We're hearing a lot about the trouble Europe is in. The debt crisis in Greece, and perhaps Spain, Portugal, and Italy, is threatening the Euro and the European Union. What's really going on? How did it happen? How bad is it? How will they deal with it? And what does it mean for the rest of the world and for the US in particular?
We'll deal with those issues this Sunday, but that's not all. While the bad news of this Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, a quiet and successful revolution taking place in Europe does not. Europe seems to be finding a way to make capitalism and democracy work for people, not just for corporations. I think this is a critical unreported story in terms of its potential impact. Here's just a few things you may not have heard about.
The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world's economy - nearly as large as the U.S. and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan.
European nations are rated by the World Health Organization as having the best health care systems in the world. Yet they spend far less than the United States for universal coverage, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th.
Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power, conservation and "green design," creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Consequently, Europe's ecological "footprint" (the amount of the earth's capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ became a full professor at Yale in 1970 at the age of 27, and in 1979 was awarded the John Bates Clark Award, as the economist under 40 who had made the most significant contribution to the field. He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, MIT and Oxford, and is now University Professor at Columbia University, Chair of Columbia's Committee on Global Thought, and co-founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue.
Stiglitz was a member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, and later Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ is the author of, among other books, Globalization and Its Discontents, Fair Trade for All, Making Globalization Work, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, with Linda Bilmes, and his newest, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.
Q&A: JIM WALLIS Founder/President, Sojourners and Author – REDISCOVERING VALUES on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New EconomyWritten on January 16th, 2010
JIM WALLIS Founder/President, Sojourners; editor, Sojourners magazine; Author, GOD'S POLITICS; THE GREAT AWAKENING; and his newest, REDISCOVERING VALUES on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy.
In REDISCOVERING VALUES, JIM WALLIS argues that the worst thing we can do now is to go back to normal. Normal is what got us into this mess. We need a new normal, and this economic crisis is an invitation to discover what that means. Some of the principles he offers for a new normal are...
· Spending money we don't have for things we don't need is a bad foundation for an economy or a family.
· Care for the poor is not just a moral duty, but is critical for the common good.
· A healthy society is a balanced society in which markets, the government, and our communities all play a role.
DAVID KORTEN author, AGENDA FOR A NEW ECONOMY:
From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
DAVID KORTEN is the author of WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD and THE GREAT TURNING: From Empire to Earth Community. He is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, and a board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
RANDY HAYES has been highly successful waging corporate accountability campaigns with Rainforest Action Network and International Forum on Globalization. He's working to launch a media campaign to "Ecologize the Economy."
KORTEN's got some big ideas, HAYES does too -- and a knack for activism. I'll talk with both about taking advantage of the current crises to transform our economy and, in turn, our future reality.
JANE D'ARISTA writes and lectures on economics and finance and is a Research Associate at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She served as a staff economist for the Banking and Commerce Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a principal analyst in the international division of the Congressional Budget Office and has lectured in graduate programs at Boston University School of Law, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Utah and the New School University. Her publications include a two-volume history of U.S. monetary policy and financial regulation.
Author, REBUILDING THE FRAMEWORK FOR FINANCIAL REGULATION
"...barely known among exalted policy-makers, ...progressive economists recognize the originality of her thinking..."
-- William Greider in "Fixing the Fed" (see below)
By William Greider, March 11, 2009, Nation
Congress and the Obama administration face an excruciating dilemma. To restore the crippled financial system, they are told, they must put up still more public money--hundreds of billions more--to rescue the largest banks and investment houses from failure. Even the dimmest politicians realize that this will further inflame the public's anger. People everywhere grasp that there is something morally wrong about bailing out the malefactors who caused this catastrophe. Yet we are told we have no choice. Unless taxpayers assume the losses for the largest financial institutions by buying their rotten assets, the banking industry will not resume normal lending and, therefore, the economy cannot recover.