Why (The King of Love is Dead) Nina Simone
Skin Deep Buddy Guy
Lane Vanderslice December 31, 2019
Exploitation and oppression continued to play a major role in the world in 2019. Standard economics principally looks at income obtained from production. This website looks at income or other benefit gained by harming others. We prefer the term harm, as being correct and also indicating a range of behavior. Types of harm in a society may not rise to the level where they could reasonably be termed exploitation and oppression. Harm, no matter the term(s) used is much more important than suggested by standard economics1. This follows Kenneth Boulding in The Economy of Love and Fear. Boulding distinguishes not only the productive economy but also the grants economy, which consists of two parts: exploitative grants from threats or ignorance, and integrative grants from love or kindness. In Boulding’s terms, this is an exploitative grant. A principal aspect of this website is publishing links to articles that describe a current aspect of harm in the United States or elsewhere; this is reviewed here.
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 (can be seen in the right column of each page). For obtaining income, we have Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption, Harm through the market, two discrimination areas Discrimination: race – ethnic – religious – class, and Discrimination against women — gender inequality Also included Slavery, Forced Labor. Crime, Control of land and natural resources, which can be considered as important subcategories of one of the above categories. (Specific situations of harm can often fit into more than one of these categories.) For control we have categories including Staying in power – Struggle for control, Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed and Conflict. Harming people and conflict are part of staying in power/the struggle for control; we have made them separate categories because of their importance.
An important part of the struggle for control is between democratic/popular forces that want to expand human rights and opportunities and those who want to restrict access to key rights and opportunities to their group. HE published a summary of what Freedom House had to say about 2018. Here is an excerpt from that summary. (2019 report not yet available.)Continue reading
All the political revolts America ignored in 2019 Juan Cole Truthdig December 26, 2019
A year of protests sparked change around the globe Alan Crawford Bloomberg News December 6, 2019
Prime power: How Amazon squeezes the businesses behind its store Karen Weise New York Times December 19, 2019
Twenty years ago, Amazon opened its storefront to anyone who wanted to sell something. Then it began demanding more out of them.
Prime leverage: How Amazon wields power in the technology world Daisuke Wakabayashi New York Times December 15, 2019
Software start-ups have a phrase for what Amazon is doing to them: ‘strip-mining’ them of their innovations.
We are witnessing a rediscovery of India’s Republic Rohit De and Surabhi Ranganathan New York Times December 27, 2019
Indians protesting against a discriminatory citizenship law are using the Constitution as a rallying cry.
Indian parliament passes divisive citizenship bill, moving It closer to law Jeffrey Gettleman and Sushasini Raj New York Times December 11, 2019 Updated December 16, 2019
How big companies won new tax breaks from the Trump administration Jesse Drucker and Jim Tankersley New York Times December 30, 2019
As the Treasury Department prepared to enact the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, corporate lobbyists swarmed — and won big.
Corporate tax avoidance in the first year of the Trump tax law Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy December 16, 2019
When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate. Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones. The unsurprising result: Profitable American corporations in 2018 collectively paid an average effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, barely more than half the 21 percent statutory tax rate.
A history of the labor movement — and how to reinvent it in the new economy Sarah Carr Washington Post August 11, 2019 (Book review)
Freedom House February 4, 2019
In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat.
In states that were already authoritarian, earning Not Free designations from Freedom House, governments have increasingly shed the thin façade of democratic practice that they established in previous decades, when international incentives and pressure for reform were stronger. More authoritarian powers are now banning opposition groups or jailing their leaders, dispensing with term limits, and tightening the screws on any independent media that remain. Meanwhile, many countries that democratized after the end of the Cold War have regressed in the face of rampant corruption, antiliberal populist movements, and breakdowns in the rule of law. Most troublingly, even long-standing democracies have been shaken by populist political forces that reject basic principles like the separation of powers and target minorities for discriminatory treatment.
Some light shined through these gathering clouds in 2018. Surprising improvements in individual countries—including Malaysia, Armenia, Ethiopia, Angola, and Ecuador—show that democracy has enduring appeal as a means of holding leaders accountable and creating the conditions for a better life. Even in the countries of Europe and North America where democratic institutions are under pressure, dynamic civic movements for justice and inclusion continue to build on the achievements of their predecessors, expanding the scope of what citizens can and should expect from democracy. The promise of democracy remains real and powerful. Not only defending it but broadening its reach is one of the great causes of our time.Continue reading