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Capitalism vs. Democracy

Capitalism vs. Democracy
Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” described by one French newspaper as a “a political and theoretical bulldozer,” defies left and right orthodoxy by arguing that worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism. Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, does not stop there. He contends that capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies. Capitalism, according to Piketty, confronts both modern and modernizing countries with a dilemma: entrepreneurs become increasingly dominant over those who own only their own labor. In Piketty’s view, while emerging economies can defeat this logic in the near term, in the long run, “when pay setters set their own pay, there’s no limit,” unless “confiscatory tax rates” are imposed. Photo “I am hesitant to call Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the 21st Century one of the best books in economics written in the past several decades.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/opinion/capitalism-vs-democracy.html

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A Prosperous China vs An Imperial US As we have known at least since Thucydides military power flows from economic power. That is also true of “soft” power, scientific discovery and technological achievement and capacity. (This week USA Today carries a story on the rapid growth of new and original patents in China., alarming the Pentagon.) Growth in China’s economic power therefore closes the door on US global hegemony.

How Tesla Will Change The World This is Part 2 of a four-part series on Elon Musk’s companies. For an explanation of why this series is happening and how Musk is involved, start with Part 1. A Wait But Why post can be a few different things. The Future of the BRICS Development Bank by HORACE G. CAMPBELL At the end of the Sixth BRICS[1] Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil on July 16, 2014, the leaders of the BRICS countries announced the “Fortaleza Action Plan.” This plan is in the context of the Fortaleza Declaration, [i] where the leaders reinforced their position that BRICS would be an international force in challenging the neo-liberal policies of the Washington Consensus. Touching on areas of major destabilization in the world – from Syria to Sudan and from Ukraine to Iraq – the leaders spelt out the need for new paths to peace and for strengthening the United Nations to resolve the outstanding questions of war and insecurity.

in Economics and as CEOs FDR On American Facism(image by JoeInSouthernCA) Reprinted from neweconomicperspectives.org Libertarians are profoundly anti-democratic. The folks at Cato that I debate make no bones about their disdain for and fear of democracy. Friedrich von Hayek is so popular among libertarians because of his denial of the legitimacy of democratic government and his claims that it is inherently monstrous and murderous to its own citizens. Here's an example from a libertarian professor based in Maryland. Recent Study Shows That Wine Ratings Hurt Consumers A recent study by the American Association of Wine Economics shows how Wine Ratings hurt consumers. In the study, they analyzed 44,808 wines from the Wine Spectator review database and found that wine ratings cause market price variation and consumer confusion. Not cool. Traditional economics has shown that an increased ratio of educated consumers leads to market stabilization. However, in the wine market, an increase of reviews (education?) causes price fluctuation across the entire line of wines from a producer.

The end of capitalism has begun The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. BRICS and the tendency to sub-imperialism Patrick Bond 2014-04-10, Issue 673 Printer friendly version cc DM Despite their anti-imperialist potential, BRICS states have promoted neo-liberal and imperialist practices that facilitate capital accumulation, resource extraction and expansion of their markets.

Piketty's Inequality Story in Six Charts In this week’s magazine, I’ve got a lengthy piece about “Capital in the Twenty-first Century,” a new book about rising inequality by Thomas Piketty, a French economist, that is sparking a lot of comment and debate. (Brad DeLong has a useful summary of some early reviews.) I’ll go further into that discussion in future posts, but first I thought it might be useful to portray the gist of Piketty’s story in a series of charts.

First-Ever Political Study of Top 1% Has Found Extreme Conservatism, Intense Political Involvement Billionaires(image by Michael Fleshman) A year ago, to little public notice, the academic journal Perspectives on Politics published a landmark study, "Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans," by Benjamin Page, Larry Bartels, and Jason Seawright; which reports that, among the American aristocracy, there exists pervasive extreme conservatism, and also a virtual non-stop involvement in politics by them -- in other words, it finds the same two things that writers have hypothesized to exist among aristocracies throughout all of human history. But, for the first time ever, these researchers have now attached precise numbers to these two hypotheses, and have established that this is the way aristocrats actually are. Consequently, the much-noted takeover of "Main Street" by "Wall Street" can be explained by the fact that the aristocracy are far more conservative, and also far more politically active, than the general population are. 12% had, with a White House Official.

Why the multimillion dollar retirement is not for the middle class At their most self-indulgent, the theological scholars of the Renaissance were mocked for abandoning the debate over moral decisions to bicker about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. The scholars of personal finance seem on track for a similar level of disconnection from reality. Take this new study, in the Financial Analysts Journal, that says "retirement is not hopeless." Indeed, all you need to do is save 22 times the annual income you hope to have when you retire. That means if you make $150,000, and hope to retire on $100,000 a year, you only need to sock away $2.2m in a bank account to be able to retire comfortably. The authors of the study assume you will live to be 100 years old, by the way, if not 105 years old.

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