What is Economix?
Praise for Economix
“I just cannot stress enough how amazing this book is.”
–James Floyd Kelly, Wired.com
“It’s simply phenomenal.”
– David Bach, author of Debt Free for Life and The Automatic Millionaire
“Goodwin has done the seemingly impossible–he has made economics comprehensible and funny.”
– Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
“An amazing lesson in true-world economics! Delightfully presented, powerful, insightful, and important information. What a fun way to fathom a deep and often dark subject”
– John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked and the New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
“Economix is a lively, cheerfully opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of our current economy and our current economic problems. Goodwin has a knack for distilling complex ideas and events in ways that invite the reader to follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. Any reader wondering how our economy got to where it is today will find this a refreshing overview.”
– Timothy W. Guinnane, Philip Golden Bartlett Professor of Economic History, Yale University
Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing runs a podcast called Gweek, where people talk about their favorite media, devices, and suchlike. He was kind enough to include me on one with the author Scott Stigler; we recorded it yesterday and it’s already up!
Listen to us talk about zombie jugheads here: http://boingboing.net/2014/03/04/gweek-podcast-136-zombie-jugh.html
The Washington Post has a nifty interactive infographic that shows who sits on the committees that advise the administration on trade negotiations. And although nobody can accuse me of being a pollyanna about the influence of business on trade agreements, even I was a bit stunned by just how corporate-heavy the committees are.
It’s worth going through the whole infographic, because at first things don’t look so bad. There are a lot of industry and trade organizations, but a fair sprinkling of academics, NGOs, and labor representatives too; given that all of our policy decisions are heavily weighted toward corporate interests, the overall distribution looks like a snapshot of economic power in our society. That’s not great, but it would be weird to expect business to have less voice in trade deals than they do elsewhere.
But that third page, where we see who goes on what committee? That’s more than a bit horrifying:
The labor advisors are almost entirely confined to one committee (“Trade negotiations and policy, labor”), which is entirely composed of labor advisors talking to themselves. No doubt this committee makes resolutions; no doubt these resolutions are ignored.
The academic advisors are almost as ghettoized, in the “trade and environment” committee. (That committee does have two representatives from trade associations, one from the solar industry.)
Meanwhile, every committee that deals with specifics is entirely or almost entirely made up of representatives of businesses and trade groups. Autos and capital goods? Aerospace equipment? Steel? No representatives from labor. Intellectual property rights? No representatives from academia.
In my piece about the TPP I said that trade agreements are tools for businesses to get what they want without going through the normal democratic process. This doesn’t exactly make me change my opinion.