General Electric

(Slowly) entering the era of economically sustainable sustainability schemes

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President Obama has made Bain Capital's brand of cold, bottom-line capitalism a focus of the campaign against Mitt Romney. But does Obama have any standing to criticize Bain's practices? David Brooks, writing in the New York Times today, doesn't think so: Over the years of his presidency, Obama has not been a critic of globalization. There’s no real evidence that, when he’s off the campaign trail, he has any problem with outsourcing and offshoring. He has lavishly praised people like Steve Jobs who were prominent practitioners.

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EVERY WEEK, thousands of Serbians bundle up in bed and flip on their televisions for their fix of “Evening with Ivan Ivanovic,” a cheesy “Late Show” knockoff complete with a live studio audience, a rock band, and an eager host clasping a coffee mug in front of a fake Belgrade skyline. One evening this spring, Ivanovic proudly announced that his guest would be the first American ever to appear on the show. With gusto, the band struck up a brassy rendition of “New York, New York” and Rudy Giuliani, wearing his familiar toothy grin, descended a bright, glowing staircase to wild cheers.

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In the last years of the nineteenth century, Charles Dow created an index of 12 leading industrial companies. Almost none of them exist today. While General Electric remains an industrial giant, the U.S. Leather Company, American Cotton Oil, and others have long since disappeared into bankruptcy or consolidation. Today, the Dow Jones includes giant corporations that hadn’t even been created when Ronald Reagan first sat in the Oval Office.

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Recently, I asked whether Republican voters would care enough about the crony capitalism evident in Rick Perry's Texas to vote against him. For Tea Party conservatives to do so, I suggested, would mean confronting the disconnect between their populist rhetoric and their willingness, until now, to tolerate Republican coziness with big business. Commenter "Rayward" made another good point to explain why the crony capitalism charge may not take against Perry: "Crony capitalism has no sting anymore because Republicans have neutered the term by calling Obama a crony capitalist.

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The New York Times floats a list of possible successors to Tim Geithner. My lord, this is horrific: Among those named by people familiar with administration thinking are Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase; Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman of General Electric and of Mr. Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; Roger Altman, a deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration; and Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and co-chairman of Mr.

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Great jobs, if only there were more of them. That, in a sentence, captures one of the main themes of our new report “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment.” And that’s why we need smart policies to overcome the financial barriers to scaling up the clean economy. On the first part, it turns out that a disproportionate percentage of green jobs are in decent-paying occupations that employ high percentages of workers without college-degrees, at a time when many of them are out of work.

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What major metropolitan area hosts the greatest concentration of “clean” or “green” jobs in the country? Is it Boston? San Francisco? Denver? Nope. It’s Albany, N.Y. This is one of the many sometimes surprising but rich and fun findings that emerges from the Metro Program’s new report, “Sizing the Clean Economy,” which endeavors to count the number of jobs in the clean economy establishment by establishment and metro area by metro area. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

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There really is something utterly bizarre about our political culture at the moment. The economy is currently experiencing an unusual combination of huge corporate profits alongside mass unemployment. A Democratic administration created the conditions for those profits by addressing the the economic crisis in a way that did the least possible harm to corporate America.

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A couple of weeks ago, Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, complained indignantly about China’s current and bitter hostility toward multinational corporations. According to the Financial Times, Immelt groused at a private dinner in Rome that the Chinese government was becoming ever more protectionist. “I am not sure that in the end, they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful,” he said. Immelt’s remarks point to a noteworthy shift in the dynamic that moves American policy toward China, one tinged with irony.

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