The World Is Sliding Into Recession, Warns WTO Chief

Countercurrents | September 30, 2022

The world is sliding into a recession due to multiple overlapping crises, the head of the WTO said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the WTO’s annual public forum in Geneva, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both downgraded their global growth forecasts, and that trade indicators are “not looking too good.”

Colliding crises such as surging food prices, the soaring cost of living, and the energy crunch, first triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and then aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have created the conditions for a global recession.

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Controlling Inflation at the Expense of Working Class

Prabhat Patnaik

Economists distinguish between two kinds of inflation: “demand-pull” and “cost-push”. Demand-pull inflation is said to occur when there is excess demand in a situation where supply cannot be augmented, because full capacity output has been reached in one or more crucial sectors. War-time inflation is a classic example. In India during the pre-neoliberal, dirigiste period, inflation was often the result of insufficient foodgrain output relative to demand, arising from a poor harvest.

Cost-push inflation on the other hand occurs when supplies can be augmented, as the economy is nowhere near full capacity in key sectors, but one of the classes tries to raise its share of output, by demanding a higher price for the input it provides, while other classes are unwilling to lower their shares, giving rise to a tug-of-war, which manifests itself through inflation.

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Energy, cost of living and recession

Michael Roberts Blog | September 04, 2022

The G7 governments have a problem.  The war in Ukraine against Russia is not won.  It looks set to be a long grinding conflict, possibly with no end.  And yet the world and particularly Europe depends on Russian energy supplies.  The G7 has agreed to stop buying Russian oil, as part of its programme of using economics sanctions as a war weapon.  But up to now, energy imports from Russia have not been stopped because it would mean a catastrophe for the EU countries, particularly Germany.  And Russia is still selling huge volumes—globally – albeit at a discount from the world price—to India, China and other energy-thirsty economies.

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Dollar Decline to Make Americans Poorer, Economist Hudson Says

teleSUR | July 18, 2022

Image of U.S. dollar bills. | Photo: Twitter/ @business

The de-dollarization or decline of dollar hegemony will put the United States in a slow crash and make everyday Americans poorer. Other countries have to de-dollarize because of American foreign policy, which forces them to create an alternative, said Michael Hudson, professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Any country that supported land reform, any country that protected its economy and grew its own food, and any country that did anything the United States didn’t like, they have all the foreign exchange, and all the savings stolen,” Hudson said, adding that “so obviously, this has led countries no longer to keep their savings in the form of U.S. dollars.”

Dollar hegemony is the system where U.S. overseas military spending and other spending deficits result in U.S. dollar savings in foreign countries. Then, foreign central banks recycle their reserves in dollars in the form of purchasing U.S. treasuries. Dollar hegemony enabled Americans to have high living standards and to become rich even though the U.S. is de-industrialized.

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“Sri Lanka needs a strong public distribution system, wealth tax and universal welfare measures”

In the second part of an interview with Peoples Dispatch, Ahilan Kadirgamar analyzes the economic crisis faced by Sri Lanka and talks about the steps that need to be taken urgently

Peoples Dispatch | June 18, 2022

In the second part of an interview with Peoples Dispatch, Ahilan Kadirgamar, senior lecturer at the University of Jaffna, details the economic crisis that has engulfed Sri Lanka. He explains why shortages of essentials have continued over the months, and the inability of the government to tackle it.

He also talks about how Sri Lanka has already begun to adopt IMF policies before even signing an agreement and how this is affecting the country. He lists out the steps that need to be taken urgently to protect livelihoods and ensure the future of the next generation.

Watch the first part of the interview on the political crisis here:

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Biden Funnels MORE Money To His Donors By Hiking Medicare Prices To Record Level

Even The Young Turks—a Democrat-backed outlet— is denouncing this outrageous premium hike, falling on poorer people living on fixed incomes

The Young Turks | June 14, 2022

The Biden Administration stealthily hiked Medicare premiums to their highest prices ever while simultaneously pushing to funnel even more money into the private health insurance industry, further privatizing the government insurance program. It’s also important to note that Biden took around $47 million on legalized bribes from health care executives during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

“Last week, the Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities. In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign. The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover. The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.”

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Has globalisation ended?

Michael Roberts Blog | April 27, 2022

Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’.  What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders.  In 2000, the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalisation: trade and transactionscapital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.  All these components apparently took off from the early 1980s as part of the ‘neoliberal’ reversal of previous national macro-management policies adopted by governments in the environment of the Bretton Woods world economic order (ie US hegemony).  Then the call was to break down tariff barriers, quotas and other trade restrictions and allow the multi-nationals to trade ‘freely’ and to switch their investments abroad to cheap labour areas to boost profitability.  This would lead to global expansion and harmonious development of the productive forces and resources of the world, it was claimed.

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Economics for people and planet—moving beyond the neoclassical paradigm

Lina Brand-Correa, PhD *, Anna Brook, MPH, Milena Büchs, PhD, Petra Meier, PhD, Yannish Naik, MPH & Daniel W O’Neill, PhD

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: April, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00063-8

Summary

Despite substantial attention within the fields of public and planetary health on developing an economic system that benefits both people’s health and the environment, heterodox economic schools of thought have received little attention within these fields. Ecological economics is a school of thought with particular relevance to public and planetary health. In this article, we discuss implications of key ecological economics ideas for public and planetary health, especially those related to critiques of gross domestic product as a measure of progress and economic growth as the dominant goal for economic and policy decision making. We suggest that ecological economics aligns well with public health goals, including concern for equality and redistribution. Ecological economics offers an opportunity to make the transition to an economic system that is designed to promote human and planetary health from the outset, rather than one where social and environmental externalities must be constantly corrected after the fact. Important ideas from ecological economics include the use of a multidimensional framework to evaluate economic and social performance, the prioritisation of wellbeing and environmental goals in decision making, policy design and evaluation that take complex relationships into account, and the role of provisioning systems (the physical and social systems that link resource use and social outcomes). We discuss possible interventions at the national scale that could promote public health and that align with the prioritisation of social and ecological objectives, including universal basic income or services and sovereign money creation. Overall, we lay the foundations for additional integration of ecological economics principles and pluralist economic thinking into public and planetary health scholarship and practice.

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National responsibility for ecological breakdown: a fair-shares assessment of resource use, 1970–2017

Prof Jason Hickel, PhD, Daniel W O’Neill, PhD, Andrew L Fanning, PhD & Huzaifa Zoomkawala, BS

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: April, 2022| DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00044-4

Summary
Background
Human impacts on earth-system processes are overshooting several planetary boundaries, driving a crisis of ecological breakdown. This crisis is being caused in large part by global resource extraction, which has increased dramatically over the past half century. We propose a novel method for quantifying national responsibility for ecological breakdown by assessing nations’ cumulative material use in excess of equitable and sustainable boundaries.

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Women are under-represented in economics globally

They occupy fewer top positions at leading economics institutions than men, and are more likely to leave the profession early.

Brittney J. Miller

Nature | April 14, 2022

An all-male panel at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia in 2018.Credit: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty

Women occupy roughly one in three junior academic positions in economics and just one in four senior positions, according to an analysis of gender equality at the field’s top research institutions.

Most previous surveys examining equality in economics have focused on individual countries. Emmanuelle Auriol, an economist at the Toulouse School of Economics in France, and her colleagues compared gender representation around much of the world, although their data set includes few institutions in Africa or southeast Asia. The findings are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1 this month.

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