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Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception ~ George A. Akerlof & Robert J. Shiller

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  • Phishing for Phools explores the central role of manipulation and deception in fascinating detail in each of these areas and many more. It thereby explains a paradox: why, at a time when we are better off than ever before in history, all too many of us are leading lives of quiet desperation. At the same time, the book tells stories of individuals who have stood against economic trickery—and how it can be reduced through greater knowledge, reform, and regulation.
  • Download Phishing for Phools

Described in Princton University Press

http://press.princeton.edu/images/j10534.gif Ever since Adam Smith, the central teaching of economics has been that free markets provide us with material well-being, as if by an invisible hand. In Phishing for Phools, Nobel Prize–winning economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller deliver a fundamental challenge to this insight, arguing that markets harm as well as help us. As long as there is profit to be made, sellers will systematically exploit our psychological weaknesses and our ignorance through manipulation and deception. Rather than being essentially benign and always creating the greater good, markets are inherently filled with tricks and traps and will "phish" us as "phools."

Phishing for Phools therefore strikes a radically new direction in economics, based on the intuitive idea that markets both give and take away. Akerlof and Shiller bring this idea to life through dozens of stories that show how phishing affects everyone, in almost every walk of life. We spend our money up to the limit, and then worry about how to pay the next month’s bills. The financial system soars, then crashes. We are attracted, more than we know, by advertising. Our political system is distorted by money. We pay too much for gym memberships, cars, houses, and credit cards. Drug companies ingeniously market pharmaceuticals that do us little good, and sometimes are downright dangerous.

George A. Akerlof, Co-Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and Robert J. Shiller, Co-Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics

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Download Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception Pdf

Time to Stop Worshipping Economic Growth

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  • To remain within the nine planetary boundaries, nations must shed the fetish of economic growth and transition to a true-cost, steady state economy.
  • From the Archives | 4 Pathways to Our Climate Future—Which Will We Choose?

Brent Blackwelder, The Daly News / Common Dreams

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http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/planetary-boundaries.f.-pharand-deschenes-globaia.jpg Saturday, October 31, 2015 | There are physical limits to growth on a finite planet. In 1972, the Club of Rome issued their groundbreaking report—Limits to Growth (twelve million copies in thirty-seven languages). The authors predicted that by about 2030, our planet would feel a serious squeeze on natural resources, and they were right on target.

In 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Center introduced the concept of planetary boundaries to help the public envision the nature of the challenges posed by limits to growth and physical/biological boundaries. They defined nine boundaries critical to human existence that, if crossed, could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes.

Brent Blackwelder, a Ph.D., is president Emeritus of Friends of the Earth U.S., a national environmental organization dedicated to preserving the health and diversity of the planet for future generations.

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Related:

From the Archives | 4 Pathways to Our Climate Future—Which Will We Choose? Nicole D'Alessandro, EcoWatch <>

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  • What would the future look like if we took drastic action to cut emissions—or no action at all?
  • We can choose our own ending to this story. Which way will it go?
  • Top 20 ‘Dirty Denier$’ Who Accept Big Bucks from Big Polluters

Robert Reich | What Happened on My Tour Through Red State America

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  • The best way to learn is to talk with people who disagree with you.
  • The Continuing Middle Class Crisis
  • Dick Rowan | Putting the Con in Conservative

Robert Reich, RobertReich.org / AlterNet

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http://prodimage.images-bn.com/pimages/9780385350570_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg November 9, 2015 | I’ve just returned from three weeks in “red” America. It was ostensibly a book tour but I wanted to talk with conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers.

I intended to put into practice what I tell my students – that the best way to learn is to talk with people who disagree with you. I wanted to learn from red America, and hoped they’d also learn a bit from me (and perhaps also buy my book).

Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few."

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Related:

Dick Rowan | Putting the Con in Conservative / memegenerator.net

He put the "Con" in conservative (and we fell for it)!

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The Continuing Middle Class Crisis, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • The people are fighting back and the elites recognize it. There is fear in the investor class as they see people organizing and mobilizing. Corporations are now investing more time and money in preparation to protect themselves from investor actions and legal challenges. The actions of corporations and governments against the people are a sign of their fear, and a sign of our unrealized strength.
  • Part 1: Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year
  • Part 2: There Has Never Been an American “Middle Class”.

How Taxes Have Kept Wealth White

From the days of slavery to the 21st century rebirth of the poll tax, our tax system has been concentrating wealth at African-American expense, as legal scholar Andre Smith details in a timely new book.

Sam Pizzigati, Too Much

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http://toomuchonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/andre-smith2.jpg?bbed9e The recent state surge of “voter suppression” laws, notes the Delaware Law School’s Andre Smith, amounts to a reincarnation of the poll tax.

October 31, 2015 | The concept of institutional racism, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, is moving right onto America’s political center stage. The institution under the brightest spotlight? That has to be America’s criminal justice system. But considerable attention has also focused on other institutions as well, most notably education and the financial industry.

But one institution hardly ever comes to mind when talk turns to institutional racism: our tax system. Most of us simply do not think about racism when we think about taxes. Andre Smith does.

Sam Pizzigati, Editor, Too Much

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Marc Ash: Socialism? Let’s Cut to the Chase

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  • “A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.” – Noam Chomsky
  • “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Marc Ash, Reader Supported News / Rise Up Times 

http://readersupportednews.org/images/stories/article_imgs18/3286-abandoned-lee-plaza-hotel-detroit-061509.jpgThe downfall of Detroit. Detroit’s former Lee Plaza Hotel, closed in the 90s. (photo: Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre/Time

September 29, 2015 | You are going to be hearing a lot about “Bernie Sanders, the Radical Socialist” in the coming months. So before that bandwagon rolls off down the great American highway let’s pin a little truth to its tail.

Socialism is nothing new in American politics or economics. Of course it’s not called “Socialism,” that would screw up the corporate 1% media’s branding. They call it good economic policy or bailouts or quantitative easing or free trade – but it’s Socialism.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News.

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Related:

Socialism According to Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Schulte, Dandelion Salad <dandelionsalad>

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  • Sanders is promoting something that falls far, far short of the fundamental change that Debs fought for. Sanders relegates socialism to the realm of nice ideas that can be talked about, but never really be implemented—while he accepts what little the Democratic Party is willing to concede.
  • What did the man who Bernie Sanders today claims as his personal hero really stand for? Elizabeth Schulte tells the story of American socialism’s best-known figure.
  • Bernie Sanders Is No Eugene Debs

Section(s): 

The Continuing Middle Class Crisis

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  • The people are fighting back and the elites recognize it. There is fear in the investor class as they see people organizing and mobilizing. Corporations are now investing more time and money in preparation to protect themselves from investor actions and legal challenges. The actions of corporations and governments against the people are a sign of their fear, and a sign of our unrealized strength.
  • Part 1: Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year
  • Part 2: There Has Never Been an American “Middle Class”.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 



Part 1: Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year.

Sadly, the trends that are destroying the middle class in America just continue to accelerate.

Michael Snyder, End of the American Dream

http://endoftheamericandream.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-Middle-Class-Public-Domain-460x307.jpg October 20th, 2015 | We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.  According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year.  Let that number sink in for a moment.  You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out.  And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month.  In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.

You can find the report that the Social Security Administration just released right here.  The following are some of the numbers that really stood out for me …

Michael Snyder: publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. 

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Part 2: There Has Never Been an American “Middle Class”. 

The U.S. Working Class Has Always Been Poor.

Alan Nasser, Global Research

http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/118386-400x355.jpg [The] lack of upward mobility … has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain — that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. (from Obama’s May appearance on David Letterman)

October 21, 2015 | One of the most firmly entrenched myths of The American Ideology is that the U.S. is a “middle class society,” a “land of opportunity” where anyone who works hard has the opportunity to achieve the standard of living which has made America “the envy of the world.” A common, and spot on, rejoinder has been to remind us that America has always had a sizable class of permanently poor people and that it is just factually false that those ready, willing and able to work are on the path to middle class status.

But does this reply concede too much? Has there ever been a substantial middle class in America? Or has a poor working class been able to mask its condition by accessing an institution that has disguised a large portion of a poor working class as a middle class? The best place to start is with the history of the modern American middle class.

Alan Nasser is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College, where he taught from 1975 to 2006. His book, United States of Emergency American Capitalism and Its Crises, will be published by Pluto Press next fall.

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