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Posted by: Doug Henwood | January 18, 2019

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January 17, 2019 Andrew Bacevich tries to make sense of Trump’s foreign policy • Steven Maher (author of this article) on the rise and fall of GE

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Posted by: Doug Henwood | January 10, 2019

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January 10, 2019 Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, on the history, theory, and practice of the doctrine

Posted by: Doug Henwood | January 3, 2019

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January 3, 2019 Samuel Moyn, author of Not Enough, on the paradox of human rights discourse arising alongside great inequality, and on the difference between poverty reduction and income compression

Posted by: Doug Henwood | December 28, 2018

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December 27, 2018 Wilson Sherwin, a grad student at CUNY writing on the welfare rights movement, on that and its relation to anti-/post-work politics • Marta Silva Cabral and Forrest Hylton look at Brazil on the eve of Bolsonaro’s inauguration

Posted by: Doug Henwood | December 15, 2018

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December 13, 2018 Robert Pollin, lead author of this paper, on how to pay for Medicare for All—covering everyone and saving money • Anton Jäger, author of this article, on the problems with the anti-/post-work position

Posted by: Doug Henwood | December 7, 2018

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December 6, 2018 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, on the politics of guns

Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 29, 2018

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November 29, 2018 Adam Kotsko, author of Neoliberalism’s Demons, on the doctrine’s theology • Kristen Ghodsee, author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism, on how socialist–feminism will make us better and happier

Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 23, 2018

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November 22, 2018 Kelly Happe, author of The Material Gene, on the uses and misuses of genetics • Mark Dery, author of Born To Be Posthumous, on the art and life of Edward Gorey

Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 23, 2018

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November 22, 2018 Kelly Happe, author of The Material Gene, on the uses and misuses of genetics • Mark Dery, author of Born To Be Posthumous, on the art and life of Edward Gorey

Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 11, 2018

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November 8, 2018 Natasha Lennard, author of this article, on cops & white supremacists • Forrest Hylton on Colombian university protests and a potential alliance with Brazil to topple Maduro

Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 1, 2018

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November 1, 2018 Amanda Armstrong on the importance of trans politics • Alfredo Saad-Filho on the prospects for Brazil under the fascist Bolsonaro

Posted by: Doug Henwood | October 30, 2018

Fascists are good for stocks

Investors are looking forward to the inauguration of the terrifying fascist Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil on January 1. And they look to dreading the inauguration of the moderate social democrat Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka AMLO) as president of Mexico on December 1.

Graphed below are indexes representing the two countries’ stock markets—or, more specifically, shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange designed to mimic those indexes. (The history of the Mexico index is here; of Brazil, here.) The top graph is a long-term view. It shows that the two countries’ stock markets moved pretty much together from the indexes’ inception through 2011. They parted ways in 2011, as Brazil drifted into a profound economic and political crisis. Brazil recovered beginning in early 2016 as Mexico moved sideways.

But the two indexes really began diverging a few weeks ago. AMLO was elected on July 1; Mexican stocks showed little reaction at first. But in recent weeks, as his inauguration came closer, anxiety has set in. By contrast, Bolsonaro won the first round election on October 7, but didn’t get 50% of the vote, requiring a runoff. He won that soundly on October 28. Since from before the first round it was clear Bolsonaro was likely to win, stocks began rising in mid-September, and have continued to rise.

The contrast is stark if you look at just the month of October. Since October 1, Mexican stocks are down 17.9%; Brazil’s are up 19.4%. ALMO promises rather mild reforms, and investors panic. Bolsonaro promises to destroy the left, deploy death squads to “fight crime,” steal resources from indigenous populations, and shower big business with favors, and investors celebrate.

What’s the spilling of blood when there’s money to be made?

Mexico vs Brazil stox

Posted by: Doug Henwood | October 27, 2018

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October 25, 2018 Kevin Skerrett, co-editor of The Contradictions of Pension Fund Capitalism, on what they do with all that money and why we don’t need giant pension funds at all • Liza Featherstone and Jane McAlevey on #metoo, one year later, and what can be learned from Hands Off Pants On

Posted by: Doug Henwood | October 23, 2018

Hits to GDP

The hysterical (in the funny sense) report on socialism that the Council of Economic Advisers put out this morning contains this gem of simulation:

It may well be that American socialists are envisioning moving our policies to align with those of the Nordic countries in the 1970s, when their policies were more in line with economists’ traditional definition of socialism. We estimate that if the United States were to adopt these policies, its real GDP would decline by at least 19 percent in the long run, or about $11,000 per year for the average person.

Sounds dire—but even if true, and there’s no reason to believe it is—that would be smaller hit than the 2008 financial crisis was, no simulation about it. As the graph below shows, over the long term, actual GDP wandered around its trendline, rising above in booms (1990, 2000) and falling below in busts (1975, 1982). (The trendline assumes constant growth at the average over the period, 3.2% a year.) But the 2008 financial crisis and its sequelae have driven actual GDP well below its previous trend. Had real per capita GDP continued to grow at its 1970–2007 trend rate after the financial crisis, it would be $12,316 higher than it is now.

So a financial crisis is at least 12% worse than Nordic social democracy, without all the benefits.

GDP per cap actual & trend

Posted by: Doug Henwood | October 19, 2018

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October 18, 2018 Leandros Fischer on German politics, with an emphasis on refugees (Jacobin page here) • Samuel Moyn, author of this article, on why the Supreme Court sucks and what can be done about it

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