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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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Harm through the market 2022

Prices, Profits, and Power: An Analysis of 2021 Firm-Level Markups Mike Konczal and Niko Lusiani Roosevelt Institute June 2022 (Download of a 12 page PDF file)
How to understand and respond to inflation has become one of the central debates of this economic recovery. This research brief is the first to explore the size and distribution of markups (essentially the difference between sales and marginal costs) and profit margins across 3,698 firms operating in the US in 2021…. The evidence of this unusually and suddenly high jump in markups fits all three of the main explanatory stories of inflation being debated—namely those related to changes in demand, supply, and market power. First, we see broad markup increases across many types and sizes of firms, suggesting a demand side of the story. Second, the data points to a historically unique movement of markups between industries in 2021, suggesting a supply story. Lastly, we find that, adjusting for size, pre-pandemic markups are a strong predictor of the increase in markups during 2021, suggesting a role for market power as an explanatory driver of inflation.

Ten ways billionaires avoid taxes on an epic scale Paul Kiel ProPublica June 24, 2022
After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires.

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Harm through the government 2022

The Supreme Court rolls back a right and inflames a divided country Dan Baltz Washington Post June 24, 2022
The implications are both staggering and impossible to predict, other than that ending the right to abortion will have profound effects on women while adding to the cultural and political balkanization of America.

South Africa’s corruption inquiry leaves few of the nation’s powerful unscathed Lynsey Chutel New York Times June 23, 2022
The final portion of a three-year investigation reported graft on a massive scale under former President Jacob Zuma, but also found the current president’s actions wanting.

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Review of Under the Skin: The hidden toll of racism on American lives and the health of our nation by Linda Villarosa

Cover of Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa

Racism’s ill effects on the health-care system — and the body itself Jerald Walker Washington Post June 10, 2022
Equal treatment within the health-care system, Villarosa argues, regardless of class or social status, remains elusive because of three primary obstacles: long-standing institutional and structural discrimination; implicit biases in the medical profession resulting not only in misdiagnoses but even blame for being unwell; and “weathering,” which, Villarosa writes, refers to the “struggle with anger and grief triggered by everyday racist insults and microaggressions … [which] can, over time, deteriorate the systems of the body.”

Review of The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins

Book cover of The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins
Cover of the Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins

The Jakarta Method, Then and Now: U.S. Counterinsurgency and the Third World Sarah Raymundo Monthly Review June 2022
Increasing numbers of left-wing activists around the world are turning to Vincent Bevins’s The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World to learn more about the horrific atrocities committed by the United States against peoples’ struggles for the right to self-determination in the so-called postcolonial era.