Professor Christian Parenti on Odd Lots Podcast: Industrial Policy and the Forgotten Side of Alexander Hamilton

“Thanks to the blockbuster musical, Alexander Hamilton has become a modern cultural icon. He’s known as an architect of the federal system, building out a strong government with the capacity for both borrowing and spending. But there’s another side of his vision that doesn’t get as much attention, and that’s his belief in the importance of state-directed investment to build out a domestic manufacturing industry. Basically, he was an early advocate for industrial policy. Given that the US is currently in a phase of building out domestic manufacturing capacity in various areas, it’s time to go back and look at the history of these efforts in the US. We speak with Christian Parenti, a professor at John Jay College in New York, and the author of Radical Hamilton: Economic Lessons from a Misunderstood Founder, about this other side of Hamilton, and the economic context in which he developed this vision.”

Podcast Link.

Professor Christian Parenti: The Human Reality Behind the Border Crisis

“More importantly, none of the current rhetoric will change the
underlying economic and demographic realities. In the face of
falling birth rates and an aging population, we remain politically
unable to imagine transformative pro-natalist policies because those
would likely threaten the prerogatives of big business while
requiring cuts to the military budget and tax increases on the rich. Under
such conditions, immigration becomes a social and economic
imperative. America isn’t doing charity work by accepting
immigrants. Quite the opposite, the national economy benefits from

Full article published on Compact.

Professor Ozgur Orhangazi on the Turkish Economy and Falling Lira

“Since late 2021, the Turkish economy has been shattering conventional economic expectations. With deeply negative real interest rates, high inflation, a large and persistent current account deficit, an external debt stock exceeding 50 percent of GDP, and a central bank with net foreign exchange reserves estimated around -$50 billion, the economy has seemed permanently poised for crisis. 

Just this past year, Turkey’s Central Bank raised interest rates from a low of 8.5 percent in June to as high as 42.5 percent in December. The sudden increase represented a dramatic reversal of course from previous policy. Throughout much of 2022, negative real interest rates had generated a flight away from the Turkish lira, resulting in rapid depreciation of the currency. Given the high level of imported inputs in production, the loss in the value of the Turkish lira meant increased production costs, which were quickly passed onto prices. Inflation spiraled out of control and by August 2022 hit 80 percent.

Despite the central bank’s policy tightening, Turkish inflation is still running above 60 percent. This is at a time when the unemployment rate is close to 10 percent, with more than half of employed workers earning roughly the minimum wage—itself brought below the poverty line as inflation has rapidly eroded purchasing power. 

Behind the latest crisis, however, lie two decades of policy that have left Turkey with an increasingly narrow policy space, its economy depending on foreign capital inflows and imported inputs.1 The result has been a mountain of fragilities, including a large and persistent current account deficit and a high external debt stock.”

– Professor Orhangazi

Read the full article at Phenomenal World.

Professor Zhun Xu on Sustainability, Industrial Agriculture and the Case of North Korea

“It is fair to conclude that the lessons from North Korea, Cuba, and the other models of agriculture strongly suggest that industrial agriculture—though seemingly productive and even “scientific”—is unreliable and unsustainable. We must acknowledge that twentieth-century socialists have usually taken the industrial agriculture model for granted. This was clear in the vision of a future socialist society shared by Kim. Socialism, or any attempts to sustainably feed the working people, must move beyond the model of industrial agriculture.”

– Professor Zhun Xu

Read the full text at Monthly Review.

Economist Magazine Quotes Professor Michelle Holder on Black Workers in Current Labor Market

“One reason that a strong labour market is valuable for black Americans is that many work in highly cyclical sectors such as freight delivery. That makes them vulnerable to recessions but also well placed during periods of growth (a similar dynamic exists for Hispanics). A tight labour market also blunts some of the discrimination that black applicants may face when looking for jobs. “During cyclical downturns employers can afford to pick and choose, but when workers are really needed, they are penalised for their biases,” says Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College, City University of New York.”

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