Why Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP) is Ineffective and Dangerous

June 29th, 2016

NIRP is quickly becoming a consensus policy within the economics establishment. This paper argues that consensus is dangerously wrong, resting on flawed theory and flawed policy assessment. Regarding theory, NIRP draws on fallacious pre-Keynesian economic logic that asserts interest rate adjustment can ensure full employment. That fallacious logic has been augmented by ZLB economics which claims times of severe demand shortage may require negative interest rates, which policy must deliver since the market cannot. Regarding policy assessment, NIRP turns a blind eye to the possibility that negative interest rates may reduce AD, cause financial fragility, create a macroeconomics of whiplash owing to contradictions between policy today and tomorrow, promote currency wars that undermine the international economy, and foster a political economy that spawns toxic politics. Worst of all, NIRP maintains and encourages the flawed model of growth, based on debt and asset price inflation, which has already done such harm. [READ MORE]

Brexit: The Day We Entered the Eye of the Maelstrom

June 26th, 2016

In years to come, the Brexit referendum may come to be seen as the day we entered the eye of the maelstrom that now promises enormous destruction. The immediate consequence looks to be a possible financial crisis, but even if that is avoided the other costs of Brexit will not be.

The European economy was already on the outer circle of the maelstrom. Brexit has swept it into the eye, accelerating the process whereby social alienation and bad economic outcomes produce bad political outcomes, and bad political outcomes produce worsened economic outcomes and further social alienation. Read the rest of this entry »

Boycott the Rio Olympics to Defend Brazilian Democracy

May 16th, 2016

Terrible anti-democratic events are now unfolding in Brazil with the constitutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff, organized through a cooked-up impeachment trial.

The impeachment coup represents a naked attempt by corrupt neoliberal elements to seize power in Brazil. Make no mistake: it is a threat to democracy and social progress in Brazil, Latin America, and even the global community at large.

If Brazilian voices concur, the world should respond by boycotting the Rio Olympics scheduled for this August. Read the rest of this entry »

Inequality and Growth in Neo-Kaleckian and Cambridge Growth Theory

April 21st, 2016

This paper examines the relationship between inequality and growth in the neo-Kaleckian and Cambridge growth models. The paper explores the channels whereby functional and personal income distribution impact growth. The growth – inequality relationship can be negative or positive, depending on the economy’s characteristics. Contrary to widespread claims, inequality per se does not impact growth through macroeconomic channels. Instead, both growth and inequality are impacted by changes in the underlying forms and pattern of income payments. However, inequality is critical at the microeconomic level as it explains differences in household propensities to consume which are at the foundation of neo-Kaleckian and Cambridge growth theory. READ MORE.

Year of the Outsider: Why Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Rebellion is so Significant

April 5th, 2016

2016 was supposed to have been the year of Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton: the year when the established Bush dynasty confronted the upstart rival Clinton Dynasty. But the year of the insider has turned into the year of the outsider. On both sides, voters have unexpectedly given vent to thirty years of accumulated anger with neoliberalism which has downsized their incomes and hopes.

Though the Republican rebellion has been more clear-cut in its dismissal of insider candidates, it is Bernie Sanders’ Democratic rebellion that is of potentially far greater historic significance. Read the rest of this entry »

Bernie Slanders: How the Democratic Party Establishment Suffocates Progressive Change

March 21st, 2016

The Democratic Party establishment has recently found itself discomforted by Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign to return the party to its modern roots of New Deal social democracy. The establishment’s response has included a complex coupling of elite media and elite economics opinion aimed at promoting an image of Sanders as an unelectable extremist with unrealistic economic policies.

The response provides a case study showing how the Party suffocates progressive change. Every progressive knows about the opposition and tactics of the Republican Party. Less understood are the opposition and tactics of the Democratic Party establishment. Speaking metaphorically, that establishment is a far lesser evil, but it may also be a far greater obstacle to progressive change. Read the rest of this entry »

Self-Protectionist Moment: Paul Krugman Protects Himself and the Establishment

March 10th, 2016

Paul Krugman has a new op-ed (“A Protectionist Moment?”) in which he tries to walk away from his own contribution as an elite trade economist to the damage done by globalization, while also continuing to lend his political support to Hillary Clinton and the neoliberal globalization wing of the Democratic Party.

His article inadvertently spotlights all that is wrong with the economics profession through the lens of the trade debate. Read the rest of this entry »

Zero Lower Bound (ZLB) Economics: The Fallacy of New Keynesian Explanations of Stagnation

March 3rd, 2016

This paper explores zero lower bound (ZLB) economics. The ZLB is widely invoked to explain stagnation and it fits with the long tradition that argues Keynesian economics is a special case based on nominal rigidities. The ZLB represents the newest rigidity. Contrary to ZLB economics, not only does a laissez-faire monetary economy lack a mechanism for delivering the natural rate of interest, it may also lack such an interest rate. Moreover, the ZLB can be a stabilizing rigidity that prevents negative nominal interest rates exacerbating excess supply conditions. [READ MORE]

The Relevance of Keynes’s General Theory after 80 years

February 9th, 2016

By Thomas Palley, Louis-Philippe Rochon and Matías Vernengo

This year marks two important anniversaries in macroeconomics: the 80th anniversary of the publication of Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, and the 70th anniversary of Keynes’s premature death, at the age of 63. To mark these anniversaries, the first issue of the fourth year of the Review of Keynesian Economics is dedicated to Keynes.

The issue contains a symposium of papers titled “The Relevance of Keynes’s General Theory after 80 years” and some previously unpublished archive material on Keynes. The unpublished material is notes from a 1936 University of Chicago course taught by Frank Knight in which The General Theory was discussed, and a memorandum written by Lauchlin Currie, who is considered the first and most combative Keynesian in the Roosevelt administration during the early phases of the New Deal.

The 80th anniversary of The General Theory takes place at a time when the global economy is struggling with economic stagnation that set in after the financial crisis of 2008. In some regards, these conditions have parallels with the 1930s when the Great Depression followed the financial crisis of 1929. However, this time economic depression was avoided by timely economic policy interventions that either bore the direct hallmarks of conventional Keynesian thinking or were inspired by Keynesian thinking about the economy’s limited self-stabilizing capacity. [READ MORE]

October’s Job Numbers: Good news for Main Street viewed as bad news by Wall Street

November 6th, 2015

October’s employment report was strong with regard to both jobs and wages, which is good news. But the report also reveals the contradictions in our economy. Good news for Main Street is interpreted as bad news by Wall Street. The challenge for the Federal Reserve, and the standard by which it will be judged, is to ensure this type of news becomes “normal” and not a one month exception that is used to justify hitting the brakes.