One can never have too much money. In the United States, the top one percent of the population rakes in almost a quarter of the national income and enjoys forty percent of the wealth. That privileged class sees this situation as a problem. To be precise, they are not getting enough.
For ordinary workers, the recession brought only economic hardship. But for corporate America, it meant opportunity. It was perceived as the chance to mold the economy permanently into something approximating the Third World model: vast wealth and privilege for those at the top, and unemployment, falling wages, and inadequate or nonexistent social services for the rest of society. Read More »
On a global scale, the reign of free market ideology has wrought profound changes. Manufacturing jobs in the developed nations are rapidly shrinking, while abroad there has been a rise in sweatshop production, bringing with an exploitation of labor that is reminiscent of the 19th century. The effect has been to widen the gulf between the living conditions of the wealthy and those who labor for them.
Inequality has reached such an astounding level that it requires an act of willful blindness on the part of Western media not to notice it. Over half of the world’s population subsists on less than $2 a day, while the 200 richest individuals own more wealth than 41 percent of the world’s population, or in other words, more than 2.6 billion people. Such an extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of the few cannot be construed as a failure of global capitalism. Indeed, it is a mark of its success, for this is what the system is designed to do. Nor can the mass immiseration on which the system rests be dismissed as an unfortunate and unintended byproduct of the process. The system is the very engine that drives the accumulation of riches. Read More »
Nine years ago, neoliberal political forces took power in Serbia, promising a radical transformation of the economy. Today, deep into that transformation, Serbia is foundering from its effects, exacerbated by the worldwide economic downturn. Industrial production has fallen 15 percent compared to the average of last year, while unemployment remains high.
A delegation from the IMF is now in Belgrade, negotiating over Serbia’s 2010 national budget and how best to deal with the economic crisis. The two sides are not far apart, in that both parties envision more of the usual neoliberal prescriptions as the way out of an economic crisis brought about in large part by those very same measures. Read More »