New Report/Article: “Reaching the Rich World’s Poorest Consumers”

New Report: Muhammad Yunus, Frédéric Dalsace, David Menascé & Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Reaching the Rich World’s Poorest Consumers, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 2015.  [Note, the first author is the famous founder of the Grameen Bank and a winner of the Nobel Prize.]

New Article: “What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A DataDriven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success”

New Article: Lawrence S. Krieger with Kennon M. Sheldon, What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A DataDriven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, 83 G.W. L. Rev. 554 (2015).

And the New York Times coverage article is here (the title shows the punchline of the law review article): Douglas Quenqua, Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness, New York Times, May 12, 2015.

New Article: “The Federal Reserve and a Cascade of Failures: Inequality, Cognitive Narrowness and Financial Network Theory”

New Article: Emma Coleman Jordan, The Federal Reserve and a Cascade of Failures: Inequality, Cognitive Narrowness and Financial Network Theory, SSRN May 2015.  Abstract below:

The recent financial crisis hollowed out the core of American middle-class financial stability. In the wake of the financial crisis, household net worth in the U.S. fell by 24%, for a loss of $16 trillion. Moreover, retirement accounts, the largest class of financial assets, took a steep drop in value, as did house prices, and these two classes of assets alone represent approximately 43% of all household wealth. The losses during the principal crisis years, 2007-2009, were devastating, “erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity,” in the words of a 2013 report. By the Federal Reserve. Beyond these direct household balance-sheet losses, 1 out of every 4 homeowners were underwater by 2009 with mortgages worth less than the value of their homes. If we add the 3.7 to 5 million foreclosures that forced Americans to move from the economic and emotional stability of family homes, we see a portrait of dramatic financial instability in the wake of the financial collapse. And the Federal Reserve’s commitment to low interest rates, so beloved on Wall Street, has prevented many families from rebuilding their wealth through interest on savings; these “zero-bound” interest rates are an impediment to middle-class recovery from the losses of the crisis.

By contrast, the financial sector, the cause of the crisis, has prospered from adversity, growing to 9% of GDP by 2010 even as it became less efficient. This is one of the highest shares of GDP in the past half century and represents 29% of all profits in America. The financial sector earns profits by pooling funds to bring net savers together with net borrowers in financial contracts, a process known as intermediation. Economist Thomas Philippon of New York University found that the profits from intermediation grew from less than 2% of GDP in 1870 to nearly 6% before the economic crash of 1929. After World War II, financiers gradually increased their share of the economy to 5% by 1980, close to what it had been before the crash. The focused deregulatory agenda of the Reagan administration and Alan Greenspan’s deregulatory passions at the helm of the Fed from 1987 to 2006 swelled the balance sheets of financial firms to the high point of 9% of GDP by 2010.

The return to investors did not match the growth in the financial sector’s share of GDP. So what did investors get for their money? Philippon says it’s impossible to beat the market in part because of high-frequency trading that locks out the ordinary investor through sophisticated high-speed computer transmission of orders with preferential cable and algorithmic access to the trading desks.

News Coverage: “What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?” – The Atlantic

News Coverage: David R. Wheeler, What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?, The Atlantic, May 18, 2015.  [On a right to a basic guaranteed income].

New Report: “Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job”

New Report: OSHA, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job (2015).

Quick note: blog now on facebook

If your facebook feed is like mine, many, many of the posts you see are not cute kids, etc, but politics and stuff that looks a lot like work related posts.  I fought it for a while but realized I do end up clicking many of the links people post on facebook so there is now a “Poverty Law Blog” facebook page.  If you decide to “like” it, the blog posts will appear in your facebook feed: https://www.facebook.com/povertylawblog.  I haven’t decided if I “like” it or not but someone might find it useful.  =)

New Article: “Is Pro Bono Practice in Legal “Backwaters” Beyond the Scope of the Model Rules?”

New Article: Barbara Graves-Poller, Is Pro Bono Practice in Legal “Backwaters” Beyond the Scope of the Model Rules?, 13 U.N.H. L. Rev. 1 (2015).

Duncan Kennedy is Retiring

This will be a bit of an unusual post because ordinarily I just post a link, but Harvard has made it official on their page, Duncan Kennedy is retiring.  So much of Duncan’s work relates to poverty that it is almost silly to list particular articles, but ones that stand out for me include:

  • Kennedy, Duncan M. Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System, A Critical Edition (NYU Press 2004, originally 1983)
  • Kennedy, Duncan M. “Neither the Market nor the State: Housing Privatization Issues” in A Fourth Way? Privatization, Property, and the Emergence of New Market Economies (G. Alexander & G. Skapska eds., Routledge, 1994).
  • Kennedy, Duncan M. “The Limited Equity Coop as a Vehicle for Affordable Housing in a Race and Class Divided Society,” 46 Howard Law Journal 85 (2002).
  • Kennedy, Duncan M. “The Responsibility of Lawyers for the Justice of their Causes,” 18 Texas Tech Law Review 1157 (1987).
  • Kennedy, Duncan M. “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Entitlement Problems: A Critique,” 33 Stanford Law Review 387 (1981).

But Duncan of course did more than just write, for many of us he was and is a fabulous mentor — supportive and challenging in the way that few mentors are.  On a personal note, I owe Duncan more than I can ever repay for his help getting me the best job in the world and for his continued support of my scholarship.

Recently I have become somewhat obsessed with how great a soccer player Messi is — I am a bit late to the game which means I have lots of old videos to watch in wonder — and for many of us on the left wing of progressive politics, Duncan is a somewhat similar towering figure, albeit in legal academia as opposed to soccer (or futbol!).  A true giant and a friend.

  • Law Journal 85 (2002).

Op-Ed: For the love of God, rich people, stop giving Ivy League colleges money – Vox

Op-Ed: For the love of God, rich people, stop giving Ivy League colleges money – Vox.

[Note: could be useful to generate class discussion as well.]

Op-Ed: Krugman, Race, Class and Neglect – NYTimes.com

Race, Class and Neglect – NYTimes.com.