Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.
Broadcast August 10, 2001 The old industrial struggle was between companies and workers. The new struggle is between ... companies and workers. But the issue isn't exactly the same as it used to be. The new battle is over who's going to keep spending, and thereby keep the American economy going. You see, since last year, American companies have cut way back on their purchases of everything from new equipment and technology to advertising, legal services and consulting. The only reason the American economy isn't in a recession is because consumers--the vast majority of whom are employees--have not cut back their spending. In every other slowdown, it's been the other way around. First, consumers cut back on their spending and then companies cut back on theirs because sales are down. This time, companies have pulled in their belts because their top executives aren't very optimistic about the economic future. Employees, on the other hand, keep spending because they are optimistic, or at...
If I had my way, there'd be laws restricting cigarettes and handguns. But this Congress won't even pass halfway measures. Cigarette companies have admitted they produce death sticks, yet Congress won't lift a finger to stub them out. Teenage boys continue to shoot up high schools, yet Congress won't pass stricter gun controls. The politically potent cigarette and gun industries have got what they wanted: no action. Almost makes you lose faith in democracy, doesn't it?
Apparently that's exactly what's happened to the administration. Fed up with trying to move legislation, the White House is launching lawsuits to succeed where legislation failed. The strategy may work, but at the cost of making our frail democracy even weaker.
The Justice Department is going after the tobacco companies with a law designed to fight mobsters--the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) chapter of the Organized Crime Control Act. Justice alleges...
T hese days, any official organization with the word "International," "World," or "Global" in its title has to worry about where it meets, check in with the riot police, and pray for rain. Washington is already girding itself for the International Monetary Fund's next gathering. Global protesters haven't communicated clearly to the rest of the world exactly what they're against. As a result, the protests are seen by many as part of a growing revulsion toward globalization in general. George W. Bush, meanwhile, is mounting his own protest against globalization--trashing the Kyoto treaty on climate change, junking the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, indefinitely deferring Senate ratification of the 1996 nuclear test-ban treaty and the 1993 nuclear weapons-reduction treaty, diluting a United Nations agreement to reduce illegal trafficking of small arms, and taking a decidedly low profile in Israel and other settings of ethnic violence. Since the United States is the biggest and strongest...
T he righteousness of our cause shouldn't prevent us from asking why so many people around the world who aren't terrorists hate America and from seeking ways to reduce their hatred. Recognizing America's past failing in this regard isn't justifying terrorism. Finding means of ameliorating the hatred isn't appeasing terrorists. Rather, it's looking at terrorism's larger context--the soil in which it has taken root--and examining our role in helping to create those conditions or allowing them to endure. Here's where America's political and intellectual left and right seem incapable of reasoned debate. Much of the left is still bemoaning America's Cold War support of anticommunist dictators--the shah, Mobutu, Somoza, Greek colonels, Korean generals, Pinochet, Marcos, Armas, the mujahideen--and our nation's gruesome record advising them, training their death squads, schooling and equipping their torture specialists, and helping them squirrel away their vast wealth. Given this history, the...
The Boston Globe
With Congress's recent rejection of the nuclear test ban treaty and an
upcoming World Trade Organization meeting that's already causing a storm,
it's useful to remind ourselves that there are two faces of nationalism. The
negative face turns away from global responsiblities. The positive one
embraces domestic ones.
Both give priority to "us" inside the borders over "them" out there. Both
believe that America should come first. Both depend for their force on a
nation's sense of common purpose. But negative nationalism uses that
commonality to exclude those who don't share it. Positive nationalism uses it
to expand opportunities for those who do.
Negative nationalism assumes that the world is a zero-sum game where our
gains come at another nation's expense, and theirs come at our's. Positive
nationalism assumes that when our people are better off they're more
willing and better able to...