Recessions & politics (cont.)

Hans Peter Grüner has posted the paper that he and Markus Brückner wrote about the electoral effects of economic recessions to his website: here. It makes eminent psychological sense that a crisis might lead people toward conservative responses—a feeling of impending scarcity encourages selfishness, not generosity. It’s been ages since I read Erik Erikson, but as I recall the identity crisis, it leads the sufferer back to remembered moments of security and happiness, not toward an uncertain transformative future. That helps explain why immigrants are so often the target in an economic crisis:… Read More

Fresh LBO website content

Freshly posted to the LBO website: • How to learn nothing from crisis: careening back to the status quo ante bustum, a well-received piece from #125. • Contents of #126: suboptimal disillusionment • c’mon, Slavoj, tell us the secret! • Greece and the EU crisis • recovery, now what? • CPI-Elderly • buying green makes you nasty. Here’s a little taste of each. If you like what you see and want to keep it coming, instead of adding another victim to the Great Periodical Die-Off, then please subscribe if you don’t already. And if you… Read More

Recessions: better for right than left

For a long time, I’ve been critical of the left-wing penchant for economic crisis. Many radicals have fantasized that a serious recession—or depression—would lead to mass radicalization, as scales simultaneously fell from millions of pairs of eyes and the imperative of transcending capitalism became self-evidently obvious. I’ve long thought that was nonsense, and now there’s empirical support for my position. In his column today, Paul Krugman cites research by Markus Brückner and Hans Peter Grüner showing that recessions boost the vote for extreme right-wing and nationalist parties. As Krugman argues, this helps… Read More

Radio commentary, May 8, 2010

Truther follow-up Before commenting on the economic news, a brief follow-up to last week’s comments about the 9/11 Truthers. It provoked, if not a flood, more than a trickle of emails and bloggy complaints, about evenly divided between the patronizing and the hostile. Perhaps my favorite was an email from someone signing him or herself a variant on Sky, who counseled me to learn patience, and disclosing that 9/11 is a spiritual matter. Nothing makes me want to scream more than being told to be patient; I hate it, for example, when… Read More

Remarkable winning streak

So the trading desks of four big investment banks—Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase—made money every working day last quarter, a 63-day streak. Goldman never made less than $25 million a day, and over $100 million on 35 days. There is no way that anyone could do this just by being clever—it’s mathematically impossible. There’s too much short-term randomness even in strongly trending markets. And they’re probably not just making it up, Bernie Madoff-style. How are they doing it? Maybe Congress, if it’s interested in more than grandstanding to… Read More

Demonstrate against JPMorgan Chase!

A bunch of good orgs, including the excellent NEDAP, are planning a demonstration against JPMorgan Chase, for all the usual reasons, at their shareholders’ meeting. If you can, please come and be righteous: Tuesday, May 18, 9 AM 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, Pine St side NYC

Fresh audio

Just updated my radio archives. The April 22 and 29 shows were available to podcast subscribers, but the web page wasn’t updated. And the May 8 show (yes, that’s tomorrow) is freshly uploaded. Guests: Emily Gould, Rob Weissman, Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, Kert Davies, Mark Weisbrot, Steve Early.