As we enter the second decade of the new century, signs of crisis are all around us. Climate change, rising economic inequality, assaults on workers’ rights and wages, unchecked corporate power, financialization, entrenched racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, and emboldened neo-fascism and right-wing populism, to name a few. The entwined crises we face share a deep-rooted common cause: the undemocratic, inequitable, and extractive nature of our economic system. Despite the veneer of a prosperous recovery from the great financial crisis a decade ago many people rightly feel the economy no longer works for them and this is contributing to a deep popular disenchantment and realignment that is reconfiguring our politics and societies.
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Labor / Economics
Stories about Labor and Economics.
The geographical scope of the US military is larger than the world, as even without the “Space Force” the militarization of space has proceeded apace. On this earth, there is its division into “commands.”
We must not forget the US continental sprawl of bases, training grounds, bombing ranges, and oceanic military preserves, and similar uses of US colonies. There are US bases in over 160 foreign lands.
“but to the degree that large industry develops, the creation of real wealth comes to depend less on labour time and on the amount of labour employed than on the power of the agencies set in motion during labour time, whose ‘powerful effectiveness’ is itself in turn out of all proportion to the direct labour time spent on their production, but depends rather on the general state of science and on the progress of technology…labour no longer appears so much to be included within the production process; rather, the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself…as soon as labour in the direct form has ceased to be the great well spring of wealth labour time ceases and must cease to be its measure…”
“Capitalism’s War on the Earth”: The existential challenge of a moribund socio-economic system
Although the repo market is little known to most people, it is a $1-trillion-a-day credit machine, in which not just banks but hedge funds and other “shadow banks” borrow to finance their trades. Under the Federal Reserve Act, the central bank’s lending window is open only to licensed depository banks; but the Fed is now pouring billions of dollars into the repo (repurchase agreements) market, in effect making risk-free loans to speculators at less than 2%.
In fact, the political economist Eleanor Ostrom actually won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 for disproving the long-held belief known as the “tragedy of the commons,” a theory which held that resources held in common by communities would naturally be overused and depleted. Ostrom’s work demonstrated that this assumption is false, and that it is in fact very possible for resources to be managed collectively without privatization.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called Paul Volcker “the most effective chairman in the history of the Federal Reserve.” But while Volcker, who passed away Dec. 8 at age 92, probably did have the greatest historical impact of any Fed chairman, his legacy is, at best, controversial.
For tens of thousands of years the Arctic’s carbon sink has been a powerful dynamic in functionality of the Earth System. However, that all-important functionality has been crippled and could be permanently severed. According to new research based upon field observations conducted from 2003 to 2017, a large-scale carbon emission shift in the Earth System has occurred.
‘Today is Cuban workers’ day!’ a Cuban friend told me in late June, beaming at the news that all employees of the island’s ‘budgeted’ state sector would receive significant salary rises, commencing from 1 July 2019. Cuba’s budgeted sector incorporates organisations and entities which operate with a state budget and mostly provide services free to the population without returning revenue to the state. This includes public health , education, culture and sport, public administration, community services, housing and defence.