Tag Archives: Mark Blyth

Mark Blyth & Michael Roberts

When Blyth says, “it’s a matter of political will” that is not something to be elided. When you hear that phrase it usually indicates corruption. In this case, the entire system they are discussing is corrupt. Something to think about when you choose to find your hope in electoral politics.¬† I’m not saying don’t be involved in electoral politics, but when capital can buy politicians and elections, a more radical approach is the only thing that can break that kind of power. What is it? Well, it starts with people coming together locally, then nationally, then internationally in a way that builds power. That power and organization will eventually have to be equal to or greater than the power of capital. If people just come together for protests and to vote, there is no hope to be had.

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Mark Blyth: Austerity, The History of a Dangerous Idea

This is a great whirlwind explanation of how the financial crisis happened, encompassing everything from the philosophical roots of modern capitalism to why Australia’s housing bubble is bound to pop. After his talk, one could be forgiven if they thought Europe to be in real trouble and the u.s. to be on its way to recovery. While this may be relatively true in a global macroeconomic sense, Blyth seems to completely gloss over a few important facts. We in the u.s. have had de facto austerity because wages have remained stagnant for decades and the cost of living has risen – especially in the years since 2008. The price of commodities like food and oil have have been inflated through speculation with almost free money from the Fed and there is no check on rent seeking or continued fraud by the perpetrators of the original crisis. Now with sequestration we have de jure austerity – and this is without taking into account unemployment and structural changes that are creating low wage jobs. So, yes, for the rich and people with good jobs who own stocks, this may look like the beginning of a recovery; for everyone else? I don’t think so.

The biggest take away from this talk is that banks and financial institutions caused this and we’re paying for it while they reap record profits – and of course that the system of what we call democracy was designed to keep the great unwashed from killing the capitalists in the first place, but that is just history…


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