Are We Measuring Inequality the Wrong Way?

December 9, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In a recent blog post called “How Not to Measure Inequality”, the anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that economists measure inequality the wrong way. Hickel thinks that standard measures of inequality (such as the Gini index), underestimate global disparities. The problem, according to Hickel, is that economists measure … Read More

Call For Papers: Energy, Institutions and Society

November 29, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I’ve been asked to create panels for the upcoming International Conference on Thermodynamics 2.0. The conference aims to bring natural and social sciences closer. It will take place at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, USA from June 22-24, 2020. I’m calling the panel(s) Energy, Institutions and Society. I’m … Read More

2019/02.1: Fix, ‘How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income Size and Class’

November 29, 2019

This paper investigates a new approach to understanding personal and functional income distribution. I propose that hierarchical power — the command of subordinates in a hierarchy — is what distinguishes the rich from the poor and capitalists from workers. Specifically, I hypothesize that individual income increases with hierarchical power, as does the share of individual … Read More

The Allure of Marxism … And Why It’s a Mistake

November 26, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Karl Marx is probably the most important social scientist in history. But while his influence is beyond compare, Marx’s legacy is, in many ways, disastrous. Few thinkers have inspired so many people to commit crimes against humanity. Think of Stalinist gulags. Think of the Ukrainian famine of … Read More

As it Dies, We Talk About the ‘Free Market’ More

November 18, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In The Growth of Hierarchy and the Death of the Free Market, I argued that economic development involves killing the free market. What was the evidence? As energy use increases, so does the relative number of managers. This growth of managers, I argued, indicates that economic development … Read More

2019/04: Hager and Baines, ‘Jurisdictional Tax Rates: How the Corporate Tax System Fuels Concentration and Inequality’

November 14, 2019

ABSTRACT Corporate concentration in the United States has been on the rise in recent years, sparking a heated debate about its causes, consequences, and potential remedies. In this study, we examine a facet of public policy that has been largely neglected in current debates about concentration: corporate tax policy. As part of our analysis we … Read More

Can A Service Transition Save the Planet?

November 12, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Let’s talk sustainability. Unless you’re an anti-science crank, you probably agree that we’ve got a problem with carbon emissions. We need to drastically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change. On this we should all agree. The question that’s open for debate is how to cut emissions. … Read More

Where’s the Barefoot Revolution in Economics?

November 6, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Yesterday I was reminded of what got me interested in economics. I’ll preface this by saying that I make my living as a substitute teacher in Toronto. It’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills. It gives me time to do research from outside academia. When I’m … Read More