You too can try this experiment in your house with some simple materials! This is a great short and informative video about neoliberalism, the economic thought that has been triumphed for awhile, that encourages more private economic control instead of public. Of course, we might point out that the economic system is not sustainable – neither ecologically or financially. Enjoy this video:
The old saying goes that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing again and again expecting different results.” There is talk now of more money needed to keep the big banks afloat. It has become apparent that Bank of America “needs” billions of dollars more (roughly $34 billion, with a B). If it didn’t work the first time, why should it now?
As we shake our heads in disbelief from that news, I should also mention the updated regarding the audacious bonuses that insurance giant AIG paid out after the government bailouts. Turns out AIG’s estimates of the bonuses paid were off by a little – by a factor of FOUR!!!
The total number is believe the be around $450 million in bonuses, given (for incredibly poor behavior) as “retention bonuses.” Seems to me their employees are not going to find jobs elsewhere, so a retention bonus is superfluous at best and deceptive at worst. That is nearly half a billion in taxpayer money given to greedy CEOs already worth more than the average American will make in their lifetime.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is our nation’s bank, created at the beginning of the last century (big thanks to President Wilson) to centralize our banking system and stabilize our currency. It is quasi-public, having both private corporations and public agencies with controlling interest.
“The Fed,” as they call it on the street, controls our money, interest rates, “supervises” banking institutions, and has other means to inflict chaos into our economy. Despite being a blend of private and public the Fed keeps its business behind locked doors. It is hard for a government by the people, for the people to have a functioning banking system if they have no control or oversight of it. We should do something about it!
We own a substantial amount of companies that were on the brink of going under not to long ago. Now they are trying to defend what they call “retaining” bonuses: extra money to keep on executives. These are not the average “good-job, here’s a grand” bonuses that most professionals might be accustom. These are more than $1,000,000 bonuses. That is 20 times the average yearly income in the US – in a yearly bonus! 52 people who received these payouts are no longer with the company.
Any day now I will be changed in one of the most dramatic ways a person can be; changed by the birth of my first child. While we were at our midwife’s clinic yesterday I found myself flipping through a copy of Pregnancy magazine.
While it is fair to say this periodical is not in my typical reading repertoire, I did see an article that caught my steady-state-oriented mind, “How many activity mats does a baby really need?” by Pamela Paul. In a magazine with pages of ads and articles mostly written about what to buy, it was relieving to see an attempt to tell you not to buy.
The growth-centered nature of our world economy is relatively new. For most of human history, growth has been slow and almost stagnant. Over the last 200 years (essentially since the invention of fossil-fuel driven machines) that has changed significantly and our growth has largely benefited us: increased our health and means. That is, until sometime between the 1950s and the 1980s when growth become uneconomic and actually harmful to our happiness.
Today, most of that “economic” growth now goes to the Liquidating Class, the top 1 percent of our economy. According to some Northwestern University economists quoted in Bill McKibben‘s book Deep Economy, “the top 1 percent of wage earners ‘captured far more of the real national gain in income than did the bottom 50 percent'” between 1997 and 2001.
In Thom Hartman’s book What Would Jefferson Do? the author quotes Mussolini’s description of fascism as it “should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” This has long since happened in American politics – and has been deepening since a misrepresented court ruling in 1886 gave corporations rights equal to the rights of people. We allow them to lie, steal and kill to make a profit.
The original intend of our Founders and Framers was to limit the privileges of corporations as to protect the rights of the people. Not only did these corporations have definite life-spans and limits to there abilities, but the businessman running them could be held accountable for the actions of their group. Today, corporations can be “above laws” in the sense that they are fined for wrong-doing. So long as this fine works into the cost-benefit calculations, the law will be violated – even if it means death and destruction.