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Stories about Labor and Economics.

The Epic Failure of Labor Leadership in the United States, 1980 to 2017 and Continuing

By: 
Kim Scipes

This article argues that the AFL-CIO leadership has betrayed the interests of working people in the US, and our only hope it to democratize our unions and focus on making lives of working people better instead of their supporting the US Empire.  Argues that we need to transform our unions from business unions to social justice unions.

Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States

By: 
John Stanton

The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) under the brand UNICORE operates approximately 52 factories (prisons) across the United States. Prisoners manufacture or assemble a number of products for the US military, homeland security,and federal agencies according to the UNICORE/FPI website. They produce furniture, clothing and circuit boards in addition to providing computer aided design services and call center support for private companies.

UNICORE/FPI makes its pitch for employing call center support personnel to firms thinking about off-shoring their call center functions. The logic is that, hey!, they may be prisoners, but it’s keeping the jobs in the USA that matters. Fair enough. That approach cuts out the middleman though, those Americans desperate for any kind of work but, through no fault of their own, are not behind prison bars and employable by UNICORE/FPI.

The Savings and Stability of Public Banking

By: 
Ralph Nader

As a society obsessed by money, we pay a gigantic price for not educating high school and college students about money and banking. The ways of the giant global banks – both commercial and investment operations – are as mysterious as they are damaging to the people. Big banks use the Federal Reserve to maximize their influence and profits. The federal Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for matters that are “contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.” This exemption allows financial institutions to wallow in secrecy. Financial institutions are so influential in Congress that Senator Durbin (D, IL) says “[The banks] frankly own this place.”

How the Democrats Lost West Virginia

By: 
Les Leopold

What a State-Owned Bank Can Do for New Jersey

By: 
Ellen Brown

Phil Murphy, the leading Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his campaign. He says the New Jersey bank would “take money out of Wall Street and put it to work for New Jersey – creating jobs and growing the economy [by] using state deposits to finance local investments … and … support billions of dollars of critical investments in infrastructure, small businesses, and student loans – saving our residents money and returning all profits to the taxpayers.”

A former Wall Street banker himself, Murphy knows how banking works. But in an April 7 op-ed in The New Jersey Spotlight, former New Jersey state treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff questioned the need for a state-owned bank and raised the issue of risk. This post is in response to those arguments, including a short refresher on the stellar model of the Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank.

An Eco-Revolutionary Tipping Point?

By: 
Paul Burkett

The system of fossil-fueled neoliberal capitalism is indeed moving toward an end of history, but only in the sense of the end of any historical advance of humanity as a productive, political, and cultural species due to the increasingly barbaric socio-economic and environmental conditions the system creates. There is now no alternative to the end of history as we know it. The sustainable development of human society co-evolving with nature including other species now depends on a definite historical break with capitalism as the dominant mode of production.

No: No Wall Could Hurt Mexico as Much as NAFTA Has

By: 
Mark Weisbrot

President Trump is unlikely to fulfill his dream of forcing Mexico to pay for his proposed wall along the United States’ Southern border.

If it is built, though, U.S. taxpayers will almost certainly foot the bill, which some have estimated could be as high as $50 billion.

With that said, it’s worth taking a step back to look at the economics of U.S.-Mexican relations to see how immigration from Mexico even became a political issue someone like Trump could use to his advantage.

What Else is Wrong with Globalization

By: 
Joan Roelofs
It isn’t just an issue of whether they have the jobs or we have the jobs. From a red-green, eco-socialist perspective we must ask: what are they producing, how does the product and process affect the health, happiness and self-esteem of the worker, how does it contribute to the health and happiness of the consumer, and what effect do product and process have on the environment and culture of the producing and receiving countries?
Globalization has benefits, undoubtedly. There are international human rights treaties that have enabled local activists to improve conditions for their fellow citizens; there are developments in medical treatments that are now widely available. But as the benefits of globalization are widely described, I will argue for the minority and indicate some of the serious problems that we don’t hear much about.

Despite Scrapping TPP, Donald Trump Is a Dedicated Free Trader

By: 
Jack Rasmus

Less than a week after assuming office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order abandoning the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiated by former President Barack Obama, but not yet ratified by the U.S. Congress. He then quickly attacked Mexico — abruptly cut short a phone conversation with Mexico’s President Peña Nieto, canceled a meeting with Peña Nieto after demanding Mexico pay for a wall on the U.S. border and threatened to impose a 20 percent border tax on goods exported to the United States based on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Utopia: Industrial Workers Taking the Wheel

By: 
Hilary Wainwright

Back in the 1970s, with unemployment rising and British industry contracting, workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace came up with a pioneering plan to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. The ‘Lucas Plan’ remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change.

Forty years later, we are facing a convergence of crises: militarism and nuclear weapons, climate chaos and the destruction of jobs by new technologies and automation. These crises mean we have to start thinking about technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did, and reopen the debate about industrial conversion and economic democracy.

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