Economic Articles from 2021
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Monopoly Isn’t A Game, It’s A Prophecy
by Jared A. Brock
Posted September 22, 2021
We’re living out the insidious rules in real-time. As a game of Monopoly progresses, every property with a house on it is eventually turned into a passive rental property. This is already the lived reality for America’s 115.4 million renters, who fork over their hard-earned after-tax dollars to 23.7 million extractive landlords.
But that’s only half the prophecy.
The century-old game predicted, with terrifying accuracy, something that no one in the 1900s could’ve foreseen becoming a reality: That, in time, after every owner-occupied house had fallen to the land-lorder, every rental would be transformed into a hotel.
Enter Airbnb, the emerging monopoly that will likely go down in history as the most dangerous and society-shattering company ever created. As landlords convert their properties to Airbnbs… and holiday companies buy up collections of Airbnbs… and hedge funds use outrageous leverage to buy up portfolios of holiday companies… and sovereign wealth funds swallow hedge funds whole… it’s no wonder that the average house will cost $10 million in 50 years.
House prices used to be based on the maximum amount that an area’s average local buyer could afford to mortgage over 25–40 years.
Under the rapidly emerging monopoly paradigm, a house’s value is now the maximum amount of daily rental income that can be extracted from it by a global institutional investor, multiplied by maximal institutional leverage. More…
[Economic] [Social] [Political]
Why Don’t Billionaires Pay the Same High Tax Rates the Rest of Us Pay?
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted September 19, 2021
There are countless ways for the super-wealthy to evade taxes–funnel earnings through an Irish post office box, buy a tax break in Washington DC, slide the money into one of dozens of global tax havens, and so on.
But a simple one is to report no income and live large off borrowed money. As the billions of dollars in capital gains pile up as the billionaire’s stock holdings soar (thanks, Federal Reserve, for the free trillions; awful swell of you to give us all that free money), there’s no income generated until the billionaire sells some shares. No sale, no income. Just pay yourself $1 a year in salary, borrow against your billions at super-low rates of interest, and voila, you’re tax-free while you build your super-yacht, buy your private island, and so on.
Why should billionaires get to set up immensely profitable monopolies, quasi-monopolies, cartels and corporations in the U.S. but pay near-zero in taxes? Why should billionaires be free to profit from America’s economy but pay nothing to support its citizenry? More…
Billionaires Don’t Make Their Billions — They Steal Them From the Poor
by Julia Horvath
Posted September 18, 2021
“The only thing better than controlling money and power is to control the efforts to question the distribution of money and power. The only thing better than being a fox is being a fox asked to watch over hens.”
— Anand Giridharadas
If you earned $10 million in your lifetime you’d consider yourself rich. However, you’d still be $990 million away from being a billionaire.
You can’t spend a billion dollars in a lifetime. That’s what hoarding wealth means. There’s no reason anyone should have more money they can spend in several high-end lifetimes while others starve, are homeless, and die of curable diseases.
Imagine a monkey that hoards more bananas he could ever eat while other monkeys around him starve. Scientists would study that monkey. They’d want to understand what’s wrong with him— and conclude he’s a mentally ill monkey. More…
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Meet Your New Feudal Overlords
by Marlon Weems
Posted September 16, 2021
Classic feudalism was a system where a wealthy land-owning nobility (the 1%) controlled the peasant class of workers known as serfs (everyone else). The elites provided serfs with a small piece of land on which to live. Although they paid taxes, generally, serfs owned no property, had no economic power or upward mobility. During the Middle Ages, as much as 90% of Europe’s population fell into this category.
I admit it’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s something worth considering — especially given what’s happening not just with housing but with land ownership in general. In our system, owning real estate is the most common vehicle for wealth accumulation. So what happens when only the wealthiest Americans can afford to own property?
Before you answer, you should know that billionaires are buying up land like it’s going out of style. Do you know who owns the most farmland in the United States? Bill Gates and his soon-to-be ex-wife Melinda, that’s who. With 242,000 acres of cropland plus nearly 30,000 additional acres of land in their real estate portfolio, they’re playing real-life monopoly. More…
[Economic] [Political] [Social] [Media]
The COVID-19 Reset
Posted September 14, 2021
While authorities are quick to blame COVID-19 for the damage caused by public health policies, in reality these policies were neither grounded in science nor unavoidable. The public has not been given a chance to properly evaluate these issues however, because rational debate has been shut down. Mainstream orthodoxy has become a religion. Questioning it is akin to heresy.
In the early stages of the pandemic we were told that the emergency powers being enacted by governments around the world were temporary. At first we were told the measures would last 3 to 4 weeks. Then weeks became months and the story morphed to ensure us that that only when vaccines finally arrived would life go back to normal. After a year had gone by the story changed again. Now we’re told that COVID-19 is here to stay, and life will never be the same again. Periodic lockdowns, mask mandates and and travel restrictions will continue. Only those with valid “health passports” proving vaccination status will be allowed to bypass these restrictions.
If you question the wisdom of lockdowns, which destroy lives and businesses while achieving nothing… if you question the wisdom of injecting the entire human population with experimental vaccines — that are only marginally effective — against a disease that kills less than one tenth of one percent of those who get it… if you dare to walk outside without a mask because you don’t consider social conformity a valid justification for public health policy you’re the crazy one. You’re a problem that needs to be dealt with. Can’t have people thinking so much. It might start to spread.
Once you see how absolutely illogical the official response to COVID-19 has been, one has to consider the possibility that nothing is as it seems. What if the goal of these policies was never to stop the spread of a virus, but rather to condition the public to accept a totalitarian new normal? As we enter an era of chaos and upheaval that will ultimately culminate in a great collapse, what better way to maintain control of the population than emergency powers that allow governments to lockdown entire cities and outlaw gatherings of any kind? More…
[Economic] [Political] [Justice] [Community]
Kucinich Memoir Is a Moving Account of a Battle Against Corporate Power
by Chris Hedges
Posted September 13, 2021
“The Division of Light and Power,” by Dennis Kucinich, like Robert Caro’s “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York,” is a gripping, moving and lucidly written account of the hidden mechanisms of corporate power in the United States and what happens when these corporate interests are challenged. It is essential reading, especially as we face an intensified corporate assault, done in the name of fiscal necessity following the financial wounds imposed by the pandemic, to seize total control of all public assets.
Kucinich warns that this assault is more than the seizure of public assets for private gain. These corporate forces, which function as a shadow government in Washington and cities across the country, threaten to achieve a monolithic lock on all forms of power and extinguish our anemic democracy.
As Kucinich discovered throughout his career, these corporate forces will deploy every weapon in their arsenal against those brave or foolish enough to defy them. “The Division of Light and Power” is destined to become a classic text for those who seek to understand the corporate coup d’etat that took place in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
When the “boy mayor” of Cleveland took a stand against privatization of public power, the region’s elites deployed every weapon they had, including attempted assassination. More…
Klaus Schwab the Humanist versus Klaus Schwab the Terrorist
by Joaquin Flores
Posted September 12, 2021
The World Economic Forum presents an upside-down world, one where their policy briefs and white papers voicing concerns about poverty are working in harmony with the IMF’s upwards distribution schemes. Reduction of the local power of sovereign states are framed as ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘transparency’. The austere reduction in access to health and human services in developing countries are viewed positively as economic growth indicators, despite the high causal direct relationship between austerity (via structural adjustment) and poverty.
They present the developing world’s compliance with global governance, i.e. stability, as directly related to poverty eradication – when in reality these two vectors are inversely related.
To wit, the more that countries comply with structural adjustment schemes, the more difficult it actually is to overcome poverty. The IMF had until now oriented its work towards geopolitical and geoeconomic monopolarity, with its own Trans-Atlantic hub as the loci of power. More…
[Economic] [Justice] [Social] [Political]
There Is No Turning Back After This
by Michael Snyder
Posted September 10, 2021
This truly is one of the most pivotal moments in American history, and there will be no turning back after this. We are descending into full-blown tyranny, and I have literally felt sick to my stomach as I have pondered the ramifications. What remained of the country that so many of us once loved is being absolutely eviscerated, and it is deeply heartbreaking to watch it happen.
The new mandates that Biden has decided to impose on the entire country aren’t just un-American. The word “evil” gets thrown around a lot these days, but in this case it perfectly fits the situation.
No government has the right to try to put something into your body by force. Many have pointed out that such mandates are uncomfortably close to physical rape, and there is absolutely no place for such mandates in a free and just society.
Vast numbers of federal employees will now be faced with the heartbreaking choice of either taking an injection that they do not want or giving up their careers. But Biden didn’t stop there. Shockingly, he has decided to target more than 80 million Americans that work for large companies that employ at least 100 workers. More…
President Biden has imposed mandatory “vaccination” on the vast majority of the US population.
If a government can force someone to put something into their body they do not want, how can that possibly be called a “free” society? The government doesn;t even bother with the fig leaf of “freedom” any longer, and has dropped all pretenses that we live in a “free” society.
[Politics] [Economic] [Social]
The Shadow State: Embracing Corporations as Surrogates for Government Actions
by Jonathan Turley
Posted September 9, 2021
Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech in 1902, “The Control of Corporations,” which warned of the danger of corporate power over citizens’ lives. Calling corporations “creatures of the state,” he said they must be controlled by “the representatives of the public.” Roosevelt was a Republican, but his distrust of corporations (and his later faith in big government) would become a touchstone of Democratic politics for generations, from the Great Depression to the Great Society.
Like the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles, American politics now seems suddenly to have flipped: Democratic leaders increasingly advocate for corporate governance while Republicans voice populist themes. From supporting the largest censorship programs in history to privately mandated vaccine “passports,” liberals are looking to companies like Apple or American Airlines to carry out social programs free from constitutional and political limits imposed on the government.
This new model of governance was evident when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a mandated vaccine passport system. She responded that it is “not currently the role of the federal government” but noted that the administration hopes to see such a mandate from “private-sector entities, universities, institutions that are starting to mandate, and that’s an innovative step that they will take and they should take.” More…
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