James K. Galbraith – USA

Linked with our presentation of The Plutocrats go wild, and of The University of Texas’ Inequality Project UTIP, and of Economists for Peace and Security.

James K. Galbraith is a progressive American economist who writes frequently for mainstream and liberal publications on economic topics. He is the son of renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

James K- Galbraith - USA.JPG

James K. Galbraith – USA

Read his article Hanging Chads a la Mexicana, July 28, 2006

He earned his BA from Harvard in 1974 and Ph.D from Yale in 1981, both in economics. From 1974 to 1975, Galbraith studied at King’s College, Cambridge. From 1981 to 1982, Galbraith served on the staff of the Congress of the United States, eventually as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. In 1985, he was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin. He is the Chair of Economists for Peace and Security, formerly known as Economists Against the Arms Race and later Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR), an international association of professional economists concerned with peace and security issues. He is also a Senior Scholar with the Jerome Levy Economics Institute and Director of the University of Texas Inequality Project. Galbraith’s books include Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future (1989), Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998), and Industrial Change: A Global View, co-edited with Maureen Bemer, (2001).

He also contributes a column to The Texas Observer and writes regularly for The Nation, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, and The Progressive. His Op-Ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other newspapers … Like his colleague and compatriot, economist Paul Krugman, Galbraith is highly critical of the Bush administration’s foreign policy apropos of the Iraq invasion: (Read more on wikipedia).

Read his article Mexico’s [Ongoing] Electoral Fiasco, July 25, 2006

Galbraith has taken the view that Bush II-America has fallen prey to a wealthy, government-controlling “predatory class”: Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class truggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature–a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live. (See his article The Predatore State).

There is a reason for the vulnerability of empires. To maintain one against opposition requires war — steady, unrelenting, unending war. And war is ruinous — from a legal, moral and economic point of view. It can ruin the losers, such as Napoleonic France, or Imperial Germany in 1918. And it can ruin the victors, as it did the British and the Soviets in the 20th century. Conversely, Germany and Japan recovered well from World War II, in part because they were spared reparations and did not have to waste national treasure on defense in the aftermath of defeat…The real economic cost of Bush’s empire building is twofold: It diverts attention from pressing economic problems at home and it sets the United States on a long-term imperial path that is economically ruinous. (See his article The Unbearable Costs of Emire).

He is also a merciless critic of his own profession.

Leading active members of today’s economics profession, the generation presently in their 40s and 50s, have joined together into a kind of politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule — as one might expect from a gentleman’s club — this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen. They offer a “rape is like the weather” fatalism about an “inevitable” problem (pay inequality) that then starts to recede. They oppose the most basic, decent, and sensible reforms, while offering placebos instead. They are always surprised when something untoward (like a recession) actually occurs. And when finally they sense that some position cannot be sustained, they do not re-examine their ideas. Instead, they simply change the subject. (See his article How the Economits Got It Wrong).

Read also his article US Scholar Agrees Vote was Cooked in Mexico, July 19, 2006.

James K. Galbraith teaches economics and a variety of other subjects at the LBJ School. He holds degrees from Harvard (B.A. magna cum laude, 1974) and Yale (Ph.D. in economics, 1981). He studied economics as a Marshall Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1974-1975, and then served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress, including Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. He was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in 1985. He directed the LBJ School’s Ph.D. Program in Public Policy from 1995 to 1997. He directs the University of Texas Inequality Project, an informal research group based at the LBJ School. Galbraith has co-authored two textbooks, The Economic Problem with the late Robert L. Heilbroner and Macroeconomics with William Darity, Jr. He is the author of Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future (1989) and Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998). His most recent book, Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View (Cambridge University Press, 2001), is coedited with Maureen Berner and features contributions from six LBJ School Ph.D. students. Galbraith maintains several outside connections, including serving as a Senior Scholar of the Levy Economics Institute and as Chair of the Board of Economists for Peace and Security. He writes a column called “Econoclast” for Mother Jones, and occasional commentary in many other publications, including The Texas Observer, The American Prospect, and The Nation. He is an occasional commentator for Public Radio International’s Marketplace. (See this and much more on his homepage).

Read his article Math in Mexico, July 18, 2006

He says: (Excerpt:) … The immediate problem of the Bush-Cheney war policy lies in the neglect and indifference, which it fosters, of all our other economic problems.

First, private business investment in the United States has now fallen virtually to the capital replacement level. There is no early prospect of revival because the recession in consumer spending still lies ahead. Until that storm comes and passes, businesses will hold off on net new investment. As a result, there will be little further application of new technologies to economic life. Instead, new technologists will be pulled back into the military sector from whence they emerged 30 years ago, and the advanced private sector on which we have, until recently, based our hopes will wither.

Second, the recession in consumer spending cannot be put off forever. American households are still being crushed by debt. After September 11, their spending was held aloft by falling oil prices, falling interest rates, the tax rebate, rising government spending and the auto companies’ willingness to unload their inventories at a loss. Interest rates remain very low, alongside a continuing bubble in the price of housing, which supports a continued flow of equity loans. But this source of consumer spending is already nearing its limits. The auto companies may give up their effort soon enough (right after the November election?). After that, the second loop of the “W.” recession will soon be on us in force.

Third, state and local government budgets continue to implode. Reasonable estimates now show $50 billion in deficits at the state level, and the losses are surely almost as large at the local level. As rainy-day funds are depleted, these will translate into service cuts and sometimes into tax increases. Either way, household budgets will take the full hit. The war fever in Washington — alongside political cynicism, willful ignorance of the economics, defeatism and inertia — has so far blocked an effective campaign for revenue sharing with the states, the one way in which the federal government might prevent this calamity this year.

Fourth, we have the economic effects of the decline of our financial markets, which have already lost more than $8 trillion in nominal shareholder value since their peak in 2000. To some extent, these losses are due to the corruption of certain major corporations, including several (not least Halliburton) that are closely tied to the military-petroleum complex. Failure to attend to these issues is necessarily endemic in an administration built on corporate fraud and committed to war for oil. (Read more on wikipedia).

links:

the Levy Economic Institute;

on global Keynesianism;

abolish election day.

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