Harm through the market 2022

Prices, Profits, and Power: An Analysis of 2021 Firm-Level Markups Mike Konczal and Niko Lusiani Roosevelt Institute June 2022 (Download of a 12 page PDF file)
How to understand and respond to inflation has become one of the central debates of this economic recovery. This research brief is the first to explore the size and distribution of markups (essentially the difference between sales and marginal costs) and profit margins across 3,698 firms operating in the US in 2021…. The evidence of this unusually and suddenly high jump in markups fits all three of the main explanatory stories of inflation being debated—namely those related to changes in demand, supply, and market power. First, we see broad markup increases across many types and sizes of firms, suggesting a demand side of the story. Second, the data points to a historically unique movement of markups between industries in 2021, suggesting a supply story. Lastly, we find that, adjusting for size, pre-pandemic markups are a strong predictor of the increase in markups during 2021, suggesting a role for market power as an explanatory driver of inflation.

Ten ways billionaires avoid taxes on an epic scale Paul Kiel ProPublica June 24, 2022
After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires.

She lost her house to the rising sea. Nowhere else feels like home. Danielle Paquette and Borso Tall Washington Post June 5, 2022
Senegal faces a hurdle in moving people from the encroaching sea: Yearning for a community derailed.

Overworked and underpaid. Many people work more than full time, but few earn extra money anymore. Marcus Baram Capital & Main May 10, 2022
This is the first article of a four-part series examining the 40-year effort by big business and elected officials to deny Americans extra pay for extra work.

The Ransom: How a French bank captured Haiti Matt Apuzzo, Constant Méheut, Selam Gebrekidan and Catherine Porter New York Times May 20, 2022
It helped finance the Eiffel Tower as it drained millions from Haiti. The bank, C.I.C., won’t talk about it, but The Times tracked how much its investors made — and what Haiti lost.

The root of Haiti’s misery: Reparations to enslavers Catherine Porter, Constant Méheut, Matt Apuzzo and Selam Gebrekidan New York Times May 20, 2022

The Ransom: Invade Haiti, Wall Street urged. The U.S. obliged. Selam Gebrekidan, Matt Apuzzo, Catherine Porter and Constant Méheut New York Times May 20, 2022
The long occupation of Haiti began with a drumbeat from the bank that became Citigroup,decades of diplomatic correspondence and other records show.

Meat industry hyped ‘baseless’ shortage to keep plants open amid covid Taylor Telford Washington Post May 12, 2022
A House panel alleges that Tyson and other meat processors heavily influenced Trump’s executive order that compelled plants to keep operating. Internal industry documents showed that “despite awareness of the high risks of coronavirus spread in their plants, meatpacking companies engaged in a concerted effort with Trump Administration political officials to insulate themselves from coronavirus-related oversight, to force workers to continue working in dangerous conditions, and to shield themselves from legal liability for any resulting worker illness or death,” the report states.

Devouring the rainforest  Terrence McCoy and Júlia Ledur Washington Post April 29, 2022
The pattern is clear: First, the forest is razed. Then the cows are moved in.

Intuit will refund $141 million to Low-income TurboTax users Christine Chung New York Times May 4, 2022
In a settlement, the software company admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to repay fees it had charged millions of Americans for returns that the authorities said were falsely advertised as free.

Bank of America will pay $10 million for improperly garnishing customer accounts Emily Flitter New York Times May 4, 2022
The bank let creditors take funds from customers’ accounts even when state laws should have barred them from doing so. And it charged those customers fees for the operation.

We’re in the midst of a White-collar crime wave Malcom Harris The Nation April 21, 2022 Financial malfeasance has never been more rampant, or more under-punished.

The DOJ failed on pandemic fraud Ankush Khardori Politico April 22, 2022 (Opinion)
And it may be too late now to crack down on the worst offenders.

Katie Porter leads letter urging Biden not to dump more money Into Medicare Advantage Jake Johnson Common Dreams April 22, 2022
“Private contractors, through Medicare Advantage plans, game the system and bill patients as sicker than they are to rake in billions of taxpayer dollars,” the California Democrat said.

The Defense of Nature: Resisting the financialization of the Earth John Bellamy Foster Monthly Review April 1, 2022

Illegal fishing is pushing ocean ecosystems toward collapse Steve Trent Truthout April 6, 2022 (opinion)

Starbucks union campaign pushes on, with at least 16 stores now organized Noam Scheiber New York Times April 8, 2022. Since the union secured its first two victories in elections that concluded in December, workers at more than 175 other stores across at least 25 states have filed for union elections, out of roughly 9,000 corporate-owned stores in the United States.

Starbucks firings deemed illegal by labor board officials Josh Eidelson Bloomberg April 8, 2022

Testimony before the House Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth for a hearing on the impact of corporate power on workers and consumers Heidi Shierholtz Economic Policy Institute April 6, 2022
Unions improve job quality and provide protection to workers from the negative effects of market concentration and other forms of uncompetitive labor markets. Unions used to be vital for providing a counterbalance to weak competition and employer power. But as union coverage has eroded in recent decades, that important check on employer power has greatly diminished.

Almost 2 million people die from work-related causes each year WHO/ILO September 17, 2021 Work-related diseases and injuries were responsible for the deaths of 1.9 million people in 2016, according to the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report. The majority of work-related deaths were due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

U.S. corporate profits, CEO pay surged in 2021 while inflation slashed real wages Shannon Jones World Socialist Website April 1, 2022

Investors are buying mobile home parks. Residents are paying a price. Sophie Kasakove New York Times March 27, 2020
Across the country, corporate landlords are expanding manufactured housing portfolios and driving up rents, pushing longtime residents out.

We can thank the Wobblies for the biggest labor story of the year–organizing Starbucks Malcolm Harris Nation March 17, 2022
The radical tactics of the IWW are better suited to the bleak US jobs landscape than those of mainstream trade unions.

Starbucks’s multimillion-dollar anti-union effort may have backfired John Logan Truthout March 10, 2022

Amazon is less able to recover from droughts and logging, study finds Henry Fountain New York Times March 7, 2022
The region is nearing a threshold beyond which its forests may be replaced by grasslands, with huge repercussions for biodiversity and climate change.

Our climate solutions are failing – and Big Oil’s fingerprints are all over them Amy Westervelt The Guardian March 7, 2022
For the first time, a IPCC report has acknowledged the role of misinformation. But it still doesn’t name the culprits.

Vast leak exposes how Credit Suisse served strongmen and spies  Jesse Drucker and Ben Hubbard New York Times February 20, 2022
Leaked data on more than 18,000 accounts shows that the Swiss bank missed or ignored red flags. See the Organized Crime and Corruption website for related stories.

‘Wake-Up Call’: NOAA predicts one-foot sea-level rise by 2050 Kenny Stancil Common Dreams February 15, 2022
“This decade we’re in right now is one of the most consequential decades for our climate future,” said one scientist.

Starbucks fires Memphis workers involved in unionization efforts Noam Scheiber New York Times February 8, 2022
A company spokesman said the workers had violated several policies. The union organizing stores accused Starbucks of retaliation.

See the true cost of your cheap chicken Lucy King, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel New York Times February 10 2022
Enter a chicken farm and see how your cheap dinner strips the dignity of both the chicken and the farmer.

Meet the people getting paid to kill our planet Kirk Semple, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel New York Times February 1, 2022
American agriculture is ravaging the air, soil and water. But a powerful lobby has cleverly concealed its damage.

The capital sponge Lynn Alden January 16, 2022
A look at the self-reinforcing cycle that stuffed excess global capital into the US stock market over the past 40 years,  including the petrodollar system where, in exchange for OPEC countries selling oil only for dollars, the U.S. would provide military protection, arms deals, and other benefits to Saudi Arabia.

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