Subjects Archives: Global Economic Crisis

  • The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis This Time

    Paper prepared for the American Sociological Association Meetings in Atlanta, August 16th, 2010. There are many explanations for the crisis of capital that began in 2007.  But the one thing missing is an understanding of “systemic risks.”  I was alerted to this when Her Majesty the Queen visited the London School of Economics and asked […]

  • Scoundrel Time at Kaiser

    The stereotypical union battles of the past were fought by burly working-class heroes, on the picket line and the proverbial “shop floor.”  Think of tough-looking guys, wearing scally caps (and wielding baseball bats, when necessary), while marching through the streets of the San Francisco in 1934.  Their enemies were many — the long-shore bosses and […]

  • Are Immigrants “Good for the Economy”?

    U.S. progressives have expressed a great deal of concern about the effects of anti-immigrant hysteria in the general population, from criminal attacks on immigrants to vicious legislation like Arizona’s SB 1070.  But instead of just condemning the hysteria, maybe we need to ask ourselves what we’ve been doing to counter it. Not very much, according […]

  • Whose Recovery?  What Double Dip?

    Is there an economic recovery underway?  Was there one that has now stopped?  Will our current recession, partly recovered from, now tumble downward again in a second or “double” dip?  Mainstream politicians, journalists, and academics are engaged in hot and heavy debates about recoveries and double dips.  Yet the economic reality for most Americans is […]

  • Hormel Strike a Key Event in Nation’s Labor History

    From the late summer of 1985 into the early spring of 1986, the small town of Austin, Minnesota, figured prominently in the national news.  The dramatic themes and issues, twists and turns, of a labor conflict there captured the national imagination.  This interest was not merely passive, as more than thirty support committees formed across […]

  • What’s So Great about the Great Recession?

    David Leonhardt tells readers that the Great Recession has had some silver linings for many workers.  High on his list is continued wage growth.  This is misleading.  All the real wage growth in this downturn occurred in the months of November and December of 2008.  This was due to a plunge in the price of […]

  • The State under Neo-liberalism

    Much has been written on the subject of the capitalist State in the era of neo-liberalism.  Two features of the “neo-liberal State” in particular have been highlighted.1  One relates to the change in the nature of the State, from being an entity apparently standing above society and intervening in its economic functioning in the interests […]

  • Hungary’s Defiance of IMF and European Authorities Scares the Guardians of Austerity in Europe

    The government of Hungary has taken on a lot of powerful interests in the last couple of months, and so far appears to be winning — despite provoking outrage from “everybody who’s anybody.” “The IMF should hold the line,” shouted the Financial Times in an editorial the day after Hungary sent the IMF packing in […]

  • Fiscal Discipline and All That

    Rarely has an economic idea had such a brief revival.  After several years of almost undisputed sway of monetarist ideology over economic policy makers across the world, suddenly Keynesian ideas were back in fashion, in particular the idea that active state intervention in the form of increased state expenditure is necessary to bring a market […]

  • A New Type of Political Organization? The Greater Toronto Workers Assembly

    At the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Left around the world is undergoing reformation.  As the Great Recession has vividly demonstrated, more than three decades of neoliberal capitalism have eroded many of the significant gains won in the immediate decades following WWII.  From wage and benefit concessions to reductions in […]

  • The Structural Crisis of Capitalism

    There is a very pervasive view that the current capitalist crisis consists exclusively of the financial crisis and, in so far as the financial crisis is now over, the crisis as a whole is over.  This, I believe, is erroneous, and this is because, like Bob Brenner, I also believe that the current financial crisis […]

  • Capitalism as a Cultural System?

    Joyce Appleby.  The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism.  New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.  $29.95.  Pp. xii, 494. Joyce Appleby, who taught U.S. history for many years at UCLA, presided over both the Organization of American Historians and American Historical Association, and served her term as professor-in-exile among the Brits at Oxford, comes to the […]

  • Monopoly Capital Blocks Rational Policy of Wage-led Growth

      Paul Jay: So we’ve been talking about macroeconomic policy, the G-20, austerity.  And there was one little line in the G-20 document I thought was interesting, and it’s sort of buried in amongst everything.  It said countries could facilitate wages going up proportional to productivity, which is rather interesting, ’cause it’s the only time […]

  • Umberto Digital Haiku No. 2

      An interactive cinematic experiment that reinterprets a shot from the film Umberto D by Vittorio de Sica, manipulating it in response to the attention that the viewer devotes to it.  Umberto D depicts Italy in 1952 in the middle of a deep recession, a mirror of the current economic crisis. Fernando Nabais, Project Manager, […]

  • The Politics of the Gold Standard in France, 1914-1939

      Kenneth Mouré, The Gold Standard Illusion.  France, the Bank of France and the International Gold Standard, 1914-1939.  Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.  x + 297 pp.  Figures, tables, notes, bibliography, and index.  $72.00 (cl.) ISBN 019-924904-0. Kenneth Mouré’s new book extends and develops the analysis of his previous study of Bank […]

  • Socialism or Reformism?

    I We live at a time when resistance to the inequities that exist in this world and the struggle for a better world are almost totally detached from any striving for socialism.  Climate change, imperialist aggression, forcible dispossession of peasants in the name of “development”, oppression of the tribal population, gender discrimination, and ecological degradation […]

  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: A Review of Michael Lebowitz’s Socialist Alternative

      Michael Lebowitz.  The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development.  New York: Monthly Review Press, 2010.  Pp 192; $15.95 Only about ten or fifteen years ago, leftist theory was in a sorry state.  It seemed as if socialism had ceased to be a viable project with the fall of the Soviet Union.  Instead of an alternative […]

  • The Publicist: Henry Luce, Time Inc., and “The American Century”

    A starlet in a strapless dress smiles on the cover of the February 17, 1941, issue of Life.  Then, there are ten pages of ads: Oldsmobile, Knox Gelatine, Bendix automatic home laundry, Birds Eye Frosted Foods.  Further in, between one photo essay on iceboating and another on a woman racecar driver, there is an editorial, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]