Joseph Stiglitz says that “Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery”. He’s right, but he gives the wrong reason, that “our middle class is too weak to support the consumer spending that has historically driven our economic growth.” This “Keynesian” spending model does not effectively address inequality and thus can lead to poor policy prescriptions. The real reason inequality stalls the economy is that natural resources and capital are monopolized at the top, kept away from the middle class that could invest them far more productively. . . . → Read More: Joseph Stiglitz Is Right About Inequality, but for the Wrong Reason
It’s a truism of pop Keynesian economics that consumer spending drives the economy; if spending slows in a recession; government must make up the difference. In reality, consumer spending merely signals what consumers want; producers may be unable or unwilling to deliver. Government spending may compensate—or make matters worse—depending on the type of spending and whether it’s financed by progressive taxes or by borrowing. . . . → Read More: The Keynesian Stimulus Spending Fallacy
In the May 24 New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman writes, “The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve; all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending.” He continues, “… The strong measures that would all go a long . . . → Read More: How to (Really) End This Depression: a Response to Paul Krugman
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
Did Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Abyssinia help Italy escape the Depression? . . . → Read More: Can Invading a Small Third-World Country Stimulate the Economy?
Land bubbles of varying severity and universality recur roughly every eighteen to twenty years. Like Henry George, modern Georgists attribute recessions and depressions to these bubbles. A huge real estate bubble of the 1920’s preceded the Depression of the 1930’s. That bubble actually began to burst in 1926, three years before the stock market crash . . . → Read More: Why Georgists Corrected Predicted the Crisis, and Why Conventional Economists Couldn’t
Economists conventionally attribute the Great Depression to blunders by the then-new Federal Reserve Bank. According to this story, promoted by Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, after the stock market crash of 1929, the Fed kept interest rates too high, strangling the economy. This story made most economists confident that it couldn’t happen again.
But . . . → Read More: The Great Real Estate Bubble of the Roaring Twenties
Mason Gaffney, Groundswell Nov-Dec 2008 (posted 1/29/09)
During the Golden Age of Georgist Progressives, roughly 1890 to 1935, lower Michigan stands out as one of the great success stories. Detroit Mayor, then Governor, Hazen Pingree pushed single tax principles. He reformed assessments to emphasize land over improvements, and raised property taxes to provide services for . . . → Read More: What’s the Matter with Michigan? The Rise and Collapse of an Economic Wonder
In The Great Crash of 2008, Mason Gaffney explained our current crisis as a manifestation of the roughly eighteen year real estate cycle–disastrously amplified by bad policy. Now he has published a sequel: How to Thaw Credit, Now and Forever. His solution may shock some readers, especially if they haven’t seen his earlier essay: Stimulus: . . . → Read More: How to Thaw Credit, Now and Forever by Mason Gaffney