Tag Archives | Economics

What I Learned Walking The Picket Line

Picket line in front of Wendy's in the Chicago loop. Photo by Aaron Cynic

Picket line in front of Wendy’s in the Chicago loop. Photo by Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Yesterday’s hardest moment came for me when I watched a worker cry. I had been on the streets for about 5 hours with striking workers from the Fight for 15 movement and their supporters, who held a series of actions for two days in conjunction with a national week of strikes and protests to raise the minimum wage. I met the first picket in front of a Subway in the Chicago loop during the morning rush hour where several workers walked off the job. Organizers planned more than twenty pickets spread throughout the financial heart of the city for the day. Hundreds of demonstrators snaked along the sidewalks, stopping in front of retail and fast food outlets to deliver their message – “We can’t survive on $8.25.”

Morning was slowly turning to afternoon and demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of a Walgreen’s on State and Randolph, a location sandwiched between the Chicago Theater and a Macy’s outlet in the loop.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Robb Smith on Economics, World Crisis and More

robb09headshotKeith Martin-Smith’s Only Everything podcast recently had on entrepreneur Robb Smith. This thirty-eight minute interview covers a lot of ground, discussing the collapsing economy, the historical background of the situation and what the future is likely to be. A pretty wide-ranging conversation, moves along quickly, and there’s some good nuggets for consideration. Worth listening to.

From Only Everything:

Robb is a social entrepreneur who works on “transformational era” systems at the intersection of human development, education, spiritual understanding and civilizational sustainability. He holds a uniquely grand view of what’s happening in the world today and what makes Millennials unique.

We get into nothing short of the future of the world economy, human happiness, and where we’re heading in the next 5-6 decades.

We discuss:

  • How World War II transformed the American economy and fueled the emerging consciousness counterculture of the 60′s and the success of Gen X in the 90′s
  • How this economic foundation is in the process of collapsing
  • What happens when a culture like ours, focused on finding lives of “meaning”, has the economic rug pulled out from under it (hint: crisis)
  • How companies like Air B&B represent the downside and problem with technology interacting with brick-and-mortar industries, such as hospitality
  • Why it’s  better today  to be a Chinese teenager today than an American one (and not what you think)
  • Why the next great economic wave and business movement will and must move away from a winner-takes-all mentality to a “win-win” mentality, as represented by B-corps and conscious capitalism.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

Goldman Sachs Contains 4,000 Separate Corporate Entities

Including more than 739 companies based in the Cayman Islands alone. Common Dreams on the staggering webs woven by multinationals as they split and grow, bringing to mind primitive, blob-like life forms expanding and engulfing their surroundings:

The London-based Open Data Institute has collected and mapped ccorporate data, much of it made public for the first time, showing the complex relationships between multinational companies and their global subsidiaries. Stunning visuals on the corporate networks of the six biggest banks in the U.S. – Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JP Morgan – show the tangled webs they weave.

corporate entities

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Wall Street Investors Buying Up Entire Neighborhoods In Poorer Areas

wall street

Wall Street investment firms are eager to become your new landlord. New York Times Dealbook reports:

Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Nationwide, 68 percent of the damaged homes sold in April went to investors, and only 19 percent to first-time home buyers.

Wall Street played a central role in the last housing boom by supplying easy — and, in retrospect, risky — mortgage financing. Now, investment companies like the Blackstone Group have swooped in, buying thousands of houses in the same areas where the financial crisis hit hardest.

Blackstone, which helped define a period of Wall Street hyperwealth, has bought some 26,000 homes in nine states. Colony Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, is spending $250 million each month and already owns 10,000 properties.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Invisible Histories, Pt. I – Devil Thou Art Ambiguous

SatanasAntichrist[We tend to view History as a linear line of events, one leading inexorably to the next but History like the present, is composed of a myriad of interlocking discreet moments.  These first few entries of the Invisible Histories will examine those historical forces which have currently manifested in the form of a Catholic Pope crusading through the America’s against the Animist and Pentecostal religious faiths which have emerged here.  Also cocaine, there will be lots of cocaine.  No names have been changed to protect the innocent because from a historical perspective no one is innocent.]

This will be complicated.

First we have to go all the way back to the Second World War and to Italy because that’s when the Vatican created its slush fund.  I am not really sure how else to describe ‘the Institute for the Works of Religion’, definitely not the word ‘bank’ however.   In the recent sort of confusing and not often talked about  Vatican banking scandal, ‘banking’ gets mentioned a lot and rightly so since it involves a lot of banks but the actual arm of the Vatican which has been caught in this dirty business is not in fact the Vatican’s bank.  That by necessity falls under Papal mandate and is the Roman Curio known as ‘the Patrimony of the Apostolic See’ which manages the Vatican’s International property and currency holdings.  Bored yet?  It gets weirder.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Why The “Financial Literacy” Push Is A Sham

financial literacyApril was national financial literacy month, promoted heavily by major banks and other debt-producing institutions who want you to believe that poverty, the financial crisis, and mounting student debt are the result of ordinary people’s ignorant refusal to discipline themselves and budget properly. Via the Guardian, Helaine Olen writes:

Companies and colleges say that if we all understand our finances, financial crises won’t happen. This is simply untrue.

April is National Financial Capability Month. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says: “Among the lessons of the recent financial crisis is the need for virtually everyone – both young and old – to acquire a basic knowledge of finance and economics.” Sounds great.

But it promotes the false equivalence that the victims of the financial shenanigans of the past several years are as responsible for the financial crisis as the financial services sector, the ultimate creator of all those financial products of mass destruction.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Major U.S. Banks’ Checks Sent To Homeowners Bounce In $3.6 Billion Improper Foreclosure Settlement

improper foreclosureHere’s fair warning that if Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, or Wells Fargo illegally foreclose on your home, the piddling compensation check sent to you a few years later may bounce when you attempt to cash it. Via ABC News:

A bunch of big banks agreed to a $3.6 billion legal settlement a few months ago to halt a review of improper foreclosures, in which banks’ law firms fabricated and robosigned documents.

Under the settlement, checks will be sent to more than 4 million homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure in 2009 and 2010.

The first wave of checks was sent Friday. And, according to the Federal Reserve, at least some of them bounced. The Fed phrased it this way: “Some early recipients of checks informed the Federal Reserve’s consumer helpline on Tuesday that they were told their checks could not be cashed.” The Fed says the problem has been solved.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is it Time to Call “Capitalism” an Existential Threat?

Picture: Lepo Rello (CC)

Picture: Lepo Rello (CC)

Khannea Suntzu writes:

A few years ago I argued that rampant disparity in terms of affluence and poverty (or opportunity versus marginalization) in the world might be interpreted as an existential risk. In other words, a very large number of human beings might literally be pushed in to premature death by the combination of (a) disparity and (b) accelerating technologies. My point in 2007 was that technology is increasingly something that more rich people “purchase” (or invest in), and reap benefits from. So in effect I argued that at some point in the none too distant future technology might create products only for people who have money; lots of people would be without jobs and effectively unable to generate any meaningful income, and be displaced from the basic range of essential goods and services to literally survive.

This point was in some other form made by Jeremy Rifkin, Marshall Brain, Thomas Frey, Frederico Pistono and several others, and each placed the emphasis a little differently.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

More Adults And Families Turning To Communal And Cooperative Living To Save Money

Conservatives may worry that moral decline is destroying the American nuclear family, but in fact economic reality is rendering it impossible and obsolete. CBS News writes:

With the cost of living on the rise and showing no sign of slowing down, total strangers desperate to save money are moving in together. Two million Americans over the age of 30 now live with a housemate or roommate, and shared households make up 18 percent of U.S. households – a 17 percent increase since 2007.

Older adults and even families are using this method to pool their resources. And the new communities are redefining the modern family.

One group of women sold their homes and bought a house together in Mount Lebanon, Pa., after they all got divorced. “It made amazing economic sense,” said one of the women, Jean McQuillin. McQuillin, Louise Machinist and Karen Bush call their home a “cooperative household.” They share the common areas of the house, chores and expenses.

Read the rest
Continue Reading