Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity

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Verso, 2005 - Business & Economics - 270 pages
6 Reviews
In the past twenty-five years the free-market neoliberal model has been hailed as a panacea for economic ills in both the advanced economies and the developing world. Pollin dissects this model as it has been implemented in the US during the Clinton and Bush administrations under Greenspan's Chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, and in developing countries under the auspices of the IMF.

Clinton's Third Way policies were hailed as combining a pro-business stance with social responsibility. This approach seemed to be vindicated by the extraordinary fall in both inflation and unemployment. In fact, the apparent successes of the Clinton years were based on anti-labor policies, the stagnation of real wages, deregulation of financial markets, and an historically unprecedented stock market boom. Even before 9/11 there were indications that the Clinton bubble would collapse into recession. Bush's response was to give big tax breaks to the rich, introduce more anti-labor measures, and cut social spending at both the federal and state levels.

Both Clinton and Bush have applied free-market policies only selectively within the US itself, when such policies have most benefited the interests of business. At the same time, through the IMF, the US has compelled developing countries to slash public spending, deregulate financial markets and dismantle trade barriers virtually across the board. Argentina's embrace of this policy package culminated in financial ruin. Throughout Asia and Africa, sweatshops and poverty are the testaments to a bankrupt economic model.

Pollin concludes by exploring concrete proposals that would promote full employment, economic growth and increased equality in the US and throughout the less developed countries, drawing ong the spreading movements for living wages, the Tobin Tax on financial speculation, and more generally workable alternatives to neoliberal globalization.
  

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Review: Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity

User Review  - Courtney - Goodreads

Changed my life. I don't know if I would be as captivated with it now, but I introduced economics to me and I took it from there. Read full review

Review: Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity

User Review  - Courtney - Goodreads

Changed my life. I don't know if I would be as captivated with it now, but I introduced economics to me and I took it from there. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Neoliberal Consensus Clinton Bush Greenspan IMF
3
Clintonomics The Hollow Boom
21
The Down Side of Fabulous
49
Money Grab and Recession The Bush Economy
77
The Landscape of Global Austerity
125
Another Path Is Possible
173
Afterword to the 2005 Edition
195
US Macroeconomic Trends 19602000 by NBER Cycle Data Groupings
227
A Phillips Curve Model With Unit Labor Costs
231
Measuring the Impact of Alternative Influences on the Federal Fiscal Budget
241
Notes
243
Index
263
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Among his many books are The Living Wage (with Stephanie Luce) and the edited volume Transforming the US Financial System (with Gary Dymski and Gerald Epstein). He has worked with the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress and the United Nations Development Program, and was the economic spokesperson for the 1992 presidential campaign of Governor Jerry Brown.

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