Author Naomi Klein wrote a book a few years ago called Shock Doctrine. It is a powerful antidote to the pro-free markets, pro-globalization stories of authors such as Daniel Yergin and Stanislaw who wrote Commanding Heights. I wish Shock Doctrine were a full-length video to juxtaposition against Commanding Heights. In the book, Klein documents how … Continue reading Shock Doctrine and Wisconsin and Michigan
This morning the news came that more than 2 weeks after the tsunami in Japan, 4 of the 6 nuclear reactors at Fukashima are still not stable. Indeed, 1 or 2 of the reactors are suspected of having leaks from, at best, the pipes into and out of the core reactor containment housing, and, at … Continue reading Corporate Influence – GE and Radioactive Fallout
An update on the question of structural vs. cyclical unemployment, this time with respect to policy options for each. For background, see these previous posts: on how economists define or distinguish between structural and cyclical and a look at the situation in 2011. Time is short and specialization is efficient, so I'll quote Mark Thoma … Continue reading Structural vs. Cyclical Unemployment Revisited: Doing Nothing Is Not a Smart Option
A colleague (non-econ) asks: What's a "derivative" in plain terms? The plainest answer, yet not very helpful, is that derivatives are a Wall Street cross between the Frankenstein monster and the blob: they're a banker-made monster that's out of control and swallowing the global economy. But let's look at derivatives in a less inflammatory way. … Continue reading What’s A Derivative?
Paul Krugman comments today on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Unfortunately, he gets it wrong. For example, he says: Right now, deficits don’t matter — a point borne out by all the evidence. But there’s a school of thought — the modern monetary theory people — who say that deficits never matter, as long as you have … Continue reading Krugman on MMT
I missed this when it came out Feb 1, but an alert student pointed me to it. The NYTimes has an excellent interactive visual breakdown of the U.S. Federal Budget spending. It very graphically shows where the money goes and how much. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html A couple of notes. First, the graphic shows only spending and … Continue reading U.S. Budget Proposal Analysis Tool (spending)
Of course neither Obama nor the Congress nor the news media think of this past weekend's launch of hostilities with Libya in these terms. But it's what's happening. Three weeks ago we were being told by Obama, the Democrats, the Republicans, and lord knows Fox News, that the "U.S. is broke". We "must cut spending … Continue reading U.S. Is Not Broke: Obama Launches Jobs at Libyans
Some information is starting to develop about the economic impacts of the events in Japan. A week ago, just after the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant partial meltdown, it was much too difficult to foresee the probable impacts of the crisis. Now it's starting to show and the news is not encouraging … Continue reading Possible Economic Effects of Japanese Disasters
The disaster at the Japanese Fukashima nuclear reactor has, not surprisingly, re-opened debates about nuclear energy, it's safety, and energy policy in general. I'm not going to go into the whole debate or the merits of nuclear energy vs. coal-powered vs. solar, etc. here now. But what I do want to do is to talk … Continue reading Beyond Regulation: Thorium As Safe Nuclear Power?
Well, OK, this isn't on par with a Japanese earthquake, Libyan oil interruptions, or higher oil prices, but it's important to some folks. ABC News Radio tells us: With NFL owners and players in a standoff, the CEO of one of the nation's largest chicken farms warns that a long-lasting football lockout would be bad … Continue reading More Food Price Increases? NFL Lockout and Chicken Wings