nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒10
five papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
University of the West Indies

  1. Pluralism in economics: from epistemology to hermeneutics By Gala, Paulo; Araújo Fernandes, Danilo; Stuhlberger Wjuniski, Bernardo; Marques Corrêa, Taís
  2. "The Great Crisis and the American Response" By James K. Galbraith
  3. "Three Futures for Postcrisis Banking in the Americas: The Financial Trilemma and the Wall Street Complex" By Gary A. Dymski
  4. "Detecting Ponzi Finance: An Evolutionary Approach to the Measure of Financial Fragility" By Eric Tymoigne
  5. The global financial crisis and development thinking By Rogers, F. Halsey

  1. By: Gala, Paulo; Araújo Fernandes, Danilo; Stuhlberger Wjuniski, Bernardo; Marques Corrêa, Taís
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to bring elements from the philosophical movement ofhermeneutics and pragmatism to the discussion on methodology in economics, with aspecific concern on the theory of truth. Our aim is to present the concept of thehermeneutic space, developed by the philosopher Richard Rorty, as a rational justificationfor pluralism in economics. We consider the hermeneutic space an interesting conceptwhich should allow us to overcome the void left by the incapacity of epistemologicaltheories to explain the evolution of sciences. It defends the idea that our culture, values andways of interpreting things are what build the sciences, not any closed epistemologicalmethod. In this sense, pluralism is nothing more than letting the hermeneutic space work,without epistemological barriers, and understanding that this is desirable for the futuredevelopment of economics as a science. This approach differs from all othermethodological justifications for pluralism because it does not rely on any epistemologicalmethod, but assumes that the hermeneutic space can entirely fulfill the gap created by them.
    Date: 2010–06–07
  2. By: James K. Galbraith
    Abstract: The global abatement of the inflationary climate of the past three decades, combined with continuing financial instability, helped to promote the worldwide holding of U.S. dollar reserves as a cushion against financial instability outside the United States, with the result that, for the United States itself, this was a period of remarkable price stability and reasonably stable economic expansion. For the most part, the economics profession viewed these events as a story of central bank credibility, fiscal probity, and accelerating technological change coupled with changing demands on the labor market, creating a model of self-stabilizing free markets and hands-off policy makers motivated by doing the right thing - what Senior Scholar James K. Galbraith calls "the grand illusion of the Great Moderation." A dissenting line of criticism focused on the stagnation of real wages, the growth of deficits in trade and the current account, and the search for new markets. This view implied that a crisis would occur, but that it would result from a rejection of U.S. financial hegemony and a crash of the dollar, with the euro and the European Union (EU) the ostensible beneficiaries. A third line of argument was articulated by two figures with substantially different perspectives on the Keynesian tradition: Wynne Godley and Hyman P. Minsky. Galbraith discusses the approaches of these Levy distinguished scholars, including Godley’s correlation of government surpluses and private debt accumulation and Minsky's financial stability hypothesis, as well as their influence on the responses of the larger economic community. Galbraith himself argues the fundamental illusion of viewing the U.S. economy through the free-market prism of deregulation, privatization, and a benevolent government operating mainly through monetary stabilization. The real sources of American economic power, he says, lie with those who manage and control the public-private sectors - especially the public institutions in those sectors - and who often have a political agenda in hand. Galbraith calls this the predator state: a state that is not intent upon restructuring the rules in any idealistic way but upon using the existing institutions as a device for political patronage on a grand scale. And it is closely aligned with deregulation.
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Gary A. Dymski
    Abstract: This would seem an opportune moment to reshape banking systems in the Americas. But any effort to rethink and improve banking must acknowledge three major barriers. The first is a crisis of vision: there has been too little consideration of what kind of banking system would work best for national economies in the Americas. The other two constraints are structural. Banking systems in Mexico and the rest of Latin America face a financial regulation trilemma, the logic and implications of which are similar to those of smaller nations’ macroeconomic policy trilemma. The ability of these nations to impose rules that would pull banking systems in the direction of being more socially productive and economically functional is constrained both by regional economic compacts (in the case of Mexico, NAFTA) and by having a large share of the domestic banking market operated by multinational banks. For the United States, the structural problem involves the huge divide between Wall Street megabanks and the remainder of the U.S. banking system. The ambitions, modes of operation, and economic effects of these two different elements of U.S. banking are quite different. The success, if not survival, of one element depends on the creation of a regulatory atmosphere and set of enabling federal government subsidies or supports that is inconsistent with the success, or survival, of the other element.
    Keywords: Banking; Financial Crisis; Trilemma; Wall Street; Mexico; United States; Financial Regulation; Megabanks; Regional Compacts; NAFTA
    JEL: E5 F3 G1 G2 O1 P5
    Date: 2010–06
  4. By: Eric Tymoigne
    Abstract: Different frameworks of analysis lead to different conceptions of financial instability and financial fragility. On one side, the static approach conceptualizes financial instability as an unfortunate byproduct of capitalism that results from unpredictable random forces that no one can do anything about except prepare for through adequate loss reserves, capital, and liquidation buffers. On the other side, the evolutionary approach conceptualizes financial instability as something that the current economic system invariably brings upon itself through internal market and nonmarket forces, and that requires change in financial practices rather than merely good financial buffers. This paper compares the two approaches in order to lay the foundation for the empirical analysis developed within the evolutionary approach. The paper shows that, with the use of macroeconomic data, it is possible to detect financial fragility, especially Ponzi finance. The methodology is applied to residential housing in the U.S. household sector and is able to capture some of the trends that are known to be sources of economic difficulties. Notably, the paper finds that Ponzi finance was going on in the housing sector from at least 2004 to 2007, which concurs with other works based on more detailed data.
    Keywords: Financial Fragility; Financial Crisis; Financial Policy; Minsky
    JEL: E12 E32
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Rogers, F. Halsey
    Abstract: The global financial crisis has not only dealt a major blow to the global economy, but also shaken confidence in economic management in the developed world and the economic models that guide it. The crisis has revealed major market failures, especially in the housing bubble and its transmission to the financial system, but also glaring state failures that propagated and exacerbated the crisis. Will the events of the past two years lead to major shifts in thinking about development economics, and should they? This paper assesses that question for several key domains of development thinking, including the market-state balance, macroeconomic management, globalization, development financing, and public spending. On the one hand, changed global circumstances and new awareness of vulnerability should lead to some policy changes, as developing countries take steps to reduce and buffer risks, including risks generated in developed countries. At the same time, the crisis should largely reinforce the Post-Washington Consensus on development that has emerged over the past decade -- a world view that aims to achieve private sector-driven growth but sees a facilitating role for the state, promotes engaging with the global economy in ways that advance development, and values pragmatism, experimentation, and evidence-based policymaking over ideology.
    Keywords: Debt Markets,Economic Theory&Research,Banks&Banking Reform,Climate Change Economics,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2010–06–01

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