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Reuven Brenner

What do shareholders ‘own’?

During a recent roundtable, I was startled when a participant brought me a recent Financial Times (Nov. 10, 2015) article, titled “Shareholders think they own the company – they are wrong,” subtitle elaborating “So whose is the business? No one’s, just like the river Thames.” Eh?

Published: 8Feb2016

Why ‘behavioral economics’ is neither ‘behavioral,’ nor ‘economics’

Written by Reuven Brenner

Over the years, some economists carried out laboratory experiments and argued that people are inconsistent in ways they assess risks and probabilities. They concluded that it is misleading to rely on other economists’ view of risk, and that economics cannot be separated from psychology. This field of study is known today as “behavioral economics” (Kahneman and Tversky its founders), which, as briefly shown here, is neither “behavioral,” nor “economics,” nor makes sense.

Published: 18Dec2015

What if economists applied their own theories — to themselves?

Written by Reuven Brenner

George Akerlof’s and Robert Shiller’s (Nobels in economics) new book, titled Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception declares on its first page that people “do not do what is really good for them; they do not choose what they really want.” It appears that a main preoccupation of economists – the self declared “behavioral economists” prominent among them – is to show how dumb people are as consumers and in assessing risks.

Published: 18Dec2015

France's national suicide

Over at Asia Times, I argue that France will do nothing in response to the Paris massacres but round up the usual suspects. 

Published: 19Nov2015

Canadian elections: Why did inexperience triumph?

Article written by Professor Reuven Brenner

As in the United States, Canadians voted for “Hope and Change” on Oct. 19, 2015.

These are exactly the words Justin Trudeau, the 43-years old elected head of the Liberal party, repeatedly used in his victory speech in both English and French.  I could not avoid wondering if Mr. Trudeau’s team used the same public relations firm that Mr. Obama used in his first campaign, or if he just borrowed the slogans.  

Published: 30Oct2015

How many immigrants can Europe accommodate?

Written by Reuven Brenner

Europe is now facing a prospect similar to what the US has been facing for decades: the march of millions upon its borders. But whereas the US got millions of immigrants fleeing Mexico for a better life, the potential millions moving on Europe come from failing states from around the world: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya – and through the latter, from Nigeria, Eritrea and other.

Published: 25Sep2015

Summers, Krugman, Bernanke – arcykapłani makrostrologii

This op-ed is written by Professor Reuven Brenner

Od kilku miesięcy Larry Summers powtarza tezę, że mamy do czynienia z „długotrwałą stagnacją”, przez co rozumie trwały spadek zagregowanego popytu na świecie, zwłaszcza w USA. Bernanke twierdzi, że niskie stopy procentowe to winna cyklu koniunkturalnego i czynników nadzwyczajnych, a nie Fed – co z kolei krytykuje Krugman.

Published: 21Sep2015

Currency flows and flaws: Brenner

This op-ed is written by Reuven Brenner, the Repap Chair at McGill University’s Desautels faculty of Management. 

Much has been written on the “Dutch Disease” – how countries relying on their natural resources often fall on hard times, failing to develop. A Chinese observer, Laozi, in 81 BC had this to say: “A country is never as poor as when it seems filled with riches” (in Yan Tie Lun, A Discourse on Salt and Iron).  Only these days, the natural riches are oil (in Canada, Norway, Russia, Middle East) and in Australia, iron ore.

Published: 9Sep2015

What the Chinese stock bust and US productivity decline have in common

Though it was recently announced that productivity in the US rose 1.3% from the previous quarter, Alan Greenspan is worried about the collapse in productivity: “I think it’s the most serious problem that confronts not only the United States but the world at large and more exactly the developed world especially. American productivity is not significantly different from zero growth in the last 6 or 8 quarters. 
... Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management. The article draws on his Force of Finance (2001).

Published: 27Aug2015

Another view: The case for year-round Pell Grants

As Congress takes up reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year, it will have to address several policy concerns, including the rising cost of college and the need to increase degree attainment rates in the U.S. Notwithstanding those concerns, college access will continue to be a major issue.

Published: 16Feb2015

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