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Tag: Political Economy

The year ‘laissez-faire’ became profane

Pity the poor priests of laissez-faire (the French phrase associated with the advocates of free market capitalism). They want to name a building at the University of Chicago after Milton Friedman. Milton was teaching there in 1976 when he won the Nobel Prize in economics. But 100 faculty members have signed a petition objecting. One of the 100, Bruce Lincoln told the press: “He was the darling of the Reaganite revolution and the American right … He was a scathing critic of the state playing a role of any importance … It’s now a whole lot more obvious to everyone…

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The Septembers of Neoliberalism

It was September 11, 1973, that the neo-liberal experiment began. The brutal U.S.-backed coup against Salvador Allende’s government opened the door for the “Chicago Boys” – a group of Chilean economists who had studied under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago[1] – to “reconstruct the Chilean economy … along free-market lines, privatizing public assets, opening up natural resources to private exploitation and facilitating foreign direct investment and free trade.”[2] September 7, 2008 – thirty-five years later – that experiment came to an end, not with a whimper, but a bang. The neo-liberal regime of George Bush – more closely…

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The toxic tango of markets and housing

You can see it in the streets of Cleveland, or Buffalo, or Minneapolis. On all those streets, the working poor who five years ago lived in their own homes, are back in cramped apartments, paying rent to their landlords. On the streets where they used to live, their old houses sit boarded up and rotting. Every week, some of these homes come down, as city governments spend millions to demolish houses abandoned because of what is being called the “subprime” mortgage crisis. It should be called the “free-market” housing crisis. What these streets tell us is the catastrophic failure of…

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U.S. economy – Taking the pulse

JANUARY 7, 2008 – Getting a picture of something as complex as the economy of the U.S. – the world’s – is not an easy matter. An earlier post showed that it is completely misleading to paint such a picture using only the “simple” figures of annual growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To only use these “simple” GDP figures, you arrive at the ridiculous conclusion, pictured in the first graph of this article, that today’s U.S. economy is twice as big as in 1995, four times as big as in 1983, eight times as big as in 1976, 16…

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U.S. economy – The disappearance of growth

“I’m here to tell you … the U.S. economy is in a recession,” said Sherry Cooper, chief economist for BMO Financial Group, speaking to the Canadian Club of Ottawa January 22.[1] Yet it is only November 29 that the Associated Press reported that the U.S. economy “barreled ahead in the summer, growing at a 4.9 percent annual rate.”[2] How does an economy go from barreling in one quarter, to slump in the next? The 4.9 percent figure comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), who offers a table which offers simple percentages of annual growth rates in GDP by…

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