Opinions from economistsSee all occupations
disagrees Soda taxesA tax on sugary soft drinks is the first step on the road to fat taxes and sugar taxes more generally. It makes little sense to tax sugary drinks on their own, rather than sugar more generally – a couple of Mars bars are just as bad as a bottle of Coke – but the Chancellor probably reckons that the public won’t care if he only targets soft drinks. Once the tax is in place, he will follow the lead ... See More
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia University
agrees Universal Health CareAs the gap between rich and poor keeps growing and part-time jobs become more common, we must strengthen the social safety net. Universal health coverage would give essential protection, and needs to be part of every society.
Stephen Harper, Canadian economistWe have to remember we're in a global economy. The purpose of fiscal stimulus is not simply to sustain activity in our national economies, but to help the global economy as well, and that's why it's so critical that measures in those packages avoid anything that smacks of protectionism.
Manmohan Singh, Former prime minister of IndiaProtectionism is a very real danger. It is understandable that in times of a severe downturn protectionist pressures mount but the lessons of history are clear. If we give in to protectionist pressures, we will only send the world into a downward spiral.
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia UniversityWith the election of Trump, America's soft power has taken a big hit. The United States has moved from a position of leadership in the creation of a rules-based international system to a position of leadership in its destruction and the creation of a regime of global protectionism. The damage will be long-lasting.
Paul Krugman, Economist (nobel laureate) and NY Times columnistTrump’s tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain.
Michael Pettis, Professor of financePut differently, surpluses don’t arise because surplus countries can produce goods more productively or efficiently. They arise from the need to export domestic savings caused by the low household income share of GDP. Because surplus countries direct their excess savings mainly to the US, the only economy deep, flexible and open enough to absorb them, it is the US that must inevitably run capital ... See More
Nicholas Bloom, Professor of economicsMany people who have lost out in the last few decades voted for Trump. Trump will have a difficult time turning them into winners. The jobs of these people are not at risk because of Chinese or Mexican workers, but because of robots and computers. And new trade barriers and higher tariffs are not going to change that.
Smoot and Hawley ginned up The Tariff Act of 1930 to get America back to work after the Stock Market Crash of '29. Instead, it destroyed trade so effectively that by 1932, American exports to Europe were just a third of what they had been in 1929. World trade fell two-thirds as other nations retaliated. Jobs evaporated.
Francine Blau, EconomistThe evidence does not suggest that current immigrant flows cost native-born taxpayers money over the long-run nor does it provide support for the notion that lowering immigration quotas or stepping up enforcement of existing immigration laws would generate savings to existing taxpayers.
George Borjas, EconomistThe presence of all immigrant workers (legal and illegal) in the labor market makes the U.S. economy (GDP) an estimated 11 percent larger ($1.6 trillion) each year.
HMRC has also published important new data about the fiscal contribution made by recently arrived EEA nationals, showing that they paid more than £3bn in taxes on income while claiming about £0.5bn in HMRC benefits. This provides further confirmation that EU migrants have made a strongly positive contribution to the UK economy and public finances.
Christian Dustmann, EconomistA key concern of the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems. Our new analysis draws a positive picture of the overall fiscal contribution made by recent immigrant cohorts, particularly of immigrants arriving from the EU.
Sheryl Sandberg, American technology executive, activist, and author
agrees Net neutralityToday’s decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity – and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites. We’re ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for eve... See More
Robert J. Shiller, Professor of economics at Yale and Nobel laureate
agrees Robot TaxA moderate tax on robots, even a temporary tax that merely slows the adoption of disruptive technology, seems a natural component of a policy to address rising inequality. Revenue could be targeted toward wage insurance, to help people replaced by new technology make the transition to a different career. This would accord with our natural sense of justice, and thus be likely to endure.
Lawrence Summers, Economist and Harvard University ProfessorIt is widely feared that half the jobs in the economy might be eliminated by innovations such as self-driving vehicles, automatic checkout machines and expert systems that trade securities more effectively than humans can.
Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at MITIf we're willing to send half a million fellow citizens into battle, to protect oil supplies and our economic way of life, we should be no less willing to make the small sacrifice of paying more for gasoline. A revenue-neutral plan that reduced Social Security taxes by $1 billion for every penny a gallon of gas tax would leave the working poor and middle class better off than before. In the long t... See More
As digital devices like computers and robots get more capable thanks to Moore’s Law (the proposition that the number of transistors on a semiconductor can be inexpensively doubled about every two years), they can do more of the work that people used to do. Digital labor, in short, substitutes for human labor.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analystThere are resilient ways to solve problems, say feed the world, without complicated technologies that entail fragility and unkown possibilities.
William A. Darity, Professor of Public Policy at Duke University
agrees Job GuaranteeEach job offered under a federal employment assurance would be at a wage rate above the poverty threshold, and would include benefits like health insurance. A public sector job guarantee would establish a quality of work and the level of compensation offered for all jobs. The program would be great for the country: It could meet a wide range of the nation’s physical and human infrastructure needs,... See More
Yanis Varoufakis, Former finance minister of Greece, is Professor of Economics at the University of Athens
agrees Basic IncomeEither we are going to have a basic income that regulates this new society of ours, or we are going to have very substantial social conflicts that get far worse with xenophobia and refugees and migration and so forth.
David Autor, EconomistIt doesn’t really make sense to ask whether automation will affect jobs. Yes, 100 percent of jobs will be affected. Jobs change all of the time. The content of jobs will change. But it’s not as if there’s a fixed amount of work to do. The net number of jobs is rising. Job tasks are changing. In many cases that automation is complementary to the tasks that people do. For example, doctors’ work i... See More
I don’t see an easy way of solving it [mass unemployment]. It’s an inevitable consequence of technological progress.
Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics and Musician
disagrees Basic IncomeA basic income guarantee is a neo-liberal strategy for serfdom without the work ... In addition to a Job Guarantee we also demand a Services Guarantee. It is no good having a bare minimum income if the dentists and doctors and shops in your town are closed and the public transport system is deficient.
Ha-Joon Chang, Economist. University of Cambridge
disagrees Basic IncomeThe right-wing version of UBI (...) is that the government should provide its citizens with a basic income at the subsistence level, while providing no (or little) further goods and services. As far as I can see, this is the version of UBI supported by the Silicon Valley companies. I am totally against this. There are left-wing libertarians who support UBI, who would set its level quite high, whi... See More
Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard economist and former US Treasury secretary
agrees Soda taxesWe have strong evidence from around the world that raising taxes on products like tobacco, sugar sweetened beverages and alcohol is highly effective at reducing harmful consumption and saving lives. I think this is about as close to free-lunch, win-win policy as economists have found
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