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Slow growth creates inequality or the other way around? August 26, 2012

Posted by Sverre in : Political economy , add a comment

Through the Twitter account of Gudmund Hernes, I became aware of a very interesting and thought provoking piece by Alexander Stille, based on the work of French economist Thomas Piketty. Titled “The heirs of inequality”, it highlights the connection between periods of slow growth and much economic inequality. Looking at the French economy from 1820 until today, and Scandinavian and American economies today, there appears to be a clear correlation. The causality is less clear. Does slow growth make for worse income distribution, does a poor income distribution slow growth, or are both effects reinforcing each other?

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Trade protectionism rising March 18, 2009

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The World Bank reports today that protectionism in the world is rising as a result of the current crisis. 17 of the G20 nations have enacted protectionist policies despite their pledge in the Washington action plan as recently as November 15 last year. Article 13 of the action plan states:

We underscore the critical importance of rejecting protectionism and not turning inward in times of financial uncertainty. In this regard, within the next 12 months, we will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.

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The finance crisis animated February 23, 2009

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Art student Jonathan Jarvis has made a brilliant graphic animation explaining the credit crisis in detail in the most simple and easy to understand way I have yet to see. This 11 minute video really nails the important basics and is just what you need for someone who struggles with understanding the who’s and why’s of the crisis. You can watch the YouTube version (in 2 parts) below, or go to http://crisisofcredit.com for the nicer HD version.

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Podcast review: Econtalk February 22, 2009

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podcastIn my quest to find good political science podcasts out there, I’ve now arrvied at the Library of Liberty and Economicspodcast series “Econtalk“. Like the previously reviewed LSE lectures, it’s a well established line with a lot of material from interesting speakers. There’s a lot of good material in there, although the style differs much from the lecture style of the LSE cast.

Econtalk is, like its name implies, talking on economics and related spheres – mostly political economy. If you regard the more policy-related parts of economics as being within the interest sphere of political science, there is an abundance of good material here. (more…)

The finance crisis: How can the US Congress do nothing? September 30, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , add a comment

The finance crisis certainly took a turn for the unexpected today when the US House of Representatives turned down the $700 billion rescue package proposed by president Bush. Of course it was controversial for USA to consider this in the first place, given that they have been the largest driving force in pushing the International Monetary Fund to try and discourage other governments from doing the same in times of crisis. Wall Street seems to have expected them to go through with it this time though, as the news brought the biggest plummet in stock prices in American history. So how could they possibly risk the crisis getting even worse?

There are a lot of different reasons, possibly as many as the 227 congressmen that voted against. Here are a few. Off the top of my head I’ll try to point to a few. (more…)