Hurricanes, Droughts and the Basic Weakness of Marxist Critique

By: Saturday August 30, 2014 4:00 pm

Ismael Hossein-zadeh has an essay this week about how Marxism is better than Keynesianism at explaining the current terrible economic picture, and has better prescriptions for fixing it as well. To me the article is a great example of both the strengths and (greater) weaknesses of Marxist critique.

Marxist critique is strongest in describing the nature of capitalism and the environment it seeks to create. Capitalism seems to gravitate toward a permanent “reserve army of labor” – lots of out of work people who would love to have a job. Having a pool of idle but willing unemployed puts pressure on those who do have jobs. It puts downward pressure on wages, discourages organizing, and gives maximum leverage to the employer.

So far, so good.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Knut and Masaccio for a Discussion About Thomas Piketty’s Book: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

By: Sunday June 29, 2014 1:59 pm

As most of you know, we were supposed to have this discussion six weeks ago with Piketty himself, but at the last minute he was overwhelmed by requests for interviews on television (including a stint on the Colbert Report) and just about every major newspaper in the English-speaking world and had to cancel. Jane is hopeful that we can have him on sometime in the future, but for the time being you will have to content yourself with Masaccio and myself.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nomi Prins, All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power

By: Saturday April 26, 2014 1:59 pm

Nomi Prins’ most recent book begins with the 1907 banking crisis and the double myth that it was ended by J. P. Morgan while the U.S. government stood helpless. She shows that it was a double myth in that the crisis was not ended – the underlying banking pathologies grew – and Morgan’s intervention would have failed even as a short-term measure but for Treasury’s largely funding “his” extensions of credit. She begins with the 1907 crisis both because it illustrates her central themes and because it is essential to understand how, when, and why the Federal Reserve System was created in 1913.

Simple Theories of Everything

By: Sunday February 2, 2014 10:30 am

The simple ideas of the Chicago School are simply wrong.

Arne Duncan Doubles Down on “White Suburban Moms” Comment, Promotes Economic Ignorance

By: Thursday November 21, 2013 12:47 pm

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan doubled down on his “white suburban moms” comment concerning the Common Core Standards. Duncan at first said opposition to the Common Core State Standards was interesting because “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

Downsizing the Military Mission, Upsizing the Peacetime One

By: Thursday September 19, 2013 6:50 pm

Moving public dollars into this country’s renewable energy sector could begin to lay the groundwork for a vibrant economy in the second and third decades of this century, while creating good jobs in a growth sector, working toward energy security, and helping this country reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Like the construction of our interstate highway system in the 1950s, it’s an investment that would pay dividends for decades to come.

Or we can skip all that and launch the next war.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It

By: Saturday April 20, 2013 1:59 pm

In their groundbreaking new book, The Bankers’ New Clothes, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, two of the world’s most prominent and respected academics in finance and economics, expose the lies propagated by those who fight so dramatically to preserve the broken status quo. Argument by argument, scare tactic by scare tactic, they take on the bankers’ arguments and shred them, one by one, exposing them as nothing more than self-serving justifications for preserving a system that serves only the banks, not the general public. And most importantly, they do so in plain English with real world examples that are familiar to anyone who has ever had a bank account, a credit card, or a mortgage. They make the complex simple, and in so doing, reveal that as taxpayers we have been on the wrong side of a decades-long con that has enriched a handful of bankers while the rest of us suffer for their excesses.

Google’s Income Tax Rate Was Only 8 Percent

By: Friday April 19, 2013 3:12 pm

Google, the company that makes its money by assembling digital dossiers about its users and selling them to advertisers for the highest bid, reported earnings Thursday. Revenue increased 31 percent to $13.97 billion and net income in the first quarter rose 16 percent to $3.35 billion, or $9.94 a share.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Richard D. Wolff, Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism

By: Sunday April 7, 2013 1:59 pm

Richard Wolff’s latest book, Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism, makes provocative observations about our economic woes and proposes thoughtful solutions. His writing is concise and clear so even if you do not agree with his perspective on the world you come away with a clear understanding not only of what he thinks, but why you’re thinking doesn’t align with his.

You will read about such ideas only rarely in the news pages of mainstream magazines and newspapers – and then typically in a tone that is, at best, jaundiced. Wolff gets even less attention from radio, television and cable programs, with the lone exception of Bill Moyers who has been shunted off to a time slot guaranteed to minimize his audience.

Why the fear of an aging professor? Almost certainly it is because Wolff is widely regarding as America’s leading Marxist economist.

Money in a Trillion Dollar Coin World

By: Sunday January 13, 2013 10:30 am

It’s very impolite to talk about money in polite circles, like Washington, D.C. Too bad, suckers.

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