Why Has the American Economic System Failed, and What Are We Going To Do About It?
JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
16 APRIL 2012
“We always want to keep in mind what the function, the purpose, of the economy is. The purpose of an economy is not producing GDP. It is increasing the welfare of citizens, and it is increasing the welfare of most citizens. And the American economic system has failed, and failed very badly. Most Americans today are worse off, most American households have lower real income adjusted for inflation than they had fifteen years ago.”
Joe Stiglitz made an aside about half way through his talk about mercantilism at INET Berlin this month that is worth noting. I like the way he frames the problems and his fresh look on the situation but do not favor many of his suggested cures, especially the notion of something that sounds dangerously like central planning by a financial elite. I think that is something that needs much more work, but that is a discussion too often impeded by denial, misdirection, and diversion.
Although he initially addresses his talk to America, he goes on to include other countries, especially Germany. I would add the UK, among others including China, which is a disaster in the making.
I start the tape of his talk at 13:25, so you can hear the basic question and the simple truth that so many have overlooked. The American economic system has failed the public, and that failure has its roots in the 1990’s, accelerating at the turn of the century into the financial collapse. It is a story of deceit, corruption, and betrayal.
And the majority of the people, who have suffered the most from this injustice, are being asked to suffer even more for a system that does not benefit them and actually works against them. And they are asking, ‘is it worthy of our support?’
And history indicates that they will provide an answer that may be unpalatable for those who benefit the most from the current unsustainable arrangement, who are enriched by the misery of others.