Beat The Press: A Weekly Round-up of Dean Baker's Commentary on Economic Reporting

How High Are Stock Prices?

The NYT tells us that the price-to-earnings ratios in the stock market are just 16.8, only a bit higher than the long-term average of 15.7. This might make the stock market sound reasonably safe right now, but this misses an important piece of information.

Profits are currently at a cyclical high. Profits fluctuate hugely over the course of the business cycle. For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that profits will revert to their trend share of output over the next several years, so that in 2017, real corporate profits will be just 13 percent higher than in 2006. If this proves right, and stock prices rise in step with corporate profits over the next decade, it implies that real returns in the stock market will be just over 4 percent annually.

By comparison, a completely riskless inflation indexed treasury bond pays a return of 2.6 percent. This means that, if the CBO profit projections are in the ballpark, stockholders will receive a very low risk premium over the next decade.

--Dean Baker

Posted at 06:29 AM

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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