Daily Archives: February 12, 2010

Saunders appointed to CSMGEP

Lisa Saunders, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Lisa Saunders, UMass Amherst economics professor, was recently appointed to the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession.  CSMGEP was established by the American Economic Association (AEA) in 1968 to increase the representation of minorities in the economics profession, primarily by broadening opportunities for the training of underrepresented minorities.

CSMGEP, which is comprised of economists from all areas of the profession, also works to ensure that issues related to the representation of minorities are considered in the work of the AEA, makes an annual report to the AEA on the activities of the committee as well as on the status of minorities in the economics profession, and engages in other efforts to promote the advancement of minorities in the economics profession.

Wolff comments on global capitalism crisis in Greek daily paper

Richard Wolff, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Emeritus

Richard Wolff, UMass Amherst economics professor emeritus, commented recently in a story published in Elefterotypia, Athens, Greece’s daily paper.  The English translation, published on Wolff’s website, is below:

2010 marks year #3 of this crisis in global capitalism. This is a systemic crisis with extreme symptoms in different places at different times: now Icelandic banks, then US homeowners being foreclosed, now Mexico losing emigrants’ remittances, then Greece’s government bonds, and so on. Capitalist hegemony cannot admit or deal with the disease of capitalism as a system. Instead, the focus shifts from symptom to symptom to press local institutions to shift the costs of crisis onto workers.

Capitalism’s systemic crisis is no mystery. For 30 years, wages were restrained (by incorporating vast new supplies of labor power) relative to enhanced productivity (via computerization and telecommunications). Exploding surplus and profits produced another capitalist speculation frenzy built on excessive risk. Workers in Europe and especially the US reacted to stagnant real wages by borrowing too much. By 2007, the crisis emerged from: a financially overextended working class, employers with excess productive capacity, wealthy individuals with too many risky investments, and an international economy with severe trade and capital flow imbalances among nations.

Instead of moving beyond a capitalist system that endlessly reproduces such crises, servants of the status quo prefer to blame and squeeze some local workers: this time Greeks.

Boyce in Video Primer on Carbon Policy

James Boyce, UMass Amherst Economist

Any policy that limits supply of fossil fuels must raise their price. An inexorable economic logic binds price to scarcity, regardless of whether scarcity arises from OPEC-engineered production limits, climate policies to cap carbon emissions, or other initiatives that keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The key question is who gets the money? As governments move to cap carbon emissions, attention is turning to this hundred-billion-dollar question. In video interviews on The Real News Network, UMass Amherst economist James K. Boyce outlines three possibilities: 

1.  Windfall profits to corporations: a “cap-and-giveaway” policy.
2.  Revenues to government: a “cap-and-spend” policy.
3.  Dividends to the people:  a “cap-and-dividend” policy.

In Washington, the introduction of the Cantwell-Collins bill in the Senate in December has put this issue squarely on the political agenda. The bill proposes to auction 100% of carbon permits, return 75% of the revenue to the public in equal dividends per person, and devote the remaining 25% to investments in clean energy and assistance to communities adversely impacted by the transition away from a fossil-fueled economy. Boyce discusses the stakes, not only for family incomes but also the possible fate of climate legislation in the United States.

Basu presented at the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in NYC

Deepankar Basu, UMass Amherst Economics Professsor

UMass Amherst economics professor Deepankar Basu presented his on-going research (with Amit Basole) on the relations of production, modes of surplus extraction and the evolving class structure in India at the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in NYC which was held in January.

Learn more about Basu and Basole’s research