Our March/April Issue Is Out!

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We sent our March/April 2016 issue to e-subscribers last week, and the print copies are now arriving in print subscribers’ mailboxes!  (Not a subscriber? We hope you’ll consider subscribing today–just click here.)  We’ve already posted three articles from the issue to the D&S website: Why Higher Ed Can’t Wait, by Biola Jeje and Belinda Rodriguez; John Miller’s take on Clinton and Sanders’ financial reform proposals; and (just posted today) David Bacon’s No Country for Old People.  Here is the issue’s note from the editors:

Bill of Indictment

How has contemporary capitalism failed, in the United States and around the world?

It has failed on sustainability. For decades now, there has been no sensible way to deny the looming catastrophe of climate change. Yet, only now are we taking the first steps to abandon “business as usual” and avert the worst.

It has failed on stability. The boom-and-bust cycle of capitalist economies has been adrenalized by the deregulation of finance. As Nina Eichacker shows in her study of Iceland’s financial collapse (p. 21), no country has the institutional capacity to cope with the instability inherent in a deregulated and “supercharged” financial system.

It has failed on security. Even wealthy countries fail to guarantee the basics in life—like housing, medical care, or education. As Gerald Friedman explains (p. 32), millions in the United States are still without access to health care, and millions more lack adequate coverage—even though universal care could be achieved at lesser cost than under the current system.

It has failed on dignity. In many countries, the young today face a bleak and uncertain future. Describing the disaster of unemployment in Greece today (p. 17), Evita Nolka quotes a young adult obviously tormented by “being deprived of the opportunity to work during the most productive years of your life.”
Just as the particulars of the indictment are clear, so are many of the possible responses. Friedman explains how a single-payer health insurance system could reduce waste and achieve universal coverage. Biola Jeje and Belinda Rodriguez describe the burgeoning movement, of which they are a part, for free higher education in the United States today (p. 5). David Bacon advocates a human-rights approach to economic security in old age (p. 26). John Miller describes proposals to rein in the financial system (p. 9). James Boyce shows that serious action on climate change would benefit the majority of people today, both in terms of health and wealth (p. 12).

If anything, though, the readiness of solutions to our most pressing problems only casts the current system in a more negative light. Nolka’s example of a shuttered Greek textile factory—its unemployed workers meticulous in caring for the machines—serves as a case in point. It would take so little to restart production and get them back to work, but the factory remains closed and they remain unemployed. The solutions are all around us, yet those in positions of power can’t put them into practice.

Or won’t.

Links: SEC and CEOs, Greece, Mexico, Trump, Salaita

 

(1) Greece: In addition to the great video by Alicé Anil embedded above (well worth watching; includes clips with Krugman, Stiglitz, and Rick Wolff!), whose “Know Bullshit!” project looks great, these items were of interest:

(2) Mexico:  The cover story for our Sept/Oct annual labor issue, which is in layout and will be out soon, is on the crisis of labor in Mexico. It’s by Dan La Botz. The issue will also have a beautiful photo essay by David Bacon on the occupation of a public park in Tijuana. So these items caught my eye:

  • Emilio Godoy, Inter Press Service, Mexico’s Anti-Poverty Programmes Are Losing the Battle. One thing that comes out in Dan La Botz’s article is how much wages have gone down over the years in Mexico, and how that is a deliberate strategy of the oligarchs and their bought-and-sold political class.  So this report from Inter Press Service about the failure of government anti-poverty initiatives is not surprising, since government policies are at odds with each other.
  • Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, Hillary Clinton State Department Emails, Mexico Energy Reform and the Revolving Door. Hat-tip to TM. This is also very interesting given what La Botz says about how elites in Mexico have been pushing for energy-sector “reform” (including union-busting), apparently with help from the U.S. State Dept. under Clinton.

(3) Trump:  Three post-debate items:

(4) SEC ruling on CEO pay:  Some of the coverage of the SEC finally implementing the Dodd-Frank rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay:

(5) U. of Illinois, Phyllis Wise, Steven Salaita:  This sequence of events made me happy:

  1. The Nation, Steven Salaita, Professor Fired for ‘Uncivil’ Tweets, Vindicated in Federal Court
  2. Chicago Tribune, After tumultuous year, U. of I. chancellor abruptly steps down. For a while, I wondered why, and then:
  3. Inside Higher Ed, What Illinois Kept Secret. The day after Phyllis Wise resigned, we found out why: a trove of emails was released, including some showing that Salaita had been considered hired, and apparently also that donor pressure was what led them to fire him.