Wall Street Isn’t Worth It

by John Quiggin on November 14, 2013

That’s the title of my new piece at Jacobin, which links back to a variety of discussions we’ve had here at CT, in particular this one from Ingrid. Mankiw, whom Ingrid cites, offers an implicit defence of the 1 per cent, implying though not quite asserting, that the gains accruing to those in this group (largely senior executives and the financial sector) have been the price we pay for a process that benefits everyone, yielding a Pareto improvement. As Ingrid says, Pareto improvements aren’t as self-evidently desirable as Mankiw assumes. My argument focuses on Mankiw’s factual premise, concluding that the expansion of the financial sector has made the majority of people worse off. This implies that a response to the global financial crisis focused on attacking the financial sector is feasible as well as being, in my view, politically necessary as an alternative to rightwing populism.

Jacobin doesn’t appear to have a comments section, so feel free to comment and criticise here. I’ve had an interesting discussion with Daniel on Twitter already, but it’s not really a great medium when more than a few people are involved.

Top Shelf Sale On Comixology; also, Kindle Matchbook

by John Holbo on November 14, 2013

Mostly I read comics in digital form these days. Comixology is a pretty good platform – bit crashy on my old iPad. But I like the Guided View format. If you haven’t gotten into the whole buying digital comics thing yet, you might check out the Top Shelf sale going on right now. Top Shelf is a major indie publisher with a lot of great titles and a pretty extensive catalogue. You can get Alan Moore, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. You can get Jeff Lemire stuff like Essex County and The Underwater Welder. You can get Nate Powell stuff like Any Empire and Swallow Me Whole (which I previously recommended here.) You can get hilarious Jeffrey Brown stuff like The Incredible Change-Bots (also recommended before.) Lilli Carre, Tales of Woodsman Pete. James Kochalka, Monkey vs. Robot and Superf*ckers. And on and on. Good stuff!

I also notice, via the Top Shelf front page, that there’s a new Amazon thing called Kindle Matchbook. If you’ve bought a physical book through Amazon, at any point in the past, you can add a digital copy for cheap. I so much prefer digital, especially for research purposes, that I will probably be availing myself of that option in future. But Kindle comics aren’t so good. You can’t zoom individual frames, as with Comixology. And not that many publishers are on-board with this Matchbook thing, apparently. I suppose they feel it will put yet more pressure on paper sales by encouraging people to sell their used paper copies, once they’ve got the Kindle copy. Probably they’re right.