Tag Archives | Economics

The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn’t Working

G20 April 1st

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, ‘community’ is a form of ‘communism.’ Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that “winner-take-all” is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.

To the capitalist, everything is a potential market. Education, health care, even the right to water. But with every market failure it becomes more clear that basic human rights can’t be bought and sold like cars and cell phones. The pursuit of profit, when essential needs are part of the product, means that not everyone will be able to pay the price. Some will be denied those essential needs.

Global Failures

Capitalism hasn’t been able to control runaway global inequality. For every $1.00 owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2011, they now own $1.27.… Read the rest

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The Verdict is in: Guess Who’s The Worst President in US History?

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Jeff61b via HubPages:

Americans of all stripes love to debate which president was best or worst. This is a subject that is too important to rely on opinion polls, which are skewed by individual bias and political views. While It’s difficult to rate how good or bad any president may have been in comparison to another, a careful look at the facts shows one president failed in virtually every aspect of the job to a degree unrivaled by any other.

When you review the facts below and consider his impact on our economy, foreign policy, and domestic policy, by almost any standard, it’s difficult to find any president who did more harm and left the country in worse shape than George W. Bush.

At the same time that Bush was leaving office with a 28% job approval rating, 61% of historians rated George W. Bush’s presidency as the worst in history.

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GOP’s Favorite Socialist Program Lost $8.5 Trillion And Will Bankrupt America

Pentagon
Rmuse via Politics USA:

For several years, if not decades, Republicans have, and still do, claim that any American who is not anti-government, anti-taxation, anti-women’s rights, anti-immigration, anti-theocracy, and anti-democracy is a raving socialist. Yesterday Ted Cruzaccused Hillary Clinton of being a “wild-eyed socialist” who will do serious damage to America, and it is so typical for a Republican to use that term because they know most Americans are ignorant of what socialism entails. Socialism is simply “an economic and political system where all major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual companies or people, or a societal system in which there is no private property.” Obviously, neither Hillary Clinton, nor any Democrat supports or advocates for socialism, including SenatorBernie Sanders who claims to be a democratic socialist. In fact, democratic socialism isa political ideology involving a combination of political democracy with government ownership and control of all major industries.

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Noam Chomsky: Why America Is the Gravest Threat to World Peace

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Noam Chomsky via Alternet/TomDispatch:

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Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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Ashes & Thugs

taxi

Friday

4:15am:
I’m back in the office of Citizen’s Cab. And there’s drama.

Ol’ Kojak is alone working the office and dispatch, as drivers the likes of me are all milling about the small space waiting for our keys and medallions, and poised to throw Koj our $5 bribes in the hopes of securing an airport. But Koj is all preoccupied, frantic, while he’s trying to appease some irate passenger phoning-in a complaint about how they were just badly berated by a driver. All snicker and make fun as gathered ’round the speakerphone like a warm fire. Well, all snicker, but Kojak!

“I’m very sorry that happened to you, sir. Yes… Yes… No, that shouldn’t happen to you, sir. I’ll tell the management he called you a ‘fucking bitch’, sir. But you should know, sir, that 130 is a lease driver. No… We just rent lease drivers their taxi monthly. Citizen’s Cab has very little affiliation outside of that.

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TPPA – the End of Democratic Sovereignty in New Zealand

TPP image via Office of the United States Trade Representative.

TPP image via Office of the United States Trade Representative.

After much speculation and insubstantial promises, we now find ourselves inching closer to the final stages of the TPP agreement. The empty rhetoric and political bombast is coming fast and thick, with some key show-downs taking place amidst a general feeling that we’re quickly running out of time to force a withdraw. While there are further protests scheduled and some time left, unless there is mass large-scale revolt, it is hard to feel in any way optimistic that this deal won’t go ahead.

The wild claims of the National government regarding the apparently substantial positive effects that this trade agreement will have, have been made to look suitably flimsy and dishonest by reports that show the damning and definitive evidence to the contrary; when all the facts are assessed, the data points to the true overarching problem – that we are on the verge of a global neoliberal confidence scam that effectively undermines our democratic sovereignty.… Read the rest

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The Oil Industry is Going Solar

solarprice

Zachary Shahan writes at Climate Crock of the Week:

There’s no way around it — the future of energy is solar energy. But here’s the fun part: the future starts now.

Solar panels have been on the market for decades, but saying solar panels of today are the same as solar panels of the 1990s is like saying phones of today are like phones of the 1990s. True, you can’t play Tetris on your solar panels or listen to music via them, but who wants to climb onto a record-hot roof to do that anyway? Getting back to the central point here, it’s that the cost of solar has fallen off a cliff, and solar power is increasingly the cheapest option around. (see graph above).

Solar power prices are falling so fast that it’s hard for just about anyone to keep up. Last year, many of us jumped for joy as a record-low solar PPA was signed in Austin, Texas (for 5 cents/kWh).

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EmDrive Back in the News

tzf_img_post

Paul Gilster via Centauri Dreams:

Martin Tajmar (Dresden University of Technology) offers a paper entitled “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EmDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects” in his presentation on apparent thrust produced by the test device. As he told WIRED (which announced that The ‘impossible’ EmDrive could reach Pluto in 18 months), the current work will not close the story. From the paper itself:

The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear… Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EmDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far. Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EmDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.

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