Is plutocracy really the problem?

WHY did the policy response to the Great Recession only partly reflect the lessons learned from the Great Depression?


How the US might go about tackling the rise of China

IN a recent issue of The New York Review of Books, the historian Adam Tooze notes that, "across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China". He's right: On this singular issue, the war hawks, liberal internationalists,...


The robo-apocalypse won't be in your lifetime

WILL the imminent "rise of the robots" threaten all future human employment? The most thoughtful discussion of that question can be found in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist David H Autor's 2015 paper, Why Are There Still so Many Jobs?, which considers the problem in the...


Moore's economic analysis has no basis in empirical reality

IN December 2015, the right-wing commentator Stephen Moore, US President Donald Trump's pick to fill a vacancy on the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors, savagely attacked then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, for maintaining loose monetary policies in the years...


The Fed should buy recession insurance

THE next global downturn may still be a little way off. The chances that the North Atlantic as a whole will be in recession a year from now have fallen to about one in four. German growth may well be positive this quarter, while China could rebound, too. And although US growth is definitely...


What will cause the next US recession?

OVER the past 40 years, the US economy has experienced four recessions. Among the four, only the extended downturn of 1979-1982 had a conventional cause. The US Federal Reserve thought that inflation was too high, so it hit the economy on the head with the brick of interest-rate hikes. As a...


The great American tax heist turns 1 amid wrong calls

IT has now been one year since US President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans rammed their massive corporate tax cut through Congress.

Decline of the West: Economists should have sounded the alert sooner

NOW that we are witnessing what looks like the historic decline of the West, it is worth asking what role economists might have played in the disasters of the past decade.


Making sense of self-fulfilling financial crises

THE 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession left the Global North 10 per cent poorer than it otherwise would have been, based on 2005 forecasts. For those hoping to understand this episode better, I have long recommended four books in particular - Manias, Panics and Crashes, by the 20th...


Climate change and its unintended consequences

SCARCELY had I begun my first lecture of the fall semester here at the University of California, Berkeley, when I realised that I was too hot. I desperately wanted to take off my professorial tweed jacket.