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robertogreco : costco   4

Chris Hedges: Boycott, Divest and Sanction Corporations That Feed on Prisons - Chris Hedges - Truthdig
"Former prisoners and prisoners’ relatives—suffering along with the incarcerated under the weight of one of the most exploitative, physically abusive and largest prison systems in the world, frustrated and enraged by the walls that corporations have set in place to stymie rational judicial reform—joined human rights advocates at the church to organize state and nationwide boycotts inside and outside prisons. These boycotts, they said, will be directed against the private phone, money transfer and commissary companies, and against the dozens of corporations that exploit prison labor. The boycotts will target food and merchandise vendors, construction companies, laundry services, uniforms companies, prison equipment vendors, cafeteria services, manufacturers of pepper spray, body armor and the array of medieval instruments used for the physical control of prisoners, and a host of other contractors that profit from mass incarceration. The movement will also call on institutions, especially churches and universities, to divest from corporations that use prison labor.

The campaign, led by the Interfaith Prison Coalition, will include a call to pay all prisoners at least the prevailing minimum wage of the state in which they are held. (New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.38 an hour.) Wages inside prisons have remained stagnant and in real terms have declined over the past three decades. A prisoner in New Jersey makes, on average, $1.20 for eight hours of work, or about $28 a month. Those incarcerated in for-profit prisons earn as little as 17 cents an hour. Over a similar period, phone and commissary corporations have increased fees and charges often by more than 100 percent.

There are nearly 40 states that allow private corporations to exploit prison labor. And prison administrators throughout the country are lobbying corporations that have sweatshops overseas, trying to lure them into the prisons with guarantees of even cheaper labor and a total absence of organizing or coordinated protest."



"The corporate state seeks to reduce all workers at home and abroad to the status of prison labor. Workers are to be so heavily controlled that organizing unions or resistance will become impossible. Benefits, pensions, overtime are to be abolished. Workers who are not slavishly submissive to the will of corporate power will be dismissed. There will be no sick days or paid vacations. No one will be able to challenge unsafe and physically difficult working conditions. And wages will be suppressed to keep workers in poverty. This is the goal of corporate power. The 1 million prisoners employed at substandard wages by corporations inside prisons are, in the eyes of our corporate masters, the ideal workers. And those Americans who ignore the plight of prison labor and refuse to organize against it will increasingly find prison working conditions replicated outside prison walls."

[vi: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/116029913728/the-corporate-state-seeks-to-reduce-all-workers-at ]
chrishedges  2015  corporatization  work  labor  costco  microsoft  mcdonalds  kochindustries  verizon  exxonmobil  jimcrow  blackpanthers  aramark  elililly  at&t  kmart  prisons  control  poverty  wages  prisonindustrialcomplex  incarceration  slavery  prisonlabor  submission  power  blackpantherparty 
april 2015 by robertogreco
If a Business Won't Pay a Living Wage, It Shouldn't Exist
"Look at it this way: when someone opens up a business, they’re entitled to all sorts of special tax breaks that most people can’t get. They can write off fancy meals; they can write off nights stayed at five-star hotels; they can write off airfare to anywhere in the world they do business, or even might do business; and they can even write off any legal expenses they incur when they get busted for breaking the law. Drug dealers who push pot can’t write off their lawyer’s fees, but drug dealers at Big Pharma, even when they lie and break the law in ways that kill people, can - all because they’re incorporated.

All these breaks come in exchange for the company receiving these benefits giving society something back in return. Besides a useful service like selling meals or a good product like a well-made car, the single most important thing a business owner can give back to society is a well-paying job with benefits.

A job that pays a living wage isn’t just good for the workers who get to take home a livable paycheck, it’s good for other business owners and the economy as a whole. Businesses need people with a reasonable income to buy their goods. When workers are paid so little that they can barely afford to eat, they can’t spend additional money and as a result, the entire economy suffers. This is economics 101.

That implicit contract between society and the business owner used to be common knowledge in this country and, until the Reagan Revolution, was kept intact by businesses. Now, however, corporate America has thrown it out the window.

Walmart is the most egregious example. The nation’s largest employer is one big corporate welfare scheme for the company’s executives and the billionaire Walton family.

Walmart makes nearly $35,000 in profit every minute and, as of 2012, its average annual sales stood at $405 billion dollars.

According to Mother Jones, the six Waltons, whose money comes from Walmart, control an estimated $115 billion dollar fortune. In total, that’s more than a staggering 42% of Americans combined.

And where did they get all that money? They took it out of the business instead of paying their workers a living wage.

Thus, at the same time that Walmart executives are raking in the millions and the Walton family’s fortune is ballooning, Walmart employees struggle to get by.

The average Walmart employee makes about $9 per hour, and would have to work over 7 million years at that rate to accumulate as much wealth as the Waltons have. To make matters worse, only some of the company’s employees qualify for its very minimal health insurance plan.

As a result, you and me - and the rest of America’s taxpayers - are subsidizing Walmart by paying for the healthcare costs, housing, and food of Walmart employees. In fact, Walmart employees are the single largest group of Medicaid recipients in the United States.

A report released earlier this year by Congressional Democrats showed how much taxpayers subsidize the billionaire Walton Family at just one Walmart store in Wisconsin.

That report found that just that one Wisconsin store “costs taxpayers at least $904,542 per year and could cost taxpayers up to $1,744,590 per year.”

That’s $1.7 million that could be used to build a new school for kids, patch up one of our country’s many crumbling bridges, or build a community health center. Instead, the Walton billionaires are taking that $1.7 million as dividends and they even get their own special low tax rate – about half of what working people pay – because it’s dividend income.

Walmart isn’t living up to its end of the American business bargain. It gets billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies while its employees need government assistance to survive. If we're going to give businesses, like Walmart, the privileges and tax breaks associated with running a business, they should at the very least conduct themselves in ways that benefit society, rather than hurt it."
walmart  costco  taxes  corporatewelfare  livingwage  mininmumwage  politics  economics  business  2013 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Costco : The Frontal Cortex
"Consumers aren't always driven by careful considerations of price and expected utility. We don't look at the electric grill or box of chocolates and perform an explicit cost-benefit analysis. Instead, we outsource much of this calculation to our emotional brain, and rely on relative amounts of pleasure versus pain to tell us what to purchase. (During many of the decisions, the rational prefrontal cortex was largely a spectator, standing silently by while the NAcc and insula argued with each other.) Whichever feeling we feel most intensely tends to dictate our shopping decisions. It's like an emotional tug-of-war."
behavior  jonahlehrer  shopping  science  neuroscience  costco  culture  decisions  economics  psychology  pricing  business  branding  marketing 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Tightening the Beltway, the Elite Shop Costco - New York Times
“Reverse chic is a very powerful phenomenon in status-oriented circles,” said David Kamp, the author of “The United States of Arugula” (Broadway, 2006), a book about the American fine-food revolution. “I think Costco is the same thing. It gets d
behavior  food  costco  trends  money  economics 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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