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

Misunderstanding of Climate Change and Why it Matters: The Energy Price Spike

Misunderstanding of Climate Change and Why it Matters: The Energy Price Spike The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a spike in oil and gas prices worldwide.  A natural response is for countries with untapped reserves to expand production as quickly as possible, but doesn’t this contradict the pledges they have also made to combat […]

Monetary Sovereignty, Sanctions and Russian Economic Policy

Monetary Sovereignty, Sanctions and Russian Economic Policy The central role of economic sanctions in the US/EU strategy against Russia has returned international political economy to the center stage if it had ever left it.  Here are some thoughts occasioned by Adam Tooze’s interesting analysis of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as perceived by the Russian economic policy apparatus, […]

In Defense of National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor*

In Defense of National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor*, Econospeak, Peter Dorman On January 13, the US Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3, blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.  The policy took the form of an emergency OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standard and would have required all firms with […]

A Racist Screed in the New York Times

Peter Dorman, Econospeak, A Racist Screed in the New York Times Really bad, misguided, even malicious writing serves a purpose, showing in extreme form the faults that, more subtly expressed, can pass under the radar.  That’s my reaction to this execrable column from today’s New York Times on the violation the author felt when her front lawn […]

The Rittenhouse Verdict and the Future of Vigilante Violence

The Rittenhouse Verdict and the Future of Vigilante Violence There are typically two levels in a case like Rittenhouse’s, the individual issues of justice and accountability, and the social implications of the crime and its judicial resolution.  I want to spend a moment with the second. America faces an impending crisis of vigilante suppression of […]

Anti-Racism and Democracy in Our Schools

Anti-Racism and Democracy in Our Schools  It’s generally conceded that Terry McAuliffe’s statement “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” was a big blunder that contributed to his defeat last week.  The context was a debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, who had used his party’s playbook on Critical […]

Money Illusion in the Twenty-First Century

Money Illusion in the Twenty-First Century The starting point for any consideration of inflation is that wages (and interest, profits, and rents) are prices.  Every transaction has two sides, and one person’s price is another’s income.  In the aggregate, leaving aside international complications, inflation can’t have either a negative or positive effect on aggregate real […]

Norway’s Climate Dilemma

Norway’s Climate Dilemma Carlos Joly, a finance-and-climate consultant, has a piece today on the upcoming election in Norway, one of the world’s major exporters of oil and gas.  To its credit, Norway puts its earnings in a fund to support future generations after its deposits are exhausted, known to economists as the Hartwick Rule.  That’s great for […]

Spending and Producing

Spending and Producing When a framing becomes ubiquitous you forget it’s a framing.  This is what popped into my head when I read a headline this morning about the infrastructure bills pending in Congress: Democrats Hit the Road to Sell Big Spending Bills as Republicans Attack. Yes, they are proposals to spend money; that’s one way to look […]

Analytical Bias

Analytical Bias The world is made up of systems.  Our body is a system, or in fact a system of systems.  What we call “society” is another system of systems, as is the natural environment.  And all these meta-systems are themselves elements in even more encompassing systems that interconnect them.   But these systems are very […]