Economy

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I am not suggesting that Morgenson and Rosner pull their punches. To
the contrary, the authors deliver enough knockouts to be contenders with
Taibbi as world champions in exposing the reckless fraud that the US
financial sector and its regulators now epitomize.

The financial crisis, which is very much still with us, did not result
from accident or miscalculation; neither did it result because of a flaw
in Alan Greenspan's theory, as he told Congress when a feeble effort was
made to hold him accountable. It was the intentional result of people

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The Libertarian Left:
Free-Market Anti-Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal
Sheldon Richman

Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign introduced many people to the word
“libertarian.” Since Paul is a Republican and Republicans, like
libertarians, use the rhetoric of free markets and private enterprise,
people naturally assume that libertarians are some kind of quirky
offshoot of the American right wing. To be sure, some libertarian
positions fit uneasily with mainstream conservatism—complete drug
decriminalization, legal same-sex marriage, and the critique of the
national-security state alienate many on the right from libertarianism.

Bank of America Is in Deep Trouble, and There May Be Financial Disaster on the Horizon Joshua Holland, AlterNet Will Bank of America be the first Wall Street giant to once again point a gun to its own head, telling us it'll crash and burn and take down the financial system if we don’t pony up for another massive bailout? When former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was handing out trillions to Wall Street, BofA collected $45 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to stabilize its balance sheet. It was spun as a success story -- a rebuke of those who urged the banks be put into receivership -- when the behemoth “paid back” the cash last December. But the bank’s stock price has fallen by more than 40 percent since mid-April, and the value of its outstanding stock is currently at around half of what it should be based on its “book value” -- what the company says its holdings are worth. “The problem for anyone trying to analyze Bank of America’s $2.3 trillion balance sheet,” wrote Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Weil, “is that it’s largely impenetrable.” Nobody really knows the true values of the assets these companies are holding, which has been the case ever since the collapse. But according to Weil, some of BofA’s financial statements “are so delusional that they invite laughter.”
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"David Harvey on the Enigma of Capital" Lenin's Tomb What are the limits to capital, and how does it overcome those limits? This is a pressing issue given the global crisis. We need, at the very least, to understand the the prospects for getting any half-way decent settlement out of it for the working class. Capitalism is a perpetual expansion machine and, as Marx noted, it cannot abide limits. It has to conquer all social and spatial barriers, and "annihilate space with time". A simple way to see this is to describe the capitalist transaction: one starts the day with some value (money), purchases labour power and some means of production and - if one has a good day - generates a surplus which is realised in the market. What then happens at the other end of the transaction? A reasonable person would spend the money on a good time, but a capitalist is coerced by competition to reinvest some of the surplus in expanding and generating even more surplus. Expansion is a structural imperative of the system: capitalism requires compound growth.
"Driven From Below": A Look at Tenant Organizing and the New Gentrification Andrea Gibbons From Institute for Anarchist Studies This essay is the beginning of an attempt to combine theory and practice for radical organizers and activists working to combat gentrification and displacement in cities across the United States. Based on the premise that all real change has to be driven by those most affected by injustice, it takes a detailed look at some of the practical challenges involved in tenant organizing, and the building of long-lived and sustainable structures for horizontal organization and direct democracy. This organizing work is understood to be situated within a framework of neoliberalism and globalization that are the ultimate causes of gentrification and displacement in the inner city. In August of 2002, two different families came to Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) because the manager of the Morrison Hotel had stopped accepting their rent. As tenant organizers, we had found this to be a common tactic to evade the laws of rent control and illegally force people from their homes. Typically the managers would not accept rent for a couple of months, then tell tenants that they had to leave. If the tenants did not leave they would be evicted in court for non-payment of rent, their only defense a claim that the managers had refused their rent. The managers themselves would contradict this while under oath, if it ever actually went before the judge. Such a tactic generally came into play when an owner was trying to empty a building, either to sell for higher profit, or to rehabilitate it and then rent the apartments at four or five times the original rent.
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B'Eau-Pal Water Scares Dow Execs Into Hiding A new, beautifully-designed line of bottled water - this time not from the melting Alps, nor from faraway, clean-water-deprived Fiji, but rather from the contaminated ground near the site of the 1984 Bhopal catastrophe - scared Dow Chemical's London management team into hiding today. Twenty Bhopal activists, including Sathyu Sarangi of the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, showed up at Dow headquarters near London to find that the entire building had been vacated. Had they not fled, Dow employees could have read on the bottles' elegant labels: B'eau-Pal: Our Story
"Promissory Notes: From Crisis to Commons" Midnight Notes and Friends After five hundred years of existence, capitalists are once again announcing to us that their system is in crisis. They are urging everyone to make sacrifices to save its life. We are told that if we do not make these sacrifices, we together face the prospect of a mutual shipwreck. Such threats should be taken seriously. Already in every part of the planet, workers are paying the price of the crisis in retrenchment, mass unemployment, lost pensions, foreclosures, and death. 16-page printed "Promissory Notes" pamphlet here
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