The Last Bad Idea: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Posted by on August 23rd, 2013

by Gerald Friedman,
Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was adopted in 2010, but many provisions are only being phased in over several years. Important provisions that have already taken effect include the requirement that family policies allow parents to keep their children enrolled until they are 26. The high unemployment rate for young adults and the lack of health [...] read more >

Iowa Cornfield of Dreams

Posted by on July 5th, 2013

by Helen Scharber
In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character famously builds a baseball field in Iowa that “reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”  In another field in Iowa, two decades later, agricultural researchers also found that what once was good—in this case, crop rotation as a natural way to fertilize soil and kill weeds—could be again.  And could be really [...] read more >

Austerity Comes to America

Posted by on May 20th, 2013

by Gerald Friedman
Economists at the University of Massachusetts and elsewhere have thoroughly discredited research suggesting that cutting government spending will promote economic growth during a time of recession.  Even while scholarship has exposed the fallacy of austerity economics and this news has reached wide audiences through Twitter and the Colbert Report, the United States government is embracing austerity’s policy prescriptions.  While employment has barely kept up with the growth of the labor force and the best [...] read more >

Going Co-op!

Posted by on April 9th, 2013

by Anastasia Wilson
Think capitalism isn’t working? Several Massachusetts businesses agree and are doing something about it.
Real Pickles, Green River Ambrosia, and Katalyst Kombucha are fermenters of all kinds in Western Massachusetts, The Just Crust in Cambridge rises up by baking pizzas, and all of these businesses have transitioned into worker-owned cooperatives within the last few months.
A capitalist firm typically has a hierarchal structure of owners, bosses, and workers, [...] read more >

Econ-Utopia: Steelworkers and Mondragon Collaborate!

Posted by on November 10th, 2009

In a remarkable and historic move, the United Steel Workers union (USW) and Mondragon International[1] announced that they would be working together to establish Mondragon manufacturing cooperatives in the U.S. and Canada.[2] The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) is the world’s largest industrial workers cooperative, located in the Basque region of Spain. It employs almost 100,000 workers in 260 cooperative enterprises that include manufacturing, a university, research and development, [...] read more >

Econ-Atrocity: On Worker Deaths

Posted by on March 17th, 2009

By Patrice Woeppel, Ed.D.
Author of Depraved Indifference: the Workers’ Compensation System
March 16, 2009
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records 5,488 worker fatalities for 2007, the most recent year for which their data is completed. But the number of worker fatalities recorded by BLS is grossly under-reported.
Worker deaths from toxic exposures, other work illnesses are conservatively estimated by NIOSH and other researchers at 50,00 to 60,000 deaths each year, or ten times the number of fatalities [...] read more >

Econ-Atrocity: Do The World’s Poor Countries Finance the Rich Ones?

Posted by on January 18th, 2008

By Amit Basole
CPE Staff Economist
Global Charity
In the year 2000, the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population held 85 percent of its total income and wealth. The bottom half owned a mere 1 percent. Such glaring global asymmetries have long justified redistribution of wealth from the “Global North” to the “Global South” in the form of development aid and loans. So much so, that the stock image of a developing country that springs to mind [...] read more >

Econ-Utopia: The Bloodless Revolution, part 2 of 2: a Review of Peter Barnes’ Capitalism 3.0

Posted by on July 12th, 2007

[See part one]
Jonathan Teller-Elsberg, CPE Staff Economist
It’s worth remembering that commons already exist, lots of them, in various places and parts of the world’s economies. Most often, however, they are informal arrangements—holdovers from before the rise of modern market capitalism. In general, commons are not recognized formally by governments as a type of property arrangement deserving protection, the way conventional private property is legally protected.
It is this lack of protection that enables the famous “tragedy [...] read more >

The Inequality and Health Debate: What do we learn from the twentieth-century in the developed world?

Posted by on June 24th, 2007

An important debate in the social health literature is whether more inequality causes worse health. At some later date I’ll post a bibliography, or maybe commenters can help. In any case the list of publications is long, the contributors illustrious, and the findings varied and at odds with each other. Some of the most important papers representing a range of findings include those by Deaton, Deaton and Lubotsky, Mellor and Milyo, Lynch, et [...] read more >

Socialized Medicine: America’s best health-care organization?

Posted by on June 23rd, 2007

The 14,500 doctors and 58,000 nurses of this health-care organization serve 7.6 million enrollees, delivering care that outperforms both commericial insurance and Medicare–let alone poor, underfunded Medicaid–on a host of indicators of quality of process and outcome. While Medicare costs increased from $5,000 to $6,800 (36 percent) per patient-year between 1996 and 2004, its costs stayed constant at $5,000 per patient-year. And the patients receiving this high-quality, moderate-cost care are disproportionately poor and disabled.
Is [...] read more >