Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Keynesianism

The Left: Should We Be More Concerned with Distributive Inequality or Status Inequality?

Last week, Professor Jonathan Wolff gave an interesting presentation at Cambridge concerning the difference between two kinds of equality–distributive and status. Distributive equality focuses on discrete goods or benefits and how they are distributed among people. These benefits can take many forms (e.g. resources, opportunities, welfare, etc.). Status equality focuses instead on asymmetric relationships and cases in which groups of people are socially excluded or alienated. Wolff argues that we ought to pay more attention to status inequalities and less attention to distributive inequalities. Over the last few days, I’ve been pondering Wolff’s case and its connection with a broader conflict between two different forms of leftism. One is an older left wing tradition that views the economic system as the fundamental source of most forms of inequality, and the other is focused more on identity politics and pays less attention to class issues. In recent years, these two parts of leftism have found themselves more and more at odds with one another. This is dangerous–infighting within the left diminishes its ability to build broad solidaristic coalitions, making it weaker and less politically influential. So how can these two sides be appropriately reconciled, and if they cannot be reconciled, which side should we choose?

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Exposing the Myth of Austerity: An Interview with Benjamin Studebaker

A couple of days ago, I did an interview with Robbie Bennett and Jakob Lount from the People’s Resistance an organization devoted to challenging the British government’s austerity policies. The interview predominately covered austerity and UK and US economic policy, though there’s also a little bit about me personally and my academic work, if that interests you. They have kindly permitted me to share the interview with you in full below–you can also read it on their WordPress or their Tumblr, and they are also on Facebook and on Twitter. The introduction and the questions are their words, the answers are mine: Read the rest of this entry »

Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop David Cameron

On May 7 (this Thursday), Britain has a general election. I care deeply about British politics–I did my BA over there and will return to do my PhD there this fall. But more importantly, David Cameron’s government has managed the country’s economy with stunning fecklessness, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my part to point this out.

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Candidate Evaluations: Rand Paul

One of the big problems in our election coverage is the tendency for journalists to focus on descriptive questions (who will be president?) rather than normative ones (who should be president?). This is understandable, given journalism’s focus on objectivity, but the result is that we often spend much more time talking about whether a candidate is electable than we do about whether or not the candidate would actually do a good job. Voters need to know which candidates support policies that will help them and those they care about–they don’t need to know which candidates pundits think are likely to prevail. So my response is to continue my Candidate Evaluations series, which considers a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Previously, I did Ted Cruz. Today, I tackle Rand Paul, who declared his intent to run earlier this week.

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Syriza vs. The Troika: What’s Going on in Greece

With the recent election of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) in Greece, it’s time to revisit the Eurocrisis. I’ll be trying to answer several questions:

  1. What’s going on in Greece right now?
  2. What does Syriza want to do?
  3. What does the troika want Syriza to do?
  4. What happens if Syriza and the troika can’t agree?

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