It is widely recognized that economic crises can sometimes trigger enormous change, both with regard to economic theory and the politics of governance. Today, the global economy is struggling with the fall-out from the financial crash of 2008 and the Great Recession of 2007-09. The economic crisis that these events have generated, combined with the failure of the mainstream economics profession, has again put the question of change on the table.
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What are the best economic policies to promote global recovery? In the first of a series of exchanges, Steven Kates, Associate Professor of Economics at RMIT University, tries to persuade Louis-Philippe Rochon, Associate Professor at Laurentian University and Founding Co-editor of the Review of Keynesian Economics, that Keynesian theory just makes economic problems worse.
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The Laffer Curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between tax rates, tax revenue, and taxable income. It is frequently cited by people who want to explain the common-sense notion that punitive tax rates may not generate much additional revenue if people respond in ways that result in less taxable income.
Unfortunately, some people misinterpret the insights of the Laffer Curve. Politicians, for instance, tend to either pretend it doesn’t exist, or they embrace it with excessive zeal and assume all tax cuts “pay for themselves.”
Another problem is that people assume that tax rates should be set at the revenue-maximizing level. I explained back in 2010 that this was wrong. Policy makers should strive to set tax rates at the growth-maximizing level. But since a growth-generating tax is about as common as a unicorn, what this really means is that tax rates should be set…
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That’s me in an article for The New Republic out today. It’s basically my (unworthy) attempt to write a New York Review of Books essay. I barely interviewed anyone for this, just read and thought and typed.
I know that goal-reaching is boring to read, but the whole process has not gotten any less special for me. Editors who interrogate my drafts like tiger moms, fact-checkers who don’t let me get away with anything, online teams who package me with stock photos and tweet me around the internet, I love being a part of it.
I want to talk about the (scant) reporting I did for this article, toward the end of the process, and how I feel about the final product. The first section of the essay deals with an NGO called Deworm The World, the brainchild of Michael Kremer, a Harvard professor who found that deworming pills improved education outcomes for kids in Kenya…
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The following vocalizations are fairly common to most cats:
Short meow: “Hey, how ya doin’?”
Multiple meows: “I’m so happy to see you! Where’ve you been? I missed you!”
Mid-pitch meow: A plea for something, usually dinner, treats, or to be let outside.
Drawn-out mrrraaaaaoooow: “Did you forget to feed me, you idiot? I want dinner NOW!” or similar demand.
Low pitched mraaooww: “You are so lame. The service around here sucks,” or similar complaint.
High-pitch RRRROWW!: “OUCH!!! YOU STEPPED ON MY TAIL YOU IMBECILE!”
Purr: Most often a sign of contentedness, but can also be used when in pain or afraid — an instinctual response to hide weakness from predators.
Hiss: “Steer clear. I’m angry and I’m not afraid to draw blood.”
Clicking sounds: Cats who are tracking prey will make a distinctive clicking sound.
Most Cats Use the Following Gestures to Communicate:
Tail straight up or straight up with a curl at the end: Happy.
Tail twitching: Excited or anxious.
Tail vibrating: Very excited to see you.
Tail fur sticks straight up while the tail curls in the shape of an N: Extreme aggression.
Tail fur sticks straight up but the tail is held low: Aggression or frightened.
Tail held low and tucked under the rear: Frightened.
Dilated pupils: Very playful or excited. It can also indicate aggression.
Slowly blinking eyes: Affection, the equivalent of blowing a kiss.
Ears pinned back: Fear, anxiety, aggression
Tongue flicking: Worry, apprehension
Rubbing head, flank and tail against a person or animal: Greeting ritual, ownership claim
Head-butting: Friendliness, affection
Face sniffing: Confirming identity
Wet nose kiss: Affection
Licking: The penultimate sign of affection. Or an indication that you need to clean up after a sardine snack
Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.
This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires. The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn.
Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.
Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad.
But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.
Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children.