Capitalism Unmasked, a new eBook edited by Lynn Parramore, was produced in a partnership between AlterNet and Econ4 to expose the myths of unbridled capitalism and show the way to a better future. You can download the PDF here.
Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz writes:
In 2010, student debt, now $1 trillion, exceeded credit-card debt for the first time.
Student debt can almost never be wiped out, even in bankruptcy. A parent who co-signs a loan can’t necessarily have the debt discharged even if his child dies. The debt can’t be discharged even if the school — operated for profit and owned by exploitative financiers — provided an inadequate education, enticed the student with misleading promises, and failed to get her a decent job.
Instead of pouring money into the banks, we could have tried rebuilding the economy from the bottom up…. We could have recognized that when young people are jobless, their skills atrophy. We could have made sure that every young person was either in school, in a training program or on a job. Instead, we let youth unemployment rise to twice the national average. The children of the rich can stay in college or attend graduate school, without accumulating enormous debt, or take unpaid internships to beef up their résumés. Not so for those in the middle and bottom. We are sowing the seeds of ever more inequality in the coming years.
Read his dissection of how economic and political inequality are poisoning opportunity in America here.
Echoing our recent Econ4 statement, Eduardo Porter explains in the New York Times why our healthcare-for-profit system means that Americans pay too much and get too little:
From the high administrative costs incurred by health insurers to screen out sick patients to the array of expensive treatments prescribed by doctors who earn more money for every treatment they provide, our private health care industry provides perhaps the clearest illustration of how the profit motive can send incentives astray.
By many objective measures, the mostly private American system delivers worse value for money than every other in the developed world. We spend nearly 18 percent of the nation’s economic output on health care and still manage to leave tens of millions of Americans without adequate access to care.
Read his piece here.
John Cavanagh and Robin Broad write on the new economy movement:
If the Occupy movement popularized the call to end extreme inequality, Hurricane Sandy is popularizing the call to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure in a green and resilient manner. Weaving these themes together can make for a gripping narrative.
Read more here.
The New York Times reports today on attempts to suppress a Congressional Research Service report showing that tax cuts for the rich don’t create jobs:
“The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie,” the report said. “However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.”
Read the Times piece here.
Read the suppressed report here.
Lessons from Recent History 101: the Bush tax cuts.
It is Orwellian that after a decade of trillion dollar tax cuts and bailouts of the rich, and a steadily worsening jobs and employment picture for American workers, we are told to be kind to the rich and give them even more money because they are the “jobs creators”.
Read more here.
The food thrown away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world three times over.
Nick Hanauer, a successful capitalist, on why inequality is bad and taxes on the rich are good for job creation:
Advancing democratic alternatives to oligarchy:
Extreme inequality undermines democracy, the economy, public health and culture. Concentrated wealth translates into political power to further shape elections, legislative priorities and rules in favor of global corporations and the already wealthy. This in turn leads to the kind of economic distortions that caused the 2008 financial collapse. In the lead up to the collapse, the bottom 70 percent of the U.S. population responded to stagnant wages by borrowing beyond their means, while the top 1 percent engaged in reckless speculation on highly rated but essentially worthless securities in financial markets freed from essential regulation and public oversight.
Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz writes on revealed preference in our political system:
President George W. Bush claimed that we did not have enough money for health insurance for poor American children, costing a few billion dollars a year. But all of a sudden we had $150 billion to bail out AIG, the insurance company. That shows that something is wrong with our political system. It is more akin to “one dollar, one vote” than to “one person, one vote.”
Read the whole interview here.