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

Solow on Friedman’s 1968 Presidential Address and the Medium Run

Mark Thoma had this up on Facebook. and pulled this from Tim Taylor’s Conversable Economist. It is an interesting read.

“Fifty years ago in 1968, Milton Friedman’s Presidential Address to the American Economic Association set the stage for battles in macroeconomics that have continued ever since. The legacy of the talk has been important enough that in the Winter 2018 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, where I work as Managing Editor (Tim Taylor), we published a three-paper symposium on ‘Friedman’s Natural Rate Hypothesis After 50 Years.'”

What was the key insight or argument in Friedman’s 1968 address? Friedman offers a reminder that interest rates and unemployment rates are set by economic forces. Friedman uses this idea to build a distinction between the long-run and the short-run. In the short run, it is possible for a central bank like the Federal Reserve to influence interest rates and the unemployment rate. In the long run, there is a “natural” rate of interest and a “natural” rate of unemployment which is trying to emerge, gradually, over time from all the various forces in the economy.

The rest you can read for yourself at Tim’s site.

Tags: , , Comments (1) | |

“The Rivals: Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman arrive at the University of Chicago – in 1932”

The Rivals: Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman arrive at the University of Chicago – in 1932
A really important intellectual history of American Economics since 1932 from Economic Principals which self-describes as “A WEEKLY COLUMN ABOUT ECONOMICS AND POLITICS, FORMERLY OF THE BOSTON GLOBE, INDEPENDENT SINCE 2002, David Warsh, proprietor”

For those like me who are not professional economists it very helpfully puts all the major players into both institutional and intellectual context. Everybody who is anybody.

Tags: , , Comments (2) | |

Social Security and Me: Ayn Rand, the Four Freedoms, the Road to Serfdom and the Leninist Strategy

What the —! Well it occured to me, and not for the first time, that a lot of people really don’t understand my Social Security project and particularly what even some of my friends and allies think is a narrow focus on the nuts, bolts and numbers of Social Security financial reporting. It seems to them to often miss the point entirely. But there is method to my madness (although all madmen claim the same) although that method is based on an apparent paradox: the battle over Social Security is NOT about numbers and in most respects never has been. So why focus on them? And why set up a so-called game called ‘Total Security on Elsinore’ that seeks to abstract Social Security from all societal and economic context? Well the clues are in the post title and hopefully will be explicated below the fold.

But fair warning. There will be a lot about “Me” here. And for people who find me and my writing some combination of irritating, innumerate, illogical, intemperate, and worst of all interminable this probably isn’t the post for you. For others, friends, allies, and foes —–

Tags: , , , , Comments (72) | |

No laboring in economics

by: Divorced one like Bush
at the beach on vacation Ha!

Gee the economics profession is ignoring labor. I wonder why. Could it be who we follow? It’s not like we don’t quote old Adam often. Free market and ghost hand ideas are mentioned all the time as we follow Milton:

According to The Economist, Friedman “was the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it”.[2] Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan stated, “There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”[3]

I would add, a mind who focused on….wait for it…. MONEY.
“Monetarism is a school of economic thought concerning the determination of national income and monetary economics. It focuses on the supply of money in an economy as the primary means by which the rate of inflation is determined.”

In an interview at Right Wing News by John Hawkins (sorry no date)of The Man who is introduced thusly:

But I think the fact that Mr. Friedman finished in a tie for the 15 slot when RWN had conservative bloggers select, “The Greatest Figures Of The 20th Century” gives you some idea of Mr. Friedman’s stature.

we get responses to the questions by Mr Influence of the 20th century of:

From my point of view, we in the United States have gone overboard in respect to the extent of regulation and detailed control of labor standards, industry, and the like. It’s bad for us, but fortunately we had two hundred years of relatively free development to provide a strong basis to sustain the cost.

Well, they only consider half of the problem. If you move jobs overseas, it creates incomes and dollars overseas. What do they do with that dollar income? Sooner or later it will be used to purchase US goods and that produces jobs in the United States.

If the White House were under Bush, and House and Senate were under the Democrats, I do not believe there would be much spending.

How do you get them together by forming industrial cartels and keeping prices and wages up? That’s what Roosevelt’s policies in the New Deal amounted to. Essentially, increasing the role of government, enhancing the monopolistic position of labor, and creating as I said before the equivalent of price fixing cartels made things worse.

Well, who would provide the funds, the capital, and the entrepreneurship for the new industries? In a world in which there were no rich people, how would you have ever gotten the capital to produce steel mills or automobile plants? You can do it through the state, but the world tried that with the Soviet Union.

Well, Social Security is having a bad effect now through the tax system.

So we have a profession which followed a man whose focus was minimally on labor and by the above quotes maybe even condescending to labor as a factor in economics and wonder why the profession of this man has de-emphasized the subject? HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe the profession really only needs to follow one piece of advice from Mr. Milton:

John Hawkins: Are there any political websites you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Milton Friedman: No, I don’t really follow any political websites. I think they’ll do better reading theWealth of Nations (laughs)…

Ok, lets read the words of the originator of the ghost hand theory:

“Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniencies, and amusements of human life. But after the division of labour has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a very small part of these with which a man’s own labour can supply him. The far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase. The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.”[3]

If you will allow me, let’s put a picture to Mr Smith’s concept as it relates to why the economics profession needs to follow this one piece of Mr Influence’s advice.

Then there is this. And this as to why the economic profession needs to study this. Of course if the profession would just think about how the majority (like super duper majority) acquire their money, then maybe they would have not passed on this currently wide open, you can own it, make a name for your self aspect of money making.

Tags: , , Comments (0) | |