Tag Archives: Social economy

The Case Against Free-Market Capitalism

By Ngaire Woods – Free-market capitalism is on trial.

Just a quarter-century ago, the debate about economic systems – state-managed socialism or liberal democracy and capitalism – seemed to have been settled. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, the case was closed – or so it seemed.

Since then, the rise of China has belied the view that a state-led strategy will always fail, and the global financial crisis exposed the perils of inadequately regulated markets. In 2017, few of the world’s fastest-growing economies (Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Nepal, India, Tanzania, Djibouti, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines) have free markets. And many free-market economies are suffering from growth slowdowns and rapidly rising inequality.

The conservative case, eloquently articulated by Theresa May, is that a free-market economy, operating under the right rules and regulations, is the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created. If that claim is true, the only logical conclusion is that we are doing it wrong.

So what measures are needed to get it right? more> https://goo.gl/ioQAAD

Why Cities Shouldn’t Bend Over Backwards for Corporations

By Rick Paulas – In early 2010, the city of Topeka, Kansas, was in trouble. The city’s unemployment rate had risen to unprecedented levels. Some in the mayor’s office thought that a lack of affordable broadband Internet access wasn’t helping. Mayor Bill Bunten tried to remedy the situation by changing the city’s name to Google.

“There was a feeding frenzy, so Google was in the position to say, ‘If we don’t get what we want, we’ll go elsewhere,'” says Tony Grubesic, a professor of policy analytics at Arizona State University who has studied Google Fiber’s effects on Kansas City. “Google was in the driver’s seat.”

Corporations pitting cities against one another to get the best deals won’t stop anytime soon. Cities are currently courting Amazon in hopes of becoming the site of the company’s second headquarters.

Tucson sent a 21-foot cactus to Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos; Birmingham built huge Amazon boxes downtown; Stonecrest, Georgia, voted to give the corporation 345 acres that it’s dubbed “the city of Amazon“; and New Jersey is trying to push through a $5 billion tax break. more> https://goo.gl/Yxj2sA

The only job a robot couldn’t do

By Daniel Carter – The gig economy is growing rapidly, but it’s also changing how we think about what it means to work. Uber and other online platforms are making the case for a future in which work happens in little on-demand bursts — you need a ride, and someone appears to give you that ride. Instead of a salary and benefits like health insurance, the worker gets paid only for the time they’re actually driving you around.

I’m a researcher who studies how people work and I have a hard time endorsing this vision of the future. When I see Favor delivery drivers waiting to pick up a to-go order, I imagine a future in which half of us stand in line while the other half sit on couches. And then I imagine a future in which all these mundane tasks are automated: the cars drive themselves, the burritos fly in our windows on drones. And I wonder how companies are going to make money when there are no jobs and we can’t afford to buy a burrito or pay for a ride home from the bar. more> https://goo.gl/gXoUXd

Five reasons why “downtown universities” matter for economic growth

By Scott Andes – The value of the nation’s higher education system is usually expressed as just that—education. But while the educational mission of America’s colleges and universities is critical, often missed or neglected by local and national policymakers is the value of these institutions to economic growth. This is particularly true for those universities located near major employment neighborhoods of large cities.

Here are five reasons these universities matter for economic growth:

  1. Research universities are essential for innovation, and innovation is essential for economic growth.
  2. Universities located in urban areas produce more patents, corporate partnerships, and startups.
  3. Universities located within innovation districts build on existing urban assets.
  4. Downtown universities specialize in research.
  5. Downtown universities still have a lot of room to improve their outcomes.

As the country searches for new sources of innovation, jobs, and growth, policy makers should consider how some of its oldest institutions—research universities—are best positioned for the new economy. more> https://goo.gl/nXEPk4

It’s Time to Rewrite the Rules of Our Economy

By Tim O’Reilly – Business leaders making decisions to outsource jobs to low-wage countries or to replace workers with machines, or politicians who insist that it is “the market” that makes them unable to require companies to pay a living wage, rely on the defense that they are only following the laws of economics. But the things economists study are not natural phenomena like the laws of motion uncovered by Kepler and Newton.

The political convulsions we’ve seen in the United Kingdom and in the United States are a testament to the difficulties we face. We are heading into a very risky time. Rising global inequality is triggering a political backlash that could lead to profound destabilization of both society and the economy. The problem is that in our free market economy, we found a way to make society as a whole far richer, but the benefits are unevenly distributed. Some people are far better off, while others are worse off.

Why do we have lower taxes on capital when it is so abundant that much of it is sitting on the sidelines rather than being put to work in our economy?

Why do we tax labor income more highly when one of the problems in our economy is lack of aggregate consumer demand because ordinary people don’t have money in their pockets? more> https://goo.gl/2DioyZ

The Chinese dream, the British dream, and the American dream, compared

By Zheping Huang – The world’s major powers might all have dreams, be they British or Chinese, South African or American. But these national dreams contain very different promises to each country’s citizens.

In her speech, May described the British dream as the vision that “life should be better for the next generation.” She said her grandmother, a former domestic servant who ended up having three professors and a prime minister among her grandchildren, was proof that the dream could be real.

But she admitted the dream was out of reach for many people today and promised to fix that. In this incarnation, the British dream isn’t so different than the American dream. One sign the British dream needs fixing? The large numbers of the ruling elite who come from this university and do this degree.

Every supreme leader of the Chinese Communist Party has his favorite political slogan. And so it is with the Chinese Dream for Xi jinping, who proposed the term shortly after he stepped into power in late 2012. Xi initially described the Chinese Dream as the vision of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The term “American Dream” was coined by financier-turned-historian James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book The Epic of America. Adams defines it as the vision that everyone in America can climb the ladder if he works hard.

Today, the American dream is somewhat frayed. Only 23% of Americans believe that it is common for someone to start poor, work hard and get rich. more> https://goo.gl/BAooXf

Fanning the Flames of Chaos

President Trump’s cycle is clear: announce a goal, then back off to let others do the work.
By Kenneth T. Walsh – Trump isn’t a detail man. Throughout his careers in business and politics and during his presidency, he has floated above the landscape of specifics and set general directions. He attempts to sell his ideas to the country as a showman with a proclivity for hyperbole that borders on deception and sometimes crosses into falsehood. His goal, above all, is to score a personal victory and crush his opponents.

Now Trump’s it’s-all-about-me approach is being tested as never before as he copes with a new wave of crises, political battles and tragedies.

Trump’s pattern is clear. He dramatically announces a goal, dominating the news and becoming the center of attention, then backs off and leaves working out the details to others. He declares any success as his own achievement and portrays any failure or setback as someone else’s fault. In short, Trump fans the flames and then lets others fight the fire. He may be creating more chaos than he bargained for and fostering an out-of-control atmosphere which makes most Americans very nervous. more> https://goo.gl/y9XmRA

People Don’t Actually Want Equality. They Want Fairness.

BOOK REVIEW

On Inequality, Author: Harry Frankfurt.
Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, Author: Paul Bloom.

By Paul Bloom – Bernie Sanders talks about economic inequality all the time, and it’s a message that resonates. You don’t need to be a socialist to worry about the divide between rich and poor in America.

People might be troubled by what they see as unjust causes of economic inequality, a perfectly reasonable concern given how much your income and wealth are determined by accidents of birth, including how much money your parents had, your sex, and the color of your skin.

We are troubled as well by potential consequences of economic inequality. We may think it corrodes democracy, or increases crime, or diminishes overall happiness.

Most of all, people worry about poverty—not that some have less, but rather “that those with less have too little.” more> https://goo.gl/wvLUdU

Updates from Chicago Booth

Local communities are driving global politics

By Raghuram G. Rajan – We live in a strange time.

Countries are more prosperous than ever before, new technologies that promise to solve our most intractable problems are on the horizon, and yet there is widespread unhappiness in some of the richest countries in the world. White males of working age in the United States are killing themselves through alcohol, drugs, and suicide at a rate that is as if 10 Vietnam Wars were raging simultaneously.

The immediate reason appears to be economic despair, as moderately educated workers lose jobs because of trade and automation. But workers lose (and gain) jobs regularly.

Why are even well-educated workers, holding decent middle-class jobs, so disheartened now? What should we do?

What we are seeing is a consequence of the information-technology revolution that started in the early 1970s, magnified by trade.

Every past technological revolution has been disruptive, prompted a societal reaction, and eventually resulted in societal change that helped us get the best out of the revolution. We have felt the disruption of the IT revolution, which has sometimes been punctuated by dramatic episodes such as the 2007–10 global financial crisis; we are now seeing the reaction in populist movements of the extreme left and right.

What has not happened yet is the necessary societal change, which is why so many despair of the future.

We are at a critical moment in human history, when wrong choices could derail human economic progress. more> https://goo.gl/aLSuFh

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How Does Fascism Sneak Into Pop Culture?

BOOK REVIEW

Against the Fascist Creep, Author: Alexander Reid Ross.

By Elizabeth King – Donald Trump’s rise from real-estate businessman and washed-up reality television star to United States president has many people thinking anew about fascism.

The fascist tradition of using the arts as vehicles for expanding the movement is visible in the U.S. today, in some cases in eerily similar ways to the original rise of European fascism in the early 20th century.

In Futurism, we see some early examples of “cultural fascism,” if you will. Filippo Marinetti, founder of the Futurist movement, would be a good place to start. Futurism was founded in Italy in the early 1900s, and was one of the earliest proto-fascist and, in some cases, fascist movements. The idea [of Futurism] was to return to the noble myth [of] the new man who stands for family and tradition, but in a super-powered world of dynamism and adventure.

But if you look at the emergence of fascism and the development of fascism in its original form, one of the interesting things that you see in cultural avenues is that they are often primarily interested in disruption.

And, inevitably, there are liberals in mainstream institutions who accept the expressions of [fascist disruptors] insofar as it is expression, and insofar as it’s good to explore the arts and humanities. So there’s a tendency to accept these movements to some degree, and perhaps even adopt some of their mindsets under this position. This is incredibly dangerous, because fascism is so vitriolic and mercurial that it’s difficult to contain. more> https://goo.gl/gSRBwt

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