Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

Economists Without Borders (Economistes Sans Frontières)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Inspired by the work of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), I have recently started a project called Economists Without Borders (Economistes Sans Frontières). Its purpose is to inoculate the global economy against the virus of neoliberalism. Last week, I had two difficult “missions” to Vienna and Warsaw.

In Vienna, I confronted an outbreak of the neoliberal globalization – free trade strain of the virus. Without doubt, this is the most virulent and dangerous of all strains. People who get infected become blind to all evidence, deaf to all argument and prone to intellectual condescension. Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC is a hot zone of infection. The bad news is that if you are over forty and infected it is doubtful you can be cured. However, younger patients have a chance of recovery. Here is the anti-viral I prescribed titled “The Theory of Global Imbalances: Mainstream Economics vs. Structural Keynesianism”.

In Warsaw, I confronted an outbreak of Milton Friedmanism which is one of the oldest strains of neoliberal virus. Friedmanism is a gateway virus that weakens defenses against other neoliberal strains and younger minds are particularly susceptible to it. The good news is that if diagnosed early there is a good chance of recovery. However, if treatment is delayed, intellectual ossification and closed-mindedness sets in. This ossification is almost always associated with inflation obsessive compulsive disorder and austerity fever. Here is the treatment I recommend titled “Milton Friedman’s Economics and Political Economy: An Old Keynesian Critique”.

The theory of global imbalances: mainstream economics vs. structural Keynesianism

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Prior to the 2008 financial crisis there was much debate about global trade imbalances. Prima facie, the imbalances seem a significant problem. However, acknowledging that would question mainstream economics’ celebratory stance toward globalization. That tension prompted an array of explanations which explained the imbalances while retaining the claim that globalization is economically beneficial. This paper surveys those new theories. It contrasts them with the structural Keynesian explanation that views the imbalances as an inevitable consequence of neoliberal globalization. The paper also describes how globalization created a political economy that supported the system despite its proclivity to generate trade imbalances. [READ MORE]

New Book: Restoring Shared Prosperity: a Policy Agenda from Leading Keynesian Economists

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Edited by Thomas I. Palley and Gustav A. Horn. The economic recovery in the US since the Great Recession has remained sub-par and beset by persistent fear it might weaken again. Even if that is avoided, the most likely outcome is continued weak growth, accompanied by high unemployment and historically high levels of income inequality. In Europe, the recovery from the Great Recession has been even worse, with the euro zone beset by an unresolved euro crisis that has already contributed to a double-dip recession in the region. This book offers an alternative agenda for shared prosperity to that on offer from mainstream economists. The thinking is rooted in the Keynesian analytic tradition, which has been substantially vindicated by events. However, pure Keynesian macroeconomic analysis is supplemented by a focus on the institutions and policy interventions needed for an economy to generate productive full employment with contained income inequality. Such a perspective can be termed “structural Keynesianism”. These are critical times and the public deserves an open debate that does not arbitrarily or ideologically lock out alternative perspectives and policy ideas. The book contains a collection of essays that offer a credible policy program for shared prosperity, rooted in a clear narrative that cuts through the economic confusions that currently bedevil debate.

Contributions by Richard L Trumka, Thomas I Palley, Gustav A. Horn, Andreas Botsch, Josh Bivens, Achim Truger, Jared Bernstein, Robert Pollin, Dean Baker, Gerald Epstein, Damon Silvers, Jennifer Taub, Silke Tober, Jan Priewe, John Schmidt, Heidi Shierholz, William E Spriggs, Eckhard Hein, Heiner Flassbeck, Gerhard Bosch, Michael Dauderstädt

The book is available for $7.52 at AMAZON.COM

A free PDF is available HERE.

The perils of China-centric globalization

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The last thirty years have witnessed the creation of an integrated global economy. However, what began as a project for globalization has gradually been transformed into a project of “China-centric globalization.” This phenomenon has grave economic and geo-political implications for the US. China-centric globalization has been allowed to develop with great rapidity and little public discussion of its implications and consequences. There is a conceit that there are no security dangers inherent in it because economic links will turn China into a democracy and democracies do not go to war with each other. History shows that conceit to be very dangerous.

Click here for PDF of full article text.

A Global Minimum Wage System [1]

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Published in the FT Economists’ Forum, July 18, 2011

The global economy is suffering from severe shortage of demand. In developed economies that shortfall is explicit in high unemployment rates and large output gaps. In emerging market economies it is implicit in their reliance on export-led growth. In part this shortfall reflects the lingering disruptive effects of the financial crisis and Great Recession, but it also reflects globalization’s undermining of the income generation process. One mechanism that can help rebuild this process is a global minimum wage system. That does not mean imposing U.S. or European minimum wages in developing countries. It does mean establishing a global set of rules for setting country minimum wages. (more…)

Letter to the Queen: Why No One Predicted the Crisis

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London
SW1A 1AA
29 July 2009
MADAM,

In response to your question why no one predicted the crisis you have recently received a letter from Professors Tim Besley and Peter Hennessy, sent on behalf of the British Academy. They claim economists’ failure to foresee the crisis was the result of a “failure of the collective imagination.” That claim is tendentious and will mislead you. (more…)

Decoupling vs. the Concertina Effect

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Over the last year, as the U.S. economy has slipped toward (and likely into) recession, there has been much talk of decoupling. According to this idea the global economy has decoupled from the U.S. economy and can continue growing even if the U.S. goes into recession. (more…)

Don’t Bet Against the Dollar

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

The global economy runs on the dollar, and that isn’t about to change. Today the world’s central banks hold about two thirds of their reserves in U.S. dollars. Most commodities are priced in American currency, and much of world’s trade is invoiced in dollars as well. The dollar is the lifeblood of the international system. (more…)

Through the Looking Glass: Saving Glut or Demand Shortage

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The old saying is that “If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail”. For economists, the hammer is “saving” and a host of problems are reduced to questions of saving. Nowhere is this clearer than discussions of the U.S. trade deficit and global financial imbalances, which are often explained as a saving problem. Unfortunately, this focus on saving distorts understanding and distracts from the real challenge of creating mass consumption markets in developing countries. (more…)

Exchange Rates: There is a Better Way

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

The world economy is poorly served by the current system of exchange rates. That system has contributed to today’s global financial imbalances, which are widely viewed as posing significant economic risk. These imbalances have also created political tensions between countries over how to adjust them, and within countries over job losses. Exchange rates matter more than ever under globalization, which means the world needs a better system. (more…)