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Economics

Chris Hedges | What It Means to Be a Socialist

  • Another%20World%20Rainbow.jpgI can promise you that an open and sustained defiance of global capitalism and the merchants of death, along with the building of a socialist movement, is our only hope.
  • The call to resistance, which will require civil disobedience and jail time, is finally a call to the moral life. Resistance is not about what we achieve, but about what it allows us to become. In the end, I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
  • Both Major U.S. Parties are Plagues on Humanity

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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nysehedges_590.jpgA giant American flag hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. (Mary Altaffer / AP)

Sep 20, 2015 | We live in a revolutionary moment. The disastrous economic and political experiment that attempted to organize human behavior around the dictates of the global marketplace has failed. The promised prosperity that was to have raised the living standards of workers through trickle-down economics has been exposed as a lie. A tiny global oligarchy has amassed obscene wealth, while the engine of unfettered corporate capitalism plunders resources, exploits cheap, unorganized labor and creates pliable, corrupt governments that abandon the common good to serve corporate profit. The relentless drive by the fossil fuel industry for profits is destroying the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species. And no mechanisms to institute genuine reform or halt the corporate assault are left within the structures of power, which have surrendered to corporate control. The citizen has become irrelevant. He or she can participate in heavily choreographed elections, but the demands of corporations and banks are paramount.

History has amply demonstrated that the seizure of power by a tiny cabal, whether a political party or a clique of oligarchs, leads to despotism. Governments that cater exclusively to a narrow interest group and redirect the machinery of state to furthering the interests of that group are no longer capable of responding rationally in times of crisis. Blindly serving their masters, they acquiesce to the looting of state treasuries to bail out corrupt financial houses and banks while ignoring chronic unemployment and underemployment, along with stagnant or declining wages, crippling debt peonage, a collapsing infrastructure, and the millions left destitute and often homeless by deceptive mortgages and foreclosures.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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Both Major U.S. Parties are Plagues on Humanity, Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

  • The two corporate parties have collaborated in knocking off countries targeted for invasion and regime change. They have both nurtured the jihadist international network that was created under presidents Carter and Reagan. And presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama are complicit in the capital crime of genocide in the Congo, where six million people have died since 1996. The presidential nominee of either party must be a ghoul, a fiend, or a banshee.
  • Chris Hedges | America's Electoral Farce

 

 

The Economics of the Environment

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A new edition of The Economics of the Environment, a hard-hitting, thought-provoking anthology that explores issues of environmental destruction and resource depletion that orthodox economists and mainstream journalists fail to address seriously. 

Described in Dollars and Sense

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enviro3cover--230x352.jpgThe Economics of the Environment, 3rd edition, is a lively, thought-provoking supplement designed for courses in environmental or resource economics. This newly updated anthology from Dollars & Sense, the award-winning economics magazine, tackles the issues of environmental destruction and resource depletion that mainstream economics—and mainstream texts—fail to address adequately.

The articles in The Economics of the Environment provide real-world applications of economic theory to the environmental problems of today. They illustrate the importance of economics, and especially of alternatives to mainstream neoclassical environmental economics, for understanding these critical issues—while never letting students forget that the future of the planet and the very survival of our species are at stake.

Dollars and Sense publishes economic news and analysis, reports on economic justice activism, primers on economic topics, and critiques of the mainstream media's coverage of the economy. 

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Robert Reich: America's Immoral Economy

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  • The social contract has become entirely one-sided.
  • The US Economy Continues Its Collapse.

Robert Reich, RobertReich.org / Alternet

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tyranny.jpg September 6, 2015 | An economy depends fundamentally on public morality; some shared standards about what sorts of activities are impermissible because they so fundamentally violate trust that they threaten to undermine the social fabric.

It is ironic that at a time the Republican presidential candidates and state legislators are furiously focusing on private morality – what people do in their bedrooms, contraception, abortion, gay marriage – we are experiencing a far more significant crisis in public morality.

Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President Obama's transition advisory board. His latest book is "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future."

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The US Economy Continues Its Collapse, Paul Craig Roberts, Countercurrents.org

  • Clearly, this is not an economy that has a future.
  • 35 soul-crushing facts about American income inequality,

Special Report | Celebrating Labor Day, 2015: The Crisis of Stagnant Wages in the American Economy

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  • Worker pay is rising at the slowest pace ever recorded. But it's worse than that because the new data include everyone who's paid -- including top CEOs and Wall Street moguls.
  • Part 1: Wages Have Been Stagnant For 40 Years But It’s Not The Fault Of American Workers
  • Part 2: Robert Reich | Worker Pay Is Rising at the Slowest Rate Ever Recorded 

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Wages Have Been Stagnant For 40 Years But It’s Not The Fault Of American Workers

Economic output has been steadily growing but it's no longer trickling down to workers' pockets.

Bryce Covert, Think Progress

A Burger King employee protesting for higher wages in Georgia 

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Sep 2, 2015 | Americans keep working harder and producing more economic growth. But they’re not getting rewarded with any extra pay for it, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

After the end of World War II, the country experienced decades of steady economic growth that also translated into steady increases in pay for the workers who were fueling it. As the report’s authors write, “For decades following the end of World War II, inflation-adjusted hourly compensation (including employer-provided benefits as well as wages) for the vast majority of American workers rose in line with increases in economy-wide productivity.”

Bryce Covert is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. She was previously editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog and a senior communications officer. She is also a contributor for The Nation and was previously a contributor for ForbesWoman. 

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Part 2: Robert Reich | Worker Pay Is Rising at the Slowest Rate Ever Recorded 

Most people's pay is stagnant or dropping when adjusted for the costs of living, including rents that are going through the stratosphere.

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page / Reader Supported News

01 August 15 | Worker pay is rising at the slowest pace ever recorded. But it's worse than that because the new data include everyone who's paid -- including top CEOs and Wall Street moguls. The fact is, most people's pay is stagnant or dropping when adjusted for the costs of living, including rents that are going through the stratosphere.

Conservative Republicans like this. They've long said that Americans are living beyond their means and that the best way to revive the economy is for pay to drop. That's why they don't want to raise the minimum wage, why they advocate so-called "right-to-work" laws that destroy unions, why they're in favor of outsourcing jobs abroad through "free trade" policies like the Trans Pacific Partnership, and why they're happy for companies to shift from hiring people full time to relying on independent contractors and part-time workers.

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Special Report | Empowered by Debt

  • “Don’t Owe. Won’t Pay.” Everything You’ve Been Told About Debt Is Wrong
  • With the nation’s household debt burden at $11.85 trillion, even the most modest challenges to its legitimacy have revolutionary implications.

Charles Eisenstein, Yes! Magazine

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don-t-owe-won-t-pay-charles-eisenstein-debt-20150820/eisensteinwebsketch.jpg/imageAug 20, 2015 | The legitimacy of a given social order rests on the legitimacy of its debts. Even in ancient times this was so. In traditional cultures, debt in a broad sense—gifts to be reciprocated, memories of help rendered, obligations not yet fulfilled—was a glue that held society together. Everybody at one time or another owed something to someone else. Repayment of debt was inseparable from the meeting of social obligations; it resonated with the principles of fairness and gratitude.

If one debt can be nullified, maybe all of them can.

The moral associations of making good on one’s debts are still with us today, informing the logic of austerity as well as the legal code. A good country, or a good person, is supposed to make every effort to repay debts. Accordingly, if a country like Jamaica or Greece, or a municipality like Baltimore or Detroit, has insufficient revenue to make its debt payments, it is morally compelled to privatize public assets, slash pensions and salaries, liquidate natural resources, and cut public services so it can use the savings to pay creditors. Such a prescription takes for granted the legitimacy of its debts.

Charles Eisenstein wrote this article for The Debt Issue, the Fall 2015 issue of Yes! 

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Magazine. Charles is the author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.

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Related:

Introducing The Debt Issue, Christa Hillstrom, editor, yesmagazine.org

Our Fall 2015 issue (of Yes! Magazine) shipped this week (Aug 20, 2015), and it's all about debt: bad debt, good debt, how to rethink debt. In our first big article from The Debt Issue, best-selling author Charles Eisenstein goes right to the foundation of the debt system and asks, "Is it legitimate?" I hope you find his article as fascinating and inspiring as we do. Also, watch for online-only debt content, like the essay below by a student-debt strike leader, and the story about former debt collectors who changed their tune. 

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The US Economy Continues Its Collapse

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  • Clearly, this is not an economy that has a future.
  • 35 soul-crushing facts about American income inequality

Paul Craig Roberts, Countercurrents.org

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2014092742.gif10 August, 2015 | Do you remember when real reporters existed? Those were the days before the Clinton regime concentrated the media into a few hands and turned the media into a Ministry of Propaganda, a tool of Big Brother. The false reality in which Americans live extends into economic life. Last Friday’s employment report was a continuation of a long string of bad news spun into good news. The media repeats two numbers as if they mean something—the monthly payroll jobs gains and the unemployment rate—and ignores the numbers that show the continuing multi-year decline in employment opportunities while the economy is allegedly recovering.

The so-called recovery is based on the U.3 measure of the unemployment rate. This measure does not include any unemployed person who has become discouraged from the inability to find a job and has not looked for a job in four weeks. The U.3 measure of unemployment only includes the still hopeful who think they will find a job.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate.

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35 soul-crushing facts about American income inequality, Larry SchwartzAlterNet / Salon

The money given out in Wall Street bonuses last year was twice the amount all minimum-wage workers earned combined

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35 soul-crushing facts about American income inequality

The money given out in Wall Street bonuses last year was twice the amount all minimum-wage workers earned combined.

Larry SchwartzAlterNet / Salon

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gated_mansion.jpg(Credit: romakoma via Shutterstock

Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015 | While Hillary Clinton occasionally gives some lip service to the problem of extreme inequality, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate really hammering away at it. He has even blasted the orthodoxy of economic growth for its own sake, saying according to Monday’s Washington Post that unless economic spoils can be redistributed to make more Americans’ lives better, all the growth will go to the top 1% anyway, so who needs it? Sanders might know his history, but the rest of the candidates could use a little primer.

The United States was not always the most powerful nation on Earth. It was only with the end of World War II, with the rest of the developed world in smoldering ruins, that America emerged as the free world’s leader. This coincided with the expansion of the U.S. middle class. With the other war combatants trying to recover from the destruction of the war, America became the supermarket, hardware store and auto dealership to the world. Markets for American products abounded and opportunity was everywhere for American workers of all economic means to get ahead. America had a virtual monopoly on rebuilding the world. Combined with the G.I. Bill of 1944, which provided money for returning veterans to go to college, and government loans to buy houses and start businesses, the middle class in America boomed, as did American power, wealth and prestige. Between 1946 and 1973, productivity in America grew by 104 percent. Unions led the way in assuring wages for workers grew by an equal amount.

Larry Schwartz is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with a focus on health, science and American history.

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