Tutti gli articoli di Marco Schito

 

Introduction

On 24 April 2013, the Financial Times published a short article written by Yves Mersch, a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Executive Board. The title of the article, “Europe’s ills cannot be healed by monetary innovation alone”, can be interpreted either as a cry for help, or as a veiled threat coming from the ECB itself. How so? One needs to look at the context first: the institutional framework of the European Union’s (EU) economic governance was under duress on several fronts at the time. The two pillars on which Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as created with the 1992 Maastricht Treaty was based, the monetary pillar, controlled by the ECB, and the fiscal pillar, with numerical fiscal rules to ensure national budgetary discipline, were proving both unsuccessful and insufficient for crisis management. In 2012 alone, the year before the article was written, Greece agreed to a second rescue package for €130bn; Spain formally requested financial assistance for up to €100bn to rescue its banking sector and implemented a €65bn austerity package; finally, Cyprus, too, asked for assistance, due to its large exposure to the neighbouring Greek economy. It was becoming increasingly clear that countering the crisis effectively required a concerted effort. It was also understandable to think that the two pillars alone were not enough to sustain the EU’s economic architecture.

 

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Nei miei precedenti articoli ho spesso preso una posizione chiara sul ruolo dell’economia in quanto disciplina sociale: è qualcosa di impossibile da astrarre e studiare da sola. Al contrario, tanti sono i campi dai quali attingere esperienze. La scienza politica è una scelta quasi obbligata, vista l’assurdità di costruire un sistema politico (o economico) senza contare sul suo sostrato economico (o politico). Lo stesso discorso si potrebbe fare in campo legale. Le leggi dell’Organizzazione Mondiale del Commercio (OMC) regolano il commercio internazionale e influiscono sulla creazione di aree di libero scambio o di unioni doganali; le decisioni prese dalla Commissione Europea e dal Parlamento Europeo, le deliberazioni del Consiglio Europeo e dell’Eurogruppo prendono nelle loro mani il destino dell’Unione Europea, così come quello dell’Eurozona; o ancora andrebbe evidenziata l’importanza delle Convenzioni sui diritti economici, sociali e culturali. Questi sono tutti esempi di come le tre principali scienze sociali interagiscano fortemente tra di loro. Ma i campi da cui attingere non finiscono qui. L’economia normativa riprende una serie di discorsi filosofici e di politica economica; l’economia comportamentale parte dalla psicologia; e l’economia della scienza riguarda lo sviluppo e la ricerca e l’analisi costi-benefici negli ambienti accademici, pubblici e privati che siano.

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oil

 

With very few exceptions, international traders do not care for the political situation of a particular country when dealing with their business. Whether they are selling to Canada or to Sudan, their most prominent interest is profit making. It is indeed true that in a state-centric view of international political economy, where nation states assume the role of traders, protectionist policies and embargoes are widespread, yet seldom do they take moral considerations into account. Even the recent European economic sanctions against Russia are politically founded rather than appealing to issues of ethics. A question thus arises: are there reasons to believe morally founded appeals in international trade should be justified?

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dracma

 

Introduction

 

When Gramsci wrote that a crisis consists in the old dying and the new that cannot be born yet, he certainly did not have the European Union (EU) in mind. Yet, the “interregnum” he referred to, in which a variety of morbid symptoms appear, has also been the culmination of a paradoxical and overly complicated institutional system that is unique to the Union. The limbo the continent is stuck in at the moment makes it so that the EU cannot go forward without dragging its past burdens along. In this sense, the Euro-crisis represents the epitome of the incapacity of European policy-makers to overcome their cooperation problems while at the same time having to deal with unresolved issues. In particular, the Greek debt crisis, brought to the fore a distributive conflict that had always been implicit within the EU’s monetary union (Oatley, 2014): who would bear the cost of Greece’s excessive burden debt? Dinan’s optimism of the “impressive display of unity” shown by the European leaders (Dinan, 2010: 160) may not mesh well with the institutional reality of the EU. Here, I will argue how the European institutional framework may not be suitable for overcoming the crisis.

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Introduction

 

The aim of this article is to consider the question of the relationship between a political and administrative structure, federalism, and an outcome that is widely regarded as economic, income inequality. While not giving any definitive answer, I will try to provide an overview of some of the relevant literature on this issue. As such, I will begin by briefly explaining what we mean by federalism and why some countries would rather give more autonomy to their political subnational structures; then I will pose the question whether federalism is inherently skewed – that is, whether there is any bias towards conservatism. Following Erik Wibbels’s work, I will also focus on the distinction between fiscal and political federalism. Only then will I face the core problem of this relationship, the redistribution of income among the polity, or the regions. The use of some examples of economic and fiscal management in federal systems will help to understand how federalism can have deeply different outcomes in different countries.

 

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trade

 

David Ricardo: why countries trade

 

In 1817 David Ricardo explained us why countries should trade. Long story short, according to Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, a country should produce and export those goods and services for which it is relatively more productive than other countries, and should import those goods and services for which other countries are relatively more productive.

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Il 17 settembre di vent’anni fa si spegneva uno dei massimi filosofi del XX secolo, Karl Popper.
Epistemologo, logico, filosofo politico, storico, Popper ha incarnato meglio di chiunque altro la figura dello scienziato sociale che riesce a prendere elementi dai più disparati ambiti per tentare di risolvere i problemi che gli si presentavano di fronte. Questo perché, diceva, “non siamo studiosi di certe materie, bensì di problemi”. Nella sua visione le discipline non esistono e i problemi trascendono i confini di qualsiasi materia.

 

La ricerca, per Popper, non ha, né deve avere fine. Non è la certezza che dobbiamo perseguire, ma la verità. E a questa si può giungere solo attraverso la libera discussione critica che ci permette di individuare e sviscerare gli errori e affrontare efficacemente i problemi. L’errore, quindi, non è un peccato, quanto una semplice felix culpa. Per Popper esso fa parte del metodo scientifico del trial-and-error, per cui i problemi vengono risolti attraverso tentativi di spiegazione apportati da nuove teorie sempre più accurate, nate dall’analisi critica delle fallacie presenti nelle versioni precedenti.

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book
Introduzione

Rethinking Economics si pone come obiettivo il ripensamento dell’insegnamento dell’economia nelle università di tutto il mondo. Eppure uno tra i sistemi di educazione superiore considerato tra i migliori e che vanta affiliazione con 45 premi Nobel dell’economia potrebbe arrivare a crollare sotto il suo stesso peso.

 

Il sistema educativo degli Stati Uniti si divide essenzialmente in due parti: “education” (o K-12) e “higher education”. Dopo aver completato la scuola superiore, i giovani americani possono decidere se lanciarsi direttamente nel mondo del lavoro o se affinare i loro interessi e abilità, andando a frequentare una “vocational school” o un college. La prima darà loro un “associate degree”, mentre il college, dopo quattro (in alcuni casi due, ma sono rari) anni rilascerà un attestato, il “bachelor’s degree”, di fatti equivalente alla nostra laurea triennale. Al termine del quarto anno si potrà decidere se continuare gli studi specializzandosi in una certa area, fino ad arrivare al post-doc. [Read More]

thrones 

 

Warning: the following article contains mild spoilers from A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book of the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

 

Every year, between March and April, a new season of the HBO hit A Game of Thrones airs; and every year, at the dawn of spring, analysts, journalists, academics and so forth have a go at understanding the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy series created by George R. R. Martin, upon which the TV show is based.

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clock

 

In one word: timing.

 

With the demise of the neo-Marxian theories in the late Seventies and the rise of neoclassical economics in the early Eighties, a new course for economics had begun. The new models appeared to be incredibly on-point, elegant, and mathematically intriguing – aside from being politically appealing, as the Reagan and Thatcher governments might suggest. [Read More]