Corporate Power and Capitalism
The Myth of the Free Market
How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic, The New Yorker, July 13, 2020, The secretive titan behind one of America’s largest poultry companies, who is also one of the President’s top donors, is ruthlessly leveraging the coronavirus crisis—and his vast fortune—to strip workers of protections.
How the Fed Bailed Out the Investor Class Without Spending a Cent, The American Prospect, May 27, 2020. Just announcing $4.5 trillion in future spending to support securities markets was enough to keep owners of capital protected from the downsides of the coronavirus. What would become known as the CARES Act became law on March 27, and the investor class has never looked back. While Americans struggle to file unemployment claims and extract stimulus checks from their banks, while small businesses face extinction amid a meager and under-baked federal grant program, the Fed has, at least temporarily, propped up every equity and credit market in America.
How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response, ProPublica, July 15, 2020. For the world’s best-known corporate-management consultants, helping tackle the pandemic has been a bonanza. It’s not clear what the government has gotten in return.
Capitalism for the Few
Why the Working Class Votes Against Its Economic Interests, The New York Times, July 31, 2020. A review of two recent books that explain what drives middle and working class voters to vote for Republicans. It concludes that politicians have created a smoke screen for an oligarchy that is actively working to disadvantage people outside their elite class: The authors provide instructive detail about how this has been accomplished and what the way out of this is.
The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis: An Explanation For The Recent Evolution Of The American Economy National Bureau Of Economic Research, May 2020. ....in the past four decades, the single largest driver of income inequality in America has been the decline in worker power, much of it stemming from the collapse of membership in private-sector unions. Since the fifties, the percentage of private-sector workers who belong to unions has declined from thirty-three per cent to six per cent. As a result, there has been an upward redistribution of income to high-income executives, owners, and shareholders. The economists argue that this decline in worker power, more than any other structural change in the economy, accounts for nearly all the gains in the share of income made by America’s wealthiest one per cent.
Imagining a World Without Capitalism, Project Syndicate, December 27, 2019. In this system, calls for a gentler capitalism are mere fads – especially in the post-2008 reality, which confirmed the total control over society by mega-firms and mega-banks. Unless we are willing to ban tradable shares....we will make no appreciable difference to the distribution of wealth and power today. To imagine what transcending capitalism might mean in practice requires rethinking the ownership of corporations.