How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
What's Going On In Japan?
"Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working
to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek
) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere
. Oh, why oh why
are economists not more curious
?" [more inside]
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs.
I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously
) on Why Liberalism Works.
There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations
globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home, however much Washington might hope they will.
Time magazine outlines five common destructive myths
about how to stimulate U.S. Growth.
IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end.
According to the latest IMF official forecasts
, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now. [more inside]
"Hard Numbers: The Economy is Worse than You Know
" [full article for Harper's subscribers, a different abridged version]
discusses how the Consumer Price Index and other US economic statistics have been manipulated over time. Among other things, the article claims, these changes make Social Security checks 70% lower than they would otherwise be. [more inside]
The Happy Planet Index
presents an alternative to GDP for measuring standard of living. It ranks countries by measuring life expectancy and self-reported life satisfaction against an "ecological footprint" needed to support that country's lifestyle. The press release
claims that well-being is not based on high levels of consumption, but many don't agree
. Full report in PDF here
. Vanuatu tops the charts, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland lie at bottom. Critiques here
, and here
. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
Is the U.S. Bankrupt?
[332Kb PDF] Laurence Kotlikoff, writing in this month's Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review
, says "yes" - to the tune of $66 trillion! [more inside]
How happy are you?
Today's NYT has a great article on alternate methods of analyzing the overall well-being of a country, focusing on Bhutan, the largely Buddhist country whose king put forth an alternative to the capitalist-centric Gross Domestic Product: Gross National Happiness. Not only does it fit in with Buddhist ideals, but organizations like the World Values Survey
have come to some (not-so) surprising findings
regarding the correlation between wealth and happiness. There are similar movements cropping up around the world, such as Australia's Genuine Progress Indicator
, which attempts to quantify non-material progress rather than rely on subjective interpretations of happiness. How do you measure your own happiness?
Game Theories: Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one?
The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia. (by Clive Thompson)
Vive la California!
France passed by California in rankings of world economies.