Unemployment is a major issue that isn’t far from the news. According to official figures, America has an unemployment rate of 8.3% and Ireland has a rate of 14.7%. However some argue that these could be underestimates and the true figure could be as high as 15% in America and 25% in Ireland. The government has a natural interest in the unemployment rate being as low as possible; with some claiming they openly twist the numbers to suit themselves. This is a contentious issue with an election coming up and some claim unemployment could decide who the next President of America is. So what is the real rate of unemployment? Continue reading “What Is The Real Unemployment Rate?”
Neo-classicalists argue that the market will naturally come to an equilibrium known as perfect competition. In this ideal utopia everything will be perfect. Consumers get the lowest price, workers get a fair wage and businesses earn only ‘normal’ profits. No one is ripped off or exploited because no such nasty things occur. There is no poverty, unemployment, inflation or recessions. There is no need for government to intervene or even exist. While it does describe agriculture, it is completely irrelevant to the rest of the economy. It is a conservative’s dream, more like Narnia than the real world. Despite being taught in all textbooks and described as the economy without government interference, it is instead a deeply flawed theory. It is based upon 5 unrealistic assumptions that do not reflect the actual economy. Continue reading “There Is (Almost) No Such Thing As Perfect Competition”
It is common to hear people call for the removal of the government from the market or launch defences of the ‘free’ market. It is asserted that governments always get things wrong and that regulations only make things worse. Conservatives proclaim that if the economy was only left in the hands of the free market everything would be better. However there is no such thing as the free market. It doesn’t exist and probably never did. Every market has some rules and regulations that even conservatives admit are necessary. We have grown so use to them that we don’t see them but they are still there. The market is never free. Continue reading “The Market Is Never Free”
Orthodox economics treats labour as a good like any other subject to the laws of supply and demand. However this misses a crucial point that we are not dealing with commodities but rather people. With goods, demand is decided by consumers and supply by producers, whereas with labour, demand is decided by producers and supply by consumers. The entire system is turned on its head yet neo-classical economics claims the results will be the same.
Continue reading “Labour Market In The Real World”
The first thing everyone learns about economics is that the demand curve slopes down and the supply curve slopes upwards. This is described as obvious 2+2=4 and a fact that needs little proof. But recently I read Debunking Economics by Steve Keen which has turned my view of economics on its head. What if down is really up? What if everything taught in basic economics is wrong? What if the supply curve really slopes down? Continue reading “What If Up Is Really Down?”
The first thing everyone learns about economics is about supply and demand specifically that the demand curve slopes downwards. This is presented as an obvious fact not needing any proof or discussion. Surely it is obvious that when prices rise, people buy less of a good? What if I told you this wasn’t the case? What if I told you economists have never been able to prove this actually happened in the real world? What if I told you that attempts to prove this actually did the opposite? What if I told you this had been discovered not by cranks or outsiders but rather by some of the main neo-classical theorist? What if I told you that the very foundations of economics weren’t true? Continue reading “What If The Market Demand Curve Doesn’t Slope Downwards?”
Have you ever thought old people have it too easy? That we’re wasting money on the sick? That money should redistributed from them to the super rich? Do you think Mitt Romney and other rich people should only pay 1% in tax? Do you believe we should take from the poor to give to the rich? Have you ever looked at Somalia and thought “that country does well without a government, we should defund ours”? Do you oppose laws that would require men and women to get equal pay for equal work? Do you like pretending to be a deficit hawk while really massively increasing the national debt? If so then you’ll love the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Continue reading “The Disastrous Mr Ryan”
There is an absurd theory that is so unrealistic that it is bizarre that anyone actually believes it. It views the stock market as a perfect place of logic and reason where nothing can go wrong. It ascribes stock traders with the powers and knowledge of a God. The fact that so many believed in it was a major cause of the recent asset bubble and financial crash. It is known as the Efficient Market Hypothesis.
To enter the world of the efficient market hypothesis you must leave your brain at the door. The theory assumes Continue reading “The Nonsense Of The Efficient Market Hypothesis”
Economics is divided into two sections, micro (focusing on individuals) and macro (focusing on the whole economy). However in universities the emphasis is heavily on micro to the extent that macro is often seen as simply micro on a larger scale. This is fundamentally wrong and ignores several points.
This focus ignores the fact that the best option for the individual is not always the best option for society as a whole. Continue reading “Macro Over Micro”
Unions have a pretty bad reputation. They are often stereotyped as protecting lazy and bad workers, as well as causing unemployment other inefficiencies. However the many benefits of unions are often ignored. These include increased morale, productivity and equality. Continue reading “The Benefits Of Unions”