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

John Galt, "Genocidal Prick"

John Scalzi: …in Ayn Rand’s world, a man who self-righteously instigates the collapse of society, thereby inevitably killing millions if not billions of people, is portrayed as a messiah figure rather than as a genocidal prick, which is what he’d be anywhere else. Yes, he’s a genocidal prick with excellent engineering skills. Good for him. […]

Incarceration and Unemployment: U.S. and Europe

Ever since Bryan offered this bet on future unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, I’ve been wondering: how do incarceration rates affect those numbers? Europe has consistently higher unemployment than the U.S., but the U.S. has far and away the highest incarceration rate in the world — .75% of the population. (World Prison Population […]

An MMT Thought Experiment: The Arithmetic and Political Mechanics of Net Financial Assets

Imagine that over the next week (in a closed American economy — the rest of the world has never existed) everyone sold all their financial assets, paid off all their debts, and deposited the remaining money (and any currency they have) in their checking accounts. No money-market funds, even. Just banks with reserve accounts at […]

The Most Important Econoblog Post This Year: The Steve Keen/MMT Convergence

Neil Wilson has done yeoman’s duty to (perhaps) achieve a convergence that has been too-long delayed. A Double Entry View on the Keen Circuit Model. Steve Keen is, to my knowledge, the only person who is actually encoding a Godley-esque, MMT-style, accounting-based, stock-flow-consistent dynamic simulation model of how economies work. But many MMTers have been […]

The Upper Bound in the Fed’s Head: Inflation

Continuing with one of my current hobbyhorses: Ryan Avent reports on the American Economic Association meeting, with special attention to a presentation by Robert Hall: Monetary policy: The zero lower bound in our minds | The Economist. Mr Hall argued that: A little more inflation would have a hugely beneficial impact on labour markets, And […]

Answers: Taking IOR to Zero

I want to thank all the commenters on my last post — at Angry Bear, at Asymptosis, and at Mike Norman’s blog. You’ve provided me with exactly the education I hoped to achieve. Here’s hoping others benefited similarly. I asked: what would happen if the the Fed cut the interest rate on reserves from its […]

Question for Market Monetarists and MMTers: What Happens if IOR Goes to Zero?

For the non-cognoscenti: “IOR” is interest on reserves. Banks keep money in their accounts at the Fed. In October, 2008 the Fed started paying .25% interest on those accounts. The Fed’s also engaged in “quantitative easing,” a.k.a. open-market purchases on steroids, creating new money and using it to buy $1.6 trillion dollars worth of bonds […]

Menzie Chinn Explains it All for You: Demand Inflation Now!

Whether it’s Market Monetarist NGDP targeting (a.k.a. Damn The Inflation Rate; We Need Growth!) or Menzie’s recommendation of Conditional Inflation Targeting with a notably higher target, everything tells us that somewhat higher inflation is the current path to greater and more widespread long-term prosperity. Raising the expected inflation rate will lower real interest rates and […]

The Great Ricardian Equivalence Debate of 2011: Do Mainstream Economists Agree on Anything?

Krugman started it, in response to Lucas. Everyone piles on. Plutocracy Files has the list of links. (Plus don’t miss Nick Rowe’s, which includes a long comment thread.) Here’s what wows me: all these world-classical economists are accusing each other of contradicting “textbook economics,” and circling through extraordinary contortions in their efforts to reconcile that school […]