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On the blogs

The Macroeconomics of Reality-TV Populism -- Krugman mildly critical of Dornbusch's idea of macroeconomic populism, which is good. The problem with redistribution and high wages is not that it produces a crash, at least not because of unsustainable public debt. In the case of Latin America it was always the external accounts. And he is right, it is far from clear that Trump will be a populist in that sense

Keynesian Economics without the Consumption Function -- Roger Farmer wants to get rid of the multiplier, that is, of effective demand. He says that wealth effects matter, not income effects. Beyond the question of whether it's empirically correct, I would say that Keynesian economics without effective demand (the multiplier) is not Keynesian

Festschrifts for Sraffians -- Robert Vienneau lists several books in honor of Sraffian scholars (not sure all in the list are Sraffians though; list is worth looking anyway). He suggests we are in the third generation of Sraffa scholars. Not sure how you count the descent. Mine would be via John Eatwell at the New School, I guess, and he was a student of Joan Robinson, who was a student of Sraffa


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A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

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There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…