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

Reimagining Capitalism in the Shadow of the Pandemic

Reimagining Capitalism in the Shadow of the Pandemic

“While free markets are an unparalleled source of prosperity and freedom, the free market can only take us where we need to go if externalities such as carbon pollution are properly priced, if there is genuine freedom of opportunity, and if the rules of the game are such that competition is free and fair. Markets do not police themselves; they must be balanced by transparent, capable, democratically accountable governments.”

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction

“In The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham unpack the ‘how’ of the gig economy through quantative datasets and ethnographic vignettes from countries including the UK, Ghana, South Africa and India. As the study doubles up as a manifesto for the gig economy’s reconstruction, this is an important contribution to the existing literature that provides an excellent summary of existing research and builds on it using extensive fieldwork, writes Krishna Akhil Kumar Adavi.”

Jobs Crisis: The Case for a New Social Contract

Jobs Crisis: The Case for a New Social Contract

“COVID-19 has revealed the problems with this paradigm. In doing so, it has showcased the ‘real key workers’ keeping society functioning and supporting human life. What is now required is a new social contract with a moral purpose. It would be based around strengthening public services and other human necessities sometimes known as the foundational economy, while creating green jobs aimed at cutting carbon emissions.”

Economists versus Epidemiologists

Economists versus Epidemiologists

“This Paul Krugman column helped crystallize the weirdness of the ongoing economists versus epidemiologists spat, perhaps more accurately described as the ‘some economists, especially those with libertarian politics, versus epidemiologists spat.’ Different theories, in turn below the fold. […] (1) The theory that economists actually are superior […] (2) The theory that economists’ superiority is a sociological construct that economists desire to maintain. […] (3) The theory that economists and epidemiologists have different motivations or values. […] (4) The theory that epidemiology challenges the basic ideological presuppositions of (some) economists. This is what Paul’s column points toward”

Republicans Keep Flunking Microbe Economics

Republicans Keep Flunking Microbe Economics

“Econ 101 has lots of good things to say about free markets […], but no rational discussion of economics says that free markets, left to themselves, can solve the problem of ‘externalities’ — costs that individuals or businesses impose on others who have no say in the matter. […] Pollution is the classic example of an externality that requires government intervention, but spreading a dangerous virus poses exactly the same issues. Yet many conservatives seem unable or unwilling to grasp this simple point. And they seem equally unwilling to grasp a related point — that there are some things that must be supplied through public policy rather than individual initiative. And the most important of these ‘public goods’ is probably scientific knowledge,” so Paul Krugman argues

A Protestant Perspective on Privatization and Subsidiarity

A Protestant Perspective on Privatization and Subsidiarity

“There are diverse theories and accounts of subsidiarity, and they can often (although not always) be understood as complementary. In what follows, I will sketch a brief biblical and historical account of subsidiarity, with special attention to Protestant sources, before concluding with some thoughts about the significance of this teaching for political philosophy and public policy, particularly as it relates to the legitimate scope of government authority and action in areas including the provision of public goods, (de)regulation, and privatization.”

Impact Investing Won’t Save Capitalism

Impact Investing Won’t Save Capitalism

“if we really want to reform capitalism, then impact investing as it is traditionally conceived will not be enough. The pandemic is not a mere anomaly; there are profound limits to what business can do profitably in normal times too. We need to reform the rules that govern how our economy works — and impact investors have a critical role to play.”

The Return of the Labor Question

The Return of the Labor Question

“Has the pandemic brought the labor question back to life? It may not have achieved the salience of the public-health-in-the-time-of-pandemic question, but it’s surely the most prominent subset of it. The coronavirus has brought a new visibility to a huge share of America’s working class—treated as both essential and disposable—that was previously invisible to much of the nation’s political elite.”

Post-COVID Economics: Toward a Paradigm of Social Collaboration

Post-COVID Economics: Toward a Paradigm of Social Collaboration

“Unlike the economic crises of the past, ours is one predicated on trying to slow the spread of a virus — a goal that involved curtailing consumer spending on purpose, whether through individuals staying home or more institutional efforts to constrain ‘non-essential’ corners of the economy. Yet in terms of economic policy, the government’s response looks just as it did in the 2008 financial crisis, focused mostly on top-down tweaking and arbitrary juicing, while ignoring the range of bottom-up factors at play. As economist Arnold Kling explains at National Affairs, this growing disconnect only illuminates the need for a more general reckoning with how we think about the modern economy.”

Can We Create All the Money We Need?

Can We Create All the Money We Need?

“Many mainstream economists have backed away from the view that deficit-financed public spending is necessarily risky or counterproductive. Space has also opened in public debate for non-mainstream thinkers who argue full-throatedly for a bigger, more active public sector, freed from imaginary financial constraints. The most visible of these today is the school called Modern Money Theory or Modern Monetary Theory (both terms are used), or MMT. […] Stephanie Kelton is among the most prominent of the dozen or so economists associated with MMT. Her new book The Deficit Myth is intended to bring MMT to a broader audience. […] The policy conclusions are mostly convincing; the route by which they’re arrived at is less so.”

The Long Divorce Between the Economy and Financial Markets

The Long Divorce Between the Economy and Financial Markets

“In our new book, Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance, we document how the United States has been taken over by finance. We show that the rise of finance represents a paradigmatic, regressive shift in how American society organizes economic resources. In this process, financial markets have channeled tremendous resources to investors and the financial sector, divesting ordinary households and states.”

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