For the last 30 years, neoliberals have fixated on a simple program: “Get government out of the way,” which meant reduce taxes and regulations. Business will invest more, which will produce a higher growth rate and greater prosperity for all. The belief was that unfettered capitalism could solve all ills.
That’s not how this children’s story is turning out.
Back in the late 1980’s, Rupert Murdoch’s latest fiendish plan for world media domination (there’s a new one every decade or so) centred on pay TV. But as the 1990s rolled in, the media baron focused on a new world to conquer: crypto.
Here’s something to listen to with your morning coffee; it’s a lecture on co-operatives, with Q&A following, by Gar Alperowitz at the New Economy Summit in Boone, NC, in April of this year. I like the title, because the agency in “What Then Must We Do” is explicit, in contrast (intentional or not) to [Anglophone usage of] Lenin’s famous “What Is To Be Done” (sez who?) where lack of agency signals the Bolshevik’s intent to tell people what was to be done. We know how that movie ended; there were a lot of movies that ended that way in the 20th Century. The video:
I’m sure some readers will protest that comparing Jamie Dimon to Lance Armstrong is unfair. After all, Dimon is better looking than Armstrong. But this post will demonstrate that the big reason that Armstong’s reputation has crashed while Dimon’s remains largely intact is first, that bank CEOs have a powerful and largely compliant messaging apparatus in the financial media and second, that we hold sports stars to much higher standards than titans of finance and commerce.
When union members demand decent pay levels and work conditions, they are charged with featherbedding and overmanning or the new neoliberal catchall, “demanding uncompetitive wages”. But when the upper crust loots institutions, the mainstream media is typically missing in action.
…what’s at stake in the corporate governance of a too-big-to-fail bank like JPMorgan Chase is not just the share price, but also the public fisc. There is a strong federal regulatory interest in having good governance at too-big-to-fail banks because of our explicit (FDIC) and implicit (bailout) insurance of too-big-to-fail banks.
There’s a surprising degree of blogosphere acceptance of JP Morgan’s messaging on the shareholder vote today regarding whether to split the CEO and Chairman roles, that this result was a vote of confidence in his prowess as CEO. Huh?
We’ve been poking at Walmart of late because the Bentonville giant appears to have feet of clay. It has been pursuing its relentless cost-cutting strategy to the point where it is damaging its franchise. Bloomberg (and later, the New York Times) described how the retailer had cut headcount to the point where it was having difficulty keeping shelves stocked and checkout lines to a tolerable length. Proving the validity of the Bloomberg account, over 1000 Walmart customers e-mailed the news service, describing their crummy experiences.
But Walmart may have started going off the rails even earlier than the counterproductive staffing cuts suggest.
By Ian Fraser, a financial journalist who blogs at his web site and at qfinance. His Twitter is @ian_fraser. [An edited version of this article was published on pages 34-35 of the Sunday Herald on February 10th, 2013].
It has been described as the biggest banking felony in history … yet no-one has been prosecuted for the Libor fixing scandal. Ian Fraser looks at the RBS sacrificial lambs.
During Royal Bank of Scotland’s IT meltdown last summer, chief executive Stephen Hester referred to the risk “that you turn over rocks and find new things [that you have to clean up].” Last Wednesday, nearly five years on from the £45.5 billion taxpayer funded rescue of the Edinburgh based lender, a vast rock was hoisted aloft by three regulators. What lurked underneath was not a pleasant sight.