Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

I’ve been a huge fan for many years now. He’s a public intellectual par excellence; a rare thing in our dismal science.

The interview was made during the time Yanis Varoufakis was visiting Zagreb as participant of the 6th Subversive festival “Utopia of Democracy” (4-18th May 2013). Interviewed by: Martin Beroš

You can find other recordings of talks by Varoufakis from the 2013 Zagreb visit here:

via The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit.

An important chapter in Western Civilization that isn’t prominent in the history books.

“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”    -Winston Churchill

“After taking over from the Mughal rulers, the British had issued widespread orders for cash crops to be cultivated. These were intended to be exported. Thus farmers who were used to growing paddy and vegetables were now being forced to cultivate indigo, poppy and other such items that yielded a high market value for them but could be of no relief to a population starved of food. There was no backup of edible crops in case of a famine. The natural causes that had contributed to the draught were commonplace. It was the single minded motive for profit that wrought about the devastating consequences. No relief measure was provided for those affected. Rather, as mentioned above, taxation was increased to make up for any shortfall in revenue. What is more ironic is that the East India Company generated a profited higher in 1771 than they did in 1768.”

The Gates Foundation Education Reform Hype Machine and Bizarre Inequality Theory.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/30/savage-capitalism-back-radical-challenge

 

Back in the 90s, I used to get into arguments with Russian friends about capitalism. This was a time when most young eastern European intellectuals were avidly embracing everything associated with that particular economic system, even as the proletarian masses of their countries remained deeply suspicious. Whenever I’d remark on some criminal excess of the oligarchs and crooked politicians who were privatising their countries into their own pockets, they would simply shrug.

“If you look at America, there were all sorts of scams like that back in the 19th century with railroads and the like,” I remember one cheerful, bespectacled Russian twentysomething explaining to me. “We are still in the savage stage. It always takes a generation or two for capitalism to civilise itself.”

“And you actually think capitalism will do that all by itself?”

“Look at history! In America you had your robber barons, then – 50 years later – the New Deal. In Europe, you had the social welfare state … ”

“But, Sergei,” I protested (I forget his actual name), “that didn’t happen because capitalists just decided to be nice. That happened because they were all afraid of you.”

He seemed touched by my naivety.

Piketty’s Fair-Weather Friends | Jacobin

Posted: 2014/05/30 by Punkonomics (@dearbalak) in Links/Articles/Video
Tags: , ,

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/05/pikettys-fair-weather-friends/

Here we return to the vision of the classical economists — Adam Smith, Ricardo and Marx — who saw the income distribution as the outcome of a historical struggle between capitalists and those who employ them, with no “equilibrium solution” possible.

The particular history this chart recounts has been told before, by writers like Doug Henwood and J.W. Mason, though maybe the definitive version still waits to be told: how resurgent capitalists in the 1970s and 1980s, emboldened by a weakened working class, drafted managers tightly into their ranks using the tools and personnel of Wall Street, and reshaped the economic landscape. (Note the sheer size of the shift in this chart: had it not occurred, the average non-managerial worker’s compensation would be more than 20% higher today.)

Just how the spoils of that twentieth-century victory get handed down to future generations is a matter that will no doubt depend on the multiplicative dynamics of capital in the twenty-first century, as Piketty claims. But whether those numbers spell a social crisis or just more of the same will depend on how the next chapter of the struggle is written.

 

“I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative’s policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant,” Warren explained. “In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”  Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 

What is she talking about?

Some links:

 

Thanks to Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE) for this

http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/one_percent_universities/

The One Percent at State U

New report finds that student debt and low-wage faculty labor are rising faster at state universities with the highest-paid presidents.

One Percent at State U Report CoverState universities have come under increasing criticism for excessive executive pay, soaring student debt, and low-wage faculty labor. In the public debate, these issues are often treated separately. Our study examines what happened to student debt and faculty labor at the 25 public universities with the highest executive pay (hereafter “the top 25”) from fall 2005 to summer 2012 (FY 2006 – FY 2012). Our findings suggest these issues are closely related and should be addressed together in the future.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, executive pay at “the top 25” has risen dramatically to far exceed pre-crisis levels. Over the same period, low-wage faculty labor and student debt at these institutions rose faster than national averages. In short, a top-heavy, “1% recovery” occurred at major state universities across the country, largely at the expense of students and faculty.

  • The student debt crisis is worse at state schools with the highest-paid presidents. The sharpest rise in student debt at the top 25 occurred when executive compensation soared the highest.
  • As students went deeper in debt, administrative spending outstripped scholarship spending by more than 2 to 1 at state schools with the highest-paid presidents.
  • As presidents’ pay at the top 25 skyrocketed after 2008, part-time adjunct faculty increased more than twice as fast as the national average at all universities.
  • At state schools with the highest-paid presidents, permanent faculty declined dramatically as a percentage of all faculty. By fall 2012, part-time and contingent faculty at the top 25 outnumbered permanent faculty for the first time.
  • Average executive pay at the top 25 rose to nearly $1 million by 2012 – increasing more than twice as fast as the national average at public research universities.

Download the report [PDF]