Articles & Blogs on the Ethics of Markets / Economics / Business

Companies’ Self-Regulation Doesn’t Have to Be Bad for the Public

“If Boeing is allowed to certify that a crash-prone aircraft is safe, and Facebook can violate users’ privacy expectations, should companies and industries ever be allowed to police themselves? The debate is heating up particularly in the U.S. tech sector with growing calls to regulate – or even break up – the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon. It turns out to be possible, at least sometimes, for companies and industries to govern themselves, while still protecting the public interest.”

The Right-Wing Case for Basic Income.

“In our current welfare system, there are a myriad of programs that each deal with a different aspect of life for the poor. One program provides food aid, another deals with housing (…). A large number of regulations, such as minimum wage laws, exist to help hold wages high enough to keep other working people off the welfare rolls. Friedman viewed this multitude of agencies as wasteful and suggested that a single program would do the same job with a smaller government by just giving cash to people who needed it. As a libertarian who placed a high value on the freedom of choice, he also suggested it was a much more dignified way of helping the poor than telling them what they could and could not do with the money we give them (…).”

What Lehman Brothers Tells Us About American Capitalism

” Lehman Brothers played a pivotal role in the 2008 financial crisis, but long before that it was at the center of an American economy that moved from slavery to industry to finance. In his English-language adaptation of Stefano Massini’s play The Lehman Trilogy—which just opened on London’s West End—Ben Power explores how an immigrant family’s tales of fortune and greed reveal the rot in our economic system. He talks about the play with our Economics Editor, Aaron Freedman.”

How Adam Smith Became a (Surprising) Hero to Conservative Economists

“Whatever your political leanings, one thing is clear: Smith speaks on both sides of a longstanding debate about the fundamental values of modern market-oriented society. But these arguments over Smith’s ideas and identity are not new. His complicated reputation today is the consequence of a long history of fighting to claim his intellectual authority.”

Five Myths about the Informal Economy That Need Debunking

“we often get asked about the ‘risks’ associated to informal economy. Doesn’t it lead to ‘losses’ for a society? Aren’t such workers ‘missing opportunities’? These questions reveal something else, however: that informality is often perceived negatively. As citizens and researchers we identified five myths we often hear on this topic.”

Are We Confusing Money with Well-being? New Zealand’s Leaders Believe So.

“Economists and politicians have traditionally focused on economic growth to set policy and measure how citizens fare. New Zealand has become the first country to put well-being, not growth or production, at the center of its economic policy. Calls for ‘purposeful capitalism’ are emerging in other countries, including the United States.”

Who Is Watching the Shadow Banks?

“Shadow banking refers to bank-like financial activities that do not fall under traditional regulations; they have been one of the root causes of the recent financial crisis. M. Thiemann identifies the structural causes for their rapid growth, and shows which institutional reforms could prevent the circumvention of regulations.”

The Search for an Alternative to GDP to Measure a Nation’s Progress – The New Zealand Experience

“There is consensus among New Zealand policymakers and researchers that GDP is not a good measure of a nation’s well-being. But the debate about what metric should replace GDP is ongoing. Last week’s [national] well-being budget was based on the Livings Standards Framework (LSF), a set of well-being measures that include cultural identity, environment, income and consumption, and social connections. But these provide no overall index of the nation’s performance. Our research uses the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). It shows that by that measure, New Zealand may be only half as well off, compared to conventional measures such as GDP.”

Coding Private Money

“The state has long used law to back private money—with dire consequences, then and now […] If there ever was a magic ingredient for seemingly making something from nothing, it is law. Law can transform a simple commitment into an enforceable claim. And with a few additional legal steroids that grant asset holders priority, durability, convertibility and universality, law can turn a simple asset into a capital asset, as I explain in my new book The Code of Capital.”

Work That Doesn’t Pay Off

“Free labour takes a wide variety of forms today: charity work, civic service, internships, digital labour… Taking as her starting point the teachings on domestic labour put forward by feminists many years ago, the sociologist Maud Simonet provides an updated analysis of these contemporary forms of exploitation.”

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