Economic Inequality: Part 3
In June of 2015, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among other Libor-rigging giants, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the [Libor] conspiracy and greed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines to U.S. regulators.
(AP Photo / Edouard H.R. Gluck)
Representing only a single instance of a commonplace practice played out the world over, this corporate criminality instigated the outage of Craig Brandt, an attorney from Oakland, California. He set out to enact an audacious plan. With other individuals, Mr. Brandt endeavored to have the Oakland City Council “take radical action to combat plutocracy, inequality and financial dislocation”. Mr. Brandt wanted to create a city-owned “public bank”.
Recent posts on this blog have explored economic inequality and its ramifications. The post this week continues this series, beginning to focus on potential solutions to what some see as a looming economic catastrophe. As Part 3 our Economic Inequality series, consider this article by Jimmy Tobias: “What if People Owned the Banks Instead of Wall Street?”
Economic Inequality: Part 2
Have you ever heard of a “GINI score”? This “score” is a statistical coefficient used in economics (don’t run away, this gets better). A GINI score measures wealth distribution in a designated area (like a country). Cutting to the chase, the score has been used to predict revolutions. Apples and oranges? Not really. The theory goes like this: the greater the GINI score operative in any given society (that is, the higher the measure of inequality), the greater the likelihood of a violent revolution occurring in that society. The United States has one of the highest GINI scores in the history of the world!
Two Items from Jen Hofmann’s
Americans of Conscience Action List
It has been more than a year since the current person occupying the White House along with a curiously right leaning Congress began implementing changes which have altered and at times threatened the lives and wellbeing of common people. Even those who support the person whom some call “45” have begun to realize the People are not his primary interest.
Last year, many began flying a banner with the essential sentiment “Resist!”. When a perceived wrong is being committed by anyone—an individual, a collection of individuals or a government—resistance represents the bare minimum activity for people of conscience. But resistance is not enough. We who truly do seek the wellbeing of the People should be focused primarily on proactive behavior that seeks to enhance or at least maintain the rights and privileges Americans have come to expect.
In this light, for well over a year, Jen Hofmann has been faithfully posting both opportunities for various types of action and thanks to those who have acted on behalf of others. Although we have posted several links to Jen’s Action List in the past, we have not yet passed on anything from her list this year. Today, we correct that. Take a look at a couple entries from Jen’s list. Better yet, go over to her page and choose something to do this week. (more…)
Remember the post from last summer when we highlighted Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny? He has begun a YouTube series called “Timothy Snyder Speaks”. Take a look at episode 7, in which Professor Snyder talks about “The Evil of ‘America First’”.
Prof. Snyder describes the series as informal talks that fall between “the 90 seconds” afforded during a TV interview and a 45 minute class lecture. Each is a five to fifteen minute treat of a learned person concerned about the current political climate in America. Agree or disagree, his gentle, almost offhanded style should allow you the opportunity to debate with yourself in an open, civilized manner. While your there, check out other episodes in the series.
A conversation between Abby Martin and Peter Joseph
Peter Joseph is the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, a grassroots, worldwide organization that advocates an alternative economic system based on sustainability, cooperation and human need. His most recent book, The New Human Rights Movement delivers a startling exposé about the violent oppression that defines our economic order, while issuing an urgent call for global activism to unite to replace it.
In a conversation with journalist Abby Martin, Peter Joseph describes the contradictions and crises of capitalism and what he advocates to save the future of the planet from catastrophe. Joseph describes the disappearance of humanity—real people—at the hands of those seeking to maximize profit and power. If we pay attention, we can see the slow but steady dissolution of our own humanity as a result of abuses by advertising, manipulation of stock markets, and a systemic subjugation of common people. Ms. Martin elicits descriptions of many of the topics covered in Mr. Joseph’s most recent book The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression.
Remember Dan Rather? Most of us who are even “just a little bit older” certainly do. Mr. Rather, a former anchor of the CBS Evening News, was one of the most well-known broadcast news journalists during a time when the news gave the appearance of being “truer” than many broadcasts manage these days. Some of us might find comfort in knowing such a persons is still at it.
Apparently, Mr. Rather has teamed up with the Young Turks on their YouTube channel to present a weekly news broadcast. Take a look at the first one. Sober, direct, calm, seemingly non-partisan, the broadcast feels trustworthy enough. You might like it enough to subscribe.
The endeavor, which Mr. Rather describes as “an answer to what TV news has become” is streamed on YouTube every Monday at 5:30 EST. You might at least get a bit of comfort, a brief respite from these troubled days of “fakenews”.
You might also want to check out the post “State of the Union Address” broadcast from the end of January.
The first posting on this site appeared one year ago. The blog arose out of a desire to focus the thoughts and actions of a group of social scientists, artists, educators and others around the general topic “what is happening to the United States and what should we do about it”. We began 2017 largely with small reposts of articles and videos that seemed noteworthy without appearing overly partisan. As the months passed and the vagaries of WordPress formatting presented less of an impediment, the posts began to change, dramatically increasing in length, complexity and containing significantly more original content.
The reset for this New Year (2018) will initially return to more “light” fare until the major stories for the year emerge (just as net neutrality and democracy became the major themes of 2017). The blog’s intention, however, is to shift focus from external or civic (socio-political) events to more internal psycho-social states we each experience as individuals. (more…)