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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Links 4/24/14

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Earth Day: Can We Grow Enough Food, Without Oil, to Avoid a Human Dieback?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed. — William Gibson This is a two days-late Earth Day post. I’ve been thinking about this comment from lorrie: The real problem is that there are too many people on the planet right now. All these people need […]

Matt Stoller: No, America Is Not an Oligarchy

A lot of people are misreading this Princeton study on the political influence of the wealthy and business groups versus ordinary citizens. The study does not say that the US is an oligarchy, wherein the wealthy control politics with an iron fist.

CalPERS Told Obvious Big Lies in Its Response to Our Private Equity Investigation

Since readers have taken interest in the details of our ongoing litigation with the giant California public pension fund, CalPERS, I thought I’d tie off a thread from earlier in the month. By way of background, last September, we filed a Public Records Act request (California’s version of FOIA) for private equity return data that […]

Corrupting Piketty in the 21st Century

Like all reformation efforts in the discipline, Piketty (and fellow students of inequality) will be met by fierce internal opposition, the ultimate outcome of which is to twist his work into something it is not in order to pretend that it supports the status quo.

Links 4/23/14

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Ilargi: What is the Earth Worth (6 Years Later)?

Yves here. This is a day-late Earth Day post, but the proper stewardship of this planet is a 365-day-a-year duty. Ilargi focuses on one of my pet issues, that too many of the remedies for climate change (and environmental protection generally) rely on the illusion of new technology eliminating or blunting the need for lifestyle changes.

Pettis: 11 Reasons China Can’t Escape from Its Debt Overhang

China’s increasing debt level has goosed the economy. What form might the hangover take?

More Effective Remedies for Inequality

Yves here. The subject of inequality in income and wealth has, in the last year or so, become an oft-mentioned topic in economic and political commentary. It’s now even acceptable to use the word “oligarchy” to describe the US. Yet too often lost in the debate is that this type of inequality is the result of what right society allows various members to have. For instance, in the last 30 years, intellectual property laws have gotten stronger while the rights of workers to organize have been cut back.

We had a more equitable society when unions were stronger, taxes were more progressive, and anti-trust laws were enforced. This post by Geoff Davis serves as a reminder that there are remedies other than progressive taxation (which he regards as an after-the-fact remedy) to achieve that end.

Philip Pilkington: Unemployment and Wages in the US – A Tale of Institutional Change

A fresh look at historical data shows how the relationship between unemployment and wage growth changed radically starting in 1981.

Links 4/22/14

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Why Are We Still Working So Hard?

Why are long hours and more focus on work the new normal?

No, the Tax Court Did Not Repeal Attorney-Client Privilege

Contrary to the claims of some overwrought Easter weekend posts, the tax court did not revoke attorney-client privilege. Here’s why.

Satyajit Das: Flash Boys’ HFT Mumbo Jumbo

Satyajit Das reviews Michael Lewis’ book Flash Boys. Das finds it to be deeply flawed,: deficient in its understanding of HFT and not very well written.

Volcker Rule: Swiss-Cheesed or Beefed Up?

Gerald Epstein provides an informative, layperson-accessible update on what has become of the much-ballyhooed Volcker Rule.