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May 15, 2014

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Posted: 15 May 2014 12:06 AM PDT


Posted: 14 May 2014 04:31 PM PDT

And now for something completely different:

Dear Mark (you have my permission to publish this if you like),
I thought that you and readers at Economist's View would  like to know about this novel paper and competition on "renganomics", an experiment on the spontaneous order of words.
"The Spontaneous Order of Words: Economics Experiments in Haiku and Renga" by Stephen T. Ziliak et al.
The paper is being published in the next issue of the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education 5(3, 2014)):
Abstract: The search is on for low cost collaborative learning models that foster creative cooperation and growth through spontaneous competition. I propose that a traditional renga competition for stakes can fulfill several of those goals at once. "Capitalistic Crisis," composed by five undergraduate students, is an example of what might be called renganomics— a spontaneous, collaboratively written linked haiku about economics, inspired by haiku economics (Ziliak 2011, 2009a) and classical Japanese renga. A renga is in general a spontaneous, collaboratively written linked haiku poem with stanzas and links conventionally  arranged in 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic order. In medieval Japan renga gatherings were social,  political, and economic exchanges – from small to elaborate parties – with a literary end: a collectively written poem to provoke and entertain the assembled audience about a  theme, mood, and season —economic seasons included. Since their ancient and royal  beginnings among 8th century Japanese courtiers, renga have been written competitively and by all social classes for stakes. The current group of five student authors competed in a Spring 2014 economics class with forty other students grouped into teams of 3 or 5 at Roosevelt University. The renga competition, judged by Stephen T. Ziliak, lasted forty  five minutes for a predetermined cash prize of fifty U.S. dollars. So far as we know this  is the first spontaneous renga in English, or any language, to focus on economics. After  a brief discussion of renga rules and the renga-haiku relationship, there follows the prize  winning "Capitalistic Crisis" by Cathleen Vasquez, Joseph Molina and others, together with  "Fashions of Economics: Haiku," by Samuel Barbour, who was master-in-training at the renga.
Here is a bit more about haiku economics, which you've kindly mentioned in the past.
Best regards,
Stephen T. Ziliak

'The Inequality Puzzle'

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:42 AM PDT

Summers on Piketty:

The Inequality Puzzle: Once in a great while, a heavy academic tome dominates for a time the policy debate and, despite bristling with footnotes, shows up on the best-seller list. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is such a volume. As with Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which came out at the end of the Reagan Administration and hit a nerve by arguing the case against imperial overreach through an extensive examination of European history, Piketty's treatment of inequality is perfectly matched to its moment.
Like Kennedy a generation ago, Piketty has emerged as a rock star of the policy-intellectual world. His book was for a time Amazon's bestseller. Every pundit has expressed a view on his argument, almost always wildly favorable if the pundit is progressive and harshly critical if the pundit is conservative. Piketty's tome seems to be drawn on a dozen times for every time it is read.
This should not be surprising. At a moment when our politics seem to be defined by a surly middle class and the President has made inequality his central economic issue, how could a book documenting the pervasive and increasing concentration of wealth and income among the top 1, .1, and .01 percent of households not attract great attention? Especially when it exudes erudition from each of its nearly 700 pages, drips with literary references, and goes on to propose easily understood laws of capitalism that suggest that the trend toward greater concentration is inherent in the market system and will persist absent the adoption of radical new tax policies. ...[continue]...

Update: Piketty responds to criticism.

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