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

The New Synthesis? Market Monetarists Meet New (and Post?) Keynesians on Helicopter Drops

A a year or so back I highlighted David Beckworth’s great post on Helicopter Drops. And the world’s best econoblogger, Steve Randy Waldman, did as well. (A “fantastic post,” he said.) I’ve been pinging ever since to see a response to that post from Market Monetarist opinion-leader Scott Sumner. (AS SRW said, what we’d gotten from him […]

Nassim Taleb: Two Myths About Rivalry, Scarcity, Competition, and Cooperation

I’m delighted to find that someone with the necessary statistical chops has answered a question I’ve been asking for a while: Have any of the 130+ evolution scientists who’ve savaged Wilson and Nowak’s Eusociality paper (and Wilson’s Social Conquest of Earth) gone deep into the maths of their model (laid out in their technical appendix)? I check […]

The Pernicious Prison of the Price Theory Paradigm

Steve Randy Waldman has utterly pre-empted the need for this post, cut to the core of the thing, in the opening line of his latest (collect the whole series!): When economics tried to put itself on a scientific basis by recasting utility in strictly ordinal terms, it threatened to perfect itself to uselessness.  But I’ll try […]

Wealth Is Not Capital: The Brilliant Seth Ackerman Explains It All 4 U

I’m stunned by how good the new Jacobin piece by Seth Ackerman is: “Piketty’s Fair-Weather Friends.” It gives what I find to be the best understanding so far of the whole Piketty “think space.” It’s so good that I can’t encapsulate it, so I’ll just share some of the passages I’m most taken with, with my […]

Has Tyler Cowen Updated His Priors on Wealth Concentration and Inequality?

Noah Smith has documented the “anti-Piketty crusade” by Tyler Cowen, Chairman and General Director of the Koch-brothers-funded Mercatus Center. (The post seems to have gone missing from Noah’s site [pourquoi?]; here’s Google’s cached version.) The latest from Cowen is here, joining in the right-wing chorus desperately trying to debunk the long and widely documented increase in wealth inequality (documented […]

We Have No Idea What Our Capital is Worth

That headline makes quite a statement. But it’s true. The stock of so-called “financial capital,” or wealth — all the financial assets out there, which are ultimately claims on real capital — represents only the most tenuous long-term approximation of what our real capital is worth. Certainly true: the stock (total dollar value) of “financial capital” goes up […]

(Modern) Monetarist Thoughts on Wealth and Spending: Volume or Velocity?

I’ve bruited the notion in the past that “money” should be technically defined, as a term of art, as “the exchange value embodied in financial assets.” In this definition, counterintuitively relative to the vernacular, dollar bills aren’t money. They’re embodiments of money, as are checking-account balances, stocks, bonds, etc. etc. Money and currency aren’t the […]