neo-liberal economics

Take Back America 2008 Conference Part 1

Promoted -- GreyHawk.

Notes from Take Back American 2008 Conference
March 17-19, Washington DC

I apologize for, first, coming to this conference at the very last minute and thus rather unprepared, and second for not being the world’s best note taker, and third, for not being able to clean up my notes and get this posted yesterday, the first day. I am at the conference now, and one good thing the conference organizers, The Institute for America’s Future, did was to make sure the conference rooms and public areas of the hotel are blanketed with a wireless connection.

I must also mention that the staff at Press Registration were very gracious, and admitted me as a representative of epluribusmedia.org even though their deadline for press registration was a week past. Somehow, I just had not taken note of this conference, which is one of the most important gatherings of political progressives each year, before. Fortunately, WashingtonPost.com had a good story on Take Back American 2008 on Sunday, the day before the conference started. I also would like to note the rapid and helpful response of Cho and others at epluribusmedia.org when I contacted Cho by email on Sunday afternoon inquiring about the possibility of representing epluribusmedia.org.

Before I get to the panel, I will give a few general impressions. I was hoping to find a general sense of urgency from conference attendees about the general financial crises that have engulfed the U.S. since last summer, and are now seriously impacting the real economy. I found that sense of urgency only among a very small number of people. A worryingly large number of attendees still seem to focused almost exclusively on their particular area of concern, whether it be the environment, health care, or militarism. There is also a bit of a sense of weariness, as one panelist noted in a Q and A session, we have been spending a lot of time and effort the past seven years fighting the encroachments and outrages of the conservative movement in general and the Bush Administration in particular.

However, one significant event at the Conference occurred when Jack Layton, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, called for a re-writing of NAFTA during his speech before the Conference luncheon. Layton is a current member of Parliament, representing the area of for Toronto. Provincial New Democratic Parties currently form the government in the province of Manitoba, and have previously formed government in British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon Territory. Layton’s call for reconsidering NAFTA is important because, in response to recent statements by Obama and Clinton, free-traders in the U.S. have insisted that there are no calls from U.S. trading partners for renegotiating NAFTA.

Chalmers Johnson book review tackles the Myth of Free Trade

Promoted. Originally authored/posted 2008-02-08 16:38:42 -0500.


Chalmers Johnson has an lengthy but very informative review of South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism at truthdig.org
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pub. Date: December 2007
ISBN-13: 9781596913998
288pp

via TruthDig-- from the Publisher:

With irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of real-life examples, Ha-Joon Chang blasts holes in the "World Is Flat" orthodoxy of Thomas Friedman and other neo-liberal economists who argue that only unfettered capitalism and wide-open international trade can lift struggling nations out of poverty. On the contrary, Chang shows, today's economic superpowers - from the United States to Britain to his native South Korea - all attained prosperity by shameless protectionism and government intervention in industry. We in the wealthy nations have conveniently forgotten this fact, telling ourselves a fairy tale about the magic of free trade and - via our proxies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization - ramming policies that suit ourselves down the throat of the developing world.

Stiglitz detects shift against "free market" economics at Davos

I found this on nakedcapitalism.com:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/02/stiglitz-on-fallen-standing-of-us-high.html

This article from Project Syndicate (hat tip Mark Thoma) is a report from Davos by Nobel Prize winner Joesph Stiglitz on the considerable skepticism abroad toward US financial and business practice, particularly our faith in deregulation. It is a telling indicator of how rapidly the world is changing, yet many in the US are still in denial.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stiglitz: On the Fallen Standing of the US High Finance

From Stiglitz: