a burst of ideological enthusiasm if so many economists and business executives didn’t accept this myth as largely true. We hear time and again from those who should know better that government is a hindrance to the innovation that produces economic growth. Above all, the government should not try to pick “winners” by investing in what may be the next great companies. Many orthodox economists insist that the government should just get out of the way.

09 April 2014

The Lewis Effect

Felix Salmon

Why Those Guys Won the Economics Nobels

Justin Fox

Justin Fox: We should get back to Hansen. You’ve got this wonderful line in your paper about meeting him and “sensing that his penetrating insight would require effort to fully understand but would amply reward the undertaking.” 
John Campbell: Lots of distinguished economists have had this experience of either reading a Lars Hansen paper or listening to a Lars Hansen presentation and feeling that it’s a sort of message from the future — like an alien artifact dropped from a flying saucer. That is, potentially amazing technology if you can only figure out how it works. Lars is famous for that.

08 April 2014

Fleecing Seniors

Jonathan B. Wight

Real interest rates are low because of supply and demand.  Supply of capital has increased relative to  demand. That has lowered the reward for saving.  That is the market speaking. 
There is no magic “normal” real rate of interest that seniors are entitled to.

02 April 2014

Violence Vouchers: A Descriptive Account of Property

Matt Bruenig

This is a convenient opportunity to remind readers that publishing links here does not imply endorsement, simply interest. That said, I think this is an interesting, if flawed, framework within which to view property and exchange.

The Top of the World, A Review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Doug Henwood

01 April 2014

Why Whites Support Capital Punishment

Jamelle Bouie

"Religion—or at least, Protestantism—seems to increase the divide. At 67 percent in favor, white evangelical Protestants are more likely than any other group to support the death penalty, followed closely by white mainline Protestants (64 percent). Catholics are the least likely among religious whites to support capital punishment, though 59 percent are still in favor. On the other end, religious blacks and Latinos are even less likely than their peers to support the death penalty."

Payday loans aren’t the problem. The problem is poverty.

Lydia DePillis