Browsing articles in "Articles"
Jul 24, 2012

TBTF = TBTR?

Does “Too Big To Fail” also mean Too Big To Regulate?

Gretchen Morgenson talks with Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general for TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) about his new book, Bailout:

“So much of what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank is it trusts the regulators to be completely immune to the corrupting influences of the banks,” he said in the interview. “That’s so unrealistic. Congress has to take a meat cleaver to these banks and not trust regulators to do the job with a scalpel.”

Finally, Mr. Barofsky joins the ranks of those who believe that another crisis is likely because of the failed response to this one. “Incentives are baked into the system to take advantage of it for short-term profit,” he said. “The incentives are to cheat, and cheating is profitable because there are no consequences.”

Read her piece here.

Meanwhile Gar Alperovitz finds a surprising source of support for nationalization of banks that are TBTF and TBTR:

Most liberals in Washington — President Obama included — keep hoping the banks can be more tightly controlled but otherwise left as is. That’s the theory behind the two-year-old Dodd-Frank law, which Republicans and Wall Street are still working to eviscerate.

Some economists in and around the University of Chicago, who founded the modern conservative tradition, had a surprisingly different take: When it comes to the really big fish in the economic pond, some felt, the only way to preserve competition was to nationalize the largest ones, which defied regulation.

Read his column here.

Jul 23, 2012

Share the Work

Writing in The Guardian, Dean Baker explains that there’s more than one way to skin the unemployment cat:

The average worker in Germany and the Netherlands puts in 20% fewer hours in a year than the average worker in the United States. This means that if the US adopted Germany’s work patterns tomorrow, it would immediately eliminate unemployment.

Read his piece here.

For more on work and time in America, check out Take Back Your Time.

Jul 22, 2012

Offshore Loot: The (Really) Big Picture

A trillion here, a trillion there… pretty soon you’re talking real money. The London Observer reports new estimates of the world’s offshore wealth:

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

Read more here.

Jul 20, 2012

Confidence Men & Fairytales

In “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4′s joint project with AlterNet, Paul Davidson tours a fairytale world:

Conservative economists and their friends like to trot out a mythical being whenever they want to make arguments that favor an economy built for the wealthy at the expense of ordinary people. This imaginary being, known as the Confidence Fairy, is only happy when capitalists are given free rein to do whatever they want – even if it brings us to the brink of a global economic meltdown.

Read his essay here.

Jul 19, 2012

When Corporatism Masquerades as Liberty

In “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4′s joint project with AlterNet, Edward Harrison writes on the peril to democracy posed by out-of-control credit markets:

“Corporatism masquerading as Liberty” … is a sort of crony capitalism steeped in the language of liberty that some are using to remove the protections we have built up to uphold and safeguard our individual rights. The goal of this corporatism is to give corporations the sorts of liberties that permit them to use their size, influence and money to tilt the playing field to their advantage. Absent any kind of regulatory oversight, these behemoths can run roughshod over individuals, trampling their rights and liberties in the process.

Read his piece here.

Jul 18, 2012

Command and Control Meets the Market

In an essay for “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4′s joint project with AlterNet, Lynn Parramore writes on the new economic bondage:

This has been coming for some time. Ever since the Reagan era, from the factory to the office tower, the American workplace has been morphing for many into a tightly-managed torture chamber of exploitation and domination. Bosses strut about making stupid commands. Employees trapped by ridiculous bureaucratic procedures censor themselves for fear of getting a pink slip. Inefficiencies are everywhere. Bad management and draconian policies prop up the system of command and control where the boss is God and the workers are so many expendable units in the great capitalist machine. The iron handmaidens of high unemployment and economic inequality keep the show going.

Read her piece here.

Jul 14, 2012

Corporate Corruption: The Spreading Scourge

Speaking of bringing bad things to life, Eduardo Porter writes in the business section of The New York Times:

Company executives are paid to maximize profits, not to behave ethically. Evidence suggests that they behave as corruptly as they can, within whatever constraints are imposed by law and reputation….

And the furious rush of corporate cash into the political process — which differs from bribery in that companies pay politicians to change laws rather than bureaucrats to ignore them — is unlikely to foment ethical behavior.

Read the story here.

Jul 13, 2012

Bringing Bad Things to Life

In the second installment of “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4’s joint project with AlterNet, Doug Smith lays out the difference between profiting from market successes and profiting from market failures:

Capitalists can pick between two responses to markets that are failing. They can bet their capital on fixing them – on bringing more good things to life. Or, they can do everything possible to extract more and more profit by extending, expanding and exacerbating the failures.

Read more here.

Jul 13, 2012

How Paris Hilton’s Dogs Ended up Better off than You

Jerry Friedman recounts the gripping story of the greatest heist ever in the first installment of “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4’s joint project with AlterNet:

Elites say that we need inequality to encourage the rich to invest and the creative to invent. That’s working out well — for 1% pooches.

 

Read all about it here.

Jun 11, 2012

Gar Alperovitz on the new economy movement

Just beneath the surface of traditional media attention, something vital has been gathering force and is about to explode into public consciousness.

 

Read about it here.