Economics Roundtable

January 2014 Payroll Employment

We are getting closer to the previous peak.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.

Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?

Click on the chart for a larger version.


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Cafe Hayek

April 23, 2014, 12:04 am, 1259266
(Don Boudreaux)

In my latest column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I discuss the (ir)relevance of Pres. Obama’s (in)famous “you didn’t build that” blurt.  While I agree that Mr. Obama was referring, with this blurt, to the building of infrastructure – so that his statement is largely factually correct – I argue ...

April 22, 2014, 8:04 am, 1258752
(Don Boudreaux)

… is specially selected for this Earth Day; it’s from pages 104-105 of Pierre Desrochers’s and Hiroko Shimizu’s splendid 2012 book, The Locovore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet (original emphasis; footnotes excluded; links added):

[T]hriving cities are not an environmental problem, but rather the best means to ...

April 21, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1258451
(Don Boudreaux)

Below is the complete text of an e-mail that Barron’s Weekly’s Tom Donlan sent to me this morning.  Tom’s e-mail is inspired by the discussion going on here at the Cafe, and over at Steve Landsburg’s The Big Questions, on the social benefits (or not) of competition ...

April 21, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1258450
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to Food Business News:

You report that the U.S. Department of Commerce is launching an “antidumping investigation” into U.S. sugar imports from Mexico (“D.O.C. initiates sugar dumping case against Mexico,” April 21).  The admitted purpose of this investigation is to protect American sugar producers from low-priced foreign ...

April 21, 2014, 10:04 am, 1258232
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 335 of the 1996 Johns Hopkins University Press edition of H.L. Mencken’s 1956 collection, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe; specifically, it’s from Mencken’s November 2, 1936, article – published on the eve of the national election pitting incumbent president F.D.R. against challenger Alf Landon ...

April 20, 2014, 6:04 pm, 1258067
(Don Boudreaux)

Suppose that Jones stumbles upon the idea of pickling cucumbers.  It has never before been done.  Jones’s pickle company is spectacularly successful.  He soon invests $10 billion in a firm – land, factories, delivery trucks, worker training, brand-name development, the whole shebang.  At first Jones sees his investment ...

April 20, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1258031

April 20, 2014, 2:04 pm, 1257994
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 96 of F. A. Hayek’s 1948 collection, Individualism and Economic Order; specifically, it’s from Hayek’s important 1946 article “The Meaning of Competition“:

The peculiar nature of the assumptions from which the theory of competitive equilibrium starts stands out very clearly if we ask which of ...

April 20, 2014, 8:04 am, 1257956
(Don Boudreaux)

Warning: Wonky

A debate is now underway over at Steve Landsburg’s The Big Questions.  And this post here at the Cafe is the first of what will likely be two or more on this debate and the larger matter that it touches.  The debate involves the merits of ...

April 19, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1257861
(Don Boudreaux)

In this video, Armen Alchian – one of history’s greatest economists – discusses one of the many areas in which he made several signature contributions: property rights.  (I don’t know the date on which Alchian sat down with Dan Benjamin to do this interview.  My guess is ...