Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

by Zoltan Zigedy I should perhaps add that I experienced the American dream at the age of twenty-two, when I was hired by a university near Boston just after finishing my doctorate… Here was a country that knew how to attract immigrants when it wanted to! Yet I also realized quite soon that I wanted to return to France and Europe… One important reason for my choice has a direct bearing on this book: I did not find the work of US economists entirely convincing… To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish … Continue reading Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

Economics, Socialism, Ecology: A Critical Outline (Part 2)

by Kamran Nayeri Introduction In Part 1, I argued that economics is neither an objective science nor capable of providing a lasting solution to the contradictions of the capitalist economy and society. As a discipline it has emerged to maintain and justify the capitalist system and it will wither away with its downfall.  Also, I argued that Karl Marx’s critique of political economy (“economics” of his time) and the capitalist system is a specific application of his theory of history, historical materialism, that aims to serve self-activity and self-organization of working people with the logic of transcending the capitalist system … Continue reading Economics, Socialism, Ecology: A Critical Outline (Part 2)

The economy of violence: Waste, expenditure and surplus

by Sanjay Perera
We are living in a time when the world is seeing the full effects of the economic violence of capitalism on all life forms and the planet itself. The violent process of capitalism is one of extraction and exploitation as it operates in a framework of polarity that exacerbates the difference between taking and giving, storing and sharing, and the separation between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Continue reading The economy of violence: Waste, expenditure and surplus

China at century’s end

by Salvatore J. Babones One year ago I published an article in Foreign Affairs magazine predicting that China’s outsized rate of economic growth would soon slow down to the levels that are typical of other middle-income countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Russia.  Foreign Affairs published my article under the punning but (in my view) inappropriate title “The Middling Kingdom.”  There is nothing middling about China: it is the world’s largest country, the center of one of the world’s great civilizations, and in many ways the most important place on Earth.  But will its economy continue to grow at 10% per … Continue reading China at century’s end

Redesigning money for well-being and happiness

by Mark Anielski “One must make a new system that makes the old system obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller The greatest threat to the pursuit of genuine happiness and well-being is our current debt-money system. In the face of an international debt-crisis, it is remarkable that there is no serious discussion about the nature of money, or about how, and who creates our money. While meaningful conversations about alternative measures of progress (e.g. Gross National Happiness, Genuine Progress Indicators) are now under way, these efforts will ultimately fail without understanding that the current debt-based money system must be fundamentally restructured. The … Continue reading Redesigning money for well-being and happiness

Nightfall: Dimming of the dream and search for an alternative

by P. J. Laska Given the emphasis on imposing hegemony by military means, it is a splendid irony that ‘American Way of Life’ should share its acronym (AWOL) with the military term “Absent Without Leave.” — Ronald Reagan in the famous “Morning-in-America” speech that was part of his 1984 re-election campaign took credit for the improvement of the economy since his election in 1980.  By 1983 the inflationary spiral of the 70’s had been brought under control by Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker, who was originally appointed by Carter and then reappointed by Reagan in 1983.  Reagan could also … Continue reading Nightfall: Dimming of the dream and search for an alternative

Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin The Capitalist bourgeoisie creates inequality as a way to divide and rule over the entire working class, but it is deeper than that. White skin privilege is a form of domination by Capital over White labor as well as oppressed nationality labor, not just providing material incentives to “buy off” White workers and set them against Black and other oppressed workers. This explains the obedience by White labor to Capitalism and the State. The White working class does not see their better off condition as part of the system of exploitation. After centuries of political and social … Continue reading Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

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

Economics, happiness, and life-coherent societies

by Jeff Noonan In a 2007 report on the environmental and economic impact of intensified exploitation of the Alberta Oil Sands, then Chief Economist of the Toronto Dominion Bank, Don Drummond, re-affirmed orthodox economics’ faith in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic performance. “Gross Domestic Product,” he wrote, is the best available indicator of the overall health of the …economy, as it measures the market value of the goods and services produced.” [1] I begin with this example because the oil sands, at current global oil prices, are both hugely profitable and massively environmentally destructive. [2]  GDP … Continue reading Economics, happiness, and life-coherent societies