Puerto Rico is broke and in debt to the tune of $73 billion. It needs to be able to declare bankruptcy which can’t do unless the US Congress lets them. There is a bill (pdf) in the works that will do that and provide financial assistance but there are a group of people who don’t …
Apr 25 2016
Making Sense of the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis
Feb 11 2015
Good Bye, RadioShack
The 94 year old company known to all as RadioShack, where many found the cables to hook up their Nintendo to the TV, has filed for bankruptcy. In his farewell to the company, HBO’s “This Week Tonight” host John Oliver wondered what RadioShack would say to its customers, so John and his crew created a farewell massage for them. The segment may not be safe for viewing in the work place or around young children due to strong language.
Jan 12 2014
Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Fagor Goes Bankrupt – Trouble in Camelot by Geminijen
No one should be surprised these days when yet another company goes belly-up in these difficult financial times, especially in devastated economies such as Spain. Yet the bankruptcy of Fagor, the flagship cooperative in the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) has shaken many anti-capitalists around the world as akin to witnessing the ending of Camelot. The fact that at least two of the other largest cooperatives in the Mondragon network, Caja Laboral (the bank and financial center of the corporation) and Eroski (a chain of retail stores throughout Europe) are in dire financial straits has only added to the ominous threat.
Fagor, with its 5,600 workers, is a relatively small part of the whole. Even so, Trevino (Fagor’s CEO) warns that its fall “will have an uncontrollable domino effect on the rest of the group with major social implications.” He believes Fagor’s liquidation would create a €480m hole at Mondragon, including inter-group loans and payments the group’s insurance arm would have to make on Fagor workers’ unemployment policies.
Mondragon has promised to find new jobs or offer early-retirement terms for as many as it can of Fagor’s Spanish workers, but this is a tall order in a country with 27% unemployment. Besides their jobs, workers stand to lose the money they had invested in the co-op if it is liquidated.
Demystifying the Mondragon Myth
For the last 50 some years, the growth of what is now the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation has given many anarchists, socialists and other progressives in the cooperative movement the hope that yes, Virginia, there really is a viable alternative to Capitalism or, at the very least, an economic system that could provide a transition to socialism. Moreover, although many socialists won’t easily admit it, there is often the underlying hope that somehow this transition could occur “peacefully”, without a real class struggle ending in state ownership; that somehow, within the belly of the beast of capitalism, the cooperative model could “out compete” the capitalist multinationals at their own game and become the dominant economic paradigm.
Yet, as one blogger commented in Alternatives to Capitalism,
“There is no escaping the need to challenge Wall Street and the other big financial centers across the world for political and economic power which requires a well-organized and intense class struggle […] something the promoters of these cooperative schemes try to evade as they try to convince workers there are ways around bringing mines, mills and factories under public ownership which is going to require the nationalization of entire industries.”
Jul 26 2013
Detroit a Capitalist Failure
by Richard Wolff, The Guardian
The auto industry Big Three were loyal only to shareholders, not the people of Detroit. The city was gutted by that social choice
Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.
The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism’s ability to generate and sustain a large “middle class”, one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern “American Dream”.
True, quality jobs in Detroit were forced from the automobile capitalists by long and hard union struggles, especially across the 1930s. Once defeated in those struggles, auto capitalists quickly arranged to rewrite the history so that good wages and working conditions became something they “gave” to their workers. In any case, Detroit became a vibrant, world-class city in the 1950s and 1960s; its distinctive culture and sound shaped the world’s music much as its cars shaped the world’s industries.
Over the past 40 years, capitalism turned that success into the abject failure culminating now in the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
Kicking off a series of speeches about the economy, President Obama told a crowd in Illinois on Wednesday that reversing growing inequality and rejuvenating the middle class “has to be Washington’s highest priority.” During his remarks, Obama failed to mention the bankruptcy filing by Detroit, where thousands of public workers are now fighting to protect their pensions and medical benefits as the city threatens massive cuts to overcome an estimated $18 billion in debt. Detroit’s bankruptcy “is an example of a failed economic system,” says economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts
Transcript can be read here.
by David Sirota, Salon
Conservatives want you to think high taxes drove people away. The real truth is much worse for their radical agenda
In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, you may be wondering: How could anyone be surprised that a city so tied to manufacturing faces crippling problems in an era that has seen such an intense public policy assault on domestic American manufacturing? You may also be wondering: How could Michigan officials possibly talk about cutting the average $19,000-a-year pension benefit for municipal workers while reaffirming their pledge of $283 million in taxpayer money to a professional hockey stadium?
These are fair questions – and the answers to them can be found in the political mythology that distorts America’s economic policymaking.
As mythology goes, the specific story being crafted about Detroit’s bankruptcy is truly biblical – more specifically, just like the fact-free mythology around the Greek financial collapse, it is copied right from the chapter in the conservative movement’s bible about how to distort crises for maximum political effect.
May 03 2013
Medical Bankruptcy in the US Even With Insurance
In the United States, 62% of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical bills. It is not among who you would think but most often effects middle aged, middle class, college educated homeowners. 80% of those people had health insurance, so why are they filing for bankruptcy? No other industrial country has this problem.
Our fellow blogger, lambert, writing for naked capitalism, featured this video from Real News Network:
Paul Jay of the Real News Network interviews Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician from Baltimore who advocates for a national single payer health system, Medicare for all, and Kevin Zeese, co-director of It’s Our Economy, an organization that advocates for democratizing the economy.
At his blog, Corrente, lambert continues to document the atrocities of the Obamacare ClusterFuck.