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  • Showing only topics with the tag "economics". Back to normal view
    1. Are billionaires a market failure? And if not market, are they social failure?

      I was reading this text from the Washington Post (sorry for the maybe paywall): https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/06/xi-jinping-crackdown-china-economy-change/ The opinion asserts...

      I was reading this text from the Washington Post (sorry for the maybe paywall):

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/06/xi-jinping-crackdown-china-economy-change/

      The opinion asserts that in response to liberalization of Chinese life, driven by capitalistic economic growth, is the reason that Xi Pinjing "cracked down in every sphere imaginable — attacking the private sector, humiliating billionaires, reviving Communist ideology, purging the party of corrupt officials and ramping up nationalism (mostly anti-Western) in both word and deed."

      My conspiratorial brain latched on to the humiliating billionaires line, and started thinking about a between the lines message along the lines that billionaires are good and should not be humiliated, a subtle warning-response to the progressive grumblings here in the U.S. that a failure to support capitalism will result in totalitarianism.

      Then I started thinking about the questions, are billionaires good for society? I had always held the position that a billionaire is a market failure (in my econ 101 understanding of the term), much like pollution. It is improper hoarding and unfair leveraging of capital into disproportionate and un-earned degree of pesonal privilege.

      It is certainly a by-product of euro-american capitalism, whereby the desires and welfare of the many are trodden on by those with the ability to fight and to shape the regulatory machine meant to protect the interests of the common-wealth.

      I see a few possibilities. One, is that my understanding of economics is wrong, and producing as many billionaires as possible is the ultimate goal of capitalism and in fact good for everyone, even in theory.

      Two, it is indeed as I suspect, a market failure. And the failure here is one of degree, it is not, in fact problematic to have some individuals with significantly greater wealth among us, and is, in fact, beneficial overall, but to have some with so much more than the rest of us (wealth inequaility) is a result of getting in the way of a clean functioning marketplace.

      Three, economic theory is working as described, and economic theory/activity is an insufficient foundation for the maintenance and success of a whole society, and we need to find a way to constrain it to its own sphere, so that it provides us with what we need to be healthy and happy, but no more.

      I turn to the bright minds of tildes: am I looking at this right?

      16 votes
    2. How are things in your country right now?

      It's a very broad question, but seeing the latest extremely worrying news from where I am made me wonder: how's everyone else getting on? Now that we're moving past the lockdowns and furloughs, do...

      It's a very broad question, but seeing the latest extremely worrying news from where I am made me wonder: how's everyone else getting on? Now that we're moving past the lockdowns and furloughs, do things look hopeful where you are?

      Things in the UK are pretty bad right now - huge inflation, energy prices hitting points that will seriously harm people's financial stability just to stay warm in winter, unending political scandal, increasing pollution, and little real sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm fortunate enough to be able to handle it at least for now, but I'm genuinely worried for those around me and for the country as a whole.

      The pandemic hit us all hard, but it's difficult to gauge how hard. Obviously Brexit is an extra anchor around the UK's neck, but then the US has the legacy of Trump and mainland Europe has a war on the doorstep, so we're far from the only ones with problems. Are we in a uniquely bad position, or is this how everyone's feeling right now?

      21 votes
    3. Euro reaches parity with dollar

      I didn't find any great links so made this a self post. Here are some just from Google but they mainly just say what's on the tin:...

      I didn't find any great links so made this a self post. Here are some just from Google but they mainly just say what's on the tin:

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-11/euro-plunges-to-fresh-two-decade-low-as-dollar-runs-rampant

      https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/11/investing/euro-dollar-parity/index.html

      https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/safe-haven-dollar-stands-tall-inflation-energy-jitters-2022-07-11/

      As of 5:00 pm Eastern on July 11th 2022, if you check the exchange rate, the dollar is now 1:1 with the Euro.


      In terms of effects, it seems complicated. Europe has a decently export heavy economy, unlike the US (for which only 10% of its GDP comes from manufacturing), so a weak Euro will help that.

      However, it will make all imports more expensive. This is another supply shock, as most of continental Europe already faces heavy issues with regards to energy given the sanctions on Russia, one of the primary energy providers.

      So it will certainly make domestic inflation worse (note: domestic inflation and the value of the currency on FX are different things - although they can mutually affect each other). If nothing else, the LNG Europe is buying from the US will be more expensive. The ECB has struggled to raise interest rates to fight inflation given Spain and Italy's high debt levels, and this won't help.

      Winter could potentially be very, very bad.

      For the US, a strong dollar is probably fine. The US is not a heavy export country, and the dollar surge helps cement reserve currency status from which the US gets a number of benefits. A slowdown in exports will also help tamper inflation.

      The pound for the most part has tracked with the Euro, brexit or not.

      17 votes
    4. Abortion bans are going to hit us worse than we think

      One thing about the bans on abortion that no one is talking about but is going to affect absolutely everyone is the current labor shortage we're experiencing in this country. From logistics to...

      One thing about the bans on abortion that no one is talking about but is going to affect absolutely everyone is the current labor shortage we're experiencing in this country. From logistics to food service to retail and beyond, women are part of the workforce in the United States. Once women start being forced to carry to term and give birth in numbers not seen in half a century, those women will be removed from the labor pool. That means less people in every work field in a time when we're already seeing a shortage of workers. That's only going to get worse. Add to that the reduction in salaries and rise in expenses for basic necessities (baby food, diapers, baby clothes) and that's money taken out of most sectors of the economy.

      We are headed for a massive labor shortage and a massive hit to an economy already weakened by a major pandemic. With this one ruling, the economic backbone of the American infrastructure may be dramatically weakened, and the number of jobs being filled are going to plummet.

      This is all on their heads, and it isn't going to be pretty.

      20 votes