Posts tagged: the new robber barons
Humans can survive weeks without food, but only days without water — in some conditions, only hours. It may sound clichéd, but it’s no hyperbole: Water is life. So what happens when private companies control the spigot? Evidence from water privatization projects around the world paints a pretty clear picture — public health is at stake.
In the run-up to its annual spring meeting this month, the World Bank Group, which offers loans, advice and other resources to developing countries, held four days of dialogues in Washington, D.C. Civil society groups from around the world and World Bank Group staff convened to discuss many topics. Water was high on the list.
It’s hard to think of a more important topic. We face a global water crisis, made worse by the warming temperatures of climate change. A quarter of the world’s people don’t have sufficient access to clean drinking water, and more people die every year from waterborne illnesses — such as cholera and typhoid fever — than from all forms of violence, including war, combined. Every hour, the United Nations estimates, 240 babies die from unsafe water.
The World Bank Group pushes privatization as a key solution to the water crisis. It is the largest funder of water management in the developing world, with loans and financing channeled through the group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since the 1980s, the IFC has been promoting these water projects as part of a broader set of privatization policies, with loans and financing tied to enacting austerity measures designed to shrink the state, from the telecom industry to water utilities.
But international advocacy and civil society groups point to the pockmarked record of private-sector water projects and are calling on the World Bank Group to end support for private water.
In the decades since the IFC’s initial push, we have seen the results of water privatization: It doesn’t work. Water is not like telecommunications or transportation. You could tolerate crappy phone service, but have faulty pipes connecting to your municipal water and you’re in real trouble. Water is exceptional.
1. Betting on Food Prices to Rise
Chris Hedges noted that Goldman Sachs’ commodities index “is the most heavily traded in the world. The company hoards rice, wheat, corn, sugar and livestock and jacks up commodity prices around the globe so that poor families can no longer afford basic staples and literally starve.” Numerous sources agree that speculation drives up commodity prices. Wheat, for example, rose in price from $105 to $481 in just eight years.
“When Heimeshoff started working for Walmart, she signed a contract saying that if she were ever denied disability benefits, she could only sue the company for wrongful denial of benefits if she did so within three years of filing her disability claim. But the US government and consumer lawyers say that Walmart’s contract is bunk, because established law stipulates that the clock doesn’t start ticking on those three years until an employee’s claim for benefits is improperly denied. A ruling in Walmart’s favor could make it more difficult for millions of workers—not just people who work for Walmart—to obtain disability benefits.”
If the Supreme Court rules in the retail giant’s favor, it will be easier for companies to deny workers benefits.
But ableism isn’t real, nor is the cycle of poverty disabled people are forced to live in man-made, right?
why is there a three-year time limit at all
US banking giants see mixed results - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27067293
" US banking giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reported contrasting results for the first quarter of the year.
Goldman Sachs’ net earnings fell to $2.03bn from $2.26bn after a drop in revenues from its bonds, currency and trading business.
However, Morgan Stanley’s profit rose to $1.45bn, compared with $981m a year ago.
Revenues rose in all of its three business segments.
Goldman Sachs makes most of its money from trading and investing in capital markets.
In the first quarter, its revenue from fixed income, currency and commodities trading fell 11% to $2.85bn compared with a year earlier.”
This chart shows the changes in wealth distribution over the last 40 years. Courtesy of Mother Jones.
Remember how the country was sold the idea of “trickle down” economics? “Oh, if we…
The ranks of civil servants face miserable brain drain if Congress persists with pay freezes, benefit cuts, and badmouthing dedicated employees.
that’s what the gop wants though, is all the smart people in the private sector and the government looking (and being) ineffectual
like i’m not saying this isn’t a real problem, i’m just saying it’s not an accident at all
The magazine’s movie critic was among several staffers who lost their positions. He had been with the magazine since its founding.
Movie critic Owen Gleiberman, who had been Entertainment Weekly's movie critic since the magazine's launch in 1990, was among seven staff writers who lost their positions earlier today, according to Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon. His former colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum, who joined the staff in 1991, took a buyout last February. That leaves Chris Nashawaty, who was moved to film critic last August.
Gleiberman declined a request for comment.
Entertainment Weekly recently announced it would be expanding its “Community” vertical, recruiting bloggers through social media and journalism schools and paying them in, among other things, “prestige.”
this is past ridiculous. EW is owned by fucking Time Warner. This is one of the problems when all of US media is owned by six behemoths— the workers get fucked entirely over. How the fuck is prestige gonna pay a writer’s bills?
A troubling change is taking place in American business, one that explains why nearly six years after the Great Recession officially ended so many people cannot find work and the economy remains frail.
The biggest American corporations are reporting record profits, official data shows. But the companies are not investing their windfalls in business expansion, which would mean jobs. Nor are they paying profits out to shareholders as dividends.
Instead, the biggest companies are putting profits into the corporate equivalent of a mattress. They are hoarding what just a few years ago would have been considered unimaginable pools of cash and buying risk-free securities that can be instantly converted to cash, which together are known in accounting parlance as liquid assets.
This is just one of many signs that America’s chief executive officers, chief financial officers and corporate boards are behaving fearfully. They are comparable to the slothful servant in the biblical parable of the talents who buries a fortune in the ground rather than invest it. Their caution, aided by government policy, costs all of us.
"Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not. Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.”
This “silent pandemic” of toxins is believed to be “causing not just lower IQs, but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.”
WHY IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION?
Without a doubt but my question is will they be safe once they get back there?
Shouldn’t even be a question. Give it back. Give everything back.
the debate always seems to boil down to ‘but they’re safely preserved in a museum here’ and putting aside the ‘only white people can be trusted to preserve these treasures’ line which is colonialist //as hell//? this still breaks down as, ‘do we leave them here in a museum where the masses can see them, or send them back to be possibly lost or possibly auctioned to elite white collectors’, which is to say, does the cultural and potential monetary value these objects would bring to their rightful heirs if returned outweigh //our// kids being able to see them in a museum.
the mercenary conclusion seems to always be that they will either be in a western museum, lost, or in a western private collection, and if they’re more likely to be in western hands anyways, it should be the western //public// and not the western //elite//, because it’s better to continue to deprive the people we took this stuff from of all benefit than to deprive //ourselves// of any benefit.
see also that french private auction last year? of a bunch of stolen hopi masks that they just went ahead with despite international condemnation.
"Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities." ~ Pope Francis
“When people tell you that they love the new New Orleans, what they mean is that they love that the poor were kicked out and social services were eliminated so they can make more money.
A lot of people suffered because of Katrina, but even more people suffered because of political games and corruption. I believe more people died as a result of the closure of Charity Hospital than as a result of the storm.
There were so many injustices. Public housing projects were not allowed to reopen. Private landlords were not allowed to reopen affordable multifamily apartment complexes in places where working class people live.
All this had the collective effect of denying people affordable housing and jacking up the rent for what was left. As a result, New Orleans now has the highest rental cost relative to income of any city in the country.
In August of 2005, right before the storm, we had 8,000 unionized teachers. After the storm, the state legislature voted to fire all of them and replace them with non-union people. They got a lot of kids from the ritzier schools around the country coming down here as part of what was called ‘Teach for America.’ We called it ‘Scab for America.’ They were sending kids from upper- and upper-middle class background to working-class, mostly African-American schools. They didn’t know anything about New Orleans. They had no ties, no understanding. And these were kids who thought they were doing something good. I think they were being manipulated. It was simply politically advantageous for some people.
The whole country has changed. It’s not the country I was born into. When I was born, this country had the 12th highest life expectancy. By 2010, we dropped to 34th. I hear these excuses that people are fat, like me, or that they eat bad food. Well, why the hell do they eat bad food? Because it’s the only thing they can afford. They can’t buy organic or go to a nice restaurant, so they buy a hamburger. Or they don’t have the time to cook a healthy meal, so they buy a TV dinner and throw it on the plate. Americans work, work, work, work and work. They have to. Just to survive. Americans now devote a greater share of the year to labor than any other industrialized country except South Korea. It’s very hard for people to find leisure time. They ask, ‘Why are Americans so out of it?’ And stuff like that. Well, think about it: If you had no paid vacation and you had bills to pay, and if you didn’t pay them you’d be thrown out on the street, what would you be doing all day? You’d be working. So people don’t have time to read; they don’t have time to write; they don’t have time to dance; they don’t have time to think. Leisure time for the average person has almost disappeared. The whole society has been restructured and all it means is money for the wealthiest.”
short version, the rich are so rich they’re breaking the whole system, but when it goes they’ll be buffered for awhile
also global warming, so that’s fun too
we need new anti-robber baron laws
It’s not a level playing field. #taxes