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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 Exploitation page, is an analytical overview of exploitation and social systems that contain harm. The second, this homepage and related pages, feature current news stories and analysis where harm is important.  Standard 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 standard 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 of the society (economy, government, social system) 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 So, 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 (can be seen in the right column of each page) and are explained more fully here.

See banner photo caption here

Language as a means of control

A function of the political use of language is to make your side sound (be!) correct and the other side mistaken. Manufacturing consent and spin are some terms used.

No. 1 sponsor of terrorism? US media name Iran, but overlook a candidate closer to home Joshua Cho Fair February 13, 2020
This article says that both Iran and the United States are doing the same types of things, but one is described as a state sponsor of terrorism, while U.S. actions are viewed as legitimate.

The US’s inalienable right to violence Gregory Shupak Fair January 20, 2020

Russia has ‘Oligarchs,’ the US Has ‘Businessmen.’ In 150 NYT, CNN and Fox articles, ‘oligarch’ seems reserved for Slavic billionaires Alan MacLeod Fair September 14, 2019

Website organization by categories

The analytical view taken in this website is that through control of a society and its key elements of the society (economy, government, social system) 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. So, 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 each page. 

For obtaining income, we have Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption, Harm through the market, two discrimination areas Discrimination: race – ethnic – religious – class, and Discrimination against women — gender inequality Also included Slavery, Forced Labor. Crime, Control of land and natural resources, which can be considered as important subcategories of one of the above categories. (Specific situations of harm can often fit into more than one of these categories.)

For control we have categories including  Staying in power – Struggle for control, Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed and Conflict.  Harming people and conflict are part of staying in power/the struggle for control; we have made them separate categories because of their importance.

These are the categories that help us understand the basic organization of a productive plus harmful economic system.

The second major section Topics covers important areas:

Oppression and Exploitation News February 13 – 19

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

Trump seeks to bend the executive branch as part of impeachment vendetta Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey Washington Post February 12, 2020

Harm through the market 2020

Global financial giants swear off funding an especially dirty fuel Christopher Flavelle New York Times February 12, 2020

T-Mobile and Sprint are set to merge as the big get bigger Edmund Lee New York Times February 11, 2020

Cover of The Triumph of Doubt by David Michaels

The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception by David Michaels

A government insider exposes the industry playbook for undermining evidence-based policy Sheril Kirshenbaum Science February 10, 2020
His book offers account after account of unethical bad actors working against the public good on issues ranging from asbestos to climate change. Powerful firms and individuals seeking personal gain repeat the tactics of a well-worn playbook of denial and misdirection proven effective by Big Tobacco more than 50 years ago. Michaels pulls no punches, naming the corporations and people responsible for fraud, deception, and even what he terms “climate terrorism.” He reveals the dirty ways that industries have succeeded at shaping their own narratives regarding safety and health by producing articles and diversions designed to deny and distort science while confusing the public.

Cover of The Triumph of Doubt by David Michaels Credit: Oxford University Press