2/8 Freedom Through Economic Rights; US Investors Pillage Honduras w/ Mark Paul, Guillame Long

February 8, 2024

It’s another EmMajority Report Thursday! She speaks with Mark Paul, assistant professor of economics at Rutgers University, to discuss his recent book The Ends of Freedom: Reclaiming America’s Lost Promise of Economic Rights. Then, she speaks with Guillaume Long, former foreign minister of Ecuador and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), to discuss his recent piece published Foreign Policy entitled “How a Start-Up Utopia Became a Nightmare for Honduras.” First, Emma runs through updates on US military action in Iraq, Bibi’s insistence on continuing his genocide in Gaza, Biden’s attempt to patch things up over that ol’ ethnic cleansing, Biden’s border plan, Trump’s legal battles, Marianne Williamson’s candidacy, climate change, a new report on the incredible success of gender-affirming care, and Bolsonaro’s alleged crimes, also watching Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s incredible speech on the House floor condemning US support for Netanyahu’s genocide. Professor Mark Paul then joins, diving right into the inspiration for his piece on an Economic Bill of Rights (and his economic work as a whole) in seeing the richest nation in history make its citizens suffer through the 2008 financial crisis, both conceptualizing that wealth and why GDP doesn’t present the full picture of a country’s well being under capitalism. Expanding on this, Professor Paul steps back and examines the difference between the negative rights (freedom from X) outlined in the US Constitution, and the positive rights (freedom TO X) that folks like FDR – and some framers – enumerated, and the central importance of promoting freedom – not just protecting it. After walking Sam and Emma through the role of the Civil Rights Movement in carrying forward FDR’s anti-capitalist torch, and touching on the role of the Federal Reserve in abandoning its responsibility to manage employment, Mark Paul tackles the complimentary prongs of a jobs guarantee and a universal basic income, working together to rebalance the labor market and present a genuine choice in how workers contribute to society. Wrapping up, they parse through the more abstract element of what “freedom” can mean and assess how the US still fails to deliver on its negative freedoms. Guillaume Long then runs through a brief explanation of the evolution of Honduran politics in the wake of the 2009 US-supported coup and the decade of authoritarianism that followed, before stepping back to walk through the parallel rise of Honduras’ ZEDEs – special economic development zones that offer near-complete autonomy to corporations over swaths of Honduran territory – despite large backlash from the Honduran public and legal world. After parsing through some of the details of Honduras’ major ZEDEs, and the central role the issue played in the election of leftist Xiomara Castro in 2021, Long walks Emma through the growing efforts against the abuses of corporations, the Western-backed private court that is pushing back, and what to expect as this battle comes to a head.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Brandon Sutton and Matt Binder as they assess the insanity of Fox’s recent broadcasting of a full assault of a migrant, Armando from Portland dives into the devastation facing young men in Gaza, and Joe Rogan and Aaron Rodgers go full LeBron-Wade as they effortlessly flow between transphobic bigotry, pseudo-anti capitalism, and pure misinformation. Bro Flamingo gives some updates on his union experiences, Tommy Tuberville questions Biden’s mental capacities, the right continues its attack on education, and George Santos gloats about the GOP’s failures in the House, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Mark’s book here: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/E/bo195791875.html

Check out Guillaume’s piece here: https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/01/24/honduras-zedes-us-prospera-world-bank-biden-castro/

Check out the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey here: https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/2024-02/2022%20USTS%20Early%20Insights%20Report_FINAL.pdf

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