Trump-Style Policies Will Deepen the “American Carnage”

By Lance Taylor

President Trump, in his inaugural address and elsewhere, rightly says that over the decades since 1980 American household distributions of income and wealth became strikingly unequal. But if recent budget and legislative proposals from Trump and the House of Representatives come into effect, today’s distributional mess would become visibly worse.

First, I will sketch how the mess happened, then I will propose some ideas about how it might be cleaned up. I will show that even with lucky institutional changes and good policy, it would take several more decades to undo the “American carnage” that the president described.
Read full text here.

Post Keynesian Summer School in Toronto next week

Updated program below. I'll be discussing the history of central banks.

This is parallel to the HES conference.

On dependency theory

New ebook downloadable for free, titled Dialogues on Development, that was co-edited by Ingrid Kvangraven of the Developing Economics blog, has been published (h/t David Fields of URPE blog). These are interviews on dependency theory with Samir Amin, Patrick Bond, Miguel Angel Centeno, Peter Evans, Ramón Grosfoguel, among many others.

My interview, that starts in page 86, begins with this question:

To start with the most basic question, what is dependency theory?  There is no straightforward answer to this question, Vernengo notes. Although there are many studies that try to split the dependency tradition into specific schools, Vernengo tends not to regard these theoretical traditions as actual schools of thought. He prefers to broadly split them into Marxists and structuralists, and he believes that these traditions could be further split into four or five different approaches. However, Vernengo argues that also this categorisation is insufficient because even structuralists have ro…

On infrastructure at the Rick Smith Show

On the non existent infrastructure plan. I am a bit surprised that Trump cannot deliver on some of the basic promises of his supposedly populist campaign. He stopped TPP, and will derail new free trade agreements, but the GOP is so dysfunctional right now that they cannot pass a budget with a significant increase in infrastructure spending, to generate job growth. Btw, the defeat of Theresa May in the UK signals, at least to me, that left-wing populism, of the Corbyn-Sanders type, does work. But I digress. Slow posting will continue for a while. My apologies.

Internet and public investment in infrastructure

I've seen this graph in an interesting book by Jonathan Taplin (Move Fast and Break Things; highly recommend, btw) on how the big internet firms Google and Facebook essentially (but also Amazon) have become the new monopolies of our gilded age. He discusses mostly the effects on the entertainment business, but the implications are far-reaching of course. Below the share of fiber optics connections as a share of total broadband connections in OECD countries (Taplin uses this graph in the book).
Note that the US lags behind (I'm assuming things didn't change much since Dec. 2015). So here there would be a huge benefit from public investment in infrastructure. Not that I think this would happen any time soon.

Trump and the Neocons: Doing the Unilateralist Waltz

By Thomas I. Palley

Donald Trump’s first one hundred days have revealed his inclination for unilateralism in international relations. That inclination reflects his opportunistic and bullying disposition, and it also fits well with his anti-globalization pose.

Trump’s unilateralism has also spawned a dangerous waltz with Washington’s neocon establishment. The opportunistic Trump looks to gain establishment support, while the neocon establishment looks to the opportunist-in-chief to implement its own unilateralist view of the world.
Read rest here.

On Robotization and Unemployment at the Rick Smith Show

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Robots. The gist is that technological change is not the problem. Employment is pro-cyclical and pro-structural, for lack of a better word, it goes with the cycle and with the trend. The issue is the weakness of the working class bargaining power. We need regulation of corporate oligopolies, stronger unions, and a political system willing to require and fund social welfare. In that world, robots are not the cause of a dystopia.