Social Articles from 2015
by Jeff Thomas
Posted December 31, 2015
In recent years, I’ve been predicting that the governments, particularly those of the EU and US, will seek to eliminate paper currency. The objective will be to make monetary transactions between private parties as difficult as they can, by requiring that all transactions take place through financial institutions. If they can do this, they will effectively make a run on banks impossible in the future as the banks will simply shut off the money tap, as the Greek banks did. This power will additionally make negative interest rates and confiscations more possible.
A few years ago, this forecast was seen by most as poppycock, but the prelude has now begun, with most of the world’s banks disallowing large transfers and some lowering these amounts over time. Many governments are aiding the effort, requiring reporting on some transfers. More…
Tricked By Greek God Hermes
by David Korten
Posted December 4, 2015
When I step back and look at the incredible mismatch between the economic system we have and the economic system we need, I find myself wondering whether we humans are victims of a dangerous spell induced by a mischievous Greek God. Here is the story as I imagine it.
The Greek Gods are meeting in council on Mount Olympus to discuss what to do about those silly humans down on that little planet called Earth who no longer pay proper respect and even presume to be taking Godly powers unto themselves.
Zeus, the ruler of the sky says, “I propose that I wipe them out with a bolt of lightening.” The Gods debate his idea at length.
Hermes, the god of commerce and cunning, sits quietly through most of the discussion. Then he intervenes. More…
Addiction to Power and Radical Therapy for the 1%
by Nozomi Hayase
Posted November 9, 2015
In the last few years, the world has experienced a rash of devastating financial tragedies. From the 2008 financial meltdown to the recent Greek debt crisis, one can find the footprints of too-big-to-fail megabanks and investment firms. Corruption of the 1% global elite continues, as the super rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Public outrage toward bankers is growing and many are seeking a way to account for this systemic fraud. Some wish to follow the lead of Iceland, a small island nation that successfully put such thieves in jail. On one hand, those who have bilked the public should face severe consequences. But at the same time, this alone will not get to the root of the problem. In order to truly tackle systemic issues of widening wealth inequality, we need to look more deeply at this destructive behavior and recognize it as a symptom of a larger social illness. More…
The TPP: An Attack on the Internet
by Alfredo Lopez
Posted October 30, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, initialed by the delegations of the 12 participating countries in early October, is one of the most talked-about mysteries of our time. The moment the treaty was announced, there was a tidal wave of commentary and criticism: most of it based on previous versions, speculation and a few leaks. Because it won’t be published for months (even years perhaps), nobody really knew what the document actually said.
Then Wikileaks, the on-line bible of revealed secrets, published several leaked sections of what its editors believe is the final edition and the collective groan morphed into an outcry. It was, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, “all that we feared.” The TPP internationalizes some of the worst inequities and abuses specific signing governments are currently committing and nowhere is that more true than with surveillance and communications repression. More…
‘Celebrating’ 14 Years Since America Kissed Its Freedoms Goodbye
by Simon Black
Posted October 29, 2015
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get out your party hats to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act.
You know about the law, I’m sure; passed barely six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the USA PATRIOT Act is one of the most sweeping, liberty-destroying pieces of legislation in American history. Remember the rule of thumb: the more high-sounding the name of a law, the more disastrous its effects. And the USA PATRIOT Act absolutely conformed. It stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Interdict and Obstruct Terrorism.
And this name is truly disingenuous when you think about it.Seriously, how was America to become more ‘united’ by allowing warrantless searches, vastly expanding the powers of secret courts, and completely doing away with entire sections of the Constitution?? That’s just absurd. More…
As Bad as You Think Inequality Is, It’s Worse!
By Les Leopold
Posted October 28, 2015
In 1970, for every dollar earned by the average worker, the top 100 CEOs earned on average $45. By 2013 the ratio had jumped to $829 to $1, which is 20 times greater that what the typical American in the survey guessed.
More amazing still is that on average Americans think CEOs of large companies receive about $900,000 per year in compensation, when in reality they receive nearly $30,000,000. It’s as if our perception of the income gap was frozen in 1970. We just have not caught up with the realities of runaway inequality. More…
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