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Wal-Mart is concentrated neoliberalism

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Shopping ’til we all drop at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is concentrated neoliberalism. From working to weaken government at the same time it gorges on government subsidies, to exploitation of its workforce, to moving production to the places with the lowest wages and weakest laws, to underpaying taxes, the workers who walked out on Black Friday have no shortage of targets.

Some of the latest findings in a just released report reveal that Wal-Mart dodges $1 billion a year in taxes and is the recipient of an estimated $6.2 billion a year in indirect subsidies through social-welfare programs such as food stamps. A separate report also just published documents the poverty of Wal-Mart workers, many of whom regularly skip meals because their pay is so low……..    read more here

 

The Rise of American Cannibals

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The Economist  Nov 6th 2014

A NEW paper by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics suggests that, in America at least, inequality in wealth is approaching record levels. The authors examine the share of total wealth held by the bottom 90% of families relative to those at the very top. In the late 1920s the bottom 90% held just 16% of America’s wealth—considerably less than that held by the top 0.1%, which controlled a quarter of total wealth just before the crash of 1929. From the beginning of the Depression until well after the end of the second world war, the middle class’s share of total wealth rose steadily, thanks to collapsing wealth among richer households, broader equity ownership, middle-class income growth and rising rates of home-ownership. From the early 1980s, however, these trends have reversed. The top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and almost the same share as the bottom 90% of the population.

Read the full article here

Syngenta Sued for $1 Billion Damages over China’s Rejection of GM Corn

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Syngenta Sued for $1 Billion Damages over China’s Rejection of GM Corn as China Halts Its GM Rice and Corn Programmes

85 % US export market to China destroyed as domestic prices for corn dropped 11 cents per bushel

Dr Mae-Wan Ho      Institute of Science in Society 10/13/14

US corn prices plummeted as China rejected all shipments containing traces of Syngenta’s MIR162. Farmers from 5 major corn growing states have filed 3 class action lawsuits against Syngenta, claiming damages of more than $ 1 billion [1, 2].

Syngenta released MIR162, trade name Agrisure Vipera, in 2009. It is engineered to make a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein vip3Aa20 toxic to lepidopteran insect pests (butterflies and moths) [3], and also has a gene pmi (phosphomannose isomerase) from E. coli to allow positive selection for the transgene. It was created with Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated plant transformation, a particularly hazardous vector system that risks further horizontal gene transfer (see [4] Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Special Report).  While MIR162 is approved for use in the US, China has not allowed its import into the country.

Syngenta is blamed for destroying the export of US corn to China, which led to depressed prices for domestic corn, according to Volnek Farms, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Omaha, Nebraska federal court. The two other suits were filed in Iowa and Illinois federal courts.

None of the farmers involved in the lawsuits planted MIR162 seed in their fields in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. But their harvested crop was contaminated with traces of the transgenic trait, and hence unsalable to the Chinese market.

Although Viptera has been planted on only about 3 % of US farm acreage, it is difficult to say for sure “that any shipments of US corn will not be contaminated with trace amounts of MIR162”, the Nebraska plaintiff stated.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) had encouraged Syngenta to stop selling Viptera, according to the Iowa claim. The NGFA estimated that actions taken in China against US corn have caused prices to drop by 11 cents per bushel. The Iowa suit also claims that the release of Syngenta’s Viptera caused the US to China export market to drop by 85 %. Nebraska plaintiffs, too, accuse Syngenta of having crippled the 2013-14 corn export market to China. The NGFA reported in April 2014 that China had barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since 2013.

In 2011, Syngenta requested in federal court that a grain elevator firm, Bunge North America, to remove its signs that said it would not accept Vipera corn. The request was denied.

Concern over the safety of GM food may have played a role in a recent decision by China’s officials to move away from GM production. In August, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced it would not continue with GM rice and corn [5].

References

  1. “Billion-dollar lawsuits claim GMO corn ‘destroyed’ US export to China”, RT Qestion More, 6 October 2014, http://rt.com/usa/193612-china-lawsuits-gmo-corn/
  2. Farmers Sue Syngenta. Chemical & Engineering News, 13 October 2014, http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i41/Farmers-Sue-Syngenta.html
  3. Event Name: MIR162, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, accessed 13 October 2014, http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/event/default.asp?EventID=130
  4. Ho MW and Sirinathsinghji E. Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Special Report, June 2013, http://www.thesparc.net/eprint_details/70/ban-gmos-now
  5. “End of the line: GMO production in China halted”, RT Question More, 21 August, 2014, http://rt.com/news/181860-gm-china-rice-stopped/

Written by laudyms

October 13, 2014 at 7:35 am

95% of Income gains going to top 1%

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from The Benefits of Economic Expansions Are Increasingly Going to the Richest Americans

NYT 09/26/14       [Some call it Capitalism- looks more like Cannibalism…..]

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The Finance Industry has Effectively Captured our Government

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In 2009, the Atlantic published an article by Simon Johnson titled The Quiet Coup:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

Quite simply said- and pretty damn obvious as well. Corporate powers now also dominate the media to effectively suppress conversations about both the coup and what we can do about it. Info overload does the rest.

I believe 70+ % of Americans agree about this state of affairs but most don’t know they have so much company – often because they are encouraged to use divisive rhetoric to express it so that gridlock appears to be the problem.

If TPP becomes a reality, we have no chance of ever getting our country back. Don’t you think it’s about time to loudly protest the theft of Democracy?? ISIL is no threat compared to this one! in fact it’s a joke.

The age of rentier capitalism (we’re more exploited than ever!)

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     from the article: “….once economic liberalization [Neo-Liberalism] took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.”

   

Similarly, Neo-Libs and Neo-Cons have dominated politically, leaving little room for any who support social-democracy or justice. Power has consolidated against people.

 

How intellectual property makes us more unequal

Al Jazeera September 7, 2014 

 

It is well known that globalization has put strong downward pressure on wages and benefits of workers in wealthy countries, as companies have offshored and outsourced labor to lower-wage locations and justified wage cuts to try to stay competitive. But politicians and economists have yet to come to terms with the fact that in the rich world the income distribution system itself has broken down irretrievably.

The 20th century was the only century in which most income was divided between capital (profits) and labor (wages), with the struggle for shares mediated by the state through regulations, fiscal policy and a system of social protection. But once economic liberalization took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.

Meanwhile, rental income, linked to the control of natural resources, property, financial assets and intellectual property, has become a dominant force in the global economy.

This is the age of rentier capitalism; rich countries are becoming rentier economies. A rising share of global income is going to rent, rather than to wages or profits from productive activities. This perpetuates inequalities: It disproportionately favors the wealthy, and accentuates inequality over generations.  read more here

 

Marching against Monsanto

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Marching against Monsanto

Mae-Wan Ho  The Institute of Science in Society   May 27, 2014

It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have been marching against Monsanto for close to 20 years now since GM crops were commercialized and I first warned of the dangers of GMOs and Roundup herbicides.

Unfortunately, all my predictions and more have come true. Over the years, farm workers and their families across the world have been seeing sharp rises in birth defects, cancers, allergies, lethal kidney disease and so on. Their livestock die, get diarrhoea, become sterile, cannot conceive, or give birth to dead and deformed animals.

Scientists had to get through tremendous hurdles and obstructions to do the research, not just from Monsanto, but also from corrupt and/or misguided governments, including the UK. For years, practically the only research on safety of GMOs was carried out by the companies themselves, and their raw data are kept from the public as commercially sensitive information.

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