New GMO Crops Temporarily Blocked in Mexico

Triple Crisis blogger Timothy A. Wise was interviewed by the Real News Network on the continuing controversy in Mexico over the government’s possible approval of permits to Monsanto and other biotech firms to grow transgenic corn on a commercial scale. As Wise explains, the opposition got a shot in the arm recently when a judge issued an injuction on further permits, calling for precaution given the concern (and pending lawsuits) over the environmental impacts of transgenic corn in a country with such a rich diversity of native varieties. Noting the recent controversy over the World Food Prize going to biotech engineers (see his earlier post), he points out that NAFTA’s environment commission studied a documented case of “genetic contamination” a decade ago and recommended precaution. (See the suppressed report and background research.) With a crucial referendum pending in Washington State on mandatory labeling of GM foods, there are signs the tide is turning against Monsanto.

Read the rest of this entry »

Econ4: Statement on Healthcare

We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.

The United States ranks first in the world in health care spending per person, but only 45th in life expectancy. The average American sees a doctor less often than the average Canadian, the average Briton, or the average resident of most industrial democracies. The average life expectancy of white Americans without a high school degree has fallen since 1990 by three years for men and five years for women.

This paradoxical combination of first-class costs and second-rate performance is a result of a multi-payer health care system whose enormous administrative bureaucracy absorbs nearly one-third of our health care dollars. The aim of this private bureaucracy is to police patients and doctors, not to add value or protect human health.

Read the rest of this entry »

Econ 4 The Bottom Line: Housing

We are economists who think that the economy should serve the people, the planet and the future.

Four million families have lost their homes to foreclosure in the Great Recession. Today another four million or more face the same fate. This devastation was triggered by unscrupulous financiers and exacerbated by government policies that put banker bonuses ahead of homeowner solvency.

Some blame families for foolishly pursuing the American Dream of homeownership. They think government assistance for banks is OK, but homeowners should be left to take free-market medicine.

Some claim that the solution for the housing crisis is to extend and pretend, to perpetuate make-believe values on bank balance sheets rather than to modify principal based on real housing prices. These policies may be a dream for bankers, but they’re a nightmare for homeowners.

Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Africa Lost 1.6 Trillion in Capital Flight and Odious Debt Over Forty Years

Léonce Ndikumana: $619 billion of embezzled capital flight from North Africa with the connivance of big banks according to new research.

Léonce Ndikumana is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as Director of Operational Policies and Director of Research at the African Development Bank, Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town.

Econ4 The Bottom Line: Jobs, a new platform for discussing and promoting urgent structural changes needed for a healthy American economy, is now introducing a five part video series called The Bottom Line. The videos will cover Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Regulation and The New Economy. In the first one, Jobs, they argue that tax cuts and spending cuts, far from stimulating job creation, are counterproductive. They make the case that government has a significant role to play in generating employment growth.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 1, 2012 | Posted in: Econ4, Videos | Comments Closed

Finance Resurgent: Out-of-Control Banking Threatens Us More Than Ever

Eli Epstein-Deutsch

After the world economy nearly imploded in 2008, we all supposedly learned hard lessons about unregulated markets, greedy traders, “too-big-to-fail,” opaque credit instruments,  and shadow financial institutions. Surely, bankers are contrite, regulators are vigilant, and we’re at least headed for a few decades of recovery and relative safety like those that followed World War II? Not necessarily, argue several leading economists  in interviews on the Real News Network. Shadow banking and the sprawling, unregulated derivative market are thriving again. Moreover, the longer trendline, which extends back to the late 19th Century, reveals a striking story: that of finance’s ever growing dominance within the global capitalist economy, and the diversion of more and more resources towards itself at the expense of other sectors. Watch the videos below to learn more.

Read the rest of this entry »

October 4, 2012 | Posted in: Videos | Comments Closed

The Drought and the Coming Food Price Bubble

As drought ravages the Midwest and the world prepared for its third price spike in five years, Timothy A. Wise sat down with the Real News Network to talk about the implications of the crisis. Drawing on his co-authored report with Sophia Murphy, “Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007,” Wise points out that the international community has failed to address any of the important drivers of the food crisis – climate change, biofuels expansion, financial speculation, the lack of publicly managed food reserves, and strong reinvestment in developing country food production.

The Triple Crisis blog invites your comments. Please share your thoughts below.