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Keep Your Government Hands off My 401k

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Abstract:

Blyth stresses how a very un-Polanyian embedding process explains, in part, why there is no ‘normal’ Polanyian reaction. That is, over the past 30 years labor has become progressively embedded in both the institutions, and the ideas, of finance.

Blyth argues, following Hall and others, that for fundamental change to occur the policy-paradigms governing finance must been seen to have failed. This has indeed happened in that the financial ideas of the past 30 years; efficient markets, rational expectations, Ricardian equivalence and the like have been blown apart in the crisis, but the difference this time around as opposed to the 1930s is that the ‘empirical failure after anomalies’ that allows new ideas to come to prominence have been undermined by the coordinative capacities of governments. If there is no ‘experience’ of failure, and the resulting bust after the boom has been relatively mild given the welfare capacities of governments, then there is no need to shift the paradigm, just modify it. As such, in the absence of agreed upon catastrophic failure there can be no single new model to organize around.

Building on these ideas about ideas, Blyth further argues that there are good reasons for neither labor nor the state turning away from finance insofar as the financial sectors of major economies constitute almost 20 percent of GDP, 30 percent of value added, and is major source of transfers. As such, states have real limits in going against the interests of finance, even if they had the ideas with which to do so. Further compounding this is the fact that workers in such states are deeply embedded in finance for consumption smoothing. In a 70-80 percent service sector economy limited productivity enhancement through capital improvements leads to low wages, hence increasingly skewed incomes. Finance has emerged here, along with cheaper products from East Asia, to allow higher than equilibrium levels of consumption and debt among wage earners such that labor’s interest is not to overthrow the system, but to get it restarted as quickly as possible.
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
URL:
http://www.ces.columbia.edu


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399497_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Blyth, mark. "Keep Your Government Hands off My 401k" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399497_index.html>

APA Citation:

Blyth, m. "Keep Your Government Hands off My 401k" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399497_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Blyth stresses how a very un-Polanyian embedding process explains, in part, why there is no ‘normal’ Polanyian reaction. That is, over the past 30 years labor has become progressively embedded in both the institutions, and the ideas, of finance.

Blyth argues, following Hall and others, that for fundamental change to occur the policy-paradigms governing finance must been seen to have failed. This has indeed happened in that the financial ideas of the past 30 years; efficient markets, rational expectations, Ricardian equivalence and the like have been blown apart in the crisis, but the difference this time around as opposed to the 1930s is that the ‘empirical failure after anomalies’ that allows new ideas to come to prominence have been undermined by the coordinative capacities of governments. If there is no ‘experience’ of failure, and the resulting bust after the boom has been relatively mild given the welfare capacities of governments, then there is no need to shift the paradigm, just modify it. As such, in the absence of agreed upon catastrophic failure there can be no single new model to organize around.

Building on these ideas about ideas, Blyth further argues that there are good reasons for neither labor nor the state turning away from finance insofar as the financial sectors of major economies constitute almost 20 percent of GDP, 30 percent of value added, and is major source of transfers. As such, states have real limits in going against the interests of finance, even if they had the ideas with which to do so. Further compounding this is the fact that workers in such states are deeply embedded in finance for consumption smoothing. In a 70-80 percent service sector economy limited productivity enhancement through capital improvements leads to low wages, hence increasingly skewed incomes. Finance has emerged here, along with cheaper products from East Asia, to allow higher than equilibrium levels of consumption and debt among wage earners such that labor’s interest is not to overthrow the system, but to get it restarted as quickly as possible.


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