James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith Takes on Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

What is “capital”? To Karl Marx, it was a social, political, and legal category—the means of control of the means of production by the dominant class. Capital could be money, it could be machines; it could be fixed and it could be variable. But the essence of capital was neither physical nor financial. It was the power that capital gave to capitalists, namely the authority to make decisions and to extract surplus from the worker.

Keep reading... Show less

James K. Galbraith: How to Stop the Path of Economic and Social Destruction

Economist James K. Galbraith recently addressed an audience in Greece to examine why members of his profession have done such a poor job of diagnosing economic problems and recommending appropriate policy solutions. As he explains, economists dedicated to an outdated model of how the economy functions have promoted national policies focused on austerity, deregulation and privatization, which have failed miserably to address the widespread pain of a global financial crisis. In contrast, economists critical of this view have strongly opposed austerity and have recommend policies that can create a robust economy and society through stabilizing institutions, addressing the burden of debt, restructuring banks, and promoting investment and jobs. Which side has been proven right? The answer, Galbraith argues, is obvious, and it is time for a sea change in economic thinking.

Keep reading... Show less

Galbraith: Is This the End for the Deficit Drones?

In wars, sometimes there comes a moment when the tide turns. The collapse of Ludendorff's offensive in 1918 presaged the Armistice;  failure in the Ardennes meant the end for Germany in 1944.  

Today we have two drone wars in a similar state. One is mainly in Pakistan. Built on a gee-whiz technology that can't do what it promised, this war has claimed too many victims for too little effect. It is a diplomatic disaster and its days are numbered, almost surely, for that reason.

The other drone war is in Washington. The drones are in groups with names like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Campaign to Fix the Debt. They drone on, and on, about the calamities that await unless we cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

That the goal of the deficit drones is to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has been plain for years to anyone who looks at where the money comes from. It comes largely from Peter G. Peterson, a billionaire former secretary of Commerce under Nixon, who is Captain Ahab to Social Security's Moby Dick. And when one trick, such as privatization, falls flat, his minions always have another, whether it's raising the retirement age or changing the COLA. But a cut by any other name is still, and always, just a cut.

Peterson's influence is vast; practically the entire DC mind-meld has bought his line to some degree.   

Keep reading... Show less

6 Reasons the Fiscal Cliff is a Scam

Stripped to essentials, the fiscal cliff is a device constructed to force a rollback of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as the price of avoiding tax increases and disruptive cuts in federal civilian programs and in the military.  It was policy-making by hostage-taking, timed for the lame duck session, a contrived crisis, the plain idea now unfolding was to force a stampede.

Keep reading... Show less