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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, features 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.

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Harm through the market 2020

How U.S. firms helped Africa’s richest women exploit her country’s wealth Michael Forsythe, Kyra Gurney, Scilla Alecci and Ben Hallman New York Times January 19, 2020

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” from which this essay is adapted.

Who killed the Knapp family? Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn New York Times January 9, 2020
Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people.

More than a third of U.S. healthcare costs go to bureaucracy Linda Carroll Reuters January 6, 2020
U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person – more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds. The original journal article may be viewed at Health Care Administrative Costs in the United States and Canada, 2017

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

These three firms own corporate America: BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Jan Fichtner,  Eelke Heemskerk and Javier Garcia-Bernardo Ponderwall Together, these three firm are the largest single shareholder in almost 90% of S&P 500 firms and 40% of publicly listed firms in the United States. Their growth has occurred because of the rise in index funds, where these companies are by far the largest providers. While technically, the firms do not own the shares, the individuals purchasing the fund shares do, the firms do vote the shares and consult with the companies. See the original article published in Cambridge Business &Politics: Hidden power of the Big Three? Passive index funds, re-concentration of corporate ownership, and new financial risk.

Harm through the government 2019

Column: Trump’s tax cut was a mammoth fraud Steve Chapman Chicago Tribune December 21, 2019

95 environmental rules being rolled back under Trump Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis New York Times December 21, 2019

How a Trump tax break to help poor communities became a windfall for the rich Jesse Drucker and Eric Lipton New York Times August 31, 2019
A multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

An editorial in the New York Times sets out important ways in which worker’s rights have been reduced in the Trump administration. These include: easing the ability of firms to classify workers as temporary workers, thus eliminating the protections that full time workers have in law, restricting collective bargaining in various ways, limiting the ability of workers at franchised businesses to pursue claims against the franchiser, and failing to adequately enforce existing laws, such as OSHA.
Trump’s war on worker rights Editorial Board New York Times June 3, 2019 (opinion).

Robert Reich points out that about 25 percent of American workers are now temporary workers, eliminating protections that ordinary jobs have including “a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation for injuries, employer-provided Social Security, overtime, family and medical leave, disability insurance, or the right to form unions and collectively bargain.”
The jig is up on the gig economy Robert Reich Truthdig June 5, 2019 (opinion)

California to ban controversial pesticide, citing effects on child brain development Reed Anderson and Juliet Eilpern Washington Post May 8, 2019

Why both major political parties have failed to curb dangerous pesticides Elena Conis Washington Post April 9, 2019

How regulators, Republicans and big banks fought for a big increase in lucrative but risky corporate loans Damian Paletta Washington Post April 9, 2019

Conflict 2020

Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important.  It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form.  Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom. Also see Conflict

Hospitals and schools are being bombed in Syria. A U.N. inquiry is limited. We took a deeper look Malachy Browne, Christiaan Triebert, Evan Hill, Whitney Hurst, Gabriel Gianordoli and Dmitriy Khavin New York Times December 31, 2019