10 Tips for Making Beautiful Charts

June 18, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In science, the corollary is that a good chart is worth a whole article. Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration … but only slightly. Millions of words are spilled each day communicating science. Yet people have finite time … Read more

Living the Good Life … Without Killing the Planet

June 8, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down How can we live the ‘good life’ without killing the planet? My last post on energy and empire got me thinking about this question. We know that human welfare improves as we use more resources. But it’s suicidal for all of humanity to pursue this path. If … Read more

Why America Won’t Be ‘Great’ Again

May 24, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They called him the ‘Little Emperor’. Romulus Augustus — better known as Romulus ‘Augustulus’ (‘Little Augustus’) — was the last Western Roman Emperor. He assumed the throne at the age of 16 during a period of unprecedented strife. There had been 8 emperors in the previous 20 … Read more

Why Isn’t Modern Monetary Theory Common Knowledge?

May 12, 2021

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down 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 money go, I think modern monetary theory (MMT for short) is the correct one. But having a correct theory of money is … Read more

Jesús Suaste Cherizola Wins the 2021 CASP Essay Prize

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 the power underpinnings of capitalism. Each year, RECASP hosts an essay competition. I’m proud to announce that the winner of … Read more

Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?

March 29, 2021

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 along without natural resources. — Robert Solow, 1974 In the distant future, aliens come to Earth. They find a planet devoid of life. Looking closer, the aliens see that life … Read more

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