Category Archives: Economic Inequality

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Ten

The top-down assault on living and working standards continues unabated worldwide. This is coupled with the growing pressure on everyone to fend-for-themselves like animals, which is engendering greater insecurity and instability with each passing month. Even worse, no meaningful and lasting relief is on the way, only more suffering. Major corporations, however, are having a field day.

To add insult to injury, the ruling elite are becoming more irrational and putting forward the destruction of the economy as the way out of the crisis, while also openly admitting that they have no idea what to do. They publicly say things like “we are doing a controlled demolition of the economy” and that “we will likely have a hard landing,” referring to the 50 bubbles deflating in the stock market, which has already lost trillions in real and paper wealth in recent months. Who thinks destroying a massive complex economy that millions built, operate, and rely on is the way forward? Why is more devastation and waste the only option?

Below are 50 facts, some new and some updated, that continue to paint a grim picture of the past, present, and future. New disturbing records continue to be set. Links to all previous nine parts in this series can be found at the end of this article. Together they provide hundreds of facts from numerous sources.

*****

U.S. Conditions

Nearly half of all Maine tenants cannot afford rent, new study says.”

“The average transaction price (ATP) of new vehicles sold by dealers to retail customers in June [2022] hit a new breath-taking record high of $45,844, up by 14.5% from a year ago, and beating the prior record set in May, according to estimates by J.D. Power.”

“US consumer sentiment hit a new record low in June [2022] amid growing concerns about inflation.”

“Interest costs on national debt are up 30% this fiscal year and could increase more.”

“US oil reserves running low – Bloomberg.”

“The price of diesel went above $5.50 a gallon in the beginning of May [2022], and has stayed there ever since, a 70% increase from just a year ago.”

“The U.S. could soon experience a severe shortage of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), impacting U.S. drivers already hit with soaring fuel prices. DEF is a solution made up of urea and de-ionized water that is needed for almost everything that runs on diesel.”

“The retail industry is facing a potential wave of bankruptcies.”

“Stock market’s fall has wiped out $3 trillion in retirement savings this year.”

“Well over half of people surveyed expect their standard of living to decline in retirement.”

44% of workers are worried about a layoff or job loss, CNBC’s All-America Workforce Survey found. Some 84% are concerned about a recession.”

“Netflix cuts 300 employees in new round of layoffs.”

“Tesla is laying off workers who only just started and withdrawing employment offers as Elon Musk’s job cuts begin.”

“United Airlines will cut 12% of Newark flights in effort to tame delays.”

“Starbucks used ‘array of illegal tactics’ against unionizing workers, labor regulators say.”

“Roughly 1 in 4 American expatriates is ‘seriously considering’ or ‘planning’ to renounce their U.S. citizenship, according to a survey from Greenback Expat Tax Services.”

“Elon Musk says Tesla’s car factories are ‘gigantic money furnaces’.”

“Minnesota State colleges, universities raise tuition 3.5% for nearly all students.”

“27 of America’s top 30 universities are raising tuition and fees for the next academic year.”

“Why health-care costs are rising in the U.S. more than anywhere else.”

“For Native Americans, justice is still far out of reach.”

“Since 2010, at least 15 big U.S. cities registered more than 1,000 killings of homeless, official statistics reveal.”

Almost half of the people serving life without parole are 50 years old or more and one in four is at least 60 years old.”

International Conditions

“We face a global economic crisis. And no one knows what to do about it.”

“Fight against inflation raises spectre of global recession.”

“Food insecurity and hunger have doubled since 2019, according to experts. The threat of famine is faced by nearly fifty million people around the world. Levels of less severe hunger have doubled since 2019.”

“The world’s bubbliest housing markets are flashing warning signs.”

“Metal prices are headed for the worst quarter since the financial crisis.”

“Airports around the world battle long lines, canceled flights.”

“Europe’s travel woes deepen as strikes add to scrapped flights.”

“Sri Lankan prime minister: Island’s economy ‘has collapsed’.”

“According to ACORN Canada nearly one in two Canadians are living paycheck-to-paycheck making them vulnerable to predatory banking practices.”

“Majority of C-Suite Execs thinking of quitting, 40% overwhelmed at work: Deloitte Survey.”

“Cazoo to cut 750 jobs in UK and across Europe amid recession fears.”

“UK economy ‘running on empty’ as recession signals mount – PMI.”

“UK retail sales fall in May [2022].”

“UK pushed 100,000 people into poverty by lifting pension age.”

“7 out of 10 people in the UK want government action on soaring executive pay.”

“French energy giants urge consumers to cut energy use.”

“France sees nuclear energy output plummet at the worst possible moment.”

Belgian workers march against cost-of-living crisis.”

“Food basket [in Iceland] increased nearly 17% in last seven months.”

“Australian central bank aims at real wage cuts for years.”

“German business climate drops more than expected.”

“Germany looks at potential rationing of natural gas after Russia cuts supply.”

“New poll reveals 51% of Dutch consider Israel an apartheid state.”

“Residents across Israel move into tents to protest steep housing costs.”

“Cost of food in Kenya increased 12.40 percent in May of 2022 over the same month in the previous year.”

“Inflation inducing extreme poverty [in Zimbabwe].”

More poverty and misery ahead for most Argentines as food prices soar.”

*****

While people want a human-centered alternative to the misery and anarchy that has been worsening for many years, they do not trust the politicians in the cartel parties of the rich (democrats and republicans) to bring about such an alternative. People have been dissatisfied with the political representatives of the rich for decades. A new report (June 2022) from the Pew Research Center (PRC), “Americans’ Views of Government: Decades of Distrust, Enduring Support for Its Role,” shows that “65% say most political candidates run for office ‘to serve their own personal interests’.” The report stresses that:

Americans remain deeply distrustful of and dissatisfied with their government. Just 20% say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time – a sentiment that has changed very little since former President George W. Bush’s second term in office. (emphasis added)

This inevitable distrust and dissatisfaction has grown more over the past 30 months and will increase in the coming years. Imperialists are not interested in sharing power and wealth. They are not interested in the dignity and humanity of all. On the contrary, all their actions and policies further degrade the social and natural environment. It cannot be otherwise in the final and highest stage of capitalism. Parasitism, reaction, and decay increase in this retrogressive period and take a heavy toll on the social and natural environment.

The majority clearly have little to be satisfied about when it comes to the direction of the economy and society. They want to know how and why we are in the abysmal mess we are in today and why it is so impossible for the rich and their political representatives to solve even small problems. Why is there no stability and security centuries after the scientific and technical revolution empowered humankind to easily meet the needs of all many times over?

Experience has also taught people that constantly begging politicians to do the most basic simple things has left millions exhausted, disillusioned, and humiliated. People do not want to fight for years just to secure minor changes that favor them. It is clear that voting once every four years for the lesser of two evils has not stopped economic, social, cultural, political, and educational decline. It has not empowered people to become the decision-makers in society. It has not given people a real voice. It is no surprise that about 100 million eligible voters boycott the presidential election every four years because they feel so disillusioned, ignored, devalued, and marginalized by an obsolete political set-up that has long served a privileged minority. The situation is not much better in the rest of the Anglo-American world.

The fact that the financial oligarchy is a historically superfluous force that is a huge drag on society means that only working people and their allies can usher in a new human-centered alternative. Relying on old structures, frameworks, and arrangements stopped working long ago. Those things do not work anymore because they are not taking people where they need to go. The necessity for new thinking, a new outlook, a new politics, new leadership, and new arrangements is sharper than ever.

Concrete, sustained, collective action with analysis is needed to move forward. A government that upholds a public authority worthy of the name must come into being so as to affirm the public interest. Such a government will provide human rights with a guarantee in practice. It will not privilege narrow private interests or use disinformation to deprive people of an outlook and politics that advances their interests.

There is an alternative to the barbarism of the current conditions engendered by the rich and their outmoded system. New forms of ownership, new social relations, and a new human personality are necessary and possible. History is forcing such ideas, thinking, and topics on human consciousness.

Part one (April 10, 2022); Part two (April 25, 2022); Part three (May 10, 2022); Part four (May 16, 2022); Part five (May 22, 2022); Part six (May 30, 2022); Part seven (June 6, 2022); Part eight (June 13, 2022); Part nine (June 17, 2022).

The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Ten first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Nine

As the long depression that started many years ago deepens, it can be seen that there is no letup in deteriorating economic and social conditions at home and abroad. The so-called “death spiral” continues worldwide. Many new records are being set, sometimes every week or every day. Instability, chaos, and anarchy are becoming more entrenched and everyone is being pressured to fend for themselves like animals. People feel like no one has their back.

It is no surprise that as multiple crises deepen simultaneously around the world, the ruling elite are increasingly viewed as utterly incompetent. There is no public authority worthy of the name that is providing people with security, stability, and prosperity.

Links to the first eight parts in this series can be found at the end of this article. Forty facts, some updated and some new, are provided below.

*****

U.S. Conditions

“Record-high 50% of Americans rate U.S. moral values as ‘Poor’.”

“Self-care shortage: Americans feel relaxed for just 40 minutes a day.”

“The Federal Reserve hiked [interest] rates by 75 basis points [on June 15, 2022] — its largest increase since 1994.”

“Weekly jobless claims hit 229,000, the highest level since January [2022].”

“Mortgage demand is now roughly half of what it was a year ago, as interest rates move even higher.”

“Property prices PLUNGE by up to 20% across parts of US as buyers shun the market amid ‘Bidenflation’ and spiking interest rates.”

“Homebuilder sentiment tumbles back below pre-COVID levels.”

“Real estate firms Compass and Redfin announce layoffs as housing market slows.”

“Inflation has 67% of people dipping into their savings to pay for necessities, new survey reveals.”

“US producer prices soar 10.8% in May as energy costs spike.”

“Gas prices reach record high for 18th consecutive day.”

“Domestic flight prices increased 47% since January [2022].”

“US retail sales unexpectedly tumble in May [2022].”

“Small business optimism drops to record low.”

“Creeping back: US bankruptcy filings on the up.”

“Coinbase to lay off 18% of staff amid crypto meltdown.”

“Ford recalls nearly 3 million vehicles over rollaway concerns.”

“More people are avoiding the news, and trusting it less, report says.”

International Conditions

“Poor countries forced to cut public spending to pay debts, campaigners say.”

Property values fall across US, Europe on bite from inflation.”

“Double blow to Europe’s gas supplies sparks price surge.”

“A majority of Scots are worried by lack of low-rent housing.”

“Bank of England hikes rates for the fifth time in a row as inflation soars.”

“Canadian businesses bankruptcies surge — and some fear this is just the beginning.”

“Global nuclear arsenal set to grow for first time in decades.”

“Bulgarian restauranteurs: Increasing VAT on wine and beer dooms restaurants to bankruptcy.”

100,000 Turkish doctors strike amid growing global movement of health care workers.”

“Child type 2 diabetes referrals in England and Wales jump 50% amid obesity crisis.”

“Belgium hit by increasing levels of obesity.”

“Middle East and North Africa: addressing highest rates of youth unemployment in the world.”

4.1 million Kenyans facing starvation due to drought.”

Nearly one million Chadians are in acute food insecurity.”

“Africa’s middle class struggles to keep pace with rising inflation.”

“Gaza: Over half of Palestinian children have contemplated suicide, report finds.”

“Fears growing over who will pay for Lebanon’s bankruptcy.”

“Brazil raises key rate by 50 points, signals more to come.”

“Agrarian unions warn of a serious food crisis in Peru exacerbated by corruption. In March 2022, Peru’s inflation is the highest in the last 26 years.”

“As Sri Lanka’s crisis worsens, rising numbers flee by sea.”

“Philippine debt balloons to new record-high P12.76T as of end-April [2022].”

“Thailand’s inflation could reach 5.9% – the highest for 24 years.”

*****

The only way to extricate society out of the all-sided crisis it is mired in is by depriving the rich of their ability to deprive everyone of their rights. There is no way to move forward without organizing ourselves to restrict the power of the rich to destroy the natural and social environment. A change in the aim and direction of the economy is not going to come from the financial oligarchy. Working people and their allies must organize themselves to affirm the right to decide all the affairs of society.

Part one (April 10, 2022); Part two (April 25, 2022); Part three (May 10, 2022); Part four (May 16, 2022); Part five (May 22, 2022); Part six (May 30, 2022); Part seven (June 6, 2022); Part eight (June 13, 2022).

The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Nine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Eight

Economic and social disasters continue to increase worldwide. There is no “healthy recovery” from the pandemic.

The level of irreparable harm being caused by the inability and unwillingness of the ruling elite to solve any problems, even small problems, is glaring. With no sense of shame or irony, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, recently went so far as to publicly state that to improve the economy his goal is “to get wages down,” which means that workers, the producers of all wealth in society, will take an even bigger hit—just as inflation, inequality, debt, under-employment, poverty, anxiety, and homelessness worsen. Powell and other capital-centered ideologues do not understand that wages have nothing to do with inflation. The economic collapse has nothing to do with workers. Lowering living and working standards is the opposite of what people need.

This level of incompetence and irresponsibility on the part of the rich and their representatives at all levels of government and society may be historically unprecedented. Even worse, billions are being pressured to passively sit by and watch Rome burn as the elite enjoy more and more of the social product seized with impunity from working people. It is clear that defunct liberal institutions and governance arrangements cannot uphold human-centered arrangements and serve only to justify the concentration of even more economic and political power in even fewer hands. Existing institutions and arrangements do nothing to empower people, they just keep them marginalized and make problems worse. The absence of a politics of social responsibility is palpable and will eventually have to transmute into its opposite. More people are becoming more fed up with politicians and demanding an alternative to the untenable status quo. A pro-social direction is needed for the economy and society.

Below is part eight of the series called “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind. It contains more than 35 additional facts, some updated and some new, from the U.S. and other countries. Links to each of the previous seven parts can be found at the end of this article. All eight parts collectively provide about 200 facts from different sources about the state of the global economy. They paint a vivid and disturbing picture of what is unfolding. Readers are encouraged to periodically review all the facts from all the articles in this series in order to deepen their grasp of what is actually unfolding worldwide and to appreciate just how serious the situation confronting humanity is. General knowledge and awareness are not enough. Constant review and study are effective ways to quickly recognize and reject lies, disinformation, and propaganda from the rich, their political representatives, and the corporate media. All the dots need to be connected, analysis needs to be developed, and collective action needs to be taken on the basis of constant analysis and discussion that deepens social consciousness. This is not the time to embrace the self-serving cultural, political, and economic views and schemes promoted by the rich at all levels and in all institutions.

*****

U.S. Conditions

“US household wealth fell $500 billion to $149.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2022.”

“Jobless claims hit highest level in months, far outpacing estimates.”

More than 8 in 10 Americans hate this economy. That’s the highest number since the poll began.”

“Shocking consumer credit numbers: Everyone maxing out their credit card ahead of the recession.”

“Consumer sentiment plunges to record low in June, according to University of Michigan survey.”

“Inflation reaches 8.6% in May [2022], its highest level in more than four decades

“Inflation and rising diesel prices impacting restaurants.”

“Average US gas price hits $5 for first time.”

“Luxury-home sales in US plunge most since start of the pandemic.”

“The California exodus continues as residents head south of the border.”

“Vacant zombie properties rising in second quarter amid jump in foreclosure activity.”

“Median monthly rent surpasses $2K in the U.S. for the first time, study finds. That’s 15% higher than this time last year.”

“Educators across New York City are grappling with millions of dollars in planned cuts to school budgets, released this week for the 2022-23 school year.” The New York City public school system is the largest in America (1.1 million students).

“Raising a middle-class child will likely cost almost $286,000, according to USDA data.”

International Conditions

“The world economy is again in danger,” said David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group. “Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years.”

“World Bank slashes global growth forecast to 2.9%, warns of 1970s-style stagflation.”

“Get ready for reverse currency wars.”

“Europe’s economy grapples with an acute energy shock.”

“’Shrinkflation’ accelerates globally as manufacturers quietly shrink package sizes. From toilet paper to yogurt and coffee to corn chips, manufacturers are quietly shrinking package sizes without lowering prices. It’s dubbed ‘shrinkflation’, and it’s accelerating worldwide.”

“Inflation in Germany, Spain climbs again in May [2022].”

“Mercedes recalls almost 1 million cars over faulty brakes.”

“Boeing & Airbus control 91% of global commercial aircraft fleets.”

“Belgian minimum wage does not meet new European standards.”

“2.3 million people in Portugal (roughly one in five) live in poverty.”

“Zero-growth warning for UK as petrol prices surge and OECD says Britain will be weakest economy in G7 next year.”

“As gas hits $8.60 a gallon in the UK, Brits pay $125 to fill a family car.”

“Air starts to seep out of the bubbly Canadian property market. In Toronto prices have fallen for three consecutive months. Throughout the country, home sales have plunged. Many economists warn that worse lies ahead.”

“Rising costs and staff shortages threaten construction sector in Cyprus.”

“Fuel shortages across Africa hit motorists, airlines and radio stations.”

“Both the Egyptian and Jordanian economies are struggling at the moment. Like other countries in the region, Egypt is struggling with inflation, which has prompted the Central Bank to raise interest rates. Jordan is also contending with high unemployment, which is fueling drug use in the country.”

“Ghana economy: Inflation soars from 23.6% in April [2022] to 27.6 in May [2022].”

“Chad declares food emergency while international agencies sound the alarm.”

“Sri Lanka creates two new ministers to handle worst economic crisis.”

“Malaysia’s food crisis must be addressed immediately, says King.”

“Australian Treasury chief: Labor government must slash spending and suppress wages.”

“Pricy tortillas: Latin America’s poor struggle to afford staples.”

*****

The rich and their entourage do not understand what is happening in the economy and offer no meaningful solutions. They even plead ignorance about economic phenomena. U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, recently admitted publicly that she was wrong about inflation. Every “solution” the rich put forward has harmful consequences. They continue to dogmatically rely exclusively on outdated economic theories put forward by long-gone capital-centered economists like John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, and others. Such ideas and theories never stabilized capitalism. They never brought lasting and sustainable peace, security, stability, and prosperity for the majority. The system continues to lurch from crisis to crisis.

The situation today is both dangerous and exciting. Everything is up for grabs, perhaps more than ever before. Contradictions are sharpening daily in all spheres on all continents There is an all-out war on all fronts—ideological, cultural, political, and economic. This is a good time to jump into the fray, expose the failures of the rich and their outmoded systems, and boldly speak up for human-centered interests. Defend workers, students, youth, the elderly, and the disabled. Reject and condemn the irrational and harmful ideas and arrangements being imposed on people by a tiny ruling elite. There is an alternative.

Part one (April 10, 2022); Part two (April 25, 2022); Part three (May 10, 2022); Part four (May 16, 2022); Part five (May 22, 2022); Part six (May 30, 2022); Part seven (June 6, 2022).

The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Eight first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Seven

Below is part seven of the series called “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind. Forty facts on U.S. and international conditions, some updated and some new, are provided below. Once again, many economic records are being broken by a crisis-prone economy dominated by big business.

Links to the first six parts of this series, which collectively contain 150 facts from the U.S. and abroad, can be found at the end of this article.

*****

U.S. Conditions

“36% Of Americans making $250,000 are living paycheck to paycheck.”

“CEOs warn that US households are burning through savings at an alarming rate, and could run out within months.”

“Demand at food banks is way up again. But inflation makes it harder to meet the need.”

“The massive gap between rich and poor Americans costs the US economy more than $300 billion every year, study says.” The real figure is higher.

“Inflation drives Americans’ gloom about the economy.”

“Inflation will force 25% of Americans to delay retirement: survey.”

“Restaurants add new fees to your check to counter inflation. Checks now come chock-full of fees for everything from ‘kitchen appreciation’ to ‘wellness’.”

“US gas prices jump to record high $4.67 a gallon.”

“U.S. households are spending the equivalent of $5,000 a year on gasoline, according to Yardeni Research. That is up from about $2,800 a year ago and $3,800 as recently as March.”

“Over the past year, home price growth (20.6%) is four times greater than income growth (4.8%).”

“US housing market is so stressful that buyers are left in tears.”

“Crypto scams have cost people more than $1 billion since 2021, says FTC.” FTC stands for Federal Trade Commission.

“US robot orders surge 40% as labor shortages, inflation persist.”

“National survey of gig workers paints a picture of poor working conditions, low pay.”

“U.S. private sector job growth softens in May, ADP 1 data shows.”

“Elon Musk wants to cut 10% of Tesla jobs.”

“Small US companies lose almost 300,000 jobs since February [2022].”

“Zombie firms face slow death in US as era of easy credit ends.” Zombie companies are companies that spend most or all of their profit on paying off debt.

“American airlines CEO says the airline has grounded 100 planes because it doesn’t have enough pilots to fly them.”

“Health premiums will rise steeply for millions if rescue plan tax credits expire.”

“About 23 percent of Chicago’s public schools face budget cuts.”

“California is rationing water amid its worst drought in 1,200 years.”

International

“Eurozone inflation hits its highest level since the creation of the euro in 1999.”

Big risks threaten economic growth around the world as central banks try to bring prices under control.”

“Families will skip meals to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, UN special advocate says.”

“Red-hot coal prices threaten even higher power bills.”

“In the euro area, the share of private sector employees whose contracts involve a formal role for inflation in wage-setting fell from 24% in 2008 to 16% in 2021. COLA coverage in the United States hovered around 25% in the 1960s and rose to about 60% during the inflationary episode of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but rapidly declined to 20% by the mid-1990s.” COLA stands for Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment.

“In 2021, 39.3% of Colombians were living in poverty. Around 18.9 million people remain poor, against 17.5 million before the pandemic. The annual inflation rate in Colombia accelerated to 9.2% in April 2022, the highest rate since July 2000…. The World Inequality Lab estimates that the top 10% of income earners take 58% of the income generated in Colombia.”

“The interest rate in Brazil has been raised 10 times in the past year and now stands at 12.75 percent compared to just 2 percent in March 2021. Other countries including Mexico, Chile and Peru have also lifted rates.”

“Japan’s factory output slumps in worrying sign for economy.”

“South Korean inflation surges by most in almost 14 years.”

“Lao economy grinding to a halt as fuel crisis deepens. A plummeting currency, dwindling foreign reserves, and a spike in global oil prices have led to shortages across the country.”

Germany’s annual inflation rate jumped to “7.9% in May [2022[, the highest rate since the winter of 1973-1974.”

“Luxembourg economy slows down after pandemic rebound.”

“Price of UK pint [of beer] up more than 70% since financial crisis.”

“Turkey’s inflation soars to 73%, a 23-year high, as food and energy costs skyrocket.”

“Italy is held back by 2.6 million people who have given up on work.”

“[T]he cost of a hotel room [in Norway] is 24 percent more expensive than it was last year, according to research by radio station P4. That increase is even more dramatic in capital Oslo, with prices up by up to 60 percent over 12 months.”

“Chile’s mining production tumbles in April [2022].”

“Australian Catholic school teachers and support staff [about 18,000] hold first strike in 18 years.”

“Over $50 for a burrito? World’s elite splash the cash on snacks at Davos.”

*****

The international financial oligarchy is unable and unwilling to solve any of the serious problems that continue to worsen worldwide. Instead, it keeps taking actions that successfully degrade the social and natural environment. Things keep going from bad to worse, causing more people to view the rich and their political and media representatives as irrelevant, irresponsible, and illegitimate.

People do not feel represented under “representative democracy” and want a real say in the affairs of society. They want to end their marginalization and become the decision-makers in society so that problems can actually be solved. How is it possible that millions can be held hostage to a few big businesses and a broken economic system? Why can’t hundreds of millions of people and their government stop a handful of big businesses from immiserating more than 90% of the population?

In this retrogressive context, irrational media chatter about a recession persists and functions to divert people from the real problems at hand. Most economies around the world have been in a long depression since 2008. They have struggled just to establish low levels of economic growth. The notion that there is a recession or that there might be a recession trivializes the gravity of the situation confronting humanity at this time. Millions have been in dire straits for a long time. They do not care about how capital-centered ideologues technically define a recession. They experience hardship firsthand every day and do not need the privileged wealthy elite to tell them when things are not going well.

Democratic renewal is the order of the day. People need an electoral and political set-up that is going to empower them to decide all the affairs of society. No one else is going to solve the worsening problems confronting humanity. The polity, not the international financial oligarchy, must have sovereign power over the direction and aim of society. No meaningful lasting solutions will come from the rich and their representatives.

Part one (April 10, 2022); Part two (April 25, 2022); Part three (May 10, 2022); Part four (May 16, 2022); Part five (May 22, 2022); Part Six (May 30, 2022)

  1. See here for information about the ADP report.
The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Seven first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Seven

Below is part seven of the series called “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind. Forty facts on U.S. and international conditions, some updated and some new, are provided below. Once again, many economic records are being broken by a crisis-prone economy dominated by big business.

Links to the first six parts of this series, which collectively contain 150 facts from the U.S. and abroad, can be found at the end of this article.

*****

U.S. Conditions

“36% Of Americans making $250,000 are living paycheck to paycheck.”

“CEOs warn that US households are burning through savings at an alarming rate, and could run out within months.”

“Demand at food banks is way up again. But inflation makes it harder to meet the need.”

“The massive gap between rich and poor Americans costs the US economy more than $300 billion every year, study says.” The real figure is higher.

“Inflation drives Americans’ gloom about the economy.”

“Inflation will force 25% of Americans to delay retirement: survey.”

“Restaurants add new fees to your check to counter inflation. Checks now come chock-full of fees for everything from ‘kitchen appreciation’ to ‘wellness’.”

“US gas prices jump to record high $4.67 a gallon.”

“U.S. households are spending the equivalent of $5,000 a year on gasoline, according to Yardeni Research. That is up from about $2,800 a year ago and $3,800 as recently as March.”

“Over the past year, home price growth (20.6%) is four times greater than income growth (4.8%).”

“US housing market is so stressful that buyers are left in tears.”

“Crypto scams have cost people more than $1 billion since 2021, says FTC.” FTC stands for Federal Trade Commission.

“US robot orders surge 40% as labor shortages, inflation persist.”

“National survey of gig workers paints a picture of poor working conditions, low pay.”

“U.S. private sector job growth softens in May, ADP 1 data shows.”

“Elon Musk wants to cut 10% of Tesla jobs.”

“Small US companies lose almost 300,000 jobs since February [2022].”

“Zombie firms face slow death in US as era of easy credit ends.” Zombie companies are companies that spend most or all of their profit on paying off debt.

“American airlines CEO says the airline has grounded 100 planes because it doesn’t have enough pilots to fly them.”

“Health premiums will rise steeply for millions if rescue plan tax credits expire.”

“About 23 percent of Chicago’s public schools face budget cuts.”

“California is rationing water amid its worst drought in 1,200 years.”

International

“Eurozone inflation hits its highest level since the creation of the euro in 1999.”

Big risks threaten economic growth around the world as central banks try to bring prices under control.”

“Families will skip meals to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, UN special advocate says.”

“Red-hot coal prices threaten even higher power bills.”

“In the euro area, the share of private sector employees whose contracts involve a formal role for inflation in wage-setting fell from 24% in 2008 to 16% in 2021. COLA coverage in the United States hovered around 25% in the 1960s and rose to about 60% during the inflationary episode of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but rapidly declined to 20% by the mid-1990s.” COLA stands for Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment.

“In 2021, 39.3% of Colombians were living in poverty. Around 18.9 million people remain poor, against 17.5 million before the pandemic. The annual inflation rate in Colombia accelerated to 9.2% in April 2022, the highest rate since July 2000…. The World Inequality Lab estimates that the top 10% of income earners take 58% of the income generated in Colombia.”

“The interest rate in Brazil has been raised 10 times in the past year and now stands at 12.75 percent compared to just 2 percent in March 2021. Other countries including Mexico, Chile and Peru have also lifted rates.”

“Japan’s factory output slumps in worrying sign for economy.”

“South Korean inflation surges by most in almost 14 years.”

“Lao economy grinding to a halt as fuel crisis deepens. A plummeting currency, dwindling foreign reserves, and a spike in global oil prices have led to shortages across the country.”

Germany’s annual inflation rate jumped to “7.9% in May [2022[, the highest rate since the winter of 1973-1974.”

“Luxembourg economy slows down after pandemic rebound.”

“Price of UK pint [of beer] up more than 70% since financial crisis.”

“Turkey’s inflation soars to 73%, a 23-year high, as food and energy costs skyrocket.”

“Italy is held back by 2.6 million people who have given up on work.”

“[T]he cost of a hotel room [in Norway] is 24 percent more expensive than it was last year, according to research by radio station P4. That increase is even more dramatic in capital Oslo, with prices up by up to 60 percent over 12 months.”

“Chile’s mining production tumbles in April [2022].”

“Australian Catholic school teachers and support staff [about 18,000] hold first strike in 18 years.”

“Over $50 for a burrito? World’s elite splash the cash on snacks at Davos.”

*****

The international financial oligarchy is unable and unwilling to solve any of the serious problems that continue to worsen worldwide. Instead, it keeps taking actions that successfully degrade the social and natural environment. Things keep going from bad to worse, causing more people to view the rich and their political and media representatives as irrelevant, irresponsible, and illegitimate.

People do not feel represented under “representative democracy” and want a real say in the affairs of society. They want to end their marginalization and become the decision-makers in society so that problems can actually be solved. How is it possible that millions can be held hostage to a few big businesses and a broken economic system? Why can’t hundreds of millions of people and their government stop a handful of big businesses from immiserating more than 90% of the population?

In this retrogressive context, irrational media chatter about a recession persists and functions to divert people from the real problems at hand. Most economies around the world have been in a long depression since 2008. They have struggled just to establish low levels of economic growth. The notion that there is a recession or that there might be a recession trivializes the gravity of the situation confronting humanity at this time. Millions have been in dire straits for a long time. They do not care about how capital-centered ideologues technically define a recession. They experience hardship firsthand every day and do not need the privileged wealthy elite to tell them when things are not going well.

Democratic renewal is the order of the day. People need an electoral and political set-up that is going to empower them to decide all the affairs of society. No one else is going to solve the worsening problems confronting humanity. The polity, not the international financial oligarchy, must have sovereign power over the direction and aim of society. No meaningful lasting solutions will come from the rich and their representatives.

Part one (April 10, 2022); Part two (April 25, 2022); Part three (May 10, 2022); Part four (May 16, 2022); Part five (May 22, 2022); Part Six (May 30, 2022)

  1. See here for information about the ADP report.
The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Seven first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Six

The first five parts of this series contain more than 115 facts on economic and social conditions at home and abroad and can be found at the end of this article. This article provides more than 30 facts and focuses mostly, but not entirely, on the U.S. Some facts are important updates of already-reported facts and some are brand new facts.

*****

U.S. Conditions

“The Dow [Jones] is on its longest weekly losing streak since 1923.”

“The US gross national debt has now reached $30.4 trillion, having spiked by $7.0 trillion since March 2020.”

“GDP decreased at an annual rate of 1.5% in the first quarter of this year, a drop from the previously expected decrease of 1.4% in the advanced estimate, according to the BEA [Bureau of Economic Analysis].”

“Unsold inventory of new houses spiked in a historic month-to-month leap of 34,000 houses, and by 127,000 houses from April last year, to 444,000 unsold houses, seasonally adjusted, the highest since May 2008.”

“The share of home sellers who dropped their asking price shot up to a six-month-high of 15% for the four weeks ending May 1, up from 9% a year earlier. The 5.9% increase is the largest annual gain on record in Redfin’s weekly housing data back through 2015. For homebuyers, the typical monthly mortgage payment skyrocketed a record 42% to a new high during the same period.”

“The average age of a car in the US is up to 12.2 years, a new record.”

More than 70 Sears stores to close across country.”

Once the Kmart store in Avenel, New Jersey closes [in April 2022], “the number of Kmarts in the U.S. – once well over 2,000 –will be down to three in the continental U.S. and a handful of stores elsewhere.”

“Two years after New York’s first indoor dining shutdown, restaurants and bars continue to close their doors. More than 1,000 have closed since March 2020 due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” The real figure is higher.

CEO pay rose 17% in 2021 as profits soared up to a median of $14.5 million; workers trailed.”

“US savings rate crashes to lowest since Lehman [2008].”

“Microsoft is the latest tech giant to slow hiring.” Dozens of other big businesses are doing the same.

“We could see a million layoffs or more – here comes the job market shock.”

“Apple Store workers in Georgia call off union vote over intimidation claims.”

Baby formula crisis: Products from closed plant won’t hit shelves until at least mid-July, Abbott says.”

Surging meat prices push summer grillers to order pizza instead.”

“US truckers talk ‘unprecedented’ diesel price surge. The price of diesel has been hitting all-time highs.”

“Delta to ‘strategically decrease’ flights this summer.”

2 in 3 adults avoid social events — because they’re embarrassed about their financial struggles.”

“In June 2020, 74.9% of people aged 18–24 reported at least one mental health or substance use concern. Eight in 10 (83%) college students reported feelings of significant anxiety or stress after the start of the fall 2021 semester, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.”

International Conditions

“Every 30 hours, world gets a new billionaire, a million new poor.”

“Oil prices are set to surge even higher this summer.”

“Brazil kicks off $7.4 billion Eletrobras privatization.” Eletrobras is Brazil’s state-controlled power utility.

“Azerbaijan to hold new privatization auction.”

“People in US and UK face huge financial hit if fossil fuels lose value, study shows.”

“In 2021 half of Britain’s energy suppliers went bankrupt as gas prices soared by 250%.”

“Paris [France] reduces trash pick-up days.”

“Spain passes decree limiting use of air conditioning in public buildings to conserve energy.”

“The tech company layoffs have hit Europe. Several of Europe’s best-known startups have made drastic cuts to their teams in order to cut costs and preserve their cash runway as the global economy takes a downturn.”

“’Negative trajectory’ in consumer confidence shows Canadians increasingly anxious about economy.”

“Toyota just cut production for the second time this week. The supply chain crunch isn’t easing up for the world’s top-selling automaker — or anyone, for that matter.”

“Syria’s economy so bad many people don’t have one meal a day, nun says.”

“Doctors, bakers and truckers protest as Lebanon’s currency plunges after election.”

“Zimbabwe’s inflation soars to 131.7%.”

*****

While a fragmented chaotic economy devoid of conscious human intervention has been the norm for decades, it can be seen from the economic and social catastrophe unfolding globally that such an anachronistic economy is further disintegrating and wreaking more havoc on the peoples of the world. It is out of control and some have even called it a death spiral.

It is in this chaotic, alienating, and violent context that “27 school shootings have taken place so far this year [2022]” in the U.S. The most recent shooting was at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead on May 24, 2022. This carnage took place only 10 days after 10 people were massacred at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Many are concerned that these horrific tragedies will be used by the establishment as a pretext to escalate police-state arrangements in the name of “promoting safety,” “fighting hate,” and “preventing shootings.” New York State, for example, wasted no time setting up a State Police unit to surveil people online. Many other units exist in and beyond New York State.

The rich and their political and media representatives are becoming more irresponsible, incompetent, and ineffective with each passing day. Not a single major problem has been solved in decades and every day there is more traumatizing news about economic and social conditions around the world. People everywhere are fed-up, exhausted, and overwhelmed, including many “middle class” people. Only the wealthy few can escape the pain affecting the vast majority.

In this context, recent media chatter about whether there will be a recession this year is diversionary because we have been in a long depression since 2008. Most countries have been running on gas fumes since then, and everything the financial oligarchy has done since 2008 has intensified the all-sided crisis. The fact is that “people don’t need the [neoliberal] government to tell them we are in a recession to start feeling like we are in a recession,” said David Haggith, publisher of The Great Recession Blog.

On top of all this, the rich and their entourage nonchalantly talk and act like lurching from crisis to crisis is somehow inevitable and unpreventable. The notion that the economic collapse confronting humanity is mysterious, incomprehensible, or hard to fix is irrational and self-serving to the extreme. The economy is not a mystery and can be directed quickly and properly to serve a pro-social aim. Everything needed to advance pro-social aims already exists. Workers already run everything and many people with valuable expertise in many fields can be brought together to advance a pro-social direction. Many serious chronic problems can be solved quickly with working people in charge of the wealth they collectively produce. Without political authority and power, however, pro-social changes will remain piece-meal and inadequate. Living and working standards will remain subpar for millions. Working people, youth, students, senior citizens—the polity as a whole—must have sovereign power over economic and political affairs. The aim and direction of the economy must not be set and controlled by big business because that leads only to more disasters.

Smash the silence on economic and social conditions. Discuss these worsening conditions with everyone. Share and disseminate information that combats the disinformation and propaganda of the rich. Speak up in your own name and strive to organize each other for pro-social aims. Put these serious matters on the agenda, reject unprincipled divisions and diversions, and work together to develop collective solutions. History and the will-to-be demand it. It is all do-able.

Part one of this series appeared on April 10, 2022, part two appeared on April 25, 2022, part three appeared on May 10, 2022, part four appeared on May 16, 2022, and part five appeared on May 22, 2022.

The post “Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Six first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Economic Restructuring, Democratic Deficit and Locking Down Liberty  

Remember how the notion of freedom was spun by the ideologues of neoliberalism for decades prior to COVID? The freedom to consume. The freedom to make money. The freedom to be plunged into poverty and debt.       

Platitudes about ‘individual responsibility’ and ‘standing on your own two feet’. A relentless ideological attack on the state and collective responsibility. The doctrine of ‘no such thing as society’ Thatcherism. Ideologically, at least, the individual and ‘the market’ were paramount. But in reality, of course, there was no genuine rolling back of the state: its machinery was used differently to facilitate the needs of global capital while attacking the labour movement. 

In all this ‘freedom’, there was never much talk in the mainstream political and media narrative about the plight of the poor or workers who felt the brutal effects of the brave new world of neoliberal capitalism. 

Never sufficient analysis about offshoring manufacturing and service-sector jobs to cheap labour economies to boost profits. This was merely presented as efficiency and job creation for poorer countries, as if the owners of industry were on some kind of humanitarian mission. 

But it was only ever the old colonialist mentality passed off in new clothing. 

Today, this mentality manifests by subjecting poorer nations to IMF-World Bank ‘structural adjustment’ directives and beating them into being ‘business friendly’ and compliant with the needs of global (Western) capital. Spin it any way you like, whether ‘foreign direct investment’ or ‘liberalising’ the economy, it amounts to richer countries merely using or loaning back money to the poorer countries (with strings) that they stole from them over the centuries. 

Courtesy of lop-sided trade deals, the WTO and the international financial institutions, we see a model of ‘development’ characterised by indebtedness, displaced populations resulting from ‘infrastructure projects’ (to facilitate the needs of capital) and a deliberate running down of indigenous models of agriculture. 

There was not much talk about ‘freedom’ in relation to the subsequent state-corporate economic brutality experienced by society’s most marginalised, highlighted, for instance, by Arundhati Roy in The Ghosts of Capitalism – the ‘invisible’ and shoved-aside victims of a rampant neoliberalism, with a good dose of state-backed violence always on hand to secure compliance.

Their ‘freedom’ never amounted to much in the first place. 

Economic structural violence waged against people, economies and ecosystems courtesy of elite interests bent on monopolising energy, money, food, land and violence across the globe. 

Yet the system now purports to care about the well-being of those it persistently regards as ‘collateral damage’ and ‘economic fodder’. A system that by its very nature concentrates money, control and power at the top of the pyramid. 

Consider that prior to COVID, Pfizer was “the least trusted company in the least trusted industrial sector in the United States”, according to Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice. 

But we are supposed to have faith in Pfizer and disregard its lengthy corporate rap sheet and its unscrupulous profiteering practices regarding its COVID vaccine rollout across the globe. We are supposed to trust its products and its vaccine data that it is trying so hard, with help from the US Food and Drug Administration, to keep from the public. 

At the same time, to facilitate uptake of Pfizer’s injections, we hear a lot about ‘collective responsibility’. A much-maligned concept in a dog-eat-dog neoliberal regime. Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and others spin vaccine sceptics’ talk of ‘freedom of choice’ regarding what is allowed to be injected into their own bodies as selfish and the domain of right-wing women haters and fascists. 

The right to protest, to free speech, to associate and so forth were (and often continue to be) suspended as people were locked down waiting for ‘the vaccine’ thanks to a virus that mainly targets those over 80 and those with compromised immune systems due to existing (serious) morbidities. 

We have seen all manner of state interference in the private lives of citizens over the past two years. 

Political leaders like Macron, Trudeau, Biden, Merkel and Arden – the frontline managers and facilitators of private capital – have seemingly become so concerned about the public’s welfare that their freedoms and rights must be trampled on by the state. 

Those who demand freedom and have questioned the mainstream COVID narrative have been labelled ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘granny killers’, irresponsible and as prioritising their own selfish needs over those of the collective. 

Even those who claim to be of the ‘left’ have become part of the ideological apparatus of the state: joining in the chorus and defending tyranny as well as Big Pharma’s rushed-to-market injections and its right to your body and right to make billions in the process. 

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine brought in $37bn in 2021. Nick Dearden calculates the NHS has paid a mark-up of at least £2bn – six times the cost of the pay rise the UK government agreed to give nurses last year. 

Moreover, Dearden argues companies like Pfizer behave more like hedge funds, buying up and controlling other firms and intellectual property, rather than traditional medical research companies. 

He says: 

The truth is, they aren’t the sole inventors of the vaccine. That was the work of public money, university research and a much smaller company, Germany’s BioNTech. As one former US government official complained, the fact we call it the ‘Pfizer’ vaccine is ‘the biggest marketing coup in the history of American pharmaceuticals’.

Even though many on the ‘left’ have campaigned against the brutality of capitalism over the years, they bought into the fear propaganda from the start without question, helping to pave the way for pharma’s distorted profits, the destruction of small businesses and the loss of countless livelihoods due to lockdowns. 

Many stood by in silence and watched the mega rich accrue enormous profits. Research by Oxfam has shown that the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $3.9tn between March and December 2020. The world’s 10 richest billionaires collectively saw their wealth increase by $540bn over this period. In September 2020, Jeff Bezos could have paid all 876,000 Amazon employees a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as he was before COVID. 

While lockdowns and restrictions were imposed on ordinary people and small businesses, the winners were the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers were small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and an entire panoply of civil rights. 

A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated that COVID-19 policies had severely disrupted economies and labour markets in all world regions, with estimated losses of working hours equivalent to nearly 400 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of 2020, most of which were in emerging and developing countries. 

Among the most vulnerable were the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who were working in sectors experiencing major job losses or had seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. Most of these were self-employed and in low-income jobs in the informal sector. 

For policies that were supposedly brought in to protect health, there has also been immense damage resulting in lengthy non-COVID healthcare waiting lists for all manner of life-threatening diseases and conditions. 

A more logical approach to protecting public health would have involved the promotion of a targeted strategy based on risk along with early intervention treatments as set out in the Great Barrington Declaration. But this was not even up for debate. Censorship and smears were the norm. 

Locking the global population in their homes, or in places like India compelling millions to walk huge distances or travel in crowded conditions to return to the countryside, until a vaccine was made available smacks of incompetence or worse – a predetermined agenda. 

Writing in the Contemporary Voice of Dalit journal (31 October 2021), researchers Krishna Ram and Shivani Yadav note the effects of COVID policies in India: 

The economic tumult caused by the pandemic over the past two years has the potential to double the nation’s poverty… Our calculations show that around 150–199 million additional people will fall under poverty in 2021–2022; a majority of which are from rural areas, owing to the immiserate nature of the rural economy. Further disaggregation reveals that the SC/ST [Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes], casual labour and the self-employed are the most impacted groups.

It is clear who was influencing the lockdown-COVID public health policy. In a report by Yohan Tengra of the Awaken India Movement, it is described how the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma have infiltrated and co-opted key public health institutions at the national level in India, not least the COVID-19 National Task Force. 

Tengra says the report has exposed: 

… not just the names of those who are sitting in this task force but also how they are financially connected to the pharmaceutical industry and vaccine mafia. This task force has been responsible for the aggressive push to lockdown, mandatory mask requirements, forced testing of asymptomatics, dropping ivermectin and hcq from the national protocol, suppressing vaccine adverse events and a lot more!

It was fitting that an MP recently asked in Canada’s parliament just who does the government serve: Klaus Schawb and the World Economic Forum (WEF) or Canadian citizens? 

A pertinent question. But any enquiry should also look to include the wider digital-financial-industrial complex which has used COVID as cover for bailing out financial markets and restructuring capitalism and trying to manage the long-term falling rate of profit. 

These issues are at the heart of the ‘Great Reset’ or ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ that Klauss Schwab and others talk of. Concepts that – like neoliberal globalisation in the 1980s – are given a positive spin and which supposedly symbolise a brave new techno-utopian future. 

The WEF, Big Finance, Big Tech, the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma have been heavily promoting the COVID-Great Reset agenda from the start. This has to date resulted in the reinvigoration of an ailing pharma sector with a multi-billion-dollar windfall, the eradication of smaller firms and jobs, cementing the dominance of the online retail giants, global chains and the digital payments sector and the injection of much-needed liquidity into what were by late 2019/early 2020 collapsing financial markets. 

In the 1980s, to help legitimise the deregulated neoliberal agenda, government and media instigated an ideological onslaught, pressing home the notion of individual rights and responsibility and emphasising a shift away from the state, trade unions and the public sector. This reflected economic changes underpinned by notions of the primacy of the market and individual consumer choice.  

But there is now a new ideological shift. We hear claims of a ‘democratic deficit’, whereby individual rights are said to be undermining the wider needs of society. The message is that individual freedom is posing a threat to ‘national security’, ‘public health’ and ‘safety’.” As a result, there must be clampdowns on the right to travel, associate and protest and on freedom of speech.  

As stated by journalist Iain Davis in a recent article, a commitment to the ‘public interest’, ‘safety’ and protecting the population from ‘harm’ will replace freedom and democracy. Technocracy: The Operating System For The New International Rules-Based Order (unlimitedhangout.com) 

As in the 1980s, this messaging is being driven by economic factors. Neoliberalism has privatised, deregulated, exploited workers and optimised debt to the limit. We have collapsing markets kept afloat by endless financial injections and an overall declining rate of profit with firms suffocating under mountains of debt. 

AI and advanced automation of production, distribution and service provision (3D manufacturing, drone technology, driverless vehicles, lab grown food, farmerless farms, robotics, etc) are also on the horizon. 

A mass labour force – and therefore mass education, mass welfare, mass healthcare provision and entire systems that were in place to reproduce labour for capitalist economic activity – might in the near future no longer be required. Labour’s relationship to capital is being transformed. So, if labour is the condition for the existence of the working class, why bother with the working class?  

COVID has accelerated economic restructuring and the shift towards an authoritarian form of capitalism that is ultimately to be based on a Chinese-style social credit system to ensure the population complies with its coming servitude.  

Former WEF-sponsored ‘young global leaders’ like Trudeau, Macron, Merkel and Arden rose to the political helm of various countries after having been suitably groomed. They will continue to fulfill their roles by managing dissent through mass surveillance and clamping down on civil rights as the effects of inflation (induced by the liquidity injected into the system), joblessness and post-COVID austerity measures kick in. 

They will, of course, still facilitate freedom: the freedom of the billionaire class to continue to plunder across the globe. And the freedom for citizens to submit. 

 

The post Economic Restructuring, Democratic Deficit and Locking Down Liberty   first appeared on Dissident Voice.

There will be blood, and, yes, we do need stinkin’ badges

This is a little soft-shoe pissed off blathering from me, so apologies up front. No big news on the Ukraine Invasion front, or the Gates Owning All the Farms front, or the Climate-Wall Street-Chronic Illness front. Nothing related to the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-MEDIA-Academia-Think-Tank) front. Just plain old burnt toast and spilled milk from a radical who has to still be in the job market at the tender age of 65.

Never in my imagination, just five years ago even, would I have figured I’d be here, that is, stuck in the USA, blessed to be in a relationship (it’s good, but again, people in my life do need me somewhat sane to handle varying degrees of their own trauma), and pigeon-holed as a malcontent who is also unemployable.

The fact that people in the fields I venture into are less than middling, and the fact that lives hang in the balance tied to vax mandates, and forced boosters, and proof of mRNA life (I hear people, through the fog of the propaganda madmen, that mRNA a la Pfizer and Moderna, is better than the J & J, Janssen, which is not the same vax, but is now being discontinued. Imagine, J & J was a single dose experimental jab, but the Mengele actors in the CDC and Big Pharma move the goal posts daily so J & J single dose, has to be seconded to be a full-vax record —  after a five month lapse between the two. However, the J & J is cancelled, no more manufacturing, so anyone trying to stay away from mRNA now, after their one shot of J & J has to submit to a completely different platform for this SARS-CoV2 mass experimentation game).

These are experimental. The blasphemy is, a, forced vaccinations on everyone, no discussion about the alternatives, or the safety; then, forcing these on youth, age six months; then, the lack of choice of all the vaxxes around the world, including China’s and Cuba’s; then, complete liability for death and injury for the big Pharma thugs; then, of course, we, the taxpayer foot the bill for R & D, for the salaries of these thieves, and then we buy the vials, and when they are contaminated, or when they expire, we end up watching 30 million doses down the drain, and then we, the taxpayer, foot the bill for the replacements. Money and more money, that is the planne pandemic.

Pre-Planned Demic — forced vaccinations for college students, and then, how many for kids going to kindergarten, K12, have to be vaxxxed? Then, the HPV, and I have written about that here —

“My Fate as a Social Worker Sealed by a Vaccine named Gardasil”

Death by a Thousand Cuts: When the Cures of Big Pharma are Worse than the Diseases”

I got screwed, blued and tatooed by the powers that be. Big Pharma, Planned Parenthood and the nonprofit industrial complex. Try that out for size!

So, what is in the discontinued Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine?

Ingredients:

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains a piece of a modified virus that is not the virus that causes COVID-19. This modified virus is called the vector virus. The vector virus cannot reproduce itself, so it cannot cause COVID-19. This vector virus gives instructions to cells in the body to create an immune response. This response helps protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 in the future. After the body produces an immune response, it gets rid of all of the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.

Full list of ingredients: The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains the following ingredients:

A harmless version of a virus unrelated to the COVID-19 virus: Recombinant, replication-incompetent Ad26 vector, encoding a stabilized variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein. Provides instructions the body uses to build a harmless piece of a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19. This protein causes an immune response that helps protect the body from getting sick with COVID-19 in the future.

Sugars, salts, acid, and acid stabilizer:

  • Polysorbate-80
  • 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin
  • Trisodium citrate dihydrate
  • Sodium chloride (basic table salt)
  • Citric acid monohydrate (closely related to lemon juice)
  • Ethanol (a type of alcohol)

These work together to help keep the vaccine molecules stable while the vaccine is manufactured, shipped, and stored until it is ready to be given to a vaccine recipient.

See the source image

Alas, I teach a class at the community college here, OCCC. One student asked first day of class who was vaccinated and boosted. I massaged that into, “Well, we have to wear masks, per college requirements, but there is not vax mandate. Best we not ask people personal questions about their health issues and decisions.”

My marching orders were that if I asked once and then twice for a student to mask, and if they refused, the course would be cancelled.

That is the absurdity of this entire dress rehersal for bigger and more systematic totalitarian methods of control. The mob, the bandwagon, the transfer of Fauci’s credentials to infer credibility. Pissing matches now on which vax and booster you get.

I do not know if many DV readers get the totality of this Western Mentality for Ordering People Around at work, school, in public, everywhere. Again, pre-SARS-CoV2, and conccurently — people I have gotten jobs for are working 14 hour shifts, in sub-freezing warehouses, moving frozen goods/foods along frozen floors with forklifts sliding all over the place. Imagine, coming home and still five hours after the shift frozen fingers and core temperature still not normal. Forced drug screening, forced background checks, forced credit checks, checks on prior evictions, driving record checks, physicals, all medications listed, reference checks, in-case-of-emergency references, and more, including being paid every two weeks, on a fucking Visa card.

Toil, weathering, mean as cuss bosses and supervisors, repetitive deadening work. No talking on the job. Keep those headphones and ear buds off. I’ve challenged the honchos driving up in Mercedes and Teslas how the hell do they look at themselves in the mirror at night or in the morning without seeing a monster of exploitation. Big jacked up $60,000 pickups while my clients have to take rotten and rotting public buses, many lines of which stop a mile or two away from the facility.

Work, baby, the great resignation, sure. But, here we are now — who owns us? How do we put that roof over our heads and that john in the corner and kitchen next to the bed?

America’s Largest Landlord Just Got Bigger: Blackstone Buys 17,000 Houses For $6 Billion” by Tyler Durden

Wall Street won’t rest until it become the biggest – and perhaps only – landlord in the US.

At least that’s the impression one gets by observing the behavior of the two Wall Street “black” giants, Blackrock and Blackstone. As a reminder, the WSJ sparked widespread outrage recently when it exposed what most industry insiders had known for a long time, namely that Blackrock (and other institutional investors) have been ravenously gobbling up US real estate. Now it’s Blackstone’s turn.

On Tuesday, the WSJ reported that Blackstone – which already is not only America’s largest landlord but also the world’s largest real estate company with a $325 billion portfolio – has agreed to buy single-family rental company Home Partners of America for $6 billion, betting the demand for suburban housing will stay hot even as the pandemic eases. Home Partners owns more than 17,000 houses in the United States; the company buys, rents out and eventually offers its tenants a chance to buy them. Now all those functions will be done by the largest US private equity firm.

 

And so, I, like millions, are at the whim of the followers, the sheeple, for sure, and we play their game, and STILL, we can’t be in their sandboxes. All those state and city and county and even nonprofit jobs tied to state, city, county contracts (grants) I apply for caveat the application in big bold notations — Upon hire, the candidate must submit proof of full Covid-19 vaccination. That means, of course, those agencies have the power to go straight to CDC/STATE records of the shot sheet. Not a paper copy of the CDC shot record, but the proof has had to be recorded into the data field; i.e. computer.

I was going to cross that bridge if and when I got any sense of being offered a job, but, alas, there are not job offers for schmucks like me. That is, of course, the lamentation here. But as always, I attempt to make my little Paul’s World tie into a larger frame, some universal set of lessons.

  • age
  • gender
  • politics
  • over-educated
  • too many different jobs over time
  • moving too many times
  • too confident
  • too willing to discussion many aspects of the job in the Q & A
  • too much on the internet, easily searchable vis Google
  • blacklisted through checking off, “no, it is not okay to contact previous employer”
  • more

There are so many reasons why “they” don’t hire folks like “me.” Strike up the ageism and sexism band, for sure. I am 65, a male, and the jobs I am attempting to get are in the social services/education/editing/writing arena.

Educational navigator, state and county jobs, even city jobs. The writing is on the wall, in a rural county, and, when I do get interviews, it’s four to six women on Zoom. I’ve had 12 people in a room for one job interview I actually drove 40 miles to attend in person. I was asked to apply by the ED. Very good back and forth, and they liked me, thought I was smart, a fit, but not a perfect fit. The rejection letter from the Executive Director was all complimentary. But, again, here I am, on the job market. Many times an interview is couched with “we are a tight-knit family, a very close team so how do you think you’d be part of that?”

I’ve had to ask several time, at the end of interviews when they ask me if I have questions, what ways do the people on the team work with people like me, an obvious outsider, to be part of a team that they call family? Really, what makes it easy for a male with education to fit into a tight knit team, which from the outside seems like a clique?

I am a great interview, and I am able to put on many faces,  in addition to bringing up interesting connections to my long work experience and my education to each respective job I’ve applied for.

And, that small-knit female group is not wanting to have an outsider, someone who doesn’t look like them. These people, to be blunt, are seated inside a nanny mentality, and drawn into paperwork world while following procedures to the letter. They are not giving and creative souls, not in any real sense. Also, they seem to be pretty one-dimensional. I get through the screening, then the interview, then the email a week or weeks later, which is a form letter, that states in mealy mouthed terms, I was rejected:

PAUL — Thank you for interviewing for the position of Permanency Workers (Social Services Specialist 1) Newport . Although you have not been selected for the position, we enjoyed learning about your background and experience in greater detail.

Again, thank you for your time and interest. We encourage you to apply for other opportunities in the future.

Thank you.”

Yep, my mother told me I should have continued at the U of Arizona and got the medical degree. Even a law degree. That was way back when, at 19 years of age and having the gift of gab, the gift of testing to a high level, above 89 or 90. Gifts . . . now, at 65, feeling, well, embarassed that, a, I have to look for work with no retirement, in this shit hole country, and in any shit hole state (you name it). Democratic or Republican governor, the scum rises to the top. With so much scum below them. And, b, I am pissed off and in this predictament. And, c, that I even feel this way — useless, a throw-away, disposable, nothing (I don’t feel these for many minutes in a day, but still, feeling this shit is like hot lead down one’s gullet).

One of the questions from the above committee of three was around “Many people perceive the CPS (child protective services) has having a lot of power. Rightly or wrongly, how would you deal with this perception?”

Well, of course, I know a few things or two about CPS and foster care and removing children from families. And, I thought I could give the CPS a bit of perspective, AND, while the gender police want to top load professions that are traditionally not full of women with women, you would think those female-filled social services centers would want a few wise males in their ranks.

That’s just hopeful thinking. Well, here, from an old article, Atlantic, from a CPS worker:

It seems there is always some sort of story in the media regarding one form of child abuse or neglect or another. Recently, I came across two such stories, one about a working mother who allowed her 9-year-old daughter to play unsupervised at a playground near her work and was subsequently arrested and her daughter put into foster care; and another, actually, about the mass shut-off of water services in an underprivileged Detroit neighborhood which brought up the fact that many don’t complain about the issue due to fears of having their children immediately removed from their homes as lack of water service is, allegedly, grounds for this in the city. These stories always hit home for me. Besides being a parent, I previously worked for Children’s Protective Services in Ohio.

Opinions usually fell into one of two predictable camps: as a CPS worker you were either accused of doing too little to protect the children involved, or of being too invasive, at best another mindless bureaucrat and at worst a power-happy sadist that got off on telling others how to raise their kids. In truth, both are often correct. I’ve seen them personally. And it’s a problem. Most workers, however, fall somewhere along the wide spectrum in between, and where they fall will be influenced more by their local inter-and-intra-agency culture than any statute.

Thinking of the mother of the 9-year-old, I realize I am not privy to the details of the case. I understand there is a lot I don’t know. Things like, does this mom have a history of abusing or neglecting this child or other children? Did the child have any special needs that made her especially vulnerable to being unsupervised? Did the child have any other signs of abuse like severe bruising or physical injuries, or of neglect such as obvious malnutrition or chronic head lice, or any other incalculable number of things? These would no doubt make a huge impact on my opinion of the situation, but as it stands what I read is this: a 9-year-old girl was left with a cellular phone at a playground near her mother’s workplace with adequate shade and access to water. Upon learning that her mother was not present, an adult called the police. So far, I vilify neither the caller for calling nor the police for responding. It is what happens next that I strongly question.

Apparently, the best answer to this case was to remove the child from her mother’s custody, put her in foster care, and arrest the mother. I’ll be blunt: this is insane.

Well, of course, I handled ALL the questions well, but then, the rejection. All those rejections. All those terrible people lifted through the prostitution called politics of bureaucracies. There are so many mean, dog-eat-dog, I-got-mine-too-bad-you-don’t-got-yours fucking Americanos. Yankee or Stars and Bars, most are cut from the same shit-hole Mayflower cloth. There are some mean folks I have met in Child Protective Services. In Portland, in Seattle, in Spokane, in El Paso!

This is the shape of things to come, for many of us, who are self-avowed radicals, willing to say and write and publish things that are definitely outside the bold lines of the center fold of American meanness. American group think. American belonging in the bandwagon. Infantalized. Disneyfied. Now, get stuck in a rural arena, with few opportunities, and this is the weekly routine —

  • change up the resume
  • write a new cover letter
  • do an on-line application
  • sometimes complete these timed tests, many of which are psycho personality tests — sick stuff
  • attest at the end of the application, before hitting submit, that all stuff is truthful, and that they, the prospective employer, has the right to go back into all manner of work and legal and living history

And it is almost impossible during this process, and while consuming corporate, commercial, un-News news, to not get jaded, cynical, pissed off and, well, dejected. Since all the stories are about the beautiful people, the celebrities, all the crap around thespian stars and sports stars. All the felonies committed by politicians, corporate heads, even those in positions of state-county-city government.

There are so many undeserving folk in positions of big and minimal power. Yep, we know that. And to hear any manner of these people who get quoted or get the limelight for me is to hear monsters who have zero idea how the 80 percent live.

Nepotism, favoritism, cancelling, xenophobia, bandwagoning, credentialism, and other -isms rule the day. Then, to see folks circling their wagons interviewing me only because they may be checking off something on their diversity list — “get a white old male in the mix to look like we are diversity mavens” — to have at least three people in the pool. I have had my application stopped because not enought applicants hit the pool. Imagine that.

Then, there’s this blasphemy — more and more staffing firms, the bane of humanity, controlling the hiring process. That culprit, Indeed, has gotten into staffing. LinkedIn? All of them, rotten to the core, and many jobs are now conduited through those chosen people’s job screening-prepping-hiring headhunter systems that are all relying upon algorithms and Salesforce techniques:

Contracting is Worker Exploitation — (source). I have written about this in the past. Broken records abound:

Staffing agencies perpetuate this ugly cycle because they make a hefty profit exploiting contractors. Staffing agency recruiters will lie about the length of the contract and specific requirements, they’ll alter resumes without your knowledge, and make little to no effort to find another assignment once a contract ends. Some of these staffing agencies are so unprofessional, they’ve sent me emails meant for other people they’re trying to recruit. Staffing agencies are the worst. They don’t disclose how much they charge a company for a contractor’s services to maximize their profits. For example, for one of my recent contracting gigs, the company paid the staffing agency $60 an hour. I received $40 an hour while the staffing agency received $20 an hour for every hour of my work. The staffing agency received $800 a week for doing practically nothing, while I did all the work. These are the risks of contracting work, but it doesn’t make it right or ethical.

+–+

“This Is One of the Most Important Legal Battles for Labor in Decades” (In These Times)

Over the last few decades, a growing number of American workers have effectively lost many of their labor rights because of the way their bosses structure the employment relationship. These workers are contractors who are hired by one company but work for another: the Hyatt Hotel housekeepers who actually work for Hospitality Staffing Solutions, the Microsoft tech workers who actually work for a temp agency called Lionbridge Technologies, and the Amazon warehouse workers who actually work for Integrity Staffing Solutions. These workers often perform the same work at the same place as other workers, frequently on a permanent basis.

But because their employers have entered into complicated contracts with each other, these workers have been unable to exercise their labor rights. If the workers can only bargain with the staffing company and not the lead company where they actually work, they are negotiating with the party that often has no power to change the terms of their employment. For that reason, workers have fought for a more inclusive definition under the National Labor Relations Act of what constitutes an employer — and when two employers are joint employers.

Here, in my neck of the woods, the Lincoln County School District, again, sell outs at the top, and the bizarre superintendent and her VPs and thug principals in league with her meglamania, the District gives shit about workers:

Educational Staffing Solutions (New Jersey, Tennessee) is a staffing firm specializing in placing highly qualified staff in daily, long-term, and permanent K-12 school district positions, including paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and other support staff. The company innovates education staffing to provide dynamic solutions to schools and professional opportunities to passionate educators. ESS provides its employees with the ability to work for schools across the country and competitive training, flexible work schedules, and professional development. The company’s partner schools receive personalized solutions, hands-on management, technology, and program reporting and analytics. ESS was founded in 2000, and its headquarter is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States. The firm’s expert professionals serve more than 3 million students with a pool of 60,000 substitute and permanent employees throughout the United States. ESS provides healthcare benefits and other perks to its employees.

So these schools, public schools, have sold out their food services to profiteers (Sodexo, et al), given up cleaning to the janitorial profiteers (Sodexo; Bon Apetite), contracted out the buses (Student First, et al), and their hiring of staff, teachers, administrators, too, sold out to the profit gougers. Staffing firms and those all-American welfare cheats who look, sound, smell like, well, good people. This is what the average person has to confront.

A national labor phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation,” or “The Big Quit,” began to take hold in January 2021 and has since grown. Millions of workers in the United States have turned the turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic into opportunities to rethink their professions and reframe their lives.

The trend is especially pronounced in the accommodation and food services sector, which experienced more than 5 percent worker attrition each month from June to October of last year.

Online, people flooded a Reddit forum called “r/antiwork” for commiseration and solidarity; by year’s end, the page had reached 1.5 million members. In the streets, thousands of unionized workers in manufacturinghealth care, and higher education went on strike last fall for fair pay and protections. (source)

So, with two master’s degrees, and three dozen years teaching, and some of that including substituting K12 in Washington and Texas, I have to face jobs where $14.89 an hour, no benefits, on-call, at will, are the options. But add to this paltry pay: a substitute teacher needs to pay a fee to get a substitute certification, which is $350 in Oregon. I even had to take a civics test, here in Oregon, a test that was so fucking easy that, well, another fee to pay in order to get a shitty $14.89 an hour.

Here, some of my work with students, K12:

Professor Pablo and Fourth Grade Enlightenment in Lincoln City

And, then, being banned from teaching, another story, here at DV —

Take Down this Blog, or Else!” — No job interview, no job offer, targeting by city, county, state honchos, watched by the pigs, shadowed by all the sub humans

You will not hear VP Harris or Jill Biden talking about this blasphemy, or Henry Giroux or Chris Hedges writing about this stuff. Believe you me, this is below them, to be blunt. I am part of a legion of older folk caught in several levels or circles of THEIR hell: the arbitrators, the people in high and mid office, making some of the worst decisions ever. We are at the whim of lock-step fearful folk. We are at the beck and call of the most uncreative people on earth. I have seen the antithesis of education, of journalism, of social work, of college teaching in my many decades of wandering the planet as a writer who should have gone the route of med school or law.

I’m sixty-five and really part of the growing throw-away contingency of millions in this Western Culture who are just the flesh and blood (and data mines) in a pipeline for more rich and super rich and almost rich people to take their pound of flesh — fees, penalties, late charges, triple taxation, tickets, surcharges, foreclosures, evictions, repossessions, code infractions, add-ons.

Oh, cry for me, United Snakes of America. Evictions, uh? They — the landlords, the BlackRocks, the BlackStones, the Banks and the Insurance and the Real Estate monsters, they are the Stinkin’ Badges!

February/March 2022

 

I’ve written about this before, so again, broken DVD/record:

Never forget who we are:

In 2019, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted Blackstone for “shamelessly” profiting from the U.S. foreclosure crisis, arguing that Wall Street’s investment in single-family homes was a “huge loss for America’s renters.” (source)

Never mind, though, old Elizabeth states she is through and through a capitalist. Haha, rhetoric, yakking, and not a fucking thing is done. Huge loss for America’s renters? This is life and death, again, these people at the top are clueless, intentionally, or just because they do not know what it is to be us.

See the source image

But then, forgetting is in the water:

See the source image

And, you can’t get Whoopied when you got no millions:

See the source image

Unemployment, on the dole, on the fiddle, under the table, riff-raff, deplorable, welfare king, trash, undesirable, vermin, dreg of society, scum, outcast — terms thrown at me and my people. Hell, just look at the Chosen People’s movie channels — all those narratives, those Hulu and Netflix and Amazon series and movie crap,  how they depict (they never really depict real struggle) us commoners, those of us who still have a few good years left to be “contributors,” but for many reasons, will never get the third, fourth, tenth chance. Watch closely how they depict the working class. Take notes. We are dregs, man. Broken, mean, thieves, fornicators, dumb, and deplorables.

Remote Area Medical? Shit, we are an underperforming country, intentional, vis-a-vis the corporate whores, the lot of them:

Scale this shit up. Dental clinics, care homes, medical clinics. Free, of course. Reroute that Biden-Trump-Bush-Obama-Clinton war money to what we need: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom:

A debate over healthcare has been raging nationwide, but what’s been lost in the discussion are the American citizens who live day after day, year after year without solutions for their most basic needs. Remote Area Medical documents the annual three-day “pop-up” medical clinic organized by the non-profit Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Bristol, Tennessee’s NASCAR speedway. Instead of a film about policy, Remote Area Medical is a film about people, about a proud Appalachian community banding together to try and provide some relief for friends and neighbors who are simply out of options.

Fucking amazing Stan Brock — they don’t make people like him anymore!

Image

Stan Brock presented a popular wildlife show on US television in the Sixties

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Miserable Bankruptcy of Mainstream Economics

Capital-centered economics is unscientific and irrational. It does not provide people with a coherent, integrated, and cogent understanding of the economy. Instead it increases confusion every day, leaving people rudderless and disoriented about what is really happening.

The capitalist economic system is always chaotic, anarchic, and violent, but the last two years have been more volatile and disordered than usual. Stability and security remain elusive. Uncertainty and anxiety are ever-present. Sustained healthy economic growth is largely absent.

In the most schizophrenic way, one week the monopoly-controlled media claims that the economy is doing extremely well while the following week we are told the economy is collapsing. We are to accept constant uncertainty and precariousness and conclude that this is the best we can do. A CNBC news article, After a huge year for growth, the U.S. economy is about to slam into a wall, is emblematic of this incoherence and irrationalism. So is this headline from U.S. News & World Report, The Maddening Reality of the Biden Economy, and this one from CNN Business, America’s economic recovery is about to go into reverse. What “growth”? What “recovery”? And why are “growth” and “recovery” suddenly “about to go into reverse” or “slam into a wall”?

The main nagging economic problems are well-known: endless debt of all kinds, ceaseless money printing, high inflation, growing inequality, extensive supply chain disruptions, more poverty, rising insecurity, widespread under-employment, erratic business hours, poor wage growth, prevalent homelessness, additional pay-the-rich schemes, and more.

These grave problems are interrelated and reflect an economy dominated and distorted by a handful of competing owners of capital while the vast majority, the actual producers of wealth in society, remain marginalized and disempowered, reduced to helpless bystanders watching everything decline. We are to believe that conscious human control of the economy is impossible and that all we can do is “make the best” of a treacherous situation, “endure the pain,” and “weather the storm together.” Apparently there is no alternative to this obsolete state of affairs. We are to “wait things out,” cross our fingers, and hope that things magically sort themselves out.

Existing conditions are screaming for new social, political, and economic relations but the present authority refuses to modernize relations to bring them on par with what is needed. The international financial oligarchy is desperately hanging on to a dying and decaying world, determined to block the new.

What are people to make of this untenable situation? What should they do? How can they change the situation in a way that favors them?

Continually engaging in a conscious act of finding out and combing analysis with action are critical to opening the path of progress to society. These are not easy responsibilities, especially under oppressive anti-conscious conditions.

Economic problems cannot be solved without concrete analysis of the conditions and collective action to solve problems. The rich and their allies are not going to solve anything. They have no interest in the balanced extended reproduction of society. They cannot be relied on because they are concerned only with their narrow private interests, not the economy as an integrated whole. They reject public control of the economy. Nor do they want anyone engaging in conscious investigation of what is going on and organizing with others to create new pro-social arrangements. The ruling elite does not want its domination challenged in any way, no matter how many lofty phrases they throw around about being democratic, inclusive, and progressive.

Blindly repeating and supporting the ideas of the rich and their political representatives will not lead to one iota of progress. Embracing the outlook and agenda of the ruling elite and rejecting theory, analysis, and investigation will only perpetuate the destructive status quo. It is only by taking up our social responsibility together that we can overcome the forces dragging society backward. It is both possible and necessary to understand and control the economy to serve the people as a whole. Living and working standards do not have to decline in this modern age. The economy is not a mystery. It can be directed to serve the general interests of society.

Under existing arrangements we have seen what happens when different sectors of the economy are dominated by competing owners of capital interested only in their own profits no matter how damaging this is to the social and natural environment. The economy is prevented from being self-reliant, balanced, and coordinated to serve the broad needs of a modern society based on mass industrial production.

Under capitalism everything is so discombobulated that one “glitch” in one sector leads to disruptions, distortions, and upheaval elsewhere. Why is this unsustainable state of affairs allowed to prevail in 2022? Is there no alternative to this backward state of affairs?

Major owners of capital are a block to progress and progress begins by taking a stand against the old and in favor of the new. It begins by rejecting a capital-centered outlook of the economy and society. Together we can decipher and understand what is going on and collectively improve the social and natural environment. Only we can usher in the alternative to the status quo.

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The Grandiose Irrationality of “Surplus-Capital”

Real human needs are easily defined, and rational economic policies on a global scale could readily fulfill them.  Yet in the last 50 years, the disastrously fraudulent, supply-side economic policy has resulted in the truly astounding accumulation of wealth by less than one-hundredth of 1% of the world’s population.  The rationale for this “neo-liberalism”: drastically reduce taxation of the wealthy, drastically reduce regulatory and labor costs for the big investors, and–voila! — these incredibly enterprising entrepreneurs will have the mega-capital and mega-incentives to “create prosperity,” which will then inevitably, in the now-infamous phrase, “trickle down.”

Yet wealth-concentration has now reached such an extreme that, in the U.S. alone, over 500 billionaires ride roughshod over the hapless, wage-frozen populace, a populace largely condemned to lifelong indebtedness in its elusive (illusive?) quest for long-term financial security.

Meanwhile, in this topsy-turvy economic universe–as billions struggle to fulfill their basic human needs–the mega-billionaires play with certain options regarding their mountains of “surplus-capital”:

  1.  Infiltrate virtually all moments of daily experience with marketing, thereby browbeating the populace into ignoring their basic, unsatisfied needs–directly them instead to  “desires” and “cravings” for gadgets (toys), “luxury” merchandise, wildly overpriced housing, and (last but not least) an endless supply of vulgar “entertainment” (and its concomitant, non-nutritive snack “food”).
  2. Utilize the political apparatus (thanks, Citizens United) — to create problems, which then require expensive “solutions.”  Also known as “foreign policy.”  Despite the end of the Cold War thirty years ago, this remains a remarkably “easy sell.”  Every so often, cook up a “world crisis”:  border tensions, “terrorism,” mysterious troop movements, ad nauseam.  Heavy investment in the “defense” industry remains incredibly profitable– what with public acquiescence, lack of DoD auditing, etc.  (Moreover, share-prices predictably go way up–as soon as a lot more Hellfires or cruise missiles are on order!).
  3.  Use this treasure-trove of capital for bizarre, self-aggrandizing projects which offer no benefit to humanity but are the ultimate in status-display (cf. Thorstein Veblen’s classic Theory of the Leisure Class, 1902).  Such is the grotesque vanity involved that palatial estates and private virtual-fiefdoms are no longer enough.  For these demi-gods, one’s name must be emblazoned across the heavens–in rockets-to-nowhere (Bezos, Branson, Musk, ad nauseam)!  But more fundamentally, such infantile narcissism reveals the pathetic pointlessness of their hyper-addiction to wealth-accumulation.  Like Icarus, they fall back to Earth, only to sense uneasily the pointlessness of such momentary “glory.”

Meanwhile, a struggling humanity looks on, baffled and appalled by the conspicuous waste involved–but suspecting that such rockets will one day take jaded, billionaire-sybarites on luxury tours of lifeless, barren destinations which mirror their emotional void within.

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