Animal Spirits, by Akerlof and Shiller

Yale Prof. Robert Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance (2000; 2005), predicted the 2008 financial collapse years before it happened. Last year, Shiller partnered with UC Berkeley Prof. George Akerlof to produce Animal Spirits–elaborating on the psychology that inspires “irrational exuberance” and other mass human behavior that affects the economy. . . . → Read More: Animal Spirits, by Akerlof and Shiller

Benefits of Military Spending

As Kevin Phillips recorded in Wealth and Democracy (2002), war has created the opportunity for many great fortunes. Thus the frenzied looting–and disregard for the lives of both US soldiers and corporate employees–displayed in Robert Greenwald’s new film Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. One small example: drivers shuttle empty mail trucks up and down . . . → Read More: Benefits of Military Spending

Bubble, CPI and CEO Bonuses

Mike Hudson has scored the cover story in the May Harper’s: “The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse.” Our hapless middle class real estate speculators, or innocent homebuyers, pursue the dream of “economic freedom,” taking on ever greater debt to snap up appreciating real estate. But eventually, when . . . → Read More: Bubble, CPI and CEO Bonuses

Can Cyberspace Liberate Us from Earthly Space?

The internet, it has long seemed, frees us from the bounds of location. We can work from home. We can shop in London or Tokyo. On Skype, we can chat with friends in Sydney, Australia as if they were next door. Meanwhile, Mozy.com backs up our computers to a bank of servers in Texas.

As . . . → Read More: Can Cyberspace Liberate Us from Earthly Space?

Can Invading a Small Third-World Country Stimulate the Economy?

Did Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Abyssinia help Italy escape the Depression? . . . → Read More: Can Invading a Small Third-World Country Stimulate the Economy?

Can Killing Government Prevent Special Interest Capture?

In my last post on meat markets and securities markets, I argued that competitive markets require government oversight to prevent fraud and monopoly. The post drew a response from Libertarian friends: didn’t I know that government regulators would immediately be captured by the regulated industry, resulting in worse fraud and monopoly?

Industry capture? Yes, . . . → Read More: Can Killing Government Prevent Special Interest Capture?

Capturing the Multinational Dragons’ Gold

As medieval dragons do, the dragon in the Beowulf epic sleeps on a pile of gold. With magic sword and shield, Beowulf kills the dragon and, mortally wounded, distributes the gold to his grateful people. Today’s multinational dragons sleep not on gold, but on hoards of cash. Meanwhile little firms—the true “job creators”—perish for want of cash. We don’t need to assault the dragons; we do need to tear away the tax privileges on which they depend. . . . → Read More: Capturing the Multinational Dragons’ Gold

Collaborative Medicine

In the June 1 issue of the New Yorker, Dr. Atul Gawande investigates “The Cost Conundrum”: why some cities in the USA have much higher medical costs per person, and often poorer outcomes. He lands in the dusty border town of McAllen, Texas, located in the lowest income county in the US. McAllen also has . . . → Read More: Collaborative Medicine

Congressman Bill Foster Explains Why Middle Class Tax Cuts Lead To Economic Growth

If you give a dollar to a middle class family, they will spend it in the local economy and spur growth, or they will use it to make a high return investment, such as paying for their children’s college. If you give that same dollar to a very wealthy individual, instead of circulating it in the local economy, they will place it in lower-return investments, often offshore. . . . → Read More: Congressman Bill Foster Explains Why Middle Class Tax Cuts Lead To Economic Growth

Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, by Barry C. Lynn

This is the scariest book I’ve read since The Day of the Triffids. Back in the ‘70’s, US business monopolization seemed bad, but not getting worse. Spinoffs and breakups balanced mergers. Since then, as documented in Cornered by financial journalist Barry Lynn, global monopolization has rapidly returned us to a new age of robber barons. . . . → Read More: Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, by Barry C. Lynn