May 12, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix I’ve always been baffled why ‘modern monetary theory’ is called a theory. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way. As far as theories of …

May 4, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix As some of you may know, I recently became the editor of the Review of Capital as Power (RECASP), a journal that publishes research on …

March 29, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix If it is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is in principle no “problem”. The world can, in effect, get …

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. …

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 …

February 2, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

January 5, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

December 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

November 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

October 21, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

October 9, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

October 1, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Science is miraculously improbable. To work, it must fight against a deep human instinct — our desire to conform. As social animals, humans are built …

September 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

September 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

September 5, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix 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 …

August 19, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix I confess that I have a recurring nightmare. In it, I realize that everything I’ve ever written about economics is wrong. Neoclassical economics is not, …

August 11, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Income, I’ve come to believe, is shaped largely by rank within a hierarchy. If you’re at the top of a hierarchy, you’ll earn a handsome …

August 11, 2020

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Hager THINKING ABOUT DEATH I’ve been thinking a lot about death recently. No, it’s not something that came about because of the global pandemic and my new daily ritual of …

July 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix I recently read David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. If you’re not familiar, David Graeber is the anthropologist who wrote Debt: The First 5000 …

July 19, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In How Hierarchy Can Mediate the Returns to Education I examined the pay structure of the US military. I found that hierarchical rank is (by …

July 12, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In The Social Environment as a Cause in Economics I argued that human behavior has two parts: Individual variation An environment that acts on this …

July 4, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Have you noticed that economists are missing a word in their vocabulary? In microeconomics you’ll see words like ‘individual’, ‘utility’ and ‘maximize’. But you won’t …

June 23, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Science is the quintessential public good. It’s an iterative process in which new knowledge builds on previous knowledge. For this process to work, science needs …

June 14, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Does productivity explain income? I asked this question in a previous post. My answer was a bombastic no. In this post, I’ll dig deeper into …

June 6, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Like many Canadians, I grew up with a faith in meritocracy. Do your best, I believed, and the world would reward you. In school, this …

May 27, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix A revolution is underway around us and it’s called the digital. And it’s changing everything. More than 80% of wealth is now non-material. — Charles …

March 1, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix When it comes to earning income in a hierarchy, it’s not what you know that matters. It’s who you control. This was the provocative idea …

February 21, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix A 25% chance. That’s the likelihood that when I tell someone I’m searching for a job, they’ll say: Remember, Blair … to land a job, …

February 15, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix The biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously wrote that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. I propose a corollary in economics: nothing …

February 10, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix If you ask the average person what ‘science’ is, they’ll probably answer something like ‘it’s what we know about the world’. To the lay person, …

February 3, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Do you think that the discipline of economics is a sham — an ideology masquerading as science? If so, here is a reading list for …

January 25, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In Problems With Measuring Inequality, I discussed how inequality is an ambiguous concept. The problem, in short, is that a single metric can never capture …

January 17, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Did you hear the joke about the economists who tested their theory by defining it to be true? Oh, I forgot. It’s not a joke. …

January 11, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about causation in the social sciences. As with many instances of reflection, this was prompted by rejection. …

January 4, 2020

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Economists often talk about income inequality the same way a doctor would talk about a child’s height. Just as a doctor would say “Sylvia continues …

December 23, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Aaron Swartz. Swartz was an internet pioneer who, in his teens and early 20s, …

December 16, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Scientists live and die by their scientific ‘impact’. For the uninitiated, ‘impact’ is a measure of a scientist’s contribution to their field. While there are …

December 9, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In a recent blog post called “How Not to Measure Inequality”, the anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that economists measure inequality the wrong way. Hickel thinks …

November 26, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Karl Marx is probably the most important social scientist in history. But while his influence is beyond compare, Marx’s legacy is, in many ways, disastrous. …

November 18, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In The Growth of Hierarchy and the Death of the Free Market, I argued that economic development involves killing the free market. What was the …

November 12, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Let’s talk sustainability. Unless you’re an anti-science crank, you probably agree that we’ve got a problem with carbon emissions. We need to drastically cut emissions …

November 6, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Yesterday I was reminded of what got me interested in economics. I’ll preface this by saying that I make my living as a substitute teacher …

October 29, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Do you believe in free markets? Do you think that unfettered competition is the best way to organize society? If so, this post is intended …

October 20, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In this post, I’m going to return to the relation between energy and institution size. When we left off last time (in Groping in the …

October 15, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In this post we’re going to take a journey into the world of power-law distributions. Power laws pop up again and again in my research. …

October 7, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In the opening post of this blog, I described my ‘top-down’ approach to studying society. This means studying groups of people without trying to reduce …

October 2, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix There is an exciting side of blogging that I want to explore here. Blogging can tell the story behind research. This is something you don’t …

September 15, 2019

Elvire Thouvenot has produced an animated video that summarizes the key points of Bichler and Nitzan’s 2014 paper “Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Three Views on Economic Policy in Times of Crisis.” This paper was first …