Category Archives: Free markets and their discontents

Joan Robinson’s “Introduction to Modern Economics”

One of the more shocking things about Robinson’s textbook is the way many core features of neoclassical economics are brushed away in a sentence or paragraph as mere metaphysical reasoning. She defines such reasoning as being “applied to a use of language that conveys no factual information, describes no logical relations nor gives precise instructions and yet is calculated to affect conduct.”

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Cokie Roberts Picked a Fight With Alan Grayson on the TransPacific Partnership. Guess Who Won?

I’m clearly too feral to have the proper responses, but I’ve long considered Cokie Roberts to be too lightweight to be worth paying attention to. But since lightweight goes over well in many parts of America, Cokie still has a large following. And it’s separately worth paying attention to a fight she picked over Obama’s stalled trade deal, the TransPacific Partnership. The fact that people with popular followings are still defending it says the Administration remains keen to revive it, so opponents need to guard against becoming too complacent.

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Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Strategies?

In this Real News Network interview, George Irvin, research professor at the University of London takes a broad historical perspective to show how the rise of a low-wage, debt driven economy and the pressure to reduce the role of government have painted Anglo-Saxon capitalism in a corner.

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These Charts Show What is Wrong With American Capitalism

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.

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A New Wall Street Looting Scheme: Disaster Savings Accounts

As famed short seller David Einhorn says, no matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse. We’ve got proof of his dictum in the form of a new looting scheme, the Disaster Savings Account Act. Since the financiers haven’t yet gotten their hands on Social Security, they are looking for new worlds to plunder.

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New Study Shows Dangers of Trade Agreements that Help Corporations Sue Governments

As the Obama administration negotiates new trade agreements with European and Pacific nations, a battle has emerged over the agreements’ egregious rules that grant giant corporations unreasonable powers to subvert democracy. These rules, dubbed “investor rights” by the corporations, allow firms to sue governments over actions—including public interest regulations—that reduce the value of their investments.

Oxfam, the Institute for Policy Studies, and four other non-profits are releasing a new study that explains why these rules are so dangerous to democracy and the environment. We are among the co-authors of this study, titled “Debunking Eight Falsehoods by Pacific Rim Mining/OceanaGold in El Salvador.” The report offers a powerful case study of everything that is wrong with this corporate assault on democracy.

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Money and Elections in Washington: Pro Wrestling, but With More Respectable Clothes

kayfabe: Term in pro wrestling. Kayfabe was the unsaid rule that the wrestlers should stay in character during the show and in public appearances in order to maintain a feeling of reality (albeit suspended) among the fans.

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