Miserable numbers

Even non-connoisseurs are reeling from the miserable second quarter GDP numbers released this morning. Between the first and second quarters of this year, GDP was off 33% after adjustment for inflation. That’s by far the biggest decline since quarterly numbers begin in 1947. That 33% figure is at an annualized rate, meaning GDP would be off by a third if it declined at the second-quarter rate for a full year. The US is unusual in annualizing the data; most other countries report the quarter-to-quarter change without annualizing it. If we did that,… Read More

Reflections on the current disorder

[This is the edited text of a talk I gave via Zoom, like everything else these days, sponsored by the North Brooklyn chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. It reprises and updates several things I’ve written recently, but it’s hard to be original these days. Video will be posted, but who wants to look at me? The Q&A was quite good though.] Before I get into the body of my talk, I want to celebrate our electoral victories and say how proud I am to be a member of DSA. If… Read More

Keynes on bizmen as “domestic animals”

This is from a February 1938 letter by John Maynard Keynes to Franklin Roosevelt, expressing his alarm at the return to slump in 1937–38, and offering suggestions on how to reverse it. I’ve cleaned up a few marks and jacked up the contrast to make it more legible. The whole letter is really worth reading; it’s full of sentences like “The handling of the housing problem has been really wicked.” The bourgeoisie doesn’t make them like these two anymore. (Click on the graphic to enlarge it.)   Thanks for the pointer, Mike Konczal.