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Hyperinflation and inequality

I'm still reading The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, which is fun, well-written and in my view less controversial than what most reviews have suggested. Yes, inequality tends to fall mostly by violent means during periods of crisis. Note, also, that Walter Scheidel uses in this book the concept of surplus, and as noted earlier here (or here and here) before is part of this broader group of social scientists that still use the concepts of the old and forgotten classical political economists. There are significant advantages to this approach (see here, for example).
Having said there is an issue that is a bit annoying in the book, which is it simplistic Monetarist view of hyperinflation. For example, he says about the two world wars and the inter-war period that:
“These gargantuan struggles were for the most part funded by borrowing, printing money, and collecting taxes. Borrowing variously translated to future …

More on "Why Latin American Nations Fail"

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Brief summary of the content of the book published in the newsletter of the World Economics Association.

Institutions are central to explaining the way in which, nations grow and develop. Traditionally the study of institutional economics focused on a very broad range of interests and made contributions in several different areas, including the structure of power relations, the beliefs systems, and also social norms of conduct. Contrarily the New Institutionalist turn in mainstream economics places the weight of its explanation on property rights.

Within the logical construct of neoclassical economic theory, the contribution of the New Institutional Economics is a necessity, basically because exchange and production in a market economy requires the prior definition of property rights (endowments and their distribution are part of the data jointly with technology and preferences that are needed to establish a market equilibrium). Because neoclassical theory is a-historical, the same fr…

Monitoring the evolution of Latin American economies using a flow-of-funds framework

New paper by Esteban Pérez. From the abstract:
Flow-of-funds accounting permit to monitor the financial sector in terms of flows and stocks and to analyze its relationship with the real sector. These show inter-sectoral financial flows, capture balance sheet positions and all financial transactions by instrument, type and economic sector. The construction of flow-of-funds accounts has been traditionally spearheaded by the central banks of developed nations including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. In spite of its usefulness, flow-of-funds accounting has not experienced a parallel development for developing countries including for those of Latin American, In order to start filling this gap we undertook the construction of a data base of flow-of-funds account matrices for six Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) that consider only flows for the period 1980-2015 using yearly and quarterly data when available…

The General Theory at 80: Reflections on the History and Enduring Relevance of Keynes’ Economics

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New paper by Tom Palley. From the abstract:
This paper reflects on the history and enduring relevance of Keynes’ economics. Keynes unleashed a devastating critique of classical macroeconomics and introduced a new replacement schema that defines macroeconomics. The success of the Keynesian revolution triggered a counter-revolution that restored the classical tradition and now enforces a renewed classical monopoly. That monopoly has provided the intellectual foundations for neoliberalism which has produced economic and political conditions echoing the 1930s. Openness to Keynesian ideas seems to fluctuate with conditions, and current conditions are conducive to revival of the Keynesian revolution. However, a revival will have to overcome the renewed classical monopoly.
Read full paper here.

Why Latin American Nations Fail

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Book has finally been published. I just got my copies. And yes it is a critique of New Institutionalist views and the title a play with Acemoglu and Robinson's book title. From the back cover.

"The question of development is a major topic in courses across the social sciences and history, particularly those focused on Latin America. Many scholars and instructors have tried to pinpoint, explain, and define the problem of underdevelopment in the region. With new ideas have come new strategies that by and large have failed to explain or reduce income disparity and relieve poverty in the region. Why Latin American Nations Fail brings together leading Latin Americanists from several disciplines to address the topic of how and why contemporary development strategies have failed to curb rampant poverty and underdevelopment throughout the region. Given the dramatic political turns in contemporary Latin America, this book offers a much-needed explanation and analysis of the…

The Passage of Time, Capital, and Investment in Traditional and in Recent Neoclassical Value Theory

New paper by Fabio Petri published inŒconomia. From the abstract:
With the shift from traditional analyses where capital is a single value factor of variable ‘form’ to the neo-Walrasian versions, general equilibrium theory has encountered new problems pointed out by P. Garegnani (1976, 1990): impermanence problem, price-change problem, substitutability problem radically question the right to consider neo-Walrasian equilibria as approximating the actual path of real economies. The paper briefly summarizes these problems and then concentrates on a fourth problem, the savings-investment problem, arguing that neo-Walrasian general equilibrium theory assumes that investment is adjusted to full-employment savings but cannot justify this assumption. The attempt to justify it in intertemporal general equilibrium through the tâtonnement is subjected to a new criticism: it is shown that the tâtonnement assumes Says’ Law all along the adjustments, and determines investment in a way …

On the jobs report at the Rick Smith Show

A bit old now. On the dismal report from the the first week of October, and Trumponomics in general.