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The Anti-Economist

The Real Lost Generation

In late August, I traveled with colleagues from the Roosevelt Institute in New York to New Orleans, where we had invited a panel of community organizers to join us in…

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The Future Progressive

In his classic book On Liberty, the nineteenth-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill urged that man strive to become “a progressive being.” Mill defined progressivism as the cultivation of individuality;…

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Problem Number One

This spring, Newark mayor Cory Booker, then considering a run for U.S. Senate, came to my office along with members of his staff to discuss national economic issues. We spent…

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Saving Your Children from a Harvard Education

In 1972, the economics department at Harvard denied tenure to the leftist professor Samuel Bowles. Responding to the decision in the Harvard Crimson, Bowles asserted that he had been passed…

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Toward Reglobalization

It’s rare, in economics as in life, to get a second chance. Though economists are constantly learning lessons from past mistakes, seldom are there obvious opportunities to apply them. The…

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The Scarlet Debtor

Debt forgiveness is one of the most important innovations of modern capitalism, but it is a fairly recent one. Though the Constitution gives Congress explicit authority to enact “uniform Laws…

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Education Is Not the Answer

Last spring I sat on a panel convened to discuss the publication of The Occupy Handbook, a collection of essays in which a number of prominent economists addressed issues raised…

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The Age of Cruelty

Following heavy Democratic losses in the 2010 congressional elections, Barack Obama announced that he was reading a biography of Ronald Reagan to see how the great man had handled his…

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A Bit of Good News

It’s dangerous to express optimism about the economy these days. Europe’s financial markets remain fragile. China, which supports much of the world’s economy through imports, is too dependent on highly…

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The Fall and Rise of Occupy Wall Street

A year and a half after the takeover of Zuccotti Park there exists a widespread conviction that Occupy Wall Street ultimately failed, and that it did so for lack of…

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Revised History

Last month, Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, the documentary series the director made with historian Peter Kuznick, completed its ten-episode run on Showtime. Those who unthinkingly dismiss…

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Trading for Jobs

As President Obama begins his second term, our gross domestic product is in recovery mode. But the jobs market is still in a Great Recession. Unemployment hovers stubbornly around 8…

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Half Empty

The American dream has never been the rags-to-riches fable of the Horatio Alger stories. But there once was a real American dream, and it went like this: If you work…

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The Entitlement Crisis That Isn’t

At September’s Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton roused his party when he said that Republicans, having left Barack Obama with a “total mess,” were now complaining that the president hasn’t…

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The Austerity Myth

As economic adversity continues to spread, from Athens to Madrid, London to the Beltway, austerity has become a most dangerous idea. What now dominates the world is the popular theory…

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February 2014