53 Million in ‘Emerging Markets’ Plunged into Poverty by Great Recession

A World Bank study has projected that the global financial crisis and resulting recession will plunge some 53 million people across “emerging markets” —like China and India— into absolute poverty, in 2009 alone. In China, tens of millions of people have lost jobs related to the export-dependent manufacturing sector. Such a collapse in private fortunes … Continue reading 53 Million in ‘Emerging Markets’ Plunged into Poverty by Great Recession

Business Trends that Impoverish our People are not “Competitive”

There is a narrow ideological segment of the American political spectrum that obsessively pushes “competition” as the sole standard by which to measure the quality of our economic landscape. The problem here is that the word is too often used to promote the idea that to be “competitive” we need to drastically reduce wages and roll back rights most Americans take for granted. This vision of competition is not conservatism; it’s feudalism.

The idea that ordinary people should have less opportunity, less access to prosperity, less personal freedom and fewer labor rights, is not American; it is not in line with the Constitutional order of American democracy. It is the privileging of arbitrary power over the basic rights of real people. This vision of prosperity bound to regressive institutions does not appeal to independents who demand of their public servants both principle and pragmatism.

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Does Anyone Know What Capitalism Is?

Is capitalism legalized greed or an organic model of resource allocation?

Capitalism is “survival of the fittest”… capitalism is rooted in the idea of merit; everyone should be compensated according to his or her contribution (to the common good?)… capitalism is about the movement of capital; the more it moves, the richer everyone gets… capitalism is an upgraded feudalism, where the capitalist is an overseer of an abstract terrain made up of investments, not of arable lands… capitalism is democracy; the free spirit of an open society requires capitalism to support the liberties of individual citizens, and protect against government overreach… capitalism is virtue… or, capitalism is the absence of virtue…

These are just a few commonly held ideas, not all compatible with one another or with reality as we know it. Depending on point of view, we find ourselves favoring or opposing some aspect of something we call capitalism, with sometimes radical swings in the underlying reasoning of our political philosophy — we being Americans, generally. And across the world, the same questions come up time and again: one nation’s democratic marketplace, rising tide that lifts all boats, is seen from a poorer nation as an upgraded feudalism, a new age of empire.

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