Browsing articles in "Articles"
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.

Jun 7, 2012

Rent-seeking in America

Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz defines rent-seeking as “using political and economic power to get a larger share of the national pie, rather than to grow the national pie” – and he says that America today has become a rent-seeking society. Hear him interviewed here (the 7:40-8:55 interval for the rent-seeking passage), discussing on his new book, The Price of Inequality.

May 19, 2012

Too hot for TED?

Something funny happened when millionaire Nick Hanauer’s was invited to give a TED talk on income inequality in America. He advocated higher taxes on the rich – including people like himself. Then the good people at TED decided his talk was too “political.” They decided not to post it. Here’s an excerpt from Hanauer’s non-talk:

We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic  feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

Read the full text of Hanauer’s non-talk here.

See his powerpoint slides here.

Read the backstory here.

May 18, 2012

People’s Guide to the Federal Budget

New from the National Priorities Project:

The only thing stronger than money in politics is an informed electorate.

 

Find the report here.