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I suppose it would be cliche to say that Iran is watching the events in Ukraine and probably:
1. is coming to the conclusion that if Ukraine still had a nuclear arsenal there would not be Russian troops in the Crimea and amassing along their border.
2. feels vindicated in the pursuit of their own nuclear weapons.
In 1992 when Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union it had the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. Shortly after, Ukraine transferred those weapons back to Russia for dismantling, and became signatories to the non-proliferation treaty.
I can’t help but wonder how nuclear weapons would alter the current situation. If Ukraine still had its nukes, would there still be thousands of Russian troops in the Crimea?
A few excerpts from Land of promise: An Economic History of the United States, by Michael Lind.
"Successful public purpose banks have a long and successful history in the United States. They include not only the Reconstruction Finance corporation, which was abolished after World War II, but also the Farm Credit system and the Home Loan Bank system. The worst failures were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But those two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) failed not because they were public but because they were compelled to act like profit-maximizing corporations instead of public utilities. Free-market ideology was responsible for the privatization of Fannie Mae and the creation of Freddie Mac as a would-be competitor. Ginnie Mae, which remained a government corporation, did not engage in similar profit-driven risk taking. Nor did the Federal Home Loan Bank system, which, like the Farm Credit System, is a nonprofit cooperative, owned by risk-averse member banks. The lesson of the Fannie/Freddie debacle during the housing bubble and subsequent crash is not that public financial institutions are a bad idea, but rather that they work only when they are organized as nonprofit government corporations or public-private cooperatives." (p. 467)
The moral of this story is: don’t try to be something that you are not. As Alexander Hamilton said, banking should be a public utility and not a profit making endeavor.
"The maldistribution of income and wealth that has occurred in the United States since the 1980s should not have come as a surprise. What else could one expect to happen, once unions were crushed, the minimum wage was reduced by inflation, labor markets were flooded with low-wage immigrants, taxes on the rich were dramatically lowered, and salaries and stock options for corporate executives were raised to obscene levels? […]
When too much of the wealth of a nation or the world is channeled to too few people, industries are starved of the mass demand they need to keep running or to expand. At the same time, the economy can be destabilized, when the rich try to become even richer by speculating with the money they do not consume or save. The series of asset bubbles the world economy has experienced in recent years-in housing, in stocks, and in commodities such as gold and energy-is a telltale sign that too much money is going to the rich, who use it to gamble on assets, rather than the middle class and the poor, who would have spent the money on goods and services generated in the productive economy.” (p. 470)
After reaching very high levels of inequality in the 1920s the US (and global) economy crashed into the Great Depression. The Depression was followed by a period lower inequality, growth, and stability, The great recession happened after the US once again developed high levels of inequality, however the period immediately following the Great Recession has only increased inequality.
"The fact that middle classes are made in part by enlightened public policy is illustrated by the contrast between the South and the rest of the nation. While independent yeoman farmers formed a majority in the North in the first half of the nineteenth century, in the South poor farmers were squeezed between a tiny oligarchy of rich planters and the slaves they exploited. In northern factories, despite employer resistance, unions made gains, particularly during the New Deal and World War II. But the one-party South used law and intimidation to prevent unions from taking root in a region whose elites viewed themselves as employers or brokers of poor black, white, and Latino workers deprived of bargaining power. As a result, in the twenty-first century, many southern states have levels of inequality, poverty, and illiteracy similar to those of developing countries." (p. 472)
Like the South in the 19th century there are many in the US today seem to be intent on pursuing policies designed to undermine the middle class.
Consisting of two parts history and one part liberal economic manifesto the Land of Promise is worth a read.
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