Posts

International Workshop on Demand-led Growth, Conflict Inflation, and Macro Policy

Image
At my alma mater the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), to be co-sponsored by the Review of Keynesian Economics (ROKE). Call for papers to come soon in this channel. Stay tuned.

The slow recovery in historical perspective: 10 years after the Great Recession

Image
It's hard to believe, but it has been almost a decade since the Great Recession. The official recession started in December 2017, but everybody remembers the collapse of Lehman in September of 2008. When you look at the recovery from the last recession in historical perspective, two things are clear. If you take GDP fall, or increase in unemployment, the Great Recession does not compare to the Great Depression, and that means that fiscal policy (automatic stabilizers and stimulus package) did work. The other is that 10 years into it, we are more or less were we where after 10 years of the Depression (which means the New Deal worked too, since the decline in GDP back then was much more pronounced, and recovery started in 1933).
But what I think is crucial, if one extends the historical data, is the effect of that crucial Keynesian experiment, World War II. Keynes was correct when he wrote in 1940 that: "It is, it seems, politically impossible for a capitalist democracy to org…

The Latin American Crisis

Image
Downhill
I have not written on the problems in the region for a while now (last stuff that is more comprehensive here in the talk at Keene, for example), in part, because the whole theme is a bit depressing (more recently the Honduras crisis, and the return of the right in Chile). As I have noted before, there is no doubt that the collapse of commodity prices has played a significant role in the downturn in the region, but it is also true that a lot of the problems are political in nature, and the resurgence of neoliberalism (with the support of the US, btw) has played a significant role too. In my view, the latter is far more relevant.

Two recent issues that I wanted to note, and that prompted my return to the issue of the crisis in the region. One is the downgrading of the Brazilian public debt by Standard & Poor's (I've written on credit rating agencies before here, and on the  previous downgrading of Brazil too). As I noted before, the Brazilian economy didn't face…

On mainstream Keynesianism

Image
Looking up to Galbraith
The ASSA Meeting was this last weekend in Philadelphia. It was the bomb... cyclone (Nate Cline's joke; I'm sure many others too came up with that one). I don't have much to report actually. I did participate in one section, and will post a link to a preliminary version of my paper soon. I was at the Economists for Peace and Security (EPS) dinner, that honored Jamie Galbraith. This blog was named Naked Keynesianism, as you may know, because years ago Fox News accused him of teaching naked Keynesianism, and I thought that was both funny and a reasonable name for the stuff I did.

Anwar Shaikh was at the dinner, and suggested that Jamie has one foot in each side of the heterodox/orthodox divide, as a result of his paternal influence (Richard Parker noted that as father/son duos come, the Galbraiths do much better than the Friedmans or Steins, and as well as the Gordons), and that for that reason at EPS (presided by Jamie for more than 20 years) we got a…

The IMF and fiscal policy

Image
This is a topic I discussed several times here (for example, here, here, here, here or here). Now there is a paper by Marc Lavoie (with co-author) in Intervention, on the same topic. The paper notes that: "There is a paper by Vernengo/Ford (2014) that covers some of the same ground. Their conclusion is that the 2008 crisis prompted only some cautious change in the views being entertained at the IMF" (my paper with Kirsten is here). Just to clarify, that's not exactly our point. The point we make is that while the research department has changed some of their views, without discarding the crucial concept of the natural rate of unemployment in their analytical framework, the policies pursued by the IMF changed very little indeed. So that there is a kind of double discourse. I referred to something like that within the mainstream of the profession as organized hypocrisy. Double discourse in theory, with no significant change in the theories that underlie the policy, and al…

Review of Shaikh's Capitalism

Image
woof, woof
I haven't posted in a while. As I noted before, it's harder to post new things after almost 7 years. Also, I've been both busy and not particularly fond of talking about economics (a certain degree of pessimism about the economy and the profession, I guess). But not yet ready to shut the blog down.

Anwar Shaikh was here at Bucknell and gave a lecture on his new book (Capitalism). Here a review by Susan K. Schroder, who was my micro TA back in graduate school a little more than 20 years ago.

"It has long been recognized that the state of economic theory, particularly modern macroeconomics, is in disarray. With the release of Capitalism: Competition, Conflict and Crises, Anwar Shaikh attempts to place the discipline on a more secure footing. Without doubt, this is a very large and complex book. This review essay hopes to assist readers in unlocking its insights.

Anwar Shaikh has been a Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research in New York fo…