Among all the debate about the vices and virtues of capitalism there is rarely any serious attempt to define its key characteristics. Whatever they are, they appear to work better than the best known alternative that’s so far been tried: centrally planned totalitarian communism. Whether good capitalism or bad, compassionate, predatory or even ‘conscious’, [...]
Archive for the ‘Economic History’ Category
Advanced economies everywhere seem to be led by politicians who are media competent but practically inexperienced. They seem not to have learned from the experiences of 2012, but there are vital lessons to be learned and changes need to be made.
Recession: The much talked of double-dip morphed into talk of triple-dip and the [...]
Former UK Chancellor Alistair Darling’s memoir describes Gordon Brown’s approach as ‘a shambles’. As illustration, the much quoted description of a speech by the former Prime Minister about “neoclassical endogenous growth theory”. Brown started before the speech was fully written, so that part way through delivery, “a hand appeared from behind a curtain and handed [...]
David Cameron is following a long line of prime ministers claiming that British society is in moral decline and ‘broken’. The country has always been ‘going to the dogs’. Harold Macmillan suggested it all started when we stopped going to church on Sundays and so lost any regard for what he referred to [...]
Industrialisation is what fired capitalism. Prior to that most capital was held in the form of land and buildings with not a lot of spare cash lying around waiting to be invested. Nor any pressing need for it. But when industrialisation began in the eighteenth century, it required major infrastructural investment in things such as [...]
The economic mainstream has flowed on its capital oriented way with relatively little deviation despite its manifest limitations, errors, omissions and downright falsehoods. And despite the occasional disasters to which it gives rise.
In the middle of last century, J M Keynes corrected some of the more apparent errors of the classical model, but his aim [...]
A retrospective of this year’s postings would highlight some of the flaws in accepted economic theory. Many have been flagged up elsewhere: economic theory is not, and never has been, without its severe and knowledgeable critics. However, there are a couple of errors which are fundamental to the study of economics which are not often [...]
In a recent article in The New York Review of Books, Michael Tomasky suggested the lack of any alternative big theme gave the free marketeers a head start in shaping and continuing to dominate the United States economy. The free market big theme may have been planted by Adam Smith, but it developed on the [...]
The idea of economic man, sometimes given a Latin nomenclature to increase its gravitas, is the real cause of economics’ more recent failures. Forty years ago it was referred to as a nineteenth century idea, as though the study of economics had moved on since that primitive Victorian era. But with Friedman’s shareholder primacy in [...]
The idea that companies, if not all economic activity, exists to maximise the wealth of shareholders or owners, dominates the world of corporate governance and much else. Bankers and traders believe it. Industrial managers have been led to accept it. Universities and business schools preach it. It is part of the free market ideology, often [...]