Category Archives: L. Randall Wray

Is It Time for MMT To Become Mainstream to Save Us from the Second Global Financial Crisis of the Millennium?

By L. Randall Wray

Some of you will remember that MMT got its first huge mainstream exposure through a Washington Post article written by Dylan Matthews.  He’s just written another excellent story, this time about Stephanie Kelton going to Washington. Finally, there might be an alternative to the deficit hawk and timid deficit dove lovefest!

As Dylan says: “For years, the main disagreement between Democratic and Republican budget negotiators was about how to balance the budget — what to cut, what to tax, how fast to implement it — but not whether to balance it. Even most liberal economists agree that, in the medium-run, it’s better to have less government debt rather than more. Kelton denies that premise. She thinks that, in many cases, government surpluses are actively destructive and balancing the budget is very dangerous. For example, Kelton thinks the Clinton surpluses are nothing to brag about and they actually inflicted economic damage lasting over a decade.”

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In Appreciation of Lord Robert Skidelsky–Presentation for Economists for Peace and Security

By L. Randall Wray
Cross posted from Economonitor
Updated 01-10-2015: Added video links

I just returned from the annual ASSA meetings in Boston. This is largely a front for the American Economics Association to produce an appearance of pluralism. The ASSA is actually run by the AEA, which allocates to itself the prime locations and biggest conference rooms—and then offers a few slots and tiny rooms for most of the heterodox groups that also hold their annual meetings with the ASSA.

This is the closest economists come to a pornfest. As you walk by the typical AEA panel presentation, you’ll see a tiny audience in a darkened room, titillated by a powerpoint slide filled with obscene mathematics.

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BOOM BUST BOOM: MINSKY AT THE MOVIES

By L. Randall Wray

I highly recommend a movie to be released next year (that is, the year that begins next week). Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, is one of the key developers of the film. It is on the Global Financial Crisis, but also provides a quick history of bubbles and crashes. It is highly entertaining and as good as any that I’ve seen on the crisis.

The movie features Hyman P. Minsky as well as J.K. Galbraith, who appear as life-sized puppets. One of Terry’s crew told me they brought Minsky over from England on a plane as a fare-paying customer. I would have loved to have seen the look on the faces of the flight attendants. I hope they bought him a beer.

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What’s Wrong with Heterodox Economics Journals?

By L. Randall Wray

I just came across a very interesting bit of research, A Guide to Paradigmatic Self-Marginalization: Lessons for Post-Keynesian Economists by Leonhard Dobusch and Jakob Kapeller; you can find it here.

I realize this is not going to be of interest to many of our readers, as it is a sort of “inside the halls of academia” analysis. What the authors do is to look at the strategies of editors running the top orthodox and the top heterodox journals in economics. Actually it might be a bit unfair to label these strategies, as the authors do not mean to imply that editorial policy knowingly pursues the strategies. Instead, the article looks at the ex post results.

In a nutshell, what they find is that the articles published in orthodox journals do not cite the research published in heterodox journals. NO SURPRISE THERE! But they also find some startling self-defeating practices pursued by heterodox journals.

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A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM TO RESTORE PROSPERITY: THE BERNIE SANDERS PLAN

By L. Randall Wray

Here’s a summary of the plan Bernie Sanders has set out, along with my comments (in italics).

1.) We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. $1 trillion investment to create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive.

Agreed, but let’s not settle for a mere 13 million jobs. We need twice that. And, of course, the “price tag” is irrelevant—so long as we create useful jobs that pay living wages, we can “always afford” to pay for them. By creating jobs we are not just investing in infrastructure, but we are also investing in our people, enhancing their participation in our society and providing them with the means to support their families. We can always afford that.

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The Answer to the Unemployment Problem Is More Jobs

By L. Randall Wray

Dean Baker, everyone’s favorite progressive economist (mine, too), has an interesting take on our unemployment problem.

Give more paid vacations.

The idea is that if all the employed work less, employers will need to hire the unemployed to produce what the already employed won’t be producing while sunning themselves on Florida’s beaches.

Look, I’m all for shorter work weeks. It is ridiculous that labor’s push somehow got stuck a century ago at the 40 hour work week in the USA. Employed Americans work more hours per year than just about any other workforce on the planet.

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Rising Tides Lift All Yachts: Why the 1% Grabs all the Gains From Growth

By L. Randall Wray

You’ve probably seen references to the work of my colleague (and former student), Pavlina Tcherneva in recent days. If not, take a gander at this:

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The NYT article includes links to her published article in the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, the first issue edited by me and my Levy Institute colleague Jan Kregel. Pavlina also presented her results at the just finished International Post Keynesian Conference at UMKC. We’ll soon have a website up with many of the powerpoints and papers. The next conference will be held in 2016. Mark your calendars.

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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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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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How to Eliminate the Scourge of Unemployment: Jobs Now at a Living Wage

By L. Randall Wray

It is amazing no one has thought of this before. Seven years after the GFC began, we’ve still got up to 25 million people who want jobs but cannot find them. Of course that’s far more than the official unemployment numbers—which don’t count anyone who worked just an hour or so, or who gave up looking altogether.

Gee, I wonder how on earth we can find a solution to joblessness, or to low pay? It is all so complicated. How can we stroke the business class in just the right way to get them to create a job or two? How can we prevent our corporations from taking jobs abroad?

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