Several years ago, as a full-time reporter in upstate New York, in a small town where empty factories loom over the homes below like ancient monsters
Facebook is in the hot seat again. The Wall Street Journal published a powerful multi-part series on the company this week, drawing from internal documents on everything from the company’s secretive practice of whitelisting celebrities to its knowledge that Instagram is taking a serious toll on the mental health of teen girls. The flurry of […]
At Take on Wall Street, we believe that you can’t address the wealth gap, wage disparities, or a range of other economic threats without first
What is a free market?To the classical economists, the objective of 19th-century reform was to replace the rentier class’s political power with democratic power to create state policies to either tax away land rent and other economic rent, or to take (return) land, natural resources and natural monopolies such as transportation, communications and other basic infrastructure needs to the public domain. A free market was defined as one free from economic rent – the land rent imposed by heirs of the feudal warlord landlord class, whose economic role was purely extractive, not productive. Natural resource rent was said to belong to the public domain as national patrimony, and monopoly rent was to be prevented by keeping natural monopolies in the public domain, or firmly regulating them if privatized.The 20th century’s anti-classical reaction has inverted the concept of a free market, Orwellian Doublethink style, to create one “free” for rent-seekers to carve out free-lunch rent income. The result is a rentier economy in which land, natural resources and natural monopolies are privatized and, in due course, financialized to turn rent into a flow of interest payments to the financial sector as the economy is driven into debt to afford the rentier overhead and debt-financed asset-price inflation for rent-yielding assets.The “freedom” of such markets is freedom from governments to tax away economic rent and regulate prices to limit rent extraction. An exponential growth of unearned rentier income and wealth in the hands of a sector diverts income away from the “real” production-and-consumption economy.
The massive flooding in New York City—the wealthiest city in the world and home to the world’s high-est concentration of billionaires—has revealed the deadly consequences of the systemic defunding of social infrastructure and the impoverishment of masses of workers.
A new book offers a refreshing look at the influence of religion on the economic theories of Adam Smith.
The 2008 crash and coronavirus crisis have revived interest in the theories of J.M. Keynes, the liberal English economist.