We woke up this week to find Lehman Brothers, the venerable bank founded over a century ago, belly up, and Merrill Lynch merged with Bank of America in a shot-gun wedding. And late last night, the Fed announced it had taken control the mega-insurer American International Group, or AIG. As the subprime meltdown continues, it feels as if the market is crumbling around us. What caused this crisis, and where do we go from here? To address these questions, we speak with three experts. Economics Professor Jim Crotty of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst explains the underpinnings of the problem. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Executive Director Laura Berry talks about how the faith-based lens exposed problems in predatory subprime lending a decade-and-a-half ago. And independent economic analyst Chris Martenson gazes into his crystal ball to project the likely trajectory of the credit crisis.
In place of CWR headlines, this week we hear extended comments from Steve Adamske, communications director of the House Financial Services Committee, about Chair Barney Frank’s plan to create a new federal entity to oversee government management of companies collapsing due to mortgage debt.
Last week, the price of corn rose above $7 a bushel on the commodities market for the first time, and soybeans rose sharply, too, reacting to the harsh weather hampering crop production across the US Midwest. Soaring global demand in addition to the increased use of corn for ethanol, an alternative fuel, have shrunk the worldwide supply of staples that are the core of practically every continent’s diet. Meanwhile, the price of oil has jumped, raising the cost of producing crops and feeding livestock and causing an increase in grocery bills here and abroad, sparking riots and protests in at least two dozen countries. CWR co-host Francesca Rheannon speaks about this global food crisis with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved. Patel is a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the Land Research Action Network as well as the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
CWR Viewpoint: read (Thanks to our partner CSRwire for posting text of CWR commentaries.)
Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans Organic Fair Trade Coffee Company comments on the link between climate change and coffee as experienced by indigenous Arhuaco coffee farmer Javier Mestres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colombia.