A New York Times article entitled “Championing Environment, Francis Takes Aim at Global Capitalism” quotes a conventional Harvard economist, Robert N. Stavins. Stavins is enraged by Pope Francis’ position on the environment because the Pope is “opposed to the world economic order.” The rage, unintentionally, reveals why conventional economics is the most dangerous ideology pretending to be a “science.”
Stavins’ attacks on the Pope quickly became personal and dismissive. This is odd, for Pope Francis’ positions on the environment are the same as Stavins’ most important positions. Stavins’ natural response to the Pope’s views on the environment – had Stavin not been an economist – would have been along the lines of “Pope Francis is right, and we urgently need to make his vision a reality.”
Stavins’ fundamental position is that there is an urgent need for a “radical restructuring” of the markets to prevent them from causing a global catastrophe. That is Pope Francis’ fundamental position. But Stavins ends up mocking and trying to discredit the Pope.
My answer to the question I pose in my title is “no.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is far from dead and can only be defeated by heroic efforts by a broad coalition of Americans dedicated to the interests of our Nation and its people and willing to pay the price to oppose the triumph of corporate interests. The focus of this column, however, is on the New York Times’ coverage of Friday’s vote on a key component of President Obama and the Republican leadership’s efforts to make the TPP law. That focus requires some tangential discussion of the substantive arguments for and against TPP but I will minimize that discussion because I have explained previously in greater detail why I oppose the TPP and urge Americans to make our efforts to defeat it one of our highest priorities.
“Schadenfreude” is a German word that describes taking a “malicious, gloating pleasure in the suffering of other people.” It is a form of sadism. Roger Cohen has written an extraordinary column describing how much he hates the Greek people. Change the name “Greek” to almost any other group and it is certain that the New York Times would refuse to print such a mass of ethnic slurs. The Greeks are fair game, however, for even the crudest slurs in the NYT.
But what causes Cohen’s June 8, 2015 column attacking the Greek people to reach a new level in hate speech is this paragraph.
I don’t know when the New York Times adopted the (obviously secret) rule that forbids its news staff that writes about the EU from reading Paul Krugman’s columns in that obscure newspaper named the New York Times. I can say that compliance with the rule appears to be nearly 100 percent. It is, of course, a mystery why the NYT would give Krugman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics; the most prominent position in the world to explain economics and then require its news staff covering Europe to ignore virtually everything he explains.
Paul Krugman has a good column today entitled “Triumph of the Unthinking” about the Tory electoral triumph in the UK. Krugman makes three central points. First, the Tories and the UK media have created a myth about austerity that is utterly false – and poison to Labour while falsely flattering to the Conservatives. Second, rather than fight the myth by explaining why austerity in response to the Great Recession was an insane policy that gratuitously forced the UK back into a severe recession, Labour has embraced austerity. Krugman opines that Labour felt that public support for austerity was so strong that the party’s leadership felt it was impossible to do the right thing.
HSBC got a sweetheart deal from the Obama administration. It laundered vast amounts of money for Mexico’s murderous Sinaloa cartel, helped bust sanctions for terrorists and mass murderers, and did not cooperate with the investigation. The U.S. Attorney in charge of the case, Loretta Lynch, refused to prosecute any of the HSBC bankers or even sue them individually. Instead, there was a pathetic non-prosecution agreement limited to HSBC. Lynch is accused of not contacting either of the primary whistleblowers in the case. The failure to contact one of the whistleblowers has already blown up in Lynch’s face as it became public a few months ago that the governments of the U.S. and Europe were provided many years ago with data on HSBC’s Swiss affiliate that show it was helping terrorists, genocidal leaders, the most violent drug gangs, and tens of thousands of wealthy people evade taxes. Lynch failed to bring that case or use any of the invaluable data provided by the whistleblower who copied the files from the Swiss bank.
The odious New York Times “brand” (DealBook) managed in its lead sentence to show that how complete its pro-CEO banker bias is and how that bias prevents it from getting even the most basic aspects of our recurrent crises correct. The April Fools’ Day article is entitled “S.E.C. Fires Warning Shot About Confidentiality Agreements.”
“A sound that delights regulators and strikes fear in corporations — employees’ blowing the whistle on wrongdoing — is poised to become louder.”
The New York Times made waves this week with another piece on inequality, saying that it has not risen since 2007. The article was based on this paper by GWU’s Stephen Rose.
The article also suggests that expansions are not a good way of looking at trends in inequality (as I have done in the past, also covered by the NYT). Instead, one needs to look at the business cycle. It also concludes that, thankfully, because of government tax and transfer policies, inequality has not been “that bad” over the last few years and governments can clearly do something about it.
NEP’s Bill Black appeared on The Real News Network (TRNN) discussing the Syriza victory in Greece despite what WSJ and NYT would like us to think. The video is below. I you would like to see the video and transcript, it is here.
I wrote a column Sunday, January 25, 2015 as the Greek election results became sufficiently clear to know that Syriza was receiving a strong plurality from the voters and as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal posted on their websites the first reaction news columns. I criticized the dishonest nature of both paper’s coverage (actually non-coverage) of what austerity inflicted on the Greek people. Both of those initial columns have now been modified, so I have looked to see whether they improved their candor in their re-writes. The updated NYT column still contains this clunker.
“Syriza’s victory is a milestone for Europe. Continuing economic weakness has stirred a populist backlash from France to Spain to Italy, with more voters growing fed up with policies that require sacrifice to meet the demands of creditors but that have not delivered more jobs and prosperity.”