Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dan Kervick Discusses the Banking System with Tom O’Brien on From Alpha to Omega

By Dan Kervick

I recently joined Tom O’Brien as a guest on his terrific podcast From Alpha to Omega, and the interview is now available online. We discuss many of my favorite topics: the central banking system and the role of reserves, fiscal vs. monetary policy, capital requirements, differences between the US and European systems, and the need for healthy deficits and engaged government action to promote full employment and drive transformative change. Here is the link to the podcast:

Oh So Reserved – Dan Kervick on From Alpha to Omega

Enjoy!

Cross-posted from Rugged Egalitarianism

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Regulating Shadow Banking

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is holding a conference on shadow banking today (program here).  NEP’s own Randy Wray is on the afternoon panel.  You can watch the entire LIVESTREAM below.

 

Rugged Egalitarianism – Hope in the Ruins

By Dan Kervick

As I write, American conservatism has gone mad: openly, disturbingly and resoundingly bats. There is no mistaking it. But the furious imprecations and cracked laughter of the lunatic conservatives echoing loudly down the halls of our sad American bedlam have helped obscure the fact that liberalism in the United States is moribund.  While conservatives strive to tear down our rotten and unjust system and replace it with something even more terrifying, liberals offer nothing but a determination to patch up some of the superficial rot while approving the general injustice.

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Yellen Needs to Tell the Politicians to Stop Failing

By Dan Kervick

Evan Soltas is hoping that President Obama’s appointment of  Janet Yellen signifies a new administration commitment to jobs and economic growth.  Unfortunately, Soltas seems to be one of those folks who is convinced that our failures over the past five years have much to do with a monetary policy that has been insufficiently “accommodative”, and he strongly suggests that the national plague of mass joblessness and stagnation could be alleviated if the Fed would only do more aggressive quantitative easing without political pressure to taper prematurely.

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I Have Seen the Next Big Thing, and it is Mariana Mazzucato

By Dan Kervick

I take time out from our latest national celebration of curmudgeonly misery and political decadence, which features an intense bipartisan struggle over whether to cling to liberal or conservative forms of long-term economic stagnation, in order call the reader’s attention to an economist whose innovative ideas are so insightful, so well-informed and so right that they stand in terrifying contrast to almost everything that most Americans in 2013 hold dear.

The economist is Mariana Mazzucato of the University of Sussex, who recently presented several of the leading ideas from her new book, The Entrepreneurial State, to an audience at the London School of Economics. Mazzucato ties a vast number of themes together in a sparkling, rapid-fire talk followed by a stimulating round of Q&A. Among the economists who come in for discussion along the way are Polanyi, Keynes, Schumpeter, Stiglitz and Krugman. Mazzucato pulls no punches on the inadequacies of bastard Keynesianism with its limited emphasis on economic pump-priming, and on the dead-enders of neoliberal thought represented, for example, by the editorial staff of The Economist magazine. Here is the link to the presentation:

Mazzucato at the LSE

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Heisenderp

By Dan Kervick

The Bitcoin phenomenon has always been an interesting concoction: part radical libertarian currency scheme inspired by the anti-government monetary musings of Ron Paul and Austrian school of economics; part black market drug exchange empowered by a hackertopian computer architecture providing anonymity to its aliased participants; and part speculative Ponzi-scheme-in-the-making based on a strange built-in deflationary coding that seems designed to make its early adopters filthy rich – if they can somehow succeed in getting enough other suckers Bitcoin enthusiasts to buy in.

The speculative dimension of Bitcoin has sometimes crashed up against its alt-monetary aspirations in comical ways, as was noted earlier today by John Carney:

But now Bitcoin has really broken bad in a whole new direction, as federal prosecutors have indicted one of the Bitcoin marketplace’s star performers for a variety of crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder.  The FBI claims to have unmasked and apprehended the man behind the Bitcoin-powered online drug market Silk Road.  His name is Ross William Ulbricht, and the charges are rather amazing:

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Stephanie Kelton Interviews L. Randall Wray on Monetary Policy and the Economics of Retirement Security

By Dan Kervick

Stephanie Kelton interviews L. Randall Wray in the excellent new podcast series from New Economic Perspectives.  The initial part of their discussion deals with the Fed, the “taper” and the inadequacies of monetary policy in dealing with the problems of unemployment and aggregate demand shortfalls. They then turn to a lengthy discussion of the three legs of the stool for retirement security: pensions, private savings and Social Security. Wray makes the point that defined-benefit pension programs have become decreasingly viable as developed economies have changed demographically, and that private savings were devastated by the 2008 financial meltdown and remain at risk as the potential for further financial crises looms. That leaves Social Security, which is under political attack in Washington by the likes of Pete Peterson and his acolytes in both parties.

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Three Pillars of Democratic Empowerment

By Dan Kervick

Brad Delong recently presented what he impishly called ‘The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Equitable Growth’.  For me, DeLong’s list is a mixed bag.  But there are a few items on the list I would unreservedly endorse.  One is his second virtue:

2. Invest. Invest in ideas, in equipment capital, in structures capital, in education: we need more of all forms of investment. Boost public and private investment: we need both kinds.

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The Case against Summers: Much More Obvious than Critics Are Making It

By Dan Kervick

Various types of backlash appear to be growing against Lawrence Summers in the political fight over who should be the next chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.  Josh Barro reports on a research note from BNP Paribas saying that “if President Obama picks Larry Summers as the next Federal Reserve Chairman, he will do serious harm to the U.S. economy.” Binyamin Applebaum develops similar themes in the New York Times.  And Paul Krugman worries that a Summers appointment won’t produce enough media shock and awe to signal a “regime shift” and awaken the confidence fairies from their slumbers.

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Sumner’s Cold Potatoes

By Dan Kervick

Scott Sumner attempts to explain the so-called “hot potato effect” which has played such an important role in the theories and policy recommendations of the Market Monetarists.  But the explanation contains two weaknesses.  The first weakness is a muddle of inapt metaphors which seem to run together the concepts of diminishing marginal value and negative marginal value.  The second weakness is more serious: Sumner and company refuse to take cognizance of the important institutional differences between the banking sector – an unusual and limited sector of the economy where only money and money-denominated financial assets are traded – and all of the other sectors of the economy where money is exchanged for everything else that can be bought and sold.  As a result they seem to be incapable of distinguishing between realistic changes in the central bank’s patterns of doing business with the financial sector and imaginary changes in the central bank’s pattern of doing business with the rest of the world.  And they mistakenly conclude that central bank statements about the former should have a major impact on beliefs about the latter.

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