The price of inequality – how today’s divided society endangers our future (Joseph Stiglitz) [2012]

stiglitz

Detta är ljuv läsning, på samma sätt som Goldstone-rapporten var efter angreppet på Gaza. Bokens värde ligger inte i några nya avslöjanden, insiktsfulla analyser eller radikala föreskrifter för framtiden. Nej, det enda märkvärdiga med boken är dess författare – en fd tongivande ekonomisk rådgivare åt Clinton-administrationen och fd Världsbankschef. Ingen vänsterradikal – ingen kommunist – ingen ”konspirationsteoretiker” – ingen galning.

Så när han gör slarvsylta av trickle-down-myten (som påstår att om ett lands elit blir rikare, ”droppar” rikedomen på något sätt till samhällets nedre skikt), när han säger att det finansiella systemet (liksom rättsväsendet) är riggat till fördel för den ekonomisk-politiska eliten, eller när han säger att privatisering av offentliga institutioner medför ineffektivitet pga privatverksamhetens inneboende girighet – då väger det tungt, och framför allt: det kan inte avfärdas genom att sätta ovannämnda epitet före namnet. (Detta skiljer ut Stiglitz från t.ex. Paul Krugman (End this depression now!) – som aldrig haft en maktposition, men som skriver i liknande, men mer raljerande och naiv, anda.)

Med det sagt, gör man sig lämpligen inga illusioner. Stiglitz konstaterar de uppenbara systembristerna på ett insiktsfullt sätt – men hans recept för framtiden är inget att imponeras av. Likt Krugman, och andra icke-bokstavstroende ekonomer, argumenterar han för bättre/mer etisk reglering av marknaden, och en del marginella reformistiska åtgärder. I grund och botten vädjar han till allas goda vilja, och sällar sig till anhängarna av kunskapsmyten, som stipulerar att om folket/makthavarna bara visste hur hemskt det var…

Man bör också fråga sig varför han inte uttryckte dessa åsikter när han faktiskt hade chansen till stort inflytande, när han satt i maktens korridorer? Ibland, när han skryter som mest över vilka kommittéer, styrelser och rådslag han satt med i, blir man verkligen trött på hans krokodilgrin. Och om han inte besatt dessa åsikter då, utan de på något märkligt sätt nyligen har materialiserats i hans hjärna – söker han bara författarlycka genom att utge denna bok mitt i en stormig amerikansk debatt med Occupy Wall Street, etc? (Och det finns belägg för den senare misstanken, t.ex. att han återkommande använder 1%-begreppet, ofta som om han vore en representant för Occupy. Och med det sagt, hyser jag inga som helst naiva förhoppningar om Occupy-rörelsen, även om den onekligen har förskjutit debatten ett litet, litet steg vänsterut.)

Allt har sin plats, och böcker kan ha olika funktion och värde. Jag vill uppmuntra till läsning av denna bok. Inte minst är den fylld med citabla stycken. Det som jag ändå – trots allt – uppskattar mycket med Stiglitz, är att han politiserar. Han slår fast gång på gång, att den ekonomiska teorin bakom inte är det som är i vägen – utan de politiska besluten. Det är ett förhållningssätt som manar till engagemang och demokrati, och fråntar teknokraterna och räknenissarna makten över våra liv.

The economics is clear: the question is, What about the politics?

Citat

The underlying thesis is that we are paying a high price for our inequality – an economic system that is less stable and less efficient, with less growth, and a democracy that has been put into peril. [JS anger tidigt ramverket. Vidare: ”när vårt politiska system verkar ‘fångat’ (captured) av monetära intressen, medför det att tilltron till vår demokrati och i vår marknadsekonomin minskar, liksom vårt globala inflytande”, i slutändan även vår nationella identitet (!). Medger dock senare att han kommer att begränsa sig till varför det är väldigt dåligt för ”vår” ekonomi, och överlåta de politiska problemen åt andra.]

Some thirty years ago, the top 1 percent of income earners received only 12 percent of the nation’s income… [Today:] The top 1 percent get in one week 40 percent more than the bottom fifth receive in a year; the top 0.1 percent received in a day and a half about what the bottom 90 percent received in a year; and the richest 20 percent of income earners earn in total after tax more than the bottom 80 percent combined.

…by far the largest fraction of personal bankruptcies involve the illness of a family member.

Indeed, in the mid-200s, before the onset of the Great Recession, people in the bottom 80 percent were spending around 110 percent of their incomes. [Mellan 2005 och 2009 förlorade ‘the typical African American household’ 53% av sina tillgångar, ‘average Hispanic household’ 66% – att jämföras med ‘typical white American household’: 16%! I absoluta tal hade ett ”svart hushåll” 1/20 av genomsnittliga vita hushållet.]

Fängelsesystemet: tiofalt högre andel av befolkningen i fängelse jämfört med de flesta europeiska länder, arbetslösheten är 9% inräknat dessa, m.m.

CEO : worker = 200 : 1 (16:1 i Japan)

We’ll see that the 1 percent are by and large not those who earned their incomes by great social contributions… [Social contributors without reward: Alan Turing, Albert Einstein, Charles Townes (laser), John Bardeen + Walter Brattain + William Shockley (transistor), Watson + Crick (DNA).]

Mentions ”hidden inequalities”:

  • quality of life with 80 hour-week?
  • less time for parenting -> crime, school results, drugs
  • not having your voice heard
  • stress, exposure to pollution -> disease (costs, shortens life)

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the adviser to King Louis XIV of France, reportedly said, ”The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” So, too, for the art of rent seeking.

But these governmental failures were no accident: the financial sector used its political muscle to make sure that the market failures were not corrected, and that the sector’s private rewards remained well in excess of their social contributions… [Man är glad när en ekonom medger att det finns illvilja bakom dagens orättvisor. Alltid ett första steg.]

rent seeking = sälja till underpris (resursrika, fattiga länder exploateras) eller överpris (läkemedelsindustrin, militärföretag) – privat: monopol, dåliga lån/toxic assets etc.

To economists large fortunes pose a problem. The laws of competition, as I have noted, say that profits (beyond the normal return to capital) are supposed to be driven to zero, and quickly. But if profits are zero, how can fortunes be built? Niches in which there isn’t competition, for one reason or another, offer one avenue. But that goes only a little way to explaining sustainable excessive profits (beyond the competitive level). Success will attract entry, and profits will quickly disappear. The real key to success is to make sure that there won’t ever be competition—or at least there won’t be competition for a long enough time that one can make a monopoly killing in the meanwhile. The simplest way to a sustainable monopoly is getting the government to give you one. From the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, the British granted the East India Company a monopoly on trade with India. [Skön punktering av konkurrensmyten!]

Even without a government grant of monopoly, firms can create entry barriers. A variety of practices discourage entry, such as maintaining excess capacity, so that an entrant knows that, should he enter, the incumbent firm can increase production, lowering prices to the point that entry would be unprofitable. In the Middle Ages, guilds successfully restricted competition. [Defensive side of monopolies; but they can be offensive as well; Lidl, 24/7, IKEA…]

The influence of the Chicago school should not be underestimated.

Microsoft: felmeddelanden om man körde Netscape, gav ut IE gratis (kortsiktig förlust för att bevara monopol):

This is consistent with theory and historical evidence: monopolists are not good innovators.

Kapitel: Politics: getting to set the rules and pick the referee

The stock market boom and the housing bubble of the early twenty-first century helped to hide the structural dislocation that America was going through. The real estate bubble offered work for some of those who lost their jobs, but it was a temporary palliative. The bubble fueled a consumption boom that allowed Americans to live beyond their means: without this bubble, the weakening of incomes of so many in the middle class would have been readily apparent.

Refreshing honesty; citatbart!:

The way globalization has been managed, however, has itself led to still lower wages because workers’ bargaining power has been eviscerated. With capital highly mobile—and with tariffs low—firms can simply tell workers that if they don’t accept lower wages and worse working conditions, the company will move elsewhere. To see how asymmetric globalization can affect bargaining power, imagine, for a moment, what the world would be like if there was free mobility of labor, but no mobility of capital. Countries would compete to attract workers. They would promise good schools and a good environment, as well as low taxes on workers. This could be financed by high taxes on capital. But that’s not the world we live in, and that’s partly because the 1 percent doesn’t want it to be that way. [Jag finner fokuseringen på 1% för snäv och simplistisk – förstärker min misstanke om att han vädjar till den arga Occupy-sympatisören. Det är inte bara 1% som tjänar på dagens system, utan även en stor del av övriga samhället har fingrarna i kakburken – se bara på vårt samhälle; våra investeringar/pensioner/lån, våra livsmedel och billiga konsumtionsvaror, motsättningar mellan arbetare i Sverige vs Baltikum, etc.]

Having succeeded in getting governments to set the rules of globalization in ways that enhance their bargaining power vis-à-vis labor, corporations can then work the political levers and demand lower taxation. They threaten the country: unless you lower our taxes, we will go elsewhere, where we are taxed at lower rates. As corporations have pushed a political agenda that shapes market forces to work for them, they have not, of course, revealed their hand. They don’t argue for globalization—for free capital mobility and investment protections—saying that doing so will enrich them at the expense of the rest of society. Rather, they make specious arguments about how all will benefit… The result is that in many countries, including the United States, globalization is almost surely contributing significantly to our growing inequality.

Part of the conventional wisdom in economics of the past three decades is that flexible labor markets contribute to economic strength. I would argue, in contrast, that strong worker protections correct what would otherwise be an imbalance of economic power. Such protection leads to a higher-quality labor force with workers who are more loyal to their firms and more willing to invest in themselves and in their jobs. It also makes for a more cohesive society and better workplaces. [Så, JS erkänner den vilda marknadens kontrasterande intresse mot arbetaren, och argumenterar för en slags socialdemokrati/klassbalans.]

Some always went into business, but in the years before the crisis an increasingly large fraction of the country’s best minds chose finance. And with so many talented young people in finance, it’s not surprising that there would be innovation in that sector. But many of these “financial innovations” were designed to circumvent regulations, and actually lowered long-run economic performance. These financial innovations do not compare with real innovations like the transistor or the laser that increased our standard of living. [Läkemedelsföretag spenderar ofta lika mycket på reklam som forskning.]

Trickle-down economics may be a chimera, but trickle-down behaviorism [sic; behavior] is very real. [Humor; alla imiterar 1% – snor åt sig.]

In good years the bankers could walk off with a large fraction of the profits; in bad years the shareholders were left with the losses; and in really bad years so were the bondholders and taxpayers. It was a one-sided pay system: heads the bankers won, tails everyone else lost.

Economists overestimate, too, the selfishness of individuals (though there is considerable evidence that economists are more selfish than others, and that economics training does make individuals more selfish over time).

****

We observed in the last chapter that President Reagan, for instance, claimed that by making the tax system less progressive—lowering taxes at the top—one would actually raise more money, because savings and work would increase. He was wrong: tax revenues fell significantly. President Bush’s tax cuts fared no better; they, like those of Reagan, simply increased the deficit. President Clinton raised taxes at the top, and America experienced a period of rapid growth and a slight diminution in inequality. Of course, the Right is right in noting that if marginal tax rates were near 100 percent tax rates, incentives would be significantly weakened, but these examples show that we’re nowhere near the point where this should be of concern. Indeed, University of California professor Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, and Stefanie Stantcheva of the MIT Department of Economics, carefully taking into account the incentive effects of higher taxation and the societal benefits of reducing inequality, have estimated that the tax rate at the top should be around 70 percent—what it was before President Reagan started his campaign for the rich.

****

Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important.

The 2010 decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court essentially approved unbridled corporate campaign spending, represented a milestone in the disempowerment of ordinary Americans.

***

Twice in the 1990s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was on the verge of being elected president of Brazil, and twice Wall Street objected, exercising what amounted to a veto. It signaled that if he were elected, it would pull money out of the country, the interest rates that the country would have to pay would soar, the country would be shunned by investors, and its growth would collapse. The third time, in 2002, the Brazilians said, in effect, that they would not be dictated to by international financiers. And President Lula made an excellent president, maintaining economic stability, promoting growth, and attacking his country’s extreme inequality. He was one of the few presidents around the world who, after eight years, still enjoyed the popular support that he had in the beginning… This is just one of many instances in which the judgments of the financial markets were badly flawed. [Som synes något naiv slutsats av ovanstående. Att ekonomisk jämlikhet och stabilitet ökade innebär tvärtom att Wall Street hade helt rätt i sin bedömning – utefter sina egna premisser.]

***

As one of the world’s experts on globalization, the Harvard University professor Dani Rodrik has pointed out, one cannot simultaneously have democracy, national self-determination, and full and unfettered globalization.

…mainstream economics assumes that individuals have well-defined preferences and fully rational expectations and perceptions… If it were true, there would be little scope for advertising. [Tack!]

Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years… Several studies have confirmed that perceptions of social mobility are overly optimistic… One suggested explanation is that when inequality is as large as it is in the United States, it becomes less noticeable – perhaps because people with different incomes and wealth don’t even mix.

***

As Keynes famously put it,

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. [Palme varnade också för de praktiska männen…]

***

This big battle is crucial for understanding the evolution of inequality in America. The success of the Right in this battle during the past thirty years has shaped our government. We haven’t achieved the minimalist state that libertarians advocate. What we’ve achieved is a state too constrained to provide the public goods—investments in infrastructure, technology, and education—that would make for a vibrant economy and too weak to engage in the redistribution that is needed to create a fair society. But we have a state that is still large enough and distorted [här håller jag inte med JS’ premiss om vad staten har för uppgift] enough that it can provide a bounty of gifts to the wealthy. The advocates of a small state in the financial sector were happy that the government had the money to rescue them in 2008—and bailouts have in fact been part of capitalism for centuries.

There is now considerable evidence that economists’ perceptions, say, about fairness, are markedly different from those of the rest of society. The Chicago economist Richard Thaler reports that while 82 percent of respondents in the general population believed it was unfair to increase the price of snow shovels after a storm, among his MBA students, only 24 percent held that view. It could be partly because economics attracts those who, among the population, put less weight on notions of fairness.

The Right attacks extending the Medicare program to the rest of the population as ”socialism.” That ends the debate. One doesn’t have to discuss whether it’s efficient or inefficient, whether the quality of care is good or bad, or whether there is choice or not.

Offers to buy and sell were held open for a nanosecond… The algorithmic traders claimed that they were making markets more liquid (”deeper”), but it was a liquidity that disappeared when it was needed, when a real disturbance occurred to which the marked needed to adjust.

arvsskatt: påverkar de som äger mer än $5 miljoner, men högern lyckas presentera den som skadlig för småföretagen…

The Right wants the “right” rules of the game—those that advantage the wealthy at the expense of the rest. They’ve tried to shape the debate, to suggest that there is a single set of rules that would be best for all. But, throughout the book, we’ve seen how that’s just not true. [Förlösande slutsats. Tänk om vi kunde börja utgå från den i våra diskussioner? ”Vi måste välja – finansvärlden eller vanligt folk.”]

The 2005 bankruptcy law made it impossible for students to discharge their student debts even in bankruptcy. This eviscerates any incentives for banks, and the for-profit schools that they work with, to provide an education that will yield a return. Even if the education is worthless, the borrower is still on the hook…

Usury (charging exorbitant interest rates), of course, is not limited to the United States. In fact, around the world the poor are sinking in debt as a result of the spread of the same rogue capitalism. India had its own version of a subprime mortgage crisis: the hugely successful microcredit schemes that have provided credit to poor farmers and transformed their lives turned ugly once the profit motive was introduced. Initially developed by Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of BRAC in Bangladesh, microcredit schemes transformed millions of lives by giving the poorest, who had never banked, access to small loans. Women were the main beneficiaries. Allowed to raise chickens and engage in other productive activities, they were able to improve living standards in their families and their communities. But then for-profit banks discovered that there “was money at the bottom of the pyramid.” Those on the bottom rung had little, but they were so numerous that taking a small amount from each of them was worth it. Banks all over the world enthusiastically embraced microfinance for the poor. In India the banks seized upon the new opportunities, realizing that poor Indian families would pay high interest rates for loans not just to improve livelihoods but to pay for medicines for sick parents or to finance a wedding for a daughter. They could cloak these loans in a mantle of civic virtue, describing them as “microcredit,” as if they were the same thing that Grameen and BRAC were doing in neighboring Bangladesh—until a wave of suicides from farmers overburdened with debt called attention to the fact that they were not the same.

8 miljoner förlorade sina hem, 4 miljoner väntar på att vräkas (många icke-skuldsatta – ”så ivriga var bankerna”)

If one designs a costly system in which the parties themselves bear the cost, then one is designing an unfair system, even if in principle it seems otherwise. If one designs a slow judicial system, that too can be unfair. It’s not just that “justice delayed is justice denied,” but that the poor can’t bear the costs of delay as well as the rich. Corporations know this. In their negotiations with less wealthy opponents a standard tactic is to make a small up-front offer and threaten to impose a long and costly process with an uncertain outcome if the offer is not accepted. [Rättsystemet diskuteras ofta. Bra bredd, JS!]

It’s a convenient solution: the government has limited resources to prosecute legal cases, and there are many instances of fraud. Having reached a settlement on one, the government can then go on to attack another. The system also suits the banks: the cost is low relative to the profits they reap from their fraudulent behavior, and, had they admitted guilt, the evidence could have been used against them in private litigation brought by those the fraud injured in their attempt to recover their losses. The banks know that most of their victims don’t have the legal resources to challenge them without the government’s help. No one can claim that justice is really being done in this system. An economic system in which there is a pattern of such abuses can’t work well: fraud distorts the economy and undermines trust.

We noted earlier that a small detail – a provision in the bill providing the drug benefit to Medicare recipients which said that the government, the largest buyer of drugs in the world, couldn’t negotiate prices with the drug companies – was a gift worth, by some estimates, a half trillion dollars over ten years.

The critical point to bear in mind in thinking about deficit reduction is that the recession caused the deficits, not the other way around. More austerity will only worsen the downturn, and the hoped-for improvement in the fiscal position will not emerge.

Restoring the country to full employment would do more than anything else to improve the country’s fiscal position. [Ett rop för att lämna inflationsbekämningsmanin och återgå till sosse-drömmen om full sysselsättning.]

deficit fetishism

[No Ethics…] Money spent paying for foreign contractors in Afghanistan doesn’t stimulate the American economy; money spent paying unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed does, simply because these individuals are so strapped that they tend to spend every dollar given [ordval? given?] to them… lowering taxes at the bottom increases spending at almost 100 cents on the dollar… Trickle-up economics can work, even when trickle-down economics doesn’t. [JS:s kursiv.]

[Likt Krugman:] One of the big differences between the United States and Greece (and those other countries) is that while those other countries owe money in euros, over which they have no direct control, U.S. debt is denominated in dollars—and the United States controls the printing presses. That’s why the notion that the United States would default (suggested by one of the rating agencies) borders on the absurd.

Europe’s crisis is not an accident, but it’s not caused by excessive long-term debts and deficits or by the “welfare” state. It’s caused by excessive austerity—cutbacks in government expenditures that predictably led to the recession of 2012and a flawed monetary arrangement, the euro. When the euro was introduced, most disinterested economists were skeptical. Changes in exchange rates and interest rates are critical for helping economies adjust. If all of the European countries were buffeted by the same shocks, then a single adjustment of the exchange rate and interest rate would do for all. But different European economies are buffeted by markedly different shocks.

***

In its most hopeful scenarios, the Right would privatize both services [pensions and health care]. Privatization, of course, is based on yet another myth: that government-run programs must be inefficient, and privatization accordingly must be better. In fact, as we noted in chapter 6, the transaction costs of Social Security and Medicare are much, much lower than those of private-sector firms providing comparable services. This should not come as a surprise. The objective of the private sector is to make profits—for private companies, transactions costs are a good thing; the difference between what they take in and what they pay out is what they want to maximize.

Social Security has been an impressively successful program, which has not only almost eliminated poverty among the elderly but also provided a kind of security that no private insurance program can match, protecting against volatility in the stock market as well as against inflation.

The worst myths are that austerity will bring recovery and that more government spending will not.

[AHA!] One might have thought that those who advocate austerity would have learned from the plethora of earlier experiences where austerity had disastrous consequences: Herbert Hoover’s austerity converted the 1929 stock market crash into the Great Depression, IMF austerity converted the downturns in East Asia and Latin America into recessions and depressions; the self-imposed and forced austerity in several European countries (the UK, Latvia, Greece, Portugal) is now having exactly the same effect. But austerity’s advocates haven’t seemed to come to terms with this overwhelming evidence. Like the doctors of the Middle Ages who believed in bloodletting, but when the patient didn’t get better argued that what they really needed was another round, the blood letters of twenty-first-century economics will not waver. They will demand ever more austerity, and they will find myriad excuses for why the first dosage didn’t work as predicted.

A second mistake was that the administration believed that the primary problem was the financial crisis—not recognizing the underlying need for structural transformation. The enormous increases in productivity in manufacturing, outpacing the increase in demand, inevitably meant that labor would have to move out of that sector—just as the enormous increases in agricultural productivity in the years before the Great Depression meant that labor had to move out of agriculture into manufacturing. Moreover, with globalization an increasingly large fraction of the jobs in manufacturing would reside in developing countries and emerging markets, compounding the need for structural transformation.

[Efterfrågan måste upp.] …the weaknesses in the economy today stem from the demand side, and a cutback in workers’ income, either as a result of firing workers or lower wages, simply lowers total demand, lowering GDP and weakening the capacities of those who have to make the structural transformations to do so.

[Som Ankarloo:] If the household cuts back on spending on itself, it has more money to give the bank. But the analogy between the household and the economy is false: cutting back on government spending destroys demand and destroys jobs.

Since America’s political gridlock is constraining the use of fiscal policy (taxes and expenditures) to restore the economy to full employment, hope has shifted to monetary policy.

[SÅJA, STIGLITZ!] These failures are not an accident.

King [Mervyn; Englands centralbankschef] pointed out that if they were too big to fail, they were too big to exist.

When the media requested information, of the kind that other government agencies are required to disclose under the Freedom of Information Act, the Fed claimed that the Fed was not subject to the act. The Federal District Court disagreed, but the Fed was unrepentant—it refused to disclose what the press wanted to know. The Fed appealed the decision, and the appellate court reaffirmed that the Fed was accountable. Reportedly, the Fed would have appealed to the Supreme Court, had the White House not told the Fed that it was in fact part of the government and had to obey the laws that applied to other government agencies.

But trade-offs are the essence of economic policy making. There are, as we have argued, choices to be made; some will benefit from these choices while others lose… We need to recognize that a central bank’s decisions are essentially political; they should not be delegated to technocrats, and they certainly can’t be left to those who disproportionately represent one of the vested interests.

It is not a coincidence that currently fashionable monetary/macroeconomics finds its origins in the work of the influential Chicago school economist Milton Friedman, the strong advocate of so-called free-market economics, which downplayed the importance of externalities and ignored information imperfections and other “agency” issues. While his pioneering work on the determinants of consumption rightly earned him a Nobel Prize, his free-market beliefs were based more on ideological conviction than on economic analysis… He found a willing student in the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Bubbles have been part of Western capitalism since the beginning – from the tulip bulb mania of 1637 in the Netherlands to the housing bubble of 2003-2007.

For inflation hawks the economy is always at the edge of a precipice: once inflation starts, it will be difficult to control… simply wrong that the best way to maintain high employment and strong growth was to focus on inflation.

There is no single, best policy. As I have stressed in this book, policies have distributive effects… But if these alternatives are to be implemented, the institutional arrangements through which the decisions are made will have to change.

Even the 1 percent (those who are there now) may benefit when the capabilities of so many at the bottom are not squandered. And many more people will have a shot at one day being in the 1 percent. [Först en vädjan till klassamarbete. Och sedan! En ny sorts sensmoral: om alla bara hade en chans att vara 1%…]

The Obama administration, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two private mortgage companies that the government took over as they collapsed at the beginning of the crisis, now owns a substantial fraction of all mortgages. It is unconscionable that they have not restructured the mortgages that they hold.

There are two visions for America a half century from now. One is of a society more divided between the haves and the have-nots… a dual economy, two societies living side by side, but hardly knowing each other, hardly imagining what life is like for the other. 

Nötter: The term ”Chicago school” is often applied to this group of economists, partially because the high priest of this religion, Milton Friedman (and many of his acolytes), taught at the University of Chicago.

In 2010 a woman’s median wage was 80 percent of a man’s, up from 62 percent in 1979; the median wage among African Americans and Hispanics is 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively, of that among white people.

Just 9 percent of Americans approved of Congress, and just 10 percent thought they could ”trust the government in Washington to do what is right” all or most of the time.

East Asia, with its high savings rate, had no need to borrow from abroad. But the United States and other advanced industrial countries (both directly, and indirectly, through the IMF) put pressure on these countries to allow their firms to borrow freely from Western banks. Money flowed in. But when attitudes changed about the prospects of the region [?], money rushed out the door, and thus the region faced the 1997 East Asia crisis.

…44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of recipients of unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they ”have not used a government program.” [Säger en hel del om det amerikanska debattklimatet…]

…a majority of people either believe that the estate tax affects ”most” families (49 percent) or do not know how many families it affects (20 percent). In fact, it affects only 2 percent of families.

vituperative = bitter, anklagande

usury = ocker [bra ord!]

triumvirate =”tre män” på latin (Sv: triumvirat); tremannakollegium (används för att beteckna oligopoliserad makt)

dearth = brist

ptolemaic = världsbild enligt Ptolemaeus

Kommentera

Fyll i dina uppgifter nedan eller klicka på en ikon för att logga in:

WordPress.com-logga

Du kommenterar med ditt WordPress.com-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Google-foto

Du kommenterar med ditt Google-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Twitter-bild

Du kommenterar med ditt Twitter-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Facebook-foto

Du kommenterar med ditt Facebook-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Ansluter till %s