With capitalism in crisis
, can it be sustained
or is it altogether outdated
? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is
: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?"
Though economists and management thinkers extolled the virtues of innovation repeatedly, firms were just mastering low-level product, service, and technological innovation. Ironically, it was the most powerful kind of innovation that was left ignored, and so simply stopped happening: institutional innovation.
so how to overcome entrenched interests, political sclerosis, cultural biases and relentless demographics? haque posits new measures
of national income
, well-being and returns
and developing new currencies
to use "that are independent of countries and regions; people will [have] the choice
A Novel Defense Of Minimum Wage Laws
- "Without unions and minimum-wage laws, corporations compete on who can pay the least. With them, they compete on who has the best employees and they invest significantly in those employees. Which is exactly what we want
, especially since raising the minimum wage is unlikely in and of itself to increase unemployment visibly."
Keynes and Social Democracy Today
- "Today, ideas about full employment and equality remain at the heart of social democracy. But the political struggle needs to be conducted along new battle lines. Whereas the front used to run between government and the owners of the means of production – the industrialists, the rentiers – now, it runs between governments and finance... The new focus on the need to tame the power of finance is largely a consequence of globalization. Capital moves across borders more freely and more quickly than goods or people do. Yet, while large global firms habitually use their high concentration of financial resources to press for further de-regulation ('or we will go somewhere else'), the crisis has turned their size into a liability... Rather than securing investment for productive sectors of the economy, the financial industry has become adept at securing investment in itself. This, once again, calls for an activist government policy." cf
. markets versus democracy: an EU view
& state capitalism
- "We're in a race to see whether politics will become the dominant means of allocating financial wealth in this country."
The Choices That Pay Us Back
- "Of course, any sorts of these plans could only be passed in a nation that was a Democracy. That is a form of government where policies are debated by the populace, then voted on by their elected representatives on behalf of the citizens. That was the form of government the United States was in the earliest portion of its history. No longer. It has since become a Corporatocracy: An elected Parliament of Whores
who work on behalf of corporate interests. Any idea that conflict with those corporate interests, regardless of how innovative or potentially useful, don’t stand much of a chance." cf. Slick Justice? More on the Fifth Circuit and Its Ties to Oil
& Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill
Slouching Towards Utopia? The Economic History of the Twentieth Century
- "A parasitic caste or class existing by virtue of their organized ability to threaten violence and then take a substantial share of the agricultural (and craftwork) producers' crops becomes the rule soon after the coming of agriculture. Such castes and classes live better albeit more dangerously than the peasants. (If they didn't live better, after all, why accept the extra danger?) They live more dangerously because, after all, if they do not their numbers grow until they, once again, are at the Malthusian margin—and what good is being a noble if you have to live like a peasant? Whatever social system they evolve will break down unless it (a) keeps their numbers low enough to maintain an edge in standard-of-living, (b) keeps their lifestyle focused enough that they maintain their edge in violence, (c) keeps their numbers high enough that with their edge in violence they can maintain control, (d) keeps their numbers and their skill high enough to avoid being conquered by neighboring similar groups of thugs-with-spears, and (e) keeps their exactions low enough that they are not destroyed by revolting peasants with nothing to lose anyway. Upper-class social systems that accomplish those five goals tend to be terrifyingly stable in human history since the invention of agriculture. And whenever such a system does collapse another replacement almost invariably soon grows up in its place."
Chapter 15: The Knot of War, 1914-1920
- "Hobson is a proto-Keynesian, believing that the major economic problem is the business cycle that causes mass unemployment, and that the business cycle is made much worse by the maldistribution of income. The rich save a lot. Often the investment spending to soak it up is not there. The only potential balance wheels are military spending and exports. Hence empire, militarism, and arms races are a way of boosting exports via captive markets and soaking up savings so that the rich can continue to collect their wealth without triggering enough business cycle instability to bring the system down."
Thought and Society
- "Not thinking about society, but how society and culture shape thought. Especially collective cognition: accomplishing cognitive taskes en masse
." cf. Gabriel Tarde's rediscovery
, Protest and the politics of dissent
, Feasibility conditions on social reform
& Actual letter to a liberal friend
Measuring the stock of human capital
- "Human Capital Accounting in the United States, 1994–2006" cf. Treating R&D as Investment, Rather Than Expense, Boosts GDP
Pricing the environment
- "You cannot put a price on the value of a thriving pelican population. And if you could, there would be no one to claim the damages, because wildfowl don't have standing." cf. Socially responsible investors were on to BP for some time
& Life matters!
The water market: a thousand times bigger than oil by 2030
- "Supply of essential commodities like electricity and water are seen by many as human rights issues to be tackled by governments, rather than price-driven conundrums to be tackled by free markets. Dealing in such commodities can arouse more suspicion than excitement in the public imagination. But can water keep the traders out forever? Seems unlikely if there's supply/demand imbalances to be taken care of, and money to be made from doing so."
Acid-Rain Market Collapses
- The original U.S. cap-and-trade market, which succeeded in slashing the emissions that cause acid rain, is in disarray following new rules that render polluting allowances virtually worthless.
Restaurants Join Bid to Save Fisheries
- As the appetite for seafood soars, restaurant companies such as McDonald's are pressed to promote sustainable solutions.
A Core Set of Global Environmental Indicators