Category Archives: Obtaining income through harm

This is the point of the harmful part of a productive + harmful economic system: obtaining income not through productive means, but by unproductive means–taking it away from others.   The central idea of this website is that one group uses resources to restructure the alternatives of the second group in such a way that the first group benefits.  Slavery would be an example.  This is discussed in the following sections: Harm through the market, Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption, Discrimination: race – gender – ethnic – religious – class, Discrimination against women, Slavery, forced laborCrime, Control of land and natural resources.

Actions to reduce harm 2021

(Certainly governments do take actions to reduce harm or otherwise improve the lives of the people. This is often, even typically, the result of political action by citizens. This post gives examples.)

Tentative opioid deal would provide $26 billion and a new way to regulate painkillers Meryl Kornfield and Lenny Bernstein Washington Post July 21, 2021

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Harm through the market 2021

Revealed: The true extent of America’s food monopolies, and who pays the price Nina Lakhani, Aliya Uteuova and Alvin Chang The Guardian July 14, 2021
The Guardian and Food and Water Watch investigation into 61 popular grocery items reveals that the top companies control an average of 64% of sales. For 85% of the groceries analyzed, four firms or fewer controlled more than 40% of market share. It’s widely agreed that consumers, farmers, small food companies and the planet lose out if the top four firms control 40% or more of total sales.

The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’ Dave Goulson The Guardian July 25, 2021
Insects have declined by 75% in the past 50 years – and the consequences may soon be catastrophic. Biologist Dave Goulson reveals the vital services they perform.

The Department of Yes. How pesticide companies corrupted the EPA and poisoned America Sharon Lerner The Intercept June 30, 2021

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Harm through the government 2021

This is tax evasion, plain and simple Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek New York Times July 7, 2021 (Opinion)
A very clear article with wonderful graphics. The article shows the drastic reduction in corporate taxes and rise in personal taxes that has occurred since 1950.  In 1950 corporate taxes were more than 6 percent of US national income while payroll taxes were 2 percent. In the years that followed corporate income tax dropped to less than 2 percent of national income while payroll taxes increased to almost 8 percent, which is where they both are today.  A second major point:, even if the global minimum corporate tax is approved, taxing multinationals at 15 percent would still leave them facing a lower rate than the average American pays in state and federal income tax.

Facebook’s FTC court win is a much-needed wake-up call for Congress Mark MacCarthy Brookings July 7, 2021
US antitrust law as conceived and practiced today is unable to cope with the growing challenges of Big Tech. The many references in the opinion to “lawful monopolies” underscore that current antitrust doctrine, a durable monopoly is not illegal. Indeed, current doctrine also encourages companies to treat the goal of a permanent lawful monopoly as an incentive to develop an attractive new technology or service.

Identifying the policy levers generating wage suppression and wage inequality Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens Economic Policy Institute May 13, 2021
This paper presents evidence that the divorce between the growth of median compensation and productivity, the inequality of compensation, and the erosion of labor’s share of income has been generated primarily through intentional policy decisions designed to suppress typical workers’ wage growth, the failure to improve and update existing policies, and the failure to thwart new corporate practices and structures aimed at wage suppression.

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Rigged: How globalization and the rules of the modern economy were structured to make the rich richer by Dean Baker

Cover of Rigged by Dean Baker

Rigged: How globalization and the rules of the modern economy were structured to make the rich richer Dean Baker June 23, 2021 (Access a free PDF copy or purchase a paperback from this page.)
There has been an enormous upward redistribution of income in the United States in the last four decades. In his most recent book, Baker shows that this upward redistribution was not the result of globalization and the natural workings of the market. Rather it was the result of conscious policies that were designed to put downward pressure on the wages of ordinary workers while protecting and enhancing the incomes of those at the top. Baker explains how rules on trade, patents, copyrights, corporate governance, and macroeconomic policy were rigged to make income flow upward.