October 23 - The Eurozone Punts as the Crisis Deepens; The Author of the Important New Book "Oligarchy"

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Part 1

We begin with the looming European financial crisis as the summit of 27 heads of EU states in Brussels failed to come to an agreement, putting off a possible resolution until next Wednesday. With Greece already in collapse and Spain, Portugal and Italy teetering, it is looking more and more likely that the contagion will spread to the U.S. and deepen and prolong the recession we are stuck in, making the Republicans, whose policies are accelerating our economic decline, more likely to be elected. Dimitri Papadimitriou, who just returned from Europe, joins us. He is president of the Levy Economics Institute, and Jerome Levy Professor of Economics at Bard College. He has testified on a number of occasions before Senate and House Committees of the U.S. Congress, and is a distinguished scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Dimitri Papadimitriou

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Part 2

Then we with speak with a professor of Political Economy at Northwestern University Jeffrey Winters, the author of a new book “Oligarchy”.  He has studied the oligarchs of ancient Greece and Rome as well as contemporary Indonesia and the Philippines, and by comparison finds America’s oligarch unusually greedy.  We examine the American Right’s fetishizing of the wealthy and powerful and its a contempt for the weak and needy.

For the last couple of years on “Background Briefing” we have questioned how much our democracy has succumbed to the power of concentrated wealth, so much so that listeners have complained that I was using the words oligarchy and plutonomy too much.

But now with the 99% movement spreading across the country and around the world, it is clear to a growing number of people that America’s oligarchs and their political hirelings control our economy and own our politics, effectively disenfranchising the majority of American voters.

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