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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful studies of US politics and economics

    James K. Galbraith holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr Chair in Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. In this excellent collection of essays, written between January 1995 and April 2006, he demolishes President Bush's record, especially his arguments for the war on Iraq, and he also criticises Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's policies. He writes on the feeble liberal prescription for recovery, "As for training, the problem is not a shortage of skills. It is an extreme shortage of good jobs, combined with bad pay and poor working conditions." He writes, "for a project of national reconstruction and investment, much of the necessary funds can, and properly should, be borrowed. Policy should do what is necessary to restore jobs. Full employment, sustainable development, and national security are proper goals for policy. Deficit reduction, as such, is not. Public debt to enrich the wealthy is one thing. Debt to rebuild the country is something else again." Of course, this is directly relevant to politics here in Britain. The Coalition is not on a route to recovery but on the road to disaster. Professor Galbraith concludes, "The economic commitment, in turn, must be to full employment here, to egalitarian growth in Europe and Japan, and to a worldwide development strategy favoring civil infrastructure and the poor. Public capital investment, stronger unions and a high minimum wage should frame the domestic agenda. Overseas, crackdowns on tax havens and the arms trade, a stabilizing financial system and an end to the debt peonage of poor countries should be among the high priorities of a new structure. "The truths are that egalitarian growth is efficient, that speculation must be regulated, that crime starts at the top, and that peace is the primary public good. These truths are poison to predators and the reason they have fostered and subsidized an entire cynical intellectual movement devoted to 'free' markets, a class of professor-courtiers now everywhere in view."

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