Monthly Archives: November 2017

View of Dehli January 12, 2011 Credit Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

How the current economic system harms people

Two good new articles on how the current economic system harms people:

“The prevailing “Take-Make-Dispose” linear economic model consisting of voracious depletion of natural resources in both production and consumption patterns has proved to be one of the world’s main killers due to the huge pollution it causes for air, land and soil, marine and freshwater. Just to have an idea, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly a quarter of all deaths worldwide, amounting to 12.6 million people in 2012, are due to pollution, with at least 8.2 million attributable to non-communicable environmental causes, and more than three quarters occurring in just three regions. “As in most other pollution-related impacts, low- and middle-income countries –those who are among the least industrialised nations on Earth– bear the brunt of pollution-related illnesses, with a disproportionate impact on children.”  Read full article:

Pollution, or how the ‘Take-Make-Dispose’ economic model does kill Baher Kamal Inter Press Service October 26, 2017

“The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability. So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen. This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault….The claim here is not that unintelligent people do not do unintelligent things, but rather that the overwhelming unintelligence involved in keeping the engines of production roaring when they are making the planet increasingly uninhabitable cannot be pinned on specific people. It is the system as a whole that is at issue, and every time we pick out bumbling morons to lament or fresh-faced geniuses to praise is a missed opportunity to see plainly the necessity of structural change.”  Read full article:

The climate crisis? It’s capitalism, stupid Benjamin Y. Fong New York Times November 20, 2017

Caption: View of Dehli January 12, 2011 Credit Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

The parasites feeding on North Korea

“Every one of North Korea’s 23 million people is subject to the brutal state-imposed caste system known as songbun. The word “songbun” should be notorious around the world. From birth, every North Korean is marked by the government as a member of a loyal “core” caste, a “wavering” middle caste or a “hostile” caste, and this designation determines access to food, housing, education, jobs — everything. During the famine of the 1990s, when more than two million North Koreans perished, the songbun system often determined who ate and who starved.”  Read the full article:

The parasites feeding on North Korea Brian H. Hook New York Times November 24, 2017

Caption: North Korean soldier escapes to South Korea, November 13, 2017.  Credit: United States Forces Korea

child labor in a glass bangles factory, Pakistan

The harsh plight of 152 million child laborers

“While trillions of dollars are being spent on exploring remote galaxies, Planet Earth is still home to harsh realities that could be easily –and much less expensively—resolved. One of them is that worldwide 152 million children are currently victims of child labour. Of this total, 60 per cent of child labourers – aged 5-17 years – work in agriculture, including farming, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, and livestock. This makes a total of around 100 million girls and boys used as a cheap or even unpaid work force.”   Read full story:

The harsh plight of 152 million child laborers Baher Kamal Inter Press Service November 14, 2017

Caption: Child labour in a glass bangles factory, Hyderabad, Pakistan, March 8, 2013, ©ILO

Caption: View of Fort-Louis, Mauritius. Credit: Dietmar Reigber

Tax havens and illicit financial flows

Two  excellent new articles:

Mounting illicit financial outflows from the South Jomo Kwame Sundaram and  Zera Zuryana Idris Inter Press Service October 31, 2017

Tax haven Mauritius’ rise comes at Africa’s expense Will Fitzgibbon International Consortium of Investigative Journalists November 7, 2017

Caption: View of Fort-Louis, Mauritius, where financial firms that administer tax havens are located.  Credit: Dietmar Reigber


Caption: The Occupy Wall Street movement, Liberty Park, NYC, October 10, 2011. Credit: Aaron Bauer

Rise in the 1 percent’s share of U.S. income due to financial, legal and medical sectors

Myths of the 1 percent: What puts people at the top?  Jonathan Rothwell  New York Times November 17, 2017

Almost all of the growth in top American earners has come from just three economic sectors: professional services, finance and insurance, and health care, groups that tend to benefit from regulatory barriers that shelter them from competition.

Others are noticing these trends. A new book, “The Captured Economy” by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles, argues that regressive regulations — laws that benefit the rich — are a primary cause of the extraordinary income gains among elite professionals and financial managers in the United States and of a reduction in growth.  Read full story.

Also see  Understanding harmful economic systems., especially the section on obtaining income.

Caption:  The Occupy Wall Street movement, Liberty Park, NYC, October 10, 2011.  Being ‘too big to fail’ kept many large firms from bankruptcy, as they were bailed out of financial decisions that otherwise could have led to bankruptcy–which happened to many individuals caught in the financial crisis. Credit: Aaron Bauer