External costs are neglected by economists, and the unintended consequences of laws and political decisions—indeed, any decision, even those that seem highly rational—can be surprising. I am convinced that the external costs of capitalist production exceed the profits and in instances exceed the value of the output. The most carefully considered law and the most carefully planned corporate undertaking can result in disastrous consequences. Essentially, when humans make decisions, they seldom have any idea of what they are doing.
The situation worsens when a financialized, jobs offshored economy multiplied by other economies doing the same thing finds that it is more profitable for public corporations to buy back their own stock, even indebting the corporations for the purpose of decapitalizing the corporations, than to invest in new plant, equipment, and labor. Buy-backs are the main use of corporate investment today in the US. In recent years, the entirety of corporate profits and borrowing has been used for stock buy-backs, which reward executives and shareholders. Central banks in Japan and the European Union now support equity prices by stock purchases.