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Of course, his bottom line is to save Capitalism, but my casual reading of his columns suggests that he just wants a kinder/gentler oligopoly. At least I do not see where his proposals transcend that scenario.
OK - I'm a utopian idealist, and I want to see private monopolies go away. My economic model for some foreseeable future is socialism for commodities, entrepreneurial private business for all new business development (with plenty of safety, health, environmental analysis and regulation), and small business and co-operatives for the basic needs of people in local communities.
But in the present context, as Jerome states below and Henry Ford stated 90 years ago, it's all about re-distribution - either that, or we watch (or participate in) the latest version of social dissolution.
As JakeS and others point out, 'printing' money will reduce real debt via inflation. Most of us can benefit from that. However, it's a 'hard sell', because 90% of us are already seeing inflation in the major part of our expenses, due to the effect of the high costs of energy on production of food, on transportation, and, increasingly, on clothing and household miscellaneous. Housing prices may have declined; but rents did not, building supplies did not, hotels did not. Because of food prices, restaurant prices went up.
As to "social dissolution", I've been paying attention for 60 years. I've seen the data that says we live in less dangerous times in terms of a per capita rate of violent death. That merely means that the Pax Americana argument has some traction when it comes to very-large-scale war. At least in the US nowadays, I read more about personal violence from every location than in the past.
I know that anecdotal evidence is not sufficient, but I can think of several counter-arguments to the narrative that says violent crime statistics have "gone down". Foremost is the observation that the current justification for most police activities is that they are 'winning'. It used to be - and still is in Arizona - that 'the barbarians are winning', but that seemed to lose currency about 15 years ago. And in fact - probably associated with apparent economic improvement for most citizens - the anecdotal evidence was that violent crime was waning. I expect that the theme will change again soon.
Then there is climate change. It may seem that some of the propaganda borders on - or is - hysteria; but there is plenty of data (and abnormal weather events) to support some level of anxiety about impacts on our species. I don't believe in the Butterfly Effect - or the Black Swan event - but we can see climate pressure already in many conflicts.
Thomas argues below that solar-based energy capture can moot the growth-limit concerns. Not sure whether that is intended to give modern Capitalism an escape hatch or not, but it can fit with a re-distribution scheme of a sort - good manufacturing and installation jobs that actually work to our advantage as Earthians.
Which brings us back to Krugman - at the least he seems to support this type of economic activity, along with the government support to accelerate it.
At least in the US nowadays, I read more about personal violence from every location than in the past.
From Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime by Eisner, we can learn (p 99) that the historical long terms in Europe do decrease dramatically from medieval times to the 1950-74 period, but after that they increase. Still a low level compared to medieval times, but contrary to popular claims not the lowest point in history.
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Which leads me to the crime trend you refer to. 1950-1974 was the height of the living wage model. Stable jobs, stable pay, stable benefits. That ended in 1974, as the oil embargo put paid to the margins that made all that stability painless for corporate management. Jobs went, benefits followed, and wages were driven down. One income couldn't cut it, and when the second was added, as Elizabeth Warren has shown, the death spiral began in earnest. Still the destruction went on. Fewer people had jobs, had a stake in the game, and so had little to lose and everything to gain by grabbing whatever was available. Many who had jobs couldn't cover costs with what was on the table and so started scrounging for what was under it. And of course there was the general stress of living like that, which leads to lashing out. And so crime trended upward.
That is indeed the job of social democracy: saving capitalism from itself.
Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
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