Getting serious about politics

by Zoltan Zigedy Economic relations clarify politics just as politics can return the favor. In truth, it is impossible to fully understand one without an understanding of the other, and especially without a grasp of their inter-relationship. No doubt that explains the wisdom of the classical economists (and Marx and Engels) in describing their studies as “political economy.” Similarly, the failure to systematically integrate the two social domains explains the frustration of the modern-day academic economists, even Nobel laureates, who fume about the politicians standing in the way of their ready solutions to the current global economic crisis. A case … Continue reading Getting serious about politics

Taking notes 4

There is an interesting casino scene in Thunderball where Connery’s Bond stares down the bad guy Largo and tells him that he sees the spectre of defeat behind the shoulder of his opponent. While egging his enemy on, the reference is also to the man’s organization: It is a cabal which stands for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”. These words could even apply as an apt description of what that conglomerate — that includes most governments, banks, mega corporations and economists — has been in relation to the rest of humanity. However, with the unsolvable Eurozone crisis, … Continue reading Taking notes 4

The economics of well-being

by Mark Anielski I have a dream: to design, build and enhance economies of well-being around the world. It is time for a complete overhaul of our national accounting systems that for over 60 years has measured progress too narrowly according to how much money changes hands as measured by the GDP (gross domestic product). I believe it is time to develop economies of well-being based on the known determinants of happiness and by measuring the things that contribute most to the well-being of human beings and nature. This new accounting system that measures the conditions of well-being must be … Continue reading The economics of well-being

Alternatives to capitalism

by Gregory Albo It is said so frequently now that socialism is dead that even socialists no longer notice.  This view is based, in good part, on the end of the political formations that came to represent socialism through the twentieth century (tiny Cuba notwithstanding).  The statist command economies of Eastern Europe, the diverse state-led national liberation projects of the South, and the social democratic welfare statism of Western capitalism have all fallen victim either to internal collapse or external de-stabilization.  The old joke of the Soviet leadership that the central question facing the US was the prospects for capitalism … Continue reading Alternatives to capitalism

Taking notes 2

With the recent downgrading of almost ten Eurozone states by Standard & Poor’s from their so-called triple-A ratings thanks to their debts, sage Euro policymakers have railed against them and the other two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch. The claim by these staunch Europeans is that these credit rating agencies were too quick in downgrading their debt ridden countries from their much coveted ‘AAA’ status despite these chronic economies succumbing to ‘bailouts and austerity programmes’. Coincidentally, as if by the magic of the ‘free market’ some new characters have appeared on the scene called Berger and Krall to launch a European … Continue reading Taking notes 2

The Tao of economics

by Geoff Davies In the tropical forests of Central America are great stone temples and monuments, remnants of the Mayan civilisation that collapsed over a thousand years ago.  We can never know exactly why the Mayan civilisation collapsed, but some of the main factors were probably shifting climate, over-exploitation of natural resources, warfare and internal rivalries.  However a telling observation is that the grandest temples were built just before the final collapse.  It is not uncommon that the grandest accomplishments of a past society came just before a precipitous decline.  This pattern indicates the society was busy, right to the … Continue reading The Tao of economics

Taking notes 1

The US dollar’s (USD) continued decline in international standing took the next inevitable step reflecting the systemic failure of capitalism. The predictable effects of unbridled capital accumulation in America manifests itself yet again in recent media reports that China and Japan are promoting direct currency exchanges to facilitate commerce and profits for their enterprises and boost bilateral trade. The move essentially is to replace the USD as a reserve currency and allows both East Asian economic giants to convert yuan and yen directly, and so by-passing currency conversion via USD. This also saves on currency conversion costs. The move effectively … Continue reading Taking notes 1