dunnettreader + plutocracy   42

Joseph Fishkin & Heather Gerken - The Future of the Party and Campaign Finance — A Response to Bob Bauer | Balkinization Sept 2015
The debate between Bob and us centers on a simple question: what happens if we fund the formal parties in the same way we fund the shadow parties (the Super PACs and 501(c)(4) and (c)(6) organizations)? Our worry is that if the formal parties’ financing is identical to that of the shadow parties’, this will gradually transform the formal parties into institutions that look more like the shadow parties—hierarchical, almost entirely beholden to big donors—thus seriously eroding what remains of a reasonably pluralistic party system. Bob’s worry, on the other side, is that if we don’t do something to level the playing field between the formal parties and shadow parties, the formal parties don’t have much of a future in politics.
Pocket  US_politics  parties  campaign_finance  plutocracy  parties-transmission_belts  political_participation  political_culture  from pocket
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Martin Albrow, review essay - Who Rules the Global Rule Makers? - Books & ideas - 3 November 2011
Reviewed: Tim Bütheand Walter Mattli, The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2011; and Vibert, Frank, Democracy and Dissent: The Challenge of International Rule Making, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 2011. -- Tags : democracy | globalisation | European Union | governance | United States of America -- Thirty years of misguided deregulation have brought us the 2008 collapse. Two books look at how we should create new rules democratically. While adopting widely different perspectives, both beg the same question: can rulemaking alone ensure the wellbeing of people in a global society? -- saved to Instapaper
books  reviews  21stC  globalization  global_governance  privatization  MNCs  IFIs  regulation  regulation-harmonization  regulation-enforcement  deregulation  capitalism-systemic_crisis  capital_flows  capital_markets  sovereignty  capitalism  democracy  democracy_deficit  political_participation  US_foreign_policy  US_economy  US_politics  market_fundamentalism  markets_in_everything  markets-failure  plutocracy  Instapaper 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
Paul Krugmam blog - Recent History in One Chart (Branko Milanovic global inequality trends) | NYTimes.com Jan 2015
A number of people have been putting up candidates for chart of the year. For me, the big chart of 2014 wasn’t actually from 2014 — it was from earlier work (pdf) by Branko Milanovic, which I somehow didn’t see until a few months ago. It shows income growth since 1988 by percentiles of the world income distribution (as opposed to national distributions): {chart} What you see is the surge by the global elite (the top 0.1, 0.01, etc. would be doing even better than his top 1), plus the dramatic rise of many but not all people in emerging markets. In between is what Branko suggests corresponds to the US lower-middle class, but what I’d say corresponds to advanced-country working classes in general, at least if you add post-2008 data with the effects of austerity. I’d call it the valley of despond, and I think it’s going to be a crucial factor in developments over the next few years.
economic_history  post-Cold_War  globalization  20thC  21stC  economic_growth  inequality  labor  wages  middle_class  OECD_economies  emerging_markets  LDCs  capital  profit  plutocracy  China  India  political_economy  poverty  stagnation  downloaded 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Bichler, Shimshon and Nitzan, Jonathan - The Asymptotes of Power - Real-World Economics Review. No. 60. June 2012. pp. 18-53 | bnarchives
Article workup of earlier conference paper -- This is the latest in a series of articles we have been writing on the current crisis. The purpose of our previous papers was to characterize the crisis. We claimed that it was a 'systemic crisis', and that capitalists were gripped by 'systemic fear'. In this article, we seek to explain why. The problem that capitalists face today, we argue, is not that their power has withered, but, on the contrary, that their power has increased. Indeed, not only has their power increased, it has increased by so much that it might be approaching its asymptote. And since capitalists look not backward to the past but forward to the future, they have good reason to fear that, from now on, the most likely trajectory of this power will be not up, but down. The paper begins by setting up our general framework and key concepts. It continues with a step-by-step deconstruction of key power processes in the United States, attempting to assess how close these processes are to their asymptotes. And it concludes with brief observations about what may lie ahead. -- Keywords: capitalization distribution power, systemic crisis -- Subjects: BN Money & Finance, BN Conflict & Violence, BN Distribution, BN Resistance, BN Power, BN Region - North America, BN Business Enterprise, BN Capital & Accumulation, BN Value & Price, BN Class, BN Crisis -- downloaded pdf to Note, also Excel data sheet
article  international_political_economy  capital_as_power  financial_system  international_finance  global_economy  global_system  ruling_class  transnational_elites  elite_culture  elites-self-destructive  globalization  power-asymmetric  Great_Recession  financial_crisis  finance_capital  financialization  distribution-income  distribution-wealth  profit  labor_share  risk-systemic  inequality  plutocracy  1-percent  conflict  violence  class_conflict  neoliberalism  corporate_citizenship  systems-complex_adaptive  systems_theory  grassroots  opposition  democracy  democracy_deficit  accumulation  capitalization  US_politics  US_economy  political_economy  political_culture  economic_culture  elites  rebellion  failed_states  property_rights  business-and-politics  business-norms  economic_growth  fear  data  capitalism-systemic_crisis  downloaded  EF-add 
october 2014 by dunnettreader
theAIRnet.org - Home
The Academic-Industry Research Network – theAIRnet – is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization devoted to the proposition that a sound understanding of the dynamics of industrial development requires collaboration between academic scholars and industry experts. We engage in up-to-date, in-depth, and incisive research and commentary on issues related to industrial innovation and economic development. Our goal is to understand the ways in which, through innovation, businesses and governments can contribute to equitable and stable economic growth – or what we call “sustainable prosperity”.
website  economic_growth  industry  technology  Innovation  green_economy  development  business  business-and-politics  capitalism  global_economy  public-private_partnerships  public_policy  public_health  public_goods  urban_development  health_care  IP  Labor_markets  wages  unemployment  education-training  sustainability  financial_system  corporate_citizenship  corporate_governance  corporate_finance  CSR  firms-theory  management  plutocracy  MNCs  international_political_economy  human_capital  OECD_economies  emerging_markets  supply_chains  R&D  common_good  1-percent  inequality  working_class  work-life_balance  workforce  regulation  regulation-harmonization  incentives  stagnation 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Squarely Rooted - I Wrote Way Too Much About “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” — Medium - July 2014
Very thought provoking re changes in the composition and returns to capital -- Depreciation is the great systemic regulator — absent productivity/technology growth, depreciation is an absolute limit on our ability to accumulate capital ad infinitum. Or is it? Depreciation is a law of the physical world, and therefore a limit on the accumulation of physical capital, which many people intensely associate with “capital” in their minds. But it is extremely important not to do so in this context, as Piketty uses capital synonymously with all wealth. And the nature of capital itself is changing What does this mean? It means that the focus on capital as stuff is fundamentally off-base — capital, at least as defined by Piketty, is at least to some degree detached from stuff. This makes more sense when you look at the Q-ratio of many of today’s most valuable firms [Apple et al]. These are all vastly above not just the current national average but the highest the national average has ever been, and by an astonishing amount. But investors believe that these tech companies, which have rapidly become a vast part of the economy, are worth way, way more than the sum of their parts. -- ... all these claims [against assets] are, on a fundamental level, determined by legal and political systems that are mutable by humans. They are not laws of nature. This is most clear in Piketty’s discussion of “Rhenish capitalism,” specifically in the curious phenomenon of the relatively-low levels of German capital relative to income - which vanishes when you compare book value instead of market value of capital - overwhelmingly a Tobin’s Q issue. -- Land, in fact, may be the key to explaining why the returns to capital decline much more slowly than models with traditional assumptions would predict. If you confuse “capital” as Piketty defines it with “machines,” even subconsciously, this would make much less sense. -- Oh, and one last thing — land doesn’t depreciate.
books  reviews  Piketty  economic_history  economic_theory  economic_models  economic_growth  investment  profit  capitalism  inequality  rentiers  landowners  capital  wealth  sovereign_wealth_funds  plutocracy  1-percent  capital_markets  investors  manufacturing  technology  EF-add 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Branko Milanovic - The Tale Of Two Middle Classes | Yale Global -July 2014
Far Right in Europe starting to agitate re middle class incomes in Asia growing vs stagnating or declining in West -- The rich have benefited immensely from globalization and they have keen interest in its continuation. But while their use of political power has enabled the continuation of globalization, it has also hollowed out national democracies and moved many countries closer to becoming plutocracies. Thus, the choice would seem either plutocracy and globalization – or populism and a halt to globalization. Another solution, one that involves neither populism nor plutocracy, would imply more substantial redistribution policies in the rich world. Some of the gains of the top 5 percent could go toward alleviating the anger of the lower- and middle-class rich world’s “losers.” These need not nor should be mere transfers of money from one group to another. Instead, money should come in the form of investments in public education, local infrastructure, housing and preventive health care. But the history of the last quarter century during which the top classes in the rich world have continually piled up larger and larger gains, all the while socially and mentally separating themselves from fellow citizens, does not bode well for that alternative.
international_political_economy  globalization  plutocracy  populism  right-wing  democracy  1-percent  public_goods  infrastructure  finance_capital  politics-and-money  OECD_economies  economic_growth  protectionism  trade-policy 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
"Reclaiming Egalitarianism in the Political Theory of Campaign Finance " by Frank Pasquale | 2008 University of Illinois Law Review 599
Keywords - campaign finance, egalitarianism, political theory, Rawls, deliberative democracy, politics -- Recent advocacy for campaign finance reform has been based on an ideal of the democratic process which is unrealistic and unhelpful. Scholars should instead return to its egalitarian roots. This article examines how deliberative democratic theory became the main justification for campaign finance reform. It exposes the shortcomings of this deliberativist detour and instead models campaign spending as an effort to commodify issue-salience. Given this dominant function of money in politics, a more effective paradigm for reform is equalizing influence. Advocates of campaign regulation should return to the original principles of reformers; not an idealized vision of the democratic process, but pragmatic concerns about moneyed interests acquiring too much influence over the nation's politics. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  political_philosophy  legal_theory  constitutionalism  democracy  political_participation  egalitarian  US_constitution  free_speech  plutocracy  interest_groups  legitimacy  campaign_finance  US_legal_system  SCOTUS  media  corruption  franchise  political_culture  political_economy  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
BofA Merrill Lynch Backs Piketty - Business Insider June 2014
Ajay Kapur and his team said this in a lengthy report titled, "Piketty and Plutonomy: The revenge of inequality," outlining the impacts of plutonomists, or the super rich, on investors. The skew toward the super-rich makes looking at averages an incomplete exercise: "When wealth and income are as concentrated as they are, and expected (a la Piketty) to get even more so, examining the 'average' consumer or 'average' investor makes little sense. Examining the fat tail – the behavior of the plutonomists, rather than that of the multitudinous many – is more advantageous to investors. Plutonomists determine and dominate spending and investment decisions and their magnitudes. Any analysis that does not tease out the skewed global income and wealth distribution, but focuses on the average is flawed from the start and is incomplete, as we step into its deeper extremes." "Economic and earnings surprises are linked to their behavior," they write. -- charts show the biggest wealth gains in US have been made mostly among the super rich. -- see Kapur papers from 2005 & 2006 on Plutonomy -- downloaded pdfs to Note
Piketty  US_economy  economic_history  economic_growth  economic_sociology  economic_culture  plutocracy  inequality  investment  investors  profit  finance_capital  wealth  downloaded  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
Riger Cohen - Capitalism Eating Its Children - NYTimes.com - May 2014
“Prosperity requires not just investment in economic capital, but investment in social capital,” Carney argues, having defined social capital as “the links, shared values and beliefs in a society which encourage individuals not only to take responsibility for themselves and their families but also to trust each other and work collaboratively to support each other.” A stirring through the hall, a focusing of gazes — Carney has the attention of the chief executives, bankers and investors gathered here for a conference on “Inclusive Capitalism.” His bluntness reflects the fact that, six years after the crisis, the core problem has not gone away: The deep unease and anger in developed countries about the ways globalization and technology magnify returns for the super-rich, operating in a world of low taxation and lax regulation where short-term gain becomes a guiding principle, even as societies become more unequal, offering diminished opportunities to the young, less community and a growing sense of unfairness.
finance_capital  Great_Recession  laisser-faire  social_capital  inequality  plutocracy  financial_regulation  capitalism 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Chris Dillow - Stumbling and Mumbling: Housing vs financial wealth - May 2014
Chris Giles deserves great credit for his careful scrutiny of Thomas Piketty's data, and Piketty also deserves credit for the openness of that data and for his generous response to Chris. Like Justin Wolfers and Paul Krugman, though, I wonder just how damaging Chris's critique is of Piketty's central thesis. Chris says that, in the UK, "there seems to be little consistent evidence of any upward trend in wealth inequality of the top 1 percent." He points to ONS data showing that the top 1% owned 12.5% of all wealth in 2010-12. However, this proportion is depressed because house prices are high. These mean that the owner of quite a modest home has substantial wealth which naturally depresses the proportion of wealth held by the really well-off. If we look only at financial wealth, we see a different picture. The top 1% owns 36.4% of all financial wealth, and the top 10% owns 75.9% (table 2.6b of this Excel file). As the ONS points out, the Lorenz curve for financial wealth is much steeper than that for property wealth. If you believe the ONS is under-counting offshore wealth, inequality is even greater. This poses the question: should we conflate housing and financial wealth as Chris and Thomas both do? Perhaps not, because housing wealth might not have as much "wealthiness" as financial wealth, in four senses: [interesting discussion and links]
economic_history  economic_theory  political_economy  Piketty  inequality  UK_economy  wealth  housing  1-percent  capitalism  power  plutocracy  links  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
The new study about oligarchy that's blowing up the Internet, explained - Vox -:April 2014
Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? That's the topic of a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study's been getting lots of attention, because the authors conclude, basically, that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, "economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence."
US_politics  democracy  oligarchy  plutocracy  inequality  interest_groups  parties  campaign_finance  Congress  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
James Galbraith - review of Thomas Piketty - Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine
Very useful critique of notion of "capital" used by Piketty. Doesn't quarrel with the accumulation dynamics but the attempt to tie rates of return on "capital" and growth rates (presumably reflecting capital labor ratio). What Piketty is really measuring isn't capital in the production function (which in any event Galbraith dings per the Cambridge capital theorists), but financial wealth, which varies with asset prices. The historical pattern of the ratio of wealth to GDP is accurate, but not the causal story.
books  reviews  capital  capitalism  inequality  economic_growth  economic_history  economic_theory  taxes  interest_rates  rentiers  plutocracy  financialization  finance_capital  EF-add 
april 2014 by dunnettreader
A bygone age … The unraveling … Faith in institutions by Nicholas Lemann | The Washington Monthly
First, we had too much faith in the ability of people like us, smart and well-intentioned upper-middle-class (defined by family background, not by what the Monthly paid) Washington liberals, to determine what was and wasn’t a genuine social need. Our scorn for interest group liberalism led us to undervalue the process of people organizing themselves and pushing the political system to give them what they wanted from it. Second, we failed to anticipate the way that eliminating all those structures that struck us as outdated—the government bureaucracies, the seniority system in Congress, the old-line interest groups—would almost inevitably wind up working to the advantage of elites more than of the ordinary people on whose behalf we imagined ourselves to be advocating. The frictionless, disintermediated, networked world in which we live today is great for people with money and high-demand skills, not so great for everybody else. It’s a cruel irony of the Monthly’s history that our preferred label for ourselves, neoliberal, has come to denote political regimes maximally friendly to the financial markets. I’ve come to see the merits of the liberal structures I scorned in my younger days.
US_history  20thC  intellectual_history  US_politics  liberalism  neoliberalism  democracy  governing_class  Congress  elections  trust  right-wing  interest_groups  bureaucracy  campaign_finance  elites  plutocracy 
april 2014 by dunnettreader
interfluidity » “Incentives to produce” are incentives to rig the game - March 2014
Steve Randy Waldman - Suppose, reasonably I think, that ceteris paribus humans prefer to “be good”. That is, we prefer to do work that is productive and engage in behavior that is ethical. Suppose, also reasonably, that a well ordered society depends upon people sometimes making choices opposed to their material interests on ethical or other grounds. Then it is obvious how inequality might be costly. Instead of talking about “incentives to” (produce, extract rents, whatever), we might describe outcome dispersion as a tax on refraining from mercenary behavior. If the difference between economic winners and losers is modest, people of ordinary virtue might refrain from participating in activities they consider corrupt, might even be willing to “blow the whistle”, because the cost of doing so is outweighed by their preference for behaving well. But as outcome dispersion grows, absenting oneself from or even opposing activities that would be personally remunerative but socially undesirable becomes too costly. The required sacrifice eventually overcomes a ceteris paribus preference for virtue. Preventing the misbehavior of large coalitions is a collective action problem. An isolated malcontent or whistleblower is likely to be evicted from the coalition without meaningfully improving behavior, if others choose to “circle the wagon”. Outcome dispersion both increases the costs to individuals of engaging in pro-social behavior, and diminishes the likelihood that bearing those costs will be fruitful, since others will have strong incentives not to follow.
political_economy  international_political_economy  finance_capital  inequality  civic_virtue  rent-seeking  monopolies  intellectual_property  health_care  migration  competition  plutocracy  incentives  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Karl Smith - Not All Forms of Wealth Are Equally Pernicious | FT Alphaville Feb 2014
Responding to Ryan Advent re Smith's earlier Alphaville post on Piketty book on trends in wealth and inequality -- Let me be clear. I am a fan of Piketty’s brute mechanistic approach. It is one that I have employed myself and on much the same question. It is one that led me to conjecture, and still suspect, that landlords are the once and future global plutocracy. And this happens precisely because all wealth is not created equal and some forms are more persistent and pernicious than others.

In the wake of the subprime crisis, I understand the temptation to rally against big banks and global finance. However, Lehman Brothers is dead. Sam Zell, founder and CEO of Equity Residential, is still alive. This is not an accident. The future does not belong to high flying titans. It belongs to dogged men and women who squirrel away rent checks when times are good, and buy your home when times are tight. This is the tyranny of land. Ignore it at your peril.
economic_history  economic_growth  capital  capitalism  capital_markets  landowners  France  US_economy  UK_economy  plutocracy  inequality  cities  urban_development  urban_elites  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Dan Monaco - Thinking Through the Savage Machinery: Peter Temin and Economic Crises | The Straddler Jan 2014
Long interview - though most focused on change in fashion of economic theory and what went wrong in Great Depression, the purpose of the interview is Temin's take on Kindleberger need for global economic hegemon to make coordination feasible. Monaco thinks through some of the links between economic and military hegemony. In Temin's Leaderless World, he marks US loss of hegemony in 2008,with winding down of disastrous wars and global financial crisis. So we're an inflection point in the international political economy regime - what will come next, and how are we going to get there. Temin using Tilly's nation-state theory sketches an approach to IR development from Hobbesian chaos, to kleptocracy that forged the state and monopoly on violence, and as the system stays stable with reduced violence, to better and less violent leadership that becomes possible to emerge. So maybe next shift of hegemony won't have to be based on military power? The interview is more interesting re the power of economic history to challenge conventional wisdom - see his early work on the financial crisis and depression in Jacksonian era (even in this early stage of capitalism, the laissez faire drawn from classical economics didn't work in reality), and comments on Friedman and Schwartz re monetary policy and Great Depression (they got only one factor in a collective worldview that couldn't cope, and to which the global plutocracy seems to be returning to in what's becoming class warfare waged from the top). One common theme to Temin's work in these areas is to put domestic economic factors and policies in context of the international system at the time.
books  economic_history  US_economy  economic_theory  macroeconomics  IR_theory  19thC  20thC  Kindleberger  international_political_economy  Great_Depression  Friedman_Milton  Keynes  Keynesianism  neoclassical_economics  laisser-faire  globalization  plutocracy  Tilly  gold_standard  austerity  rational_choice  behavioral_economics  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Nick Hanauer & Eric Beinhocker for Democracy Journal: Capitalism Redefined - Fall 2013
Nice think piece - capitalism as problem solving ecosystem -- prosperity in human societies can’t be properly understood by just looking at monetary measures of income or wealth. Prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems.

Good on what's wrong with mainstream economics. Points out it's also a cultural problem of valuing wealth as high status. But only hand waving on how to tackle a pernicious plutocracy when the cultural value system aligns with rewards and incentives that produce and maintain plutocracy.

Still good to put moral and political philosophy back together with political economy rather than pull them apart as both public choice and new institutional economics tends to do.
political_economy  capitalism  complexity  economic_growth  legitimacy  plutocracy  status  EF-add 
november 2013 by dunnettreader
Italian business: No way back (from crony capitalism) | FT.com August 2013
Northern Italy "friends and family" system of interlocking cross-holdings and outsized influence is being unwound as the ongoing crisis threatens contagion via ownership webs. Some guys fired, some unwinding like Fiat (except for its media holdings eg Corriere della Sera), and now some arrests. Will Italy adopt French model (protecting national priorities) or British (free market with governance norms) or Wild West by default? Or what's not listed as an option, reconfiguring the old game of insider power, just now with a new cast of characters.
Italy  business  corporate_governance  corruption  plutocracy  competition  crony_capitalism 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
JEP (27,3) p. 3 - The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective
Alvaredo, Facundo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez. 2013. "The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(3): 3-20.
The top 1 percent income share has more than doubled in the United States over the last 30 years, drawing much public attention in recent years. While other English-speaking countries have also experienced sharp increases in the top 1 percent income share, many high-income countries such as Japan, France, or Germany have seen much less increase in top income shares. Hence, the explanation cannot rely solely on forces common to advanced countries, such as the impact of new technologies and globalization on the supply and demand for skills. Moreover, the explanations have to accommodate the falls in top income shares earlier in the twentieth century experienced in virtually all high-income countries. We highlight four main factors. The first is the impact of tax policy, which has varied over time and differs across countries. Top tax rates have moved in the opposite direction from top income shares. The effects of top rate cuts can operate in conjunction with other mechanisms. The second factor is a richer view of the labor market, where we contrast the standard supply-side model with one where pay is determined by bargaining and the reactions to top rate cuts may lead simply to a redistribution of surplus. Indeed, top rate cuts may lead managerial energies to be diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment. The third factor is capital income. Overall, private wealth (relative to income) has followed a U-shaped path over time, particularly in Europe, where inherited wealth is, in Europe if not in the United States, making a return. The fourth, little investigated, element is the correlation between earned income and capital income, which has substantially increased in recent decades in the United States.
Downloaded pdf to Note
economic_history  20thC  21stC  US_economy  OECD_economies  inequality  plutocracy  taxes  Labor_markets  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
Balkinization: CAC, Larry Lessig File Brief in McCutcheon v. FEC Urging New Look at Framers’ Understanding of Corruption
Last week, Constitutional Accountability Center filed an amicus brief in McCutcheon v. FEC on behalf of Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, which presents to the Court path-breaking research – involving review of every Founding-era discussion of corruption in debates over the Constitution – on the Framers’ understanding of corruption.  This research – which has never before been presented to the Supreme Court – shows that the Framers’ understood corruption in institutional terms: 

The Appendix to the brief – a companion to the online interactive database ªªhttp://ocorruption.tumblr.com –ºº collects every use of the term “corruption” in the Framing-era documents on the adoption and ratification of the Constitution .  Of the 325 usages identified, in more than half – 57% of cases – the Framers were discussing corruption of institutions, not individuals.   By contrast, discussion of quid pro quo corruption was rare – only six instances, all of them focused on corruption of individuals.  Thus, while the Framers understood that corruption could arise from acts of quid pro quo corruption by officeholders, their main concern was corruption predicated on an improper, conflicting dependence
US_constitution  US_history  Founders  corruption  parties  legal_history  legal_system  plutocracy  EF-add 
july 2013 by dunnettreader
Thomas Philippon, Ariell Reshef : Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006 | NBER
Paper available for download $

We use detailed information about wages, education and occupations to shed light on the evolution of the U.S. financial sector over the past century. We uncover a set of new, interrelated stylized facts: financial jobs were relatively skill intensive, complex, and highly paid until the 1930s and after the 1980s, but not in the interim period. We investigate the determinants of this evolution and find that financial deregulation and corporate activities linked to IPOs and credit risk increase the demand for skills in financial jobs. Computers and information technology play a more limited role. Our analysis also shows that wages in finance were excessively high around 1930 and from the mid 1990s until 2006. For the recent period we estimate that rents accounted for 30% to 50% of the wage differential between the financial sector and the rest of the private sector.
US_economy  economic_history  20thC  financial_regulation  financial_system  financialization  inequality  plutocracy 
july 2013 by dunnettreader
The Political 1% of the 1% in 2012 - Sunlight Foundation Blog
This elite 1% of the 1% dominated campaign giving even in a year when President Barack Obama reached new small donor frontiers (small donors are defined as individuals giving in increments of less than $200). In 2014, without a presidential race to attract small donors, all indicators are that the 1% of the 1% will occupy an even more central role in the money chase.

We should also note that this total does not include the at least $305 million in “dark money” in the 2012 election, since the donors behind that spending remain anonymous. But we can reasonably speculate that most of them are in the 1% of the 1%, and had we been able to include them, the share of 2012 money coming from the 1% of the 1% would almost certainly have been higher.
US_politics  plutocracy 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Claude Fischer: Inequality Update | MADE IN AMERICA June 2013
Good overview on research highlights with pdf links. His observations include:
* Our attention to income inequality sometimes leads us to miss the deeper trends regarding wealth inequality. If we set aside homeowners’ equity in their houses – the bulk of wealth for most Americans – wealth inequality is yet higher and grew yet faster, by 11% over the last 40 years. More strikingly, the One Percent reaped 38% of the growth in the nation’s wealth between 1983 and 2010, while the bottom Sixty Percent of households actually lost wealth.

* Weaker unions, especially in industries that had once been highly unionized, meant a growing wage gap among employees and more of the gains going to the employers.

* Ken-Hou Lin and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey add another factor: the rise of “financialization.” ...The more that an industry turned to finance after 1970, the greater the share of its income that owners, top management, and top workers got, and the less that average workers got.

* Over the last 30 years, jobs calling for computer or quantitative skills did not (other things being equal) see an especially notable rise in wages, as some have suggested, nor did jobs requiring creativity, as others have suggested. Wages rose notably for jobs requiring managerial and nurturing skills and rose especially rapidly for jobs requiring “analytical” skills – reasoning, synthesizing, assessing ideas (for example, scientists, engineers, CEOs, and doctors). Too much attention has focused, Liu and Grusky argue, on computerization as the driver of inequality, when institutional changes in the economy are more important – a point consistent with the findings about financialization. 

* Two recent studies show how inequality is increasingly separating people residentially. One, by Kendra Bischoff and Sean Reardon, I reported earlier here.  They show how American neighborhoods have gotten increasingly segregated – the rich here and the others there – over the last 40 years. More recently, Ann Owens and Rob Sampson showed that the Great Recession exacerbated those trends. Unemployment and other indicators of distress grew most in already disadvantaged neighborhoods, accentuating the spatial inequality of America.

* Hout and Hastings show how experiencing  job loss or financial loss (which, again, hit the worse-off harder) strongly depressed respondents’ feelings of happiness.
US_economy  US_society  inequality  financialization  Labor_markets  technology  plutocracy  links  EF-add 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Harold Pollack: The complacency of the meritocrats (Mankiw) | WonkBlog 6-21-13
I’m puzzled by Mankiw’s argument, which combines a breezy tone with extreme disdain for “the left,” an ecumenical term he uses to describe everyone from President Obama to French President Francois Hollande to Joseph Stiglitz and the Occupy movement. At one point, Mankiw writes: “the same logic of social insurance that justifies income redistribution similarly justifies government-mandated kidney donation.”

Mankiw instead trumpets what he calls the “just deserts” perspective.... Why should people’s market wages so strongly determine what they deserve to have in life?Productivity matters, but other things matter, too. On a good day, my brother-in-law earns $10 putting soap pads into boxes at a sheltered workshop. His just deserts reside in his claim to equal, dignified citizenship, not his meager ability to produce goods and services.

Mankiw misconstrues the president’s real argument. Sure, the affluent disproportionately benefit from government and should pay more, but the point goes beyond infrastructure. It’s about what we owe each other given our differing roles and resources in a prosperous, interconnected society.
political_economy  US_politics  neoliberalism  Providence  civic_virtue  democracy  solidarity  plutocracy  inequality 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Izabella K: The robot economy and the new rentier class | FT Alphaville Dec 2012
It seems more top-tier economists are coming around to the idea that robots and technology could be having a greater influence on the economy (and this crisis in particular) than previously appreciated. Paul Krugman being the latest.But first a quick backgrounder on the debate so far (as tracked by us).

..... For what Rogoff is saying is that if we are experiencing technology stagnation, it’s not because humanity has suddenly become less innovative. Rather, it’s because incumbent interests now have the biggest incentive ever to impose artificial scarcity, which is stopping the speed of innovation.

Our own personal view is that this is because we’ve now arrived at a point where technology begins to threaten return on capital, mostly by causing the sort of abundance that depresses prices to the point where many goods have no choice but to become free. This is related to the amount of “free working” hours now being pumped into the economy .... as everyone tries to keep up with the competition by doing yet more hours voluntarily.

Patent wars, meanwhile… and the rise of companies whose entire raison d’etre is focused on protecting patents… is the ultimate counter force. As a recent Fed paper spelled out, there is real evidence to suggest that idea monopolisation has become a hugely counter-productive force in the economy.

We particularly enjoyed this opinion piece by Steven Levy at Wired Magazine on what he described as the emerging “patent problem“.
21stC  global_system  international_economics  international_political_economy  technology  economic_growth  economic_history  Labor_markets  macroeconomics  capitalism  rents  intellectual_property  Innovation  consumerism  competition  investment  monopolies  plutocracy  links  EF-add 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
America's Ever-Expanding Tax-Exempt Pool | Inequality.org
The fourth in an Inequality.Org series on the giant pools of assets in America that produce income not currently subject to taxation.

Read the first article in this series: Retirement Vehicle or Giveaway to the Rich?
The second article in this series: Looting the Treasury to Benefit Big Insurance
The third article in this series: Tax-Free Municipals: An Unnecessary Giveaway
US_economy  political_economy  US_politics  Congress  taxes  plutocracy  inequality 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Saez et al: The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective | NBER June 2013
$5 @ NBER Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty,Emmanuel Saez Abstract The top 1 percent income share has more than doubled in the United States over the last thirty years, drawing much public attention in recent years. While other English speaking countries have also experienced sharp increases in the top 1 percent income share, many high‐income countries such as Japan, France, or Germany have seen much less increase in top income shares. Hence, the explanation cannot rely solely on forces common to advanced countries, such as the impact of new technologies and globalization on the supply and demand for skills. Moreover, the explanations have to accommodate the falls in top income shares earlier in the twentieth century experienced in virtually all high‐income countries. We highlight four main factors. The first is the impact of tax policy, which has varied over time and differs across countries. Top tax rates have moved in the opposite direction from top income shares. The effects of top rate cuts can operate in conjunction with other mechanisms. The second factor is indeed a richer view of the labor market, where we contrast the standard supply-side model with one where pay is determined by bargaining and the reactions to top rate cuts may lead simply to a redistribution of surplus. Indeed, top rate cuts may lead managerial energies to be diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment. The third factor is capital income. Overall, private wealth (relative to income) has followed a U-shaped path over time, particularly in Europe, where inherited wealth is, in Europe if not in the United States, making a return. The fourth, little investigated, element is the correlation between earned income and capital income, which has substantially increased in recent decades in the United States.
US_economy  political_economy  international_political_economy  capitalism  neoliberalism  Labor_markets  inequality  taxes  corporate_governance  globalization  technology  plutocracy  OECD_economies  economic_history  economic_growth 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Josh Bivens & Lawrence Mishel: The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes | Economic Policy Institute June 2013
The debate over the extent and causes of rising inequality of American incomes and wages has now raged for at least two decades. In this paper, we will make four arguments.

First, the increase in the incomes and wages of the top 1 percent over in the last three decades should largely be interpreted as driven by the creation and/or redistribution of economic rents, and not simply as the outcome of well-functioning competitive markets rewarding skills or productivity based on marginal differences. This rise in rents accruing to the top 1 percent could be the result of increased opportunities for rent-shifting, increased incentives for rent-shifting, or a combination of both.

Second, this rise in incomes at the very top has been the primary impediment to living standards growth for low and moderate-income households approaching the growth rate of economy-wide productivity.

Third, because this rise in top incomes is largely driven by rents, there is the potential for checking (or even reversing) this rise through policy measures with little to no adverse impact on overall economic growth.

Lastly, this analysis suggests two complementary approaches for policymakers wishing to reverse the rise in the top 1 percent’s share of income: dismantling the institutional sources of their increased ability to channel rents their way and/or reducing the return to this rent-seeking by significantly increasing marginal rates of taxation on high incomes.
US_economy  political_economy  inequality  rents  rent-seeking  taxes  Labor_markets  plutocracy  downloaded  EF-add 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Paul Krugman: Profits Without Production - NYTimes.com June 21 2013
rising monopoly rents can and arguably have had the effect of simultaneously depressing both wages and the perceived return on investment.

You might suspect that this can’t be good for the broader economy, and you’d be right. If household income and hence household spending is held down because labor gets an ever-smaller share of national income, while corporations, despite soaring profits, have little incentive to invest, you have a recipe for persistently depressed demand
US_economy  political_economy  rents  capitalism  financialization  intellectual_property  plutocracy  Labor_markets 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
C Freeland: Economic worries and the global elite | Reuters blog 6-17-13
Reporting from TED global in Edinburgh - are elites starting to get nervous that the current economic structures are failing to deliver for all but the top and losing their legitimacy? See comment by Renaissance Capital economist
international_political_economy  elites  plutocracy  neoliberalism  capitalism  financialization  inequality 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
How We Came to Misunderstand Meritocracy | Motherboard
Much to the chagrin of the man who coined the term half a century ago, we’re missing the point, according to an old op-ed that has been circulating on Twitter this week.

“I have been sadly disappointed by my 1958 book, The Rise of the Meritocracy,” Michael Young, a leftist British politician and sociologist, wrote in 2001 of his book that introduced the word “meritocracy” into our modern lexicon.Young had meant for his seminal tome to be “satire meant to be a warning” in the vein of 1984 and Brave New World, a dystopian future where the art of IQ testing has been perfected.

As it turns out, a society built on merit naturally lends itself to inequality, an argument that Young claimed to be “non-controversial historical analysis of what had been happening to society for more than a century before 1958, and most emphatically since the 1870s, when schooling was made compulsory and competitive entry to the civil service became the rule.”
US_politics  political_economy  political_culture  inequality  plutocracy  meritocracy  elites 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Timothy Noah for Democracy Journal: Fairness Doctrine (Summer 2013)
Reacting to Jonathan Haidt article that frames economic policy debates in the culture wars terms of social policy, where Haidt sees the Left winning. Accepting the conservative notions of fairness based on just deserts is what has produced the dysfunctional tax and welfare system and the awful economic policies. GOP has been successful by lying re basis and outcome of trickle down. For the Left to appropriate this cultural frame would require either lying as well. Or perhaps worse, to justify progressive programs that require rich to pay their fair share, the rich would have to be demonized as a class - not only didn't they build that, they were the takers that got more than they deserved.
US_politics  US_economy  taxes  plutocracy  inequality  political_economy  political_culture  evo_psych 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Chrystia Freeland for Democracy Journal: An Elite Deserving of the Name Summer 2013 )
Review of Mark Mizruchi, Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite The men in grey flannel suits had a much greater notion of how their business fit within US society and worked in concert to solve problems that would put them on the left wing of the Democrats today. Global capital and post 60s liberation has produced a CEO class both fragmented and out of touch with responsibility for the society they live and do business in.
political_economy  political_culture  neoliberalism  capitalism  globalization  economic_history  20thC  plutocracy  elites  reviews 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
They Don’t Make CEOs Like They Used To | Andrew Sullivan
Report on recent Business Roundtable obsessed with Social Security destruction.
US_economy  UK_politics  plutocracy 
june 2013 by dunnettreader
Tax havens agree to Cameron clampdown | Guardian
Good explanation of campaign against tax havens. Cameron deal not enough transparency to guard against looting of emerging markets.
international_finance  G8  UK_politics  globalization  plutocracy  taxes 
june 2013 by dunnettreader

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