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Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism

2014 “Noam Chomsky”: Why you can not have a Capitalist Democracy!

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70% of Americans have no impact on government and are enslaved by Plutocrats who run our rigged system

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.

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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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“System Change, Not Climate Change” -how to get there from here

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climate and capitalism

A Left Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is occurring with extreme rapidity. Recent news headlines warn us: “Earth Could Warm 11 Degrees by 2100,” “Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing,” and “Climate Change Risks Security and Wars.” — and this is just the beginning.

Had extreme measures been inaugurated worldwide 20 years ago to sharply curtail reliance on fossil fuels, much of what we are now experiencing — unwelcome temperature change, dangerous storms, droughts, floods, etc. — would have been minimized. But to this day Washington is among the tiny minority of countries that have refused to ratify the basic UN document on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.

The current stage of the climate crisis will afflict our Earth for innumerable generations to come, creating increasing havoc. Stage one will eventually transform to a crueler stage two later this century and other stages eventually unless severe measures are introduced immediately. We know the dire consequences for future generations if we fail to act immediately.

David Suzuki got it right when he said on the Bill Moyers PBS program this month: “Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness…. I think that we are being willfully blind to the consequences for our children and grandchildren. It’s an inter-generational crime.”

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Hope: its infinite value and why it changes you from the inside out

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Maybe this all seems self-evident to me because I worked with the CETA program in 1974 etc and saw many who had convinced themselves that sitting on the corner was what they wanted to do, instead sign up for subsidized training for real jobs that had a future. (Most had to sit on a waiting list for 6 months, then show up daily for another 6 months of training before job placement. And they did it.)

Too many programs were designed to fail, but CETA wasn’t one of them! Neither sentimentality nor mercilessness give people what they need, but those are the postures most often adopted by pundits. Ivan Illich  wrote that the means to end poverty were known by the middle of the 19th century, but that Capitalism chose to continue a profitable system powered by human misery.

I’m not suggesting that the answer is some great communist muddle without a range of outcomes. What I am saying is that endemic poverty with a crust of plutocrats is an artificial condition manufactured and maintained by a class of parasites, who just happen to run both of our political parties.

 

The Economist  May 12th 2012   Hope springs a trap

An absence of optimism plays a large role in keeping people trapped in poverty

THE idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.

She and her colleagues evaluated a programme in the Indian state of West Bengal, where Bandhan, an Indian microfinance institution, worked with people who lived in extreme penury. They were reckoned to be unable to handle the demands of repaying a loan. Instead, Bandhan gave each of them a small productive asset—a cow, a couple of goats or some chickens. It also provided a small stipend to reduce the temptation to eat or sell the asset immediately, as well as weekly training sessions to teach them how to tend to animals and manage their households. Bandhan hoped that there would be a small increase in income from selling the products of the farm animals provided, and that people would become more adept at managing their own finances.

The results were far more dramatic. Well after the financial help and hand-holding had stopped, the families of those who had been randomly chosen for the Bandhan programme were eating 15% more, earning 20% more each month and skipping fewer meals than people in a comparison group. They were also saving a lot. The effects were so large and persistent that they could not be attributed to the direct effects of the grants: people could not have sold enough milk, eggs or meat to explain the income gains. Nor were they simply selling the assets (although some did).

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Slavoj Zizek Joins Occupy Wall Street

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Amy Lee  Huffington Post  10/10/11

Occupy Wall Street got some Slovenian philosopher star power on Sunday, as Marxist academic Slavoj Zizek joined the movement.

“We are not destroying anything,” he said. “We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself.”

Using the “Human Microphone” system, where protestors repeat back the words of the speaker so that others can hear, Zizek spoke for over an hour to the enthusiastic crowd, who whooped and cheered as he went on.

While in China, entertainment programming that depicts alternate reality and time travel has been banned, in the U.S., we have a different problem, according to Zizek.

“Here we don’t think of prohibition, because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream, ” he said. “Look at the movies that we see all the time — It’s easy to imagine the end of the world, an asteroid destroying a whole life, but you cannot imagine the end of capitalism. So what are we doing here?”

Zizek also advised the people to see the Tea Party as a sister movement — “They may be stupid, but don’t look at them as the enemy,” he said.

But he warned the protestors against succumbing to the excitement of the immediate events instead of keeping their eye on the prize: True social change.

// // Carnvials come cheap,” he admonished. “What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know like, ‘Oh, we were young, it was beautiful.’ Remember that our basic message is: We are allowed to think about alternatives. The rule is broken. We do not live in the best possible way. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want?”

Zizek is just the latest of the prominent figures who have come to lend their voice in Zuccotti Park, alongside activists like Michael Moore, writer Naomi Klein as well as actors including Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, and Roseanne Barr.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK AT OWS PART2 

Also: Slavoj Zizek: The Delusion of Green Capitalism 

The Egyptian Uprising Is a Direct Response to Ruthless Global Capitalism

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AlterNet / By Nomi Prins
Economic decline at the hands of ‘hot’ money has driven Egyptians’ discontent.
February 4, 2011 |

The revolution in Egypt is as much a rebellion against the painful deterioration of economic conditions as it is about opposing a dictator, though they are linked. That’s why President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he intends to stick around until September was met with an outpouring of rage.

When people are facing a dim future, in a country hijacked by a corrupt regime that destabilized its economy through what the CIA termed, “aggressively pursuing economic reforms to attract foreign investment” (in other words, the privatization and sale of its country’s financial system to international sharks), waiting doesn’t cut it.

Mohamed Bouazizi, the 26-year-old Tunisian who catalyzed this revolution, didn’t set himself on fire in protest of his inability to vote, but because of anguish over his job status in a country with 15.7 percent unemployment. The six other men in Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania who followed suit were also unemployed.

Tunisia’s dismal economic environment was a direct result of its increasingly “liberal” policy toward foreign speculators. Of the five countries covered by the World Bank’s, Investment Across Sectors Indicator, Tunisia had the fewest limits on foreign investment. It had opened all areas of its economy to foreign equity ownership, except the electricity sector.

Egypt adopted a similar come-and-get-it policy, on steroids. From 2004 to 2008, as the world economic crisis was being stoked by the U.S. banking system and its rapacious toxic asset machine, Mubarak’s regime was participating in a different way. Mubarak wasn’t pushing subprime loans onto Egyptians; instead, he was embarking on an economic strategy that entailed selling large pieces of Egypt’s banks to the highest international bidder.

The result was a veritable grab-fest of foreign bank takeovers in the heart of Cairo. The raid began with Greek bank, Piraeus, taking a 70 percent stake in the Egyptian Commercial Bank in 2005, and included the sale of Bank of Alexandria, one of the four largest state-run banks, to the Italian bank, Gruppo Sanpaolo IMI in 2006. For the next two years, “hot” money poured into Egypt, as international banks muscled into Egypt and its financial system, before the intensity leveled off in 2008.

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Joe Bageant: Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball

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Capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse

By Joe Bageant Deer Hunting with Jesus

July 6, 2010   Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

As an Anglo European white guy from a very long line of white guys, I want to thank all the brown, black, yellow and red people for a marvelous three-century joy ride. During the past 300 years of the industrial age, as Europeans, and later as Americans, we have managed to consume infinitely more than we ever produced, thanks to colonialism, crooked deals with despotic potentates and good old gunboats and grapeshot. Yes, we have lived, and still live, extravagant lifestyles far above the rest of you. And so, my sincere thanks to all of you folks around the world working in sweatshops, or living on two bucks a day, even though you sit on vast oil deposits. And to those outside my window here in Mexico this morning, the two guys pruning the retired gringo’s hedges with what look like pocket knives, I say, keep up the good work. It’s the world’s cheap labor guys like you — the black, brown and yellow folks who take it up the shorts — who make capitalism look like it actually works. So keep on humping. Remember: We’ve got predator drones.

After twelve generations of lavish living at the expense of the rest of the world, it is understandable that citizens of the so-called developed countries have come to consider it quite normal. In fact, Americans expect it to become plusher in the future, increasingly chocked with techno gadgetry, whiz bang processed foodstuffs, automobiles, entertainments, inordinately large living spaces — forever.

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Frances Moore Lappe: socialism, capitalism, and confusion

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Why are People Afraid of Saying “Socialism”?

Knee-jerk reactions to words like “socialism” and “capitalism” get us nowhere. We need to first define the terms.

March 30, 2010  by Frances Moore Lappe   AlterNet

‘Socialist’ has become the new favorite term of derision–working its fear-making magic because, for many Americans, socialism equals the great’government takeover.’ It’s assumed to be not just un-American but downright anti-American. Tea Partiers at their round up in Searchlight, Nevada, told us that’socialist’ Harry Reid’hates America.’ Our national aversion to the S-word isn’t necessarily a problem. But the term’s rapid rise as a political pot-shot, points to a huge problem: our culture’s lack of a common civic language, words on whose meaning we at least vaguely agree. Without it, we can’t hope to talk to one another about what matters most. ‘We have a language of capitalism. We have a language of Marxism. But we have no language of democracy,’ historian Lawrence Goodwyn once remarked. And we need one. Capitalism and socialism. Imagine if we just got some clarity on these basic terms alone. First, capitalism. To most of us, it’s quintessentially American. Many of us assume it’s democracy’s essential partner. But what is it? Capitalism is an economic system in which the person or body owning capital productive resources like raw material and labor—has the power to make decisions as to the use of these resources and who benefits from them. The capitalist is in control, not the workers, not the community members, not the government. It is a system in which capitalists seek to gain for themselves the highest possible return on their investment.

Reduced to these elements, it’s no surprise that capitalism returns wealth to wealth, leading to a jaw-dropping chasm between rich and poor: In our country meaning that one percent of households now have as much net wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

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