SOLIDARITY to all Walmart workers on strike!
Debt, Debt And More Debt: Is Democracy To Blame?
Above: The marble statue of Plato stands in front of the Athens Academy in Athens. The ancient Greek philosopher had his doubts about democracy.
17 July | High-profile experts [staged] two separate Washington press conferences [last] Tuesday to demand action on public-debt problems. One group [targeted] state budget crises; the other, the federal budget mess.
If the ancient Greek philosopher Plato were still alive, he might hold a third press conference to declare: “It’s hopeless. I told you so. Democracy will always degenerate into chaos because people will vote for their immediate self interests, not the long-term good.”
At a time when nearly every major democracy in the world is facing a debt crisis, some people are wondering: Might Plato be right? …
A debt crisis is dragging Europe — and maybe the whole global economy — into recession …
Debt is not just a Western problem. For example, in Japan the debt load is more than double the size of the country’s entire gross domestic product.
What’s going on? Can’t self-governing people govern?
Plato may have gotten there first, but many people have followed up, asking just that question. Back in 1978, Auburn University professor Robert Ekelund co-authored a paper entitled “Deficits and Democracy.”
His historical research, done along with W. Mark Crain, also a professor, found that all over the world, no matter what the culture or continent, “democratic governments have exhibited tendencies to run perennial budgetary deficits.”
That’s because the people who win elections often are those who promise what voters would like: lower taxes or more public services, such as better roads and more police. Once in office, a lawmaker discovers that “in financing the desired output of the public sector, the politician [must choose between] raising taxes versus borrowing funds,” the professors wrote.
The easier choice is to borrow and pass the cost to a future generation that does not yet vote, the paper said …
Read Whole: NPR
Above all, capitalism wastes human life. The U.S. spends billions to warehouse 2 million people—many of them young Black and Latino men—in overcrowded prisons. It provides sub-par education to millions of poor students, sending a message that their lives will amount to nothing.
Are people homeless in America because there’s a shortage of homes? And if that’s the case, is there a shortage of homes because we don’t have the concrete, the wood and the steel to build them?
The truth is that under capitalism, there’s no incentive to build low-cost housing for the homeless—because it isn’t profitable to do so.
The same goes for the more than 800 million people in the world who go hungry. It isn’t profitable to feed them. So food is stockpiled or destroyed rather than distributed to them.
The average CEO pay of companies in the S&P 500 Index rose to $12.94 million in 2011. Overall, the average level of CEO pay in the S&P 500 Index increased 13.9 percent in 2011, following a 22.8 percent increase in CEO pay in 2010.
The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay between CEOs of the S&P 500 Index companies and U.S. workers widened to 380 times in 2011 from 343 times in 2010. Back in 1980, the average large company CEO only received 42 times the average worker’s pay.
CEOs supposedly deserve all this money for increasing shareholder value. However, while the average CEO pay increased 13.9 percent at S&P 500 Index companies in 2011, the S&P 500 Index ended the year at the same level as it started.
This double-digit increase in average CEO pay for the second consecutive year shows just how disconnected the top 1 percent is from the 99 percent. In 2011, average wages increased just 2.8 percent and average worker pay totaled $34,053.
Both workers and shareholders have suffered over the previous decade. On Dec. 31, 2010, the S&P 500 Index closed 19 percent below its high on March 24, 2000. U.S. median household income fell $3,719 between 2000 and 2010.
Runaway CEO pay is one reason why income inequality is growing in the United States. A Congressional Budget Office report found that inequality has risen dramatically, with the top 1 percent receiving most of the income growth between 1979 and 2007.
What’s more, a new study by economist Emmanuel Saez at the University of California shows that in 2010—the first year of the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession—the top 1 percent captured 93 percent of the growth in income.
reblogging this from myself because fuck you.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Is it money?
Architect Vincent Callebaut designed Lilypads to be self-sufficient floating cities that can each accommodate up to 50,000 climate change refugees. Inspired by the shape of Victoria water lilies, these eco-cities would be made of polyester fibers and built around a central lagoon, and they would feature three mountains and marinas — dedicated to work, shopping and entertainment. Aquaculture farms and suspended gardens would be located below the water line, and the cities would run completely on renewable energy. Callebaut plans for his Lilypad concept to become a reality in 2100.
10 innovative ideas that let us live on water
I am always fascinated by sustainable innovation, but I must say I harbor some fear of humans migrating to the ocean. Humans have a legacy of destroying most things they touch and we’ve already ruined so much of the ocean, I am fearful of what our presence would do in the long run. Hopefully by then we will have learned some lessons :S
I can’t wait for nano technology to improve to the point that we are able to fix everything that we have messed up.
Libertarians often say that they don’t owe anyone anything because they worked hard to get where they are. The thing is, people do not live in a bubble. We are all part of society and all suffer with and gain from what is going on in the world. Libertarians are ignoring reality when they say that they shouldn’t be paying for someone else’s healthcare when that “person hasn’t done anything for them”. No person is self made. Don’t act like you are.
“bootstraps” has been and always will be a terrible argument.
It’s hard to sympathise with Hollywood and their ancient business model, perennially unable to adapt to the changing entertainment landscape.
Much like this article says:
…The film business, which says it loses more than $6 billion a year to piracy, doesn’t want to end up like the music industry, whose sales were obliterated once music-lovers learned to download songs from file-sharing services.
But Hollywood can’t prevent that by trying to strangle pirates. Its greater threat is its own antiquated business model. The reality is that moviegoers, couch potatoes and Net surfers want to download videos to laptops, tablets and smartphones. They want to watch the latest Harry Potter movie or “Modern Family” episode when and where it’s convenient.
The film industry can no longer expect to control distribution to theaters, cable TV, network TV, overseas venues and streaming services such as Netflix — each one a separate revenue source.
Music labels thought they lost control of their destiny when Apple Inc.’s iTunes came along. In many ways, they did, but music sales are on the upswing again because the convenience, low cost and accessibility of iTunes, Spotify and similar services have turned would-be music thieves into paying customers. The film industry should take note. [via]
Rather than adapting to changing demands in the age of broadband, they’re instead engaging in an eternal game of cat and mouse with their consumers; harming us in the end, with far-reaching attempts at content-policing such as SOPA/PIPA.
When they chase consumers, and chase companies catering to these peoples demands (such as megaupload, hulu, etc), rather than evolving in line with the changing nature of consumer demand themselves (much like the music industry was eventually forced to do so, still somewhat reluctantly)… Well, it makes it very hard for me to sympathise with them, when they moan about a loss of revenues and such, whilst they stubbornly cling on to a failing business model and spreading half-truths such as ‘piracy being the death of cinema’.
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