Cheap at twice the price

One of the vanished joys of academic life is the experience, after publishing an article, of getting a bundle of 25 or 50 reprints in the mail, to be distributed to friends and colleagues, or mailed out in response to requests from faraway places (if you live in Australia, everywhere is faraway), often coming on little postcards. Everything is much more efficient nowadays, and I just finished throwing away my remaining collection of reprints. But now, an electronic ghost of the reprint has come to visit.

Earlier this year, I contributed an article to a special issue of Globalizations on “The diffusion of public private partnerships: a world systems analysis”. This is a fair way outside my usual academic area of expertise, a fact which may be apparent to readers who know more about the topic than me, but I wanted to say something about Australia and New Zealand. I just got an email from the publisher offering 50 free e-prints . I don’t think my fellow economists will be much interested, and most would have library subscriptions anyway. So, I’m opening it up to my readers. As I understand it, the first 50 to download it get it for free. After that, anyone really interested can email me for a copy.

Update If you want a copy just click on the link

5 thoughts on “Cheap at twice the price

  1. “I wanted to say something about Australia and Nee Zealand”. Australia and New Zealand are far away.

  2. Public private partnerships are a terrible thing in my view. I don’t think the government should partner up with artificial persons. They should stick to partnering up only with individuals. And base infrastructure around that requirement. No debt, no bankers and no artificial persons. Plenty of subcontracting but only to sole traders.

  3. “As evidence of growing inequality has become harder to ignore (Piketty 2014, Atkinson 2018),
    increasing attention has been paid to the role of monopoly and monopsony in markets for
    goods, services and labour.” – J.Q.

    Gee whiz, Marxists have been paying attention to monopoly for a lot longer than that. Why are bourgeois economists / thinkers always so late to arrive at concepts? Then they cry “Eureka!” as if the first to discover something.

  4. @Ikonoklast You’re misreading me. As a matter of intellectual history, Marxist and mainstream economics were both based on competitive models throughout the 19th century and both produced theoretical models of monopoly in the first half of C20 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/030981688502600105

    My point was that, for a long time, the dominance of neoliberalism entailed a widespread assumption that monopoly and monopsony were unimportant. This assumption has now been generally rejected.

  5. When the Austrian school downplays the monopoly (or otherwise insurmountable lead) menace, they are completely ignoring the finance side of things. I think this school is terrific insofar as their reasoning goes. They are just one-eye-blind. They are not observing things closely on the ground.

    So for example take a fellow like Peter Thiel. He doesn’t want his fund to invest in anything that isn’t going to become a monopoly. By monopoly he is not talking about the Frank Knight definition of what that means. By monopoly he means outfits like Facebook, Google or Amazon. Miscreants in my book. Facebook being fully involved in terrorist activities in my view. But putting that aside Thiel would describe them as monopolies from the point of view that they have such networking advantages that they have developed an insurmountable lead.

    Now Thiel is just a little fellow in the wider scheme of things. And he’s working faithfully for the people who have their money with him. But the big finance oligarchs and big banking in general see to it that one winner, or only a few, get all the cheap credit because fractional reserve banks like SURE THINGS. Sure things like real estate, lending to government, the oil industry, and so forth. Its on these sure things that they will practice interest apartheid, and they will use sure things to pyramid up their loan book. Sure things will attract a 4% interest rate or less, and in practice this is tax deductible so it comes down under the real inflation rate, and so it winds up as an interest rate subsidy. So one or a few players end up with this free subsidy, become a monopoly (as defined by an insurmountable lead) get all the cheap credit and start buying up assets everywhere. (eg. Coles and Woolworths buy up assets at a worrying rate because they are sure things, they can be relied on to pyramid the bankers loan book upon, so they can get oodles of interest rate subsidy.)

    Is this the perfectly balanced invisible hand that Adam Smith envisaged? Is this the finely balanced voluntary society that Von Mises presented with such wonderful reasoning? No its brigandry. Its a disgrace. And we ought to do something about it.

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