Economy | WAMC

Economy

Book cover for "The Water Defenders"
Beacon Press / Beacon Press

At a time when countless communities are resisting powerful corporations—from Flint, Michigan, to the Standing Rock Reservation, to Didipio in the Philippines, to the Gualcarque River in Honduras—The Water Defenders tells the inspirational story of a community that took on an international mining corporation at seemingly insurmountable odds and won not one but two historic victories.


In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress, and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales, brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera, and others soon discovered that the river system supplying water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination. With a group of unlikely allies, local and global, they committed to stop the corporation and the destruction of their home.

Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. 

Book cover for The Wealth Hoarders
Polity

For decades, a secret army of tax attorneys, accountants and wealth managers has been developing into the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry. These “agents of inequality” are paid millions to hide trillions for the richest 0.01%.

In his book, "The Wealth Hoarders," inequality expert Chuck Collins interviews the leading players and gives a unique insider account of how this industry is doing everything it can to create and entrench hereditary dynasties of wealth and power.

He exposes the inner workings of these “agents of inequality,” showing how they deploy anonymous shell companies, family offices, offshore accounts, opaque trusts, and sham transactions to ensure the world’s richest pay next to no tax. He ends by outlining a robust set of policies that democratic nations can implement to shut down the Wealth Defense Industry for good.

Joe Donahue: From the prize-winning journalist Sarah Chayes, internationally recognized as an expert on government corruption throughout the world, the new book, "On Corruption in America," offers an unflinching look at how corruption has taken hold in our own country and how the corrupt operate: through sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public, but to maximize returns for network members.

Bringing to bear all of her knowledge, grasp, sense of history and observation, Sarah Chayes writes in her new book, that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Sarah Chayes’ remarkable trajectory has led her from reporting from Paris for National Public Radio, to working on the ground in Kandahar, Afghanistan in the midst of a burgeoning insurgency, to serving as special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Book cover for "Monopolies Suck"
Simon & Schuster / Simon & Schuster

Something’s not right. No matter how hard you work, life seems to only get harder. In the new book, "Monopolies Suck," antitrust expert and director at the Open Markets Institute, Sally Hubbard, shows us the sways big corporations rule our lives—and what must be done to stop them.

Hubbard says the U.S. failed to protect its citizens against COVID-19, and corporate mergers led to a shortage of ventilators and critical medical supplies, while hospital monopolies underpaid vital health care workers. Small businesses are shuttering without government support, while the most powerful companies profiteer.

Hubbard says the economy is not working for the middle class, and monopolies are amplifying the systemic racism and misogyny that instigated a summer of protests and unrest.

Book cover for MS-13
Blink Publishing / https://www.blinkpublishing.co.uk/

MS-13 is one of the most infamous street gangs on earth, with an estimated ten thousand members operating in dozens of states and linked to thousands of grisly murders each year in the US and abroad. But it is also misunderstood.

In his book "MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang," journalist and longtime organized crime investigator Steven Dudley brings readers inside the nefarious group to tell a larger story of how a flawed US and Central American policy, and the exploitative and unequal economic systems helped foster the gang and sustain it.

8/7/20 Panel

Aug 7, 2020
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, President of Beyond Plastics Judith Enck, Siena College Economics Professor Aaron Pacitti, and Actor and Educator Kristen van Ginhoven - co-founder and Artistic Director of WAM Theatre.

7/31/20 Panel

Jul 31, 2020

     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, UAlbany Lecturer in Africana Studies Jennifer Burns, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, President of Beyond Plastics, and former EPA regional administrator Judith Enck, Publisher Emeritus of The Daily Freeman Ira Fusfeld, and Siena College Economics Professor Aaron Pacitti.

No matter where you live, cuts are probably coming.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, wraps up his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Joe Donahue: In the new thriller “The End of October” from the Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Lawrence Wright, Dr. Henry Parsons an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees. The novel has a virus that starts in Asia, sweeps across continents, cripples the healthcare system wrecks the economy and kills scores of people worldwide. Yes, eerily prescient. And Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winning author, screenwriter, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and fellow at the Center for Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. 

When Gene Sperling was in charge of coordinating the shaping and execution of the U.S. government’s economic policy in the Obama White House, he found himself surprised and dismayed when serious people in Washington worried out loud that Obama’s focus on health care was a distraction because it was “not focused on the economy.”

Too often, Sperling found that our economic debate confused ends and means. We measured economic success by metrics like GDP instead of whether the economy was succeeding in lifting up the sense of meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and security of people.

In a time of wrenching economic upheaval, as we face the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Sperling’s new book, "Economic Dignity," seeks to reframe the conversation and offer a profound big-picture vision of why the promotion of dignity should be the singular goal by which we chart America’s economic future.

Online shopping has changed the way many Americans make purchases and put such a strain on brick and mortar retail that many stores have closed. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exasperated the problem as many stores furlough their employees. While corporate stores have fared the crisis better, smaller independent stores are still struggling.

That’s why the Retail Council of New York is hoping a website - a one stop shop to find boutiques and indie stores that might not have the same brand recognition that corporate retailers do. They are inviting anyone who has a small business to add their name to the registry so that customers who want to can support small businesses from their homes.

Ted Potrikus is President & CEO of the Retail Council of New York State.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is one of the most recognizable and trusted voices on economics and policy today. His new book "Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future” explains the complexities of health care, housing bubbles, tax reform, Social Security, with his trademarked clarity and precision.

MacArthur Genius and Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal, among others.

Desmond will be at UAlbany’s Page Hall on Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. for an event sponsored by the Changing the Conversation Committee, a partnership of CatholicCharities, Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, Unity House, and the New York State Writers Institute.

The economy has been brutal to American workers for several decades. The promise at the heart of the American Dream is withering away. While onlookers assume those suffering in marginalized working-class communities will instinctively rise up, the 2016 election threw into sharp relief how little we know about how the working-class translate their grievances into politics.

In "We're Still Here: We're Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America," Jennifer M. Silva tells a deep, multi-generational story of pain, place, and politics that will endure long after the Trump administration. Drawing on over 100 interviews with black, white, and Latino working-class residents of a declining coal town in Pennsylvania, Silva reveals how the decline of the American Dream is lived and felt.

Jennifer M. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington.

We live in a world where twenty-six billionaires own as much wealth as half the planet's population. The extractive economy we live with now enables the financial elite to squeeze out maximum gain for themselves, heedless of damage to people or planet.

At a time when competing political visions are at stake the world over, "The Making of a Democratic Economy: How to Build Prosperity for the Many, Not the Few" urges a move beyond tinkering at the margins to address the systemic crisis of our economy.

Marjorie Kelly is the executive vice president and senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative. She is the author of "The Divine Right of Capital" and "Owning Our Future." Her co-author on the book is Ted Howard, the cofounder and the president of the Democracy Collaborative. The Collaborative works to carry out a vision of a new economic system where shared ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life.

Flickr

The latest Siena College poll shows consumer confidence has dropped sharply in 2019.

Congressman Richard Neal
public domain / Public Domain

It’s a tumultuous time in the world economy.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses President Trump's response to his national security team's testimony in the Senate, and reports that the Federal Reserve may end interest rate hikes sooner than expected. He also comments on New York state's deal with Amazon for a new headquarters in New York City. 

Congressman John Faso
Official Photo

December has been marked by some financial turmoil.

In today’s Congressional Corner, outgoing New York Representative John Faso continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Families today are squeezed on every side from high childcare costs and harsh employment policies to workplaces without paid family leave or even dependable and regular working hours. Many realize that attaining the standard of living their parents managed has become impossible.

In her book, "Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America," Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. She shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects, from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses, have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite.

Andrew Yang is the founder of Venture for America, a major non-profit that places top college graduates in start-ups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Yang has been the CEO, co-founder or executive at a number of technology and education companies.

Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong.
 
In this unprecedented deep dive, McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. While stories of newly built but empty cities, white elephant state projects, and a byzantine shadow banking system, have all become a regular fixture in the press in recent years, McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.

Dinny McMahon's spent more than a decade in China as a journalist covering the Chinese economy and financial systems for the Wall Street Journal and for the Dow Jones News Service. A native Australian, he is fluent in Mandarin. McMahon wrote China’s Great Wall of Debt while a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. His new book is "China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle."

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She directs its Peace Economy Transitions Project which focuses on helping to build the foundations of a postwar economy at the federal, state and local levels. She co-chairs the Budget Priorities Working Group, the principal information-sharing collaboration of U.S. NGOs working on reducing Pentagon spending.

With William Hartung of the New America Foundation, she is co-editor of the book Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Publishers, 2008). Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Women Against War has brought Dr. Miriam Pemberton to the region to talk about transitioning to a peace economy at three college campuses. She will be at UAlbany today speaking in the Humanities Building in Room 354. 

Bill Owens: A Weakening U.S. Dollar

Feb 15, 2018

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin both recently indicated that they believe the US dollar should weaken against other currencies.  It is important to note that the US Government like all western countries does not control the currency exchange rate as opposed to countries in southeast Asia where the government dictates/manipulates its currency exchange rates.  China is famous for this, and President Trump rightfully has attacked them for this manipulation. 

Thomas A. Kochan, is the George M. Bunker Professor of Work and Employment Relations at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Co-Director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research.

"Shaping the Future of Work" lays out a comprehensive strategy for changing the course the American economy and employment system have been on for the past 30 years. The goal is to create more productive businesses that also provide good jobs and careers and by doing so build a more inclusive economy and broadly shared prosperity. This will require workers to acquire new sources of bargaining power and for business, labor, government, and educators to work together to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the next generation workforce.

Richard McGregor, a former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief, has just written a behind-the-headlines guide to the history and current state of our country’s relations with the two most powerful nations in East Asia, Japan and China.

In Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century, McGregor unpacks the old, toxic rivalries between U.S., Japan, and China, and looks to the future as it changes and redefines the world order in the 21stcentury.

Richard McGregor is a journalist and an author with extensive experience in reporting from East Asia and Washington. 

Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Williams’s work includes What Works for Women at Work, coauthored with Rachel Dempsey; Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It. Williams is frequently featured as an expert on social class.

Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite - journalists, managers, and establishment politicians - are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.

Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry and Freedom is Not Enough She is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did.

Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains names its true architect: Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan — and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

Rick Wartzman is director of the KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society at the Drucker Institute, a part of Claremont Graduate University. He also writes about the world of work for Fortune magazine online. Before joining the Drucker Institute in 2007 as its founding executive director, Rick worked for two decades as a reporter, editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

In his new book, The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America, Wartzman chronicles the erosion of the relationship between American companies and their workers. Through the stories of four major employers--General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, and Coca-Cola--he shows how big businesses once took responsibility for providing their workers and retirees with an array of social benefits.

Federal Reserve Bank of NY President William Dudley
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Since 2010, representatives of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have been making field trips to different regions across the state.  On Monday its president, William Dudley, met with Plattsburgh business leaders to discuss North Country economic issues.

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