Privatisation failure – the micro analogue of fiscal surplus obsessions

Our business leaders are amusing themselves at the moment sailing large and expensive yachts in various summer regattas and races and lecturing us on how our democratic choices (to elect parliamentarians) is holding back the country – “ill-equipped for life after the mining boom” is the code words used (Source). Apparently, we should not elect parliamentarians that oppose their conservative agenda to transfer increasing volumes of real income to the top-end-of-town (that is, them). Their mantra never changes – its all about them not us. This article in the New York Times (September 26, 2014) – The Benefits of Economic Expansions Are Increasingly Going to the Richest Americans – not only promotes the excellent work of MMTer Pavlina Tcherneva but is apposite to the message of today’s blog. Which brings me to a recent decision by the UK government to allow rail fares to rise well in excess of the inflation rate and the growth in wages.
Read the rest of this entry »

Spread the word ...
    Posted in Economics | 13 Comments

    Germany should be careful what it ‘allows’

    The German magazine Der Spiegel ran a story over the weekend (January 3, 2015) – Austritt aus der Währungsunion: Bundesregierung hält Ausscheiden Griechenlands aus dem Euro für verkraftbar (Exit from the Monetary Union: Federal government considers Greece’s exit from the euro is manageable). This so-called “radical change of position” is presumably designed to impart external pressure on the Greek democratic process, which is about to elect a new national government presumably on January 25, 2015. The claim is that the German government is prepared to make Greece expendable because it thinks it has shored up the rest of the Eurozone so that what happens to Greece is immaterial. I think Germany should be careful what it ‘allows’.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Spread the word ...
      Posted in Eurozone | 7 Comments

      Saturday Quiz – January 3, 2015 – answers and discussion

      Here are the answers with discussion for yesterday’s quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
      Read the rest of this entry »

      Spread the word ...
        Posted in Saturday quiz | 4 Comments

        Saturday Quiz – January 3, 2015

        Welcome to the Billy Blog Saturday Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
        Read the rest of this entry »

        Spread the word ...
          Posted in Saturday quiz | Leave a comment

          Friday lay day – wage subsidies do not work

          Its my Friday lay day and a shorter blog day than usual. Today, it was revealed that one of the Australian government’s premier measures to combat unemployment has failed. Not just a small failure. Rather, the data just released shows the plan is a disaster. It was always going to be. The supply-side measure to provide wage subsidies to firms to take on unemployed workers who were above 50 years of age and were enduring entrenched unemployment failed because it doesn’t address the problem. Mass unemployment arises not because wages are too high relative to productivity (the mainstream myth) but because there is not enough sales to justify firms putting on extra workers. The lagging sales are because there is deficient total spending. Firms will not employ more workers if they cannot sell the extra output, no matter how cheaply the workforce becomes. The data we were apprised of today categorically supports that view. The data accompanying such programs always supports the view that demand is the problem not supply.
          Read the rest of this entry »

          Spread the word ...
            Posted in Friday | 11 Comments

            Interview: Demystifying Modern Monetary Theory

            I am travelling all day today so no time to write at all and post. So in lieu of a more complete analysis of something interesting, I am sharing an interview I did with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (iNET) at their conference in April 2014 in Toronto Canada. iNET posted the interview on December 28, 2014 after they had finished editing and producing the material recorded in April. The interview probed the basic principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and how I think it can be extended in to the policy space. I hope you enjoy it.
            Read the rest of this entry »

            Spread the word ...
              Posted in Debriefing 101, Economics | 9 Comments

              Declining employment opportunities for graduates – a future disaster

              Another day of light blogging. It used to be the case that if you secured a University degree then you were nearly immune from unemployment and enjoyed a fairly quickly growing wage gap on those of the same age who were not so fortunate to attend university. It was always the case that the unskilled are at the back of the jobless queue. This cohort is traditionally forced to endure low wages when they are lucky enough to find work and when they are not so lucky, they have to tolerate the opprobrium that neo-liberal attack dogs impose on them for daring to try to live on the pittances handed out as unemployment benefits. Any time the economy takes a nosedive this group finds itself out of work. But, even in recessions, the possession of a University degree was a fairly good insurance policy against such misfortune. The GFC changed that and in some nations the austerity that has been enforced by mindless and unaccountable bureaucrats has not only had devastating effects on the unskilled but has also undermined the prospects of the higher skilled workers. There is no cost-benefit analysis available that could justify such an arrant waste of productive resources, quite independent of the massive personal cost that the unemployed face upon their exclusion from mainstream society. Those pushing for austerity have a lot to answer for. But most of them will be long retired on their fat superannuation pensions before the full scale of the disaster they have created is revealed.
              Read the rest of this entry »

              Spread the word ...
                Posted in Economics, Eurozone, Labour costs | 19 Comments

                The top 10 progressive issues for 2015! Did I say progressive?

                I am away most of this week and have limited time for blogs and I am also concentrating on the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) book I am working on that will be published later in 2015. I also do not want to use the blog space exclusively for that book writing like I did for a portion of this year when I wrote the book on the Eurozone (which will come out in May 2015). I can also say that an Italian version of the book is now going to be a reality and we hope to get it out as soon as possible in 2015 – more later on that topic – it tells a story in itself about the Italian left! So for the rest of the week we will be in Blog Light’ territory although only marginally. Today – a sad story of how progressives seem to lose their way. I would have thought the first progressive imperative would be to counter the neo-liberal myths about economics in order to liberate a range of other social and environment initiatives that will improve society and the world in general from the yoke of neo-liberal lies about fiscal deficits and the way the monetary system operates. I was wrong. After considering the material for this blog, I think I will file it under my – Friend’s like this … – series.
                Read the rest of this entry »

                Spread the word ...
                  Posted in Economics, Friends like this | 5 Comments

                  News from Europe continues to deteriorate

                  I am travelling for most of today and so have very little time to write. But I do comment on the latest French unemployment data released the day before Xmas which signals that things are getting worse in France as the European Commission bolts down the austerity clamps even tighter. While I thought that Italy might be the jewel in the crown and be the ones to exit the unworkable Eurozone first, I am now thinking that France might be the straw that breaks the back. Things are certainly going to get worse there and their political system is veering towards an anti Euro sentiment. Not before time, although the parties promoting the anti-euro feeling are not very nice at all. Where are the Socialists? Oh, I forgot, they are in power – spearheading the austerity. What a mess. In addition, as a sort of stocking filler, I also thought I would post the Q&A section of the presentation I made in Rome on November 24, 2014 – Framing Modern Monetary Theory.
                  Read the rest of this entry »

                  Spread the word ...
                    Posted in Economics, Eurozone | 23 Comments

                    Saturday Quiz – December 27, 2014 – answers and discussion

                    Here are the answers with discussion for yesterday’s quiz. The information provided should help you understand the reasoning behind the answers. If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
                    Read the rest of this entry »

                    Spread the word ...
                      Posted in Saturday quiz | 2 Comments