A new report from the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst says U.S. commercial banks and large nonfinancial corporations have been carrying huge cash hoards and other liquid assets, totaling $1.4 trillion. At the same time, small businesses have been locked out of credit markets, preventing them from expanding. In the report, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Robert Pollin, James Heintz ’01 PhD, Heidi Garrett-Peltier ’10 PhD and Jeannette Wicks-Lim ’05 PhD of PERI examine the impact that mobilizing these excess liquid assets into productive investments could have on job creation. They find that if we moved those liquid assets into business expansions, U.S. employment could expand by about 19 million jobs by the end of 2014, with unemployment falling below 5 percent. (Physorg.com, 12/7/11; News Office release)
UMass Amherst Economics Department faculty continue to participate in events and publish information on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The “Occupy” protests started on Wall Street and have spread internationally. Protests have been held locally in Amherst, Boston and Northampton.
UMass Amherst Economics Professor Arindrajit Dube, who is also a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) based in Bonn, discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement with his colleague Marta Murray-Close for the UMass Amherst Department of Economics Echoes alumni newsletter. (Echoes, 12/12/11)
In her Economix blog, Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst economics professor, says concerns about growing economic inequality that spurred the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement should be the focus of a wider discussion by economists about capitalism and its effects. (New York Times, 11/28/11)
Gerald Friedman participated in an Occupy Wall Street Teach-In at Smith College. His talk can be viewed here. (11/12/11)
More than 350 economists have added their name in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Read their statement and watch a video featuring UMass Amherst Professors James Boyce, Nancy Folbre and Mwangi wa Githinji.
Gerald Friedman, a professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst, says there is “a general rise in popular discontent” in the United States due to the country’s economic downturn.
Back in 2009 and 2010, Americans saw a revival of the Tea Party, the right wing populism and “now with Wisconsin, with Ohio, with the Occupy movements we may see a revival of the left wing populism,” he told Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Saturday.
He also said that the public in Wisconsin is supporting collective bargaining rights of unions which state officials have been targeting as a method to balance their troubled budgets by cutting jobs and benefits. Watch the interview. (Press TV, 12/12/11)