The Economy: Does More Government Help or Hurt?

Video of public debate on the role of Government in the economy presented at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch on September 16, 2014. This excerpt only contains Dr. Stephanie Kelton’s presentation. Her slides are available below the video. The full version of the debate including the Q&A session at the end is available on our YouTube channel.

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Pericles and the Socialization of Economics – Part I

By Tadit Anderson

[Part I]

Introduction 

There is an interesting provenance between the defaming of the democracy of Pericles’s Athens as dysfunctional and the use of this fiction to support an “aristocratic” form of governance in opposition to democracy, even two thousand years later. The life of this misrepresentation was then extended in fabrication of creation myths about the peculiar nature of allegedly modern “democracy.” By the end of the 19th century a more reliable analysis of the Golden age of Athenian democracy was available. This new narrative should have replaced the misrepresentation by Plato and his lineage, but propaganda, if repeated often enough will begin to seem true. Making a distinction between a form of oligarchy and a functional democracy seems to be difficult when gaining unearned wealth is such a disincentive.

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BANK of the COMMONS

By J.D. Alt

We usually think of a Commons as a “territory” of resources which we, as individuals, share with other members of our local, regional, or national society. The tragedy of the Commons, famously, is a failure of that sharing in which, even though the resources are visibly being depleted at an unsustainable rate, individuals are not motivated to preserve the resources but, instead, are motivated to continue to deplete them. This perverse motivation occurs because each individual makes two rational assumptions: (1) most other individuals will continue to deplete and (2) if he or she personally refrains from depleting, the beneficial impact on the Commons itself will be negligible, negating the personal effort or sacrifice. These rational decisions effectively neutralize the actions of the cooperative gene within the society, leaving the selfish gene in a position of active dominance. The larger the Commons, and the greater the number of individuals who share it, the more powerful are the tragic forces.

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12th International Post Keynesian Conference

The 12th International Post Keynesian Conference is being held in Kansas City, September 25 – 27, 2014 at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Below is the complete schedule for the conference. For a direct link to the schedule, click here.

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The New York Times’ Coverage of EU Austerity Remains Pathetic

By William K. Black

I have explained in depth why the New York Times’ coverage of the EU troika’s infliction of austerity on the eurozone is dishonest and routinely indifferent to the suffering of the peoples of much of the periphery who have been forced into a second Great Depression.  The latest travesty was in an article entitled “French Premier’s Push Toward Center Opens Rift on the Left.”

The article focuses on the betrayal of the people of France and his own Party by President Hollande, but you won’t learn that by reading the article.  Instead, you’ll learn that Hollande is following the pattern of Tony Blair.  Of course, the article doesn’t mention four things about Hollande’s copying Blair’s neo-liberalism, slavish devotion to big finance, his view of even the most helpful and desirable budget deficits as undesirable, and his betrayal of labor.

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Scotland Should Reject Independence and Form a Joint Football Team with England?

By William K. Black

I’ve explained in prior columns that the groups opposing Scotland reclaiming its independence have been feverishly switching from threats to bribes as the polls on the likely vote on independence became a toss-up.  My favorite proposed bribe was suggested by “Lord Prescott” – a Labor “Peer.”

“Lord Prescott also suggested a combined England and Scotland football team.

‘Perhaps if England and Scotland together had one team, we could at last beat the Germans – who knows?’ he said.”

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Where Do We Go From Here? International Economics Conference to Focus on Aftermath of Great Recession

12th Biennial International Post Keynesian Conference Sept. 25-28 at UMKC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City will host and co-sponsor an international economics conference focused on lessons learned – or not – from the global financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession.

The 12th Biennial International Post Keynesian Conference is scheduled for Sept. 25-28 on the UMKC campus. The conference will include a keynote address by Dr. James K. Galbraith, Chair in Government / Business Relations and Professor of Government at the University of Texas-Austin; and a panel discussion, “What We Should Have Learned From the Global Crisis (But Failed To),” featuring Dr. Bruce Greenwald,Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School; and the Honorable Lord Robert Skidelsky,Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick and author of an acclaimed three-volume biography of the late economist John Maynard Keynes.

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Brown and Major Urge Scots to Vote “No” Based on Nostalgia for the Army and World War I

By William K. Black

Politicians are under huge pressure, particularly when things are going horribly wrong as they seem to be with England’s efforts to convince the Scots to spurn independence, to say something profound.  They rarely become politicians because they are capable of profound thinking however, so in every nation their efforts at being thoughtful often turn out tragicomic.  The vote “No” effort is so desperate that it has recruited former Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and John Major, the UK’s most unpopular, failed leaders.  They have made it their mission, very late in the contest, to try to convince Scots not to recover their independence.  The “No” leaders relied primarily on threats to punish the Scots should they dare to vote for independence.  This turned a referendum they were almost sure to win by a wide margin into a PR disaster.  Now, with the polls showing that the “No” forces could succeed in snatching defeat from what should have been a decisive victory, they are casting about desperately for some positive reason that will resonate with the average Scot to make her or him want to be a Brit.  The anti-independence politicians have tried over a dozen variants of this latest strategy in the last two days (along with a switching from extortion to last minute promises of greater autonomy).

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Things About Mortgage Fraud that Holder Should End Today: Suspect Ethnic Groups

By William K. Black

I am returning to my series of articles about the pathologies that have caused the Department of Justice (DOJ) to suffer a strategic failure in prosecuting the banksters that led the three fraud epidemics that caused the financial crisis and the Great Recession.  I have been inspired by Tom Frank’s column in Salon covering our successful defense of a mortgage fraud case in Sacramento.  This column addresses the single most offensive thing I learned in the course of that case.  Under U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner’s leadership the Eastern District of California has begun targeting immigrants of Russian descent for mortgage fraud prosecutions.

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Mick Jagger, Gordon Brown, and Paul Krugman Lead the Charge for British Rule of Scotland

By William K. Black

The “no” campaign against independence has reached the stage of endgame panic that leads to desperately throwing charges and publicity stunts at what the polls indicate are increasing support for independence among Scots.  Over the last several days we have seen a new anti-independence troika emerge – Gordon Brown, Mick Jagger, and Paul Krugman.  I have written previously about the unintended self-parody of making a “rogue” like Brown the “spearhead” of the joint effort by the Tories, Labor, and the (vanishing Lib-Dems) to convince the Scots not to reclaim their independence.  (Note to the “better together” opponents of independence – “spear” metaphors aimed at the Scots are best avoided, particularly when wielded by the kind of Scottish “rogues” that Burns denounced in his famous poem about the corrupt and treasonous origins of Scotland’s “union” with Great Britain.)

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