Arbitrage and Import Controls in Argentina during the 1950s

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Following the Second World War, there was a worldwide dollar shortage due to the United States’ high level of self-sufficiency as an agro-industrial behemoth. Governments therefore imposed quantitative controls on imports, in order to ration the available supply of dollars. A study made in 1955 by John Hopkins, an […]

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The rotten culture of the rich

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow In his 2019 book Dignity, Chris Arnade left his Wall Street job and traveled America, talking to poor, marginalized people, mostly at McDonald’s restaurants. Now, in a new essay for American Compass, Arnade delves into the “rotten culture of the rich.” https://americancompass.org/what-about-the-rotten-culture-of-the-rich/ Arnade starts with observations about how rich […]

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2022/01: McMahon, ‘Star power and risk: A political economic study of casting trends in Hollywood’

Abstract This paper builds an empirical and theoretical model to analyze how the financial goal of risk reduction changed the insides of Hollywood’s star system. For the moviegoer looking at Hollywood cinema from the outside, the function of the star system has remained the same since the 1920s: to have recognizable actors attract large audiences […]

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2021/07: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Steve Keen’s The New Economics: A Manifesto’

Abstract Neoclassical economics is the official scientific underpinning of capitalism as well as its main ideological defence, and according to Keen, it fails in both tasks. Contrary to received opinion, neoclassicism cannot explain capitalism – either in detail or in the aggregate – and the policies it prescribes do not support but undermine the very […]

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2021/06: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘The Capitalist Degree of Immortality’

Abstract This note offers some speculative ideas worth considering. One of the key features of all hierarchical civilizations is their rulers’ fear of death. This fear was famously narrated in the ancient myth of Gilgamesh – the Sumerian king who realized that, like all other humans, he too was destined to die and embarked on […]

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2021/05: Mouré, ‘Costly Efficiencies: Health Care Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Health Care Debate’

Abstract The debate around public versus private health care often turns on cost – that is, on how to reduce costs, and particularly government expenditures, when it comes to health care. This paper examines the theoretical and empirical relationship between health costs and health outcomes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It proposes an […]

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Fix, ‘Redistributing Income Through Hierarchy’

Abstract Although the determinants of income are complex, the results are surprisingly uniform. To a first approximation, top incomes follow a power-law distribution, and the redistribution of income corresponds to a change in the power-law exponent. Given the messiness of the struggle for resources, why is the outcome so simple? This paper explores the idea […]

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Making culture rational … with power

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon A survey of academic writing on the business of culture will show that authors seldomly restrain themselves from making predictions or giving recommendations to the hypothetical economic actor. This offering of future-oriented arguments to an audience should not be surprising. The disciplines of economics, business, management studies […]

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Bichler & Nitzan, ‘The 1-2-3 Toolbox of Mainstream Economics: Promising Everything, Delivering Nothing’

Abstract We write this essay for both lay readers and scientists, though mainstream economists are welcome to enjoy it too. Our subject is the basic toolbox of mainstream economics. The most important tools in this box are demand, supply and equilibrium. All mainstream economists – as well as many heterodox ones – use these tools, […]

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Peak Oil Never Went Away

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Do you remember peak oil? It was all the rage a decade ago. Now, almost no one is talking about it. The funny thing is, the problem never went away. If anything, it’s gotten worse. In this post, I take a deep dive into peak […]

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Problems of the Periphery in Federico and Tena’s World Trade Data

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Giovanni Federico and Antonio Tena-Junguito (2016) have produced a data set of world trade that includes exports and imports, in both current and constant prices, going back to the early nineteenth century for over 100 countries. It will give all economic historians a mass of easily available long-term time […]

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80% of Britons want happiness, not growth

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow A YouGov poll found 80% of Britons “would prefer the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth during the crisis, and 6 in 10 would still want the government to pursue health and wellbeing ahead of growth after the pandemic” https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/10/britons-want-quality-of-life-indicators-priority-over-economy-coronavirus GDP is a terrific example of […]

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New Report – Power Ahead: An Energy System Fit For The Future

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager In a new briefing with Common Wealth, Miriam Brett, Joseph Baines and I examine ownership and financial data for the “Big Six” UK energy companies: Centrica (British Gas), EDF Energy, E.ON UK, NPower, Scottish Power and SSE. We found that: Privatisation since the late-1980s transferred wealth from the […]

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Deconstructing Econospeak

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix It’s been 20 years, but I still remember the feeling. It was a mix of curiosity and unease. I was curious because I was learning something new. But I was uneasy because something didn’t sit right. The place was Edmonton, Alberta, circa the year 2000. […]

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.ORG has been snatched from the grasp of rapacious private equity billionaires

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The Internet Society (ISOC) is a nonprofit that is in the enviable position of receiving tens of millions of dollars every year merely for overseeing work that someone else does. ISOC has the contract to operate the Public Interest Registry, which contracts for the maintenance of the .ORG top […]

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