This article examines some possible flaws in capitalism as described by a couple of classic critics. Since humanity has yet to devise a socioeconomic system that doesn't have serious flaws, it pays to examine the flaws of your chosen system with an eye toward minimizing their impact. I think America has done a decent job of protecting creativity, and a rapidly eroding job of protecting social solidarity.
The Chronicles of Favilla | Critics of Capitalism
The authors writing as the Chronicles of Favilla for Les Echos suggest we would do well to review the works of Karl Polanyi and Joseph Schumpeter, both of whom predicted capitalism's collapse: the former because of destruction of the creative spirit, the latter because of the destruction of social solidarity and mores.
Also interesting is this very detailed, if somewhat slanted, history of banking and economics. This one might be fun to pin on the wax and dissect.
A Brief History of Banking System
Economists continually try and sell the public the idea that recessions or depressions are a natural part of what they call the “business cycle”. This timeline below will prove that is simply not the case. Recessions and depressions only occur because the Central Bankers manipulate the money supply, to ensure more and more is in their hands and less and less is in the hands of the people.
Central Bankers developed out of money changers and it is with these people we pick the story up in 48 B.C. below.
The stimulus package is in danger of becoming another total disaster. In my mind, it was marginal to begin with; the more green and job-related items are removed, the less attractive it becomes. The Senate seems intent on conducting its fine-tuning with a large lug wrench. I am not best pleased by this. It's like cooking: the way to make a great-tasting recipe low in fat is to design it that way from scratch, not to take a plumptious dish and cut out the stuff that makes it good. I think the Republicans are likely to gut this to the point it won't work, and then blame the Democrats because it isn't working. They'd be far more honest to say, "We don't support this kind of spending," vote no, and stay the heck out of it. This weaseling is just disgraceful ... or to use their favorite word when dealing with Democrats, "spineless."
Tough Math Ahead for Obama, Stimulus Plan
John Hendren, ABC News: "President Obama returned from his first getaway to Camp David on Sunday to face an urgent priority: pressuring Congress to avert a stimulus stalemate. The Senate is poised to pass a compromise $827 billion version as soon as Tuesday. The legislation would have to be reconciled with the very different $819 billion version already approved by the House. Some economists question whether either is enough."
Here is a cautionary tale of what can happen when an economy goes direly wrong. The interesting question is whether Iceland's recent decisions can achieve laudable results. As for martial law -- I can't resist: "With what army?"
Rebecca Solnit | The Icelandic Volcano Erupts: Can a Hedge-Fund Island Lose Its Shirt and Gain Its Soul?
Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch.com: "In December, reports surfaced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pushed his Wall Street bailout package by suggesting that, without it, civil unrest in the United States might grow so dangerous that martial law would have to be declared. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned of the same risk of riots, wherever the global economy was hurting. What really worried them wasn't, I suspect, the possibility of a lot of people thronging the streets with demands for social and political change, but that some of those demands might actually be achieved."
MoveOn is running a petition and message campaign to limit CEO salaries in companies receiving taxpayer bailouts. If you don't like the idea of giving taxpayer money to executives who wrecked their businesses, you can sign a petition and add a personal message.
The petition says: "Congress must place enforceable, common-sense limits on salaries at all the banks that have taken taxpayer dollars."
After you sign the petition, you'll have the opportunity to leave a personal message for the committee members. If you have a question you want to make sure the CEOs have to answer, or a story about how the credit crisis has affected your family, please submit it after signing the petition. We'll make sure it gets to the committee in time for the hearing on Wednesday.
Supporters of President Obama have presented another storytelling opportunity.
Americans have organized Economic Recovery House Meetings in all 50 states -- including 382 in California, 255 in Florida, 115 in Ohio, 199 in New York, 105 in Washington, and 149 in Texas. That's more than 3,587 meetings in 1,579 cities and 429 congressional districts. This past weekend, meeting hosts and guests watched a video of Governor Tim Kaine answering your questions about the president's recovery plan. Then they shared their own stories about how the crisis has affected them. Watch Governor Kaine's video and share your economic crisis story.
The Environment Illinois Program advises that proposed changes in the stimulus package will make it much less green and job-supportive. There is a call for donations to run a counter ad.
I want to make the most of our last chance to keep President Obama's recovery plan clean and green.
In the last week, we've seen U.S. House Republican leader John Boehner go out of this way to obstruct and weaken the president's economic recovery program. Unfortunately, the big Senate compromise you've heard so much about would give Rep. Boehner much of what he wants -- including a $3 billion cut in one of the smartest and greenest pieces of the president's plan. Congress will make a final decision by Friday.
What's at stake? At least 180,000 new green jobs, $12 billion in taxpayer savings, and a greenhouse-emissions reduction equivalent to a city the size of Detroit going completely carbon-free.