As time has passed, more and more people are going to college in the United States. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing. Let’s see why.
It’s time for another (and perhaps the final?) round of the Stark/Studebaker Minimum Wage Debate. For those new to this back and forth, Stark, a broadly Keynesian blogger who has my respect, came out against Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. I responded to his argument, and since then we have had a back and forth. Stark has done us the service of compiling the relevant posts in order here. Stark took issue with some of the casual terminology I employed in my last post, and in the interval between that one and this one we have messaged back and forth via Facebook to sort out for our mutual benefit precisely what one another means. In some cases, I thought Stark’s terminological criticisms pedantic, but in other cases he was right to press for clarification. Fundamentally, if I write a post and an intelligent person (which Stark is) has trouble sorting out what is meant, that’s on me. Now that we have sorted out our positions, Stark has posted his latest attack on the minimum wage hike, and I think myself ready to take it on. So here goes.
There’s an interesting debate going on within Keynesianism at the moment about whether or not the present economic malaise in much of the western world can be accredited to the persistent rise in inequality that has transpired over the last thirty years or so. Arguing in favour of the inequality connection is Joseph Stiglitz; arguing against is Paul Krugman. I’d like to examine what both economists have to say on the topic and deduce as best I can my own view on the subject.
I have been a long-time sceptic of the Occupy Wall Street movement–its reluctance to coalesce around any specific issues or solutions to said issues, its lack of structure, hierarchy, and organisation, and its fondness for Rousseauian direct democracy all have been and remain major turn-offs for me. There’s reason we remember Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mandela; good protest movements require good leadership, specific goals, and specific means. However, I have discovered one strand of OWS that is not completely useless. In fact, it may provide an answer to one of the most serious problems afflicting our economy–high levels of household debt and governments unwilling to do anything about it.