| Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Since I believe that the Scots are sensible, I think that they will vote “no” this week to independence. But, whichever way the vote goes, the spectacular rise of nationalism, in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, is a symptom of a diseased political mainstream.
Many are now convinced that the current way of organizing our affairs does not deserve such unquestioning allegiance; that the political system has closed down serious debate on economic and social alternatives; that banks and oligarchs rule; and that democracy is a sham. Nationalism promises an escape from the discipline of “sensible” alternatives that turn out to offer no alternative.
Nationalists can be divided into two main groups: those who genuinely believe thatContinue reading...
Endgame for Putin in Ukraine?
| Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Vladimir Putin may (or may not) enjoy 80% public support in Russia for his Ukraine policy; but it has become increasingly clear that he has bitten off more than he can chew. The question is: At what point will his position as President become untenable?
Leave to one side the moral and geopolitical background of the Ukraine imbroglio. Russians are justified, I believe, in their view that the West took advantage of Russia’s post-communist weakness to encroach on their country’s historic space. The Monroe Doctrine may be incompatible with contemporary international law; but all powers strong enough to enforce a strategic sphere of interest do so.
There is merit, I also believe, in Putin’s contention that a multipolar world is better thanContinue reading...
Europe’s Surplus of Stagnation
| Wednesday, July 23, 2014
While the rest of the world recovers from the Great Recession of 2008-2009, Europe is stagnating. Eurozone growth is expected to be 1.7% next year. What can be done about it?
One solution is a weaker euro. Earlier this month, the chief executive of Airbus called for drastic action to reduce the value of the euro against the dollar by about 10%, from a “crazy” $1.35 to between $1.20 and $1.25. The European Central Bank cut its deposit rates from 0 to -0.1%, effectively charging banks to keep money at the Central Bank. But these measures had little effect on foreign-exchange markets.
That is mainly because nothing is being done to boost aggregate demand. The United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan all increased their money supplyContinue reading...
Brad DeLong has published an interesting comment on my Project Syndicate piece, 'Post-Crash Economics', giving his perspective on economics degree teaching.
Available on the Washington Center for Equitable Growth blog:
| Thursday, June 19, 2014
In last month’s European Parliament election, euroskeptic and extremist parties won 25% of the popular vote, with the biggest gains chalked up in France, the United Kingdom, and Greece. These results were widely, and correctly, interpreted as showing the degree of disconnect between an arrogant European elite and ordinary citizens.
Less noticed, because less obviously political, are today’s intellectual rumblings, of which French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a withering indictment of growing inequality, is the latest manifestation. We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the neoliberal capitalist consensus that has prevailed throughout the West since the 1980s – and that many claim led to theContinue reading...