Showing posts from November, 2017

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"

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

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.