Posts tagged capitalism

Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago
America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich. Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined. Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.
Posted 3 years ago

The Story of Stuff - Citizens United v. FEC

Posted 3 years ago


Naomi Klein talks to MSNBC about the Shock Doctrine, Wisconsin style

Posted 3 years ago

Many Businesses Are Now Refusing to Hire the Unemployed


The unemployed in America face a lot of hurdles on the path toward gainful work. The number of people without jobs, for instance, far outstrips the number of available jobs. For others, especially African Americans, there are racial factors impeding employment. But perhaps the most frustrating thing keeping the unemployed out of work, and what people said in testimony before Congress yesterday, is that many employers simply won’t hire the unemployed.

If this sounds like a ridiculous fable, consider these actual help-wanted ads, brought before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by employment activists on Wednesday:

[A] Texas electronics company said online that it would “not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason”; an ad for a restaurant manager position in New Jersey said applicants must be employed; a phone manufacturer’s job announcement said “No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All.”

Though the statistics say that there are five people competing for every on job opening in America, some employers believe that the long-term unemployed aren’t working out of sheer laziness, or incompetence. Though there’s very little truth to that stigma, it effectively creates a permanent unemployed class and keeps people poor. It’s also a good thing to think about while considering the House Republicans’ decision today to block additional long-term unemployment benefits.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Metro Centric

Posted 3 years ago

It’s Harder to Get Started Today

I told him that, although I agreed with him that young people should save more, there is also a strong case that it is much more difficult today for a young person to establish themselves financially as he did when he was a young adult.

He looked at me strangely. “What do you mean?” he asked.

So, I laid it out for him, piece by piece. Afterward, it occurred to me that the entire discussion might make for a good post here, particularly with some specific research to back it up.

Real wages Let’s start with income. In 1970, the average wage earner took home $312 per week (in 1982 dollars). In 2004, the average wage earner brought home $277 per week (in 1982 dollars) – and it’s still falling. That means that, once you factor out inflation, the average wage earner in 1970 brought home about 18% more than the average wage earner today.

Home prices Even if you adjust for inflation – and even if you take into account the crash of the housing bubble from 2007 to today – the median price for a home in the United States has gone up more than 50% since 1970. Remember, that number accounts for inflation, so what that number actually means is that the cost of a home requires 50% more of a person’s paycheck than it did in 1970.

Education prices The cost index of an average undergraduate education since 1970 drastically outpaces the growth of the Consumer Price Index. In short, disregarding inflation, the cost of an undergraduate degree today is roughly 30% higher than it was in 1970.

Other essentials In order to compete in today’s workforce, a young person often must have items – paid for out of their own pocket – that weren’t needed in 1970, including a cell phone, a computer, and home internet access. Often, when searching for work, it becomes very difficult for a young person to compete without these extra expenses.

So, to summarize, in order to have housing and an education comparable to what a young person had in 1970, they must spend 50% more on housing, spend 30% more on education, and do it all while earning about 18% less money. That doesn’t even include the extra expenses needed to compete.

I look at my own parents for an example. My parents purchased the house I grew up in for $20,000 – and that included seven acres of land. At the time, that was approximately what my father earned in a year. Today, if I were to purchase a similarly-sized house with seven acres of land, I would be spending well over $100,000 – significantly more than an annual salary.

My parents were also able to find good work without the cost of a college education. Today, the jobs they both had would be completely unavailable to someone if they did not have a college education, putting significantly more expense on the back of a young person today.

This is for the US and I am thinking about Canada, but in light of all the discussions we’re having about the rising cost of university tuition and the theory that students today are just lazing about… well, I found this interesting.

The old “when I was your age, we had it hard, you kids today are spoiled” trope no longer applies thanks to 30 years of growing income inequality.

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Posted 3 years ago

David Harvey - A Brief History of Neoliberalism

5-part lecture. This lecture is basically the reason I started to become an anti-capitalist. 

Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago
Marx does not advocate state ownership but some form of ownership vested in the collective laborer producing for the common good. How that form of ownership might come into being is established by turning Locke’s argument on the production of value against itself. Suppose, says Marx, a capitalist begins production with $1,000 in capital and in the first year manages to gain $200 surplus value from laborers mixing their labor with the land, and the capitalist then uses that surplus in personal consumption. Then, after five years, the $1,000 should belong to the collective laborers, since they are the ones who have mixed their labor with the land. The capitalist has consumed away all of his or her original capital. …the capitalists deserve to lose their rights, since they themselves have produced no value.
David Harvey, “The Future of the Commons,” Radical History Review, no.109, p. 105
Posted 3 years ago
The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.
John Berger (via rossencraft)

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