This paper discusses what we have learned about the debt build-up in advanced societies over the past century. It shows that the extraordinary growth of aggregate debt in the past century was driven by the private sector.
The debt-growth relationship is complex, varying across countries and being affected by global factors. While there is no simple universal threshold above which debt-to-GDP becomes a significant brake on growth, based on data from the last four decades we show that high and rising public debt burdens slow down growth in the long term.
We want an economy that generates stable and equitable growth—or what I call “sustainable prosperity.” We want productivity growth that makes it possible for the population to have higher living standards over time. We want an equitable sharing of the gains from productivity growth among those whose work efforts and financial resources contribute to that growth. And we want sufficient job stability to enable workers to remain in productive employment for some four decades at work while providing them with enough savings to provide them with adequate incomes over some two decades of retirement.
Building symbiotic public-private partnerships
Can a Policy of Guaranteed Basic Income Return Mature Market Economies to les Trente Glorieuses?
How far are economists implicated in the rise of ‘fake experts’ and ‘fake news’?
The contemporary literature on neoliberalism has grown so large as to be unwieldy. For some on the left, this has presented an occasion to denounce it altogether.
Is Comparative Advantage the Ideology of the Comparatively Advantaged?
A better set of approaches for the 21st century.
The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure
Decomposition by such an important category as gender helps us understand the economy at the macro level, and design macroeconomic policy, better. It also provides the foundation for advocating equal gender rights and outcomes. But, where gendered policy issues arise in mainstream macroeconomics (income maldistribution, labour market composition, etc.) the subject matter is narrowed by its microfoundations, by focusing on GDP growth and on suboptimal outcomes being explained by market imperfections.
Growing income inequality is threatening the American middle class, and the middle class is vanishing before our eyes. We are still one country, but the stretch of incomes is fraying the unity of our nation.
The Precariat under Rentier Capitalism Guy Standing We are in the midst of a Global Transformation, analogous to Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation described in his seminal 1944 book. Whereas Polanyi’s Transformation was about constructing national market systems, today’s is about the painful construction of a global market system. To use Polanyi’s term, the ‘dis-embedded’ phase has been dominated by an ideology of market liberalisation, commodification and privatisation, orchestrated by financial interests, as in his model. The similarities also extend to today’s fundamental challenge, how to construct a ‘re-embedded’ phase, with new systems of regulation, distribution and social protection.
In the economic literature, several scholars have addressed the narrative of a two-stage European crisis. In a first stage, the so-called “he-cession”, men would have been hit the most by the economic recession induced by the financial crisis. Shortly thereafter, in the “she-austerity” stage, women would have suffered the heaviest burdens of the fiscal retrenchment measures. If that were the case, the policy response to the crisis would be producing an increase in the – already high pre-existing – gender inequality.
Especially in the wake of the Great Recession, calls for more diversity within economics are usually limited to appealing for greater diversity in the economists’ backgrounds, while diversity of opinion and approaches is often neglected.