Daily Archives: September 3, 2013

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.

Continue reading

The Only Way Forward: A Pedal-to-the-Metal Plan for Energy System Transformation – (Pt. 1 of 3)

By Michael Hoexter

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

The largest-scale, most important and time-sensitive challenge facing humanity is the climate crisis.  The capitalist industrial societies of the last two hundred years and the command-and-control industrial economies of mid-20th Century Communist regimes are and were both premised on the idea that the environment is an infinitely capacious dumping ground for the physical by-products of industrial production and consumption.  One class of those byproducts that was overlooked in the first waves of concern about the environment in the 1960’s and 70’s, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, has turned out to be the most potentially damaging in the longer term and among the most difficult to bring under control.  Continue reading

Maximizing aggregate utility: Good or bad?

By Glenn Stehle

Maximizing aggregate utility is the alpha and the omega of classical economics.  It’s all part and parcel of the larger Modernist project of crafting “a human science that will make us masters and possessors of nature” so that we can make our lives on this earth more secure and more comfortable (Michael Allen Gillespie, The Theological Origins of Modernity).   So who, we might ask, could be against this?

Continue reading

The New York Times is Wowed that Obama’s Six Rubinites Support Larry Summers

By William K. Black

The Obama administration, for reasons that pass all understanding, has been running a campaign of leaks disparaging one of Obama’s few senior female appointees, Janet Yellen.  Her high crimes include not being a protégée Bob Rubin and doing exceptionally well in economic forecasting.  Rubin wants the job of Fed Chair to go to his top protégée, Larry Summers.  Yellen, as Vice Chair of the Fed stands in the way of Rubin’s ambitions.  (Rubin is too toxic to take the Chair directly.)  The administration has been leaking primarily to the New York TimesBinyamin ApplebaumHis latest article contains this remarkable statement, without analysis.

Continue reading