Economic Update: Economics for a New Year

[S13 E04] New

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In this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses US spending for war in Ukraine paid for by higher interest rates and inflation hurting middle and small businesses ; a rational transport system is NOT electric cars; an appreciation of the "degrowth" impulse with a critique of the degrowth movement's focus on individuals' consumerism and excess consumption.

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Showing 2 comments

  • P DiGesu
    commented 2023-01-31 23:11:14 -0500

    “States are as the men (and woman) are; they grow out of human characters.” —From Plato’s Republic

    “As early as 1928, U.S. President Hoover had declared to a group of public relations experts; “You have taken over the job of creating desire and have transformed people into constantly moving happiness machines, machines which have become key to [our] economic progress”.
    “Consumerism as a state religion was complimented by a new magic phrase in politics “economic growth”. The permanent expansion of the economic growth or growth of the “monetary economy” has been a systemic necessity since the paradigm of endless capital accumulation emerged in the early modern era. It was not until the mid-20th century that this growth was measured as national GDP, and after the war officially elevated to the pinnacle of national priorities”. At this time investiture in growth as a central political goal was attacked by many economists and politicians (to include the many renaissance thinkers of the early 20th century who could not combine their efforts under one movement)

    And, considering what we have been molded into psychologically by Madison Ave style marketing, it is doubtful that we can fix our problems simply by a mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage.

    Control of capitalism is not a preference of choice, …it is a necessity
  • Edward Dodson
    commented 2023-01-25 12:33:39 -0500
    The statistics presented here by Professor Wolff are a strong indicator that the U.S. economy is on the edge of yet another crisis. A detailed history of these crises comes to us in the book by Thomas P. Vartanian — “2000 Years of American Financial Panics.” Politics has always dictated economic outcomes, and our politics has always been highly corrupt in the interest of privileged elites.

    The public debate Professor Wolff calls for is desperately needed. Three reforms could go a long way to creating a better democracy: (1) public funding of elections; (2) term limits; and (3) a truly progressive form of individual income taxation, one that exempts all individual income up to the national median, eliminates all other deductions and exemptions, then applies an increasing rate of taxation on higher ranges of income (in order to raise sufficient revenue to balance the national budget).

    As I have written on numerous occasions, a fundamental source of inflation is the rising price of land. Increasing land prices make their way through the entire economy. The instability in on our economic system can be significantly removed if we tame our land markets. And, the only means of taming our land markets is by the public capture of rents. Impose an annual tax on the potential annual rental value of locations and other natural assets and the price of these assets will fall and theoretically could fall close to zero. The main inflation trigger is then eliminated.
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