March 25, 2013 8:42 PM Subscribe
Economists and the theory of politics
posted by kliuless (27 comments total)
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- "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost"abstract
The standard approach to policymaking and advice in economics implicitly or explicitly ignores politics and political economy, and maintains that if possible, any market failure should be rapidly removed. This essay explains why this conclusion may be incorrect; because it ignores politics, this approach is oblivious to the impact of the removal of market failures on future political equilibria and economic efficiency, which can be deleterious. We outline a simple framework for the study of the impact of current economic policies on future political equilibria — and indirectly on future economic outcomes. We then illustrate the mechanisms through which such impacts might operate using a series of examples. The main message is that sound economic policy should be based on a careful analysis of political economy and should factor in its influence on future political equilibria.
. What kind of mass movement with truly powerful institutional support can take the place of unions?
- "I agree with just about everything they say about the value of unions, but I also feel forced to acknowledge that it doesn't matter. As a truly powerful mass movement, unions are dead and they aren't coming back. This has left a gaping hole in American politics: Corporations and the rich continue to have enormous institutional power, while the working and middle classes have almost no one to speak for them
. I figure that filling this hole is the most important problem the left has to address over the next decade or so. Unfortunately, I don't know how."
. The Tyranny of Political Economy
- "In reality, our contemporary frameworks for political economy are replete with unstated assumptions about the system of ideas underlying the operation of political systems. Make those assumptions explicit
, and the decisive role of vested interests evaporates. Policy design, political leadership, and human agency come back to life... Expand the range of feasible strategies (which is what good policy design and leadership do), and you radically change behavior and outcomes."
- Markets in almost nothing - "One of the first things I noticed when I started studying economics was that goods that can't be bought and sold are basically ignored."
- Wealth and Motivations for Saving - "teach the public more about how wealth builds over time"
- The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets - "Where do safe assets come from? Empirical evidence suggests that the private sector creates more near riskless assets when the supply of government debt is low and reduces privately-created near riskless assets when the supply of government debt is high."
- The safe asset shortage - "Safe debts – or what is often called information insensitive assets, as they do not suffer from the types of financial frictions that are characteristic to other financial assets – play a major role in facilitating transactions for institutional investors. And, as we have learned in the recent years, they also play a major role in triggering financial crises when they lose their safety status and turn into information sensitive assets."
- GDP, welfare and the rise of data-driven activities - "The worry today is not that investment in technology might not be as productive as we thought (the so-called computer paradox), but the fact that the economic value of the fast growing consumption and production of online data may not be adequately captured in official statistics."
- Uncle Sam, venture capitalist - "AMERICA, like much of the world, is facing a crisis of innovation. Its roots rest in several significant challenges: an awareness that rapid technological progress and growth will be crucial in weathering demographic headwinds and the threat of climate change among them. But there is very little consensus in Washington on just what the government ought to be doing to help."
- What Google Reader tells us about banking and nationalisation - "Which is why the government taking charge of a service like RSS for the benefit of the public good — or for that matter providing the country with universal internet or high quality media — should not necessarily be treated with suspicion or mistrust. In the civilized world there is a perfectly reasonable way to ensure arm's length detachment and to protect such institutions from the political meddling of government."
- If You Can't Fix It, You Don't Own It - "Who owns our stuff? The answer used to be obvious. Now, with electronics integrated into just about everything we buy, the answer has changed. We live in a digital age, and even the physical goods we buy are complex. Copyright is impacting more people than ever before because the line between hardware and software, physical and digital has blurred. The issue goes beyond cellphone unlocking, because once we buy an object — any object — we should own it. We should be able to lift the hood, unlock it, modify it, repair it... without asking for permission from the manufacturer. But we really don't own our stuff anymore (at least not fully); the manufacturers do. Because modifying modern objects requires access to information: code, service manuals, error codes, and diagnostic tools."
like think about sovereign debt -- that is safe assets -- more as a national equity
The US national debt is in truth - like all national debts - a complete and surreal fiction: it is a national equity, the greater part of which is interest-bearing either as claims over public or private revenues.
At least two-thirds of the quasi tax credits created by banks came into existence as mortgage loans, and are therefore backed by claims over the productive value of the US land and buildings which they fund. Much of the rest consists of claims over the value of US assets which fund the productive capacity of US corporations. The remainder - which provides the credit necessary to finance the circulation of goods and services in the US - is based upon the magnificent productive capacity of the US people. Only by liquidating US Incorporated could this National Equity ever be redeemed...
There is no shortage of dollars because every dollar's worth of productive capacity - public or private; productive people or productive assets - in the US is the capacity to issue a dollar credit, which reflects the increase in the US national wealth which underpins the US national equity.
President Barack Obama and his government should get busy creating national equity by instructing the Fed to create and issue the necessary finance for the creation of a new generation of US infrastructure; the transition to a low carbon future which the US can, and should, be leading; and in increasing the capacity of the US people to do so.
(or how the government budget constraint is different than a household's or corporation's -- namely that they can tax and can't be liquidated, unless extraordinarily mismanaged or conquered, I guess...)