Browsing articles tagged with " inequality"
Sep 17, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on The free market myth

The free market myth

Robert Reich peels away the layers of an ideological onion:

One of the most deceptive ideas continuously sounded by the Right (and its fathomless think tanks and media outlets) is that the “free market” is natural and inevitable, existing outside and beyond government. So whatever inequality or insecurity it generates is beyond our control. And whatever ways we might seek to reduce inequality or insecurity — to make the economy work for us — are unwarranted constraints on the market’s freedom, and will inevitably go wrong. 

By this view, if some people aren’t paid enough to live on, the market has determined they aren’t worth enough. If others rake in billions, they must be worth it. 

Read more here.

Sep 13, 2013
boyce

Economy malfunction

Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz doesn’t mince words:

Let us be clear: our economy is not working the way a well working economy should. We have vast unmet needs, but idle workers and machines. We have bridges that need repair, roads and schools that need to be built. We have students that need a twenty-first century education, but we are laying off teachers. We have empty homes and homeless people. We have rich banks that are not lending to our small businesses, but are instead using their wealth and ingenuity to manipulate markets, and exploit working people with predatory lending.

Read excerpts from his speech at the AFL-CIO here.

Jul 28, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Time for new code

Time for new code

Peter Buffett, co-chair of the NoVo Foundation, writing in the Times on the limits of philanthropy:

As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity…

It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.

Read more here.

Jul 25, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Greed today, gone tomorrow

Greed today, gone tomorrow

Lynn Parramore, writing for Alternet, explains why investment in innovation has declined in America:

There’s a motto on Wall Street: “I.B.G.-Y.B.G.” or “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone.” As long as you’re making money right now, what happens tomorrow is not your problem.

It’s everyone else’s problem. Witness the decline in the number and quality of jobs, the middle class evaporating, and the financial instability that brought about the Great Recession.

Read more here.

Jul 23, 2013
econ4org
Comments Off on Top dogs and low lifes

Top dogs and low lifes

Check out this new research on the psychology of privilege and greed (or what some economists dub “rational behavior”):

Source: PBS News Hour.

Jul 23, 2013
econ4org
Comments Off on Why GDP fails to measure economic well-being

Why GDP fails to measure economic well-being

A primer on the defects of GDP as a measure of economic well-being, from Econ4’s James Boyce:

Source: The Real News Network.

Jul 22, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Bankrupt politics hits Detroit

Bankrupt politics hits Detroit

Robert Reich breaks down the local politics behind the Detroit bankruptcy:

Much in modern America depends on where you draw boundaries, and who’s inside and who’s outside. Who is included in the social contract? If “Detroit” is defined as the larger metropolitan area that includes its suburbs, “Detroit” has enough money to provide all its residents with adequate if not good public services, without falling into bankruptcy. Politically, it would come down to a question of whether the more affluent areas of this “Detroit” were willing to subsidize the poor inner-city through their tax dollars, and help it rebound. That’s an awkward question that the more affluent areas would probably rather not have to face.

In drawing the relevant boundary to include just the poor inner city, and requiring those within that boundary to take care of their compounded problems by themselves, the whiter and more affluent suburbs are off the hook. “Their” city isn’t in trouble. It’s that other one – called “Detroit.”

Read his blogpost here.

Jul 20, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Big farm tribute

Big farm tribute

James Stewart writes in The Times about the latest economic travesty to come out of the U.S. House of Representatives:

It’s hard to imagine a more widely reviled piece of legislation than the nearly $1 trillion farm bill. Its widely ridiculed handouts to wealthy farmers and perverse incentives have long united liberals concerned about the environment, conservatives upset about the deficit and market-distorting subsidies, and just about everyone concerned about basic fairness.

Just about everyone, that is, except the powerful farm lobby and its allies in Congress, which every five years or so since the Depression has managed to fight off any meaningful reforms and actually increase farm subsidies.

And now they’re doing it again…. many of the same legislators up in arms about government spending and welfare abuse nonetheless voted for an increase in federal subsidies to wealthy farm interests.

Read more here.

May 31, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Just do the math

Just do the math

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes:

The means of most Americans haven’t kept up with what the economy could and should provide. The economy is twice as large as it was three decades ago, and yet the typical American is earning about the same, adjusted for inflation.

Read more here.

May 30, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on Chomsky on student debt

Chomsky on student debt

From a wide-ranging interview with Noam Chomsky:

[O]ne of the main problems for students today — a huge problem — is sky-rocketing tuitions.  Why do we have tuitions that are completely out-of-line with other countries, even with our own history?  In the 1950s the United States was a much poorer country than it is today, and yet higher education was … pretty much free, or low fees or no fees for huge numbers of people.  There hasn’t been an economic change that’s made it necessary, now, to have very high tuitions, far more than when we were a poor country.

Read Chomsky’s breakdown of the rich-country-indebted-student paradox here.