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.
Capitalism and imperialism This section discusses some specific characteristics of capitalism. Secondly this website looks at exploitation and oppression in a different manner than Marxists—this section relates the two. Finally, discussion of two important issues
The rotting of the Republican mind. When one party becomes detached from reality.David BrooksNew York Times November 26, 2020 “People need a secure order to feel safe. Deprived of that, people legitimately feel cynicism and distrust, alienation and anomie. This precarity has created, in nation after nation, intense populist backlashes against the highly educated folks who have migrated to the cities and accrued significant economic, cultural and political power….In the fervor of this enmity, millions of people have come to detest those who populate the epistemic regime, who are so distant, who appear to have it so easy, who have such different values, who can be so condescending. Millions not only distrust everything the “fake news” people say, but also the so-called rules they use to say them.” The Republican party has accepted this view according to Brooks.
Trump’s crony capitalismAnne O. KruegerProject Syndicate October 21, 2020 During his first presidential campaign four years ago, Donald Trump promised to change the way America does business. He has kept that promise: Now more than ever, America resembles the kind of crony-capitalist system that one more commonly associates with developing and post-communist countries.
How a massive bomb came together in Beirut’s portBen Hubbard, Maria Abi-Habib, Mona El-Naggar, Allison McCann, Anjali Singhvi, James Glanz and Jeremy WhiteNew York Times September 9, 2020 Fifteen tons of fireworks. Jugs of kerosene and acid. Thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate. A system of corruption and bribes let the perfect bomb sit for years.
Luxury homes tie Chinese Communist elite to Hong Kong’s fateAlexandra Stevenson and Michael ForsytheNew York Times August 12, 2020 Three top leaders of China’s Communist Party have relatives who own assets in Hong Kong, including more than $51 million in luxury real estate, a New York Times investigation shows.
Trump’s request of an ambassador: Get the British Open for meMark Landler, Lara Jakes and Maggie HabermanNew York Times July 21, 2020 Woody Johnson, the N.F.L. owner, Trump donor and ambassador to Britain, was warned not to get involved in trying to move the tournament to a Trump resort in Scotland, but he raised the idea anyway — and he failed.
Former government spokesman pretended to be CIA operative in $4.4 million scamRachel Weiner and Tom JackmanWashington Post June 11, 2020 The former chief spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration admitted Thursday that he ran a $4.4 million scam by manipulating officials from the DEA, the Army, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Institutes of Health as he falsely claimed he was part of a covert task force doing secret operations in Africa.
Ordinary investors have to pay a tax on the profits they have made when they sell the investment. However real estate investors do not if they invest their proceeds in a roughly similar real estate investment, thus enabling real estate investors to avoid capital gains taxes for a long time, possibly forever. The disruption in the real estate market caused by the pandemic may make it cheaper to pay capital gains taxes! How a tax benefit for developers could backfire in the pandemicPaul SullivanNew York Times June 5, 2020
The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn’t made a difference in the covid-19 crisis.Todd C. FrankelWashington Post May 23, 2029 Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.”
Private equity, lobbying the U.S. for help, Is mostly hearing ‘No’ Kate Kelly and Peter EavisNew York Times May 5, 2020 Many U.S. firms have used profits and the large corporate income tax reduction of 2018, not for investment, nor building up financial reserves, but for stock buybacks and other payouts to stockholders and corporate executives, in a process known as value extraction. Although many firms that practiced value extraction, such as the airlines, are eligible for Federal Reserve support funds, one group that has not, for the moment at least, has been the largest private equity firms with their holdings–Harmful Economics
Large, troubled companies got bailout money in small-business loan programJessica Silver-Greenberg, David Enrich, Jesse Drucker and Stacy CowleyNew York Times April 28, 2020 This article describes how companies which would be thought not qualified for a small-business loan program did in fact receive one. Of the $349 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses more than 200 publicly traded [= not-small] companies have disclosed receiving a total of more than $750 million in bailout loans.
Virus’s unseen hot zone: The American farmLaura Reiley and Beth ReinhardWashington Post September 24, 2020 Across the country, fruit growers blocked testing of seasonal farmworkers and told those who caught the coronavirus to keep it quiet. County and state officials were largely unable to stop them.
Harvard’s Chetty finds economic carnage among lower-income workersBen StevermanBloomberg Businessweek September 24, 2020 By April, the bottom quarter of wage earners, those making less than $27,000 a year, had lost almost 11 million jobs, more than three times the number lost by the top quarter, which earn more than $60,000 annually. By late June the gap had widened further.
Airlines are now asking for a giant bailout from the government due to the coronavirus pandemic shrinking air traffic. The opinion below 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 WuNew York Times March 16, 2020 Before providing them any assistance, we must demand that they change how they treat their customers and employees.
A $60 billion housing grab by Wall StreetFrancesca MariNew York Times March 4, 2020 Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.
How Private Equity Makes You SickerEileen ApplebaumAmerican Prospect October 7, 2019 Investment firms have created consolidated hospital empires across America, leading to closures, higher prices, and suffering.
Who killed the Knapp family?Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunnNew 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.
Global Market PowerJan De Loecker and Jan Eeckhout National Bureau of Economic Research (Working Paper Series) June 2018 (16 page PDF file) The average global markup has gone up from close to 1.1 in 1980 to around 1.6 in 2016. Markups have risen most in North America and Europe, and least in emerging economies in Latin America and Asia. The paper discusses the distributional implications of the rise in global market power for the labor share and for the profit share.
Ethiopia escalates fight against its powerful Tigray regionDeclan Walsh and Simon MarksNew York Times November 5, 2020 Clashes broke out between the federal military forces and local security units in the northern region of Tigray, where the ruling party has defied the authority of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Mali coup leaders pledge democracy after deposing presidentRuth Maclean, Cheick Amadou Diouara and Elian PeltierNew York Times August 19, 2020 The plotters appealed to Malians and foreign powers in a televised address to the nation, and said that new elections would be held to replace the detained president, who had been democratically elected.
Trump removes State Dept. Inspector GeneralMichael D. Shear and Maggie HabermanNew York Times May 16, 2020 A top Democrat in Congress described the move as “an outrageous act,” and said that the inspector general, Steve Linick, had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Health department official says doubts on hydroxychloroquine led to his ousterMichael D. Shear and Maggie HabermanNew York Times April 22, 2020 Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”
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 rightsEditorial BoardNew 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 economyRobert ReichTruthdig June 5, 2019 (opinion)