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Roger E.A. Farmer



Articles by Roger E.A. Farmer

Why We Need More Economists

October 8, 2019

The economics profession should not be so defensive toward critics who blame it for rising inequality. Insights from the dismal science – and in particular economists’ advocacy of market-based policies to boost prosperity – have proven their worth many times over.

LONDON – In a recent commentary in The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum placed the blame for increasing inequality in the United States squarely at the feet of economists. He cited the work, among others, of the Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas, who directed policymakers’ attention toward the problem of growth and away from redistribution. Appelbaum also cited statistics on life expectancy in the US, which has fallen in recent years, owing partly to

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Central Banking’s Bankrupt Narrative

September 3, 2019

The combination of low unemployment and stubbornly low inflation across Western advanced economies has exposed the fundamental flaws of the standard economic theory that have long informed monetary policymaking. What theory should replace it?

LOS ANGELES – Former US Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers and Anna Stansbury recently cast doubt on the future of central banking, suggesting that the prevailing monetary-policy framework is in dire need of a rethink. I agree, and have been calling for a reconsideration of “Old Keynesian economics” for more than a decade, starting with an article I published in 2006, two years before the Great Recession made it fashionable to question the way we think

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Paying for the Welfare State Without Raising Taxes

June 13, 2019

Despite the old economic adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there is a way for governments to finance social-welfare programs without imposing a higher burden on taxpayers. National treasuries should establish Social Care Funds that borrow money at low interest rates and invest the proceeds in the stock market.

LONDON – The current value of the US government’s unfunded pension and Medicare liabilities is $46.7 trillion, or roughly two and a half times US GDP. Other estimates put that figure much higher. In the United Kingdom, a similar calculation by the Adam Smith Institute yields a £1.85 trillion ($2.34 trillion) “hidden debt time bomb.” And the situation in Switzerland,

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Secular Stagnation Revisited

September 4, 2018

The right way to respond to financial crises is not with expansionary fiscal policy, but with policies that restore the value of private assets. And the right way to prevent financial crises in the first place is to intervene in the financial markets to moderate swings in asset values and to head off recessions before they happen.

WARWICK – The public spat between Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is remarkable for the personal animosity that it reveals between two economists who essentially agree about the economics. Stiglitz levels a not-so-subtle attack on Summers for failing to insist on a larger fiscal deficit when he ran the National Economic Council under the Obama presidency. Summers

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Equality for All?

August 9, 2018

Over the past half-century, globalization has narrowed the gap between rich and poor in the world as a whole. But the gap between rich and poor within Western democracies has widened, posing serious risks to the hard-fought gains of social and democratic reform movements over the past 200 years.

LONDON – Last month, I was invited to speak at the York Festival of Ideas, an annual forum for debating alternative, predominantly progressive policy goals. I talked about my work on asset-price stabilization. Andy Wood of the consultancy Grant Thornton spoke about inclusiveness in business, Neil McInroy of the Center for Local and Economic Strategies discussed local organizing, and Ander Etxeberria of the Mondragon Corporation told

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