Economic Update: A Tale of Two Crises

This week's episode explores US working conditions in 2017, the reality of a looming recession and upcoming negative interest rates, a schools raises funds by shaming impoverished school children, and Charlottesville and the economics of fascism. 

SPECIAL TOPIC: why FDR's New Deal was not repeated after 2008 and the consequences of post-1945 destruction of the New Deal Coalition. To see the second half of this week's episode, sign up as a patron on Patreon.


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  • commented 2017-09-04 15:09:00 -0400
    At the end of the first half of this program, Dr. Wolff asks if his audience sees in our society movements in the direction of fascism, and, if so, coming from where and going where.

    In reaction to this question, I would like to suggest that Dr. Wolff (and anyone else who may be interested) have a look at a book called “Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent it For a Complex Global Economy” by Gillian Hadfield. If you do not have time to read the entire book then focus on Chapters 8 and 10. If you either can’t get your hands on the book or if you don’t have time to even read Chapters 8 and 10, then you can read my summary of the book at this link: http://notjustforlawyers.com/ch-27-regulatory-dystopia/ (the first third of the text on that page is a summary of the book. The remaining two thirds is my commentary on it).

    In her book, Hadfield refers to a country’s legal system as its “legal infrastructure,” likening it to a country’s physical infrastructure of roads, electrical grids and network cables. In a manner akin to calls for the privatization of physical infrastructure in the United States, Hadfield calls for the privatization of legal infrastructure, in order to allow “markets” (that is, private enterprise) to compete with governmental (that is, public) regulatory bodies with respect to the development and application of rules.

    Hadfield is a respected as well as prolific Professor of Law and Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California. Prior to the publication of “Rules for a Flat World,” she had already published a number of scholarly articles in law reviews and other journals in which she also proposes the privatization of regulation and well as the privatization of commercial law itself. Her book “Rules for a Flat World” has thus far been well-received, and it has been warmly endorsed by no fewer than 15 captains of industry and thought leaders. Examples include Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Cisco Systems; Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple; Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, and Professor of Economics and C. Marks Professor Cornell University; and Richard Susskind OBE, described as one of the legal industry’s leading “prognositcators.”

    Dr. Wolff defines fascism, in part, as where “the business community merges with the government.” To my mind, Hadfield’s book “Rules for a Flat World” proposes exactly that.
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