In some of its policy thinking the IMF has undergone deep transformations that often point in a more Keynesian direction. The most radical change has been in the IMF’s research on the systemic risks posed by the interconnectedness of global banks, followed by its views on capital controls, and its interventions in the austerity debate.
Surprising its critics, the IMF has endorsed capital controls — of which it was a staunch opponent for decades — as well as state spending to stimulate the economy under certain conditions. Moreover, it has been sharply critical of the theory — popular with E.U. institutions — that spending cuts reignite growth and has become an advocate of slightly more progressive taxation systems. The IMF now holds a strong preference for more spending on public investment and safety nets as the main instruments in the stimulus toolbox.
Most surprising, perhaps, has been the fact that the Fund’s research and position papers recently began to openly embrace a critical approach to global banks by portraying them as “super spreaders” of systemic risk.
In the last week, there has been endless and often emotion-charged debate about rights to free speech. Thanks to Jeremy Schmidt for posting this piece by Hannah Arendt.
Apropos of this week’s media storm:
“Free speech has always come in many different forms and with many meanings, and even in antiquity it had about it that odd ambiguity that still clings to it today. The key thing, however, both then and now, is not that a person can say whatever he pleases, or that each of us has an inherent right to express himself just as he is. The point is, rather, that we know from experience that no one can adequately grasp the objective world in its full reality all on his own, because the world always shows and reveals itself to him from only one perspective, which corresponds to his standpoint in the world and is determined by it. If someone wants to see and experience the world as it “really” is, he can do so only by understanding it as something that is shared by…
View original post 74 more words
Year in Review: Scientists across the globe have issued warnings this year that point to one conclusion: it is a warming world, and there is no sign that it is slowing down or at a standstill.
Thomas Frank, perhaps best known for What’s the Matter with Kansas?, an examination of America’s new conservatism, has an article in Salon, “The New Republic, the torture report, and the TED talks geniuses who gutted journalism.” Toward the end, he writes this:
The new press lord’s deeds are all made possible by the shrinking significance of everyone else. Compared to the patois of power, the language of journalism is but meaningless babble. Compared to once having been a friend of Zuckerberg, no form of literary genius matters any more. Compared to the puissance and majesty of the CIA, we amount to nothing. We are playthings of the powerful, churned out by the millions every year from the nation’s knowledge factories. We are zeroes to their ones, ready to rationalize monopoly or rectal hydration at a moment’s notice.
We’ve been through all of this before, though Frank doesn’t write…
View original post 525 more words