Berfrois

A Recipe for Oppression

A Recipe for Oppression

The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting Company by Richard Murphy I said I would make no predictions for 2013. A few hours in and the weight of evidence makes me change my mind. In 2013 we will see political prevarication in defence of the status quo come to the fore, and government become gridlocked...

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Austerity policies pursued by EU countries over the recent past have had perverse and damaging effects…

Austerity policies pursued by EU countries over the recent past have had perverse and damaging effects…

On the Pauper’s Bench, Francois Bonvin, 1864 by Dawn Holland and Jonathan Portes EU governments have individually embraced severe austerity programmes in an effort to avoid becoming the next Portugal. This column presents results from the National Institute Global Econometric Model suggesting that these individually rational polices are leading...

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‘Adam Smith occasionally attacks the capitalists’

‘Adam Smith occasionally attacks the capitalists’

Portrait of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Gustave Courbet, 1865 by Karl Marx Just as the first critical moves in every science are necessarily entangled in the assumptions of the science which they are intending to combat, so Proudhon’s work Qu’est ce que la propriété? is a criticism of political economy...

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Email Trail of a Crisis

Email Trail of a Crisis

New York Stock Exchange. Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images by Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein As ProPublica has been detailing for two years, Wall Street banks and the hedge fund Magnetar worked together to build mortgage-backed deals that the hedge fund also bet against. The more than $40 billion of...

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Exactly Backwards

Exactly Backwards

Small White Pebble Circles, Richard Long, 1987 by Jeffrey Frankel The world is seized by a debate between fiscal austerity and fiscal stimulus. Opponents of austerity worry about contractionary effects on the economy. Opponents of stimulus worry about indebtedness and moral hazard (see Corsetti 2012). Is austerity good or...

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‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

From New Left Review: Why has the Eurozone emerged as the new epicentre of the global financial crisis, when its origins—the famous subprime mortgages—were American? And why, within Europe, has Greece proved to be the weak link? The starting point for any adequate answer is the recognition that what...

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Free Market Power Put on Ice

Free Market Power Put on Ice

by Gregory Jusdanis I got a new lesson on the force of narrative during the blackout that affected much of the mid-west and east coast in early July. It was the third time our own neighborhood had experienced an extended power outage in four years. This time, however, the...

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Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Can capitalism effectively respond to climate change? This is the timely and critically important question posed by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson at the beginning of their book, Climate Capitalism. It is the same question that motivated me to focus my own research on the topic of business and...

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‘Hirelings wandering round Europe’

‘Hirelings wandering round Europe’

Wladimir Klitschko and Jean-Marc Mormeck in the WBA-IBF Heavyweight titles, Düsseldorf, March 2012 by Àngel Ferrero In the amorality of capitalism, the alternatives for an emigrant are virtually reduced to cynicism or melancholy. Cigarette smoke snuck into clothes and wreathed tables, chairs, and walls of the bar in Neukölln,...

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‘Money never gets tired’

‘Money never gets tired’

Barney Dodd and Chris Frank From Rolling Stone: The giant reform bill turned out to be like the fish reeled in by Hemingway’s Old Man – no sooner caught than set upon by sharks that strip it to nothing long before it ever reaches the shore. In a furious...

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‘What is needed is a theory of distribution’

‘What is needed is a theory of distribution’

Liberty Plaza, November 2011. Photograph by Sasha Kimel From Monthly Review: In the early 1980s, I began telling my students that growing inequality of income and wealth would become the dominant political issue of the future. I did not think that the future meant thirty years, but better late...

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Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

As coined by Ronald McKinnon (1973), the term “financial repression” describes various policies that allow governments to “capture” and “under-pay” domestic savers. Such policies include forced lending to governments by pension funds and other domestic financial institutions, interest-rate caps, capital controls, and many more.

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CAPITALISM

CAPITALISM

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal Introduction The following two works were produced by visual artist Jonas Staal and writer Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei during a visit as artists in residence at The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa during the summer of 2010. Both works...

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Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

by Carl Wennerlind When the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza received word of a successful transmutation of lead into gold in December of 1666, he quickly sought to quell his skepticism by personally visiting the adept, and the visit left him fully convinced of the veracity of the adept’s account....

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Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

The Theatre, LSE, c.1930. Photograph from LSE Library Collection From The Times Literary Supplement: In London, Robbins had experienced Keynes’s less attractive side. They had both been appointed to the Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry, which was intended to find answers to the severe economic downturn then under...

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Michael Schiltz: Yen Blocism

Michael Schiltz: Yen Blocism

We are living through ominous times. In the wake of the 2008 subprime crisis, the world economy has been battered by a series of profound shocks that have not been experienced since the 1930s.

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Flawedonomics

Flawedonomics

From Freakonomics, Cold Fusion, 2010 From American Scientist: The nonfiction publishing phenomenon known as Freakonomics has passed its sixth anniversary. The original book, which used ideas from statistics and economics to explore real-world problems, was an instant bestseller. By 2011, it had sold more than four million copies worldwide,...

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Hedge Tip

Hedge Tip

John Bedford Lloyd playing the character Bill Clark (based on Henry Paulson), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 20th Century Fox, 2010 From Bloomberg: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July...

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Eugenia Herbert on Julia Margaret Cameron

The Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is currently undergoing a revival with a recent exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum in New...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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