The Crisis and Macro-Economic Theory
I really enjoyed a recent piece by Tom Palley “After the Bust: The Outlook for Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policy.”Â Â He argues with great assurance that only progressive Post Keynesian analytics can explain the crisis, and that we won’t get out of it with a bit of Keynesian tweaking of the neo liberal paradigm.
â€œChangeâ€ was the buzzword of the Obama campaign, in response to a political agenda precipitated by financial turmoil and a global economic crisis. According to Research Associate Thomas Palley, the neoliberal economic policy paradigm underlying that agenda must itself change if there is to be a successful policy response to the crisis. Mainstream economic theory remains unreformed, says Palley, and he warns of a return to failed policies if a deep crisis is averted. Since Post Keynesians accurately predicted that the U.S. economy would implode from within, there is an opportunity for Post Keynesian economics to replace neoliberalism with a more successful approach.
Palley notes that there is significant disagreement among economic paradigms about how to ensure full employment and shared prosperity. A salient feature of the neoliberal economy is the disconnect between wages and productivity growth. Workers are boxed in on all sides by globalization, labor market flexibility, inflation concerns, and a belief in â€œsmall governmentâ€ that has eroded economic rights and government services. Financialization, the economic foundation of neoliberalism, serves the interests of financial markets and top management. Thus, reversing the neoliberal paradigm will require a policy agenda that addresses financialization and ensures that financial markets and firms are more closely aligned with the greater public interest.