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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Economic sustainability isn't . . .
May 16, 2012 - 4:52pm

One of the difficulties of promoting economic sustainability at Greenback (or, I suspect, on most US university campuses) is describing what it might look like without seeming to be some sort of pie-eyed socialist.  Given the overwhelmingly prevalent civil religion of consumer capitalism and the de facto dominance of Chicago School neoliberalism, it's challenging to try to explain to that our economic system is nothing Adam Smith would recognize nor particularly approve, and that during the most recent generation when the USA was really on the economic upswing (think 1945 - 1975) the rules were entirely different than what we now take for granted.

But for everyone who ever suspected that this casino we call an economy just might be giving the house an edge that would make Meyer Lansky blush, Matt Taibbi's latest blog entry is highly revelatory.  Not only are the foxes guarding the henhouse, they've made sure that the farmer's coffee is all decaf and his shot-shells loaded with styrofoam.  Combine Taibbi's (fully documented) tale of malfeasance at Goldman Sachs with Greg Smith's highly public resignation a couple of months ago, stir in a heavy dose of the emerging story about just how out of control JPMorgan Chase's "hedging" operation is (and, indeed, how it was explicitly structured and managed to be out of control), set it all into an overarching context of financial bubble, market crash and painfully slow (I might argue illusory) economic recovery, and we have a pretty clear picture of just what economic sustainability isn't.

Unfortunately, we also have a pretty clear picture of a Panglossian "normalcy" that the casino owners are trying (with captive media support and a complete lack of resistance from tame legislators/"regulators") to get us all back to.

 

 

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