Archive for the ‘political economy’ Category

Neoliberal Globalization and Homlessness in the US

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

I recently received the following question from a reader of

“Would you mind giving me your opinion about the ways in which neoliberal policies & institutions perpetuate permanent/growing homelessness?”

This is a important question about one of the major consequences of neoliberal policies and institutions on communities across the US. The short answer is that the ongoing Reagan Revolution (the neoliberal era in US government) has sparked massive homelessness across the nation. Here is how it worked:

  1. The extensive offshoring of both manufacturing and service jobs has decimated the working class of the US.? An in-depth analysis of the neoliberal assault on labor can be found in The Evolution of Neoliberal Labor Strategy and the Decline of the American Working Class. Along with their jobs, many working people lost their homes, and some became homeless. This trend is continuing today.
  2. Historically, the working class of the US has carried the bulk of the tax burden. When workers lost their jobs and homes, states and municipalities lost much of their tax revenues and had to reduce their social services. A majority of states, including Texas where I live, shut the doors of their mental health institutions and dumped their patients in the streets. Many of these people ended up in state and county jails, and others became part of the permanent homeless population. (Cities passed no loitering and no camping laws to remove the homeless from public view. Regrettably, it worked!)
  3. The reckless lending practices of of unregulated financial institutions during the neoliberal era have created periodic economic crises, e.g. the saving and loan crisis in the 1980’s and the housing bubble that collapsed in 2008 leading to growing homelessness.
  4. Huge numbers of veterans of the neoliberal US wars in the Middle East have swollen the ranks of the homeless across the nation, adding to the surviving homeless veterans of the Vietnam war.

The phenomenon of permanent/growing homeless offers another reason to combat neoliberal globalization. Learn how to fight in A Primer for Civic Revolution.

Thank you, reader, for the insightful question.

Civic Revolution: “to alter or to abolish”

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

The neoconservative hijacking of US democracy that was initiated under the administration of Ronald Reagan is a modern manifestation of the despotism generated by monopoly that Paine warned the legislators and citizens of the newly established democracies about. Civic revolution is the only viable response…

Read the entire article and comment.

American Union: An Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization? — Comment

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Neoliberal globalization, which began after World War II and has expanded exponentially since the 1980s, has produced dramatic inequality between and within nations, fostered continuing militarism, and contributed the lion’s share to the looming crisis of climate change.  The very idea of somehow combating what appeared to be an irresistible force has been a daunting enterprise, to say the least.  Until now…
It is now clear that neoliberal globalization does not serve the needs of a majority of the world’s population, and, as economic metapolicy, is simply not sustainable.   The question of combating globalization is rapidly becoming the question of what will follow the meltdown of the neoliberal global economic system.
From the Left is committed to looking at possible alternatives to the present world economic order and ways out of the ongoing economic crisis.  In that vein, Ruben Botello has submitted the following article about the possibility of an American Union based on the model of the European Union (EU) — it deserves careful consideration.
His concept of an American Union is not to be confused with the neoliberal scheme of a North American Union that lurked behind the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).  The SPP, negotiated behind closed doors, appears to be nothing more than an expansion of NAFTA for those who benefited from NAFTA — SPPM if you will — a Security and Prosperity Partnership for the Multinationals.  The American Union, on the other hand, attempts to resolve national contradictions rather than just profit the executives and stockholders of the multinationals and their government brokers.
Read Ruben’s article closely — the debate about the future of the Americas after the meltdown of neoliberal globalization must begin now.

Read the article and comment.

CATO takes a shot at Obama

Monday, February 9th, 2009

The CATO Institute has fired the first shot in the battle for the hearts and minds of America.  This conservative think tank that aided and abetted the neoconservative takeover of  US politics in the 1980s and 1990s recently ran a full page ad in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other major newspapers across the country.  The ad openly challenges the Keynesian economic principles behind President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

In the text of the ad the CATO Institute offers its solution to the economic meltdown of the US economy–more of the same free market policies, tax breaks, and privatization of social services that caused the meltdown!

The newspaper ad was signed by almost 250 academic economists, including 2 Nobel prize laureates, from universities and colleges across the country.  Given a conservative estimate of 100 students per professor, we can be sure that at least 25,000 American students will be exposed to this conservative economic free market dogma and be required to repeat it ad nauseam.

That’s how captive audiences are treated in academia.  Classrooms from kindergarten on up have always been the ideological boot camps of capitalism.

The CATO institute itself targets students with a dedicated website called CATO on Campus that offers academic contests rewarded with CATO publications and full scholarships to CATO University in San Diego.

As the nationwide newspaper ad campaign and massive website indicate, The CATO Institute is well funded for the battle to preserve capitalist rule. 

The left needs to develop a clear alternative that focuses on the needs of working people.   And we need to do it quickly.

Karl Marx rediscovered

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Marx’s Capital in near the top of the bestseller list around the world.  The amazing thing about this rediscovery of Capital is that the majority of the current buyers of the book are financial speculators who are trying to figure out how to profit from the ongoing global meltdown!

It is time for people who are interested in solving economic problems rather than profiting from them to study the works of Karl Marx.

We do not advise newcomers to Marx to dive straight  into  Capital–it is deep stuff.  A better approach  is through Isaiah Berlin’s Karl Marx,  an excellent political biography that examines Marx’s major works in historical context, or through Marx for Beginners by Rius, a rollicking cartoon book that actually communicates the basics.

Both of these excellent books are still in print and readily available.  Marx’s Kapital for Beginners, a companion volume to Marx for Beginners, appears to be out of print, but I recently picked up a copy at a local 1/2 Price Books.

Once you master the basics of Marx’s analysis you can access and download his entire works online for free.

The British Ministry of Defense has warned the rulers of the western world about the threat that a revival of  Marxism poses to their various regimes but, largely because of the Internet, there is nothing that any of them can do about it.

If you are unfamiliar with the works of Karl Marx, take the plunge and become part of the solution to today’s dangerous problems.

Remember the quotation that is inscribed on Marx’s tomb in London’s Highgate Cemetery:

“Philosophers have previously offered various interpretations of the world. Our business is to change it.”