One of the prime goals of the Reversing Runaway Inequality program has been to advocate for public banking. While the details have to be ironed out, New Jersey is now moving forward with the creation of a public bank.
Each Sunday Tony Wikrent posts a list of links at Real Economics and Ian Welsh. Some are political, many lead to news about runaway inequality. This post borrows a few that seem to fit together very well.
Peter Turchin, at Evonomics, discusses what it is that sometimes (like in the post World War II era) decreases inequality. Namely policy changes when disenchantment with inequality reaches a boiling point.
Pam and Russ Martens note that Bernie Sanders said the top three US billionaires (Gates, Bezos, Buffett) have more wealth than 160 million Americans, but he was using 2017 numbers. The inequality today is much worse.
The Business Roundtable was formed in 1972 with the goal of undermining New Deal-forged worker rights and corporate regulation by the federal government. The Roundtable worked to weaken antitrust regulations, undermine labor protections and stopped Ralph Nader’s attempt to create a consumer protection agency in 1977. This was a group of hundreds of the country’s top companies working to escape federal regulations, decrease taxes, and promote the better business environment. And free trade.
But last week they issued a letter that said (from the NY Times): “Breaking with decades of long-held corporate orthodoxy, the Business Roundtable issued a statement on “the purpose of a corporation,” arguing that companies should no longer advance only the interests of shareholders. Instead, the group said, they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers.”
The statement sounds like a major breakthrough, a return to the time before Runaway Inequality took off, when labor unions and workers were protected by US law and companies committed to their home towns because that’s where they lived, before free trade and internationalization led them to follow the easy dollars of cheap material and labor overseas. But is it?
Barry Rithoff appeared on an MSNBC discussion that looked at what commitment the BR makes in their statement, and what needs to be done to make it real. (h/t Tony Wikrent’s Week End Wrap)
NY Times columnist Farhad Manjoo says that runaway inequality has tipped the scales so far that business leaders, like the Roundtable, are running scared. He doesn’t trust them.
The truth is that Washington has it backwards. For a long time now, Wall Street’s success hasn’t helped the broader economy — it’s come at the expense of the rest of the economy. Wall Street is looting the economy and Washington is helping them do it.
Elizabeth Warren, “My Plan to Rein in Wall Street”
We've made a Google form so you can easily report tous about your upcoming or past Runaway Inequality event. We want to add these to our new Events calendar, to help people find out about talks and trainings that are coming up, and to learn about events that occurred in the past. (The calendar currently only has a fraction of the past events listed. We're working to show all of them now.)
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