Before Irma’s and María’s devastating pit stops in the Archipelago, Puerto Rico was (and still is, even more so now) undergoing one of the most detrimental financial and socio-political crises of its contemporary history. With an unaudited $74 billion debt under its belt, and $49 billion in pension obligations, with decades of illegal bond issuances and trades and an overly-advertised tax haven, Puerto Rico was/is almost literally drowning.
Rather than a “free market,” the neoliberal global economy praised as “free trade” by policy wonks is actually “a global framework of institutions and regulations that enable elites to maximise their rental income.” Standing says 31% of Western corporate profits today, as opposed to 17% in 1999, are in industries where profits are rents on artificial scarcities…
It is clear that the power to lobby continues to expand and to infiltrate all levels of government. Funds devoted to lobbying by fossil fuel companies are increasing rapidly at the provincial level. On many levels, democracy is weakening and inequality is rising, while environmental disaster looms. What kinds of changes could help to restore an effective social passion for the common good?
The problem with the Eurozone is that it is a monetary union that does not have the necessary requisites of a fiscal union and political union that would set up the rules and mechanisms to allow the central authorities to move capital from surplus to deficit regions.
All too often, critics speak of neoliberalism as a coercive, external force lying somewhere ‘out there’ in the political landscape. But many of us increasingly and voluntarily govern our lives in a manner mirroring the logic of the market. Is it any wonder, then, that this ideology has become so naturalised, and the alternatives so hard to see?
In the summer of 2016 the global imagination was consumed by monsters…I am talking about Pokémon, Japan’s most successful international brand, which once again stormed onto the cultural stage with the release of its first “augmented reality” (AR) video game for smartphones.
In the religion of economics, the entrepreneur is a hero engaged in a narrative of destructive creation. Entrepreneurs are tragically noble figures on a treadmill of competition – but who is really making the sacrifices?
Nevertheless, even as political events spiral toward (perhaps intended) chaos, I wish once again, as I’ve done countless times before, to point to a lie even bigger than the ones being served up by the new administration…It is the lie that human society can continue growing its population and consumption levels indefinitely on our finite planet, and never suffer consequences.
It is right to hold sorrow in check, so that we can fulfil our roles, unburdened. To consider a task properly we need unbroken intelligence of receptive senses and an unfettered imagination.
To the question, “What is wrong with the economy?” Trump answers: we have made bad deals…
It is according to the same sort of cultural changes and thus the change in the social roles of our heroes that we might notice the way we, in American, have replaced the explorer, frontiersman, aviator and astronaut with a new hero—one with a decidedly commercial bent.
Economic metaphors are important to illustrate the distinct features of specific economic systems that exist at particular times.