Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Louis-Philippe Rochon discusses the need for monetary policy to be better coordinated with fiscal policy to ensure both sustainable economic growth and a more fair distribution of wealth:
Monetary policy has been a failure. It has failed to encourage growth, as has been plainly obvious in this lost decade, and has been uninspiring. Not many economists dare to speak out against the wisdom of central banks and their inflation targeting quest for fear of being ridiculed or being denied tenure.  But the recent history of central banking reveals an ineffective pursuit of inflation, and at tremendous social costs.

It is time to do three things.
  • First, we need to seriously rethink monetary policy, its purpose and objectives. Is inflation a worthwhile target? If so, is monetary policy an efficient policy tool? My own research is clear: no and no. If that's the case, what role do rates really play? Well, we know they have redistributive properties, so perhaps we should focus on that. Indeed, raising rates will have an impact on wage gains, but also on rentier (money derived from natural resources) income.
  • Second, we need to explore other acceptable objectives. Economic growth, income redistribution and low unemployment are all a good start, but that would imply keeping rates low. To counter possible speculative financial activities, we need robust regulations.
  • Finally, we need to rely much more on fiscal policy and embrace its ability to deliver on economic objectives such as growth and employment. We've had three decades of favouring financial interests. It is time for the pendulum to swing back and  prioritize policies that will deliver wage gains, a higher standard of living for working Canadians, and increased focus on  ecological and environmental concerns.
- Noah Smith discusses the racial discrimination still reflected in U.S. lending policies and wealth distribution. Maia Szalavitz points out how the fundamental attribution error causes people to unduly blame less wealthy people for their circumstances. And Alexandra Mateescu writes that the gig economy is only exacerbating the mistreatment of vulnerable workers.

- Michael Kinnucan highlights the difference between marching and organizing in the pursuit ot social change, while noting that any real improvement depends on the latter.

- Finally, Tammy Robert calls out the Wall government for pretending its own excuse for a climate change program doesn't include substantial public expense. But I'll add the qualification that it's questionable whether the money blown on Boundary Dam reducing emissions, meaning that Wall may simply have us spending billions for no purpose other than to subsidize the oil industry.

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