Category Archives: Economics

Work is a false idol

Cassady Rosenblum writes: In China this April, a 31-year-old former factory worker named Luo Huazhong drew the curtains and crawled into bed. Then he posted a picture of himself there to the Chinese website Baidu along with a message: “Lying Flat Is Justice.” “Lying flat is my sophistic movement,” Mr. Luo wrote, tipping his hat… Read More »

From probable to possible: The ideas of Albert O Hirschman

Michele Alacevich writes: Like most disciplines, the field of development economics came into being not because of disinterested intellectual curiosity but rather due to pressing contemporary events. In the late 1960s, one prominent international civil servant and development economist reflected that: the cue to the continual reorientation of our work has normally come from the… Read More »

The looming stagflationary debt crisis

Nouriel Roubini writes: In April, I warned that today’s extremely loose monetary and fiscal policies, when combined with a number of negative supply shocks, could result in 1970s-style stagflation (high inflation alongside a recession). In fact, the risk today is even bigger than it was then. After all, debt ratios in advanced economies and most… Read More »

Warren Buffett and the myth of the ‘good billionaire’

Anand Giridharadas writes: Warren Buffett appears to be the safest kind of billionaire: the good kind. Mr. Buffett is neither Zuckerbergian messiah nor Musky provocateur, neither Bezosist space cadet nor Sacklerian undertaker. He is, or seems to be, quiet, humble, indifferent to money, philanthropic and critical of the system that allowed him to rise. Years… Read More »

Just In Time is now running late

The New York Times reports: In the story of how the modern world was constructed, Toyota stands out as the mastermind of a monumental advance in industrial efficiency. The Japanese automaker pioneered so-called Just In Time manufacturing, in which parts are delivered to factories right as they are required, minimizing the need to stockpile them.… Read More »

Covid pandemic: How rising inequalities unfolded and why we cannot afford to ignore it

Hyejin Kang/Shutterstock By Ian Goldin, University of Oxford Historian Walter Scheidel argues in The Great Leveler that pandemics are among the four great horsemen that, through history, have led to greater equality – the others being war, revolution and state failure. Economist Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century similarly points out that the… Read More »

Big Oil’s bad, bad day

Bill McKibben writes: In what may be the most cataclysmic day so far for the traditional fossil-fuel industry, a remarkable set of shareholder votes and court rulings have scrambled the future of three of the world’s largest oil companies. On Wednesday, a court in the Netherlands ordered Royal Dutch Shell to dramatically cut its emissions… Read More »

How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it

The Associated Press reports: Already battered by long shifts and high infection rates, essential workers struggling through the pandemic face another hazard of hard times: employers who steal their wages. When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. These businesses often pay less than the minimum wage, make employees… Read More »

Banks produce 700 times more greenhouse gas emissions from loans than offices

Bloomberg reports: It’s through their loan books and investment portfolios that banks and asset managers make their biggest contribution to climate change. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with financial institutions’ investing, lending and underwriting activities are more than 700 times higher, on average, than their direct emissions, according to a report published Wednesday by climate… Read More »

Why Bitcoin is bad for the environment

Elizabeth Kolbert writes: Money, it’s often said, is a shared fiction. I give you a slip of paper or, more likely these days, a piece of plastic. You hand me eggs or butter or a White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino, and we both walk away satisfied. With cryptocurrency, the arrangement is more like a shared metafiction,… Read More »