Inequality undermines democracy Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Economic inequality – involving both income and wealth concentration – has risen in nearly all world regions since the 1980s. Gross economic inequalities moderated for much of the 20th century, especially after World War Two until the 1970s, but has now reached levels never before seen in human history. No more inclusive prosperity The World Inequality Report 2018 found that the richest 1% of humanity captured 27% of world income between 1980 and 2016. By contrast, the bottom half got only 12%. In Europe, the top one percent got 18%, while the bottom half got 14%. OXFAM's Reward Work, Not…

Will Trump’s Trade War Make America Great Again? Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

The United States has had the world's largest trade deficit for almost half a century. In 2017, the US trade deficit in goods and services was $566 billion; without services, the merchandise account deficit was $810 billion. The largest US trade deficit is with China, amounting to $375 billion, rising dramatically from an average of $34 billion in the 1990s. In 2017, its trade deficit with Japan was $69 billion, and with Germany, $65 billion. The US also has trade deficits with both its NAFTA partners, including $71 billion with Mexico. President Trump wants to reduce these deficits with protectionist…

America’s Turn Towards Fascism and Its Contradictions Prabhat Patnaik

The fact that fascist elements in the U.S. have started raising their sinister head and that Donald Trump has started showing his open sympathy for such elements is borne out by several recent incidents. On Saturday August 12, at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, peaceful anti-fascist protesters were attacked by the fascists; a man drove a truck into them killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others; and an African-American teacher DeAndre Harris was beaten mercilessly with a metal rod just a few yards from the Charlottesville police headquarters. Trump’s initial response…

America’s Debt-ceiling Crisis Prabhat Patnaik

The United States has an archaic piece of legislation, passed in 1917, which puts a ceiling on the magnitude of the debt of its federal government in absolute dollar terms. (Since the various State governments in the U.S. are not allowed to run fiscal deficits and hence incur debt, the federal debt is synonymous with government debt). Fixing a debt ceiling in absolute dollar terms is extraordinarily silly for two obvious reasons: first, as the federal government incurs fresh fiscal deficits every year which add to its debt, this ceiling fixed in absolute terms is naturally bound to get exceeded.…