Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Capitalism, the Meltdown, and Somali Pirates


FM 88.5 Edmonton
cjsr.com
6 pm Mountain Time


Years ago when I was a university student, one of my Political Science professors quipped, “Nobody is more qualified than economists to be wrong about the economy.”

My prof's comment got me thinking: if economists really do know what they're talking about, shouldn’t they all be rich?

Jim Stanford has no plans to become a millionaire, but he wants you to understand why some people get and stay rich, while literally billions of others struggle--and millions fail--to escape death-by-poverty. Stanford’s an economist with one of Canada’s most prominent unions, the Canadian Auto Workers, and the author of
Economics for Everyone.

It’s less “Business for Dummies” than “Everything You Deserve to Know About Capitalism But Were Never Told,” and he’ll be launching it April 23 in Edmonton at an event sponsored by the Parkland Institute titled “Beyond the Meltdown: Why the Current Economic Crisis Forces Us to Re-Think Economics.”
As a columnist for The Globe and Mail, a frequent media voice on the economy, and a speaker at numerous union and community events, Stanford is ideally suited to aid that re-think.

As Stanford argues in Economics for Everyone, it’s necessary to push back against establishment economists because as a group, they specialise in mystifying citizens by invoking “complicated technical mumbo-jumbo--usually utterly unnecessary to their arguments--to make their case…. And since they study things that are measured in billions or even trillions of dollars, their sense of importance grows--in their own eyes, and in others.”

While economists present themselves as neutral scientists studying an impersonal system, like cosmologists measuring universal expansion, they’re actually all ideologically rooted, says Stanford; indeed, most economists, he says, work for business or schools of business, thus believing and reinforcing a business-knows-best, owner-takes-nearly-all philosophy in their analyses and recommendations. Economics is a human study, he counters, all about work and wealth.

There’s a companion website for the book with extensive Grade 12/first year teaching post-secondary materials and Powerpoint slides. While Stanford’s book isn’t likely to spark a revolution any time soon, there’s no question that if people are going to question the wisdom of a business-dominated society, it’s probably now or never.

Jim Stanford spoke with me by telephone from his home in Toronto on April 19.

POSTPONED!
WHEN: Not tonight... Stanford was recalled for CAW negotiations!
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, Salon C
WHAT: Presentation and book signing, co-sponsored by
the Parkland Institute, the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Aspen Institute, and the Canadian Auto Workers.

Somali Pirates:
K’naan and Mumia Tell You What Corporate News Doesn’t Want You to Know

Recently, Somali has re-emerged into the news, not as the target of ongoing US bombing, or as the target of a US proxy-war waged by Ethiopian troops. Now Somali is making headlines because of piracy.


The story we’re being told is that pirates, using the pretext of protecting Somali sovereignty, are commandeering foreign vessels off their coast to steal their cargoes and ransom their captains, crews and passengers.

Of course, since the days of the international invasion of Somalia following the collapse of the Somali government, Western media has delighted in stories portraying Somalis as savages and killers, and Westerners as tragic victims and noble rescuers.

Tonight we’ll hear two counter-arguments, including a discussion of the origins for Somali piracy that corporate news doesn’t want you to know.
The second voice will be that of death-row resident and journalist Mumia Abu Jamal on the wider context of who gets to define piracy and why. But first will be Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan, as interviewed by American hip hop journalist Davey-D.

See the video of the K'naan video, and visit Davey-D’s site.

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