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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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Oppression and Exploitation News February 18 – 24

Opposing oppression and injustice 2021

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, kidnapping survivor and advocate for torture victims, dies at 62 Dan Stockman Global Sisters Report February 2021

Disha Ravi: the climate activist who became the face of India’s crackdown on dissent Hannah Ellis-Petersen The Guardian February 17, 2020
The 22-year-old who ‘wears her heart on her sleeve’ founded the Indian branch of the Fridays for Future network and organized strikes across the country.

Struggle for control – staying in power 2021

China blocked Jack Ma’s Ant IPO after investigation revealed likely beneficiaries Lingling Wei Wall Street Journal February 16, 2021
Well-connected Chinese power players, including some with links to political families that represent a potential challenge to President Xi, were behind layers of opaque investment vehicles. The information added to concerns about financial risk and anger at Ma’s outspoken criticism.

Conflict

Erik Prince, Trump ally, violated Libya arms embargo, U.N. report says Declan Walsh New York Times February 19, 2021
Mr. Prince offered to supply weapons, drones and mercenaries to a Libyan militia commander seeking to overthrow the government, according to U.N. investigators.

Harm through the market

Facebook strikes deal to restore news sharing in Australia Mike Isaac and Damien Cave New York Times February 22, 2021
The agreement means users and publishers in Australia can once again share links to news articles, after Facebook had blocked the practice last week.

Google is suddenly paying for news in Australia. What about everywhere else? Damien Cave New York Times February 17, 2021
Pathbreaking legislation showed that even a small nation can get the tech giant to bend. But the United States seems unlikely to follow.

After hundreds of meatpacking workers died From COVID-19, Congress wants answers Bernice Yeung and Michael Grabell ProPublica February 4, 2021

Cover of The Useless Man

The Useless Man: A political economy of populism by Pierre-Noël Giraud

Today, the “wretched of the earth” are no longer those oppressed by colonization, but rather the unemployed and the working poor, migrants and refugees, landless peasants depending on public or familial assistance to survive—in a word, the economically useless.
Uselessness is the most pernicious form of inequality, because it drives these men and women into traps of poverty from which escape is all but impossible.
Drawing on economic theory, political philosophy, and demographic and scientific projections on human population and natural resources throughout the twenty-first century, renowned economist and author Pierre-Noël Giraud exposes the alarming ways that the rise of uselessness defined as such—not only lack of value in a labor market, but also the inability to independently improve one’s own standing—fuels the global resurgence of populism, engendering social and political risks from demagoguery and intolerance to mass migrations and civil war.
Like environmental change, economic uselessness is a reality from which nations and societies can no longer hide—and it is this urgency that may show us the way forward. The Useless Man concludes with a series of carefully reasoned recommendations concerning nature and climate, globalization, and finance, all evaluating potential public policies by how effectively they stand to stem the growth of uselessness.
A lucid assessment of our current geopolitical situation and a stirring forecast of what will happen if we fail to act quickly and collaboratively on a global scale, The Useless Man is an essential, compassionate addition to the debate around economic inequality and its political consequences.

Pierre-Noël Giraud is professor of economics at Mines ParisTech, Paris Dauphine University, and the EMINES School of Industrial Management in Morocco, as well as a member of the National Academy of Technologies of France. He is the author of a number of landmark books on economics, of which The Useless Man is the first published in English. 

Harmful Economics will publish a review of The Useless Man when one becomes available. The text above is from the publisher’s website.

Books about exploitation and oppression 2020

Opposing oppression and injustice 2021

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, kidnapping survivor and advocate for torture victims, dies at 62 Dan Stockman Global Sisters Report February 20, 2021

Disha Ravi: the climate activist who became the face of India’s crackdown on dissent Hannah Ellis-Petersen The Guardian February 17, 2020
The 22-year-old who ‘wears her heart on her sleeve’ founded the Indian branch of the Fridays for Future network and organized strikes across the country

India’s farmers are protesting authoritarianism disguised as capitalism. Sound familiar? Supreet Kaur NBC News February 16, 2021 (opinion)
The Indian government forced through a series of laws that could enrich a few corporations while impoverishing millions. No wonder people are protesting.

Thailand’s pro-democracy protesters clash with police Reuters/The Guardian February 13, 2021

Harm through the market 2021

After hundreds of meatpacking workers died From COVID-19, Congress wants answers Bernice Yeung and Michael Grabell ProPublica February 4, 2021

Amazon’s anti-union blitz stalks Alabama warehouse workers everywhere, even the bathroom Jay Greene Washington Post February 2, 2021
The stakes couldn’t be higher for the e-commerce giant, which is fighting the biggest labor battle in its history on U.S. soil.

Drugs and global capitalism Sasha Breger Bush Dollars and Sense January/February 2021
The sheer size of the drug economy suggests its overwhelming centrality to the global economic system.