Archive for June, 2015

Honduras – its recent past revisits


28 June 2009, military coup d’état against the democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.

TeleSUR revisits those events, especially in the context of the performance of today’s US-supported government – corruption, as intense as the violence (and abject poverty), 6 Years After Honduras’ Coup

In all this has come some US proposal with the grandiose title of Alliance for Prosperity of the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). ‘Prosperity’ does have a nice ring to it, especially given the high levels of entrenched poverty and inequality amid weak or non-existent social, economic and physical infrastructure. Thus, in one fell swoop, swept away will be the problem of desperate migrants fleeing the consequences of decades of brutal assault against the poor (‘guerrillas’ and ‘terrorists’, all).

The past simply refuses to leave centre stage.

Ritmo cubano


A classic is a classic. ¡A gozar!

Two telling tales: value of honest labour in the neoliberal society


Teaching is a remarkable and fulfilling profession. But, to touch up the G&S line in Pirates of Penzance,  ‘the teacher’s lot is not always a happy one.’ Nor a financially attractive one.

Many who have gone the adjunct professor route can attest to the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment when students leave the course educated and energised. Of course, the consultant who has done so to supplement the tardy arrival or absence of contracts can also attest to the very rigorous demands of course preparation, even if exhilarating, demands not reflected in the remuneration. The Guardian offers us the ‘confession’ of an adjunct professor, I am an adjunct professor who teaches five classes. I earn less than a pet-sitter. And those other fellow travelers cannot but recognise the joy yet pain, mainly financial, of teaching. One excerpt, (more…)

When there is doubt, that voice to remind us


Life is indeed worth living,

Portrait of a political leader – in word and deed


No media creation, she. And among the few exceptional leaders in an America, where they all hail from the south.

At TeleSUR, Prof Juan Pablo Ferrero paints a portrait of the Argentina President, Cristina Fernández Kirchner (CFK). President Fernández ends her second and final term, as Presidential elections are scheduled for 25 October 2015. (more…)

Fact checking scribblers on economic issues


Tough job, that. There is indeed much to be said for ignoring the corporate MSM. ‘Errors and omissions’ seems to be the new normal, which suggests continued orientation to the blogs and alternative media to be better informed and to be rid of the corporate agenda.

In the sphere of economics, those equipped with the basics of economics will know to not suffer fools gladly, life being too short and all that. One distinct benefit is that the writing of some ‘marquee’ columnists who venture to write on economics, writing suspected as nonsense, will be more quickly determined to be so. (more…)

The corporatising and abuse of generosity, those charitable organisations


That recent investigation, as also reported on CEPR, on the American Red Cross in Haiti would come as a surprise to few who are familiar with the region and the performance of similar organisations. There is an operational rule of thumb derived by insightful cynics: some 90% goes to overhead, and (some of) the balance, to the intended beneficiary that ensures successful cost-ineffectiveness.

Chris Blattman, a development economist, takes a look at the ‘milk of human kindness’ motives of these humanitarian organisations. To the title, an ‘amen’, Humanitarian aid organizations are bloated, unaccountable beasts that must be hunted down for their voluminous and valuable fat. 

And, sadly, little to no accountability as the gravy train chugs on.

The lay reader reads again – econ in two lessons


John Quiggin at crooked timber posts another excerpt of his Economics in Two Lessons. This one, To help poor people, give them money (Draft excerpt from Economics in Two Lessons).

This offers a pleasant but energetic excursion into the nuts and bolts of book writing, and an opportunity to pick up some strong economics pointers. In addition, the curious adventurer will be well-conditioned for just a tad more intellectual rigour when Quiggin’s book does become available.

A musical promise


And our chanteur with such ‘lyrics’ better not show up with ‘two hands swinging’. Vagabond Ulysses was one lucky fellow.

Economics for the general reader


John Quiggin has another draft excerpt from his work in progress, Economics in Two Lessons. He invites comments and critiques from his readers, and certainly does receive them.

Economics in Two Lessons (draft excerpt)

One comment on the origin and authorship of the term ‘opportunity cost’ would prompt curiosity; and curiosity, research to find out that Friedrich von Wieser did first use it, as Quiggin states, not in a book, but in an early paper, where he set out the ‘alternative/opportunity cost’ concept. DI Green would come later, in 1894, in the downloadable paper at JSTOR.