Show #3: February 2, 2011
This show is debuting on a day, February 2nd, 2011, when a historic uprising is taking place in Egypt and across North Africa, as people are rising up against autocratic regimes in the region – regimes, it is important to note, that have been supported by the dominant global superpower, the United States.
But what sparked these uprisings at this time? In large part, it’s been the increase in economic insecurity that stemmed from a global economic crisis, itself sparked by the collapse of the housing market in the United States and the attendant financial crisis. But even more fundamentally, the bubble that was the US housing market of the last decade was propping up an economic system in deep trouble – unable to deliver a standard of living for American households and many around the world, on the order of the prosperity that was established in the United States and elsewhere in the post-World War II economic boom. In recent decades, the only way that even the appearance of such prosperity could be maintained was through the generation of bubbles like the US housing market.
From the late 1970s onward, the economic regime promoted most memorably by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was the “TINA” model. “TINA” stands for “There Is No Alternative” – but to organize the economy around so-called “free markets,” and clearly to the benefit of private capital and the wealthy. It is a model that around the world has been called the Washington Consensus, or Neoliberalism. But now, in the United States and across the globe, this economic regime is in clear crisis, seemingly unable to deliver even the illusion of prosperity any more.
On today’s show, we hone in on the economic crisis. In obvious ways, the fact of the crisis provides ample opportunity and opening for the revival of the Left here in the United States and across the world – and yet, this has not the case. And in particular, there seems to be a dearth of ideas being put forward by the Left as how to respond to the economic crisis.
Is this so? Is there really such a dearth? Or is it that they simply aren’t getting a hearing in the mainstream media?
Today we’ll hear from economists Robert Brenner, L. Randall Ray, Richard Wolff, and Dean Baker.