|neoliberals create wealth inequity...and early death.|
--... regarded as a poster child for the promise of free-market individualism, America today has
higher inequality and less upward social mobility than most other developed countries.
...After rising for a century, average life expectancy in the U.S. is now declining. And for those in
the bottom 90% of the income distribution, real (inflation-adjusted) wages have stagnated: the
income of a typical male worker today is around where it was 40 years ago.
...Meanwhile, many European countries have sought to emulate America, and those that
succeeded... are now suffering similar political and social consequences... When the 2008
financial crisis and subsequent euro crisis erupted, the European countries with the strongest
welfare states, particularly the Scandinavian countries, fared the best.
...figure out what went wrong and chart a new course forward, by embracing progressive
capitalism, which, while acknowledging the virtues of the market, also recognizes its
limitations and ensures that the economy works for the benefit of everyone.
...Progressive capitalism means forging a new social contract between voters and elected
officials, workers and corporations, rich and poor... markets must serve society, rather than
vice versa....The true and sustainable wealth of nations comes not from exploiting countries,
natural resources, and people, but from human ingenuity and cooperation, often facilitated
by governments and civil-society institutions.
... Individuals and corporations can become rich by relying on market power, price
discrimination, and other forms of exploitation. But that does not mean they have made any
contribution to the wealth of society.. On the contrary, such behavior often leaves everyone
else worse off overall. Economists refer to these wealth snatchers, who seek to grab a larger
share of the economic pie than they create, as rent-seekers... With the help of new
technologies, they can — and do — engage in mass discrimination, such that prices are set
not by the market (finding the single price that equates demand and supply), but by
algorithmic determinations of the maximum each customer is willing to pay.
...The rise of China and technological change have been felt everywhere, but the U.S.
has significantly higher inequality and less social mobility than many other countries, such as
Norway....Some countries facing these same global forces have adopted policies that have
led to dynamic economies in which ordinary citizens have prospered.
... regulation often improves efficiency. Anyone living in a city knows that without stoplights —
a simple “regulation” governing the flow of cars through an intersection — we would live in
perpetual gridlock.... With the first wave of deregulation came the savings and loan crisis,
followed by more deregulation and the dot-com bubble in the 1990s, and then the global
financial crisis in 2008. At that point, countries around the world tried to rewrite the rules to
prevent a recurrence.
...banking... is focused on taking advantage of others...
...the government has proved to be more efficient than the private sector. Social Security’s
administrative costs are a fraction of those for private retirement plans, and Social Security
covers a broader array of risks, such as those associated with inflation.But they are not
sufficient. What we need is a new twenty-first-century social contract to ensure that all
citizens are guaranteed access to health care, education, security in retirement, affordable
housing, and a decent job with decent pay. Many countries have already shown that
discrete elements of this social contract are achievable.
...From a progressive-capitalist perspective, the key to delivering a new social contract is
through a public option for services that are essential to well being. Public options expand
consumer choice and spur competition. Competition, in turn, will lead to lower prices and
more innovation. Beyond health care, the U.S. also needs a public option for retirement
accounts, mortgages, and student loans. The government could start offering a conventional
20% down 30-year mortgage to anyone who has paid taxes for five years, at a rate just a little
above the rate at which it borrows money.
...the economic reforms we need will face serious political challenges because of the
influence of vested interests. That’s the problem with severe economic inequality: it
inevitably gives rise to and reinforces political and social inequality.
... an economy built around a core of amoral (if not immoral) materialism and profit-seeking
has created a generation that embraces those values. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can
have a more compassionate and caring economy, built around cooperatives and other
alternatives to for-profit enterprise. We can design better systems of corporate governance,
where more than just short-run profit matters. We can and should expect better behavior from
our profit-maximizing firms — and proper regulation will take away some of the temptations to
We have conducted a 40-year experiment with neoliberalism. The evidence is in, and by any
measure, it has failed. And by the most important measure — the well being of ordinary
citizens — it has failed miserably. --