James K. Galbraith: Inequality and Instability: What’s Ahead for the World Economy + Sidney Gluck: Humanism and Socialism

Dandelion Salad

Inequality Hurts Us All

Image by Dean.Chahim via Flickr

SocialJusticeNOW·Feb 18, 2013

Economist James K. Galbraith, one of the country’s leading analysts of the financial crisis, speaks on the link between the growing inequality and economic instability. Galbraith, a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, will focus on the argument in his new book, Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just before the Great Crisis, http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Economics/MacroeconomicTheory/?view=usa&ci=9780199855650 which demonstrates that increased inequality is a product of the rise of windfall profits in finance and the deregulation of markets. For an exploration of these ideas, watch Bill Moyers’ interview with Galbraith online.

Galbraith, a frequent commentator in the media and adviser to policymakers, is also the author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too and Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay. In addition to his teaching and research, Galbraith has served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress, including Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee.
At UT, Galbraith directs the Inequality Project. http://utip.gov.utexas.edu/about.html
For more information, contact Robert Jensen, rjensen@austin.utexas.edu.
Location: 5604 Manor, 5604 Manor Road, Austin, 78723 – http://www.5604manor.org/
A ZGraphix/Austin Indymedia Production.
Produced/Edited by Jeff Zavala.
Filmed by Jeff Zavala.


Sidney J Gluck: Humanism and Socialism

Joe Friendly·Feb 23, 2013

Retired professor of economics Sidney J Gluck, 96, explains the shortcomings of the US economic system, pointing to the advantages of socialism as more in harmony with humanistic values. He speaks at the monthly meeting of the Corliss Lamont NY chapter of the American Humanist Association held at the Ethical Cultural Society of NY. Camera: Beth Lamont and Joe Friendly


Unlivable Wages by Ralph Nader

Socialist Register 2013: The Question of Strategy

Breaking the Chains of Debt Peonage by Chris Hedges

Tavis Smiley: Vision for a New America: A Future without Poverty + Cornel West: You Don’t Play With Martin Luther King, Jr.

from the archives:

Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (must-see)

Bill Moyers Journal: James K. Galbraith + Richard Brookhiser

10 thoughts on “James K. Galbraith: Inequality and Instability: What’s Ahead for the World Economy + Sidney Gluck: Humanism and Socialism

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  6. Galbraith’s interpretation of these data sets is extremely interesting, even if quite subtle and difficult to grasp when his examples of counter-intuitive evidence contradict apparent assumptions.

    It seems to me, that an important lesson to be gleaned from all this, is that it is possible to correct our assumptions according to those parameters, and that is instructive; but that there are always contexts outside of any frame of discourse, that need to be considered.

    For example, we get the point about migration away from dirt-poor conditions, skill-based industrial growth, poor relations in an expanded Europe etc., but two important additional contributory factors are missing.

    The first is the qualitative disparities between livelihood versus income; and secondly the recognition that food provisioning should never be relegated to the social status of a low skilled task on economic grounds. The obvious solution to that dilemma, is for the profits from successful, highly tooled technological production to be directly cycled back into sustainable, but sophisticated, worker participatory growth ventures and cooperatives, ideally operating on intelligent organic principles.

    Throughout his talk, James K. G. never mentions environmental degradation, biodiversity, soil erosion and conservation, ecological remediation, pollution economics, or any other seriously critical factor to do with qualitative values of nature as ethical governing principles; but only discusses better interpretation of data sets according to conventional economic & political criteria.

    He delivers valuable insights, but somehow shrinks from the really big issues, that are so intimately key to our core life-support systems, and therefore not just a matter of incomes and inequalities.

    My own view is that these rational lacunae illustrate clearly our desperate need for a much bigger conversation, one that prioritizes the metabolic, relational logic of integrated systems of extraction, production, intelligent distribution and waste recycling ~ not just war, war, war for more, more, more.

    • It is actually a privilege to listen to Sidney Gluck. I really appreciate his perspective and perspicuity. I’d like to believe he is right, that Obama is listening. It is very interesting what he says about Germany, as I believe that the first steel-rolling mills set up in China were through Krupp industries. So there has been this long association since the end of WWII, more far-sighted than the jostling for advantage of the allied powers.

      The point about jobs’ creation is a very tricky question, when it comes to indigenous societies, such as exist in all the Americas and now, Africa. After all, Alberta tar-sands depend on gainfully “employed” native people. This is a nuanced issue that can only be addressed through eco-regional cultural criteria that respect bio-diverse, & representative cooperative consultation, that does not just surrender to the abstract imposition of private capital and its disastrous consequences for the environment and health.

      Bhutan is said to be the first country in the world that may soon be provisioned by 100% organic means. Heritage food systems are far more essential to global well-being, than all the industrial development put together. These must come first. Highly sophisticated technological products to be legitimate, have to benefit life, and the preservation of flourishing ecosystems through intelligent scientific conservation, not genocidal dominance and ecocidal exploitation. We must make all that HISTORY.

      To do this we need to revise our understanding of what a weapon is for, who should deploy it, and why.

      • My point about Africa was meant to suggest that this is an even more crucial question now, given the resource argument and Chinese involvement, as even though ancient societies are still remembered, sometimes falsely, they are gravely threatened everywhere. Commodity fetishism and cultural erasure reduce human beings to mere statistics, this is just a living death, symbolic entrapment.

        My main concern is that we should revise our economic narrative and talk more about livelihoods and less about “jobs.”

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