Le capitalisme spéculatif

13 Nov, 2019 at 16:38 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment

XVMbbe69224-f002-11e9-a9f6-f6c7705c84d7-240x320Il n’y a pas de «solution» aux difficultés que pose le capitalisme spéculatif. L’Ecole de Palo Alto a montré qu’on ne peut trouver de réponse à un problème en raisonnant dans le cadre qu’il dessine. Comme le capitalisme contemporain se nourrit d’une infinie spéculation sur les promesses de l’avenir, ce n’est pas en formulant de nouvelles promesses qu’on échappera à sa logique. Même «alternatives», elles entretiendront les mêmes chimères.

La seule façon de sortir de labyrinthe, c’est de prendre conscience qu’on n’y est pas réellement. L’esprit du capitalisme spéculatif est malin quand il nous fait croire que notre vie matérielle, ici et maintenant, se réduit au récit qu’il compose. Or, au quotidien, nous expérimentons aussi l’amitié, l’échange gratuit, la solidarité, le désir du travail bien fait, le goût de l’utile ou le besoin de justice. Ces expériences nécessaires au fonctionnement effectif des sociétés et des économies échappent aux escalades spéculatives. Pour ne pas être emportés par les illusions, plutôt que de promettre un monde nouveau, il nous faut nous enraciner dans la vie matérielle, seule réalité sur laquelle fonder y compris des analyses économiques qui ne soient pas trompeuses.

Pierre-Yves Gomez/Alternatives Economiques

Sie brauchen keinen Führer

13 Nov, 2019 at 15:03 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

Erstmals in der Geschichte des Bundestages hat ein Ausschuss seinen Vorsitzenden des Amtes enthoben, nach Verlesen eines mehrseitigen Antrags aller anderen Fraktionen, nach kurzer juristischer Gegenrede der AfD …

Jüngster Anlass war ein Tweet, in dem Brandner dem Musiker Udo Lindenberg indirekt vorwarf, das Bundesverdienstkreuz als “Judaslohn” für seine scharfe Kritik an der AfD erhalten zu haben – Lindenberg, ein Verräter also. Das sei antisemitisch, lautete zudem der Vorwurf aus anderen Parteien.

Die Zeit

 

On limits of the system — Keynes and Marx

13 Nov, 2019 at 10:41 | Posted in Economics | 12 Comments

 

Austerity delusions

12 Nov, 2019 at 21:05 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

7ti40If failing to understand some basic Keynes­ian relations is a part of the explanation of what happened, there was also another, and more subtle, story behind the confounded economics of austerity. There was an odd confusion in policy thinking between the real need for institutional reform in Europe and the imagined need for austerity – two quite different things …

An analogy can help to make the point clearer: it is as if a person had asked for an antibiotic for his fever, and been given a mixed tablet with antibiotic and rat poison. You cannot have the antibiotic without also having the rat poison. We were in effect being told that if you want economic reform then you must also have, along with it, economic austerity, although there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why the two must be put together as a chemical compound.

Amartya Sen

austerity22We are not going to get out of the present economic doldrums as long as we continue to be obsessed with the insane idea that austerity is the universal medicine. When an economy is already hanging on the ropes, you can’t just cut government spendings. Cutting government expenditures reduces the aggregate demand. Lower aggregate demand means lower tax revenues. Lower tax revenues means increased deficits — and calls for even more austerity. And so on, and so on.

Why do I blog?

12 Nov, 2019 at 12:35 | Posted in Varia | 5 Comments

Knowledge-is-worth

Fictional expectations

11 Nov, 2019 at 17:41 | Posted in Economics | 4 Comments

blFundamental uncertainty due to unknown and unknowable future events prevents rational calculations from accurately anticipating the future. This implies that the expectations that intentionally rational actors hold are not of the kind assumed by rational expectations theory. The proposition developed in the paper states instead that expectations are fictional in the sense that they are based on pretensions of future states of the world.

Understanding decision processes based on the concept of fictionality points to a non-teleological theory of action that brings the creativity of actors and the contingency of the future into the foreground. The goal is not to develop a more accurate theory of prediction but rather a theory of the unpredictability of the world and of how intentionality unfolds despite this unpredictability of outcomes. The fiction-ability of humans allows for the imaginative representation of future states of the world in the mind and the imagining of decisions of other actors … It brings to the fore the role of images of the future for the understanding of the present and thereby departs from theories in the social sciences that see the present as being shaped through the past.

Jens Beckert

Demand effects in the long run

11 Nov, 2019 at 11:56 | Posted in Economics | Leave a comment

In the standard mainstream economic analysis — take a quick look in e.g. Mankiw’s or Krugman’s textbooks — a demand expansion may very well raise measured productivity in the short run. But in the long run, expansionary demand policy measures cannot lead to sustained higher productivity and output levels.

verdoIn some non-standard heterodox analyses, however, labour productivity growth is often described as a function of output growth. The rate of technical progress varies directly with the rate of growth according to the Verdoorn law. Growth and productivity are in this view highly demand-determined, not only in the short run but also in the long run.

Given that the Verdoorn law is operative, expansionary economic policies actually may lead to increases in productivity and growth. Living in a world permeated by genuine Keynes-type uncertainty, we can, of course, not with any greater precision forecast how great those effects would be.

So, the nodal point is — has the Verdoorn Law been validated or not in empirical studies?

60274818There have been hundreds of studies that have tried to answer that question, and as could be imagined, the answers differ. The law has been investigated with different econometric methods (IV, ECM, cointegration, etc.). The statistical and econometric problems are enormous (especially when it comes to the question on the direction of causality). Given this, however, most studies on the country level do confirm that the Verdoorn law holds.

Conclusion: demand policy measures most probably have long-run effects.

Les garçons de la plage

11 Nov, 2019 at 11:41 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

 

Why the father of modern statistics — R A Fisher — denied smoking causes cancer

10 Nov, 2019 at 15:16 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | 2 Comments

In 1959, Fisher denounced his colleagues for manufacturing anti-smoking “propaganda” … He did not dispute that smoking and lung cancer tended to rise and fall together—that is, that they were correlated. But Hill and Doll and the entire British medical establishment had committed “an error … of an old kind, in arguing from correlation to causation,” he wrote in a letter to Nature

UnknownMost researchers had evaluated the association between smoking and cancer and concluded that the former caused the latter. But what if the opposite were true?

For a time, many of Fisher’s peers in academic statistics, including Jerzy Neyman, questioned the validity of a causal claim. But before long, the majority buckled under the weight of mounting evidence and overwhelming consensus …

In his review of the debate, the epidemiologist Paul Stolley lambasts Fisher for being “unwilling to seriously examine the data and to review all the evidence before him to try to reach a judicious conclusion.” According to Stolley, Fisher undermined Hill and Doll’s conclusions by cherry picking irregular findings and blowing them out of proportion … Others have offered less charitable interpretations … even [suggesting] that his skepticism had been bought. The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Committee had agreed to fund Fisher’s research into possible genetic causes of both smoking and lung cancer. And though it seems unlikely that a man who routinely insulted his peers and jeopardized his career in order to prove that he was right would sell his professional opinion at such an old age, some still regard him as doing so.

If Fisher wasn’t swayed by money, it seems more likely that he was influenced by politics.

Throughout his life, Fisher was an unflinching reactionary. In 1911, while studying at Cambridge, he helped found the university’s Eugenics Society. Though many well-educated English men of the day embraced this ideology, Fisher took to the issue with an unusual fervency. Throughout his career, he intermittently wrote papers on the subject. A particular concern of Fisher’s was that upper class families were having fewer children than their poorer and less educated counter-parts. At one point, he suggested that the government pay “intelligent” couples to procreate … These political leanings may have colored his views on smoking.

Ben Christopher/Priceonomics

Skärgård

9 Nov, 2019 at 15:52 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

Om_oss-Bild1Min landskapsupplevelse är starkast och rikast här, därför att den har djupa rötter i ständigt växande minnesavlagringar, rötter som når ner till barndomsupplevelsernas källvatten. Det enda verkligt nya man får uppleva som vuxen är kärleken. Allt annat som är värt ordet upplevelser är egentligen projektioner av de starka barndomsupplevelsens, de stora, utvidgande upptäckterna av världen och det egna jaget.

Sven Barthel/Roland Svensson

Raj Chetty — big data ‘solutions’ to poverty

9 Nov, 2019 at 14:31 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

Bws7vMhIIAAFK9RChetty’s pitch to the nation is that our problems have technocratic solutions, but at times I sense that he is avoiding an argument. Surely our neighborhoods can be improved, and those improvements can help the next generation achieve better outcomes. But what of the larger forces driving the enormous disparities in American wealth? Poor people would be better off if their children had better prospects, but also if they had more money—if the fruits of our society were shared more broadly. “I can take money from you and give it to me, and maybe that is good and maybe it is not,” he said. “I feel like there are a lot of people working on redistribution, and it is hard to figure out the right answer there.” To focus on the question of who gets what is also, of course, politically incendiary.

Chetty believes there is more progress to be made through a moral framing that is less partisan. “There are so many kids out there who could be doing so many great things, both for themselves and for the world,” he said. Chetty’s challenge to the system is measured and empirical; it’s one that billionaires and corporations can happily endorse. But his stance is also a simple matter of personality: Chetty is no agitator. He told me, “I like to find solutions that please everyone in the room, and this definitely has that feel.”

Gareth Cook / The Atlantic

I’m sure this guy will get the ‘Nobel prize’ in economics. I mean, arguing with tons of data that you basically solve the poverty problem by getting people to move into other and more prosperous neighbourhoods is indeed such a great scientific achievement …

9 November 1989

9 Nov, 2019 at 00:20 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

Prayer

9 Nov, 2019 at 00:13 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

 

Windswept

8 Nov, 2019 at 23:58 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

 

Why philosophy and methodology matter for economics

8 Nov, 2019 at 17:48 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment

A critique yours truly sometimes encounters is that as long as I cannot come up with some own alternative to the failing mainstream theory, I shouldn’t expect people to pay attention.

This is, however, to totally and utterly misunderstand the role of philosophy and methodology of economics!

As John Locke wrote in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding:

19557-004-21162361The Commonwealth of Learning is not at this time without Master-Builders, whose mighty Designs, in advancing the Sciences, will leave lasting Monuments to the Admiration of Posterity; But every one must not hope to be a Boyle, or a Sydenham; and in an Age that produces such Masters, as the Great-Huygenius, and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with some other of that Strain; ’tis Ambition enough to be employed as an Under-Labourer in clearing Ground a little, and removing some of the Rubbish, that lies in the way to Knowledge.

That’s what philosophy and methodology can contribute to economics — clearing obstacles to science by clarifying limits and consequences of choosing specific modelling strategies, assumptions, and ontologies.

respectEvery now and then I also get some upset comments from people wondering why I’m not always ‘respectful’ of people like Eugene Fama, Robert Lucas, Greg Mankiw, Paul Krugman, Simon Wren-Lewis, and others of the same ilk.

But sometimes it might actually, from a Lockean perspective, be quite appropriate to be disrespectful.

New Classical and ‘New Keynesian’ macroeconomics is rubbish that ‘lies in the way to Knowledge.’

And when New Classical and ‘New Keynesian’ economists resurrect fallacious ideas and theories that were proven wrong already in the 1930s, then I think a less respectful and more colourful language is called for.

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