Facebook, Extreme Inequality, and Globalization: ProMarket’s Top Stories of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, we look back at ProMarket’s most-read and most-widely shared stories of the past year.

 

 

The early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg who tried to stop Facebook from destroying democracy, the #MeToo trial that rocked the economics field, and the reason why inequality is rising within nations but decreasing worldwide. As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look back at ProMarket’s most popular stories of the past year.

 

At the end of a year filled with Facebook-related scandals, it is only fitting that the story that most resonated with ProMarket readers in 2018 was our profile of Roger McNamee, the early Facebook investor who became one of the company’s fiercest critics. Following yet another year marked by political upheaval, it is equally unsurprising that rising inequality and the rise of far-right populism feature prominently among our top posts.

 

Below are our top ten most popular stories of the year, based on the number of clicks and the amount of time readers spent reading them. Happy reading!

 

1. Roger McNamee: “I Think You Can Make a Legitimate Case that Facebook Has Become Parasitic”

 

In an interview with ProMarket, Facebook early investor Roger McNamee talked about his efforts to get Facebook to fix its business model and the moment he realized the social media giant is unwilling to change. (March 23)

 

2. “Globalization Has Contributed to Tearing Societies Apart”

 

In an interview with ProMarket, Harvard economist Dani Rodrik explained where globalization went wrong, how trade agreements serve rent-seeking by politically well-connected firms, and why the only solution to the rise of political populism is an economic populism that reimagines the institutions of capitalism. (March 29)

 

3. Why Every Good Economist Should Be Feminist

 

As every good economist knows, markets work best when they are competitive. Therefore, every good economist should also be a feminist, defending a level playing field for all genders, writes Luigi Zingales. (August 2)

 

4. Angus Deaton on the Under-Discussed Driver of Inequality in America: “It’s Easier for Rent-Seekers to Affect Policy Here Than In Much of Europe”

 

In an interview with ProMarket, Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton talks about the connection of rent-seeking and monopolization to rising inequality. (February 8)

 

5. The Inequality Paradox: Rising Inequalities Nationally, Diminishing Inequality Worldwide

 

Workers in emerging economies benefitted from globalization and workers in rich countries, on balance, did not. Yet Overturning globalization, argues Branko Milanovic, will neither work nor bring a real improvement to the Western middle classes. (December 10)

 

6. Why Democracy Fails to Reduce Inequality: Blame the Brahmin Left

 

A new paper by Thomas Piketty finds that major parties on both sides of the political spectrum have been captured by elites and warns of a future political system that pits “globalists” against “nativists.” (April 17)

 

7. Inequality, Imperialism, and the First World War

 

Branko Milanovic explores inequality prior to World War I and provides empirical support for the classical theory of imperialism. (January 3)

 

8. Glen Weyl: “The Very Structure of Capitalism Is Inherently Monopolistic”

 

In an interview with ProMarket, Glen Weyl, co-author of the wildly ambitious (and wildly controversial) book Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, talks about antitrust, data as labor, and why he thinks the free market system is not actually free. “The entire business community has been speaking with one voice in the common interest of capital as a class,” he says. (May 3)

 

9. Gabriel Zucman: “Some People in Economics Feel That Talking About Inequality Is Not What Economists Should Be Doing”

 

Gabriel Zucman, rising scholar of taxation and inequality, talks to ProMarket about the problems excessive economic power poses for open political systems, how states can tackle profit-shifting, and critics who have dismissed his work on distributional issues as “a French economics.” (May 29)

 

10. Are Markups Increasing?

 

James Traina, whose Stigler Center working paper on markups has been at the center of an sometime-contentious debate over the past year, challenges recent research on market power in the US. (February 20)

 

Disclaimer: The ProMarket blog is dedicated to discussing how competition tends to be subverted by special interests. The posts represent the opinions of their writers, not necessarily those of the University of Chicago, the Booth School of Business, or its faculty. For more information, please visit ProMarket Blog Policy