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Showing posts with the label economics

Reading journal: Growing Pains: the future of democracy (and work) by Gwynne Dyer

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Genre: Non-fiction Published: 2018 Date read: August 2018 A short read exploring the rise of populism, Donald Trump and Brexit, and whether democracy as a form of government can survive. Dyer’s premise is that the problem is not one of ideology but of inequality. If a person’s ability to survive and benefit from economic growth is tied to employment, then there’s a problem, because paid employment is falling and wages are stagnant. Populists take advantage of this situation to blame immigrants and create dangerous social division. Dyer makes a good case for the use of a universal basic income as the solution to ever-increasing automation in manufacturing, transport and information-based work. That’s a hard sell in a neo-liberal world.

Reading journal: The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato

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Genre: Non-fiction Published: 2018 Date read: May 2018 A solid read about a basic concept in economics, the idea of value. For the last few decades value has been interpreted as whatever a market will pay for something, that is, the price. These days price determines the value of something, rather than the other way around. One result is the rise of rent-seekers; economic actors whose sole purpose is to extract value through financial trickery, what the author calls ‘casino capitalism’. Instead of adding value to the economy, financial players remove it, enriching themselves at the expense of society generally. It hasn’t always been this way. There was a time in living memory when the evening news didn’t report on stock exchange and currency fluctuations. I’ve never understood why they do that. Obviously players in that game don’t wait to hear important information on broadcast TV, and for the rest of us, it isn’t very useful to know. The author reviews economic theory to