Jack Rasmus: Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy.

Author:Jessop, Bob
Position:Book review

Jack Rasmus Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy, Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, pp 490, GBP 17.51, USD 29.95; 978-0-9860769-4-7

Jack Rasmus studied economics at Berkeley, took his doctorate in the University of Toronto (1977), and worked for many years as a union organizer and labour contract negotiator. Then, after working as an international economist for global companies (such as Siemens) and an international strategic analyst for some Silicon Valley start-ups, he became a full-time independent economic researcher, author, journalist, radio host, playwright, poet, lyricist, and activist. He also established Kyklos Productions and Jack Rasmus Productions, which use different media, including stage plays and musicals, to explain the long run changes in the USA and its future trajectory. He is currently Federal Reserve Bank chair of the Green Party Shadow Cabinet and economic advisor to Jill Stein, the party's presidential candidate. This background is important for understanding the theoretical novelty, persuasive power, political passion, and programmatic significance of this book.

Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy (2015) is the fourth in a series that Rasmus has produced within this broad intellectual and activist project. Each work not only provides a theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded diagnosis but also offers a wide-ranging set of policy recommendations aimed at progressive movements. The first work was a detailed critique of the diverse upward wealth transfer mechanisms employed in the corporate-government class struggle against subaltern classes and groups in the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush era (Rasmus 2006). The second, based in part on major journal articles, was Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression (2008). This also provides the theoretical foundations for his analysis of systemic fragility. Its two main claims are that, first, the North Atlantic Financial Crisis (my term) is more comparable to the recessions followed by stagnation that occurred in the USA in 1907-1914 and 1929-31 than it is to normal cyclical recessions (marked by a brief contraction followed by a swift return to growth) or a classic depression; and, second, that the explanation for epic recessions can be found in the interaction of debt-default-deflation dynamics across the corporate, household, and government sectors. This work was followed by detailed critique of the current and future policy failures of the Obama Presidency and the...

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