Subjects Archives: Global Economic Crisis

  • The Tea Party Creams Labor

      To Tea Partiers and supporters of the Far Right, Madison, Wisconsin has become the latest “Shining City Upon a Hill,” where one of their courageous leaders, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, is waging a heroic battle to tame big government and balance the state’s budget.  American Exceptionalism has always defined liberty as keeping government off […]

  • Current PEs Make Risk-Free Rate of Return on Public Pensions Highly Unlikely

    Debate over public pension funds continues unabated across the nation.  Some have argued that states should assume a risk-free rate of return on pension fund assets, which makes funding shortfalls appear considerably larger.  A new calculator from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) demonstrates that such a low rate of return is extremely […]

  • What Wisconsin Means for Immigrant Rights

    A few weeks can do a lot to sweep away old assumptions.  Last year U.S. leftists were wondering why the worst economic crisis in 70 years hadn’t inspired a stronger response from its victims; now Arabs have toppled neoliberal regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and U.S. workers have fought cutbacks and union-busting in Wisconsin with […]

  • The Great Recession and Its Aftermath: Causes vs. Symptoms

    There is much confusion about the current economic situation, among left media and organizations as well as in the mainstream media.  This is certainly understandable given its complexity.  But what many are referring to as causes are symptoms of a deeper underlying problem — in other words, sparks that produced the Great Recession by igniting […]

  • Distress, Not Success

    On January 15, the New York Times ran an interesting piece on older workers.  According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in the story, the US workforce is a lot older now than it was at the onset of the Great Recession in December 2007.  Total employment of workers under the age of 55 […]

  • Downturn Continues to Lower Union Membership

    The labor market recession continued to exact a toll on union membership, which fell sharply in 2010.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unionized share of the U.S. workforce dropped to 11.9 percent last year from 12.3 percent in 2009.  The private sector unionization rate fell to 6.9 percent in 2010, from 7.2 […]

  • Moral Hazards, Moral Buzzards

      Is it a good idea to let the foreclosures roll on?  A lot more than that, say the banking and mortgage industries, among others.  “Home repo” is critical to economic recovery, they argue.  Stopping foreclosures would cut the legs off a still-wobbly rebound.  In the industry’s view, the fewer foreclosures, the fewer resales; the […]

  • Notes on Contemporary Imperialism

    Phases of Imperialism Lenin dated the imperialist phase of capitalism, which he associated with monopoly capitalism, from the beginning of the twentieth century, when the process of centralization of capital had led to the emergence of monopoly in industry and among banks.  The coming together (coalescence) of the capitals in these two spheres led to […]

  • Mancession: Gender, Occupational Segregation, and the Structural Transformation of Capitalism

      Paul Jay: Nancy Folbre, in her blog on the New York Times, wrote the following: “The Great Recession has sometimes been dubbed the Mancession because it drove unemployment among men higher than unemployment among women.”  So how is this affecting families?  How is this affecting the future outlook for the population as a whole […]

  • Where’s the Legitimacy Crisis?

    In her excellent 2003 book Forces of Labor, Beverly Silver discerns within the history of capitalism an ongoing tension between the system’s simultaneous need for both profitability and legitimacy.  That is, it needs to ensure that capital can squeeze as much value as possible out of the workers while making sure that it doesn’t exploit […]

  • The Crisis and Obama’s Decline

    The economic crisis that Obama rode to victory in 2008 also rode him down in the 2010 elections.  Obama and his economic advisors badly “mismanaged the crisis.”  While the Obama team seems to have learned little from its failure, we need to draw its lessons if we are to reduce the costly social consequences of […]

  • The Value of Money

      Paul Jay: On November 7, the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, issued a statement calling for the reintroduction of some form of gold standard to establish the value of money.  Why now? . . .  Is Robert Zoellick’s proposal grasping at straws? Jane D’Arista: Well, what you’re saying is quite right.  The […]

  • G-20 Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    If the G-20 is going to be nothing more than a talking shop on economic issues, they ought to at least talk about the economic problems that really matter, and the ones that they can do something about.  Not that currency values don’t matter — they are actually very important.  And it is interesting to […]

  • The Fed and the Great Recession That Won’t Go Away

    In the shadow cast by mass media coverage of elections in which under 40% of eligible citizens voted, the Federal Reserve recognized what the candidates could or would not.  The capitalist crisis is still upon us, shows few signs of fading soon, and provides strong hints that it might get worse.  So despite record cash […]

  • Wages and Deflation in Japan

      Wages and Depressions Sooner or later any bubble bursts, leading to falling asset prices as investors flee to safe liquidity.  Distress selling and debt liquidation by the market participants follow.  For Irving Fisher (1933), it is of key importance that an asset price deflation leads — via falling asset prices and a distorted financial […]

  • The Currency War

    Everyone is talking now of the “currency war” that seems to be breaking out among the world’s leading economies, each working for a depreciation of its currency vis-à-vis the others.  The effect of a currency depreciation is to enlarge the exports of the country undertaking such a depreciation and to reduce its imports, since its […]

  • The IMF and Economic Recovery: Is Fund Policy Contributing to Downside Risks?

    Introduction The IMF’s most recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) projects world economic growth will slow, from 4.8 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent next year.  Throughout the report, there are numerous concerns expressed about the “fragility” of the global economic recovery.  The Acting Chair of the Executive Board states that “[t]he recovery is losing momentum […]

  • Kirchner Rescued Argentina’s Economy, Helped Unite South America

    The sudden death of Néstor Kirchner today is a great loss not only to Argentina but to the region and the world.  Kirchner took office as president in May 2003, when Argentina was in the initial stages of its recovery from a terrible recession.  His role in rescuing Argentina’s economy is comparable to that of […]

  • French Protesters Have It Right: No Need to Raise Retirement Age

    The demonstrations that have rocked France this past week highlight some of its differences from the United States.  This photo, for example, shows the difference between rioting in baseball-playing versus soccer-playing countries.  In the U.S., we would pick up the tear gas canister and THROW it — rather than kick it — back at the […]

  • Playing the Currency Blame Game

    The slanging match over currency and monetary policies at the annual Fund-Bank meetings, held over the second weekend of October, points to the disarray in global economic governance.  While the US sought to mobilise IMF support for an effort to realign exchange rates and ensure an appreciation of the renminbi in the wake of China’s […]