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The End of the Free Market?

We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 10, 2012 - 29 comments

 

what goes up can always go down

Felix Salmon muses on why art prices keep rising. On the way, he discusses why some art becomes super-popular:

"Fine art has become the billionaire’s-club equivalent of a Louis Vuitton bag, slathered in logos. It’s not connoisseurship which drives values, so much as recognizability. Which in turn helps to explain why the most prolific artists (Picasso, Warhol, Hirst) are also the most expensive: the more of their work there is, the more exposed to it people become, the more they’ll recognize it, and therefore the more desirable it is."
posted by benbenson on Feb 8, 2012 - 23 comments

Sacred Economics and Beyond

"It’s a very ancient idea that the universe runs by the principles of the gift...in fact the purpose for our existence, the reason why we’re here, is to give." Writer Charles Eisenstein speaks on his book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.
posted by velvet winter on Feb 7, 2012 - 41 comments

Visualizing economics

Visualizing Economics. Catherine Mulbrandon makes visualizations of economic data, including the variation of the top marginal tax rate over time and the high cost of buying a TV on credit.
posted by escabeche on Jan 30, 2012 - 13 comments

The 7 Biggest Economic Lies

The seven biggest economic lies with Robert Reich.
posted by latkes on Jan 27, 2012 - 126 comments

How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

“You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the NY Times give an in-depth report on Apple's migration of electronics manufacturing to Asia and its impact on middle class Americans.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 21, 2012 - 158 comments

Warning Warning — Danger Danger

Why you will fail to have a great career [more inside]
posted by esprit de l'escalier on Jan 15, 2012 - 113 comments

This is why Jakob Ander won't hire you

This is why I don't give you a job. Hungarian blogger Jakab Andor breaks down the numbers and explains why taxes and regulations make it highly unappealing for him to start a small business employing people in Hungary. He also argues that these same factors make women and older people particularly unappealing prospects. His comments generated quite a bit of controversy (warning: most comments in Hungarian), to which he responded with an offer.
posted by shivohum on Jan 13, 2012 - 96 comments

the new humanism and socialism? developing human and social 'capital'...

The Future of History (non-gated, summary): Many have noted that democracy [1,2,3] does not often sit well with capitalism [1,2,3], but Foreign Affairs argues in its latest issue that, while the ideological battle was won in the 20th century, the challenge of 21st is one of implementation -- how to make liberal democracy work. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2012 - 12 comments

Will we be all right in the end? David Runciman on democracy, fatalism, and the European crisis (LRB)

Democracy, fatalism, and the European economic crisis
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Jan 8, 2012 - 62 comments

A new way of accounting for ecological costs?

Social Credit is a movement that takes a different view of economic expansion. Mostly it focuses on how value is created and what happens to the excess value. Proponents can be very aggressive or very mellow but a key part of their philosophy is that we must recognize the value we've inherited from the past. In other words, we don't start our lives with an empty ledger but have inherited many physical and intellectual gifts from previous generations. Recently I began wondering whether we shouldn't look at the other side of the ledger, particularly when it comes to ecological impacts - i.e., the messes we inherit. It turns out that in the early 90s, some social credit economists were writing about this and were even talking about climate change as something that needed to be added to the equation. Is this an idea whose time has finally come?
posted by BillW on Jan 7, 2012 - 13 comments

A Man. A Van. A Surprising Business Plan.

Adam Humphreys created a successful business helping people navigate the Chinese embassy's bureaucracy (in a van parked across the street).
posted by reenum on Jan 4, 2012 - 11 comments

Whip Inflation Now

There will be no big Federal bureaucracy set up for this crash program. Through the courtesy of such volunteers from the communication and media fields, a very simple enlistment form will appear in many of tomorrow's newspapers along with the symbol of this new mobilization, which I am wearing on my lapel. It bears the single word WIN. I think that tells it all. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 3, 2012 - 29 comments

debt without growth?

So when the Heartlanders react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention. [via the excellent Do the Math]
posted by fantabulous timewaster on Jan 2, 2012 - 133 comments

The first cut is the deepest

This is the story of one cut. Back in October 2010 George Osborne announced £95 billion in cuts to public services, saying he’d leave it to councils to choose what to shut down. Inevitably most of the casualties ended up being unrenowned places, unlikely to stir up much protest - drop-in centers in housing estates, inner-city park rangers, community theatres, etc. I wanted to write about just one of them, about the ripples created by a single closure. I made my selection quite randomly. I chose a place called Youthreach. I didn’t know much about them, only that they offered weekly counseling sessions to young people, aged 11–25, in Greenwich, South East London. Jon Ronson
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 29, 2011 - 16 comments

Feminism's Uneven Success

Feminism's Uneven Success: "Class and racial and ethnic differences among women have intensified over time. The higher earnings of college-educated mothers make it possible for them to purchase child care and help with housework (typically performed by low-wage women workers)... the number of low-skill immigrants living in a large city reduces the tradeoff between employment and fertility for women college graduates. Outsourcing of care responsibilities can have many positive effects, but it reduces the potential for cross-class gender coalitions. Emphasis on changes in women’s average or median earnings relative to men often conceals growing inequality among women." (via)
posted by flex on Dec 29, 2011 - 98 comments

Why is finance so complex?

"You can have opacity and an industrial economy, or you can have transparency and herd goats"
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Dec 29, 2011 - 97 comments

Counterparties

Counterparties is a nice little collection of curated and tagged economic news stories, 5-8 every day. It is edited in part by the admirable (and MetaFave) financial journalist Felix Salmon.
posted by shothotbot on Dec 22, 2011 - 12 comments

Inflation Predictions and Broken Models

Paul Krugman has really been laying into the hyperinflationists in recent days. And rightfully so... these predictions, as Dr. Krugman notes, were based on a model that is completely wrong. [more inside]
posted by moorooka on Dec 18, 2011 - 57 comments

the Norwegian butter shortage

The Norwegian Butter Crisis: An absurd dairy shortage and its very valuable economic lessons.
posted by flex on Dec 17, 2011 - 69 comments

"This slump won’t end until 2031"

You know about the Great Depression, but do you know about the Long Depression? For a while now some have been suggesting we're in a "Third Depression", not so much like the Great one, but more like the Long Depression (1873–96) of 23 years (originally called the Great Depression). Suggesting "This slump won’t end until 2031". [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Dec 15, 2011 - 44 comments

The Marginal Utility of Bickering: Why You Secretly Love Arguing on the Internet

A great contribution to the economics-made-fun genre and food for Mefi thought: Arguing on the internet is addictive because you’re almost always arguing against either a very stupid person or a very smart person, and those are the two types of people most fun to argue with.
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Dec 15, 2011 - 49 comments

Class War: Low Wages and Beggar Thy Neighbor

A presentation by Dr. Heiner Flassbeck, a former deputy secretary in the German Ministry of Finance and currently chief economist the UN agency for World Trade and Development in Geneva. He talks about EMU and interest rates, and then links it all to class war and America.
posted by marienbad on Dec 13, 2011 - 8 comments

BUY MORE STUFF. CONSUME. OBEY.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
posted by loquacious on Dec 10, 2011 - 43 comments

Inequality highest in thirty years across most of the developed world.

Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising is the latest report from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. It finds:
In the three decades prior to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality increased in a large majority of OECD countries. [...]Launching the report in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said “The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries. This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility. Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”
Links to Overview [.pdf]; press release; notes [.pdf format] for Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA; data link (excel format).
posted by wilful on Dec 5, 2011 - 53 comments

equal economic ignorance

I was Wrong and So are You. I needed to retract the conclusions I’d trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal. The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Dec 3, 2011 - 41 comments

C.G.P. Grey

Here is Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever and other neat videos by C.G.P. Grey who explains non-obvious aspects of science, history, geography, elections, and economics in entertaining and clear ways. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 1, 2011 - 20 comments

WHAT DO WE WANT? STUFF LIKE THIS.

Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement have complained that the protestors have no clear goals, so WE DON'T MAKE DEMANDS composed a list of 12 concrete, specific suggestions focusing on economic reform, stronger regulation, and closing loopholes.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 30, 2011 - 193 comments

The Xinjiang Procedure

In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Nov 29, 2011 - 28 comments

A Pareto-optimal Thanksgiving

The most economically efficient use of a turkey is to use it for conceptual art while others starve. Generalized equilibrium theory wishes you a happy and Pareto-optimal Thanksgiving, via Cosma Shalizi.
posted by escabeche on Nov 24, 2011 - 31 comments

Is a Law Degree a Good Investment Today?

Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today. (SSRN link) [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Why do we need a financial sector?

Economics blog VoxEU debates Why do we need a financial sector? Serious, important and very dull articles discuss the trade-offs and myths of innovation, and whether the sector is overrated, critical or a contributor to the wider economy.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 22, 2011 - 35 comments

The De-Industrial Revolution

Why doesn't Britain make things any more?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 16, 2011 - 108 comments

Trickle up economics? Or soak the rich?

Standing up for the little guy. Robert Reich spoke last night on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley -- the epicenter of recent violence -- as the speaker for the Mario Savio memorial lecture. Reich has been making the rounds, both within corporations, in the media, and at Occupy events, has been lecturing on the dangers of inequality well before the current income/opportunity disparity crisis. "There is going to come a time when the (inequality) trends we are seeing are going to cause something to snap... There are two kinds of snaps... one is the snap back... and the other is the snap break."
posted by markkraft on Nov 16, 2011 - 69 comments

"To elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness"

lululemon athletica, the "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company", has rapidly become a brand fixture in the Pacific Northwest since its founding by Chip Wilson in 1998. Recently, a strange ode to Ayn Rand appeared on their website, and a "Who Is John Galt?" advertising campaign has adorned company packaging this November. Meanwhile, one of their employees has been convicted in the bizarre murder of a co-worker, in which the employees of a neighbouring Apple Store ignored the victim's cries for help.
posted by mek on Nov 14, 2011 - 111 comments

Washington's Blog on Unemployment

Today I am sharing with you an article arguing that unemployment rates during the Great Depression were overstated, that current unemployment rates are understated and that the two sets of data considered in combination indicate that we are are firmly in Depression-era levels of unemployment.
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 12, 2011 - 78 comments

Consider the human judgment

The King of Human Error: Michael Lewis profiles Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [more inside]
posted by vidur on Nov 8, 2011 - 61 comments

Occupy, eh?

While Occupy Wall Street has captured the attention of major American politicians, its counterpart in Canada has been mainly a municipal headache. Despite inequality north of the border rising at a comparable rate, and similar political sentiments, most Canadians also believe the movement is ineffective, though their hearts are in the right place. As the movement slows as winter weather sets in, cities are taking various measures to discourage the protests, hoping a combination of inconvenience and weather will disperse the encampments. [more inside]
posted by mek on Nov 3, 2011 - 83 comments

the bonds (and bounds) of trust

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies (ted/yt) - "We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Oct 26, 2011 - 18 comments

The Closest Thing We Have To A 99 Percent Movement Comedy

Alyssa Rosenberg of Think Progress on why CBS's new show 2 Broke Girls is the closest thing we have to a 99% Movement Comedy.
posted by reenum on Oct 25, 2011 - 69 comments

Does crime still pay?

Why has crime in the US fallen, despite rising unemployment? [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Oct 25, 2011 - 74 comments

A factor of 40

How Valve experiments with the economics of video games
posted by Artw on Oct 24, 2011 - 80 comments

(That's 9% Income Tax, 9% Sales Tax, 9% Corporate VAT)

Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 20, 2011 - 283 comments

Solutions for the U.S. economic crisis

Political revolution, the Tea Party, and Occupy Wall Street notwithstanding, what actual policy steps could be taken to prevent the U.S. from falling into a Japanese-like decade of stagnation (or worse)? Economists from the New America Foundation offer a rather balanced, clearly articulated, and comprehensive proposal: The Way Forward. [more inside]
posted by GnomeChompsky on Oct 11, 2011 - 66 comments

What People Eat

Some photos of what individuals and families around the world eat.
posted by reenum on Oct 10, 2011 - 38 comments

Is Cooking Really Cheaper Than Fast Food?

Is Cooking Really Cheaper Than Fast Food?
posted by reenum on Oct 7, 2011 - 192 comments

Survivial of the fittest school of economics?

Charles Darwin, Economist
posted by Gyan on Oct 6, 2011 - 121 comments

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture -- call them the 6 killer apps -- that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Oct 4, 2011 - 97 comments

Who watches the technocrats?

Peter Orszag (previously of Obama's OMB) argues that circumventing democracy is the best way to save it, but Catherine Rampell isn't sold, and Uwe Reinhardt points out that technocrats base "science" on moral values.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 28, 2011 - 91 comments

And we know that everything falls to dust...

Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Sep 28, 2011 - 36 comments

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