Author Archives: Editor

Beefing Up Intolerance In India

By Sai Madhurika Mamunuru

On 28th September, 2015, a 50 year old man named Mohammad Akhlaq was brutally beaten and killed by a mob in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, for allegedly storing and consuming beef at home. The slaughter of cows is banned in 11 states in India, with Maharashtra and Haryana among the most recent to join the list. The bill in Maharashtra received Presidential assent after being stalled at different stages of legislation for 20 years. The punishment for consumption of beef could go up to 10,000 Indian Rupees and five years in jail.

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Don’t Believe the Hype: Neoliberalism Has Failed Pakistan

Recent slum clearance in Islamabad

By Danish Khan

The processes of economic development across different countries and different times are uneven, multi-faceted, and even counteracting. In recent history, as the global South industrialized and urbanized, manufacturing jobs moved from the global North to the global South. But such structural changes to the global economy didn’t just happen; they were cajoled by a policy package that included policies of free trade, deregulation of financial markets, de-unionization of the work place and a reduction of the state’s role in an economy.  When advocates of these neoliberal policies are confronted in the US about the dismal outcome(s) of their prescribed policies (see: the Rust Belt), they argue that these policies are helping the world’s poor by generating employment in developing countries. If neoliberal policies are simply transferring jobs from the developed world to the developing world, their argument goes, these policies would be regarded as progressive and redistributive. Who, with an eye to global equity between rich and poor countries, could oppose such policies?

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The Journal knows only costs, not values

By Gerald Friedman

The Wall Street Journal cited Gerald Friedman’s research on single-payer healthcare in it’s recent hit piece on Bernie Sanders. The Journal made great mention of the $15 Trillion dollar price tag for single payer health care, and omitted Friedman’s finding that single-payer health care would replace $20 Trillion dollars in private health care spending, for a net savings of $5 Trillion dollars.

 

It is said of Economists that they know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.  In the case of the article “Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals: $18 Trillion,” this accusation is a better fit for the Wall Street Journal that published it.  The WSJ correctly puts the additional federal spending for health care under HR 676 (a single payer health plan) at $15 trillion over ten years.  It neglects to add, however, that, by spending these vast sums, we would, as a country, save nearly $5 trillion over ten years in reduced administrative waste, lower pharmaceutical and device prices, and by lowering the rate of medical inflation.

These financial savings would be felt by businesses and by state and local governments who would no longer be paying for health insurance for their employees; and by retirees and working Americans who would no longer have to pay for their health insurance or for copayments and deductibles.  Beyond these financial savings, HR 676 would also save thousands of lives a year by expanding access to health care for the uninsured and the underinsured.

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Indian Government’s Crackdown on NGOs

By Sai Madhurika Mamunuru

Over the past year, the Government of India has revoked the licenses of nearly 9000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India. According to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, NGOs are expected to report details of donations received from abroad. These organizations, the government claims, failed to comply with the regulations even after being issued a notice.  This “crackdown” by the Indian government comes at a time when other Asian economies (all of them, democracies) are becoming increasingly intolerant of organizations that contest the policies and practices of the State. Read more

To Trade Or Not To Trade

By Matson Boyd

1024px-Tuticorin_Thermal_Power_Station_at_Night

Pick up a newspaper, ask a member of congress, or worse yet, ask someone on Wall Street, and you’ll hear that the way to stop climate change is to pass cap-and-trade— put a price on carbon and let Wall Street trade in the carbon permits. This understandably has many folks concerned that we’re going to commodify our atmosphere and open the door to Wall Street shenanigans. Our recent history of bubbles and fraud suggests there’s some reason to worry about what Wall Street will do as we tackle climate change. But on closer inspection, capping carbon doesn’t require trading carbon. And the loopholes and fraud that have plagued carbon trading schemes stem from “offsets”, which are not needed at all. So which systems of carbon regulation are vulnerable to Wall Street trickery, and which are resistant to it?

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Climate Change: What is it? What causes it? What can we do about it?

 

By Alejandro Reuss

Bangladesh_Fishing_2006

We expect the weather to change from day to day. One day it’s sunny; the next, rainy. The temperature one summer day might be 80°F; the next day, 95°. We also expect weather to change with the change in seasons. The average temperature in July in the northern hemisphere, for example, is much higher than the average temperature in January.

Climate change is different. Changes in day-to-day weather conditions, so long as these still vary around the same averages for that particular place at that time of year, year after year, do not indicate climate change. Nor do particular weather conditions in a particular place—like unseasonable cold or unusual snowfall—tell us much about climate change, one way or another. Rather, climate change is the long-run shift in underlying weather patterns (including temperature, precipitation, etc.).

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Quantitative Easing and The Great Recession: Who Wins? Who Loses?

By Jerry Epstein

CPE Staff Economist

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Fed Chair Janet Yellen

The Federal Reserve (Fed), the central bank of the United States, is at the center of a big political fight, once again. Ron Paul, former libertarian congressman, says we should “End the Fed” and reinstitute a gold standard; Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, said the Fed policy of low interest rates is “treasonous” and Fed officials should be sent to Texas where they know how to “deal with” such people; Senator Rand Paul (Ron’s son) has put forward a bill to “Audit the Fed” and establish more Congressional control over monetary policy; and progressives from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to the Occupy Movement are highly critical of the revolving door between Fed officials and Wall Street, but oppose Paul, Paul and Perry’s “hard money” policies that would make life harder for debtors.

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Healthcare Reform after the Affordable Care Act

By Gerald Friedman

Can we finally move past the bizarre fight over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a.  the ACA or Obamacare) of 2010? When congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration adopted a program originally proposed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation that had been enacted into law in Massachusetts under Republican governor Mitt Romney, they anticipated building a national consensus behind a program that would bring health coverage to millions of Americans largely within the established private health insurance system. One would have expected opposition from the Left by proponents of a government-funded universal program; but nearly 70 years after President Harry Truman first pushed for a universal health insurance system, pragmatic progressives anticipated that by accepting a conservative program built on individual responsibility and private health insurance they would attract enough bipartisan support to enact the ACA easily and to enact it smoothly.

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Amid climate change, what’s more important: Protecting money or people?

By James K. Boyce

Poor farmworkers in Vietnam. How will they afford the cost of adapting to climate change?

 

At the latest round of international climate talks this month in Lima, Peru, melting glaciers in the Andes and recent droughts provided a fitting backdrop for the negotiators’ recognition that it is too late to prevent climate change, no matter how fast we ultimately act to limit it. They now confront an issue that many had hoped to avoid: adaptation.

Adapting to climate change will carry a high price tag. Sea walls are needed to protect coastal areas against floods, such as those in the New York area when Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012. We need early-warning and evacuation systems to protect against human tragedies, such as those caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Cooling centers and emergency services must be created to cope with heat waves, such as the one that killed 70,000 in Europe in 2003. Water projects are needed to protect farmers and herders from extreme droughts, such as the one that gripped the Horn of Africa in 2011. Large-scale replanting of forests with new species will be needed to keep pace as temperature gradients shift toward the poles.

Because adaptation won’t come cheap, we must decide which investments are worth the cost.

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Harnessing the Potential of the Sharing Economy

By Anders Fremstad

New York City Classic

American capitalism generates an astounding amount of waste.  Nowhere is this more clear than in our hugely inefficient transportation system.  In the United States, the average private vehicle is driven only 1 hour a day and transports just 1.7 passengers.  But the sharing economy is starting to change how Americans get around.  A 2014 poll by the Center for a New American Dream reveals that 9% have used car-sharing services like Zipcar and RelayRides, and 8% have used peer-to-peer taxis like Uber and Lyft.

As these online platforms gain traction, criticism of the sharing economy is growing as well.  Uber, which created a ride-sharing app that is now valued at $40 billion, attracts special attention.  In a debate at Cato Unbound, Dean Baker argues that Uber competes unfairly with traditional taxi services, because it does not require its drivers meet safety standards, carry commercial insurance, or acquire a taxi medallion.

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