Economics

Fair trade, free trade, and socialism

Published on: Sat, 09/02/2008 - 21:17
Author

Paul Hampton

Trade is a vital part of the neoliberal economic, political and ideological regime that now dominates the world economy and most national states.

At various summits in recent years the world’s most powerful governments have promised to introduce a better deal on trade, aid and debt for the world’s poorest countries, especially in Africa.

At the same time, there are many charities and NGOs making proposals to make trade fairer. A number of organisations came together in 2006 in the Make Poverty History coalition, call for trade justice. Others advocate buying only goods with the fairtrade

Economics and learning from the facts

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:24
Author

Natalia Cassidy

Martin Thomas’s book Crisis and Sequels: Capitalism and the New Economic Turmoil since 2007 is constructed around 32 interviews, discussions, and debates with left wing economists and other thinkers.

It takes the reader; mostly chronologically, along the timeline from the immediate aftermath of the crash itself in 2007-8 across the next decade, up to 2016.

Thomas offers a substantial introduction, with overviews of the debates that take place across the book between the various contributors and himself.

Issues in debate centre around Marx’s “tendency of the rate of profit to fall”, US hegemony

A new humanist politics?

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02
Author

Matt Kinsella

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Mason draws a convincing link from the financial crash in 2007-08 to Trump’s election. Mason emphasises how the monopolisation of information (think Google and Facebook) has led to systems outside our control, for example, of online

A British counter-revolution

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 10:26
Author

Cathy Nugent

The current BBC2 documentary series Thatcher: A Very British Revolution is worth watching for the film footage — interviews with Thatcher, old news reports of events, and other rarer clips. Beyond that, it won’t tell you much more than Wikipedia does.

Most of the talking heads are Tory ex-MPs and civil servants who served under Thatcher. Also Bernard Ingham, Thatcher’s press secretary, who proves that reactionary pomposity does not fade with age.

After three instalments, I can say the first episode was the most interesting. It explained how Thatcher came to be leader of the Tory Party in

The roots of inequality

Published on: Wed, 22/05/2019 - 11:48
Author

Matt Cooper

On 14 May, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) launched its Deaton Review into inequality in Britain. The broadcast and print news outlets carried interviews about the five-year study into the nature and causes of inequality in the UK, with the Nobel laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton in the chair and a budget of £2.5 million supplied by the charitable Nuffield Trust.

The research promises to be wide-ranging, looking at inequality not just in incomes, but also in other areas such as health, wealth, political participation and opportunity. The first motivation for the report is that the UK

Crisis and Sequels out in paperback

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2019 - 10:58
Author

Janet Burstall

Martin Thomas outlines the guide he followed in compiling Crisis and Sequels, a book on the 2007-8 crash and its aftermath now out in paperback edition.

“Analysis must proceed not from a blurred outline of a ‘typical’ capitalist economy, but from the complex reality of a world economy with its own structure and within it national economies substantially different in pattern both from the global structure and from each other”.

Crisis and Sequels is built round 32 interviews with or contributions by 15 economists, organised into five chronological sections as the 2007­8 crash and its sequels

Rosa Luxemburg and imperialism

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2019 - 10:46
Author

Martin Thomas

Rosa Luxemburg considered her most important contribution to be her book, The Accumulation of Capital, published in 1913.

The legacy of the Polish­-German revolutionary socialist leader who was murdered by a right­-wing militia operating under the aegis of a Social­ Democratic government just over 100 years ago has come down to us through a haze of sentimental misrepresentation and selective republishing, but now can and should be reconsidered.

For decades the two most widely ­available texts from Luxemburg were critical notes on the Bolshevik revolution, drafted in jail in 1918, and not

Trump and the world economy

Published on: Sun, 30/12/2018 - 22:46
Author

Leo Panitch

S: I can see four main sorts of possible outcomes to be considered from Trump’s economic jousting.

One: it may reshape some deals, like NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] to the USA’s advantage or imagined advantage, but after a flurry relations in the world markets will settle down much as before.

Two: By generally shaking up trade relations, and putting pressure on some of China’s protectionist policies, economic life around the world may settle after the jousting into a more “globalised” form, more subject to world-market rules.

Three: The jousting leaves a world-market system

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