News Release

G-20 Economics

PAT DEVINE
Devine is an honorary research fellow in social science at the University of Manchester. His books include Democracy and Economic Planning: The Political Economy of a Self-Governing Society, An Introduction to Industrial Economics and the just-published Feel Bad Britain: How to Make It Better.

He is able to assess the G-20 meeting, global economic policy generally, and the impact on society and ecology as a whole. For example, he states: “U.S. and Britain’s high level of economic inequality is causing — in spite of general material well-being — increasing unhappiness.”

DAVID HARVEY
Harvey is a distinguished professor of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of several books, including The Limits to Capital and A Brief History of Neoliberalism. He appeared on Democracy Now this morning.
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ROBIN HAHNEL
Hahnel is professor emeritus of economics at American University and currently visiting at Portland State University. Hahnel’s most recent books are Panic Rules!: Everything You Need to Know About the Global Economy, The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach, and Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation.

He just wrote the piece “Change How the World Works? Yes, We Can” in The Times of London. The piece outlines concrete proposals of those protesting the economic policies of the richest governments at the G-20 meeting in London.

Hahnel writes: “Finance should serve the real economy instead of the other way around. If the financial sector improves the efficiency of the real economy, it is helpful. But if it misdirects investment resources to where they are less productive, it reduces production in the real economy by obstructing the flow of credit altogether. …

“We have offered several positive alternatives to capital liberalization and to the governing structures and policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, such as capital controls and a Tobin tax to protect smaller economies from volatile speculative flows. …

“Unlike neo-liberals, who inexplicably are still in charge of managing the response to the financial crisis that their policies created, we do not persist in the utopian illusion that toxic assets are really not toxic after all. The problem is that the industry was permitted to dig itself into a hole so deep that many financial institutions are now dead on arrival — and nobody knows how many enormous transfers of wealth from taxpayers to their balance sheets would be required to make them solvent again.

“We want trickle-up economics, not trickle-down economics. We want a dramatic redistribution of income and wealth that reverses the trend of the past 30 years because it is fair, and also because it makes capitalism less prone to crisis by providing a reliable source of demand for businesses satisfying the needs of ordinary people.

“We want a welfare system that is adequately funded and treats clients with dignity and respect. We want high quality education and healthcare for all, independent of one’s financial means. And we want all this paid for by progressive taxes on income and wealth. We know that this is perfectly possible and can be achieved through well-tried policies. Only poor priorities that stem from the power of wealthy elites to impose their will stand in the way of achieving it.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167