Some worthwhile reading on the economic meltdown and what comes next

Christopher Hitchens for Vanity Faire: “American the Banana Republic“:

Now ask yourself another question. Has anybody resigned, from either the public or the private sectors (overlapping so lavishly as they now do)? Has anybody even offered to resign? Have you heard anybody in authority apologize, as in: “So very sorry about your savings and pensions and homes and college funds, and I feel personally rotten about it”? Have you even heard the question being posed? O.K., then, has anybody been fired? Any regulator, any supervisor, any runaway would-be golden-parachute artist? Anyone responsible for smugly putting the word “derivative” like a virus into the system? To ask the question is to answer it.

Harper’s Magazine‘s October issue carries a collection of essays from the likes of Joseph Stiglitz, James K. Galbraith, Bill McKibben and others. The Galbraith piece is available online in its entirety; the rest, for subscribers only.

In “Amid the rubble of global finance, a blueprint for Bretton Woods II,” Jeffrey Sachs advocates

  • a Tobin tax that would go to the IMF
  • an international carbon tax, instead of the “enormously cumbersome emission-trading system concocted and championed by the same financial engineers who brought us our current banking crisis”
  • the World Bank focus entirely on helping the world’s poorest countries meet the Millennium Development Goals
  • A new global trade agreement that would help the poorest countries be more productive, and promote environmental sustainability

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