Economics


Income Growth and Inequality 1978-2015

"a comprehensive index of useful links for anyone interested in economics, business, and finance" - has economics study aids for students
EconLinks easy access to basic economic and financial information for students in economics and business courses
Economic Reporting Review
Economic Statistics Briefing Room --U.S. Economic Indicators from the White House Web site
Economics Working Paper Archive (Washington University)
EDGAR Online --Corporation filings (10-K, 10-Q etc.)
EDGAR (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) --Corporation filings
Educational Resources: Economics
Fed 101 an outstanding basic introduction to the federal reserve banking system and its history
FINANCE page of links
Financial Accounting Standards Board
FinFacts: Worldwide 2001 Cost of Living Survey: City Rankings compares the prices of more than 200 items in 144 cities around the world
FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas
Game Theory Explained
Geo Newsletter bimonthly; reports on worker cooperatives and community-based economies in the U.S. and worldwide
Global Capitalism and Its Discontents updates and articles focusing on anticapitalism
Global Macroeconomic and Financial Policy Site, Nouriel Roubini's latest news and analysis
GLOBALIZATION page of links
Glossary of Political Economy Terms
GREENSPAN, ALAN notes and quotes
Grounds for Change "a Pacific Northwest organic coffee roaster specializing in socially responsible and environmentally sustainable coffee. We roast exclusively 100% Fair Trade Organic Coffee, that is grown in shaded conditions "
Human Rights Report U.N. report on the quality of life indicators in 162 countries [pdf]
"The Income Gap: A Problem America Can't Ignore" "A contributing factor to the income gap is the growing divide between executive and worker pay. In 1970, the average CEO made 41 times what the average manufacturing worker made. In 1997, according to Business Week magazine, this ratio was 326 to one."
Inequality.org info on the divide in income, "the great unmentionable"
INSURANCE page of links
International Economics Network a portal for international economics; links to economics sites, organized by topic area
INVESTMENT page of links
Just Coffee organic coffee from fair trade collectives in Central America -- "Through Fair Trade, consumers, activists, and coffee roasters are partnering with small coffee growers to ensure that growers, their families, and their communities receive a fair price for their produce. By cutting the coffee supply chain down to a minimum number of participants, and by each paticipant committing to deal with the others as equal partners, Fair Trade is positively changing the way that coffee business is done" [a photo-editorial about this group ran in the November 2004 issue of The Progressive
Kicking Away the Ladder: Developement Strategy in Historical Perspective economics book by Ha-Joon Chang which argues that historically the free trade countries used tariffs and other forms of protectionism to develop their economies before turning to free trade; they are now trying to force free trade on developing nations which really need protectionism at this stage of their development
Kicking the IMF and World Bank Where It Hurts book review of Kicking Away the Ladder, by Ha-Joon Chang - "the history that the IMF and World Bank hope you will never learn"
Labour Economics Gateway Internet-sites that are of interest to labour economists
Library of Economics and Liberty compilation of seminal works and ideas from important commentators on economics
Macroeconomics--Argus index of links
MARKETING page of links
Mountain Voices interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions around the world -- Mexico, Peru, Lesotho, Kenya, Ethiopia, Poland, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China -- its aim is to give a voice to people most affected by development and change at the local level
My Favorite Books Dave Iverson's list is about halfway down the document
Nash Equilibrium short definition
Nash Equilibrium and the History of Economic Theory 32 page paper on Nash's impact on economics and the social sciences
New Work News life in the new economy
OMB Watch "promoting government accountability" - focuses on budgetary matters and government secrecy
PATENTS page of links
Poverty Net--World Bank
The Short Run economics news and information site
Social Crisis in East Asia --World Bank
STATISTICS page of links
STOCKS & BONDS page of links
Survey of Current Business (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Taco Bell Boycott "Taco Bell is owned by Yum Brands, the world's largest restaurant company (bigger than McDonald's), which pools the buying power of its five major chain brands (Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver, and A&W Restaurants) to demand the lowest possible prices from their suppliers, exerting a powerful downward pressure on wages and working conditions in their suppliers' operations"
TAXES page of links
Treasury Bulletin
UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) includes press releases, interviews, speeches, op-ed pieces, statements of the Secretary-General, and nearly all its publications, in both English and Spanish
United States Foreign Trade Highlights

World Bank Group
WTO/GATT Research compiled by Jeanne Rehberg, NYU Law Librarian; an authoritative guide to an intimidating subject, without a trace of jargon


"..most economists are intellectual practitioners who adopt basic assumptions they knw are incorrect, and then extrapolate conclusions they declare to be true" (Gabriela Bocagrande, quoted in Editorial. The Nation, 1/16/04, 3).


"The American economy.. is in much deeper trouble than most people realize...

"For several decades, in fact, the federal government has toleratd and even encouraged the dispersal of American production overseas... No other major economy in the world accepts perennial trade deficits.. But American leaders and policy-makers are uniquely dedicated to a faith in "free market" globalization, and they have regularly promised Americans that despite the disruptions, this policy guarantees their long-term prosperity. Present facts make these long-held convictions look like gross illusion... the trade deficit.. Last year it set another new record: $489 billion...

"The U.S. economy, in essence, is being kept afloat by enormous foreign lending... This lopsided arrangement will end when those foreign creditors... Japan, China, and Europe -- decide to stop lending...

"That reckoning could arrive as a sudden thuderclap of financial crisis -- spiking interest rates, swooning stock market and crashing home prices... As foreign capital moves elsewhere and easy credit disappears for consumers, many Americans will experience a major decline in their living standards...

"Now the rest of the world is propping up American consumers... The net inflow of foreign capital to the United States represents a staggering 75 percent of the net outflows from the rest of the world...

"The failure of conventional explanations for trade deficits leads, logically, to an unorthodox conclusion: The source of the deficits (and growing indebtedness) must be embedded in the trading system itself...

"The national ambitions and competitive energies of globalization, at least as currently practiced, persist in developing new productive capacity -- more factories -- faster than they generate rising incomes and adequate demand to absorb the surplus goods. This leads inevitably to falling prices and stiffer pressures for cost reductions. The convenient remedy -- somebody, somewhere has to shut down factories -- has typically begun by closing America's and moving it's high-wage production offshore for cheaper labor.

American production usually goes first because the U.S. government does not resist...

"Through industrial policy and numberous informal barriers, America's European rivals have managed to avoid both trade deficits and the thirty-year stagnation of wages that U.S. industrial workers have suffered. Only in America do the experts believe these consequences have no meaning for overall prosperity. Only in America has the government put the interests of multinationals ahead of citizens.

"A decisive President, one who grasped the gravity of the situation, would start by bringing up a taboo subject -- tariffs -- and inform the world that the United States is prepared to impose a temporary general tariff of 10 or 15 percent on all U.S. imports. Every multinational would have to rethink its industrial strategy, because some of its production might be stranded in the wrong country. Import-dependent retailers like Wal-Mart would be seriously disrupted, too.

"With a general tariff, the practice of wage arbitrage -- shifting high-wage jobs to low-wage nations, then selling the goods to the U.S. market -- would no longer be a free ride" (William Greider. "The Serpent That Ate America's Lunch." The Nation, May 10, 2004: 11-18).


"...another successful Republican frame, the false idea that the "market" is a force of nature... In reality, the market is a social institution with rules and regulating mechanisms that have been put in place by human beings. This reality is hidden by the force-of-nature framing" ("Got Frame?" Texas Observer, 7/30/04: 3).


"It is unclear to me why anyone would believe anything the president says about our fiscal situation. Keep in mind, this is a man who took three Texas oil companies into bankruptcy... Under Bill Clinton, the economy gained an average of 236,000 jobs every month. Under George W. Bush, the economy has lost an average of 66,000 jobs a month" (Molly Ivins. "The Un-Tax and Spend President." Texas Observer, 2/13/04: 14).


"...Franklin Roosevelt argued that the real enemies of enlightened capitalism were "the malefactors of great wealth" -- the "economic royalists" -- from whom capitalism would have to be saved by reform and regulation" (Bill Moyers. "This is Your Story. Pass It On." Texas Observer, 8/13/04: 4-9, 38).


"...the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)... Latin America's largest lender and creditor... surplus of grandiosity, delusion, and bullshit...

"...in 1994... was "tasked" by the U.S. Congress with reducing poverty and social inequality while promoting democracy and the rule of law, the Bank has taken great pains to portray itself as an intrument of social peace and justice... did business for 17 years with Augusto Pinochet in Chile and other mass-murdering heads of state throughout the continent...

"...Peru's best-known and most demented economist, Hernando De Soto, long a favorite of the international development set... added a fresh approach to the trouublesome problem of youth unemployment: volunteerism!... If you can't find a job or successfully exploit yourself, you can fill your time by working for free..." (Gabriela Bocagrande. "Scenes From the VIP Room." Texas Observer, 5/7/04: 12-13, 26).


"According to this year's World Economic Forum survey of 101 countries, three of the five most "competitive" are Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Social Democracies raise living standards. And often they tend to be more competitive. It's a shame that in America even some on the left can't seem to grasp this" (Letters. The Nation, Jan. 10/17, 2005: 2).


"The American economy.. is in much deeper trouble than most people realize...

"For several decades, in fact, the federal government has toleratd and even encouraged the dispersal of American production overseas... No other major economy in the world accepts perennial trade deficits.. But American leaders and policy-makers are uniquely dedicated to a faith in "free market" globalization, and they have regularly promised Americans that despite the disruptions, this policy guarantees their long-term prosperity. Present facts make these long-held convictions look like gross illusion... the trade deficit.. Last year it set another new record: $489 billion...

"The U.S. economy, in essence, is being kept afloat by enormous foreign lending... This lopsided arrangement will end when those foreign creditors... Japan, China, and Europe -- decide to stop lending...

"That reckoning could arrive as a sudden thuderclap of financial crisis -- spiking interest rates, swooning stock market and crashing home prices... As foreign capital moves elsewhere and easy credit disappears for consumers, many Americans will experience a major decline in their living standards...

"Now the rest of the world is propping up American consumers... The net inflow of foreign capital to the United States represents a staggering 75 percent of the net outflows from the rest of the world...

"The failure of conventional explanations for trade deficits leads, logically, to an unorthodox conclusion: The source of the deficits (and growing indebtedness) must be embedded in the trading system itself...

"The national ambitions and competitive energies of globalization, at least as currently practiced, persist in developing new productive capacity -- more factories -- faster than they generate rising incomes and adequate demand to absorb the surplus goods. This leads inevitably to falling prices and stiffer pressures for cost reductions. The convenient remedy -- somebody, somewhere has to shut down factories -- has typically begun by closing America's and moving it's high-wage production offshore for cheaper labor.

American production usually goes first because the U.S. government does not resist...

"Through industrial policy and numberous informal barriers, America's European rivals have managed to avoid both trade deficits and the thirty-year stagnation of wages that U.S. industrial workers have suffered. Only in America do the experts believe these consequences have no meaning for overall prosperity. Only in America has the government put the interests of multinationals ahead of citizens.

"A decisive President, one who grasped the gravity of the situation, would start by bringing up a taboo subject -- tariffs -- and inform the world that the United States is prepared to impose a temporary general tariff of 10 or 15 percent on all U.S. imports. Every multinational would have to rethink its industrial strategy, because some of its production might be stranded in the wrong country. Import-dependent retailers like Wal-Mart would be seriously disrupted, too.

"With a general tariff, the practice of wage arbitrage -- shifting high-wage jobs to low-wage nations, then selling the goods to the U.S. market -- would no longer be a free ride" (William Greider. "The Serpent That Ate America's Lunch." The Nation, May 10, 2004: 11-18).


"Last summer, in the lull of the August media doze, the Bush Administration's doctrine of preventive war took a major leap forward. On August 5, 2004, the White House created the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, headed by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual. Its mandate is to draw up elaborate "post-conflict" plans for up to twenty-five countries that are not, as of yet, in conflict. According to Pascual, it will also be able to coordinate three full-scale reconstruction operations in different countries "at the same time," each lasting "five to seven years."

"Fittingly, a government devoted to perpetual pre-emptive deconstruction now has a standing office of perpetual pre-emptive reconstruction...

"But if the reconstruction industry is stunningly inept at re-building, that may be because rebuilding is not its primary purpose. According to Guttal, "It's not reconstruction at all--it's about reshaping everything." If anything, the stories of corruption and incompetence serve to mask this deeper scandal: the rise of a predatory form of disaster capitalism that uses the desparation and fear created by catastrophe to engage in radical social and economic engineering. And on this front, the reconstruction industry works so quickly and efficiently that the privatizations and land grabs are usually locked in before the local population knows what hit them...

"The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been imposing shock therapy on countries in various states of shock for at least three decades, most notably after Latin America's military coups and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet many observers say that today's disaster capitalism really hit its stride with Hurricane Mitch. For a week in October 1998, Mitch parked itself over Central America, swallowing villages whole and killing more than 9,000. Already impoverished countries were desparate for reconstruction aid--and it came, but with strings attached. In the two months after Mitch struck, with the country still knee-deep in rubble, corpses and mud, the Honduran congress initiated what the Financial Times called "speed sell-offs after the storm." It passed laws allowing the privatization of airports, seaports and highways and fast-tracked plans to privatize the state telephone company, the national electric company and parts of the water sector. It overturned land-reform laws and made it easier for foreigners to buy and sell property. It was much the same in neighboring countries...

"Now the bank is using the December 26 tsunami to push through its cookie-cutter policies. The most devastated countries have seen almost no debt relief... Rather than emphasizing the need to help the small fishing communities--more than 80 percent of the wave's victims--the bank is pushing for expansion of the tourism sector and industrial fish farms. As for the damaged public infrastructure, like roads and schools, bank documents recognize that rebuilding them "may strain public finances" and suggest that governments consider privatization (yes, they have only one idea)...

"As in other reconstruction sites, from Haiti to Iraq, tsunami relief has little to do with recovering what was lost...

"In January Condoleezza Rice sparked a small controversy by describing the tsunami as "a wonderful opportunity" that "has paid great dividends for us"... If anything, Rice was understating the case" (Naomi Klein. "The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." The Nation, May 2, 2005: 9-11).


"...many of America's leading economists and political pundits, were convinced that the introduction of a single common currency across the EU would fail. The euro succeeded beyond even the most enthusiastic projection of its supporters and is now stronger than the dollar... and is becoming a rival in world financial circles' (Jeremy Rifkin. The European Dream p. 64)...


"GDP gives a false sense of real economic well-being... The fault with the GDP is that it doesn't discriminate between economic activity that really improves the standard of living of people and economic activity that does not...

"GDP counts every economic activity as good. So if crime rises because of unemployment and poverty, requiring an increase in police protection and enforcement, court costs, prisons costs, and a beefing up of private surveillance and protection, the economic activity it engenders finds its way into the GDP. If a toxic-waste dump needs to be cleaned up, an oil spill contained, or contaminated groundwater purified, again the economic activity adds to the total GDP. If the use of fossil fuels increases, it is added to the GDP, even though it means a depletion of existing stocks of nonrenewable energy. And if the health of millions of Americans deteriorates because of an increase in obesity, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use, the increased costs of health care are, likewise, added to the GDP... The purchase of more missiles, airplanes, tanks, and bombs are all added to the GDP... Here lies the rub. So much of our GDP--and an increasing percentage of it each year--is made up of economic activity that clearly does not improve our well-being...

"The late senator Robert Kennedy... "it does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play... it measure everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile"...

"Even the man who invented the GDP, Simon Kuznets... warned... that "the welfare of a nation" can "scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income"" (Jeremy Rifkin. The European Dream. p. 72-73)...


"Richard Layard is an economist and Labour peer who made his considerable name in employment economics. Now he has written a remarkable book [Happiness: Lessons From a New Science] about happiness that effectively trashes the claim of economics to guide policy for a good society.

"Happiness, not gross domestic product, still less competitiveness, should be the overriding principle of economic policy, Layard maintains, backing up his proposition with some fascinating statistics...

"...another key psychological element that is left out of economists' accounts: the self-fulfilling nature of many assumptions about human behavior...

"Hence the phenomenon of the "supervisor's dilemma", a vicious circle in which tight supervision generates behavior that seems to justify still tighter control. This reflects much of today's management, at least in the US and Britain, where people's levels of trust in one another have halved within the past 40 years--although not in Europe, where levels have stayed much the same.

"What does this mean? The implication is that companies and managers driven by the economic model of human nature are not only engines of individual unhappiness (as is largely borne out by people's worsening experience of work); but through these self-fulfilling assumptions they are reshaping people in their own impoverished image in a way that makes happiness impossible to achieve in the future. This is a frightening prospect, and clearly illustrates why the attitude-shaping role of management is so pivotal...

"... much of today's practice is counterproductive...

"Thus for Layard a happy society is based on old-fashioned virtues such as trust, fairness, and (yes) equality. Although political leaders and managers are wedded to "change" and to "flexibility", "there are huge advantages to inflexibility and predictability, as continental Europeans appreciate"...

"A fulfilling job allowing pride in the work, challenge and autonomy, is its own reward, and the best motivator. Since people care more about losses than gains, repeated reorganizations may produce more harm than good" (Simon Caulkin. "Money can't buy happiness." Guardian Weekly, April 29, 2005: 26).


This is a review of Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules, by Philippe Sands.

"By far the most important body of international law concersn trade and overseas investment... It is these laws--secretive, hidden from view and above all binding--that have underpinned the neoliberal globalization project. The chapters on trade and investment reveal how biased these rules are in favour of the West, and how they are made and exercised in institutional recesses that are unaccountable, even to cabinets, let alone parliaments, and utterly invisible to the public eye. This is the nexus of corporate, bureaucratic and judicial power...

"He argues, moreover, that international law-making, even in the economic arena, is slowly being prised open and thereby subject to influence by a growing number of actors, including developing countries and NGOs. He recognizes that international law is opaque and largely undemocratic, but believes, perhaps too optimistically, that the processes and institutions are being opened up, albeit slowly.

"The nub of the book, however, concerns the way in which the United States, since the Bush presidency, has decided to opt out of international treaties" (Allen Lane. "A law unto themselves." Guardian Weekly, April 8, 2005: 27).


"...a sweeping new report from the World Bank... to prove that, in general, fairer economies are more successful. Inequality is not only unfair--it also wastes resources and stifles economic progress...

"Giving the poor a fair share in the economy is therefore the best recipe for success...

""We hope this report will change the perception that people often have that the poor are almost charity cases, and the rest of the country generates the growth," he said. "You shouldn't see those people as an ocean of unskilled labour. You should see them as a pool of potentially skilled individuals" (Heather Stewart. "Equality is the best policy." Guardian Weekly, Sep. 30: 31).


"Is there a real solution to the problem of losing jobs overseas? It does not make sense to focus our anger at the Chinese worker: You can't blame somebody for wanting a better job. We should not blame business leaders, either; outsourcing and offshoring are often the rational and necessary choice to compete under our current system of subsidies and trade laws. These people take advantage of outsourcing for the simplest of reasons: because they can...

"One intelligent response to outsourcing would be to stop passing the same trade agreements over and over...

"By end of 2005, it is projected that more than 830,000 American tech jobs will have moved to low-wage countries like India and China...

"Put simply, if your job uses a phone, a computer or a welding torch, outsourcing trade policies will affect you. If you can telecommute, your job can likely be outsourced...

"CAFTA--NAFTA's big brother... we can expect the same results of more lost jobs. And we should ban the billions in public subsidies that go to government contractors who move jobs overseas" (Andy Gussert. "Shoring up trade laws." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 9).


"...the business costs of this [Bush] approach are already becoming evident. For starters, the new wave of anti-Americanism sweeping the planet goes far beyond KFC bombings in South Asia or widespread hostility in the Middle East. In Asia, the South China Morning Post has noted that a "strong growing hostility" toward the United States has complicated Disney's expansion plans in the area. The Bush imperial foreign policy, moreover, is inspiring consumer backlash even among traditional allies...

"...survey of global elites found that "41 percent of Canadian elites were less likely to purchase American products because of Bush Administration policies, compared to 56 percent in the UK, 61 percent in France, 49 percent in Germany and 42 percent in Brazil...

"...sixty-two percent of executives surveyed by Opinion Dynamics Corp. said the war is hurting America's global competitiveness" (Mark Engler. "Bush's Bad Business Empire." The Progressive Populist, Dec. 15, 2005: 2, 8-9).


"The Germans make the cars, the Italians make the clothes, the French make the wine, the British make the pharmaceuticals--and then they all buy and sell from each other...

"That's the theory. According to the UK Interdependence Report, it doesn't quite work out that way.

"Take chocolate-covered biscuits. Each year the UK export 1,145 tonnes of these delicacies to the Germans. The Germans meanwhile export 1,728 tonnes to the UK...

"The NEF says there is a serious side to the statistic showing that the 465 tonnes of gingerbread coming into the country is matched by the 460 tonnes exported. It argues that the environmental impact of "lorries passing in the night" is not included in the price of the goods in the shops, and that much of the trade that is going on is actually ecologically wasteful.

""Shipping vast quatities of identical goods backwards and forwards around the world matter for three big reasons" said Andrew Simms of NEF. "First, it is a towering monument to inefficiency, as wasteful as a job-creation scheme that pays people to shift a pile of rocks from one end of a worksite to another and back again.

""More profoundly, it matters because we face upheaval from potentially irreversible climate change due, in large part, to the burning of fuel, whilst at the same time there is rising conflict over access to dwindling oil supplies. The third reason is that a global economy built on, and blind to, its own fossil fuel dependence simply cannot survive in its current form"" ("Chocolate biscuit paradox." Guardian Weekly, April 21, 2006: 27).


"The United States is running a current account deficit of more than $700 billion a year to fund consumption we can't afford. This is not financially sustainable. Meanwhile, many workers in developing countries work twelve to sixteen hours a day, in dangerous conditions, without the right to form an independent union, at poverty pay, so that multinational corporations can boost their bottom line. That is not politically sustainable...

"... our corporate tax system is insanely inefficient and unfair. American taxpayers currently subsidize the offshoring of their own jobs (at a rate of at least $7 billion a year) through policies that exempt income earned offshore from corporate taxes. Very vew other countries have similar systems, and most have some form of "border adjustable" tax that exempts exports from sales or value-added taxes. Our current system taxes exports, while subsidixzing the offshoring of jobs. We need a complete overhaul of our corporate tax system to address this self-inflicted wound.

"Second, the overvalued dollar is killing our domestic manufacturing sector and exacerbating the problems in tradable services (a category that now covers everything not nailed to the floor). While the high dollar policy serves the Wal-Marts of the corporate world very well, it creates almost insurmountable competitive problems for domestic products...

"Third, the framework of rules in the global trading system (through the WTO and our own domestic agreements) is severely lopsided in favor of multinational corporate interests--leaving workers, small farmers, the environment and the poor ever more vulnerable and weak" (Thea Lee. "A New Domestic and Global Strategy." The Nation, April 17, 2006: 20-21).


"Postwar prosperity was built on a vast cut in the cost of security and the achievement of peace in Europe and much of Asia. The American role in the cold war system was to provide security; for this the dollar's role as anchor of the world trading system was our reward. But now, with Iraq, we are seen worldwide as the leading predator state, promoting war as a solution rather than as the ultimate economic and human horror. For this, many would like to see our privileges revoked.

"Corporate and financial fraud and political corruption form the second great domain of predatory capitalism. DeLay, Frist, and Abramoff are the names in the ews, but the tone is set by the leadership--Cheney of Halliburton and Bush of Harken Energy--a large predator and a small scavenger, specialists in cronyism and expert in nothing else. When predation becomes the dominant business and political form, the foundation of capitalism crumbles. Markets lose legitimacy, investors fly to safety in bonds, and authentic innovation and shared growth both become unnattainable. The solution must be not just a change of parties but a new political class, including a new media not under corrupt control.

"Then there is the predatory attack on unions and labor, in which many economists are complicit. This is far advanced in America and most visible today in Europe, as reflected by the doctrine of flexible labor markets, which claims that the conquest of unemployment requires cutting the pay of the working poor. But there is not history of unemployment ever being conquered this way...

"The way forward is a program for growth and justice built on the needs of the working population and the middle class. To begin with, in the United States, there must be a powerful demolition of the old political order: We need election where all votes are cast and counted. The campaign against voter repression is the essential civil rights struggle of our time, even though most progressives don't seem to realize it yet. Prevailing will require fundamental reform such as the introduction of nationwide vote-by-mail (the Oregon system)...

"Overseas, crackdowns on tax havens and the arms trade, a stabilizing financial system and an end to the debt peonage of poor countries whould be among the priorities of a new structurre.

"The truths are that egalitarian growth is efficient, that speculation must be regulated, that crime starts at the top and that peace is the primary public good. These truths are poison to predators and are the reason predators have fostered and subsidized an entire cynical intellectual movement devoted to "free" markets made up of a class of professor-courtiers now everywhere in view. Taming predatory capitalism could start with breaking this econo-corporate analytical axis, and reviving the concept of countervailing power, first formulated by JOhn Kenneth Galbraith in 1952" (James K. Galbraith. "Taming Predatory Capitalism." The Nation, April 17, 2006: 23-24).


"President Richard Nixon's decision to end the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971 was a milestone in the erosion of the Western social contract. This decision ushered in a new international monetary system--one in which international payments in dollars would be made by private banks rather than exchanges of gold between the Federal Reserve and other central banks, and the value of the dollar would be determined by supply and demand.

"This new dollar-centric international monetary system has been a powerful force in shaping the global economy and is, to a great extent, responsible for the current pattern of globalization. For the United States, it has meant that US policy-makers have had to hold real US interest rates higher than those of other strong currencies and have had to accept a higher value of the dollar relative to other major currencies. This has not only led to slower US economic growth but has made US goods less competitive vis-a-vis those of other economies. Thus the cost of American dollar hegemony has been the loss of export markets and, along with it, the loss of relatively good jobs in the tradable-goods sector of the economy" (Jane D'Arista. "Reform the Internatinal Financial System." The Nation, April 17, 2006: 27).


"Momentous change is approaching in American politics. Conceivably, the turning point has already arrived, too indistinct to recognize. We are witnessing the demise of the reigning economic ideology. A deep shift of this kind is a very rare event, one that comes along only every thirty or forty years. Economic disorders accumulate that the orthodoxy cannot answer and may even have caused. Eventually, the ideological presumptions are discredited by real-world contradictions.

"The last time this happened was in the 1970s, when economic liberalism foundered and collapsed. Ossified intellectually, unable to adjust to changed circumstances, the liberal order did not know how to deal with economic consequences like inflationaly stagnation. As the long postwar prosperity lost its energy, so did liberal politics.

"Something similar is happening now to the Republicans. Their problem is the under-performing economy, which must borrow to stay afloat and, roughly speaking, lifts only half the boats. The conservative order--inspired two generations ago by Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek and brought to power by Republican ascendancy--pushed government aside so business and capital would be free to generate more lasting prosperity. But their utopian promise was not fulfilled. Instead, the right's principal product... was economic inequality...

"...This very wealthy country has the capacity to insure that all citizens, regardless of status or skills, have the essential needs to pursue secure, self-directed lives. This starts with the right to health, work, livable incomes and open-ended education, and to participate meaningfully in the decisions that govern their lives. The marketplace has no interest in providing these. It is actively destroying them...

"One in six manufacturing jobs has been lost since 2000 (39 percent in communications equipment, 37 percent in semiconductors). These losses are explained as free-market "efficiencies" but mainly represent the global relocation of American production.

"The cumulative effect is an economy that doesn't produce enough to pay for what it wants and needs. The conservative order, notwithstanding its proclaimed values, makes up the difference by borrowing...

"The republicans now find themselves in a corner with no good choices. If Bush withdrew the stimulus of federal deficits, economic growth would collapse. The sensible course would require a massive shift in priorities--moving money and benefits from the wealthy few to the struggling many--but that is ideological heresy and would double-cross the GOP's monied patrons...

"You wouldn't know it from reading the newspapers, but substantial and often overwhelming majorities of Americans have repeatedly endorsed governing concepts that conventional politicians dismiss as radical or unrealistic: Universal healthcare. A job for everyone who wants to work, guaranteed by the government. Secure retirements. Stronger enforcement of environmental laws. Stronger defenses against encroaching corporate power. Union protection for workers against exploitative employers. The list goes on. These widely endorsed goals assume an activist government that nurtures people and society first, ahead of corporations and capital. Imagine a political agenda that set out to give the people what they say they want" (William Greider. "The Future is Now." The Nation, June 26, 2006: 23-26).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS