Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Economics Doesn’t Have to Be Amoral

Steve Roth,  publisher of  Evonomics  and at Angry Bear,  sends this note and thematic list:

Economics Doesn’t Have to Be Amoral

The complexity economist Eric Beinhocker writes “economics has painted itself as a detached amoral science, but humans are moral creatures. We must bring morality back into the center of economics in order for people to relate to and trust it. All of the science shows that deeply ingrained, reciprocal moral behaviors are the glue that holds society together.” We evolved economic morality. It’s time to put it into practice!

Economists Forgot Smith and Darwin’s Message: Society Cannot Function Without Moral Bonds by Geoffrey Hodgson

What Is the Role of Morality in a Capitalist Economy? by Peter Turchin, Branko Milanovic, Herb Gintis, Robert Frank

It’s Time for New Economic Thinking Based on the Best Science Available, Not Ideology by Eric Beinhocker

Comments (5) | |

Economy’s Role

by Ken Melvin

Economy’s Role

Economy: An Economy is a social entity’s aggregate activity of producing and exchanging
goods and services. To date, a large body of knowledge about how economies work has been
accumulated; a body of knowledge known as the science of economics.

In a Well Functioning Economy, the requisite goods and services are efficiently produced and
equitably distributed whilst all the while giving utmost consideration to Human Welfare and to
the protection of the Natural Environment.

We study history so as to better understand and be able to cope with the present (now), and to be
better able to prepare for the future.

——-Past—————————————————–|Present|———Future——-

Looking to past economic models; from slavery, …, to feudalism, …, to mercantilism, …,
to colonialism,…, to capitalism, …; we see some slight evolution but more a continuum. In
succession, each model was a variation on the theme of its predecessor. In succession, those
who held the wealth and the reins of power were the greater beneficiaries of the economy.
It is easy enough to understand how it is that this was so.

Of these past models, Capitalism of a form is the one most akin our current economic model.
Reviewing our current economic model’s past, it functioned best for Americans from around 1946
to around 1972; a time when America was manufacturer to the world and her demand for labor
was high; a time before automation and offshoring. Even during those few best years, the model
gave but slight consideration to Human Welfare and the protection of the Natural Environment, …
economic model did not function very well before 1946; it has not adapted at all well to the
changes of the past 50 years.

Comments (1) | |

Weekly Indicators for May 11 – 15 at Seeking Alpha

 by New Deal democrat

Weekly Indicators for May 11 – 15 at Seeking Alpha

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha. Noteworthy this week is that mortgage rates have fallen to new all-time lows, and mortgage applications, not coincidentally, have rebounded sharply.

This is good news since housing normally leads the way in economic recoveries. This is an important positive for whenever the time comes that more normal life is able to safely resume.

As usual, clicking over and reading helps reward me a little bit for my efforts.

Comments (0) | |

The 75th Anniversary Of VE Day: Forgettable Or Boring?

(Dan here…better late than not)

by Barkley Rosser

The 75th Anniversary Of VE Day: Forgettable Or Boring?

My wife, Marina, as many of those reading this know, is from the Soviet Union, and takes extremely seriously the anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over Nazi Germany, which became official at 10:45 PM in Berlin on May 8, 1945, which was 12:15 May 9 Moscow time. So, while all of the rest of the world celebrates VE Day on May 8, now in Russia today is Victory Day, as it is called everywhere outside the US, although I just saw a clip from the day itself in London where Winston Churchill declared that what had happened was “Victory in Europe,” although while UK did play a minor role in subsequent events in the Pacific, aside from the US for the rest of the allies VE Day was simply Victory Day in Europe.

So, yesterday in UK there was a flyover of planes in celebration of this anniversary, somehow according to the radio report I heard putting out red, white, and blue colors in the  sky. Is this for the US helping out with D-Day? I do not know.  The only other public demo on May 8 I am aware of was Donald Trump meeting with some WW II vets, all reportedly over 95 years in age, with neither  him or any of them for the photo op wearing a face mask, despite the fact that the White House has suddenly become a new epicenter for the coronavirus.

The following nations have a public holiday for May 8 related to the victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in Europe: UK, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Martinique, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Gibralter, New Caledonia, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, which really boils down to three nations at the end of WW II, UK with some associates, France with a lot of associates, and then the former Czechoslovakia, now slit into two.  Non trivially, Ukraine today has May 8 not a public holiday, but it is a Day of Peace and Reconciliaton, which is supposed to be recognized.

Comments (3) | |

What to do About The Schools

by Ken Melvin
What to do About The Schools
There needs to be a plan in place that deals with: grade levels, Covid Virus testing, schedules, classroom size, in-school traffic flow patterns, staffing, transportation, …  The how and when are tied together.
And yes, all these are interconnected.
How to safely get 3,000 high school students to and from school; from class to class; to, into and out of classrooms; to, into and out of the cafeteria; …  while maintaining social distancing?
Class schedules, school hours, the school year, … these all involve time.  To allow for social distancing in the classroom, class size will need be cut in half.  More classes and more classrooms will be needed. Requiring perhaps more teachers, certainly more hours per day, per week.
To avoid jam-packed hallways, to achieve social distance spacing, class periods will need be staggered by groups.  Security will need be enhanced to enforce between class traffic rules, to eliminate wandering about during class, congregating in bathrooms, …
Now is the time to work out the kinks in online teaching.
Students and Teachers may need to wear masks.  Teachers make need to be miked.
All these things are more difficult in the lower grades, in the more troubled schools.
All these problems and more have to be dealt with in the context of pressure from parents to reopen schools and pandemic depleted state budgets.
Should schools be reopened?
Is any return to ‘normal’ delusional?

Comments (6) | |

Meanwhile the US Supreme Court is still working

Via Truthout is a reminder the US Supreme Court has rulings to make:

On May 12, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to rebuke or endorse Trump’s pretensions to monarchical grandeur when it hears oral arguments in three cases that have the potential to redefine the nature and scope of presidential power.

The cases before the court are Trump v. Mazars USA, LLPTrump v. Deutsche Bank AG; and Trump v. Vance. In the first two, the president is trying to block congressional subpoenas seeking access to his personal financial records. In the third, he’s asking the court to block a subpoena issued by a New York City grand jury, and to accord him unprecedented “absolute immunity” from state criminal investigations.

Comments (3) | |

WHAT THE TRUSTEES REPORT REALLY MEANS…REALLY “DOING THE MATH”

bu Dale Coberly

WHAT THE TRUSTEES REPORT REALLY MEANS

REALLY “DOING THE MATH”

[a few years ago the word “du jour” among journalists about SS was “it’s the math.” Of ourse none of them actually did the math.]

[note: i use the tax rate for each the worker and the employer because this is what the worker “sees” and it is what the employer sees. It is also the legally correct division. The Trustees Report usually combines the separate tax rates into one “combined” tax rate. So, where they say a 3% immediate and permanent increase, or an eventual increase of 4%, I say a 1.5% or 2% increase “each.” Debating which is “correct” is a waste of time: it is what it is.]

I wrote a recent post I called “What the Trustees Report Really says.” This post takes a little further look at the possible futures that can be mathematically deduced from the 2020 Report.

The 2020 Report says that Social Security is now not in “short range financial adequacy”. This means that ten years from now the Trust Fund will be less than the prudent reserve of one year’s full benefit payments. This is not an emergency, but it does mean the one tenth of one percent per year increase in the payroll tax, for each the worker and the employer, that would have avoided this projection will no longer work.

Comments (22) | |