Tag: Friedman

Today’s Quickie

Thomas Friedman of the Intl Herald Tribune

“Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.”

Well, this may be old hat for specialists but it surprised me. Is the same true for Britain? In either case, as Friedman says, it suggests we should explore more forcefully the ways we could aid business startups.

I always find Thomas Friedman excellent value for the time invested in reading him! See here:

“Here’s my fun fact for the day, provided courtesy of Robert Litan, who directs research at the Kauffman Foundation, which specializes in promoting innovation in America: “Between 1980 and 2005, virtually all net new jobs created in the U.S. were created by firms that were 5 years old or less,” said Litan. ‘That is about 40 million jobs. That means the established firms created no new net jobs during that period.’”

And if you want to know where the opening quote comes from, read the Friedman article!

By Chris Snuggs

Econned, by Yves Smith

Learning from Dogs muses the new book from Yves Smith

ECONned, by Yves Smith

In Econned, Yves Smith, founder of Naked Capitalism, argues that the economy was doing just fine in the regulated environment up to the 1970s.  Then began the work of the Chicago economists who challenged Keynesian economics and touted the benefits of deregulation which eventually led to the financial crisis we have today.

Yves argument is internally consistent and well researched, but ignores some factors that I think would change the conclusions drawn from her work.

Yves Smith, author and founder of Naked Capitalism

First, Yves notes that the primary reason that economists are not useful to the real world is that economic research presumes equilibrium.  Smith misses the point here, but it is understandable. It took me years of study and contemplation to fully appreciate that an equilibrium simply gives economists a point of reference, a common base, from which to study shocks and movements. In and of itself, equilibrium is not interesting or important.   But movements to and from equilibrium are of real interest because they enable us to study and try to predict how individuals will react to incentives and changes in market conditions.

Second, we have to put the contributions of the Chicago economists of the 1970s into context.  Up until that time, the only real school of thought in macroeconomics was based on Keynes, who presumed that markets fail and that the government must play an active and large role – primarily through government spending and taxes — for the economy to perform well.  Keynes’ work was a reaction to the Great Depression.

Friedman’s monetarism also sought to explain the Great Depression, but focused on the role of monetary policy on the economy. This work showed that the missteps of the Federal Reserve was the primary cause of the depth and length of the Great Depression, and that long-term accommodative monetary policy causes inflation.  This body of work did not stress deregulation, although it did lean more heavily on enabling private market solutions than on replacing them with government solutions.  Neither theory is complete; Keynes focused on the short run (“In the long run, we are all dead” is a rather famous Keynes quip) and Monetarism focused on the long run.

There was a second large body of work that came out of the University of Chicago during the late 1960s and 1970s.  This research documented the tremendous costs of regulation. I know this literature personally and believe that its conclusions are very sound:  it shows that any effective regulation limits either the quantity or price of a good or service away from what it would have been without the regulation.  In fact, in my view, it was the passage of regulations requiring certain lending behavior that set off the series of events that led to the crisis, which is the exact opposite argument from what Ms. Smith makes.

By Sherry Jarrell