Ben Bernanke and the decline of the middle-class

Michael Roberts Blog

Ex-Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke has recently become an adviser to Citadel, a hedge fund management company and to PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund.  This will make Ben Bernanke a very rich man, instead of just a rich one.  Up to now he has been perhaps earning a mere $1m a year in base salary, plus income from book rights and even more from speaking fees. But now he will be into hundreds of millions.

The revolving door between public office and working for large financial institutions is the way of the world under modern global capitalism.  No wonder, the Fed, the IMF, the World Bank, the ECB etc, supposedly independent institutions, operate to ensure the well-being of the top financial firms and continually forecast the success of capitalist economies.  Actually, strictly speaking, the US Federal Reserve is not independent as it was set up and is still ‘owned’…

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Making Do With More – J. Bradford DeLong

BERKELEY – In the United States, just three out of ten workers are needed to produce and deliver the goods we consume. Everything we extract, grow, design, build, make, engineer, and transport – down to brewing a cup of coffee in a restaurant kitchen and carrying it to a customer’s table – is done by roughly 30% of the country’s workforce.
The rest of us spend our time planning what to make, deciding where to install the things we have made, performing personal services, talking to each other, and keeping track of what is being done, so that we can figure out what needs to be done next. And yet, despite our obvious ability to produce much more than we need, we do not seem to be blessed with an embarrassment of riches. One of the great paradoxes of our time is that workers and middle-class households continue to struggle in a time of unparalleled plenty.

We in the developed countries have more than enough to cover our basic needs. We have enough organic carbon-hydrogen bonds to break to provide us with calories; enough vitamins and other nutrients to keep us healthy; enough shelter to keep us dry; enough clothing to keep us warm; enough capital to keep us, at least potentially, productive; and enough entertainment to keep us from being bored. And we produce all of it for an average of less than two hours a day of work outside the home.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/abundance-without-living-standards-growth-by-j–bradford-delong-2015-02#rqgcHi8Chs1ZpcKO.99