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Capitalism is in crisis. To save it, we need to rethink economic growth.

Capitalism is in crisis. To save it, we need to rethink economic growth.

That mindless growth, Hickel and his fellow degrowth believers contend, is very bad both for the planet and for our spiritual well-being. We need, Hickel writes, to develop “new theories of being” and rethink our place in the “living world.” (Hickel goes on about intelligent plants and their ability to communicate, which is both controversial botany and confusing economics.) It’s tempting to dismiss it all as being more about social engineering of our lifestyles than about actual economic reforms. 

Though Hickel, an anthropologist, offers a few suggestions (“cut advertising” and “end planned obsolescence”), there’s little about the practical steps that would make a no-growth economy work. Sorry, but talking about plant intelligence won’t solve our woes; it won’t feed hungry people or create well-paying jobs. 

Still, the degrowth movement does have a point: faced with climate change and the financial struggles of many workers, capitalism isn’t getting it done. 

Slow growth

Even some economists outside the degrowth camp, while not entirely rejecting the importance of growth, are questioning our blind devotion to it. 

One obvious factor shaking their faith is that growth has been lousy for decades. There have been exceptions to this economic sluggishness—the US during the late 1990s and early 2000s and developing countries like China as they raced to catch up. But some scholars, notably Robert Gordon, whose 2016 book The Rise and Fall of American Growth triggered much economic soul-searching, are realizing that slow growth might be the new normal, not some blip, for much of the world. 

Gordon held that growth “ended on October 16, 1973, or thereabouts,” write MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, who won the 2019 Nobel Prize, in Good Economics for Hard Times. Referencing Gordon, they single out the day when the OPEC oil embargo began; GDP growth in

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More synchronized action needed to tackle COVID economic crisis, IMF’s Georgieva says

More synchronized action needed to tackle COVID economic crisis, IMF’s Georgieva says

By Andrea Shalal and Marc Jones

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – The international community must do more to tackle the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Monday, publicly calling on the World Bank to accelerate its lending to hard-hit African countries.

Some of the key events of the virtual and elongated annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank take place this week, with the most pressing issue how to support struggling countries.

“We are going to continue to push to do even more,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said during an online FT Africa summit.

“I would beg for also more grants for African countries. The World Bank has grant-giving capacity. Perhaps you can do even more… and bilateral donors can do more in that regard,” Georgieva said in an unusual public display of discord between the two major international financial institutions.

No immediate comment was available from the Bank.

Georgieva last week said the IMF had provided $26 billion in fast-track support to African states since the start of the crisis, but a dearth of private lending meant the region faced a financing gap of $345 billion through 2023.

The pandemic, a collapse in commodity prices and a plague of locusts have hit Africa particularly hard, putting 43 million more people at risk of extreme poverty, according to World Bank estimates. African states have reported more than 1 million coronavirus cases and some 23,000 deaths.

G20 governments are expected to extend for six months their Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) which has so far frozen around $5 billion of poorer countries’ debt payments, but pressure is on the main development banks and private creditors to provide relief too.

HOLDING ONTO GOLD RESERVES

Georgieva said the Fund was also pushing richer member

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More synchronized action needed to tackle COVID economic crisis – IMF’s Georgieva

More synchronized action needed to tackle COVID economic crisis – IMF’s Georgieva

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – The international community must do more to tackle the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Monday, publicly calling on the World Bank to accelerate its lending to hard-hit African countries.

FILE PHOTO: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a conference hosted by the Vatican on economic solidarity, at the Vatican, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Some of the key events of the virtual and elongated annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank take place this week, with the most pressing issue how to support struggling countries.

“We are going to continue to push to do even more,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said during an online FT Africa summit.

“I would beg for also more grants for African countries. The World Bank has grant-giving capacity. Perhaps you can do even more… and bilateral donors can do more in that regard,” Georgieva said in an unusual public display of discord between the two major international financial institutions.

No immediate comment was available from the Bank.

Georgieva last week said the IMF had provided $26 billion in fast-track support to African states since the start of the crisis, but a dearth of private lending meant the region faced a financing gap of $345 billion through 2023.

The pandemic, a collapse in commodity prices and a plague of locusts have hit Africa particularly hard, putting 43 million more people at risk of extreme poverty, according to World Bank estimates. African states have reported more than 1 million coronavirus cases and some 23,000 deaths.

G20 governments are expected to extend for six months their Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) which has so far frozen around $5 billion of poorer countries’ debt payments, but pressure is

Read the rest
Staggers Rail Act deregulation has enabled rail industry to thrive even during times of national crisis: Analysis

Staggers Rail Act deregulation has enabled rail industry to thrive even during times of national crisis: Analysis

October 14, 2020, marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Staggers Rail Act signed by former President Jimmy Carter. The bipartisan legislation primarily deregulated the freight rail sector, which was on the brink of collapse in the 1970s.



a group of people sitting at a train station


© Provided by Washington Examiner


The rail industry’s success after 40 years of rail deregulation provides “an important case study on matters related to competition, markets, rate regulation and capitalism writ large,” the Association of American Railroads argues.

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The Staggers Rail Act eliminated many of the regulations still in place since 1887, when Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act. The act established the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate monopolies controlling the railroads.

By the 1970s, the regulations had not changed. Combined with competition from other transportation sectors, major railroads were facing bankruptcy, the industry was facing ruin and rail infrastructure was so deficient that cars were falling off the tracks.

Deregulation enabled the rail industry to take a customer-focused and market-based approach. Since then, freight railroads have invested more than $710 billion of their own dollars back into the national rail network.

Since 1980, rail traffic has doubled but, because of deregulation, rail rates are down by more than 40 percent when adjusted for inflation. Customers can ship double the amount of goods for roughly the same price they could 40 years ago. And because of technological advancement, increased volume of heavy freight has been carried on rail lines instead of on congested or failing public roads making transportation safer.

“The freight rail industry is one of the most cost-effective and efficient transportation networks in the world,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) argues. “Fueled by billions of dollars in annual private investment – $25 billion on average – railroads maintain and modernize the nation’s nearly

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Warren Buffett phoned Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson with a stimulus idea when the financial crisis erupted. It may have saved the US economy

Warren Buffett phoned Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson with a stimulus idea when the financial crisis erupted. It may have saved the US economy

warren buffett hank paulson
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (L) shares a laugh with financier Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, at the Conference on U.S. Capital Market Competitiveness in Washington March 13, 2007.

  • Warren Buffett phoned Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson at the height of the 2008 financial crisis with a suggestion that likely saved the US economy from an even deeper recession.
  • The famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO proposed the government plow capital directly into banks instead of only buying their distressed assets.
  • Paulson quickly gathered the bosses of the nation’s biggest banks and convinced them to accept billions of dollars in investment.
  • The Treasury demanded preferred stock paying chunky dividends, as well as stock warrants in return, emulating Buffett’s bailout of Goldman Sachs in September 2008.
  • Former President George W. Bush called it “probably the greatest financial bailout ever” and said it “probably saved a depression.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett made a late-night call on Saturday, 11 October 2008 that likely spared the US from an even more devastating financial crisis.

The billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO dialed then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, the pair said in “Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis,” a documentary released in 2018.

“Hank, this is Warren,” Buffett said. A tired and groggy Paulson’s first thought was, “My mom has a handyman named Warren, why is he calling me?”

Read moreThese 30 global stocks are positioned to stay on top in the 4th quarter as the contrast between a recovering economy and rising COVID cases keeps markets volatile, RBC says

Buffett was calling about the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which authorized the Treasury to spend $700 billion purchasing distressed assets from banks. Lawmakers passed it in a desperate effort to

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