Category Archives: economics

no austrians near fiscal cliffs

The commonplace saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” — while probably technically false — seems apt to describe the so-called “fiscal cliff” situation the United States government finds itself in. Deficit hawks and Austrian economics purists ought to be happy, as the automatic cuts produce the first significant deficit reduction in 12 years and […]

snarky qotd about voting and economics

The prize goes to Peter T: [Steven] Levitt has millions of brain cells. The activity of any one of them cannot possibly matter. So he doesn’t bother thinking. It’s all part of a(nother) post by Andrew Gelman on why it might be rational to vote if you care about the outcome because there’s a nonzero […]

nerd alert: krugman and the primacy of a concept

Paul Krugman writes: It wasn’t until the Arabs invented Arabic numerals that the liquidity trap became a possibility. Very erudite, very intellectual, very historically astute. But is it true? The liquidity trap describes a point at which a central bank’s infusion of cash into an economy fails to stimulate the economy because returns are already […]

is pink slime a moral panic?

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries a story about defenders of so-called “pink slime,” the mixture of beef scraps disinfected with ammonia that has been the subject of major derision since Jamie Oliver “exposed” it on his show. Important elements of the story: “lean finely-textured beef” (the technical identifier) has been used for a long time […]

wsj: 3x the income share is remarkable similarity

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an opinion piece by Allan Meltzer based on a 2006 study by Roine and Waldenstrom. The piece reprints a graph showing the income share of the top 1% in several countries between 1900 and 2000. (The graph is quite interesting in itself.) Meltzer’s interpretation: “…the share of income for the […]

bageant, rainbow pie

I very much appreciated Joe Bageant‘s previous book, Deer Hunting With Jesus, so eagerly looked forward to reading Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. Bageant, who died last year, was a political and social commentator whose overall goal in both books was to explain the political and social effects of white working class despair. Deer Hunting […]

fallacies of a market approach to public higher ed

In the wake of big debates about rising tuition, North Carolina’s trusty right-wing blog carries a snide analysis of the rising cost of tuition. The gist: the market for a college education is highly distorted by government subsidies to the schools, direct student aid, and cheap government loans. These factors artificially inflate demand, and create […]

stocks, flows, and capital gains

Disclaimer: I am not an economist. Really, really not. Any comments as to why I am wrong here would be welcome! There is a common meme in the discussion of capital-gains taxes that the income from capital gains has “already been taxed” when it was business income, taxing it when it becomes increased value in […]

stuff i don’t get about the european debt crisis

All right – in general I don’t think I’m particularly dense, even in matters economic (though perhaps more so in that than other areas). But I’m confused about several pieces of the European debt crisis and comparisons that get drawn to American issues.

hearing voices: can a corporation speak?

The Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed last week by Simpson and Sherman about Stephen Colbert’s difficulties in setting up a PAC post-Citizens United. I wrote a letter to the Journal but (no big surprise) they don’t seem eager to print it, so I am posting it here. It has sociological as well as political […]

civitas’s naivete on democracy

On North Carolina’s Civitas Institute’s blog, Cameron Harwick provides a clear and concise description of the libertarian approach to democracy: democracy is bad because it is collective: we have a mechanism for giving people what they want – and that isn’t the political process: it’s the market…. The more things we subject to the political […]

is civic literacy fiscal literacy?

From The Monkey Cage, I took the American Civic Literacy quiz. It’s tough but interesting – I got 100% right, which puts me slightly ahead of John Sides and Mike Munger. Which is kind of ironic, because Munger is a libertarian, indeed formerly a libertarian candidate for governor of NC (I don’t know Sides), and […]

boundaries of performativity, continued

Over on OrgTheory, a discussion of the apparent constancy of color perceptions morphed into a(nother) discussion of performativity and, by inappropriate extension, postmodernism and epistemological skepticism. Rather than hijack that post, I’m moving over here to post some thoughts and critique of Teppo Felin and Nicolai Foss’s paper, “Social Reality, the Boundaries of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, […]

don’t follow the money

The latest issue of Academe, the AAUP’s magazine, features several articles on corporate and other “suspect” funding, under the title “The Conflicted University.” The articles are varied, and I don’t intend a critique of any particular one. But the overall causal logic is simple–too simple. The claim is that corporate funding (and also nonprofit corporate-oriented […]

who are our customers?

It is becoming more and more common to hear about the “customers” of higher education. I will go on record, unsurprisingly, as saying that I do not like this language. However, since it is becoming so common, I think it’s worth reflecting too on who these customers are, and also what the product is that […]


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