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Archive for December, 2008

The Real News Network – Israel pounds Gaza for fourth day

December 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Israeli jets have attacked the Gaza Strip for a fourth day, with raids on a number of Hamas government buildings and security installations.

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Vote for Margaret…

December 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Margaret Beegle, who characterizes herself a “Worker and activist”, has posted the suggestion that the work week be reduced to 30 hours to Barack Obama’s website, Change.Org:

Institute the 30 hour work week, i.e. a 6-hour work day. That means four instead of three shifts. It would give people time to actually be citizens, time to volunteer, raise children, develop themselves and their capabilities. It would allow the absorption of returning soldiers and employ the laid-off and others.

It has been more than 100 years since the fight for a shorter work week. The new millennium presents us with a new opportunity to develop human creativity.

The suggestion has garnered 32 votes so far, and need an additional 868 vote to make it into the second round of consideration.

We would encourage all readers to register to the site and give her idea a vote.

Oh Really? You could have told us that 60 years ago…

December 22, 2008 Leave a comment

From Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator for the Financial Times:

“This, in short, is a time for humility. Why did we [economists] mostly get ‘it’ so sensationally wrong? How did something that looks increasingly like the precursor of a slump creep up on almost all of us this year? It is a pretty good question. It is a pretty embarrassing one, too. It is one everybody I meet now asks.”

Perhaps, because you economists are a bunch of worthless, over-rated toadies to power, trapped in a bizarre make-believe world of your own construct.

Randall Wray: “We need a big and growing government”

December 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Here is something which may come as a bit of a surprise to you: we need a big and growing government, according to Randall Wray:

Private sector-led expansions are (almost) inherently unsustainable because they generate growing debt burdens that eventually must be reversed … It is clear that what we need now is job creation, growth of income (especially wages), and debt relief–all of which will put household finances on better footing. We need public infrastructure investment–not private investment–as well as more (and better) public services. Virtually all economists now favor a bigger role for government, however, most see this as a temporary fix. What I am arguing here is that we need a big and growing government–the ratchet–to generate a sustainable growth path. So while I (mostly) agree with Paul Krugman on the nature and causes of the early postwar boom, I do not think we ever banished the tendency toward stagnation. We just hid it behind an unsustainable debt binge.

From what we can parse here, it appears the Mr. Wray believes our economy cannot grow on its own, and needs big and growing government to compel growth.

He gives, as his reason for this big and growing government, that, left to its own devices, the economy cannot deliver jobs, higher wages and income, and the reduction of debt – and has a pronounced tendency toward stagnation.

Since the Great Depression – we think that is his time line – this natural tendency of the economy to stagnate has been hidden by the unsustainable growth of debt.

We are not sure what is wrong with stagnation, in that case: Reduce the work week, slash government, and everything would be just fine.

Sponsor an Executive

December 20, 2008 Leave a comment

The money you give won’t just save a life, it’ll save a lifestyle

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Got depression? Here’s the cure

December 17, 2008 1 comment

A simple remedy for economic depression, as outlined by Dean Baker, in his article, The Fear of Secular Stagnation:

Well, there are two really simple answers to this problem:

1) Work fewer hours – while workers in other wealthy countries can count on 4-6 weeks a year of vacation, workers in the United States are guaranteed no paid time off. As a result, the average work year in the United States involves almost 20 percent more hours than the work year in Western European countries. As fringe benefits a shorter work year can be more family friendly and also we can be less polluting if we take the benefits of our productivity growth in leisure instead of income.

2) Support growth in the developing world – back in the good old days economists used to think that capital should flow from rich countries to poor countries so that they could build up their capital stock and infrastructure at the same time that they fed and clothed their populations. This thinking conveniently disappeared from view when the United States began to run large trade deficits in the late 90s.

Amazing.

And, it doesn’t take Washington intervening in capital markets, busily buying every kind of asset to protect billionaires from themselves.

It doesn’t take a trillion dollar in new expenditures by Washington to bail out every banker or state government with sob story.

All it takes is for you to work less, and the residence of the Kibera slums to live a better life.