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How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives?

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Illustration by Thomas Pullin

  • Society abhors exploitation but we are complicit. The cheap goods and services consumers expect makes exploitation inevitable.
  • Related: Amazon’s Wal-Mart problem: Why low wages, working conditions,  and disdain for culture will hurt us all

Felicity Lawrence, the Guardian

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Mon 2 Apr 2018 | Since the Modern Slavery Act of 2015, British companies over a certain size have been required to report on slavery in their supply chains. Their statements are both shocking and admirable. Shocking because they make clear that the incidence of slavery has become normalised once again – and not just in criminal operations such as the illegal drugs trade or trafficking for prostitution, but in the mainstream economy. The declarations are prefaced with management expressions of abhorrence, of course, but there they are, another note alongside the annual accounts. They are admirable, however, in that transparency must be the first step to tackling this phenomenon.

Last month the National Crime Agency reported a 35% annual rise in the number of suspected slavery victims found in the UK, with more than 5,000 people referred to the government mechanism that supports them in 2017. Labour exploitation, rather than sexual exploitation, was the most common type of modern slavery cited.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/contributor/2007/09/28/felicity_lawrence_140x140.jpg?w=140&h=140&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=bee3bc96374b8d33ddb090bc075ee54fFelicity Lawrence is a special correspondent for the Guardian 

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Related:

Amazon’s Wal-Mart problem: Why low wages, working conditions,  and disdain for culture will hurt us all, Richard (R.J.) Eskow, Salon

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  • Amazon drives down wages, avoids taxes and destroys intellectual life, while profiting from government subsidies
  • 4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies
  • The Wal-Mart You Don't Know

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Millionaires won’t save us — that’s a myth that links Zuckerberg and Trump

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This Nov. 9, 2017, file photo shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meeting with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a round-table discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Like the cartoon of a naked Trump on the cover of this week’s New Yorker, Zuckerberg seems to have lost his protective garb: not a pricey suit with an over-long red tie, but a gray T-shirt that promises, "Trust me, dummies."

Margaret Sullivan, Washington (DC) Post / Tampa Bay (FL) Times

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/dPj_np-6pat4Dfeu_Rz_R7hReIo=/480x0/arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/C3KDX4BA2IZLJANGYC3GQDVQGI.jpg March 21, 2018 | Consider the plain gray T-shirt. Or the pious talk about connecting the world, through a tech platform, into one big group hug. Or the wide-eyed references to "our community."

Mark Zuckerberg still looks the part of the Harvard undergraduate who invented what a 2011 movie dubbed The Social Network, also known as a world-class way to meet girls.

The same guy, with the same moral compass, who at 19 bragged to a friend about how he got all those college kids to give him their photos, email addresses and more.

Margaret Sullivan is the Washington Post’s media columnist. Previously, she was the New York Times public editor and the chief editor of the Buffalo News.

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No, Big Corporations Shouldn’t Get Tax Breaks to Create Jobs

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Employees at an Amazon warehouse (Photo: Scott Lewis / Flickr)

  • The breaks seldom pay for themselves — and put employees of local businesses out of work.
  • Related: Foxconn Comes to Wisconsin: A Bad Deal for Workers and the Environment

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Jim Hightower, Other Words

January 31, 2018 | Governors and mayors insist that giving our tax dollars to corporations to lure them to move to our cities is good public policy. The corporations create jobs, those workers pay taxes, and — voila! — the giveaway pays for itself!

Does it really work that way? Unfortunately, no.

http://otherwords.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Jim_Hightower.jpg Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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Related:

Foxconn Comes to Wisconsin: A Bad Deal for Workers and the Environment, Willis and Jacob Druker, Socialist Alternative

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In exchange for $3 billion from the state government, electronics giant Foxconn will build a massive factory in Wisconsin. What’s good for big business is good for the rest of us. Right?

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Series | Student Debt Slavery: Time to Level the Playing Field, Part 2

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Historically, debt and austerity have been used as control mechanisms for subduing the people. It is time for the people to unite and take back their power.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon.jpg Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: This is the second in a two-part article on the debt burden America’s students face. Read Part 1 here.

Ellen Brown, Truthdig

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Jan 6, 2018 | The lending business is heavily stacked against student borrowers. Bigger players can borrow for almost nothing, and if their investments don’t work out, they can put their corporate shells through bankruptcy and walk away. Not so with students. Their loan rates are high and if they cannot pay, their debts are not normally dischargeable in bankruptcy. Rather, the debts compound and can dog them for life, compromising not only their own futures but the economy itself.

“Students should not be asked to pay more on their debt than they can afford,” said Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail in October 2016. “And the debt should not be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives.” But as Matt Taibbi points out in a December 15 article, a number of proposed federal changes will make it harder, not easier, for students to escape their debts, including wiping out some existing income-based repayment plans, harsher terms for graduate student loans, ending a program to cancel the debt of students defrauded by ripoff diploma mills, and strengthening “loan rehabilitation” – the recycling of defaulted loans into new, much larger loans on which the borrower usually winds up paying only interest and never touching the principal. The agents arranging these loans can get fat commissions of up to 16 percent, an example of the perverse incentives created in the lucrative student loan market. Servicers often profit more when borrowers default than when they pay smaller amounts over a longer time, so they have an incentive to encourage delinquencies, pushing students into default rather than rescheduling their loans. It has been estimated that the government spends $38 for every $1 it recovers from defaulted debt. The other $37 goes to the debt collectors.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Ellen%20Brown.jpg Ellen Brown <> is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including "Web of Debt" and "The Public Bank Solution."

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Related:

Series | Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young, Part 1, Ellen Brown, Truthdig 

The exponential rise in college costs occurred only after the government got into the student loan business in a big way.

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Help expand your impact by forwarding this email to any friends looking to get involved in 2018.

 

Series | Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young, Part 1

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Students graduating at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2011. (Butch Dill / AP)

The exponential rise in college costs occurred only after the government got into the student loan business in a big way.

Ellen Brown, Truthdig

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Dec 26, 2017 | The advantages of slavery by debt over “chattel” slavery—ownership of humans as a property right—were set out in an infamous document called the Hazard Circular, reportedly circulated by British banking interests among their American banking counterparts during the American Civil War. It read in part:

"Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are glad of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages."

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Ellen%20Brown.jpgEllen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including "Web of Debt" and "The Public Bank Solution."

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