Robert Heilbroner 1919-2005  

“Whatever Dissent‘s problems,” Irving Howe once said to me in the 1980s, “we at least have two of the most literate economists alive.” He was referring to Robert Lekachman and Robert Heilbroner. Bob Heilbroner was a man of prodigious energy. …





Bush’s Budget Lunacy  

In The Right Man, a memoir of his experience as a speechwriter in the Bush White House, David Frum claims that after September 11, “There was no more domestic agenda. The domestic agenda was the same as the foreign agenda. …



Business Scandals and Democracy  

“Children and economists,” Robert Lekachman once said, “may think that the men at the head of our great corporations spend their time thinking about new ways to please the customers or improve the efficiency of their factories and offices.” After …



Mismanaging Globalization  

Successive U.S. governments have relied on a simple catechism: the World Trade Organization equals free trade, which equals development. With this rationale the nation has been led into regional (NAFTA) and international (WTO) trade agreements. These so-called “free trade” agreements …



The Tax Cut: Worse Than You Think  

The right’s allergy to active government has become the dominant theme in American politics. Bill Clinton’s ability as a politician was not to challenge that theme, but to operate within it. So, by 1994, Clinton and the Democratic Congress were …



The Cracking Washington Consensus  

Starting in the early 1980s, fashionable opinion held that unfettered free markets, a reduced role for the state, and integration into the global economy provided the best formula for development. International financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary …



Who’s in Charge Here?  

Last summer, J. Brian Atwood, the head of the U.S. Agency for In-ternational Development (AID), the government agency responsible for foreign aid, announced he was stepping down. Freed from the Clinton administration’s Panglossian view of the world, he delivered a …



The World Economy in Turmoil  

When Thailand devalued its currency in July 1997 it started a world financial crisis that continues to spin out of control. After a year of turbulence, what can we say about the crisis? Beware of experts. Before the crisis, money …





“Fast-Track” Derailed  

This fall President Clinton made “fast-track” negotiating authority—whereby Congress must vote yes or no on trade agreements presented by the president, with no amendments allowed—his top legislative priority. The prospects for passage looked good. Every major newspaper supported it; the …