Enlightened Economics

Economics for an Enlightened Age

Posts Tagged ‘enlightened economics’

• Can income redistribution help fight depression?

Posted by Ron Robins on February 28, 2015

“The average poor person has about two and a half times the level of painful emotions as the average rich person… the decline in painful emotions with [increasing] income, both on average and at the mood-disorder level, is actually caused by changes in income. This means depression is a consequence of poverty. Further, the causal effect of income on emotional pain is much stronger at low incomes than high ones… Opponents of shifting the tax burden back to high earners often argue that doing so will hurt economic growth. We needn’t be too worried. Compared to the past 35 years, U.S. economic growth was actually higher under the more progressive tax regime of 1950 to 1980.”
Can income redistribution help fight depression? By David Clingingsmith, February 25, 2015, Corporate Knights, Canada

Commentary: Ron Robins
This is an important study. However, I’d argue that the real problem of poverty and its deleterious effects for psychological health relative to those with higher incomes, can be reduced with poor people participating in the financial benefits that accrue with corporate ownership. (And I’m not talking about socialism or communism!)

I believe an enlightened approach would be for the wealthy — and for corporations themselves — in each country to entrust a certain percentage of their profits in the form of company stock to a ‘sovereign wealth fund.’ Over time, some of the dividends and stock gains could be cashed and used to directly increase the incomes of the poor. Higher taxes for the rich (which is becoming popular), advocated in the above article, could be introduced now but would probably have to be quite onerous to significantly improve the income of the poor and ameliorate their emotional distress to any great degree.

Furthermore, as it’s proving in France which imposed very high taxes on high incomes, the wealthy become very adept in finding ways to avoid the higher taxes — and many even moving themselves to other jurisdictions!

Posted in Consciousness/Psychology, Economics, Labour Issues, News, Commentary | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

• Has the Global Trade Engine Stalled? (Goods, perhaps. Services, maybe not)

Posted by Ron Robins on December 21, 2014

“For the first time in nearly half a century, trade between nations has grown slower than the global economy. Some economists believe trade may be at a peak, at least for a while. “Peak Trade” suggests the world could hit a long-term ceiling in terms of the effects of trade growth as an economic driver.”
— Has the Global Trade Engine Stalled? By Eric Justian, December 19, 2014, TriplePundit, U.S.A.

Commentary: Ron Robins
Buy local, make locally, is a major trend in all countries. The huge U.S. economic stimulus package of five years ago mandated domestic sourcing and production, wherever possible. In the U.S., as in many countries, there are large constituencies who see global trade as contributing to massive losses of high paying domestic jobs. Hence, like the U.S., countries around the world are emphasizing buy local, make locally.

Furthermore, renowned trends forecaster Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute predicts these trends growing globally together with an anti ‘made in China’ mindset among developed countries’ consumers.

Most of these trends likely apply mostly to the goods trade. But it remains to be seen if the services side of global trade is similarly constrained. My suspicion is that with the growth of the web and recently introduced simultaneous multi-lingual VOIP services such as Skype has inaugurated, services might yet see much further globalization. Services also constitute about 70% of global GDP.

For a more detailed understanding on the growth of the global services trade, read my post, Huge Migration of Service Jobs to Developing World Looming. That essay implies that over the long-term global trade in services — and due to lower cost structures particularly benefits the developing economies — could grow appreciably faster than world GDP.

From an Enlightened Economics perspective, the freer the trade, the better. There’s no better means to economic growth than for the ‘invisible hand’ of the market to function seamlessly and optimally.

Posted in Labour Issues, News, Commentary | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

• Wall St. Wins a Round in a Dodd-Frank Fight

Posted by Ron Robins on December 14, 2014

“Wall Street won when the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a broad spending bill that contained a provision that rolls back a rule affecting derivatives, the financial product that helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. The Senate is expected to pass the budget legislation containing the repeal this weekend.”
— Wall St. Wins a Round in a Dodd-Frank Fight, by Peter Eavis, December 12, 2014, The New York Times, U.S.A.

Commentary: Ron Robins
The rule pertains to the U.S. government back stopping losses on certain derivative products that the Dodd-Frank legislation strongly said should not be law. From the perspective of free market economics — which Enlightened Economics espouses — using American taxpayers to backstop $250 trillion of derivative products, many of which are simply gambling bets, is unconscionable. Furthermore, U.S. politicians are again cowering to the power of the banks and the bankers behind this demonstrate a deep lack of personal morality. When businesses (or banks) have a backstop like this it assuredly leads to enhanced moral hazard and ensues its use in the years ahead.

Unfortunately, the losses with its use could bring the edifices of modern finance crashing.

Posted in Banking, Consciousness/Psychology, Finance & Investing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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