Edwin Reubens

Recent Articles

Saving Disgrace? More on Savings

F red Block and Robert Heilbroner, in "The Myth of a Savings Shortage" ( TAP , Spring 1992), want to persuade us that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, there is no scarcity of savings in the U.S. economy today. They say that the present national savings rate is as high as ever; that it plays no depressing role in our prolonged recession and sluggish growth, not to mention our lagging productivity and our weakness in international competition; and therefore increased saving would be no remedy for these problems.If their argument were valid, it would entail a revolution in public policy. But alas it is a muddle of misconstrued flows, confusion of categories, and reckless double counting. Trying to prove that the national savings rate has not really fallen below the 1970s level, Block and Heilbroner begin with corporate saving, which they say is five times as large as household saving. Their claim that "corporate saving shows no downward trend" as percent of GNP during the 1980s...

Shock Absorber: Stabilizing World Oil

In the twentieth century, oil has fueled not only the world's economy, but also some of the most dangerous international crises. Shocks caused by sudden swings in the price of oil and struggles for control of its supply have been major sources of instability and war. Since the end of World War II, several crises -- Suez in 1956, the Iran-Iraq war in 1980s, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait last year -- have aroused the United States to reaction, in the most recent case to war. But without a program for the aftermath, this kind of activism, or rather re-activism, is not a constructive or adequate approach. The aftermath of the Gulf War offers a rare opportunity to restructure the world regime for oil. Geopolitically, this latest "oil war" was a necessary response to aggression, yet our victory changed almost nothing about the oil system that helped ignite the conflict. On the contrary, it left the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) free to reimpose its manipulation of oil...