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The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism - Joseph E. Stiglitz

The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism - Joseph E. Stiglitz
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space 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. Moreover, output growth in the United States was not economically sustainable. I was among those who hoped that, somehow, the financial crisis would teach Americans (and others) a lesson about the need for greater equality, stronger regulation, and a better balance between the market and government. In the US, this right-wing resurgence, whose adherents evidently seek to repeal the basic laws of math and economics, is threatening to force a default on the national debt. This leaves open the question of which expenditures get priority – and if expenditures to pay interest on the national debt do not, a default is inevitable. A decade ago, in the midst of an economic boom, the US faced a surplus so large that it threatened to eliminate the national debt. But matters are little better in Europe. Related:  EconomyWhat means neoliberalism

Rule by Rentiers 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. What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? Of course, that’s not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. And against these hypothetical risks one must set the reality of an economy that remains deeply depressed, at great cost both to today’s workers and to our nation’s future. Ask for a coherent theory behind the abandonment of the unemployed and you won’t get an answer.

L'homme avant le profit Elles s'appellent coopératives, mutuelles, associations ou fondations, elles emploient 2,3 millions de personnes et revendiquent, au nom des valeurs qu'elles incarnent, une place à part dans le tissu économique et social. Pourtant, l'homme de la rue, et même leurs propres salariés, ont souvent du mal à percevoir leur spécificité. C'est qu'elles forment un ensemble hétéroclite, où l'on trouve à la fois des géants de la banque et de l'assurance, des associations vouées à l'insertion sociale, des établissements de soins ou d'enseignement... Pour affirmer leur différence et améliorer leur visibilité, elles se regroupent sous la bannière de l'économie sociale et solidaire (ESS) et ont tenu récemment, à Paris, leurs états généraux. Philippe Frémeaux est un militant de l'ESS - il préside la SCOP (société coopérative et participative) qui édite le mensuel « Alternatives économiques ». Mais la réalité n'est pas toujours conforme à l'idéal.

Executive Excess 2011: The Massive CEO Rewards for Tax Dodging Guns don’t kill people, the old saw goes. People do. By the same token, corporations don’t dodge taxes. People do. The people who run corporations. And these people — America’s CEOs — are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax dodging they have their corporations do. In fact, corporate tax dodging has gone so out of control that 25 major U.S. corporations last year paid their chief executives more than they paid Uncle Sam in federal income taxes. This year’s Institute for Policy Studies Executive Excess report, our 18th annual, explores the intersection between CEO pay and aggressive corporate tax dodging. We researched the 100 U.S. corporations that shelled out the most last year in CEO compensation. Corporate outlays for CEO compensation — despite the lingering Great Recession — are rising. This contrast shows up starkly in the 2010 ratio between average worker and average CEO compensation. What are America’s CEOs doing to deserve their latest bountiful rewards?

Ideoloogical Bias and Antitrust Law Apparently some judges refuse to enforce antritrust law because "Such judges just do not like antitrust laws for ideological reasons." That attitude -- which is not confined to judges -- explains a lot about detrimental the rise of economic and political power in recent decades. This is Shane Greenstein discussing the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile: Lawyers invariably ... launch into comments about the uncertain state of antitrust law in the United States, observing that many judges today do not think there is any valid reason to enforce any antitrust law, irrespective of the facts of the case. Such judges just do not like antitrust laws for ideological reasons. Political analysts, in contrast,... invariably launch into comments about AT&T’s enormous powerful presence in Washington, observing that AT&T has gotten whatever it has wanted from the Obama and Bush administrations. The point he is making, however, is that in this particular instance economics did seem to matter:

The Battle of the Bonds LONDON – Everyone knows that Greece will default on its external debt. The only question concerns the best way to arrange it so that no one really understands that Greece is actually defaulting. On this topic, there is no shortage of expert plans – among them bond buy-backs, bond swaps, and the creation of Eurobonds, a European version of the “Brady” bonds issued by Latin American countries that defaulted in the 1980’s. What all such schemes amount to is piling one lot of bonds on top of another in an attempt to square the circle of Greece’s inability to pay, and to minimize the losses faced by its creditors – mostly European banks. Every week, a preposterous coterie of European bankers and finance ministers drags itself from one capital to another to discuss which default/restructuring plan to adopt. No one who is not well versed in financial legerdemain can make much sense of this battle of the bonds. The first is traditional disapproval of debt.

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% | Society It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided.

Valoriser le capital humain : facteur clé pour une conduite du progrès réussie Cette progression est intimement liée à la notion de changement. Celui-ci peut résulter d’une succession de petites décisions qui ont entrainé un changement productif et positif pour l’entreprise. Parfois, l’urgence de changement se fait sentir davantage. Il faut alors trouver le moyen d’adapter l’entreprise sans perturber ses équilibres pour lui donner plus de possibilités de progresser. Le mot « changement » est souvent teinté « gestion de crise ». Pourtant, c’est bien là une étape cruciale dans le développement de toute société. Changer, c’est faire évoluer son entreprise. Alors comment optimiser cette démarche ? Tout d’abord en intégrant pleinement les raisons qu’a l’entreprise de s’adapter et de changer. Il est donc impératif de bien identifier les enjeux et les objectifs de l’entreprise avant toute action. Si les équipes sont le moteur de la croissance, il est primordial de les impliquer dès les premières réflexions sur les changements à mettre en place.

Our Economic Ruin Means Freedom for the Super-Rich by George Monbiot The model is dead; long live the model. Austerity programmes are extending the crises they were meant to solve, yet governments refuse to abandon them. The United Kingdom provides a powerful example. The cuts, the coalition promised, would hurt but work. They hurt all right – and have pushed us into a double-dip recession. This result was widely predicted. Two questions arise. Surely the corporate class and the super-rich – the only people the government will listen to – can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies? To understand this conundrum we should first understand that what is presented as an economic programme is in fact a political programme. Neoliberals claim that we are best served by maximising market freedom and minimising the role of the state. As Colin Crouch shows in The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism, the state and the market are not, as neoliberals insist, in perpetual conflict. So where is the economic elite?

Hopeless but not Serious | Grover Norquist Norquist is just another opportunistic parasite in Washington, the host for so many parasites. Most of them don’t rise as high and have less influence, but they all have the same quality — an avaricious greed, which they claim to be an expression of ‘public interest’. And people like Norquist (or like Abramoff, Rove, Reed, DeLay, Gingrich) have worked to change the game in Washington. There’s always been “enlightened self-interest” and corruption in centers of power, but a certain amount of ‘People’s Business’ had to be conducted. Now, the game is more about seizing all the power, and money, that one can… all while loudly claiming your efforts are for the benefit of others. Liars and thieves love misdirection — except now, unlike the pre-Rupert era, they have an entire media empire ready to repeat their messages and throw sand in everyone’s eyes.

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