The Story of Machines vs. Labour

July 8, 2014

The replacement of labour by machines has brought many improvements in social well-being. New machines have made a wide variety jobs safer and less physically debilitating. Yet, the process is far from decisively good, with many attendant ills. Consider the mechanization of fishing boats. Fishing is a dangerous activity and having fewer workers on the … Read more

The Geopolitical Economy of the Ethanol Boom

June 26, 2014

The corn-ethanol boom represents one of the most dramatic changes in the world food system in recent decades. The ethanol sector now absorbs around 40% of the corn produced in the US. Surging biofuels production (of which US corn-ethanol production accounts for about half) is widely considered to have played a key role in driving … Read more

The Business of FIFA and Our Love of Football

June 15, 2014

John Oliver, a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, now has his own HBO show. Like what he did on The Daily Show, Oliver’s Last Week Tonight brings irreverence and wit to politics, business and other news of the day. Recently, he did a funny and sarcastic piece on FIFA, the governing … Read more

A Price for Everything

June 12, 2014

What is a tree worth? Is this a question you’ve ever pondered? Does it seem like an odd question? Perhaps it seems like an inappropriate question? How could someone possibly attach a financial quantity to a tree? Don’t trees transcend monetary values? Trees are more the things of poetry than finance, aren’t they? Not according … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 7

April 24, 2014

The Privatization of Money: The Greatest Sabotage in Human History? Part II Last time we found out that modern money is created when commercial banks make loans to people and businesses. They are not loaning out other people’s money at all, but effectively creating it by entering numbers into a computer. Between Part II and … Read more

Kevin O’Leary, the Distillation of Capital

April 1, 2014

Television personality Kevin O’Leary is best known as the ‘asshole’ on the investment reality shows Dragon’s Den, in Canada, and Shark Tank, in the United States. The shows have self-styled entrepreneurs bring forth their inventions or business ideas in hopes of attracting investment from a panel of capitalists, which includes O’Leary. He has established himself … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 6

March 5, 2014

The Capitalization of Money Creation: The Greatest Sabotage in Human History? Every year in my course on Political Economy in the New Millennium I ask my students to do an exercise.  The task is for them to ask three members of their friends or family how money is created.  As you can imagine, the answers … Read more

How sincere is Mr. Kerry about climate change?

February 27, 2014

Speaking to students in Jakarta, Indonesia, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declared a few days ago that climate change is the world’s “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction. Likening climate change to terrorism, Kerry stated that “It doesn’t keep us safe if the United States secures its nuclear arsenal while other countries fail to … Read more

What Should I Read?

February 25, 2014

Over at Heterodox Microeconomics Research Network they have a thorough list of academic publications that are relevant to heterodox theories of capitalism. The list covers the following subjects: 1. History and Methodology of Heterodox Microeconomics 2. Critiques of Mainstream Microeconomics 3. Principles of Heterodox Microeconomic Theory 4. Theory of the Business Enterprise 5. Structure of Production … Read more

US Department of Justice Increasingly Resorts to “Private” Negotiations

February 13, 2014

Since 2012, the U.S Department of Justice has launched a series of private negotiations with Wall Street banks relating to their involvement in the 2008 financial crisis. The DoJ made headlines this November when it struck a record $13b settlement with JP Morgan for allegations of fraud in the sale of mortgage-backed securities. The deal … Read more

The President and the Tech Giants

February 4, 2014

In an interesting piece for the Financial Times, Christopher Caldwell assesses Obama’s declaration to ‘go it alone’ in light of the ‘obstructionist Republican agenda’ in the US Congress. In a recent State of the Union address, Obama pledged a year of action, one that would see the president push for major policy reforms with or without congressional support. The passing of … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 5

February 3, 2014

The Constitution of the United States of America It is by now fairly clear that the Congress of the United States is a ‘do-nothing’ Congress populated by 268 millionaires (out of 534 lawmakers).   The job approval rating, depending on which poll we consider, hovers around 9-14%.  This is perhaps hardly surprising given that the Republican Party vowed to sabotage Democratic and … Read more