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Inequality

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America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes. How the... Read More
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In the years since the 2008 economic crisis, financial transactions taxes (FTTs) have gone from a fringe idea to a policy that is in mainstream policy debates. They are seen as a way to both raise large amounts of money and to slow the pace of churning in financial markets. For this reason, most progressive... Read More
There was a time when boys played games of marbles following strict playground rules: contestants had to stand a prescribed distance away from the little pyramid of marbles, and chuck only marbles of the prescribed size. Rules ruled. Piaget was intrigued by the explanations children gave for moral judgements, and the playground is the arena... Read More
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Is Inequality Really Good for the Economy?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about inequality, but nobody does anything about it. What they do is to use “inequality” as a takeoff point to project their own views on how to make society more prosperous and at the same time more equal. These views largely depend on whether they view the One Percent... Read More
Saving the Soul of Democracy
Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town of Marshall where I grew up. It was a good place to be a cub reporter -- small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something every... Read More
Is there a conspiracy to keep wages from rising or is it just plain-old class warfare? Check out these charts from a recent report by Deutsche Bank and see what you think: (Feeling Underpaid, Zero Hedge) Well, what do you know? Everywhere the global bank cartel has its tentacles, wages are either flatlining or drifting... Read More
Reading Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, I was reminded of the snapshot that Oxfam offered us early this year: 62 billionaires now have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population, while the richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined.... Read More
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The Rise of “Criminal Capitalism”
Introduction: About 75% of US employees work 40 hours or longer, the second longest among all OECD countries, exceeded only by Poland and tied with South Korea. In contrast, only 10% of Danish workers, 15% of Norwegian, 30% of French, 43% of UK and 50% of German workers work 40 or more hours. With the... Read More
Down the Plughole
Growth of Real Hourly Compensation for Production/Nonsupervisory Workers and Productivity, 1948–2011 Is America in the throes of a class war? Look at the chart and decide for yourself. It’s all there in black and white, and you don’t need to be an economist to figure it out. But, please, take some time to study the... Read More
Introduction: Over the past 30 years, wealth has grown exponentially and has become increasingly concentrated foremost in the upper .01%, then the .1%, followed by the 1% and the upper 10% - 20%. The large scale, long-term concentration of wealth has continued through booms and busts of the real economy, the financial and IT crises.... Read More
The Dow Jones stock average closed Friday at 17,137, despite the fact that the payroll jobs report was a measly 125,000 new jobs for August, an insufficient amount to keep up with the growth in the working age population. The low 125,000 jobs figure is also inconsistent with the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ second estimate... Read More
Introduction: Leading management consultants, top government officials and prominent financial journalists are proposing, what they dub, “labor reforms” as the solution for double-digit unemployment and underemployment, economic stagnation and the decline of capital investments. “Labor Reform” as the Concentration of Power and Profits First of all, the term “labor reform” is just a euphemism for... Read More
The old words are on the rebound, the ones that went out in the last century when the very idea of a Gilded Age, and the plutocrats and oligarchy of wealth that went with it, left the scene in the Great Depression. Now, those three classic terms that were never to return (or so it... Read More
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An Empire in Decline (City by City, Town by Town)
As America's new economy starts to look more like the old economy of the Great Depression, the divide between rich and poor, those who have made it and those who never will, seems to grow ever starker. I know. I’ve seen it firsthand. Once upon a time, I worked as a State Department officer, helping... Read More
The US economy is a house of cards. Every aspect of it is fraudulent, and the illusion of recovery is created with fraudulent statistics. American capitalism itself is an illusion. All financial markets are rigged. Massive liquidity poured into financial markets by the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing inflates stock and bond prices and drives interest... Read More
Interviewed by Lira of Boom Bust, starting at 5 minutes. Pt2 coming soon.
When President Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing in 1972, Chairman Mao Zedong -- with his Marxist revolution, Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution -- had achieved an equality unrivaled anywhere. That is, until Pol Pot came along. There seemed to be no private cars on Beijing's streets. In the stores, there was next... Read More
Nobody has ever suggested Switzerland is full of financial halfwits. Thus the news over the weekend that the Swiss have voted to rein in executive pay packages should give pause to corporate fat cats everywhere. A stunning 68 percent of Swiss citizens voted in a referendum to clamp down on executive pay. Although their decision... Read More
Solidarity or Competition in the Face of Crisis?
The near extinction of private sector unionism and the moribund millionaire leadership provides an opportunity to start anew with a horizontal leadership, accountable to the membership and integrated with community based co-op, ecologist, immigrant, consumer based organizations. Introduction There are two uncontestable facts about the United States: the economy and the working class are experiencing... Read More
The bailouts of banks, speculators and manufacturers served their real purposes: the multi-millionaires became billionaires and the later became multi-billionaires. Introduction According to the annual report of the business magazine Forbes there are 1,210 individuals – and in many cases family clans – with a net value of $1 billion dollars (or more). There total... Read More
Progressive, leftist, radical and even a few ‘Bearish’ Wall Street pundits have been arguing for years about the coming collapse, decline or demise of US capitalism. Introduction No amount of continued growth of billionaires, millionaires and multimillionaires, record earnings by investment houses and double digit profit growth of major corporations can convince our doomsayers from... Read More
The ”cry of the excluded” has many meanings, depending on the historical context and the protagonist. The word ”excluded” has a double meaning. In the most commonly understood context it means the social classes and social groups ( indigenous people, blacks, women etc. ) who are excluded from social services like health and education, from... Read More
Category Classics
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution