Patents Aren’t Signs of Economic Health

The President in the State of the Union speech pridefully observed that America issues more patents than any other country.  So what.  That's not a sign of economic vitality.  It's a sign of government giving privileged monopolies to some and allowing them to stop the march of learning, innovation, and research.  Matthew Yglesias understands.  John … Continue reading Patents Aren’t Signs of Economic Health

Romney Doesn’t Know Real History

So Wednesday evening I'm walking on the treadmill at the healthclub.  It's a mixed experience. I feel better working out but I have to suffer through Fox News on the big TV in front in the treadmills.  So I'm watching the Fox News, and predictably, they're interviewing Republicans and trying to belittle the President's State … Continue reading Romney Doesn’t Know Real History

Update on the 4th Quarter GDP numbers

Division of labor, specialization, and the Web are beautiful things.  In my earlier post on the 4th quarter 2010 GDP numbers I observed that inventories declined significantly and I wasn't sure why. Well, James Hamilton at Econbrowser did the heavy lifting of investigation so I don't have to.  I only have to quote him: Consumption … Continue reading Update on the 4th Quarter GDP numbers

Fox, Hen House, Economic Advisors

President Obama, in his never ending desperate quest to be accepted by Congressional Republicans as being just like them, even if it means abandoning the changes he was elected to lead, has changed his lead economic advisors.  Simon Johnson in the NY Times observes: President Obama is embarked on a major charm offensive with the … Continue reading Fox, Hen House, Economic Advisors

Choice and Welfare

Is Economics (mainstream, neo-classical economics) moral?  Does increasing choices necessarily increase welfare? Professor Ed Glaeser of Harvard defends his view of the economics profession in the New York Times recently against charges that economists have "no moral compass or core". He maintains that: Improvements in welfare occur when there are improvements in utility, and those … Continue reading Choice and Welfare

No, Sovereign Currency Nations Don’t Go Bankrupt

National debt continue to dominate economic and political talk. This week Moody's bond rating agency downrated Japan's national government debt. The Serious People and Talking TV Heads will be full of dire prognostications for Japan. Of course, I don't see why we should believe Moody's or S&P anymore after they reassured us for years that … Continue reading No, Sovereign Currency Nations Don’t Go Bankrupt

FCIC: Hidden Assumptions and Policy Debates

Students are often curious and perplexed by the level of disagreement among economists, particularly macroeconomists. They hear the competing claims of politicians and others and get confused. While economics, and macro in particular, has always been rife with competing views, the Global Financial Crisis and Great Recession of recent years has exposed and highlighted these … Continue reading FCIC: Hidden Assumptions and Policy Debates