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”

Jobless by choice

I’ve been away, so have not done a new blog for a while.  Getting back into action, I’ve returned to the theme in my last blog on US unemployment (It’s a long and winding road for America’s jobless, 6 August 2010). It’s been a traditional assertion by ‘vulgar’ capitalist economics that unemployment is more theContinue reading “Jobless by choice”

It’s a long and winding road for America’s jobless

It’s a long and winding road for the jobless – at least in the US.  The latest monthly employment figures came out today (Friday 6 August) and it was not good news for those without a job.  The number of available jobs slumped by 131,000 in July. Much of this loss was due to theContinue reading “It’s a long and winding road for America’s jobless”

UK: the artificial recovery

Last Friday, the UK’s national statistics office reported the data for economic growth in Q2’2010 (April to June), the first of the G7 nations to do so.   Real GDP growth rose 1.1% in Q2 over Q1, or 1.6% compared to the same quarter in 2009. This was hailed as an indication that British capitalism wasContinue reading “UK: the artificial recovery”

Financialisation – the cause of the crisis?

I have to return to this issue that I raised in a previous blog (A financial or economic crisis?, 15 June 2010), because there are so many radical economists who are arguing that the causes of the Great Recession do not fit a ‘classical Marxist’ explanation based on a decline in profitability. No, according toContinue reading “Financialisation – the cause of the crisis?”

Keynesians versus Austerians

There is major policy battle going on between the economic advisors of the major capitalist governments meeting at the G20 summit this week.  Most advisors want action to cut government spending because of the humongous rise in public sector debt in nearly all the G20 economies. This debt (owed to the banks who bought itContinue reading “Keynesians versus Austerians”