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Binyamin Appelbaum: The Problem With Modern Economics

user profile picture Adam Taggart Sep 12, 2019
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Why do we have the economic policies we do today?

These policies drive decision-making on Capitol Hill, corporate boardrooms, and on Wall Street. But who made them, why, and how did they come about? And how well are they serving us?

Binyamin Appelbaum has made these questions the focus of his new book The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets and the Fracture of Society, which shines a bright light on the rise of modern Economics and its dominating influence on society.

From anti-trust law to central banking, Appelbaum explains how Economics has evolved (metastasized?) into its current form, where the solutions it now offers may be no better (and possibly substantially worse) than the problems it’s designed to address:

We are at a real fork in the road and there is a very plausible path ahead of us in which our ability to grapple with our problems continues to deteriorate. One of the most important consequences of the embrace of economic policies has been the huge rise in economic inequality in this country. And one of the debilitating consequences of inequality which I think is terribly underappreciated is that it makes it very difficult to have a functional democracy. It really limits the shared space in which people can get together and agree on policies that serve all of their interests because their interests have become so diverse.

So I think that inequality itself threatens our ability to constructively confront our societal problems and challenges and I worry immensely about that. And I think economics is very much to blame for us having reached this state in our affairs.

So, that’s the bleak version. I think we are in crisis. We are in crisis in terms of our ability to confront problems, in terms of our ability to make good choices, our ability to build public consensus around positive public policy. And it’s not clear how we escape from it.

These are big issues. We have caused ourselves a lot of problems in the way we have dealt with public policy over the last century. And if we don’t start doing things differently and soon it is hard to see how this all ends well.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Binyamin Appelbaum (52m:10s).

Other Ways To Listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | YouTube | Download |

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