Read the keystone essay: What Is Market Capitalism and Why Do We Need to Understand It?


economy, free-market ideology, politics, video-movies-podcasts

Recently Noted – Robert Reich: Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Rest – a new video presentation

April 8, 2019
Robert Reich provides us with an accessible, brief analysis of why the rich and corporations are feasting while the rest of us experience the rigors, oppression, and discipline of the capitalist marketplace. Only a bit over 4 minutes long.
economy, free-market ideology, healthcare, video-movies-podcasts

Recently Noted – Sugar In Our Diet – the John Oliver Analysis

March 18, 2019
In our continuing effort to find varied sources to illustrate the power of marketing and the costs of unregulated capitalism we return to John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight for his segment on sugar in food. The food industry continues to put sugar in nearly every processed food and fights efforts to reveal how much of this dangerous additive is in each bite.
economy, free-market ideology, video-movies-podcasts

Recently Noted – Robert Reich video ”The Monopolization of America”

The Monopolization of America video by Robert Reich
March 7, 2019
We have written earlier (for example our article The Monopolization of America) about the increasing concentration of market power    In the hands of just a few corporations. This is a phenomenon occurring  throughout the US economy (really more broadly across the globe). Here is an 11 minute review of the history and current state of monopolies in our economy.
education, free-market ideology

Recently Noted – PhDs on Food Stamps – Labor in US Higher Ed

December 24, 2018
Adjunct teachers are paid so poorly that many qualify for food stamps. Meanwhile students across the country are underwriting ever higher tuition through debt.
economy, free-market ideology

The Monopolization of America

November 26, 2018
Adam Smith discussed the harms caused by monopolies1 in the frequently, ritualistically cited book, The Wealth of Nations2. The progressive politics of the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th was marked by a deep reaction to the monopolistic practices of large companies then. This led to the ant-trust legislation that remains the cornerstone of the Federal government’s efforts to protect competition in the marketplace: Sherman Act of 1890, the —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. A note about the term “monopoly”: Economists have long acknowledged that the literal meaning of monopoly, a company having exclusive control over a commodity or service, is not a useful representation of how capitalist economies actually work. In practice when a small number of firms, say 3 or 4, control roughly 50% or more of a market, they can and do act to control prices, restrain trade, and force weaker competitors out of the market. As John Oliver notes we can experience this by simply booking an airline flight. Southwest, Delta, United, and American control 69% of the domestic market. This concentration is amplified by the hub and spoke system that assures that in many localities there is no choice but a single provider of air services. This is precisely why we need to reinvigorate the existing anti-trust laws and protect consumers from the gouging and abuse we now experience every time we fly.
  2. Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
  3. chart borrowed from: Leonhardt, David. “Opinion | The Monopolization of America.” The New York Times, November 26, 2018, sec. Opinion. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/opinion/monopolies-in-the-us.html.
environment, free-market ideology, political system

Plastics and Run Amuck Capitalism

August 20, 2018
The earth is burdened by the tsunami of plastic refuse that will never degrade. Government needs to protect us from capitalist enterprises delight in externalizing costs to our detriment and their short-term benefit.
free-market ideology, healthcare

Heart Stents, Tricycles, and an Argument for Consumer Protections (Regulations)

kid's tricycle
February 21, 2018
Since corporations have reason not to worry about safety and efficacy, we do need the government to represent us. Common sense and ethics suggest that a company establish the safety and efficacy of products and services BEFORE selling them. In a world better balanced to the needs and interests of the vast majority this would be a required step. Heart stents and tricycles are examples of the failings of our current system.
economy, free-market ideology, video-movies-podcasts

John Oliver and Monopoly Capitalism

F.C. Howe quote about business rules
February 21, 2018
Corporate concentration of income and wealth are core features of capitalism. From its earliest cheerleaders like Adam Smith, the drive for corporations to get ever larger and in the doing drive their competitors out of the market was noted and warned against. John Oliver provides a thorough and amusing introduction.
economy, free-market ideology

The New Digital Monopoly Capitalism

February 20, 2018
The new digital economy is displaying the same drive to concentration, monopolies and oligopolies, that capitalism has always displayed. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are just a new face of the predatory monopolists of the Rockefeller Standard Oil age.
free-market ideology

Stagnant Wages, New York Times, and Unions

Bonuses vs pay raises 1980-2108 NYTimes-01102018
February 11, 2018
NYTimes reports that one-time bonuses are the preferred pay strategy vs pay raises.Mysteriously the Times leaves out the role of unions and the long-term fall in unionization rates in the private sector in the US.
free-market ideology, healthcare

Recently Noted – Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Try to Disrupt Health Care

Buffet, Bezos, Dimon
January 31, 2018
These corporate giants are “disrupting” healthcare or so the headlines say. Despite the media flurry we should not expect much. The structure of US healthcare defies little nibbles at the periphery. As noted many times here, we need to look to our developed country competitors for their proven approaches to how to set up a world-class healthcare system at world standard costs.
economy, free-market ideology

Structure of Jobs Is Changing Rapidly – Political System Failing to Address Issue

January 23, 2018
Shifts to contract work, losses in jobs due to automation and robots, growth in poorly paid occupations, low participation rates, healthcare and retirement tied to full-time jobs, and extremely unequal gains in income for the top 10% characterize jobs in our economy. Something radical needs to be done. Republicans are trickling, Democrats cautious, neither addresses the big changes underway.
economy, free-market ideology

A Note on Jobs & Unemployment – revised

US manufacturing out vs employment 1947 - 2011
December 31, 2017
A Note on Jobs & Unemployment Original publication date – 12/27/2016; Revised – 12/31/2017 As the presidential campaign of 2016 fades away and the Trump Era begins, we find a national scene without any real discussion of the facts of jobs and unemployment and what the future might bring. Trump and others talk about bringing manufacturing back to the US. No plan, plausible or otherwise, has ever been mentioned for how to accomplish this. The —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. To be sure the US rank amongst steel producers has declined significantly with most of the world's steel now being produced in Asia
  2. Allan Collard-Wexler and Jan De Loecker, “Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the U.S. Steel Industry,” Working Paper National Bureau of Economic Research, January 2013, http://www.nber.org/papers/w18739.
  3. Jane Wakefield, “Foxconn Replaces ‘60,000 Factory Workers with Robots,’ BBC News, May 25, 2016, sec. Technology, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36376966
  4. Angel Gonzalez, “Amazon Unveils Smart Convenience Store sans Checkouts, Cashiers,” The Seattle Times, December 5, 2016, http://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazoncom-unveils-self-driving-brick-and-mortar-convenience-store/
  5. Brick and mortar retail stores have sales per employee between a 1/4 and a 1/3 of Amazon's performance.
  6. Thanks to Elizabeth Kolbert, “Our Automated Future,” The New Yorkerhttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/19/our-automated-future and Daron Acemoglu and David Autor, “Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings,” Working Paper (National Bureau of Economic Research, June 2010), http://www.nber.org/papers/w16082.
free-market ideology, political system, politics, recently noted, video-movies-podcasts

Recently Noted – Robert Reich: how we got into this mess and how we get out of it

Robert Reich
December 29, 2017
Reich’s latest cartoon does a good job of describing the changes in the US economy, weaker on the underlying political campaign by the rich and corporations to restructure the economy to their benefit. Worth the 6 minute viewing time.
free-market ideology

Cotton and the Miracle of the Self-Regulating Market

Deere cotton picker
December 19, 2017
The miracle of the automatic self-regulating market in action. During the 1930s over-production of cotton chronically ran over by 50% and more. Since cotton is a durable product all of these years of over production just swelled the mountains of cotton sitting in warehouse waiting for demand. In 1933 the cotton stored in warehouses equaled the entire world demand.
economy, free-market ideology, recently noted

Recently Noted: World Inequality Report 2018 – findings and policies

December 14, 2017
Inequality in wealth and income is a continuing global crisis. The World Inequality Report 2018 defines the problem based on wealth ownership and the transfer of public wealth into private hands. Their are solutions but they require political organization and will.
economy, free-market ideology, recently noted

Recently Noted – John Oliver and Monopoly Capitalism

September 26, 2017
Capitalism, Monopoly, Oligopoly and John Oliver Capitalism does a number of things very well. Concentrating power, wealth and income is one of them. Though we naturally focus our attention on wealthy individuals, fat cats, tycoons, money bags, but corporations, the legal entities with personhood (at least in the US) are also recipients of this concentrating power. John Oliver in his HBO program “Last Week Tonight” took on monopoly and oligopoly. His focus on the airline —>> read more –>>
free-market ideology

Ultra-Processed Foods, Conquest of New Markets, Capitalism In Action

September 18, 2017
Brazil is the newest scene of massive marketing campaigns to replace local food and local diets with ultra-processed industrial foods. This is beginning to repeat the mass experiment in bad eating habits that the US has already experienced for two generations.
free-market ideology, healthcare, recently noted

Recently Noted – about healthcare

July 30, 2017
Recent NYTimes article broadly acknowledges what every other developed country has recognized for decades, healthcare is not a good candidate for market control.
free-market ideology, recently noted

Recently Noted – about free market capitalism – is capitalism the real problem?

July 14, 2017
Capitalism is driven by a single internal logic that requires the transformation of people and nature into commodities to produce profits. This logic is amoral and the system, excepting for external controls by government and social institutions, just churns on.