crony capitalism

crony capitalism


The Profit Motive, Deregulation, and Financial Crisis

December 20th, 2018

I just watched a great documentary by Vice on HBO called Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis. Anyone who watches that, The Corporation, Inside Job, Margin Call, and The Commanding Heights will be well-schooled on how the financial services industry works and how it fails to work. In this blog, I want to briefly describe the Great Recession and the resultant Tea Party movement, which is tied in to the Trump phenomenon. The profit motive, financial deregulation, elitism, politics, and the Great Recession have something to teach us if we are to avoid another, potentially catastrophic meltdown. 

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Quotes About Fiscal Responsibility and Integrity

fiscal responsibility August 31st, 2018

I am going to attempt to demonstrate in this blog that Republicans have not been, at least in my lifetime, the Party of fiscal responsibility. This has a substantial affect on our finances and our lives. To some degree, Dems in Congress have in times-past been kinda spendy and porky. But it seems inarguable to me that Republicans in Congress and in the White House do not have fiscal integrity (or the peoples’ best interests at heart). In general, Republican politicians talk a good game, but when it comes to fiscal responsibility and integrity, they tend to cut taxes and increase spending. It has resulted in over $21,000,000,000,000 of debt. Red state Trump backers need to know that the GOP is not the party of the working class and that it cannot go on unchecked. 

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Is Capitalism a Sustainable Economic System?

is capitalism a sustainable economic system? August 23rd, 2018

Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? There are many facts, opinions, and even biases held by countless people. Everyone has heard “Socialism is _______” or “The problem with capitalism is ___________.” This is certainly a question that interests me. I tend to come down on the side of capitalism where it meets democratic socialism. That is, the government (comprised of responsible and accountable citizens) owns some public resources, and individuals and to some degree corporations own the remainder. The amount of money that one can make from profit-seeking ventures is limited by a very progressive taxation scheme. One of the sharpest minds is the liberal author, professor, and former Secretary of Labor, Robert S. Reich, and he wrote a book, Saving Capitalism, that helps to answer the critical and timely questions, Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? Is capitalism just and fair? What can socialism and other approaches offer capitalism to help preserve the planet, care for people, and yet allow profit-making? This blog features Robert Reich quotes from his very readable book, Saving Capitalism.

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Crony Capitalism: Even Worse Than Raw Capitalism

crony capitalism August 15th, 2018

It’s not a novel concept to compare America to Rome, nor is it to see connections between an ailing, sclerotic, corrupt Roman Empire and our own republic. One thing they share is moral decay, foolish financial/military policies, and perhaps above all, political corruption. I am talking about the effect of money on governance. In modern parlance, crony capitalism. It is a thorn in America’s side because it hampers a democratic and horizontal diffusion of capital and resources amongst the tens of millions of small businesses. Worse than unregulated capitalism, crony capitalism claws at the beliefs that America is the land of opportunity and that we’re all in this together, making them myth. Indeed, as Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz maintains, “One of the darkest sides to the market economy that came to light was the large and growing inequality that has left the American social fabric, and the country’s economic stability, fraying at the edges: the rich are getting richer while the rest were facing hardships that seemed inconsonant with the American dream.”

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Trump Sounds More Orwellian Every Day

Orwellian July 20th, 2018

The so-called President of the United States is a man-child who is more accustomed to reality TV, demagoguery, scandalizing, lying, and cheating than anything else. As of this writing, criticizing the Commander-in-Chief in such a manner is not illegal. Who knows, though; he is so Orwellian and dark-hearted and unbound by social norms and ethical strictures that a dystopian turn in that direction is possible. Nor do I know we could count on either the establishment Republicans or the kooky ones from South Carolina and other backward states to stand up for American values such as truth, justice, due process, and transparency. It’s a tough time to be an American, for sure. I read an interesting piece that shows what a fetid, Orwellian turn we took in 2016. What follows is a bit of full-throated social criticism and truth-telling.

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Why Politics is Depressing and Dispiriting

why politics is depressing December 24th, 2017

Politics is depressing to me in a big way nowadays. The highest I felt in recent memory was probably when Bernie Sanders was doing well against Hillary Clinton, and I suppose this year-end, watching Meet the Press today, made me feel very dispirited. It’s all so painful to watch, and I would imagine, to participate in. What are the ten most prominent reasons why politics is depressing as hell nowadays? Read on to see what I think.

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Government Is Good, Professor Amy Believes

government December 10th, 2017

Professor Douglas J. Amy is a Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College. On this page, he writes a long and complete blog entitled “Government is Good: Capitalism Requires Government.” Based on my understanding of economics, politics, and the like, I would agree. He has allowed me to hit the highlights here in this blog (his words in blue). Herein you will find some good stuff, such as this quote about government from Professor Amy: “Americans need to realize that our economy has thrived not in spite of government, but in many ways because of government.” Along very similar lines, this time by a noted conservative, David Brooks: “The biggest threat to a healthy economy is not the socialists of campaign lore. It’s C.E.O.’s. It’s politically powerful crony capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state.” I for one am interested in a government more like European welfare states and social democracies. We need grassroots change so that government responds to the peoples’ needs, not moneyed interests. This is the progressive hope. Read further to hear plenty from Douglas J. Amy, Ph.D. and also from individuals such as Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Jared Bernstein, Ralph Nader, and Gar Alperovitz. Let us see if we can convince you.

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Myths of America’s Capitalistic System

myths of America's capitalistic system November 11th, 2017

Joseph Stiglitz is l professor of economics at Columbia University. He wrote many books, and the one I recently read was The Price of Inequality. Really a tour de force. He has a conscience, is extremely qualified (he was with the World Bank until they fired him, has a Nobel Prize, etc.), and writes in a manner that is easily grasped. Here are some myths he brings up in his powerful and well-researched book on inequality. They are myths of America’s capitalistic system – perhaps a better word is our crony-capitalistic system. If free market capitalism is problematic, crony capitalism downright stinks.

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Critiques of Capitalism (Part 5)

critiques of capitalism November 8th, 2017

Whether it goes by the descriptor free-market capitalism, laissez-faire capitalism, neoliberalism, classical liberalism, libertarian economic philosophy,  or its illegitimate children – crony capitalism, supply-side economics, or trickle-down economics – the economic theory that America is based on has a long, significant, storied past. There are, however, many critiques of capitalism, based both on theory and on actual results. This blog is the conclusion in a series of five entitled Critiques of Capitalism.

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Critiques of Capitalism (Part 4)

critiques of capitalism November 8th, 2017

There are many critiques of capitalism, based both on theory and on actual results. This blog is the fourth in a series of five entitled Critiques of Capitalism, and represents my third argument against laissez-faire capitalism as the ideal economic system. The thrust of the argument is that to combat runaway capitalism, government needs to be made the servant of the people. Many countries have a corporate sector that is more appropriate, regulated, and benign. We must do that here in America, as well.

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