NEW EBOOK “ALTERNATIVE ECONOMICS: REVERSING STAGNATION” EDITED BY MARC BATKO, ONLY $3.99, 216 PP
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Mainstream market-radical economic theory has led to exploding inequality, cynicism and resignation and has no answers to mass unemployment, growing precarity, global warming and the rights of nature. The time is right for alternative economics, for economics that is part of life, not a steamroller crushing creativity and self-determination.
The market is not self-healing or a panacea but a necessary and helpful instrument after political questions are answered: what kind of society do we want? How can public necessities remain public? How can people be active participative citizens and not mere cogs in the machine? How can nature be protected and nurtured and not trivialized as a free good, external or sink?
Alternative economics is a vital corrective to market radicalism and neoliberalism with unfettered deregulation, privatization and liberalization of markets. While neoliberal mythology insists higher profits bring more jobs and greater investments, profits soar and investments fall by the wayside.
NEW EBOOK “POVERTY RETURNS WITH MISGUIDED POLICY” BY FRANZ SEGBERS, ONLY $2.99
Available now at your favorite digital store!
Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy by Franz Segbers
“Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy” by the professor and social theologian Franz Segbers is a 77-page plea for rethinking and re-prioritizing people over profit in economic policy. For 45 years, neoliberalism has used deregulation, privatization and liberalized markets or speculation to enrich the owners of capital and reduce the tax obligations of corporations. To avert the collapse of the financial sector in the 2008 financial crisis, $18 trillion was pumped into “too-big-to-fail” banks. In the first eight months of 2018, the bailed out banks have invested over $460 billion in buying back their own stock. Profits have soared while investments have stagnated. Redistribution from top to bottom and alternative economics including reducing working hours are imperative to reverse the exploding inequality and precarious work. The financial markets should be shriveled and the public sector expanded.
“Poverty is returning. That must be our first discovery when we speak about poverty in Germany. Once it was fought and became a marginal problem. Why is it returning? For a long while, there was the firm belief that life goes forward and we live in an elevator society. Our children will be better off. That was the motto when I was growing up. This picture of the elevator society where everyone would be prosperous is not reality any more. Everyone is not on an upward course any more. The picture has turned upside down. While some are going upward, others are going downward. A Lord’s Prayer society has replaced the elevator society. The formerly secure middle class at its outskirts has long been eroding. Children with good education can not find good jobs and work their way from one trainee-ship to the next and one temporary job to the next.”
Franz Segbers, born August 8, 1949 in Gelsenkirchen, is a German theologian. He studied catholic theology, pedagogy and the social sciences at the University of Munster. He was a social or industrial pastor in Frankfurt up to 1985. Out of protest against the repression of liberation theology, he withdrew from the Roman Catholic Church in 1986. He was a professor of social ethics at the Philipps-University in Marburg from 2004. He has urged a just distribution of paid work and is a shining example of social enlightenment and progressive theology. His website offers scores of essays, lectures and books.
Segbers is engaged in the struggle against neoliberal globalization and works with Marxist categories in a theological criticism of capitalism as a religion. The future of work and globalization on the background of Christian social ethics are two of his research interests.
Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy
Work and Human Rights
Forgive us our Debts
Democracy and the Social State
Capitalism as a Religion
Capitalism in the Faith Crisis
The Great Ecumene against Capitalism
Social Justice and the Sacred Nature of the Person
Prof. Segbers will be ecstatic to have English readers!
NEW EBOOK “PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS: FROM OBSCURISTAN TO ABSURDISTAN” BY Marc Batko $2.99
“Education is the great transformer, said the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith. The truth will set us free but the truth is a process, not a cudgel. Truth must well up within us and cannot be imposed or decreed from the outside. The event of understanding is a fusion of horizons, said Hans Georg Gadamer, where prejudice and misunderstanding give way to enlightenment and new life.
I wrote these essays to share the philosophical and theological wonderment which is part of our common collective legacy. Franz Kafka said words could be an ax to crack the frozen soul. Plato warned that people in the allegory “The Cave” could mistake image and reality and then chase critics or the enlightened out of town. Dostoevsky said people would surrender their freedom to the Grand Inquisitor for his promise of happiness. Rousseau said people were born free and are everywhere in chains. In “Escape from Freedom,” the social psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said people were susceptible to the authoritarian temptation because of the natural fear of the new and the fear of the unknown. He focused on the social and economic entrapments that allow neoliberal totalitarianism to be “without an alternative.”
Philosophy’s challenge is to provoke conventional wisdom, myths and fairy-tales that lead individually and collectively into a two-inch world with false securities and generalized self-righteousness, drunken coachmen and a system that is allegedly not responsible. In his poem “The Egg,” Gunter Grass said we were born in an egg and our life project is to break the shell. As antibodies are part of our bodies, resistance is part of our nature. “It is not he or she or them or it that you belong to,” said Bob Dylan.”
Here is a little gift from Real World Economics Review:
Utopia and the Exhaustion of the Center
by David Riccio, Aug 31, 2018 rwer
Habermas’s view is that society has been reoriented away from the concept of labor toward that of communication, which requires a different way of “linking up with the utopian tradition.” The alternative approach would be to rethink the concept of labor in terms of class and analyze the ways in which the forces of capital that were supposed to be regulated and contained by the social welfare state were left with both the interest and means to undo those regulations. And it’s the center that put itself in the position of responding to and representing the progressive dismantling of the economic side of the social welfare state—in deregulating finance, pursuing globalization, and helping to unleash new digital technologies. The result was, not surprisingly, the growth of obscene levels of inequality, increasing precariousness for large parts of the working-class, and finally the crisis that broke out in 2008, which has led not only to economic but also political breakdown.
However, as Shenker correctly observes, “the breakdown of any political order can be both emancipatory and revanchist.” And it now falls to the Left to reharness and reinvigorate the utopian impulses and energies that the center has squandered in order to chart a path forward.
*The English-language translation of Habermas’s article, “The New Obscurity: The Crisis of the Welfare State and the Exhaustion of Utopian Energies,” was first published in Philosophy & Social Criticism. T
Tom Tomorrow – Confirmation hearing highlights – Sept 10- kos