Archive | July, 2010

  • India: The Poverty of the Intellectual Mind and the Enlightened Mind of the Backward Adivasi

      This is a rejoinder that the slain CPI (Maoist) spokesperson had penned in response to B.G. Verghese’s article in Outlook. Reading B.G. Verghese’s article Daylight at the Thousand-Star Hotel in Outlook (May 3), one is stunned by the abysmal poverty of thought and colonial mindset of this renowned intellectual.  How is it that the […]

  • Lebanon: The Green Line Is Not Dead

    Apparently, my skirt was too short for “West Beirut” according to my relative, who lives in “East Beirut.”  She was certain I would get harassed.  She did not delve deeply into the issue, but simply reiterated that the “type of people” who lived in “West Beirut” were not open-minded enough for short skirts and did […]

  • Oil Makes Its Own Laws: Self-regulation and Flags of Convenience

    The system under which offshore drilling rigs, and now oil tankers, operate was set up at the end of the second world war to ensure that the US was supplied with the cheapest possible oil without having to consider, or pay for, the consequences. The offshore drilling company Transocean celebrated the explosion on the Deepwater […]

  • Apartheid South Africa’s Secret Relationship with Israel

    Thank you for having me, Yousef [Munayyer], and thank you all for coming out on a day when it’s over 100 degrees.  I know it wasn’t easy.  I’m going to talk a little about the research that went into this book [The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa] and where my interest […]

  • Be Like the Rich: Why Keep Paying for What Doesn’t Pay Off?

      9 July 2010 Today’s most e-mailed article on the New York Times website is “Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich” — in a nutshell, homeowners with loans over $1 million are more likely to have stopped paying their mortgages than those with more modest homes.  As law professor Brent White states, the wealthy […]

  • Leftovers of War

    “And how are you feeding the economy?” “With the leftovers of war.” Tomás Rafael Rodríguez Zayas (Tomy) is a Cuban cartoonist.   This cartoon was published in Cambios en Cuba on 9 July 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] | Print

  • Samandal: Picture Stories from Here and There

      What is Samandal?  Samandal is about comics, a trilingual publication dedicated to comics from the region and abroad that comes out quarterly in Arabic, English, and French.  All the comics in Samandal are published under a Creative Commons license.  And how does Creative Commons change commons?  To answer that, we need to look at […]

  • A Debtors Union: Main Street’s Solution to the Financial Crisis

      The economic crisis is in essence a debt crisis.  For all the economic complexity involved in the details it is basically easy to understand.  There are way too many pieces of paper that supposedly entitle their holders to social wealth and there is not enough of that wealth to meet all those claims.  Debt […]

  • Greek Debt: Default or Restructuring?

    After Greece, what?  Hungary?  Or a low growth prospect for Europe?  Or disappointment with American recovery?  Or, still Greece?  The international financial markets are always nervous and unstable — sometimes sad, sometimes euphoric, but always in a dialectic of rationality and irrationality.  Despite our more “scientific” air, we economists make the same mistakes.  So, perplexed […]

  • Exploiting “Crisis” to Crush Labor

    One thing should be made clear about the situation in the Eurozone economies that is not clear at all if we rely on most of the news reports.  This is not a situation where countries face a “dilemma” because they have overspent and piled up too much public debt.  They do not face “tough choices” […]

  • The Dollar Question: Where Are We?

      The global crisis has led some to question the dollar’s place as the dominant currency.  This column discusses three camps in the literature: those advocating a new synthetic global currency, those arguing that a new reserve currency will emerge, and those suggesting a return to sharing the role.  It concludes that talk of the […]

  • End Times with Slavoj Žižek

      Slavoj Žižek.  Living in the End Times.  Verso, 2010. Reading Žižek has always been as challenging as it is enjoyable, an experience of pleasure and pain that seems at times an intellectual correlate to the operation of objet petit a (little object a).  The concept of objet petit a has been a constant in […]

  • I Read Some Marx (And I Liked It)

    “If Katy Perry read Marx, her music would probably sound something like this.” Video by bphillis.  To the tune of “I Kissed a Girl.” | Print

  • In Memory of Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, 1935-2010

    My condolences to the people of Lebanon. Carlos Latuff is a Brazilian cartoonist.  See, also, Abigail Fielding-Smith, “Women Mourn Loss of Enigmatic Shiite Cleric: Ayatollah Fadlallah Both Supported Women’s Rights and Inspired Militant Groups” (GlobalPost, 7 July 2010). | Print

  • Remembering Lumumba

      On 17 January 1961 Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic first and only elected prime minister of Congo, was brutally murdered.  The circumstances of his death remain a mystery, the identity of his killers unknown. In 1956 Lumumba was a post office clerk; four years later he would be prime minister.  In between he had been […]

  • Iran: January 2010-July 2010

      January 2010: “There are rare moments when you feel like you’re living in a world without any borders.  Without anyone to rule over you.  One cannot help but to cherish these moments and wish them upon others.  On the road to Shemshak from Tehran, the CD player played a tune from a movie soundtrack […]

  • Competent Economists Were Not Kept Awake Worrying about “a Collapse in the Value of the Dollar and of U.S. Government Securities”

    In a discussion of trade imbalances the Washington Post told readers that: “it was that risk — of a collapse in the value of the dollar and of U.S. government securities — that kept many economists up at night.”  Actually, competent economists were not terribly worried about this nearly impossible scenario. China and other countries […]

  • Sanctions against Iran and the Next War

    In his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides relates how Pericles, in the fifth century BC, imposed economic sanctions against the city of Megara, which had allied itself with Sparta.  Athens prohibited trade with this city state and sent a message: if Megara did not break its alliance with Sparta, it would be punished.  Megara […]

  • Revolution and Public Debt: Britain and France

      David Stasavage, Public Debt and the Birth of the Democratic State: France and Great Britain, 1688-1789.  xii + 210 pp.  Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.  Tables, figures, notes, appendix, bibliography, and index.  $60.00 U.S. (cl).  ISBN 0-521-80967-3. In 1989, Douglass North and Barry Weingast published an article in the Journal of […]

  • In Memory of José Saramago, 1922-2010

    Carlos Latuff is a Brazilian cartoonist.  This picture was originally drawn for Dromos. | Print