Geography Archives: Japan

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Capitalism’s Self-Destructive Spontaneity

    Under the Gold Standard the values of different currencies were fixed in terms of gold, which meant that the exchange rates between those currencies were fixed.  Exchange rate movements therefore could not be used to enlarge net exports and hence domestic employment.  At the same time governments were committed to the principle of “sound finance”, […]

  • United against Us, Divided among Themselves: Toronto and European Assault on Living Standards

      Martin Wolf described it as “a bloodbath.”  The Financial Times editorial called it a “chilling read.”  Britain’s budget is one of austerity, the likes of which has not been seen in generations.  A 25 per cent cut in public spending; a quarter of a million or more public sector jobs to be slashed.  It […]

  • Robert Samuelson: Economics Is Hard

    That seems to be the main point of Robert Samuelson’s column today.  It might be a bit easier with a bit more careful thought. For example, Samuelson tells readers that the debt burdens of major countries are rapidly approaching “financial and psychological limits” that prevent further fiscal stimulus.  He then cites the 92 percent debt […]

  • The Great China Currency Debate: For Workers or Speculators?

    Everyone is talking about China’s currency, it seems.  Amidst months of building tension, there is an apparent consensus among most economists, the financial press, and leading economic policy makers in the West that the renminbi is hugely undervalued, making China’s exports unfairly competitive.  The global imbalances created by such ‘mercantilist’ and ‘protectionist’ exchange rate strategies, […]

  • You Can’t Eat a Collateralized Debt Obligation: Why Money Doesn’t Make the World Go Round

    The global financial crisis that began in 2007 was clearly about money, credit, and finance.  For mainstream economists and politicians — from neoliberals like John B. Taylor at Stanford and Tony Abbott, through pragmatists like Barack Obama and Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, to Keynesians and social democrats like Paul Krugman at Princeton and John […]

  • Regarding New York Times Labor Coverage

    To: Business Editor The New York Times I appreciate your detailed reporting on Chinese unions and workers vs. Japanese employers, but I write to ask whether that use of your resources is the cause of your ignoring similar union stories here at home. For example, I can find no coverage in the Times of the […]

  • Interview with Giovanni Arrighi (Berlin, 2005)

    The interview with Giovanni Arrighi below was conducted on 12 November 2005, at the “Kapitalismus Reloaded” international conference held in Berlin.  It is published in English here today to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Arrighi’s death. A. Fathollah-Nejad (AFN): Does the West have to fear China? G. Arrighi (GA): I don’t think so.  I mean […]

  • Position Statement of Old Revolutionaries on the Present Upsurge of Worker Action in China

      Translator’s note: “Regarding the present upsurge of worker action in China, liberals have used their discursive power in the overseas media to frame the strike wave as a tale of workers’ struggle for ‘independent unions,’ as if this were a repetition of Solidarnosc.  What do Chinese workers want?  What is the direction of the […]

  • Two, Three, Many 1960s

    The global Sixties began in Tokyo on June 15, 1960, with the death of Michiko Kanba, an undergraduate at Tokyo University.  On the night of her death she had joined a group of fellow university students at the front of a massive demonstration — 100,000 people deep — facing off against the National Diet Building. […]

  • No Nukes, No Empire: The Abolition of Nuclear Weapons Requires the End of the U.S. Empire

    A version of this essay was delivered to the “Think outside the Bomb” event in Austin, TX, on June 14, 2010. If we are serious about the abolition of nuclear weapons, we have to place the abolition of the U.S. empire at the center of our politics. That means working toward a world free of […]

  • Don’t Let Deficit Demagogues Scare You into Accepting Austerity

    The U.S. and European Union together make up about half of the global economy, and recovery is quite uncertain in both of these big economies.  Contrary to a lot of folk wisdom and political posturing, the problem is not irresponsible government spending in either case, but a lack of commitment by the authorities in both […]

  • Obama’s Charade on Iran Sanctions

    Today, the United Nations Security Council will adopt a new resolution imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear activities.  Predictably, the Obama Administration is working to spin its “victory” in New York as both a great diplomatic achievement and a serious intensification of international pressure on Iran over the nuclear issue. […]

  • Kalecki Again

    Not very long ago, one of the main concerns of the U.S. labor movement and left-liberals was winning the passage of a full employment policy at the federal level.  In fact, this goal was attained in 1978 when Congress passed and President Carter signed the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, which ostensibly committed the federal government […]

  • Revisiting Global Imbalances

    Until recently, the discussion on global imbalances focused on the current account deficit of the US and the current account surplus of China, making this a bilateral rather than a multilateral problem.  As a result, the process of rebalancing was seen as involving adjustments in either or both of these countries, and not so much […]

  • South Africa: An Unfinished Revolution?

      The Fourth Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 13 May 2010 I In her historical novel, A Place of Greater Safety, which is played out against the backdrop of the Great French Revolution through an illuminating character analysis and synthesis of three of that revolution’s most prominent personalities, viz., Maximilien Robespierre, Georges […]

  • How to Make Peace with Iran

    There seems to be a growing international consensus that the search for a “cold peace” with Iran is a desirable, even essential approach on the part of the international community.  Indeed, successive “war games” at specialised institutions in the United States have shown that bombing Iran’s nuclear installations is militarily unviable.  Even some Israeli and […]

  • Lula and Erdoğan Go to Tehran: Alternative Perspectives on Their Diplomatic Prospects

    Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will travel to Iran this weekend, ostensibly to attend the G-15 summit meeting that opens in Tehran on Monday.  But Lula’s trip is attracting enormous international attention because the Brazilian leader will use his visit to try, in collaboration with Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to broker […]