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Today, some of the leading capitalists in the nation are located on Wall Street. Sadly, it is the protesters outside who are literally on the street who embody the ideal rewards and responsibilities of capitalism, not the financiers who occupy the buildings. This is the first in a s series of articles that explores the nature of a well-functioning capitalist system and how this system is now applied to the occupants of the buildings on Wall Street and those who are, quite literally, on The Street. Capitalism is not an abstract ideal.
As Wall Street bandies about the odds of another recession, American workers have bigger worries than fluctuations in GDP: The economy just doesn't seem to be working for them anymore. With globalization and technological advances allowing US companies to grow while shedding labor and shifting it overseas, even times of recovery aren't providing new jobs or wage growth . Things are bad enough in sectors like manufacturing, which has lost a third of its domestic jobs in a decade. But, as Don Peck writes in next month's Atlantic magazine , we haven't even really started to feel the effects of technology-driven efficiency on middle-income white-collar fields like information technology: Computer software can now do boilerplate legal work, for instance, and make a first pass at reading X-rays and other medical scans. Likewise, thanks to technology, we can now easily have those scans read and interpreted by professionals half a world away.
Karl Smith makes a good point: Capital vs. Labor, by Karl Smith : Catherine Rampell is exploring a thesis about the hiring practices. A sample On Friday, I wrote about how equipment and software prices are getting rapidly cheaper while the cost of labor has been getting more expensive, making capital a more attractive investment to companies than people. Tax incentives that encourage earlier capital investment may be helping, too.
Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology – the belief in free and unfettered markets – brought the world to the brink of ruin. Even in its hey-day, from the early 1980’s until 2007, American-style deregulated capitalism brought greater material well-being only to the very richest in the richest country of the world. Indeed, over the course of this ideology’s 30-year ascendance, most Americans saw their incomes decline or stagnate year after year. Moreover, output growth in the United States was not economically sustainable. With so much of US national income going to so few, growth could continue only through consumption financed by a mounting pile of debt.
Nor is the Federal Reserve riding to the rescue. On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it. And debt relief for homeowners — which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery — has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort. The situation is similar in Europe, but arguably even worse.
By Paul Mattick Apart from the patently nonreality-based dissent of its Republican members, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission could hardly have expected the report it issued in January to arouse much excitement. After a year and a half of research and the testimony of academics and other economic experts, it came up with no more than the already conventional wisdom that the economic downturn that burst into public view in 2007 might have been avoided, having been caused by a combination of lax governmental regulation and excessive risk-taking by lenders and borrowers, particularly in the housing market. The same conventional wisdom assures us that swift government action prevented the Great Recession from turning into a full-blown depression, and that the downturn has given way to recovery, albeit a "fragile" one. No matter how often it is repeated, however, this wisdom remains unconvincing. Why is the recovery so fragile?
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph NEW YORK – Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology – the belief in free and unfettered markets – brought the world to the brink of ruin.
Andrew Haldane and Richard Davies of the Bank of England have released a very useful new paper on short-termism in the investment arena. They contend that this problem real and getting worse. This may at first blush seem to be mere official confirmation of most people’s gut instinct.
Summing Up The clear consensus of those responding to this month's column is that managerial capitalism, as John Bogle terms it, has peaked. But what will follow it is less clear. Many doubt that the form of owners' capitalism represented by private equity is the answer. C.
We find ourselves at a point in the world where the main tool to measure economic success and progress — Gross Domestic Product, or GDP – is outdated. Do we need a new set of rules for our economy to effectively begin to measure real, productive growth? Umair Haque believes it’s critical to the future of our country and our global economy. Here’s his conversation with Dylan.
The crisis of global capitalism is unprecedented, given its magnitude, its global reach, the extent of ecological degradation and social deterioration, and the scale of the means of violence. We truly face a crisis of humanity. The stakes have never been higher; our very survival is at risk. We have entered into a period of great upheavals and uncertainties, of momentous changes, fraught with dangers - if also opportunities.
Excerpted from an interview conducted for Furtherfield , by Lawrence Bird on 17/12/2010 It’s a commonplace now that the peer-to-peer movement opens up new ways of creating relating to others. But you’ve explored the implications of P2P in depth, in particular its social and political dimensions. If I understand right, for you the phenomenon represents a new condition of capitalism, and I’m interested in how that new condition impacts on the development of culture – in art and also architecture and urban form. As a bit of a background, I’d like to look at what you’ve identified as the simultaneous “immanence” and “transcendence” of P2P: it’s interdependent with capital, but also opposed to it through the basic notion of the Commons.
This is the second installment of “ The Influencers ,” a six-part interview series that Lynn Parramore, the editor of New Deal 2.0 and a media fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, is conducting for Salon. She talked to Lewis Lapham, the former longtime editor of Harper’s and the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly, about the nature of American-style capitalism — its beginning, its historical manifestation and, possibly, its end. Historically, what do you see as the dominant characteristics of America? It’s faith in the spirit and mechanics and moral value of capitalism. It is a country of expectant millionaires. You have the notions of risk, of labor put to a productive use, deferred pleasure — ideas that come out of our Puritan ancestry.
Adam Buick If state capitalism is not socialism, what is ? In other words, if state ownership and management of production does not amount to the abolition of capitalism but only to a change in the institutional framework within which it operates, what would be the essential features of a society in which capitalism had been abolished? Although it is possible to imagine that capitalism could be replaced by some new form of class society in which some other method of exploitation would replace the wages system, we shall concern ourselves here only with the replacement of capitalism by a society from which, to remain deliberately vague for the moment, exploitation and privilege would be absent.
By George Washington of Washington’s Blog . What is the current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism? Socialism