Economic Articles from 2018
Here’s Why Capitalism Can’t Fix Climate Change
by Stan Cox
Posted October 10, 2018
People running big corporations—indeed, those running businesses of all sizes—seek to maximize profits not because they are misguided, but because that’s their job in a capitalist economy.
The common goal of both the private and public sectors is rapid, sustained GDP growth, so the only climate actions that companies or governments are willing to take are those that will not risk slowing wealth accumulation. (When Elliott says capitalism must take risks, he doesn’t mean that kind of risk!) This is why no governments have yet taken the actions that will be necessary to steeply reduce carbon emissions. More…
Monetary Reform Manual
by American Monetary Institute
Posted October 7, 2018
Monetary reform is the critical missing element needed to move humanity back from the brink of economic destruction and nuclear disaster, away from a future dominated by fraud, ugliness and warfare, toward a world of justice and beauty.The power to create money is an awesome power – at times stronger than the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers combined. It’s like having a “magic checkbook,” where checks can’t bounce. When controlled by banks it can be used to gain riches, but much more importantly it determines the direction of our society by deciding where the money goes – what gets funded and what does not.
Will it be used to build and repair vital infrastructure such as the New Orleans levees and Minneapolis bridges to protect major cities? Or will it go into warfare and real estate bubbles and Wall Street Gambling – leading to crashes and depressions, as banking has usually done. More…
Our monetary system is at the root of most of the problems we face today. If we do not reform the monetary system, any changes we make are only nibbling at the edges and will ultimately fail. This manual lays out a blueprint for meaningful real change.
By Michael Brenner
Posted October 3, 2018
The United States today qualifies as a plutocracy – on a number of grounds, and it is having a profound impact on the media, education and think tanks–indeed on the whole of society.
Plutocracy literally means rule by the rich. “Rule” can have various shades of meaning: those who exercise the authority of public office are wealthy; their wealth explains why they hold that office; they exercise that authority in the interests of the rich; they have the primary influence over who holds those offices and the actions they take.
These aspects of “plutocracy” are not exclusive. Moreover, government of the rich and for the rich need not be run directly by the rich. Also, in some exceptional circumstances rich individuals who hold powerful positions may govern in the interests of the many, for example Franklin Roosevelt. More…
by Chris Hedges
Posted October 3, 2018
Instead of creating a middle class, it polarizes everything,it allows the top executives to go completely crazy with their pay packages. They are paid beyond what’s reasonable, beyond what their fellow capitalists receive in other parts of the world. There is a collapse of the ability to buy things. A company that saves all this money through a tax cut from Mr. Trump is not going to spend its money hiring people, buying machines, producing more.
They’re having trouble selling what they already produce. They’re impoverishing the very people they sell to. What do they do with the money? They take it and pay themselves. They give themselves higher pay packages. They buy back their own stock, which they’re legally allowed to do. It pushes the price of the stock up. Their [personal] compensation is connected to how well the price of the stock does. No jobs are created. No growth is created. The price of stock is going up even though the viability of the enterprise—because of the [company’s] collapsing market—is shrinking.
Capitalism is hollowing itself out. The capitalists refuse to face this because they are making money, for a while. That’s the same logic as the monarchs before the French Revolution building the fantastic Versailles without understanding they were digging their own graves in those lovely gardens. More…
Sanctions Backfire: US Is Being Left Behind
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted October 2, 2018
The United States has a long history of dominating international economic institutions and has been able to use that power in the past to control other governments and enrich its industries. At present, the United States is waging an economic World War targeting much of the world economy, including allies who refuse to comply with US mandates.
Among the nations included in the US economic war are China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea. The European Union is being threatened with economic sanctions if it does not obey US demands to blockade the Iranian economy. More…
How a Free Market Inevitably Produces Dictatorship
by Eric Zuesse
Posted September 30, 2018
Who rules the land? A deeper and truer version of this question is: What rules the land? Is it the money (the aristocracy), or is it the people (the public, the residents on that land)?
The propaganda for a free market is funded very heavily by billionaires such as the Koch brothers and George Soros, because control over countries naturally devolves into control by wealth, instead of into control by people (and certainly not by residents), if a free-market economy exists there. Billionaires do whatever increases their power; and, beyond around $100,000-per-year of income, any additional wealth buys no additional happiness or satisfaction, but only additional status, which, for individuals who are in such brackets, is derived from increases in their power, because, at that stage of wealth, money itself is no longer an object, only status is, and additional status can be derived only from additional power. More…
How Capitalist Utopia Became Everyone Else’s Dystopia
by Umair Haque
Posted September 27, 2018
I don’t usually write essays about charts— but this one’s different. It’s American collapse in four lines. It says that American elites mismanaged their economy so badly, so fatally, so totally, the rich world hasn’t seen the like since Weimar Germany. They created a capitalist utopia — but the problem is that that’s everyone else’s dystopia.
To understand the story of this gargantuan, historic failure — not managing a society in any way resembling “well”, or even “sanely” — it’s probably best to understand what Europe did right — and then come back to what America did wrong. Which, in short, is that it embarked on one of history’s greatest fools’ quests since alchemy, a utopian mission to turn the lead of capitalism into the gold of prosperity for everyone. But lead doesn’t turn into gold. More…
Ten Years After the Crash, We’ve Learned Nothing
by Matt Taibbi
Posted September 20, 2018
Ten years ago, on Saturday, September 13th, 2008, the world was about to end.
The New York Federal Reserve was a zoo. Imagine NASA headquarters on the day a giant asteroid careens into the atmosphere. That was the New York Fed: all hands on deck, peak human panic.
The crowd included future Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then-Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs CEO) Hank Paulson, the representatives of multiple regulatory offices, and the CEOs of virtually every major bank in New York, each toting armies of bean counters and bankers.
The asteroid metaphor fit. In the twin collapses of top-five investment bank Lehman Brothers and insurance giant AIG, Wall Street saw a civilization-imperiling ball of debt hurtling its way. More…
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