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Why anger and confusion reign in an economy paralysed by myth

For a number of decades our economy has failed to work for ordinary citizens. Stagnant wages have been combined with underemployment and rising costs of basic goods like healthcare, education and housing. At the same time, a small minority of the population make obscene profits, while in the background we continue to hurtle headlong into an environmental emergency. However, despite there being no shortage of anger and anti-elite sentiment expressed in what is often referred to as the ‘culture wars’, no significant challenge to the dominant economic model has broken into the mainstream. The pound and the fury argues that behind this failure of imagination are a set of taken-for-granted myths about how the economy works – myths that stifle debate and block change. The book analyses these myths, explores their origin, how they circulate and how they might be dispelled at a time when, away from the public gaze, economic theory is opening up new possibilities of economic action. Possibilities that, as we emerge from the chaos of Covid-19, could lead to the radical structural changes we desperately need.

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This book explains the direct link between the structure of the corporation and its limitless capacity for ecological destruction. It argues that we need to find the most effective means of ending the corporation’s death grip over us. The corporation is a problem, not merely because it devours natural resources, pollutes and accelerates the carbon economy. As this book argues, the constitutional structure of the corporation eradicates the possibility that we can put the protection of the planet before profit. A fight to get rid of the corporations that have brought us to this point may seem an impossible task at the moment, but it is necessary for our survival. It is hardly radical to suggest that if something is killing us, we should over-power it and make it stop. We need to kill the corporation before it kills us.

Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.

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Jack Mosse

status quo, and perpetuating a free-market ideology, lest the government seek to infringe on their profit-making activity. The media scholar Anu Kantola's thoroughly researched work on The Financial Times and other major economic publications has shown how a free-market ideology consistently dominates the financial press, and is even placed above democratic principles. 7 It's hard not to link this ideological leaning to the interests of the owners of outlets that espouse it

in The pound and the fury
Oscar Ugarteche Galarza

ACADEMIA Theories, opinions, human resources International Financial Press 5.3.  Power structure of the embedded financial banking complex 118 DESAI 9781526127884 PRINT.indd 118 12/06/2020 09:16 Embeddedness and the financial system Table 5.5  Value added structure of the US financial banking complex, 2004–10 % GD 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total banks, stocks, insurance, funds, real estate, rentals and financial leasing Profits/GDP Salaries/GDP Taxes/GDP 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 79.77 14.99 5.24 80.23 14.79 4.98 80.04 14.91 5.06 80

in Karl Polanyi and twenty-first-century capitalism
Oonagh McDonald

‘available data does not support the hypothesis that contributor banks manipulated their quotes to profit from positions based on the fixings’.13 In October 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated in its Global Financial Stability Report: although the integrity of the U.S. dollar LIBOR fixing process has been questioned by some market participants and the financial press, it appears that the U.S. dollar LIBOR remains an accurate measure of a typical creditworthy bank’s marginal costs of unsecured U.S. dollar term functioning.14 Since these documents appeared

in Holding bankers to account
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Aeron Davis

encouraging demand for shares. If that isn't via direct contact, it is through the financial press and analyst communities. CEOs, as well as being despatched on sales missions to the City, are now also media trained and shunted towards financial journalists. Tony Golding, a former economist, analyst and investment banker, had a wide-angle view of how London's financial sector operated. Upon retiring, he wrote a book on the inner workings of the City. Its subtitle was ‘Inside the great expectations machine’, 9 which sums things up perfectly. He

in Reckless opportunists
Aeron Davis

: New Financial. 7 See report by the Social Mobility Commission (2016) Socio-Economic Diversity in Life Sciences and Investment Banking , London: Social Mobility Commission. 8 For a fascinating account of how financial and economic news came to be captured by City and business elites, see Wayne Parsons (1989) The Power of the Financial Press: Journalism and Economic Opinion in Britain and America , London: Edward Elgar. 9 See study by Aeron Davis (2009) ‘Journalist-Source Relations

in Reckless opportunists
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What’s green is gold
Adrienne Buller

zero-sum game played against the planet, labour or human rights. Advocates insist that for most people, it’s no longer enough to simply park your money in Big Tobacco or arms manufacturers and watch it grow; studies suggest that today’s average asset owner – particularly the young – wants to see their money contribute positively to the world in some way. 25 And, so the argument goes, this is an approach that pays off. The financial press is flush with articles and analyses showing ESG strategies outperform the

in The Value of a Whale
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Susan Strange

ones. It is an open question whether that tide is about to turn, or not. Some scenarios The one most generally feared is the crash of 1999, 2000, or even 2003. It has been a theme of scare thrillers for at least twenty years. Paul Erdman’s The Crash of’ 79 was the first but by no means the last. And by late 1997, even quite sober commentators in the financial press, reflecting on the financial typhoon that hit Asian markets that year, were starting to hedge their bets and to say that though the crash might not happen, it could happen. What exactly did they have in

in Mad Money