Articles & Blogs on Free Markets, Ethics and Well-being

Interesting posts and articles from around the web, collected in one place. Plus original content from our researchers and other contributors.

Marx and Modern Microeconomics

“Few economists doubt that Marx flunked economics, a judgement mostly based on his labour theory of value. But this column argues that Marx’s representation of the power relationship between capital and labour in the firm is an essential insight for understanding and improving modern capitalism. Indeed, this insight is incorporated into standard principal–agent models of labour and credit markets.”

How Much Is an Hour Worth? The War over the Minimum Wage

To dictate how much a company must pay its workers is to tinker with the beating heart of the employer-employee relationship, a central component of life under capitalism. This is why the dispute over these laws and their effects – which has raged for decades – is so acrimonious: it is ultimately a clash between competing visions of politics and economics.

Today’s Youth Reject Capitalism, But What Do They Want to Replace It With?

“Today’s youth are increasingly unhappy with the way their elders are running the world. growing numbers are rejecting capitalism. […] This led us – a sociologist and an economist – to wonder how would young people redesign the economic system if they could. The answer, based on recent surveys, should make any status-quo politician seriously rethink their economic policies.”

Why the Business Model of Social Media Giants like Facebook Is Incompatible with Human Rights

“Human rights abuses might be embedded in the business model that has evolved for social media companies in their second decade. Essentially, those models are based on the collection and use for marketing purposes of their users’ data. And the data they have is extraordinary in its profiling capacities, and in the consequent unprecedented knowledge base and potential power it grants to these private actors.”

Is the System Rigged? Adam Smith on Crony Capitalism, Its Causes—and Cures

“For Adam Smith, crony capitalism fails on two grounds: It is unjust, favoring a few at the expense of the many, and it is destructive of the desired end of political economy—economic growth. Smith’s writings are of great use today in their capacity to properly frame this problem, its causes, as well as solutions for preventing or mitigating the corruption of free markets.”

Why Not Nationalize Facebook?

“American antipathy to nationalization of course means that the U.S. is unlikely to consider seriously Facebook’s nationalization. That said, we all need to take seriously the danger of continuing to treat personal data as just another good to trade, and Facebook as just another company. Our societal well-being is too important to leave this problem to the whims of the market’s invisible hand.”

The Way Banks Are Organized Makes It Hard to Hold Directors and Executives Criminally Responsible

“The Financial Services Royal Commission has seen evidence that bank directors and executives deliberately put in place policies to ignore the law. But research suggests the very organisational structure of banks makes it difficult to hold directors and senior executives criminally responsible for systemic misconduct. The way corporations are arranged, how decision-making is delegated, and information is gathered and distributed, appears to fragment and diffuse individual responsibility.”

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