• Saturday, March 07, 2015

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Is economics still important?

Is economics still important?

AS an economist, I get a lot of criticism about the profession, the discipline, and its role in modern society. Some of these are pretty well known and I will mention three. One, we are too much into model building and do not provide any guidance to real-life problems. Second, most of our...


Is there a Bangladesh surprise?

BANGLADESH'S economy has recorded remarkable economic performance in the new millennium, though its per capita income has remained low. Even more spectacular has been the steady improvement in its levels of many social development outcomes. Popular commentaries have drawn comparisons with India and Pakistan in highlighting the significance of Bangladesh's development achievements. This phenomenon has been termed as the “Bangladesh conundrum,” and has received extensive coverage in international media outlets, such as the New York Times, the Economist and...

Sustainable development economics

TWO schools of thought tend to dominate today's economic debates. According to free-market economists, governments should cut taxes, reduce regulations, reform labour laws, and then get out of the way to let consumers consume and producers create jobs. According to Keynesian economics, governments should boost total demand through quantitative easing and fiscal stimulus. Yet neither approach is delivering good results. We need a new Sustainable Development Economics, with governments promoting new types of investments. Free-market economics leads to great outcomes...

Redesigning economics to redesign the world

Redesigning economics to redesign the world

WILL the present economic system be able to establish appropriate level of moral, social, and material balance in the world?   I don't think it can. The present system is like an impersonal sucking machine which thrives on continuously sucking juice from the bottom to the top. The higher you are in the system, the more juice you are able to suck. It is not because bad people are running the machine; just that the machine is built that way. The system was not designed to have any moral responsibility. At least that is not in practice. Discussion on moral responsibilities is an after-thought. This machine turns people into money-centric robots. The...


Captains of economy

THREE centuries ago, Adam Smith thought economy was a clock that would continue its motion once set. Almost three hundred years before the birth of Christ, Plato thought quite the opposite. He thought that the ship of the state would have to be captained by philosopher kings. Way back then, Plato didn't quite think that many centuries later, those ruling the public sphere would be the farthest from philosophy and social good would ultimately be non-existent. Instead of planning...

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The age of vulnerability

TWO new studies show, once again, the magnitude of the inequality problem plaguing the United States. The first, the US Census Bureau's annual income and poverty report, shows that, despite the economy's supposed recovery from the Great Recession, ordinary Americans' incomes continue to stagnate. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, remains below its level a quarter-century ago. It used to be thought that America's greatest strength was not its military power, but an economic system that was the envy of...

Saving Our Gold

THERE is a saying “Old is gold”. This is especially true in case of human resources because every resource or wealth gets torn and worn with time and consequently its economic value is reduced- what is called 'depreciation' in economics. However, it is the human resource which is unique - which turns out more with time. The issue of aged people has not been in focus so far. This year UNISDR declared 'Resilience is for Life' as the theme...

Business & Finance

Europe's austerity zombies

IF the facts don't fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts -- or so German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny reality. Austerity has failed. But its defenders are willing to claim victory on the basis of the weakest possible evidence: the economy is no longer...

The Asian Convergance

Is Abenomics working?

Is Abenomics working?

LAST April, Japan's government implemented a long-planned consumption-tax hike, from 5% to 8%, the first in a two-step increase that is expected to bring the rate to 10% by 2015. The hike – a key feature of “Abenomics,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's three-pronged strategy to revive Japan's economy – signals the government's long-term...

Joseph E. Stiglitz Series

Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

THE reception in the United States, and in other advanced economies, of Thomas Piketty's recent book Capital in the Twenty-First Century attests to growing concern about rising inequality. His book lends further weight to the already overwhelming body of evidence concerning the soaring share of income and wealth at the very top. Piketty's book, moreover, provides a different perspective on the 30 or so years that followed the Great Depression and World War II, viewing this period as a historical...

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