“Most billionaires (at least those who didn’t inherit the money) are probably smart and hard-working, but so are millions of other people. What most distinguishes someone like Bill Gates from the hundreds of thousands of other software entrepreneurs is luck and sharp elbows. …there is no reason to think that Gates’ luck and ruthlessness make him particularly competent to pass judgement on world poverty, education, or any of the other issues for which he is now viewed as an authority.”
“When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency. And it will continue as long as it is supported by Washington and tolerated by Europe – to our everlasting shame.”
“The mainstream argument—that self-interest and the instinct to barter and trade is a natural trait of human beings—is at odds with historical evidence. The most we can say is that self-interested behavior came to be rewarded in pecuniary terms during the short span of history that elapsed since the rise of capitalism, and that five hundred years of capitalism have probably reinforced self-interested behavior in ways that make it difficult to suppress.”

Sackrey, Schneider, & Knoedler

Introduction to Political Economy, p. 14

“Politicians are not elected for their political philosophy, they are elected because they get the support of powerful interest groups. They advance their careers by pleasing these interest groups.”
“The factors that have destroyed well-paying industrial jobs were conscious policy, not abstract global trends. The United States has trade policies that were explicitly designed to put our manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in places like Mexico, China, and Vietnam. This had the predictable effect of driving down their wages. We could have put in place a trade policy that made it as easy as possible for smart kids in the developing world to train to U.S. standards and work as doctors, lawyers, dentists and other highly paid professionals in the United States.This would have driven down the pay of these professionals and made items like health care much cheaper in the United States. This was a policy decision, not a global economic trend. There is also a policy to run a high unemployment budget. Congress has decided to run budgets that leave millions of people out of work rather than spending enough money to bring the economy close to full employment.”
“Since the chances of antitrust suits under “leaders” like George W Bush and Barack Obama are so low, the tiny tranche of society with all the money can run a time-worn playbook – consolidate companies, squeeze vendors, push manufacturing overseas, lower wages, wash, rinse, repeat, discard.”
“Destruction of the environment is an externality: in market interactions, you don’t pay attention to it. So take tar sands. If you’re a major energy corporation and you can make profit out of exploiting tar sands, you simply do not take into account the fact that your grandchildren may not have a possibility of survival – that’s an externality. And in the moral calculus of capitalism, greater profits in the next quarter outweigh the fate of your grandchildren – and of course it’s not your grandchildren, but everyone’s.”
“The only two countries with higher employment to population ratios today than at the start of the downturn are Germany and Japan. Both countries have broken with the economic orthodoxy in important ways.”
“…when you are at Chase or HSBC and get fined a gazillion dollars, you can write that off as a deduction, whereas if you get a speeding ticket or you have to pay for your DNA test or pay a $250 processing fine for a prostitution conviction, you can’t write that off. We’re almost subsidizing white-collar crime at the top, whereas at the bottom there are all these ways we’re squeezing people who don’t have money anyway.”
“So take the financial crisis. One of the reasons for it is that – there are several, but one is – say if Goldman Sachs makes a risky transaction, they – if they’re paying attention – cover their own potential losses. They do not take into account what’s called systemic risk, that is, the possibility that the whole system will crash if one of their risky transactions goes bad. That just about happened with AIG, the huge insurance company. They were involved in risky transactions which they couldn’t cover. The whole system was really going to collapse, but of course state power intervened to rescue them. The task of the state is to rescue the rich and the powerful and to protect them, and if that violates market principles, okay, we don’t care about market principles. The market principles are essentially for the poor.”
“Not having to collect sales tax is a huge subsidy to Amazon. (Yes, it is a subsidy. States and cities collect revenue — if Bezos gets out of paying it, then everyone else pays more. It is the same thing as if the governments sent Jeff Bezos a big fat welfare check every year.) And it mattered a huge amount to Amazon’s growth and survival. If it thought it could have raised prices by 4-8 percent (the amount of state sales tax) without hitting its market share, it would have done so. The fact that the company has generally operated with near zero profits indicates that collecting sales tax would have been a very big hit.”
“This is what imperialism is all about: to give yourself the right to intervene in far away places and to project power in every corner of the globe, including the arctic, and to disregard world public opinion. Imperialism is to have the temerity to lecture and hector Russia about the evils of intervention in the affairs of its neighbor, Ukraine, where the US and EU are blatantly conspiring against Russian interests there… . Obama sends drones around the world to kill people, including Americans, who have never been put on trial and yet sounds like a peaceful dove when offering lessons to Russia. Basically the US is objecting to attempts by Russia to play a smaller and even far less aggressive version of its own world game.”
“American invasions and occupations of nations halfway around the world are perfectly noble, but Russian interference in a part of a country right on its border is the supreme act of lawless, imperial aggression. Few things are worse than watching America’s militarists, invasion-and-occupying-justifiers, regime-change enthusiasts, drone-lovers, and supporters of its various “kinetic military actions” self-righteously wrap themselves in the banner of non-intervention, international law and respect for sovereignty. Does anyone take those denunciations seriously outside of the class of western elites who disseminate them?”
“…Gilead Science, the manufacturer of the drug, is selling a year’s dosage for $84,000. The piece notes that many new drugs are now being developed which will likely carry similar price tags. At one point the piece raises the possibility of price controls, which it implies would be a government intervention into the market. Actually, the $84,000 price is the result of a government intervention into the market. It is due to the fact that the government grants companies a complete patent monopoly, threatening to arrest those who try to compete in selling the same drug. While patent monopolies are one way to provide an incentive for research and development, they are an extremely inefficient mechanism.”