Britain: slash and burn

The Tory-Liberal coalition government in the UK has announced the results of what it calls its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), namely the details where and how much it plans to  spend on various government departments from defence, transport, housing, family benefits through to health and education.  This CSR will see massive and unprecedented spending cuts.Continue reading “Britain: slash and burn”

Capitalism still on its knees

In article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Thursday 14 October, John Ross makes the telling point that the reason for the snail’s pace in economic recovery since the Great Recession finished in mid-2009 is one of under-investment not under-consumption ( As he says about the US economy; “At the recession’s core is a US investmentContinue reading “Capitalism still on its knees”

Nobel people

It is significant that Nobel prize in economics did not go to those economists who were closest to predicting or warning about the worst disaster for the capitalist economic system since the Great Depression.   But then John Maynard Keynes never won a prize either. The favourites for the prize had been Richard Thaler ( andContinue reading “Nobel people”

Greenspan gets it

Alan Greenspan gets a bad press in this blog.  The great ‘maestro’ of the global credit boom and bust gets a good whacking from me (particularly in my recent paper, The causes of the Great Recession) and by others.  But Alan’s recent piece in the Financial Times, Fear undermines America’s recovery, 6 October) did pick upContinue reading “Greenspan gets it”

Bernanke in denial

The current chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, Ben Bernanke, pronounced on the causes of the financial collapse of 2008 and the subsequent Great Recession in testimony to the US Financial Inquiry Commission ( on 2 September. Now he has returned to his old economics department at Princeton University to give a speech onContinue reading “Bernanke in denial”

The poor are always with us (under this system)

The latest figures from the US Census Bureau reveal that the nation’s poverty rate has hit 14.3% of the population, or nearly 44m people.  The poverty threshold is defined as an income less than $21,954 for a family of four and $10,956 for an individual.  This is a very low figure.  Many Americans with incomesContinue reading “The poor are always with us (under this system)”

Capacity utilisation and the rate of profit

Every month the US government publishes a measure of the utilisation of existing industrial capacity (i.e plant and equipment).  This is measured as a percentage of total capacity.  What makes it interesting is that it can give you a guide to just how much over-capacity relative to profitable sales is building up in a capitalistContinue reading “Capacity utilisation and the rate of profit”

Banking as a public service

It’s two years to the day since Lehman Brothers, one of the big five investment banks in the US, went bust and kicked off a financial collapse that nearly pushed the whole capitalist system into meltdown.  The strategists of capital don’t want to let that happen again, so they have been deliberating for months andContinue reading “Banking as a public service”

Views on the Great Recession: David Harvey and Anwar Shaikh

David Harvey and Anwar Shaikh are two leading and well-respected Marxist economists, who have published a number of well-received books and papers over the years.  Now both have just published their more considered views of the causes of the financial collapse and the ensuing Great Recession of 2008-9. In his piece, The enigma of capitalContinue reading “Views on the Great Recession: David Harvey and Anwar Shaikh”