Trade and Payments Theory in a Financialized Economy
AbstractRicardian trade theory was based on the cost of labor at a time when grain and other consumer goods accounted for most subsistence spending. But today's budgets are dominated by payments to the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector and to newly privatized monopolies. This has made FIRE the determining factor in trade competitiveness. The major elements in US family budgets are housing (with prices bid up on credit), debt service, and health insurance-and wage withholding for financializing Social Security and Medicare. Industrial firms also have been financialized, using debt leverage to increase their return on equity. The effect is for interest to increase as a proportion of cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA). Corporate raiders pay their high-interest bondholders, while financial managers also are using EBITDA for stock buybacks to increase share prices (and hence the value of their stock options). Shifting taxes off property and onto employment and retail sales spurs the financialization of family and business budgets as tax cuts on property are capitalized into higher bank loans. Payments to government agencies for taxes and presaving for Social Security and Medicare absorb another 30 percent of family budgets. These transfer payments to the FIRE sector and government agencies have transformed international cost structures, absorbing roughly 75 percent of US family budgets. This helps explain the deteriorating US industrial trade balance as the economy has become financialized.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_699.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org
International Trade Theory; Financialization;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
- F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
- F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
- F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
- F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
- F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
- G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
- G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-01-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2012-01-03 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-PKE-2012-01-03 (Post Keynesian Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie-Celeste Edwards).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.