Author Archives: Devin Smith

Business Game Changers

NEP’s Bill Black appears on Business Game Changes with Sarah Westall at WebTalkRadio.net. You can listen to the episode here. This topic is “Wall Street Corruption is Worse Than You Know. Mainstreet Needs to get Educated to Reclaim our Country!”

The State of the Union Speech and the President’s Credibility Gap

By Robert E. Prasch
Professor of Economics
Middlebury College

Last night, President Obama gave a great speech. He almost always does. And to that ever-shrinking group of die-hards who continue to insist that somehow, and in someway, President Obama will validate the hope kindled by his 2008 presidential campaign, it was a moment of triumph. Yes, they are saying, in his heart – very deep down, perhaps – Obama does in fact share our values and concerns, etc., he just has a hard time finding ways to express it, etc.

But let’s take a different tack. Let us begin with the old adage that “talk is cheap.” The fact is that this president has had six years to demonstrate – in deeds rather than words – what exactly constitutes his priorities. Let us, as this is a website devoted to economics issues, set aside the Obama Administration’s genuinely horrific record on civil liberties (The sordid record is long, but highlights include unchecked domestic spying by the NSA; drones deployed to terrorize the citizenry of numerous foreign nations; proclaiming and defending the prerogative to unilaterally kill American citizens with ever stating charges, much less presenting evidence or seeking convictions in the courts; solely and exclusively prosecuting those brave individuals who alerted the public to the Bush Administration’s war crimes, even as he comforted or promoted those who committed the crimes, etc.). Let us focus solely on economic policy. What follows is a brief review of the low moments thus far. These are not presented in any order and is not a comprehensive list:

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Leonhardt is Wrong about Liberals, Conservatives and the Family Debate

By June Carbone

David Leonhardt, in a recent “Letter from the editor” in the New York Times, wades into the marriage debate. In the new guise of journalist as judge he pronounces that “liberals are wrong” on the relationship between inequality and the change in family structure.  In the process, he misstates what the issue is about and gets the wrong answer to the question he does ask. He makes both mistakes because of an age old journalistic problem: those trained to meet the limited space of physical newspaper column are taught to turn a complex issue into a simple one: does inequality cause a change in family structure or does a change in family structure cause a change in inequality? Here is how Leonhardt initially frames the supposed debate as to which liberals are “wrong.”

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WSJ Praises the “Triumph of Austerity” in Greece

NEP’s Bill Black appears on the Real News Network and questions the authenticity of the coverage in the NYT and WSJ about the impact of austerity measures in Greece.

If you would like to view to video with a transcript, it can be seen here.

The Faux “Civility” of “Broken Windows”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: December 21, 2014

On December 18, 2014, William Bratton and George Kelling published an op ed in the Wall Street Journal decrying “The Assault on ‘Broken Windows’ Policing.” I’ll be writing a broader response to their piece noting their failure to implement “broken windows” enforcement against the elite white-collar criminals who have made Wall Street one of the world’s most destructive criminal “hot spots.” In this column I point out the implications of their attempt to label criticisms of a NYPD policy they developed and favor as an “assault.” They chose the word to be inflammatory and to try to label their critics as inherently illegitimate and pro-crime.

Here, in light of the tragedy of the murder of two NYPD officers and the reactions to that murder I want to point out what Bratton and Kelling asserted explained broken windows policing was effective. “[T]housands of police interventions on the street … restored order and civility across the five boroughs.” Except, of course, for Wall Street, where crime has skyrocketed and rudeness and disorder are defining elements of the corrupt culture. But that’s my next piece.

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Enough Money

By J.D. Alt

Money causes labor to do useful things, and goods and services to be exchanged between people, thereby enabling people in general—both individually and collectively—to obtain what they need. In order for this process to occur in an optimal way—that is, in order for the maximum number of people to obtain what they need, individually and collectively, it seems clear that two basic conditions must be met: (1) there needs to be enough money to pay people to create all the goods and services they need, and (2) this adequate supply of money needs to be in the hands of people who are actually able and motivated to spend it for that purpose.

By “enough money” I mean this: Is there enough money to pay people to build all the things and provide all the services they need both individually and collectively—without there being too MUCH money (which could cause prices to escalate)? If there isn’t enough money, it is likely there will be things we need but which we cannot have—not for the lack of available and willing labor to provide those things, but for lack of money with which to pay that labor. In this case that labor not only remains wastefully unemployed, but we, collectively and individually, go without something which we otherwise could have, and might possibly—even desperately—need. (It is also possible, of course, that we cannot have the things we need because the required natural resources—energy, materials, chemicals and minerals etc.—are not available. This, however, is not a “money problem” but a resource problem.)

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MMT and the Next Growth Cycle

By Thornton Parker

Discussions on this forum generally treat MMT in isolation rather than in the context of other forces that drive an economy.   In Japan, for example, the sales tax increase to reduce the government’s deficit is widely seen as a recent cause of its lagging economy. But a bit of history shows a different picture.

At the end of World War II, the country was decimated. Many of its young men were dead; its industries and cities were in ruins; its people were humiliated and overwhelmed by two atomic bombs; even its religion was repudiated. An island nation, it had no local friends, little fuel, and almost no raw materials. The only thing it was rich in was poor people.

Most western economists believed it was destined to remain a basket case indefinitely. But the Japanese rejected that assessment, saying if that was what conventional economics predicted, they would invent their own economics. And they did just that.

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A Giant Take the World Stage

These slides are from Bill Black’s presentation at the Cockefair Chair Lecture held at UMKC. The Lecture topic was the rise of American Industrialism. It was presented on October 28, 2014.

NET 2 Black

INETeconomics’ Marshall Auerback interviews NEP’s Bill Black. Topic of discussion is the “f” word – fraud.

Live Streams from the 12th Post Keynesian Conference

UMKC is providing live video streaming of some of the key sessions of the 12th International Post Keynesian Conference.

Here is a list of the events they are streaming (all times Central):

  • Wednesday, 6:00-8:00pm: Bruce Greenwald lecture in Royall 111
  • Thursday, 5:45-7:30pm: “What Should We Have Learned from the GFC?”
  • Friday, 5:45-7:15pm: Jamie Galbraith Keynote
  • Saturday, 11:45-1:00pm: Lord Robert Skidelsky Keynote
  • Saturday, 7:00pm: Lord Robert Skidelsky “Economics After The Crash”

To view any of the events, click here to go to the UMKC Streaming Video page and then click on the link at the bottom of the page for the platform you are using to view the stream.

Streams start approximately 15 minutes before the event.

UMKC’s Streaming page is located at: http://www.umkc.edu/ia/streaming/live-streams.cfm