29 Jun 2014

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Knut and Masaccio for a Discussion About Thomas Piketty’s Book: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Welcome Knut (George Grantham) and masaccio Discussion about Thomas Piketty’s book – Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Thomas Piketty will not be here, but will participate in a salon later this year) Knut’s Introduction: Good afternoon, Pups. As most of you know, we were supposed to have this discussion six

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26 Oct 2013

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gavin Wright, Sharing the Prize: the Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South

To many of us who came of age before Vietnam (BV), the Civil Rights Movement was a defining moment of moral and political consciousness. I participated in sit-ins in autumn 1960 and spring 1961; in 1963 Gavin was in North Carolina registering black voters. As a nation, the two great Civil Rights laws of 1964 and 1965 represent one of the few things we did right in the past half century, and in this autumn of our discontent, it’s good to remind ourselves that we still may be capable of doing the right thing. But what difference did the Revolution make to the people most directly affected by it? That is the topic of today’s book. What were the economic consequences of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

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09 Jul 2013

The Lac-Mégantic Tragedy and American Capitalism

The appropriate subtitle is ‘Bhopal Coming to Your Hometown Soon.’ The train wreck (this time literal as well as figurative) at Lac-Mégantic hasn’t got much play here, but it is important enough to deserve attention, as it perfectly illustrates the principle of regulatory capture, like the non-incendiary financial meltdown in

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19 May 2012

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Paul Krugman, End This Depression Now!

It is an honor and a pleasure to have Paul Krugman at the Lake this afternoon for a conversation on End this Depression Now! Dedicated ‘To the unemployed, who deserve better,’ the book is a condemnation of the policies and mind-set that have produced the worst economic depression since the 1930s. And unlike the Great Depression, which contemporaries did not understand, we know what to do; the current depression is entirely self-inflicted. The broken homes and ruined lives are not attributable to acts of God or the inscrutable logic of the market, but are the direct consequence of public decisions that have amplified the inherent risk of private credit by deregulating financial operations and the attempt to balance the budget when aggregate private demand is collapsing. The central message is that none of this suffering is necessary, and none of it is justified. I believe I do Paul no disserve in pointing out that none of this is new. If a non-tenured assistant professor were to publish this book, she might be denied tenure for wasting time on simple things instead of contributing to the advance of Economic Science. It used to take a little boy to declare that ‘the emperor has no clothes’; it apparently now takes a Nobel Laureate.

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24 Jul 2011

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order

It is a pleasure and an honour to introduce Professor Bernard Harcourt to the Lake for a discussion of The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of the Natural Order. The book advances several claims that go to the heart of libertarian ideology. For FDL readers probably the most important claim holds that belief in the efficacy of unregulated markets naturally to secure maximum economic and social well-being has as its counterpart the assertion that the role of government is properly confined to the spheres of criminal justice, national defense, and the protection of private property. Harcourt considers it no coincidence (Comrade, as we used to say in my cell), that the nation where free-market ideology is most pervasive has the world’s highest rates of penal incarceration by an order of magnitude, and that the rising incarceration rate since the mid-1970s is synchronous with the ascendance of an exceptionally rabid free-market ideology.

There is a deeper set of intellectual issues at play, however. What exactly do we mean by ’free markets’?

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24 Jul 2011

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order

Host, George Grantham:

It is a pleasure and an honour to introduce Professor Bernard Harcourt to the Lake for a discussion of The Illusion of Free Markets. Punishment and the Myth of the Natural Order. The book advances several claims that go to the heart of libertarian ideology. For FDL readers probably the most important claim holds that belief in the efficacy of unregulated markets naturally to secure maximum economic and social well-being has as its counterpart the assertion that the role of government is properly confined to the spheres of criminal justice, national defense, and the protection of private property. Harcourt considers it no coincidence (Comrade, as we used to say in my cell), that the nation where free-market ideology is most pervasive has the world’s highest rates of penal incarceration by an order of magnitude, and that the rising incarceration rate since the mid-1970s is synchronous with the ascendance of an exceptionally rabid free-market ideology.

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