Monday, October 17, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs on Free Trade and more on Jeffrey Sachs

Today's Boston Globe has a two page article by Jeffrey Sachs of The Center for Sustainable Development (Columbia University) on free trade pacts such as NAFTA and TPP. This is a very nicely organized summary about what is good and bad about these agreements; it can be useful for organizing one's thoughts and arguments. Here is a link: The Truth About Trade

By the way, Jeffrey Sachs was one of the group of Harvard people who advised members of the Russian government under Yeltsin about converting what was left of the Russian state economy to some version of "private enterprise". Although Sachs seems to have avoided the scandal, this group of Harvard economists and economic "advisors" seems to have done real damage to the prospect of an orderly and legal transition to "western capitalism" in the former Soviet Union (esp in Russia). In fact, the rise of the so-called Russian "oligarchs" who made a mockery of "free market capitalism" is arguably traceable to the early influences of these Harvard folks (who include, incidentally, Larry Summers, former Harvard president and member of Obama's cabinet). They used the cover of the Harvard Institute for International Development, with the at least tacit support of the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to work with Yeltsin's economic "czar" Anatoly Chubais to privatize (i.e. loot) the assets of the Russian state. Later, two of this group (neither Summers nor Sachs) were accused of using their connections with corrupt Russians for their own profits. You can read more in this story from The Nation.

You may want to look at this posting for more on Larry Summers' role in this. It claims that Harvard's loss of a related lawsuit was an important if not determining factor in his dismissal as Harvard president.

Of course you won't hear much of these misdeeds of big-government and big-business (and big-higher-education) in the Tea Party version of reality, but truth meanders in and out of Republican and Democratic (and Tea Party) histories. It's not just Donald Trump who was involved with Russian oligarchs... 

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