42 Comments
Feb 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Excellent analysis. The biggest problem is that private equity now makes all business decisions for almost every corporation. Vanguard and Black Rock not only have seats on every single board, they also own much of the commercial and residential property in the cities. Private equity has no interest whatever in value; the only thing that matters is next quarter's P&L statement with dividends for investors. The business of America used to be business, but now it's profit. You can see the damage that this sort of ownership has by looking at the 737 max disaster; boing sold that division to private equity, who decided that it would be more profitable to skip certain safety steps.

Here's the question for you: is it possible to solve this without completely tearing down this odious system? Is it even possible?

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lol at these dorks emailing to assure you they're still rich. I'M SO RELIEVED

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Feb 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

I wish there was more discussion about limited liability and corporate personhood. Without these two ingredients, many of the problems you describe might disappear.

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Feb 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

one of the best pieces you've written since i've been on the list

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Feb 11Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Great writing - your labor v capital framing with its dose of humanity should be required reading for the Washington politicians and media. I keep scratching my head as to why more ambitious pols don't embrace these ideas. Stand apart to be noticed! A new progressive, Bernie-like, with solid professional comms support could be a force!

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Feb 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Dang it Hamilton, it's an election year, NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR LOGIC AND RATIONALITY!

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Feb 11Liked by Hamilton Nolan

100% to everything you said. A genuine question I've been wondering about for a while: while globalization has increased inequality in the US, it seems to have decreased inequality across the world (looking at the Gini coefficient), how do we square this with the ultimate goal of better conditions for everyone? I'm sympathetic to the idea that less concentrated wealth would improve people's lives even more, but is there another argument against globalization that doesn't rely on conditions of workers just in the US?

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Many thanks Hamilton. Clear and concrete as usual. It is always sad to observe how the multinational companies around the globe, can do what they want. Moving factories and money as they decide. It can only happens in a very corrupt planet ( polititians, media, regulators, and one million etceteras). In real life, what can we do? Answer: not too much. Just keep on fighting and reporting the truth, nothing more, nothing less. I watched your conference/ discussion by zoom on Thursday. Very interesting. Try to read about the miner's strike in the UK. Very sad and real story. Keep on fighting mate.

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Feb 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Nice work and writing.

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How about Option C: Companies operating in Mexico stay in Mexico and continue to provide jobs there, while in the US workers are re-skilled to participate in the more advanced manufacturing that also needs to happen, and that provides a level of reimbursement more appropriate to their demands and skills?

While a broad point around relatively open borders and not being hostile to immigrants is welcome, this article is essentially displaying a childlike understanding of economic issues. The author misunderstands market caps, ignores the concept of investment, and seems to think that tens of billions is somehow a lot in government terms. I would politely suggest that people here stop using Twitter for their analysis, and instead try reading some actual economic publications.

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You make a good point, but omit mention of the "Disaster Capitalism" aspect of immigration. Between 1798 and 1994, the US is responsible for 41 changes of government south of its borders. This creates a constant flow of military and political refugees...and the attacks continue today. Equally to blame are the economic attacks. NAFTA, for example, ships subsidized Iowa corn to Mexico, possibly impairing Mexican corn farmers' income. The big farmers got a bailout in the treaty, but the little subsistence corn farmers got nothing.

Sure, corn is only arguably the most important food crop in the world, and those little farmers were only keeping the disease-resistance and diversity of the corn genome alive with the varieties they grew, but they weren't making any money for Monsanto, so we can safely ignore them.

In the wake of NAFTA, Mexican real, median income fell 34%--a figure not seen in the US since the Great Depression. Think of those immigrants as late Okies, then...

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Right on👍excellent article

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Hey, Mike, thanks for providing the correct framing for the immigration debate in the USA. I'm restacking and sharing this on twitter. People need to understand the points you're making.

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Great article. There’s another pernicious aspect to the story - we’re told companies move abroad because of environmental regulations, despite zero evidence of this happening. On the contrary, stronger environmental regulations are a pull factor. Yet we have all kinds of neo-industrial policy that is anyway mostly ineffective except as a marketing tool to turn voters against climate policy and distract from the real reasons capital moves, which you discuss.

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Thanks for laying it all out. I sell a board game - The Game of REAL LIFE. I have found immigrants buy my game. Board games are cheap entertainment and with my game I think they are trying to learn how to be American. But as a business owner, immigrants buy my game - let them all in! I wonder how many other business owners have not thought this through - your business will grow with more immigration.

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My only complaint about this piece is that it puts the current Democratic push for a border bill completely out of context. That bill was NOT about pandering to the racist anti-immigrant base. It was EXPLICITLY an effort to get Republicans to pass funding for Ukraine/Taiwan/Israel/Gaza. This piece is excellent, but that one point (in my opinion) was made in bad faith.

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