Category Archives: The destruction of the middle class

Yanis Varoufakis: Think Big, Think Bold – A Green New Deal

Yves here. One of the common frustrations expressed by the NC commentariat is that we spend a lot of time on diagnosis and not as much on solutions. I actually don’t think our emphasis on forensics and analysis is misplaced. Too often, people are uncomfortable with examining deep-seated problems and thus rush to devise remedies that are incomplete or worse, counterproductive.

A second frustration, which I sympathize with, is that many of the solutions recommended by economists to our current problems (income disparity, high unemployment, increasing looting of the private sector and government) is based on restoring growth, which will make redistribution and other measures less contentious. Readers correctly point out that more growth is a 20th century remedy, when the 21st century is faces with global warming (meaning an need to start containing and better yet, reducing energy consumption) and resource constraints.

Yanis Varoufakis addresses both issues in his outline of what he calls a “Green New Deal”.

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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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Tax Havens Make US and Europe Look Poorer than They Are, Exaggerate Size of “Global Imbalances”

Peculiarly, despite the importance of tax havens, a pathbreaking paper published in 2013 by Gabriel Zucman of the Paris School of Economics, The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. Net Debtors or Net Creditors? (hat tip Dikaios Logos) has received perilous little attention. Perhaps that’s because, among other things, it undercuts the Bernanke-flattering claim that “global imbalances” were a major driver of the financial crisis.

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Jeff Madrick: Why the CBO Can’t Be Trusted

Yves here. I’ve written from time to time how openly partisan the Congressional Budget Office is, not in the traditional sense of favoring one party over the other, but as serving as an key enforcer of neoliberal ideology. For instance, its projections of government debt to GDP ratios were highly misleading by virtue of failing to net out financial assets. And after being called out for that error in paper, what did the CBO do? Make it even harder to find the data to prove the magnitude of their misdirection.

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Yanis Varoufakis: Can the Internet Democratize Capitalism?

Yves here. Trust me, you must read this post. In its entirety. Varoufakis discusses the operation of “liberal democracy” as opposed to “classical democracy,”. and argues that voter apathy is a feature, not a bug. But the real meat is in his discussion of how the economic rights of laborers has changed over time and how that has had profound implications for democracy.

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