J is for Jubilee, K for Kleptocrats

Part J in The Insiders Economic Dictionary Jubilee Year: In Judaic Law (Leviticus 25) a Clean Slate to be proclaimed every 50 years annulling personal and agrarian debts, liberating bond-servants to rejoin their families, and returning lands that had been alienated under economic duress. Long thought to have been merely a literary religious ideal, the policy has now been traced back to royal proclamations issued as a matter of course in Sumer and Babylonia in the third and second millennia BC. (See Bronze Age.) Read more. Junk bonds: High-interest bonds, developed in the 1980s primarily by Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham to finance corporate takeovers. Mr. Milken was sent to jail for securities fraud and Drexel was disbanded as a result of ...

I is for Ideology

Ideology: A set of assumptions so appealing that one looks at their abstract logic rather than at how the world actually works. (See Insanity.) Ignorance: Socrates said that ignorance was the source of evil, because nobody knowingly commits evil. But by pursuing their own narrow interests, the financial and property sector destroy the social unit, which is the essence of evil as viewed from an evolutionary vantage point. Thomas Hobbes wrote in Leviathan (1651) that “Ignorance of remote causes disposeth men to attribute all events to the causes immediate and instrumental: for these are all the causes they perceive.” Corporate practice has become a combination of the Ken Lay “Enron” defense of executive ignorance (“We didn’t know what was going on”) and ...

H is for Half-Life

Part H in The Insiders Economic Dictionary Half-life: In physics, the time it takes for half the mass of a radioactive element to decay into the next-lower isotope or element, typically ending in a stable and inert element such as lead. By extension, the time it takes for an economic theory or ideology to lose half its influence, e.g. as Marxist value theory, Henry George’s Single Tax, Keynesian income theory, Chicago School monetarism, or most recently, neoliberalism. In international relations, the time it takes for an industrial creditor nation to dissipate half of its economic advantage and free lunch. Have-nots: People who have debts instead of wealth. Hubris: A Greek term meaning overgrowth or proliferation, an addiction to power involving abusive behavior toward ...

G is for Groundrent

Part G to The Insider’s Economic Dictionary. Gains from Trade: A euphemism for trade dependency resulting from the specialization of production between food-surplus nations and food-deficit countries, and the parallel polarization between high-technology and low-wage producers. Originally coined by free-trade advocates, the term is now used primarily by the agriculturally protectionist economies of North America and Western Europe. Under Ricardian trade theory, the gains from trade are measured by the amount of labor and related costs to importers of producing similar products at home. Left out of account are foregone improvements in agricultural and industrial productivity. Gains-from-trade theorizing thus encourages passivity and reinforces existing production patterns, economic polarization and debt dependency. (See Colonialism, Washington Consensus and World Bank.) General Theory: The title ...