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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, which can be seen in the right column of this and every page.

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Oppression and Exploitation News March 26 – April 1

Harming people – keeping people oppressed 2020

Amazon fires New York worker who led strike over coronavirus concerns Kenya Evelyn The Guardian March 31, 2020

After exposing corruption in Russian courts, he’s now in jail himself Ivan Nechepurenko New York Times March 27, 2020
Pretending to be a senior official, Sergei Davydov induced judges to fix cases, then revealed the conversations. Then the system struck back.

Discrimination 2020

Asian Americans report over 650 racist acts over last week, new data says Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil NBC News March 26, 2020
“The deliberate use of terms like ‘Chinese virus’ has definitely fanned the flames of racism toward Asian Americans in this country,” one nonprofit leader said

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

Trump to Governors: I’d like you to do us a favor, though Michelle Goldberg New York Times March 30, 2020 (opinion)
Once again, the president is using aid to extort re-election help.

Harm through government 2020

Iran says U.S. sanctions are taking lives. U.S. officials disagree. Farnaz Fassihi New York Times April 1, 2020
Iran, devastated by the coronavirus, is asking the U.S. to lift sanctions on humanitarian grounds. U.S. officials say sanctions aren’t to blame; Iran is.

Harm through the market 2020

Trump calls new fuel economy rule a boon. Some experts see steep costs. Coral Davenport New York Times March 31, 2020

Cover of The Hidden Wealth of Nations Credit: University of Chicago Press

The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The scourge of tax havens by Gabriel Zucman

Trillions of dollars have sloshed into offshore tax havens. Here’s how to get it back David Scharfenberg Boston Globe January 20, 2018

See this page The Hidden Wealth of Nations for further book reviews and informative slide presentations by Zucman.

Cover of The Hidden Wealth of Nations Credit: University of Chicago Press

Oppression and Exploitation News March 19 – 25

Control of land and natural resources 2020

Conflicts over indigenous land grow more violent in Central America Alexander Villegas and Frances Robles New York Times March 9, 2020
Faced with government inaction, some activists try to reclaim ancestral lands on their own. Often, they pay a high price.

Conflict 2020

USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer SIPRI March 9, 2020

Opposing oppression and injustice 2020

Darius Swann, lead plaintiff in Supreme Court busing case, dies at 95 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 23, 2020
He and his wife sued the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in 1965 to send their son to an integrated N.C. school.

Betty Williams, Nobel laureate and leader of peace movement in Northern Ireland, dies at 76 Emily Langer Washington Post March 23, 2020
After witnessing the deaths of three children during the Troubles, she co-founded a campaign that drew thousands of protesters to the cause of peace.

Catherine Hamlin, OB/GYN who healed injured and ostracized mothers, dies at 96 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 22, 2020
She and her husband perfected surgical techniques to treat obstetric fistulas, a debilitating childbirth injury common in Ethiopia.

Charles Trimble, advocate for Native American rights, dies at 84 Katharine Q. Seelye New York Times March 20, 2020
He dedicated his life to advancing the tribal causes of self-determination, sovereignty and human rights.

Tex’ Harris, U.S. diplomat who exposed human rights abuses in Argentina, dies at 81 Matt Schudel Washington Post February 29, 2020
Sending reports through a special ‘dissent channel,’ he brought worldwide attention to the military junta’s ‘dirty war.’

José Zalaquett, champion of human rights in Pinochet’s Chile and around the world, dies at 77 Emily Langer Washington Post February 20, 2020
A Chilean lawyer, he was jailed and ultimately expelled from his country for his efforts on behalf of political prisoners and “disappeared” people.



Oppression and Exploitation News March 12 – 18

Harm through the market 2020

Airlines are now asking for a giant bailout from the government due to the coronavirus pandemic shrinking air traffic.  This oped describes how American Airlines did not put money aside for a rainy day. Despite earning billions of dollars (for example, $7.6 billion in 2015) in large part gathered from higher fares and checked bag charges allowed by the oligopolistic structure of the airline industry, It spent $15 billion dollars on stock buybacks, accumulated a debt of $30 billion (nearly 5 times the company’s current market value),  and actually decreased its cash reserves.

Don’t feel sorry for the airlines Tim Wu New York Times March 16, 2020
Before providing them any assistance, we must demand that they change how they treat their customers and employees.

How working class life is killing Americans, in charts David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson Washington Post March 4, 2020

Harming people – Keeping people oppressed 2020

Coronavirus outrage spurs China’s internet police to action Paul Mozur New York Times March 16, 2020
Online enforcers are dragging in hundreds for questioning as an assault on online speech continues. They are a sign of how Beijing has given censors a more punitive role.

Chinese tycoon who criticized Xi’s response to coronavirus has vanished Javier C. Hernández New York Times March 14, 2020
Ren Zhiqiang appears to be the latest government critic silenced by the Communist Party as it cracks down on dissent over the epidemic.

Discrimination 2020

How Delhi’s police turned against Muslims Jeffrey Gettleman, Sameer Yasir, Suhasini Raj and Hari Kumar New York Times March 12, 2020
More evidence has emerged that the Indian police took part in violence against Muslims or stood aside during fighting in the capital last month

Discrimination against women 2020

Rashmi Hamal is a local heroine who helped to save her friend from an early marriage. She campaigns actively against child marriages in the Far Western Region of Nepal. Credit: Naresh Newar/IPS

UN Report: World remains a ‘violent, highly discriminatory place’ for girls InterPress Service March 4, 2020
Twenty-five years after the historic Beijing women’s conference in China – a milestone in advancing equal rights – violence against women and girls is not only common, but widely accepted, a new UN report revealed. (Access full report.)

Protesting femicide in Mexico Brent McDonald and Miguel Tovar New York Times March 10, 2020
Mexico: Thousands stay in to protest violence against women Peter Orsi AP/Washington Post March 9, 2020

Women’s unpaid labor is worth $10,900,000,000,000 Gus Wezerek and Kristen R. Ghodsee New York Times March 5, 2020
Imagine you had a bucket big enough to hold all the money made in 2018 by the 50 biggest companies in the world. The $10.9 trillion that women didn’t earn would more than fill it.