Why have less-educated Americans, long the base of the Democratic Party, flocked to Republicans in recent decades? New research shows that much of this change can be explained by the Democratic Party’s evolution on economic policy, as the party gradually moved away from its traditional emphasis on “predistribution policies” (favored by less-educated Americans), instead embracing redistributive tax-and-transfer policies (favored by more-educated Americans).
Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act, which slashed the highest marginal tax rate from 50 to 28 percent, was one of the largest and most regressive tax cuts in the history of the United States. New research shows that it also caused an increase in campaign contributions among the wealthy – demonstrating how rising economic and political inequality reinforce one another through public policy.
The recent spate of job losses in journalism make evident the need for systemic alternatives to commercial media. Tweaking market mechanisms and scrambling for new business models is futile when the market itself is a core part of the problem. Our democracy requires that we disentangle news and information from capitalism — we need a horizon for journalism beyond the market.
Twelve titles that the Blog’s editors can’t wait to read in the months to come.
A little-known Reagan-era competition rule continues to block innovative policy efforts by state and local governments. By re-interpreting this rule, the Biden Administration can empower local communities to help build a sustainable economy.
Free speech at universities hangs in the balance. But defending it will require much more than just resisting the assaults coming from billionaires and right-wing influencers. It will require reconnecting with the purposes and highest aims of the academy and building a political economy of higher education that can begin to truly deliver on them.
A US-based, VC-backed company is suing the Honduran Government for shutting down the firm’s private, libertarian city-state. The lawsuit highlights how Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions, written into US trade agreements across the world, allow corporations to extract billions of dollars from governments in the developing world for passing any regulation that might impinge on their profit margins.
Within the LPE movement, there is a broad consensus that “law is central to the creation and maintenance of structural inequalities in the state and the market” and that “class power is inextricably connected to the development of racial and gender hierarchies.” These claims, while often articulated in response to neoliberalism, go to the very origins of capitalism and its particular patterns of inequality.
Neoliberal welfare economics has constrained our moral and political imagination and, in so doing, limited our ability to realistically advance climate justice. This can be seen by considering two policy proposals that appear to fit comfortably within the standard climate economic paradigm, but that offer a wider scope of possibility than conventionally allowed.
At a time when human rights NGOs rigorously count civilian deaths in armed conflicts, no equivalent accounting is available to victims of a war waged via exchange rates, inflation, and interest rates. The opaque mechanisms through which economic coercion inflicts harm have made it difficult to identify causation, let alone to prosecute its agents under international law, while the rise of neoliberalism and an individualized human rights politics have led to a turn away from the concerns with economic coercion that animated post-colonial legal activism in the 1960s and 1970s.
Since the 1990s, mainstream economists have used past weather data to forecast the future costs of climate change. This mode of econometric prediction ignores the alarming tipping points and pervasive uncertainty that characterize our warming world.
The net zero paradigm disaggregates global emissions and allows each company to design an individualized plan. This atomized approach is not just amenable to manipulation – it frustrates the kind of collective action the crisis demands.
Despite receiving more revenue from the U.S. government than from private donors, the nonprofit sector is often cast as an independent realm that stands apart from both state and market. This picture is not merely misleading, but dangerous, as it naturalizes the idea that the needs of certain citizens are best met by private supplement, rather than by more expansive, more equal government provision.
For decades now, we have been in an era of geographic divergence, with “superstar” cities and certain regions capturing growth, while others fall behind. Dominant explanations for this phenomenon focus largely on inexorable economic forces, such as globalization or the benefits of concentrating talent. Yet these explanations leave out a critical factor: the effects of specific regulatory choices on economic geography. From the Progressive and New Deal Eras through roughly the 1970s, the United States had a system of structural regulation in transportation, energy, communications, and banking that was designed to disperse economic activity. Deregulation naturally had the opposite effect: it concentrated economic activity and growth.
If you read the New York Times or listen to certain economists, you’ve probably heard the following story: rural regions in America are economically unsustainable, irrationally resentful, and increasingly obsolete. An LPE lens can help us see why this narrative is mistaken. If we want to understand the story of rural America, we need to begin by examining the governing choices — the laws and institutions — that have disadvantaged rural communities. By revealing the human agency that shapes our collective fates, we can see that new and better possibilities remain within our collective control.