Foreclosed housing drag

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

by CalculatedRisk on 1/03/2011 10:15:00 PM

From CNBC: Home Prices Will Decline for Years: Zuckerman (ht Scott)

Mort Zuckerman … blamed the continuing price decline on the so-called shadow inventory of foreclosed homes that’s yet to come on the market.

It would have been much cheaper all around to let people stay in those houses. Then no excess inventory. Can this be modeled?


Krugman also wants growth

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jobs, not G.D.P. numbers, are what matter to American families. And when you start from an unemployment rate of almost 10 percent, the arithmetic of job creation — the amount of growth you need to get back to a tolerable jobs picture — is daunting.

First of all, we have to grow around 2.5 percent a year just to keep up with rising productivity and population, and hence keep unemployment from rising. … Now do the math. Suppose that the U.S. economy were to grow at 4 percent a year, starting now and continuing for the next several years. Most people would regard this as excellent performance…

Yet the math says that even with that kind of growth the unemployment rate would be close to 9 percent at the end of this year, and still above 8 percent at the end of 2012. We wouldn’t get to anything resembling full employment until late in Sarah Palin’s first presidential term.

this suggests that growth is necessary for jobs and jobs are necessary for families. This s another piece of logic that has to be rethought. If we have an economy that does not need workers, even if it is growing, we need to think of other ways of distributing income. 30 hours a week? Sabbaticals? Come on leaders, we need some real imagination here.

Third Inaugural Address – Jerry Brown

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I will meet not only with the leaders of energy companies but with executives from a broad range of California business and industry to work on common problems and break down barriers that hold us back. We live, after all, in the eighth largest economy in the world. Over the last decade, California has outpaced the nation in the growth of our gross domestic product and in our productivity per capita.

You should read the whole, and t si really quite good. I am saddened however by the need to stick with growth ahead of sustainability, as if this is a totally to be avoided alternative. I happen to think that lower growth with more development (reusing what we have in new ways) can actually be MORE attractive.

The power of inequality in society to undermine perspective

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

That’s the argument of an important book by two distinguished British epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. They argue that gross inequality tears at the human psyche, creating anxiety, distrust and an array of mental and physical ailments — and they cite mountains of data to support their argument.

“If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police,” they assert. “You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problem.” They explore these issues in their book, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.”

The heart of their argument is that humans are social animals and that in highly unequal societies those at the bottom suffer from a range of pathologies. For example, a long-term study of British civil servants found that messengers, doormen and others with low status were much more likely to die of heart disease, suicide and some cancers and had substantially worse overall health.

Dealing with the big issues requires a society of people who can think. When they are deeply demoralized and sick they are too restricted for the good of society.

Lazonick -seems interesting, tech and sustainability.

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Phone: 617 233-2634

Office hours: Mondays, 3:00 PM-5:00PM, or by appointment

Course Description:

Regional development depends on the activities and performance of various types of business, government, and civil-society organizations. The term “organizational dynamics” refers to the interactions among different organizations as well as among participants within particular organizations that enable these organizations, individually and collectively, to develop and utilize their resources to achieve “superior performance” (which is itself in need of definition). In this course, we will ask who starts organizations, how organizations “learn” and grow, and what determines the distribution of the costs and benefits of organizational success – or failure. This course focuses mainly on


organizations. In a modern capitalist economy, the resources available to, and the potential impacts of, non-business – governmental and civil-society – organizations depend on the performance of the business sector. To interact with business organizations in ways that promote regional development, those working in governmental and civil-society organizations must understand organizational dynamics in the business sector. In particular, we seek to understand under what socioeconomic conditions and with what institutional support business organizations will generate higher quality, lower cost goods and services while contributing to “sustainable prosperity” – stable and equitable economic growth. Organizational Dynamics in Regional Development

and his new book

Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy: Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Paperback)
by William Lazonick

Home | Foreign Affairs

December 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Increasing inequality in the United States has long been attributed to unstoppable market forces. In fact, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson show, it is the direct result of congressional policies that have consciously — and sometimes inadvertently — skewed the playing field toward the rich.

We have a near consensus. Now what?

Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

10. “There has been significant progress in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan.”

9. Afghans want the US and NATO troops to stay in their country because they feel protected by them.

  • Fact: In a recent CIA director Leon Panetta admitted that there are only 50-100 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan! The US is mainly fighting two former allies among the Mujahidin whom Ronald Reagan dubbed “freedom fighters” and the “equivalent of America’s founding fathers:” Gulbaddin Hikmatyar and his Hizb-i Islami, and Jalaluddin Haqqani and his Haqqani Network. These two organizations, which received billions from the US congress to fight the Soviets in the 1980s, are more deadly and important now than the ‘Old Taliban’ of Mulla Omar. The point is that they are just manifestations of Pashtun Muslim nationalism, and not eternal enemies of the United States (being former allies and clients and all). Hikmatyar has roundly denounced al-Qaeda.

An example of how major policy is based on false reality.