economics

economics


Are Human Beings Selfish?

are human beings selfish? October 23rd, 2019

I thought about the question, Are human beings selfish?, when I received this snippet of an article from a friend: “Advocates of capitalism understand, as the classical economists understood centuries ago, that government and social institutions must be designed for the human beings that actually exist — callous self-interest and all.” That thought, from The Mises Institute, a capitalistic/libertarian think tank, is making a fair point that can be examined to see how fully and completely true it is. That is what I will do in this blog. As a sneak peek, my answer to the question, Are human beings selfish? will be “Yes, to some degree, but not to the exclusion of all other high values.”

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Progressive Politics: Government Reform and Rehabilitation

progressive politics June 29th, 2019

This blog is a defense of progressive politics. A writer named William L. Anderson criticizes progressives as bad governors in a piece, “Why Progressives Are So Bad at Governing.” The noted economist and author Paul Krugman leads off my rebuttal, saying, essentially, that conservatives are not that great with governance, either. Indeed, ever since the ancient Greeks, people have been considering at least three main issues: the problem of knowledge, the problem of conduct, and the problem of governance. If Americans aren’t getting it right, it says much about our political system, but it also speaks to fundamental challenges and liabilities inherent in the human species as they try to organize and get along. I make some points and then share some quotations about progressive politics to bolster my position.

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Economic Inequality and Political Polarization

inequality November 3rd, 2018

The following is a brief piece written by New York Times columnist, David Leonhardt. In it, he asks the question, Race, class or both? He is referring to whether the 2016 election was in large part won by Donald Trump due to Americans’ racism (the white people, that is) or economic insecurity/economic inequality. It is an interesting summary, and it is recommended that the interested reader follow the links herein to the New York Times to read more. I also include a dozen interesting quotes about economics, capitalism, economic justice, and income inequality by scholar and author Steven Pearlstein.

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Quotes About Fiscal Responsibility and Integrity

fiscal responsibility August 31st, 2018

I am going to attempt to demonstrate in this blog that Republicans have not been, at least in my lifetime, the Party of fiscal responsibility. This has a substantial affect on our finances and our lives. To some degree, Dems in Congress have in times-past been kinda spendy and porky. But it seems inarguable to me that Republicans in Congress and in the White House do not have fiscal integrity (or the peoples’ best interests at heart). In general, Republican politicians talk a good game, but when it comes to fiscal responsibility and integrity, they tend to cut taxes and increase spending. It has resulted in over $21,000,000,000,000 of debt. Red state Trump backers need to know that the GOP is not the party of the working class and that it cannot go on unchecked. 

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A Case for Socialism in Modern America

socialism August 9th, 2018

There are few topics in the United States that get beat down like a hammer pounding a nail into a board than socialism. It’s as if the very word is a curse or slander of something dear to you. One hears: “Socialism in the US, I’d rather DIE first!”; “You’re a Socialist?? then go live somewhere where you’re wanted!”; “Creeping Socialism is like weeds in a garden; once it gets started, it spreads everywhere!” In this guest blog, economist and author Carl Conrad opines on what socialism is, what it isn’t, and why it is a necessary and useful bulwark against runaway capitalism.

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Philosophical Fundamentals: Marxism

Marxism July 24th, 2018

Marxism is a philosophical, political and social movement derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1829 – 1895) in the second half of the 19th Century. It is a theoretical-practical framework based on the analysis of “the conflicts between the powerful and the subjugated” with working-class self-emancipation as its goal. It promotes a pure form of Socialism and provides the intellectual base for various subsequent forms of Communism. According

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Social Criticism and Unvarnished Truth

social criticism June 17th, 2018

I sometimes get a bit of pushback or disapproval from a friend who finds me to be too critical, perfectionistic, negative, and judgmental about politics, economics, and America in general. He tells me to relax, and de-focus, because a) life sucks when you are in a dark place, and b) America is and always has been mostly good. In other words, he is saying that yes, we have our problems here, but why dwell on those; there are so many positive and just and progressive and hopeful things about this country that could just as easily be considered. That’s fair enough, as far as it goes. This blog is about social criticism and the spirit of American political liberalism/progressivism. From the Vietnam War era “love it or leave it!” to culture warrior Ann Coulter’s belief that liberals are cowardly foolish traitors to America, the question is whether America is above reproach, or rightfully deserves a cold, hard look (as always, for the purposes of making this country better). My belief is not simply that “We are the best country in the world!” but rather We have more potential than any nation in history, so why are we so unimpressively selfish, ignorant, reckless, warlike, materialistic, distractible, misled, and tribal?

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Income Inequality: Right or Wrong?

income inequality May 1st, 2018

Thomas Piketty, a French economist, made a big splash in 2014 with his book Capital in the 21st Century. It piqued my interest in regard to social justice. Specifically, social mobility, status quo, and economic freedom. I believe that America has a serious issue with wealth inequality, and income inequality, and has for quite some time. We are now less of a socially-mobile society than many countries in Europe are. Cross that with some of the standard of living/life satisfaction measures in which Europe and a few other countries do well, and you have a fairly grim assessment of the United States. Here are some thoughts on income inequality by Thomas Piketty.

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Robert Reich is Optimistic About America

Robert Reich March 26th, 2018

Liberal luminary, UC-Berkeley professor, author, former Secretary of Labor, and on and on, Robert Reich, put out a new book named The Common Good. I am very interested based on the title and the promotional wording. In this blog, I share a bit about it, but more importantly I share some thoughts Reich has about why he is optimistic about America’s future. Optimism is not a feeling/stance I can get to every day in these times, but let’s see what case he can make.

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Liberals Are the Heart of the American Republic

liberalism February 25th, 2018

Liberals are the heart of the American republic. At least in my opinion. I think evidence can be found for why the spirit of liberalism in its classical sense imbued the Declaration of Independence and Constitution with something that was missing from hereditary aristocracies of Europe. As well, much or all of the social progress that has occurred since the country’s inception has been due to the liberal impulse to improve conditions, make everyone more truly equal before the law, and rein in the abuses of government and corporations to improve the lives of people. It’s people-power, really. Yes, Democrats have sullied the sterling image of true liberalism, but progressive causes have never been about one political party (evidenced by the massive movement undergirding the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in recent years). One of clearest examples of why we’re liberals was penned by author Eric Alterman, Ph.D. in a book that is, not coincidentally, entitled Why We’re Liberals. In this blog I share a bit of background about liberalism, progressivism, and the like, and use a hundred or so Eric Alterman quotes to illustrate what I think is best about the book and, therefore, most consistent with the wonderful philosophical, political, and economic phenomenon called liberalism. Enjoy. And buy the book.

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