Community Articles from 2018
Five Tools To Connect And Trade Directly With Your Neighbors
by Derrick Broze
Posted March 15, 2018
Part of the goal of publishing Counter Markets is to know how to thrive without being dependent on the current rigged and unsustainable system. Our focus is on providing tools for living free while learning to be an entrepreneur and, when possible, live off-grid. To accomplish these goals it is highly likely that you will have to work with other individuals. It is possible for one to attempt to go about their off-grid lifestyle in solitude, but working with other free humans in the interest of mutual aid and growth will be of great benefit. You may end up working with current friends and acquaintances, or you might meet new allies in the push for independence. Either way, these relationships have the potential to help us achieve our goals at a quicker pace than we would alone.
I would like to highlight several apps and websites which are helpful for connecting to your neighbors or other members of your city or town with similar interests. I would like to note that I have not in any way been paid or compensated to promote the use of these tools. I am promoting them as a user who believes they truly have value. These tools can be leveraged to spread the counter-economic message and build real-world examples of such activity. More…
Stephen Hawking, explorer of the universe, dead at 76
By Nsikan Akpan
Posted March 15, 2018
Stephen Hawking, the brilliant theoretical physicist whose theories shaped the universe as we know it, died early Wednesday morning, on the birthday of Albert Einstein. He was 76.
Hawking is regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history, known especially for his study on the origins and design of the universe. His theories changed how we understand black holes and relativity and the Big Bang. But it was the way that Hawking communicated science in best-selling books and lectures, despite suffering from a debilitating disease, that introduced generations of avid fans to the cosmos. More…
Stopping the Big Money Takeover of US Elections and Government
By Jeff Clements
Posted March 11, 2018
“A prescription for disaster.” That’s how opponents described a 2017 Ohio ballot initiative in their television ads, claiming the law would increase the cost of prescription drugs, when in fact the law was intended to decrease drug prices. What the ads didn’t say is that they were financed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an association of for-profit pharmaceutical companies that spent more than $58 million — more than three-and-a-half times the spending of the proponents of the initiative — to defeat the citizen initiative designed to lower the price of prescription drugs.
The corporate-funded defeat of the Ohio initiative is part of a pattern. According to a report from Public Citizen, corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars in state ballot initiatives and usually win by spending 33 times more than the opposition, on average. This kind of domination of corporate money is not “free speech,” as the Supreme Court maintains in decisions such as Citizen United v. FEC; it is corporate power run amok. More…
Thought Police for the 21st Century
by Chris Hedges
Posted March 10, 2018
The abolition of net neutrality and the use of algorithms by Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter to divert readers and viewers from progressive, left-wing and anti-war sites, along with demonizing as foreign agents the journalists who expose the crimes of corporate capitalism and imperialism, have given the corporate state the power to destroy freedom of speech. Any state that accrues this kind of power will use it.
While the Internet has brought about a revolution in people’s ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core. Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are socially, logistically and financially integrated with existing elites, have moved to re-establish discourse control. This is not simply a corrective action. Undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity. While still in its infancy, the trends are clear and of a geometric nature. The phenomena differs in traditional attempts to shape cultural and political phenomena by operating at scale, speed and increasingly at a subtlety that eclipses human capacities. More…
The Opioid Epidemic in America – Killing One Million Workers: The Triumph of Capital
By Prof. James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya
Posted March 9, 2018
Official government studies estimate almost 700,000 deaths since 1999, based on the scattered and incomplete coroner reports and death certificates that characterize the state of vital statistics in the US. There is no uniformity in data collection and no interest in developing a uniform national system on which to formulate social policies. Most likely additional hundreds of thousands of drug deaths have gone un-recorded or attributed to ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions, suicides and accidents – despite clear evidence of over-prescription of narcotics and sedatives in the victims.
The ‘drug epidemic’ in the US is all about the current structure of power and social relations in an increasingly oligarchic state amidst growing class inequalities and immiseration. At its roots, American capitalism in the 21st Century has degraded, impoverished and exploited US workers and employees with increasing intensity over the past two decades. Workers have lost almost all collective influence in the workplace and in politics. Working conditions and safety have deteriorated – while capitalists hire and fire at will. Salaries, pensions, health care and death benefits have been slashed or disappeared. More…
Why Farmers Are Using Glyphosate To Kill Their Crops — And What It Might Mean For You
By Ben Hewitt
Posted Match 5, 2018
Few consumers are aware of what also has contributed to increased glyphosate use: Pre-harvest crop desiccation. Originating in Scotland in the 1980s, this practice involves applying the herbicide to a standing crop toward the end of the growing season with the express purpose of expediting the natural process that would occur, where a crop slowly dies and dries in the field. The glyphosate kills the crop so it can be dry enough to harvest sooner than if it were left to die naturally — allowing the farmer to clear the field before the onset of unfavorable weather. The practice has since gained significant traction in North America, particularly in the northern regions of the Great Plains and the grain belt of Midwestern and western Canada, where cold, wet weather comes early.
The exact timing of the application depends on a number of factors, but generally ranges from three to seven days before the onset of harvesting activities. And herein lies a potential explanation for the appearance of glyphosate in Ben & Jerry’s, as well as a large number of other food products. “Pre-harvest desiccation may account for only a small percentage of overall glyphosate use,” says Charles Benbrook, a visiting scholar at the Bloomberg School of Public Health who has spent more than a decade studying the use of glyphosate and associated health risks. “But it accounts for over 50 percent of dietary exposure.” More…
Money creation and inequality – an underexposed topic for monetary reformers
by Lino Zeddies
Posted March 4, 2018
It is beyond doubt that the current money system has a huge impact on the distribution of power and wealth and heavily contributing to systemically worsening inequality. Even though there is growing public awareness and debate about the problem of inequality, so far the focus has been on the distribution of existing money and wealth, while the distributive effect of how and for what purpose money is created in the first place, seems to be a complete blind spot.
To raise awareness for these neglected dynamics, this article provides in the following an overview of the several direct and indirect channels through which the current money system worsens inequality and how a sovereign money reform could improve matters. Some of the mechanisms might seem at first glance not to be connected with bank money creation but it can be argued that they are part of the current money systems logical unfolding and would probably not, or to a much lesser extent, exist in a sovereign money system. More…
Rural Broadband-Boosting Bills Would Enshrine Towns’ Rights to Build Their Own Internet
by Kaleigh Rogers
Posted March 3, 2018
Run like a utility, municipal networks allow for community control, high speeds and, because the local government isn’t out to turn a profit, more affordable options. But multiple states, egged on by Big Telecom, have enacted legislation to try to prevent towns from building their own internet. The CBA, which has been introduced before but never gained much traction, would restore town’s rights by prohibiting lower levels of government from blocking municipal networks.
Big telecom companies see municipal networks as a threat (perhaps because they actually provide affordable internet) and will be no fans of this kind of legislation. As one of the most powerful lobbies on the hill, it will be important to watch who stands up for this legislation and who stays quiet. More…
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This site is designed for people who wish to follow important events, but do not have time to do a lot of reading. If you follow this site for a period of time, the daily fresh stories in different categories will over time provide you with an understanding of the “big picture” by showing you both the problems and the solutions. Hopefully this will inspire you to listen to your inner wisdom and become part of the solution.