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Keynes and the left

“The theories of John Maynard Keynes provide the sound intellectual framework for the views which trade unionists had always instinctively held and known to be right” (TUC, 1968, p. 85)   The ideas and theories of John Maynard Keynes still dominate the economic views and policy proposals of the leaders of the labour movement in…

Central banks: boom or slump?

Three of the major central banks met and raised their policy interest rates yet again in the so-called ‘fight against inflation’.  Interest-rate levels are now at 15-year highs.  But the financial markets took the comments of the central bankers as signalling that their policies were working and inflation was falling.  And it would fall sufficiently…

The demographic future and labour

Meeting the social needs of the world’s population through the production of goods and services depends on the amount of labour employed (in numbers and hours) and on the productivity of those of employed.  Under capitalism, of course, what matters more is the profitability to the owners of the means of production from employing workers…

China: zig zagging

China is in deep trouble.  Its zero-COVID policy has failed; the economy has slowed to a halt; it now has a falling and fast-ageing population; it is in the midst of a property and debt crisis; so it is heading for a permanent, low productivity growth stagnation like Japan.  Xi’s leadership is in crisis as…

Davos 23: going pear-shaped

This week, the jamboree of the rich global elite of the World Economic Forum (WEF) has started again after the COVID interregnum.  Top political and business leaders have flown in on their private jets to discuss climate change and global warming, as well as the impending global economic slump, the cost of living crisis and…

Wages, prices and profit – turning down

The inflation rate for consumer prices in the US has clearly peaked and is falling steadily.  The latest figure for year-on-year inflation in December was 6.4%, down from a peak of 9.0% last summer.  Core inflation (which excludes prices for food and energy) has also peaked but not by nearly as much.  That’s because it…

ASSA 2023 part two: the radical – monopoly and war

In some ways, the radical sessions at ASSA were disappointing. As far as I could tell there were no papers on the causes of the rise in inflation or on what policies to adopt to support labour on this issue.  Maybe this is sour grapes from me, as URPE rejected my own paper on a…

ASSA 2023 part one: the mainstream – fiction and reality

As usual, there were hundreds of sessions and papers at this year’s ASSA 2023, the annual conference of the American Economics Association (AEA).  In this post, I shall concentrate my report on the mainstream economics sessions and on what I considered to be key topics and the most illuminating. Let’s start with the US economy. …

Polycrisis and depression in the 21st century

‘Polycrisis’ is the buzz word among leftists right now.  The word expresses the coming together and interlocking of various crises: economic (inflation and slump); environmental (climate and pandemic); and geopolitical (war and international divisions). Indeed, I raised a similar idea early last year.  So it is no surprise that the latest Human Development Report from the…

Forecast 2023: the impending slump

At the end of every year, I attempt to make a forecast on what will happen in the world economy in the next year.  Of course, forecasts are wrapped in error, given the many variables involved that drive economies.  Weather forecasts are still difficult to make and here meteorologists are dealing with physical events and…

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