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Posts Tagged ‘liberal

“A fair day’s-wage for a fair day’s work: it is as just a demand as governed men ever made of governing.”*…

As low-wage employers struggle to find workers, it seems as that labor– which has been left behind over the last several decades, as the economic benefits of growth have flowed to executives and owners– may be about to have its day. But will it? And what might that mean?

In her first statement as Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen said that the United States faced “an economic crisis that has been building for fifty years.” The formulation is intriguing but enigmatic. The last half century is piled so high with economic wreckage that it is not obvious how to name the long crisis, much less how to pull the fragments together into a narrative. One place to start is with the distribution of national income between labor and capital (or, looked at another way, between the wage share and the profit share of national income). About fifty years ago, the share of income going to labor began to decline, forming a statistical record of the epochal collapse of working class power. Episodes of high employment in the 1990s and the late 2010s did not reverse the long-term pattern. Even today, with a combination of easy money and fiscal stimulus unprecedented since World War II, it is unclear what it would take to reverse the trend in distribution.

Few would seriously dispute that hawkish Federal Reserve policies have played a direct role in the decline of the labor share since the 1970s. This is the starting point for thinking about monetary policy and the income distribution, but many questions remain. Today’s expansionary program extends beyond monetary policy to include fiscal stimulus and even industrial policy, but the first sign of an elite rethinking was the Fed’s dovish turn around 2016. (The Fed chair then was Yellen, whose current tenure as Treasury Secretary has been marked by close coordination with her successor, Jerome Powell.) In a fundamental sense, the entire Biden program hangs on the Fed: low interest rates made possible a reevaluation of the cost of massive government debt, which has in turn opened new horizons for a would-be activist government. 

If the age of inequality was the product of a hawkish Fed, could a dovish central bank reverse the damage? Today, there is more reason to speak of a “pro-labor turn” than perhaps at any time over the last half century. But history is not so easily reversed. The new policy regime is not a simple course correction to decades of misguided neoliberalism. There is evidence that the current experiment was made possible by a recognition that workers had suffered a secular defeat—specifically, that they had lost the ability to increase or even defend their share of the national income. What would happen if labor became stronger?…

Tim Barker (@_TimBarker) explores: “Preferred Shares,” in Phenomenal World (@WorldPhenomenal).

On a related note: “The economics of dollar stores.”

[Image above: source]

* Thomas Carlyle

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As we re-slice the pie, we might send acquisitive birthday greetings to Claude-Frédéric Bastiat; he was born on this date in 1801 (though some sources give tomorrow as his birthday). An economist and writer, he was a prominent member of the French Liberal School. As an advocate of classical economics and the views of Adam Smith, his advocacy for free markets influenced the Austrian School; indeed, Joseph Schumpeter called him “the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived”… which is to say that Bastiat was a father of the neo-liberal economic movement that’s been central to creating the situation we’re in.

source

Red food, blue food…

Hunch is a website that uses uses multiple-choice questions to help its users make decisions…   The crowd-sourced  brain-child of Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, and several of the folks who built SiteAdvisor, Hunch gets “smarter”– more effective– as more folks use it… kind of “Aardvark meets Wikipedia“…

Now the Content Lead at Hunch, Kelly Ford, has applied the site’s preference assessment algorithm to a question that has lain unanswered for far too long:  how do food preferences vary by political ideology?

Abstract

* This report examines the differences in selected food-related preferences and choices made by self-described conservatives and liberals.

* The report draws on aggregated data collected between April 2009 and November 2009 from Hunch, a website which aids in decision making.

Key Findings

* While there is significant common ground in the food choices made between the two groups, there are also important differences.  Liberals show a consistent tendency to enjoy more international and exotic cuisines, with conservatives often leaning more towards mainstream, comfort food staples.

* Significant differences also surface between the two groups in consumption preferences for meat, vegetables, fruit, and “healthy alternatives”, with conservatives generally choosing the less healthy options.

For example…

Preferred French Fry Type

Conservative McDonald’s

Liberal Bistro-style

Summary and conclusions

The data in this report shows a consistent pattern for conservatives to trend towards “homey”, familiar, comfort foods and meat-heavy options. They are more likely than liberals to indulge in fast food and enjoy splurges like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, deep dish pizza and sugar soda. Their idea of international food is a “mainstream” option such as Italian.

Liberals are more likely to be adventuresome eaters, choosing international options such as Japanese or Thai. They eat fast food less frequently than conservatives, and when they do splurge on fast food they have a tendency to favor specialty, regional chains. Liberals are more likely to be vegetarians and to choose healthier options such as whole grain bread, darker greens of lettuce, and more frequent servings of fruit.

The food preferences expressed are no doubt heavily influenced by the regional tastes of areas which are relatively more conservative or liberal. For example, fried chicken is a staple of the conservative American South. “In-N-Out” burger, favored by liberals, is a popular chain in the liberal state of California.

More on the methodology and results here.

As we decide whether to lick the left or right side of our lips, we might note that it was on this date in 1380 that French King Charles VI declared, at a celebration of his coronation in Rhiems at age 11 a week earlier, “no taxes forever”…  known thereafter alternately as “Charles the Well-Beloved” and “Charles the Mad,” he clearly begged to differ with Jesus, Defoe, and Franklin. In any case, it didn’t work out that way:  until Charles took complete charge as king in 1388, France was ruled by his uncle, Philip the Bold. Philip raised taxes and also overspent money from the treasury to pay for the continuing Hundred Years War with England.  Indeed, it was Charles who was on the losing side of Henry V’s famous triumph at Agincourt.

Charles VI

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