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Reading harmfuleconomics.org

This website concerns the economics of exploitation and oppression. The website has two major parts.   The first, the Understanding harm page, gives an analytical overview of harm and social systems that contain harm. The second, this homepage and related pages, feature current news stories and analysis where harm is important.  Orthodox economics principally looks at income obtained from production.  This website looks at income or other benefit gained by harm. This is much more important than suggested by orthodox economics. There is not just a productive system; there is a productive + harmful system. The view taken in this website is that through control of a society and its key elements (economy, government, values) some people/groups in the society obtain income from others. This income is not based on production, but some form of taking away from others. This taking away is typically resisted. Thus there are two basic aspects in a social system where harm is important: obtaining income and maintaining control. This is expressed in the principal categories used in the website, which can be seen in the right column of this and every page.

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Actions to reduce harm 2021

(Certainly governments do take actions to reduce harm or otherwise improve the lives of the people. This is often, even typically, the result of political action by citizens. This post gives examples.)

Tentative opioid deal would provide $26 billion and a new way to regulate painkillers Meryl Kornfield and Lenny Bernstein Washington Post July 21, 2021

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Harm through the market 2021

Revealed: The true extent of America’s food monopolies, and who pays the price Nina Lakhani, Aliya Uteuova and Alvin Chang The Guardian July 14, 2021
The Guardian and Food and Water Watch investigation into 61 popular grocery items reveals that the top companies control an average of 64% of sales. For 85% of the groceries analyzed, four firms or fewer controlled more than 40% of market share. It’s widely agreed that consumers, farmers, small food companies and the planet lose out if the top four firms control 40% or more of total sales.

The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’ Dave Goulson The Guardian July 25, 2021
Insects have declined by 75% in the past 50 years – and the consequences may soon be catastrophic. Biologist Dave Goulson reveals the vital services they perform.

The Department of Yes. How pesticide companies corrupted the EPA and poisoned America Sharon Lerner The Intercept June 30, 2021

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Harming people – Keeping people oppressed 2021

Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide Dana Priest, Craig Timberg and Souad Mekhennet Washington Post July 18, 2021
NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, licensed to governments around the globe, can infect phones without a click.

Berta Cáceres assassination: ex-head of dam company found guilty Nina Lakhani The Guardian July 5, 2021
A US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer who was the president of an internationally financed hydroelectric company has been found guilty over the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres.

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Harm through the government 2021

This is tax evasion, plain and simple Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek New York Times July 7, 2021 (Opinion)
A very clear article with wonderful graphics. The article shows the drastic reduction in corporate taxes and rise in personal taxes that has occurred since 1950.  In 1950 corporate taxes were more than 6 percent of US national income while payroll taxes were 2 percent. In the years that followed corporate income tax dropped to less than 2 percent of national income while payroll taxes increased to almost 8 percent, which is where they both are today.  A second major point:, even if the global minimum corporate tax is approved, taxing multinationals at 15 percent would still leave them facing a lower rate than the average American pays in state and federal income tax.

Facebook’s FTC court win is a much-needed wake-up call for Congress Mark MacCarthy Brookings July 7, 2021
US antitrust law as conceived and practiced today is unable to cope with the growing challenges of Big Tech. The many references in the opinion to “lawful monopolies” underscore that current antitrust doctrine, a durable monopoly is not illegal. Indeed, current doctrine also encourages companies to treat the goal of a permanent lawful monopoly as an incentive to develop an attractive new technology or service.

Identifying the policy levers generating wage suppression and wage inequality Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens Economic Policy Institute May 13, 2021
This paper presents evidence that the divorce between the growth of median compensation and productivity, the inequality of compensation, and the erosion of labor’s share of income has been generated primarily through intentional policy decisions designed to suppress typical workers’ wage growth, the failure to improve and update existing policies, and the failure to thwart new corporate practices and structures aimed at wage suppression.

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Critiques of orthodox economics 2021

The ideology of human supremacy Jeremy Lent Resilience July 6, 2021
The somber truth is that the vast bulk of nature’s staggering abundance has already disappeared. We live in a world characterized primarily by the relative silence and emptiness of its natural spaces. Underlying this devastation is the ideology of human supremacy—claiming innate superiority over nonhuman forms of life. But is human supremacy innate to humanity, or rather something specific pertaining to our dominant culture?

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