William Lazonick is professor of economics at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is also visiting professor at University of Ljubljana, professeur associé at Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris, and professorial research associate, SOAS, University of London. He is co-founder and president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, a 501(c)(3) research organization. Previously, he was on the faculties of Harvard University, Columbia University, INSEAD, and University of Tokyo. His book Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Upjohn Institute 2009) won the 2010 Schumpeter Prize. His article “Profits Without Prosperity: Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off,” earned the HBR McKinsey Award for outstanding article in Harvard Business Review in 2014. His most recent papers include “Stock Buybacks: From Retain-and-Reinvest to Downsize-and-Distribute”; “Innovative Enterprise or Sweatshop Economics? In Search of Foundations of Economic Analysis”; “U.S. Pharma’s Business Model: Why It Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed” (see submissions #1 and #2 to the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines); and “The Mismeasure of Mammon: The Uses and Abuses of Executive Pay Data.”.” His recent research has been funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ford Foundation, and European Commission. Lazonick has a BCom from University of Toronto, MSc in economics from London School of Economics, a PhD in economics from Harvard University, and an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University. In December 2016 Lazonick will receive an honorary doctorate from University of Ljubljana.
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Many Americans have expressed outrage over Pfizer’s plan, through its merger with Allergan, to move its tax home from the United States to Ireland. Now, in a New York Times op-ed, Carl Icahn, the billionaire corporate raider turned hedge fund activist, has joined the chorus. He labels the Pfizer-Allergan deal a “travesty,” blaming the U.S.’s “uncompetitive international tax system.”
Why are we paying for corporate behavior that crushes innovation, cheats taxpayers, cost jobs, and heightens inequality?
By integrating the history of industrial development in Britain and the United States with the ideas of leading economic thinkers, this essay demonstrates the absurdity of perfect competition as the ideal of economic efficiency.
The ongoing explosion of the incomes of the richest households and the erosion of middle-class employment opportunities for most of the rest have become integrally related in the now-normal operation of the U.S. economy.