We are in the most anemic recovery in modern history, yet our political leaders in Washington aren’t doing squat about it.
In fact, apart from the Fed – which continues to hold interest rates down in the quixotic hope that banks will begin lending again to average people –…
Let’s put ourselves in the undergraduate student’s position. Someone eighteen years old, embarking on an academic career, might well ask: Will this world welcome me, welcome my potential abilities? Or am I being trained for a life on a hamster wheel? Is my value simply the value of a hamster that can run, a bioform for the Matrix to plug into and extract my essence for the benefit of a larger machine? Is this world full of possibilities, is it asking me to contribute, welcoming my contribution, valuing me for the things known and unknown that I may one day be able to contribute? Or am I being wronged from the start, treated as a “customer,” which all too often means, alas, someone to fleece?
Is the world full of smart and welcoming adults who are interested in what I have to say, encouraging me to work hard and learn and try things, or is it full of thieves and charlatans who are out to rip me off and saddle me with debt and enslave me before I even get a chance to start my adult life??
Let’s consider this from the educator’s point of view, as well. Doesn’t the quality of a culture rely in part on a deep, dynamic interaction between those who are adults now, and those who will be soon?…
Let me suggest that it’s not the young workers who are being trained wrong. It’s the bosses.
|—||The ever-wise Maria Bustillos envisions the future of education in the age of MOOCs, advocating for instilling in young people a desire to find their purpose rather than slave away at work. (via explore-blog)|
The claim that a company like McDonald’s can’t afford to pay wages over the minimum is absolutely insulting when you compare the salary of its CEO to one of its crew members.
I worked at a McDonald’s in New York over the summer and did a little math while I was there. In 2011, former McDonald’s CEO James Skinner made $8.75 million with compensation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In comparison, crew members made $7.25 an hour, for about $15,000 a year, if they stayed at the job year-round.
If you take Skinner’s total salary in 2011 and assume that he worked 40-hour week, he would have made $4,200 an hour. In one hour, he made 580 times more than the average McDonald’s worker. James Skinner made $33,600 a day, which is twice the salary tht a McDonald’s crew member makes in a year of full-time work.
Looking at it another way, the average worker would have to work for almost 600 years to make the salary that Skinner made in 2011. In one year, Skinner makes more than I could make in at least six lifetimes.
World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over
January 20, 2013
The world’s 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over, Oxfam has revealed, adding that the global economic crisis is further enriching the super-rich.
“The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process,” while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth, a new Oxfam report said.
For example, the luxury goods market has seen double-digit growth every year since the crisis hit, the report stated. And while the world’s 100 richest people earned $240 billion last year, people in “extreme poverty” lived on less than $1.25 a day.
Oxfam is a leading international philanthropy organization. Its new report, ‘The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt us All,’ argues that the extreme concentration of wealth actually hinders the world’s ability to reduce poverty.
The report was published before the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, and calls on world leaders to “end extreme wealth by 2025, and reverse the rapid increase in inequality seen in the majority of countries in the last 20 years.”
Oxfam’s report argues that extreme wealth is unethical, economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive.
The problem is a global one, Oxfam said: “In the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10 percent now take home nearly 60 percent of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more [inequality] than at the end of apartheid.”
In the US, the richest 1 percent’s share of income has doubled since 1980 from 10 to 20 percent, according to the report. For the top 0.01 percent, their share of national income quadrupled, reaching levels never seen before.
“We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true,” Executive Director of Oxfam International Jeremy Hobbs said.
Hobbs explained that concentration of wealth in the hands of the top few minimizes economic activity, making it harder for others to participate: “From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favor.”
The report highlights that even politics has become controlled by the super-wealthy, which leads to policies “benefitting the richest few and not the poor majority, even in democracies.”
The report proposes a new global deal to world leaders to curb extreme poverty to 1990s levels by:
- closing tax havens, yielding $189bn in additional tax revenues
- reversing regressive forms of taxation
- introducing a global minimum corporation tax rate
- boosting wages proportional to capital returns
- increasing investment in free public services
“It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite,” the report said.
The four-day World Economic Forum will be held in Davos starting next Wednesday. World financial leaders will gather for an annual meeting that will focus on reviving the global economy, the eurozone crisis and the conflicts in Syria and Mali.
Remind me again why the rich need more money and the poor need less?
A quote I just read in relation to abortion. Very well put.
“Body Autonomy” or “Bodily integrity” is self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. You can’t be forced to give blood, bone marrow, or any part of you to another. You can’t even have them taken from you after you die without permission. The fact that you can save a life is irrelevant, nobody can forcefully take something from you.
Yet, there are people out there who believe 50% of the population *must* give up their body for 9 months, even if there’s risk of it killing them.
This is my new favourite “anti-choice folk are ignorant, sexist, idiots” argument.
Not smarter. Not nicer. Not better people. Not a scientist or an engineer or a teacher or a mother. Just thinner.
We as a society have to remember that when we see ads on TV saying ‘LOSE 10 LBS N 10 DAYS!’ ‘GET RID OF THAT UGLY FAT!’ ‘TAKE THESE DIET PILLS!’, our children are seeing them too.
When you’re complaining about how ‘fat’ you look in the mirror, your little sister or brother, your son or daughter, your cousin, the child you babysit, sees it. And they internalize it. It starts them on a LIFETIME of being obsessed with body image. They’re actually MORE likely to become obese because of hyper-awareness of body image and constantly feeling like they’re not good enough. They’re MORE likely to end up with an eating disorder.
It has to stop.
Don’t tell me that this didn’t just break your heart, Just Don’t
Ahhhhhgggg I’m crying.
“It’s because we’ve had separate classes of military personnel,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally.”
Amid cutbacks, Greek doctors offer message to poor: You are not alone
As the head of Greece’s largest oncology department, Dr. Kostas Syrigos thought he had seen everything. But nothing prepared him for Elena (pictured above,) an unemployed woman whose breast cancer had been diagnosed a year before she came to him.
By that time, her cancer had grown to the size of an orange and broken through the skin, leaving a wound that she was draining with paper napkins. “When we saw her we were speechless,” said Dr. Syrigos, the chief of oncology at Sotiria General Hospital in central Athens. “Everyone was crying. Things like that are described in textbooks, but you never see them because until now, anybody who got sick in this country could always get help.”
Life in Greece has been turned on its head since the debt crisis took hold. But in few areas has the change been more striking than in health care. Until recently, Greece had a typical European health system, with employers and individuals contributing to a fund that with government assistance financed universal care. People who lost their jobs received health care and unemployment benefits for a year, but were still treated by hospitals if they could not afford to pay even after the benefits expired.
Things changed in July 2011, when Greece signed a supplemental loan agreement with international lenders to ward off financial collapse. Now, as stipulated in the deal, Greeks must pay all costs out of pocket after their benefits expire. About half of Greece’s 1.2 million long-term unemployed lack health insurance, a number that is expected to rise sharply in a country with an unemployment rate of 25 percent and a moribund economy, said Savas Robolis, director of the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers. A new $17.5 billion austerity package of budget cuts and tax increases, agreed upon Wednesday with Greece’s international lenders, will make matters only worse, most economists say.
The changes are forcing increasing numbers of people to seek help outside the traditional health care system. Elena, for example, was referred to Dr. Syrigos by doctors in an underground movement that has sprung up here to care for the uninsured. “In Greece right now, to be unemployed means death,” said Dr. Syrigos, an imposing man with a stern demeanor that grew soft when discussing the plight of cancer patients.
The development is new for Greeks — and perhaps for Europe, too. “We are moving to the same situation that the United States has been in, where when you lose your job and you are uninsured, you aren’t covered,” Dr. Syrigos said. The change is particularly striking in cancer care, with its lengthy and expensive treatments. When cancer is diagnosed among the uninsured, “the system simply ignores them,” Dr. Syrigos said. He said, “They can’t access chemotherapy, surgery or even simple drugs.”
The health care system itself is increasingly dysfunctional, and may worsen if the government slashes an additional $2 billion in health spending, which it has proposed as part of a new austerity plan aimed to lock down more financing. With the state coffers drained, supplies have gotten so low that some patients have been forced to bring their own supplies, like stents and syringes, for treatments. Hospitals and pharmacies now demand cash payment for drugs, which for cancer patients can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, money most of them do not have. With the system deteriorating, Dr. Syrigos and several colleagues have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Earlier this year, they set up a surreptitious network to help uninsured cancer patients and other ill people, which operates off the official grid using only spare medicines donated by pharmacies, some pharmaceutical companies and even the families of cancer patients who died. In Greece, doctors found to be helping an uninsured person using hospital medicines must cover the cost from their own pockets. At the Metropolitan Social Clinic, a makeshift medical center near an abandoned American Air Force base outside Athens, Dr. Giorgos Vichas pointed one recent afternoon to plastic bags crammed with donated medicines lining the dingy floors outside his office.
“We’re a Robin Hood network,” said Dr. Vichas, a cardiologist who founded the underground movement in January. “But this operation has an expiration date,” he said. “People at some point will no longer be able to donate because of the crisis. That’s why we’re pressuring the state to take responsibility again.”
In a supply room, a blue filing cabinet was filled with cancer drugs. But they were not enough to take care of the rising number of cancer patients knocking on his door. Many of the medicines are forwarded to Dr. Syrigos, who set up an off-hours infirmary in the hospital three months ago to treat uninsured cancer patients Dr. Vichas and other doctors in the network send his way. Dr. Syrigos’s staff members consistently volunteer to work after their official shifts; the number of patients has risen to 35 from 5. “Sometimes I come home tired, exhausted, seeing double,” said Korina Liberopoulou, a pathologist on site one afternoon with five doctors and nurses. “But as long as there are materials to work with, this practice will go on.”
Back at the medical center, Dr. Vichas said he had never imagined being so overwhelmed with people in need. As he spoke, Elena appeared, wearing a pleated gray head wrap and a loose plum blouse. She was coming for drugs to help her cope with the aftermath of chemotherapy she had recently received from Dr. Syrigos. Elena said she was left without insurance after quitting her teaching job to care for her cancer-stricken parents and a sick uncle. By the time they died, the financial crisis had hit Greece and, at 58, it was impossible for her to find work.
She said she panicked when she was found to have the same type of breast cancer that killed her mother: the treatments would cost at least $40,000, she was told, and her family’s funds were depleted. She tried to sell a small plot of land, but no one was buying. Her cancer spread, and she could not find treatment until a few months ago, when she sought out Dr. Vichas’s underground clinic after hearing about it through word of mouth. “If I couldn’t come here, I would do nothing,” she said. “In Greece today, you have to make a contract with yourself that you will not get very sick.”
She said she was dismayed that the Greek state, as part of the bailout, had pulled back on a pillar of protection for society. But the fact that doctors and ordinary Greeks were organizing to pitch in where the state failed gave her hope in her bleakest hours. “Here, there is somebody who cares,” Elena said. For Dr. Vichas, the most powerful therapy may not be the medicines, but the optimism that his Robin Hood group brings to those who have almost given up. “What we’ve gained from the crisis is to come closer together,” he said.
“This is resistance,” he added, sweeping his eyes over the volunteers and patients bustling around the clinic. “It is a nation, a people allowed to stand on their own two feet again with the help they give each other.”