4 weeks ago
809: Capital Won Shows
- Writer Saskia Sassen finds simple brutality in the complexities of global financial systems.
- Law scholar Henri Feron finds signs of growth, not economic collapse, in North Korea’s future.
- Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith exposes the real goals of the TTIP global trade agreement.
- Our Man in London, David Skalinder translates cricket into baseball.
- John K. Wilson explains what happens to free speech when universities become corporate entities.
- Jeff Dorchen trades his monkey suit for scrubs and vivisects Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Saskia Sassen: “At the edge, at the extreme zone of distribution of income, something acute is happening – and it should be named. Not simply as ‘more’ inequality.”
The global economy doesn’t ignore the powerless – it excludes them. Profits rise despite/because/along with unemployment rates, system-wide instability wrecks havoc for the working class but secures power at the very top, and we find ourselves ruled by systems too vast and too complicated to understand, let alone change.
Writer Saskia Sassen explores those economic systems, and documents the people and places pushed to their edges in her book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. She talks with Chuck about the national, local and political economies that leave the powerless behind, how financial systems have preyed on traditional economic structures and why the first, small step toward reclaiming power is relocalizing economies.
Saskia is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University.
Henri Feron: “The myth of collapse serves to justify hawkish policies against North Korea, because if you say that North Korea is collapsing, that means you don’t need to make any effort to have a good relationship with them.”
The West hasn’t let economic figures (or the lack of them) challenge the narrative that North Korea is teetering on the verge of collapse – a collapse that has seemed imminent for the past several decades.
International law scholar Henri Feron challenges Western narratives (and economic figures) in his report Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Collapse” published in the Asia-Pacific Journal. Henri talks with Chuck about the known-unknown indicators of economic health in the DPRK, why the American military-industrial complex might be driving misleadingly pessimistic South Korean news about their neighbor, and whether sanctions against the country are punitive for past actions or prohibitive against future power.
Henri Feron is a Ph.D candidate in international law at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
Yves Smith: “A whole raft of economists have spoken in favor of the deal, assuming that it’s a trade deal. That’s not the intent of the deal – it’s much more about weakening regulations than it is about trade at this point.”
The good news is that we finally booked our all-time most requested guest. The bad news – well, she brought along plenty of her own, mostly about the financial world.
In this long-overdue interview, we make up for lost time by talking with Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith about her recent writing on foreign and domestic economic stories, including why secrecy might actually kill the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) before it reaches its intended goal of trading regulations for corporate power, how Janet Yellen entered the Federal Reserve in an Obama-shaped Trojan horse, and whether now is a good time to invest in banking-industry-deranged-hyperbole futures.
Yves Smith writes about finance at the blog Naked Capitalism. Yves has worked in finance for over 30 years as an investment banker, management consultant to financial institutions across a large range of wholesale banking and trading markets businesses, and a corporate finance adviser.
David Skalinder: “You can imagine what baseball would be like if nobody ever had to run – people would just bunt.”
Cricket is pretty much just like baseball, only with a squished bat, red ball, bowlers instead of pitchers, sticks instead of bases, catcher’s gear for the batters, home runs are always worth six points, you get ten outs and a break for tea. So pretty much like baseball. Our Man in London, David Skalinder howzats the world of cricket, then turns his attention to his former high school classmate turned .1%er.
David Skalinder dreams of an agile and compelling ideology of the left; but that’s a quiet beat, so he usually reports on the nimble American right, the lumbering institutional left, and the confused frustration of everybody else on both sides of the Atlantic.
John K. Wilson: “When the left censors, it inevitably is going to be the loser, it’s going to be exaggerated to the point where people think that there’s massive leftwing censorship, and ignore the rightwing censorship on campus.”
Students have seen the effects of campus corporatization in their student loan bills for years, but corporate culture has invaded more aspects of university life, from smiling, say-nothing celebrity commencement speakers to political attempts to punish universities for free speech of its faculty members. John K. Wilson catches us on on the new landscape of American higher education, where he finds the left struggling to straddle line between censorship and criticism of commencement speakers, the right winning the political persecution headline battle, and corporate overlords smoothing out the free-speech bumps on their way to banal profits.
John K. Wilson is the co-editor of Academe blog, the editor of Illinois Academe, and the author of 7 books, including The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh’s Assault on Reason and President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union.