Big money, nuclear subsidies, and systemic corruption

February 12, 2021

By Cassandra Jeffery1 and M. V. Ramana2 The “largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people and the state of Ohio” came to light during an unexpected press conference in July 2020 in Columbus. Speaking haltingly and carefully, US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers announced “the arrest of Larry Householder, … Read more

GameStop Capitalism: Wall Street vs. The Reddit Rally (Part 1)

February 5, 2021

Tim Di Muzio1 PDF version available here The phrase, ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ is typically attributed to the American showman, P.T. Barnum and was made infamous since the mid-19th century by gamblers, hucksters and confidence artists (con men). On Wall Street, the ‘sucker’ is supposed to be the ‘dumb money’ retail traders who … Read more

Economic Growth Theory … Bah Humbug!

February 2, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down I’ve written a lot on this blog about the absurdity of marginal productivity theory. But I haven’t said much about the other pillar of mainstream economics: neoclassical growth theory. Today I’ll break that silence. Neoclassical growth theory is a textbook example of Murphy’s law. Everything that could … Read more

What Trait Affects Income the Most?

January 5, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. If the history of science has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t trust our preconceptions about how the world works. All human societies have developed stories about their place in the cosmos. Almost without exception, these stories were wrong. True, we’ve killed many of the old … Read more

Productivity and Income … Again

December 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Today I’m going to revisit a topic that a month ago I committed to stop writing about — the productivity-income quagmire. Neoclassical economists argue that income is proportional to productivity. The problem is that they have no way of measuring productivity that is independent of income. So … Read more

Debunking the ‘Productivity-Pay Gap’

November 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Have you heard of the ‘productivity-pay gap’? It’s the (apparently) growing gap between the productivity of US workers and their pay. Here’s what it looks like: Figure 1: The Productivity-Pay Gap. Source: Economic Policy Institute. In this post, I debunk the ‘productivity-pay gap’ by showing that it … Read more

The Free Market as a Double Lie

October 21, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. As social animals, humans live and die by the success of our groups. This raises a dilemma. What’s best for the group is often not what’s best for individuals within the group. If you’re surrounded by a group of trusting individuals, it’s best for you to lie … Read more

The Challenges of Doing Revolutionary Science (Part 2)

October 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In this two-part post, I’ve been reflecting on the challenges of doing revolutionary science. (See Part 1 here.) I’ve argued that revolutionary science — the practice of questioning the core principles of an accepted theory — is difficult for a simple reason. To do it, you must … Read more

The Challenges of Doing Revolutionary Science (Part 1)

October 1, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Science is miraculously improbable. To work, it must fight against a deep human instinct — our desire to conform. As social animals, humans are built to do as others do. Why? Presumably because it’s advantageous. In our evolutionary past, conformist groups beat out non-conformist groups. And so … Read more

What if the Government is Just Another Firm? (Part 2)

September 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Governments are different than firms, right? Perhaps not. In Part 1 of this series, I argued that when it comes to size, governments behave like they’re ‘just another firm’. In this post, I’m going to extend the evidence. I’ll first show you that as economies develop, governments … Read more

What if the Government is Just Another Firm? (Part 1)

September 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I have a confession. I’m a political economist by trade, but I spend most of my time reading outside my discipline. I read about physics, cosmology, biology … the list goes on. Basically, if it’s not political economy, I read it. Usually this reading doesn’t relate to … Read more

Understanding Income: You Can’t Get There from Here

September 5, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. You can’t get the right answer when you ask the wrong question. This truism, I’ve come to believe, explains much of what is wrong with economics. When it comes to studying income, economists ask the wrong question. Economists, I argue, have mostly asked: is income fair? The … Read more