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The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 61 comments

"And I’m going to keep doing it, unless you pay me to stop."

Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."

posted by Fizz on Aug 27, 2014 - 548 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any, uh… wool?

The Age of Uncertainty, A Personal View by John Kenneth Galbraith was a 12 (or 15) part documentary mini-series about the fickle art of economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET & OECA, and broadcast on television in 1977. Galbraith’s dry Scottish Canadian wit, and the 70’s-style art-direction, are worth viewing for those who like this sort of thing. The parody corporate videos for the Conglomerate UGE anticipated some of the ideas explored later in the 2003 documentary The Corporation. Some parts will seem dated, considering that this series was produced in the thick of The Cold War, before the rise of Reaganomics, Thatcherism, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the EU, yuan, electronic transfers, etc. The basic insights about the instability of financial markets are still real, as always. [more inside]
posted by ovvl on May 19, 2014 - 5 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

America's New Masters

This shift in how companies are governed and raise money is bringing with it a structural change in American capitalism. That should be a matter of great debate. Are these new businesses, with their ability to circumvent rules that apply to conventional public companies, merely adroit exploiters of loopholes for the benefit of a plutocratic few? Or do they reflect the adaptability on which America’s vitality has always been based? - Rise of the distorporation - how changes in the way companies are financed and managed is changing the wealth distribution of America.
posted by Artw on Nov 2, 2013 - 23 comments

Who Sits On All The Money?

The Guardian presents an animated video explaining the distribution of wealth in the UK (and how it's getting worse).
posted by The Whelk on Oct 10, 2013 - 14 comments

Ripe For The Picking

Ask A Native New Yorker: How Guilty Should I Feel About Being A Horrible Gentrifier? Passionate response from a Bushwick native.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 27, 2013 - 205 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Giant Bomb

PayPal locked down the developer’s account, and said it could only have 50% of the funds. The rest would be released as development continued, based on PayPal’s assessment of the situation. PayPal was, essentially, going to become a producer going forward. Crowdfunding's Secret Enemy is PayPal
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2013 - 73 comments

Using cash is expensive - especially if you're poor

The costs of cash. Economists know that using cash has a built-in cost, compared to electronic forms of payment like credit cards or direct deposits. (Prepaid cards, not so much.) This creates a "digital divide" that may contribute to income inequality. A new study out today from Tufts quantifies these costs, which hit the poor over three times as much as wealthier folks, on average.
posted by gottabefunky on Sep 9, 2013 - 136 comments

"Elites preying on the weak, the gullible, the marginal, the poor."

"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2013 - 57 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

"how we learned to stop worrying and embrace the abstraction"

A Brief History Of Money [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 16, 2012 - 53 comments

Social Enclosures “R” Us

Who's the Shop Steward on Your Kickstarter? "The true product for sale on Kickstarter is not your art project, but your community and networks. ... Our projects that facilitate the funding are a side effect, a cost of doing business—the business of drilling our relationships for all they are worth."
posted by mykescipark on Nov 26, 2012 - 35 comments

use value vs. exchange value

What Is Value? What Is Money? (via via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 1, 2012 - 15 comments

"Whereas the left is always in danger of talking itself into the ground."

What's also obvious is that this phase of Occupy, with talk of credit unions and occupying the SEC, while eminently worthy, is also kind of boring, especially when compared to the thrill of Occupy's park phase. Some, though, are ready to move on. "It's easy to go back to the park occupation and fetishize it, in a way," says Occupy Chicago's Brian Bean. "I prefer not to run a mini-society – I want to run society." - The Battle For The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Stone - Mark Binelli.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 30, 2012 - 193 comments

the dawn of a Star Trek generation

In Praise of Leisure - "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 22, 2012 - 117 comments

99p Stores vs Poundland

Why 99p is sometimes worth more than £1
posted by mippy on Jun 14, 2012 - 40 comments

sovereignty and taxation

David Graeber: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2012 - 85 comments

TED: Yes to "Drying your Hands," No to "Income Inequality."

"I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small," said über-rich venture capitalist Nick Hanauer in a March 1st TEDx talk, which TED is refusing to put on its website. [more inside]
posted by blazingunicorn on May 16, 2012 - 98 comments

The Iced Coffee Economy

Why iced coffee costs so much more than the hot stuff.
posted by reenum on Mar 23, 2012 - 82 comments

The Sugar Daddy Recession

The bad economy has forced some women into arrangements with less than ideal men.
posted by reenum on Mar 13, 2012 - 54 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

Money doesn't grow on trees.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency. Trading at eight dollars this week—and being used to pay for everything from freelance programming jobs to magic mushrooms—it has been described as “the most dangerous open-source project ever created” and “an unambiguous challenge to the government monopoly on the power to print money.” Estimated at over 20 petaFLOPS the Bitcoin network is currently the fastest virtual supercomputer in the world. [more inside]
posted by howlingmonkey on May 18, 2011 - 296 comments

The Free-Banking vs. Central-Banking Debate

Out of thin air? "Have you ever said something like 'Let me buy you a beer next week'? I'm sure you have. We all issue promises of this sort. And we frequently use such promises as a form of currency... I have just described a simple credit exchange. Societies rely heavily on promising-making and promise-keeping. It is the foundation of all financial markets. I'd like to point out something about the promises you make. They are made 'out of thin air.' " [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2011 - 47 comments

What's the problem?

Interview with Gary Gorton (pdf) - Fascinating look at private institutional bank money creation (really) and subsequent run on the shadow banking system that hearkens back to the late-19th century banking crises with securitization playing the role of checking before the advent of deposit insurance. "Gorton is a lucid narrator of a complex tale." (via via)
posted by kliuless on Jan 14, 2011 - 10 comments

Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners

Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
posted by reenum on Jan 10, 2011 - 56 comments

The Economics Of Art

How much money do you make with that webcomic internet thing? Dorthy Gambrell of Cat And Girl Answers.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 10, 2010 - 48 comments

The "No-Lose" Lottery

A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1, Part 2), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
posted by Jonathan Harford on Dec 2, 2010 - 33 comments

Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

Winner-Take-All Politics [1,2] (PDF) - "The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public." (via bd) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 21, 2010 - 47 comments

The Gentle Art of Poverty

A former magazine writer in his late fifties moves to San Diego and lives on very little money indeed. In the October 1977 issue of The Atlantic, he describes the stratagems behind his thriftiness. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 7, 2010 - 23 comments

75,000 is the magic number

"We infer that beyond about $75,000/y, there is no improvement whatever in any of the three measures of emotional well-being." Two social scientists at Princeton, Angus Deaton and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, have a new paper in PNAS about money and the determinants of happiness. Increased income above $75,000 is not associated with higher subjective happiness, though it is associated with superior scores on measures of overall life satisfaction. Other tidbits: "Religion has a substantial influence on improving positive affect and reducing reports of stress, but no effect on reducing sadness or worry... The presence of children at home is associated with significant increases in stress, sadness, and worry."
posted by escabeche on Sep 8, 2010 - 49 comments

Futurama, baby

Goodwill: Monetary policy for the 21st century
Here's my proposal. We should try to arrange things so that the marginal unit of CPI is purchased with "helicopter drop" money. That is, rather than trying to fine-tune wages, asset prices, or credit, central banks should be in the business of fine tuning a rate of transfers from the bank to the public. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 19, 2010 - 20 comments

Exploitative Outsourcing?

Outsourcing has been a mainstay of internet marketers and lifestyle designers ever since Tim Ferriss made it popular. But at least one of its biggest proponents is now wondering: is outsourcing exploitative by taking advantage of international economic inequality?
posted by divabat on May 25, 2010 - 60 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

The Copper Standard

The new monetary standard: Copper.
posted by bigmusic on Apr 19, 2009 - 51 comments

Renewing the economics of theatre

The recession has hit the theatre world (and the arts scene in general) very hard - but some argue that theatre practitioners aren't doing themselves any favours when seeking funding. The main question insufficiently addressed is "who is the funding for?" - hint: it's not about you. Approaching theatre as a product isn't working, not when MFA acting programs don't often allow its graduates to earn enough to earn back their debt. So now the question is: how can the economics of theatre be changed?
posted by divabat on Mar 29, 2009 - 60 comments

alternative currencies

Hard up for cash? Roll your own :P [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 8, 2009 - 36 comments

Deals of the Day

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank gave a bank, whose capital ratio equaled only 1.88% of assets at the bank, versus a desired level of about 6%, TARP money after heavy lobbying. Frank inserted into the bill a provision to give special consideration to banks that had less than $1 billion of assets, had been well-capitalized as of June 30, served low- and moderate-income areas, and had taken a capital hit in the federal seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (WSJ link) [more inside]
posted by SeizeTheDay on Jan 22, 2009 - 92 comments

Food cartels - haven't we seen these before?

Oil's got one. So does cocaine. There used to be one for light bulbs and another for uranium. While we know one currently exists for diamonds, some folks think the music industry has one. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 5, 2008 - 21 comments

Money as Debt

Money as Debt. Paul Grignon's 47-minute animated presentation of "Money as Debt" tells in very simple graphic terms what money is and how it is created.
posted by psmealey on Nov 24, 2007 - 61 comments

Money, Derek Jeter, Nail Clippings & Apple Pie: Harvard's WorklifeWizard

The Harvard University Worklife Wizard, created by an international team of journalists, economists, and statisticians, is Barbara Ehrenreich's wet dream. It's also a fantastic resource that has flown pretty much under everyone's radar. The Worklife Survey drives the constantly-revised, constantly-refined Salary Comparison Tool, which is always hungry for more data about employment from around the world. And when they say they want data from everyone, they mean it-- there's even a VIP Salary Checker that pits the wages of the Yankees against those of the Red Sox. (Plus if you take the survey, you can apparently earn a chance to win a trip to South Africa). Personally, I love the Workplace Horror Stories (and there's a competition there too). I can't look at a nail clipper the same way now.
posted by yellowcandy on Nov 20, 2006 - 26 comments

Burn, Onitsha, burn

The other religious riots. While much of the world's press has covered the Muslim cartoon riots, not nearly as much ink has been spilled over the continuing violence in Nigeria. A good analysis of underlying factors here. A Shell report points to oil as a proximate cause of violence as well. For oil companies, this may not be a bad thing. (If I was more interested in trolling, I'd have framed this as "Christian Leaders Fail to Condemn Religious Violence." The real world's a little more complex).
posted by klangklangston on Feb 23, 2006 - 15 comments

My life is good, you old bat!!

I'm the 24,519,565 richest person on earth! According to the Global Rich List, which says I make more than 99.506% of the people alive today. Only 24.5 million people between Bill Gates & myself...
posted by jonson on Oct 21, 2005 - 90 comments

I wish I'd thought of this...

The Million Dollar Homepage. Sure, you could buy gigabytes of online storage for a year with $100, but wouldn't you much rather have 10x10 pixels here? Is it stupid? Yes, but havn't you always wanted to make hundreds of thousands of dolars without doing anything?
posted by delmoi on Oct 1, 2005 - 73 comments

Keith Chen studies capuchins.

Monkey Business Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)
posted by raaka on Jun 5, 2005 - 34 comments

Economic 'Armageddon'

Economic 'Armageddon' predicted by Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley. He's been right before.
posted by stbalbach on Nov 23, 2004 - 68 comments

In their proper place, the depths

Where Wealth Lives
"The top 1% of families, as measured by net worth, receive about 15% of income but own 30% of the nation's assets -- including stocks and bonds, homes, and closely held businesses. That's according to the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances. The top 10% of families, as measured by net wealth, own 65% of assets, and the top 50% own a stunning 95% of assets..."
posted by kliuless on Apr 10, 2004 - 23 comments

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