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anton on Twitter: "Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union: - waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality - promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in,
"Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union:

- waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality

- promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out

- living five adults to a two room apartment

- being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you

- 'totally not illegal taxi' taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet

- everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex

- mandatory workplace political education

- productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites

- deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences

- networked computers exist but they're really bad

- Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason

- elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges

- failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs

- otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it's the only way to get ahead

- the plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work

- the United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default

- the currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless

- the economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users"
siliconvalley  sovietunion  tesla  uber  lyft  us  2018  antontroynikov  russia  space  utopia  society  propaganda  labor  work  housing  politics  social  elitism  collateraldamage  militaryindustrialcomplex  evil  currency  fake  economics  economy  planning  algorithms  mainstream  computing  henrykissinger 
may 2019 by robertogreco
All I Know Is What’s on the Internet — Real Life
"For information literacy to have any relevance, schools and libraries must assume that primary sources and government agencies act in good faith. But the social media prowess of a Donald Trump scuttles CRAAP logic. Not only does Trump disregard information literacy protocols in his own information diet — he famously declared during the campaign, “All I know is what’s on the internet” — but he operates with an entirely different paradigm for making public statements. He speaks as a celebrity, confident in the value of his brand, rather than as a politician or technocrat, making recourse to facts, tactical compromises, or polls.

There is no reason to think that the Trump administration will be a “valid” source in the sense of making truthful, accurate statements. Instead, Trump has backed into Karl Rove’s famous idea of the reality-based community: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again.”

Trump-based reality is now spreading into other government agencies. In late 2016, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology used its .gov homepage to question causes of climate change, while the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources recently changed reports to claim the subject is a matter of scientific debate.

Benjamin ends “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by arguing that “fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves.” This recasts social media in a more sinister light. Fascism is on the rise not because students can’t tell fake news from the slanted news promulgated by hegemonic interests. Rather, fascism is resurgent because freedom of expression has turned out to have little to do with what we can create and much more to do with how much we can consume.

The promise of social justice and upward mobility through education has largely gone unkept, and many citizens who believed in democratic progress have turned to different promises. Information literacy fails not only because it serves a broken system, but because it is affectively beside the point. Its cerebral pleasure pales in comparison with fascism’s more direct, emotive appeals.

Information today is content, a consumable whose truth value is measured in page views. To combat this, the validation of knowledge must be localized, shared in communities between engaged citizens. Information-literacy rubrics implemented by individuals are insufficient. We must value expertise, but experts must also commit to forging community through shared development. The one-way diffusion of knowledge must be upended.

Information literacy is less a solution than an alibi for the problems ailing education. “Solving” fake news will only compound the real problem. Without substantial work to subvert the traditional and promote the outside, the feel-good efforts of information literacy will not serve America’s promised rebound. Instead they will signify democracy’s dead-cat bounce."

[See also this response: https://twitter.com/holden/status/821904132814442496 ]
schools  libraries  information  informationliteracy  fakenews  internet  education  rolinmoe  2017  democracy  outsiders  content  knowledge  validation  socialjustice  upwardmobility  medialiteracy  literacy  multiliteracies  fascism  donaldtrump  propaganda  crapdetection  criticalthinking  walterbejnamin  consumption  creativity  freedom  engagement  vannevarbush  shielawebber  billjohnson  librarians  community  media  massmedia  hierarchizationknowledge  economy 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Against Sharing | Jacobin
"“Sharing economy” companies like Uber shift risk from corporations to workers, weaken labor protections, and drive down wages."
uber  labor  sharing  economy  wages  capitalism  economics  2014  aviasher-schapiro  risk  siliconvalley  unions  sharingeconomy 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Wendell E. Berry Lecture | National Endowment for the Humanities
[via: https://twitter.com/dirtystylus/status/384660397238026240 ]

"“Because a thing is going strong now, it need not go strong for ever,” [Margaret] said. “This craze for motion has only set in during the last hundred years. It may be followed by a civilization that won’t be a movement, because it will rest upon the earth.
E. M. Forster, Howards End (1910)1"



"The economic hardship of my family and of many others, a century ago, was caused by a monopoly, the American Tobacco Company, which had eliminated all competitors and thus was able to reduce as it pleased the prices it paid to farmers. The American Tobacco Company was the work of James B. Duke of Durham, North Carolina, and New York City, who, disregarding any other consideration, followed a capitalist logic to absolute control of his industry and, incidentally, of the economic fate of thousands of families such as my own.

My effort to make sense of this memory and its encompassing history has depended on a pair of terms used by my teacher, Wallace Stegner. He thought rightly that we Americans, by inclination at least, have been divided into two kinds: “boomers” and “stickers.” Boomers, he said, are “those who pillage and run,” who want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street,” whereas stickers are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.”2 “Boomer” names a kind of person and a kind of ambition that is the major theme, so far, of the history of the European races in our country. “Sticker” names a kind of person and also a desire that is, so far, a minor theme of that history, but a theme persistent enough to remain significant and to offer, still, a significant hope.

The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power. James B. Duke was a boomer, if we can extend the definition to include pillage in absentia. He went, or sent, wherever the getting was good, and he got as much as he could take.

Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it. Of my grandfather I need to say only that he shared in the virtues and the faults of his kind and time, one of his virtues being that he was a sticker. He belonged to a family who had come to Kentucky from Virginia, and who intended to go no farther. He was the third in his paternal line to live in the neighborhood of our little town of Port Royal, and he was the second to own the farm where he was born in 1864 and where he died in 1946."



"Because I have never separated myself from my home neighborhood, I cannot identify myself to myself apart from it. I am fairly literally flesh of its flesh. It is present in me, and to me, wherever I go. This undoubtedly accounts for my sense of shock when, on my first visit to Duke University, and by surprise, I came face-to-face with James B. Duke in his dignity, his glory perhaps, as the founder of that university. He stands imperially in bronze in front of a Methodist chapel aspiring to be a cathedral. He holds between two fingers of his left hand a bronze cigar. On one side of his pedestal is the legend: INDUSTRIALIST. On the other side is another single word: PHILANTHROPIST. The man thus commemorated seemed to me terrifyingly ignorant, even terrifyingly innocent, of the connection between his industry and his philanthropy. But I did know the connection. I felt it instantly and physically. The connection was my grandparents and thousands of others more or less like them. If you can appropriate for little or nothing the work and hope of enough such farmers, then you may dispense the grand charity of “philanthropy.”

After my encounter with the statue, the story of my grandfather’s 1906 tobacco crop slowly took on a new dimension and clarity in my mind. I still remembered my grandfather as himself, of course, but I began to think of him also as a kind of man standing in thematic opposition to a man of an entirely different kind. And I could see finally that between these two kinds there was a failure of imagination that was ruinous, that belongs indelibly to our history, and that has continued, growing worse, into our own time."



"It may seem plausible to suppose that the head of the American Tobacco Company would have imagined at least that a dependable supply of raw material to his industry would depend upon a stable, reasonably thriving population of farmers and upon the continuing fertility of their farms. But he imagined no such thing. In this he was like apparently all agribusiness executives. They don’t imagine farms or farmers. They imagine perhaps nothing at all, their minds being filled to capacity by numbers leading to the bottom line. Though the corporations, by law, are counted as persons, they do not have personal minds, if they can be said to have minds. It is a great oddity that a corporation, which properly speaking has no self, is by definition selfish, responsible only to itself. This is an impersonal, abstract selfishness, limitlessly acquisitive, but unable to look so far ahead as to preserve its own sources and supplies. The selfishness of the fossil fuel industries by nature is self-annihilating; but so, always, has been the selfishness of the agribusiness corporations. Land, as Wes Jackson has said, has thus been made as exhaustible as oil or coal."



"In such modest joy in a modest holding is the promise of a stable, democratic society, a promise not to be found in “mobility”: our forlorn modern progress toward something indefinitely, and often unrealizably, better. A principled dissatisfaction with whatever one has promises nothing or worse.

James B. Duke would not necessarily have thought so far of the small growers as even to hold them in contempt. The Duke trust exerted an oppression that was purely economic, involving a mechanical indifference, the indifference of a grinder to what it grinds. It was not, that is to say, a political oppression. It did not intend to victimize its victims. It simply followed its single purpose of the highest possible profit, and ignored the “side effects.” Confronting that purpose, any small farmer is only one, and one lost, among a great multitude of others, whose work can be quickly transformed into a great multitude of dollars."



"Statistical knowledge once was rare. It was a property of the minds of great rulers, conquerors, and generals, people who succeeded or failed by the manipulation of large quantities that remained, to them, unimagined because unimaginable: merely accountable quantities of land, treasure, people, soldiers, and workers. This is the sort of knowledge we now call “data” or “facts” or “information.” Or we call it “objective knowledge,” supposedly untainted by personal attachment, but nonetheless available for industrial and commercial exploitation. By means of such knowledge a category assumes dominion over its parts or members. With the coming of industrialism, the great industrialists, like kings and conquerors, become exploiters of statistical knowledge. And finally virtually all of us, in order to participate and survive in their system, have had to agree to their substitution of statistical knowledge for personal knowledge. Virtually all of us now share with the most powerful industrialists their remoteness from actual experience of the actual world. Like them, we participate in an absentee economy, which makes us effectively absent even from our own dwelling places. Though most of us have little wealth and perhaps no power, we consumer–citizens are more like James B. Duke than we are like my grandfather. By economic proxies thoughtlessly given, by thoughtless consumption of goods ignorantly purchased, now we all are boomers."



"In this age so abstracted and bewildered by technological magnifications of power, people who stray beyond the limits of their mental competence typically find no guide except for the supposed authority of market price. “The market” thus assumes the standing of ultimate reality. But market value is an illusion, as is proven by its frequent changes; it is determined solely by the buyer’s ability and willingness to pay."



"By now all thoughtful people have begun to feel our eligibility to be instructed by ecological disaster and mortal need. But we endangered ourselves first of all by dismissing affection as an honorable and necessary motive. Our decision in the middle of the last century to reduce the farm population, eliminating the allegedly “inefficient” small farmers, was enabled by the discounting of affection. As a result, we now have barely enough farmers to keep the land in production, with the help of increasingly expensive industrial technology and at an increasing ecological and social cost. Far from the plain citizens and members of the land-community, as Aldo Leopold wished them to be, farmers are now too likely to be merely the land’s exploiters."



"In thinking about the importance of affection, and of its increasing importance in our present world, I have been guided most directly by E. M. Forster’s novel, Howards End, published in 1910. By then, Forster was aware of the implications of “rural decay,”10 and in this novel he spoke, with some reason, of his fear that “the literature of the near future will probably ignore the country and seek inspiration from the town. . . . and those who care for the earth with sincerity may wait long ere the pendulum swings back to her again.”"



"“The light within,” I think, means affection, affection as motive and guide. Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time. Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. The factual knowledge, in which we seem more and more to be placing our trust, leads only to hope of the discovery, endlessly deferrable, of an ultimate fact or smallest particle that at last will explain everything."



"No doubt there always will be some people … [more]
wendellberry  capitalism  corporations  economy  imagination  stickers  boomers  2012  economics  land  place  memory  industrialists  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  culture  art  liberalarts  humanism  humanity  rural  farming  history  debt  affection  knowledge  materialism  howardsend  emforster  ruraldecay  agriculture  aldoleopold  environmentalism  environment  sustainability  destruction  destructiveness  local  scale  mobility  change  adaptability  adaptation  evolution  ecology  technology  machines  alberthoward  wesjackson  johnlukacs  growth  data  quantification  wealth  remoteness  jamesbduke  industialism  power  greed  consumerism  plannedobsolescence  nature  corporatism  allentate  property  ownership  effectiveownership  human  humans  limits  limitations  modesty  democracy  wallacestegner  via:markllobrera  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  babyboomers  control 
september 2013 by robertogreco
Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Politics of Hope: Reclaiming Critical Pedagogy - Peter McLaren from 2001 (PDF)
"[Hobbled by complexity:] One of the founding assumptions of critical pedagogy is that human beings, acting on the external world and transforming it, can, at the same time, change their own nature. However, many—if not most—approaches to critical pedagogy are today characterized by what Hegel referred to as bad infinity, because they postulate an endless series of causes and effects within the social order (not in a linear fashion, but dialectically), critically mediating the parts (schooling practices) and the whole (capitalist relations within the wider social totality). The contemporary constitution of critical pedagogy is governed by a series of contradictions. Lacking is a clear context and frame of reference that can capture these contradictions within global processes that are restructuring social, economic, and political life [...OMG...] Revolutionary pedagogy creates a narrative space set against the naturalized flow of the everyday, against the daily poetics of agency, encounter, and conflict, in which subjectivity is constantly dissolved and reconstructed—that is, in which subjectivity turns back on itself, giving rise to an affirmation of the world through naming it and to an opposition to the world through unmasking and undoing the practices of concealment that are latent in the process of naming itself [...]

Che’s pedagogy was more intuitive [and] most assuredly dialectical in nature, and grounded in the lived experiences of the oppressed becoming transformed into the “new man” through acquiring a revolutionary consciousness while at the same time living the life...of the revolutionary. This meant for Che, as it did for Freire, that education needs to take on an extra–ivory tower, public-sphere role in contemporary revolutionary movements and in politics in general [...]

Freire’s ontological theory is radical because it critiques what it has meant thus far to be a human being and also offers the philosophy of what we could become...His theory of knowledge is equally radical/dialectical. Accordingly, no person is an “empty vessel” or devoid of knowledge. Many people have valuable experiential knowledge; all of us have opinions and beliefs; others have greater or lesser degrees of extant—i.e. already existing—knowledge and may even hold qualifications that signify their “possession” of that knowledge. However, in Freirean education the affirmation or acquisition of these types of knowledge is not the end objective of learning but rather the beginning of the dialogical/problem-posing approach to learning."
teaching  philosophy  criticism  complexity  politics  democracy  power  poverty  labor  language  capitalism  economy  class  sur_y_central  cheguevara  paulofreire  petermclaren  2001  via:Taryn  criticalpedagogy  revolutionarypedagogy  pedagogy  everyday  oppression  oppressed  learning  change 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Resist - Good storytelling strengthens social movements
"The word 'Resist' invokes images of guns, guerillas and violence. Yet resistance is so much more. For us, resistance means dignity and defiance, and staying human in the face of inhumanity. For us, resistance means spreading stories that otherwise won't be heard, using the combined powers of film and internet to inspire people to action."

[See also: http://www.resistnetwork.com/contribute/art
via: http://we-make-money-not-art.com/who.php ]
activism  art  community  documentary  economy  film  dignity  defiance  human  inhumanity  storytelling  stories  socialmovements  social 
june 2013 by robertogreco
‘Phones, Drones and Genomes’: Top Sectors Where SD Makes a Mark | Voice of San Diego
"In the post-World War II era, San Diego made a big investment in companies working in atomic energy, medical research and aerospace – realms where San Diego had made a wartime name for itself. That investment helped set the stage for many of the region’s subsequent discoveries. And it helped grow clusters of companies.

Now, half a century later, the landscape has evolved. What are the places, niches, realms where San Diego’s making a mark nationally and internationally? Part of our reporting quest to discover and outline potential barriers to innovation in San Diego is defining what innovation is and where San Diego fits in the larger conversation.

Here’s a tentative list we’ve put together, with the help of some great suggestions, of the areas where San Diego is making a big impact. What did we miss? Let us know below.

Drones
Stem Cells
Genomics
Wireless communications
Software and software analytics
Clean tech and Blue tech
Cybersecurity
craft brewing"
sandiego  economics  economy  kellybennett  drones  stemcells  craigventer  genomics  illumina  generalatomics  northropgrumman  qualcomm  software  cleantech  bluetech  oceans  robotics  cybersecurity  beer 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Real Estate Deal That Could Change the Future of Everything - Neighborhoods - The Atlantic Cities
"Why can’t you be an investor in one of our deals? You live nearby, you’re young, you get it. Why is it that you don’t have this option? That’s unnatural, almost."

"Most American cities as we know them today weren't built this way. Historically, hotels and restaurants and shops were built by local people investing in their own neighborhoods."

"The history of modern financial investment has been the story of people and their money moving farther apart into abstraction, to the point where most of us don't know where our investments (if we have any) have gone. But shorten the distance between those two points, and things start to change. Put your money into a building you can see in your neighborhood, and suddenly you might care more about the quality of the tenant, or the energy efficiency of the design, or the aesthetics of the architecture. This proposition is like "Broken Windows on steroids," Ben says."
local  benmiller  danmiller  westmillcapital  chrisleinberger  regulation  kickstarter  danielgorfine  realestatedevelopment  community  communities  investment  sec  willsharpe  erikbruner-yang  tokiunderground  maketto  washingtondc  hstreetcommunitydevelopment  crowdinvesting  crowdfunding  ericgarcetti  neighborhoods  cities  development  economics  economy  finance  realestate  dc 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Education and “The Public Promotion of Moral Genius”: An Interview with Peter Hershock
Problem-solution is finding a response to something that allows you to continue to pursue the same complexion of values and interests that you’ve had until now and that you want to maintain.

Because of the recursions that we’re experiencing that are affecting multiple communities, and affecting multiple levels within societies, we no longer have the unanimity of a single set of values according to which we can even decide what a solution to a so-called problem would be [...] We live in a world of predicaments, not problems. Predicaments occur when something happens that makes you aware of the fact that there’s a conflict among your own aims and interests. You can’t solve a predicament. You can only resolve it, and doing so requires greater clarity and commitment (both of which are connotations of the word “resolution”). And if you’re doing that inter-culturally or between societies, if you’re doing that in an international arena, you can’t do that without an appreciation of cultural differences and uncommon assumptions about what a good life consists in [...] That requires a real shift from just knowledge about how things work and the skills that we’re accustomed to using when we innovate. It involves developing a capacity for ethical improvisation, and that’s something that’s not been part of the curriculum thus far [...]

without the kind of attention training that goes along with being able to engage one another meaningfully, we’re just not going to be able to resolve the kinds of predicaments that we face in the world today. We’re not going to be good enough citizens to do it; we won’t be good enough politicians to do it [...]

The competence trap is that you’ve got some end result that you know you want to get to. You’ve already predefined that, so it’s problem-solution. You know what’s going to count as a solution. And once you predefine your educational goals, you can certainly train or discipline students to arrive at them.

But we live in a world of increasing unpredictability. One of the outcomes of having more complex patterns of interdependence is that complex systems are prone to behave in ways that are in principle unpredictable, un-anticipatable, but which after the fact make perfectly good sense. In a complex world, it’s very difficult to determine what competencies will be required down the line in order to be able to respond to the future needs of, say, the market or society [...]

ability to improvise with others is what we need to promote in working with students – shaping education in ways that are going to be productively aligned with developing capacities for and commitments to improvising. Because improvising isn’t easy; there’s a lot of risk involved in it. You don’t know where it’s going to go. You don’t even know what the measures of success are going to be. The measures of what’s qualitatively good and what’s worth continuing are the things that emerge out of the situation that you find yourself in [...]

you can also take the term “diversity” and push it harder, as I try to do, and say that we haven’t given that term enough conceptual depth and let’s tweak it a little bit. To me, diversity consists of the activation of differences as the basis of mutual contribution to sustainably shared flourishing. If we look at it like that, it’s no longer simply a matter of co-existence; now it’s a particular quality of interdependence [...]

I can’t think of any instance in which there’s been a single perspective vision of the future that has done anything other than tremendous damage. It’s never worked out to be a good thing [...]

Hierarchies enable us to share. If there’s no difference between us, if we really do have the same, exact endowments, we have no purpose in engaging one another. Admitting that there are significant differences among us, from a Buddhist perspective, means there is something to learn from each other, something from which we can benefit by opening ourselves to our differences and not just tolerating them.
complexity  buddhism  ethics  inequality  hierarchy  education  economy  media  politics  remake  prediction  development  diversity  interview  via:Taryn 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Eurozone: A Twenty Year Crisis? « naked capitalism
[quoting Munchau] The banking union that is required is the one Germany will not accept: central regulation and supervision, a common restructuring fund and common deposit insurance. It would take years to create. If done properly, it would require a change of national constitutions and European treaties, if only to redefine the role of the ECB. It is sheer madness to make crisis resolution contingent on the success of what would be the biggest European integration exercise in history [...]

It is hard to envisage an exit without breaching hundreds of national and European laws. This is why nobody is doing it. One would have to use a force majeure defence. One cannot prepare for such an event. It took a decade to create the euro. It will take more than a long weekend to undo it.
europe  economy  culture  politics  prediction  via:Taryn 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Trophic currencies: ecosystem modeling & resilient economies (@mbrakken)
Wealth is limited. We propose that value is infinite. Any currency isolates certain forms of value to transform into wealth, but those other forms of value remain even as they are undervalued. An economic system with a single currency will only recognize a very limited set of activities as valuable. As a consequence, many of the activities that constitute a functional community, and in turn a functional economy, lie outside of the value analysis of our existing economies. In this paper we present a theoretical currency model analogous to trophic food chains. As plants, grazers, and predators all have different perspective on value and operate accordingly, so do similar distinctions exist in society. We suggest that appropriately differentiated currencies from supranational currencies to regional, sectoral and down to timebanking and nonreciprocal exchanges can help better activate the value in the world, empowering communities and economies [...]

We have poor neighborhoods not because there is not enough money or it is improperly distributed but because we are trying to use the wrong tool for the job and limit ourselves to one perspective, denominated in one currency. Dollars do not represent local, neighborhood, or individual value. They do not represent the value of safe communities, civic participation, or thriving arts communities. Saying Wall Street should be able to valuate those types of activities is like saying wolves should eat sunlight. Similarly, saying that we should value the benefits of functional neighborhoods with dollars and euros is like saying plants should capture and consume protein. They can’t, they won’t, and we shouldn’t expect them to do so. That does not mean functional neighborhoods do not matter. Rather it means today's bank currencies are incapable of comprehending the infinite value of our neighborhoods.
economy  remake  ecology  wealth  currencies  A_Return  resilience  resilienteconomies  economics  via:Taryn 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Start the engines, Angela : The world economy is in grave danger. A lot depends on one woman [follow links]
The recessions in the euro zone’s periphery are deepening. Three consecutive months of feeble jobs figures suggest America’s recovery may be in trouble (see article). And the biggest emerging markets seem to have hit a wall. Brazil’s GDP is growing more slowly than Japan’s. India is a mess (see article). Even China’s slowdown is intensifying. A global recovery that falters so soon after the previous recession points towards widespread Japan-style stagnation.

But that looks like a good outcome when set beside the growing danger of a fracturing of the euro. The European Union, the world’s biggest economic area, could plunge into a spiral of bank busts, defaults and depression—a financial calamity to dwarf the mayhem unleashed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. The possibility of a Greek exit from the euro after its election on June 17th, the deterioration of Spain’s banking sector and the rapid disintegration of Europe’s cross-border capital flows have all increased this danger (see article).
world  europe  india  china  economy  doom!  via:Taryn 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Our common treasury in the last 30 years has been captured by industrial psychopaths. That's why we're nearly bankrupt."

"In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded. Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you're likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you're likely to go to business school.

This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills."
economics  economy  politics  inequality  wealth  occupywallstreet  georgemonbiot  uk  neoliberalism  psychopathy  risktaking  rewards  2011 
november 2011 by robertogreco
BBC News - In Steinbeck's footsteps: America's middle-class underclass
"In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck describes the harrowing journey of the Joad family - migrant workers forced to leave their home during the Great Depression - a story still relevant to those facing the realities of America's current economic crisis."<br />
<br />
"With the south-west in the grip of its worst drought for 60 years, old-timers here are beginning to talk about the Dust Bowl years, years Steinbeck chronicled in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book of migration, poverty and social injustice.<br />
<br />
I decided to retrace the route Steinbeck's fictional family took from Oklahoma City to Bakersfield, just north of Los Angeles. I hired a boaty old Mercury and put my foot down."
immigration  recession  unemployment  economy  johnsteinbeck  grapesofwrath  greatdepression  greatrecession  economics  2011  tentcities  poverty  oklahoma  newmexico  arizona  california  migration 
july 2011 by robertogreco
VIDEO: America Is NOT Broke | MichaelMoore.com
"400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.…<br />
<br />
America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!<br />
<br />
Madison, do not retreat.  We are with you. We will win together."
economy  wealth  income  michaelmoore  inequality  incomegap  economics  classwarfare  us  wisconsin  2011  budget  budgetcuts  finance  society  unions  collectivebargaining 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Housing in Ten Words « The Baseline Scenario
"Housing is generally a worse investment than either stocks or simple U.S. Treasury bonds. Then why do so many people think it’s such a great investment?" [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/1003282676]
economy  economics  finance  housing  investment  us  markets 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Innovation Grows Among Older Workers - Newsweek
"It turns out that many of the most common stereotypes about aging are dead wrong. Take the cliché of the youthful entrepreneur. As it turns out, the average founder of a high-tech startup isn’t a whiz-kid graduate, but a mature 40-year-old engineer or business type with a spouse and kids who simply got tired of working for others, says Duke University scholar Vivek Wadhwa, who studied 549 successful technology ventures. What’s more, older entrepreneurs have higher success rates when they start companies. That’s because they have accumulated expertise in their technological fields, have deep knowledge of their customers’ needs, and have years of developing a network of supporters (often including financial backers). “Older entrepreneurs are just able to build companies that are more advanced in their technology and more sophisticated in the way they deal with customers,” Wadhwa says."
aging  business  economy  employment  research  innovation  creativity  age  entrepreneurship  cv  experience  stereotypes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Are the American people obsolete? - U.S. Economy - Salon.com
"Have American people outlived their usefulness to rich minority in the US? A number of trends suggest the answer may be yes.

In every industrial democracy since end of WWII, there has been a social contract btwn the few & many. In return for receiving disproportionate amount of gains from economic growth in capitalist economy, rich paid disproportionate % of taxes needed for public goods & safety net for majority.

In N America & Europe, economic elite agreed to this bargain because they needed ordinary people as consumers & soldiers. W/out mass consumption, factories in which rich invested would grind to halt. W/out universal conscription in world wars, & selective conscription during Cold War, US & its allies might have failed to defeat totalitarian empires that would have created a world order hostile to market economy.

Globalization eliminated 1st reason for rich to continue supporting this bargain at nation-state level, while privatization of military threatens other…"
northamerica  globalization  economy  economics  future  outsourcing  rich  money  capitalism  immigration  politics  history  michaellind  class  disparity  emmigration  labor  war  military  privitazation  elite  socialdemocracy  taxes  society  poverty  international  capital 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Last Psychiatrist: This Is Why The American Dream Is Out Of Reach [responding to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/business/economy/07generation.html?pagewanted=all]
"his parents themselves did not follow Scott's path: grandfather…& dad…were right at the start of businesses, they didn't slide into middle management at Sterility Corp. But after taking those chances that ultimately resulted in prosperity & blah blah blah, they taught their children to do the opposite: look for new parents. Someone else to pay the life insurance policy…<br />
<br />
The parents & grandparents, like so many parents today, are disappointed in their son because he's not taking their advice, but in fact their son is taking their advice to its inevitable conclusion: he's holding out for the perfect corporate job. What they meant to advise him was to improvise towards a career like hopping a creek; but what they taught him to do was wait for the package…<br />
<br />
Where Scott is going wrong is not that he is holding out for a "better" job that isn't there; he's holding out for a job that shouldn't be there. We don't need more corporate management guys…What we need are more businesses."
business  economics  economy  employment  management  parenting  psychology  success  entrepreneurship  us  americandream  risk  security  jobs  unemployment  greatrecession  risktaking  highered  bubbles  higheredbubble  generations 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
"Objects can be designed to low price, but cannot be crafted to low price." But if we stop valuing—& buying—craftsmanship, very idea of making something w/ care & expertise is destined to die & something of us as human beings will die along w/ it: "A bricklayer, carpenter, teacher, musician, salesperson, writer of computer code—any & all can be craftsmen. Craftsmanship cements relationship btwn buyer & seller, worker & employer, & expects something of both...is about caring about work & its application...what distinguishes work of humans from work of machines & it is everything that IKEA & other discounters are not."...
books  walmart  ikea  globalization  consumerism  environment  economy  economics  china  cheap  design  consumption  politics  labor  bargains  sustainability  stuff  society  relationships  craft  time  slow  human  humans  humanity  craftsmanship 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Cultivated Play: Farmville | MediaCommons
"if Farmville is laborious to play & aesthetically boring, why are so many people playing it?...answer is disarmingly simple: people are playing Farmville because people are playing Farmville..."

[via: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/06/29/farmville with this addition "Says DF reader James Murray via email, FarmVille is like a “Ponzi scheme of attention.”" ]
facebook  farmville  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  zynga  psychology  gamedesign  games  gaming  howardzinn  economy  education  design  culture  business  socialmedia  social  technology  media  politics  online  play  society  sociology  toshare  topost  classideas  civics  responsibility  citizenship  community  policy  corporations  manipulation  profit 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Why the Immigration Issue May Just Fade Away - Newsweek
"A little-known, but enormously significant, demographic development has been unfolding south of our border. The fertility rate in Mexico—whose emigrants account for a majority of the United States’ undocumented population—has undergone one of the steepest declines in history, from about 6.7 children per woman in 1970 to about 2.1 today, according to World Bank figures. That makes it roughly equal to the U.S. rate and puts it at what demographers call “replacement level,” the point at which women are having just enough babies to sustain the current population. In coming years it’s expected to dip even further. Other countries in Latin America have experienced a similar drop, though not as sharp. All of which means that the ranks of those “invading” hordes are thinning—rapidly."
demographics  economy  immigration  trends  us  arizona  1970  2010  ariancampo-flores  borders  economics  fertility  birthrate  population  mexico  latinamerica  birthcontrol  education 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
"Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves. Recession isn't sustainable or healthy either. The positive, sustainable alternative is a steady state economy."

[via: http://doblog.tumblr.com/post/640466040/enough ]
civilization  biodiversity  education  sustainability  environment  economics  economy  ecology  conservation  money  policy  politics  growth  green  bailout  recession  well-being 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Milton Friedman did not save Chile | Naomi Klein | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk [see also: http://www.salon.com/tech/htww/2010/03/03/chicago_boys_and_the_chilean_earthquake_2/index.html]
"since deregulation caused worldwide economic meltdown...hasn't been easy to be fanatic of...Milton Friedman. So widely discredited...admirers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories...particularly distasteful case...Just 2 days after Chile...earthquake, WSJ columnist Bret Stephens informed readers that Milton Friedman's "spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile" because, "thanks largely to him, country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been apocalypse … not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick – & Haitians in houses of straw –when wolf arrived to try to blow them down." According to Stephens, radical free-market policies prescribed to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by Milton Friedman &..."Chicago Boys" are reason Chile is prosperous nation w/ "some of the world's strictest building codes."...problem with this theory: Chile's modern seismic building code, drafted to resist earthquakes, was adopted in 1972."
capitalism  chile  economics  economy  foreignpolicy  latinamerica  naomiklein  neoliberalism  pinochet  earthquakes  2010  buildingcodes  miltonfriedman 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Wall Street's Bailout Hustle : Rolling Stone
"the biggest gift the bankers got in the bailout was not fiscal but psychological. "The most valuable part of bailout was implicit guarantee that they're Too Big to Fail." Instead of liquidating & prosecuting insolvent institutions that took us all down with them in giant Ponzi scheme, we have showered them with money & guarantees and all sorts of other enabling gestures. & what should really freak everyone out is the fact that Wall Street immediately started skimming off its own rescue money. If the bailouts validated anew the crooked psychology of the bubble, the recent profit & bonus numbers show that the same psychology is back, thriving, & looking for new disasters to create. "It's evidence that they still don't get it."
matttaibbi  banking  goldmansachs  corruption  finance  business  policy  wallstreet  fraud  bailout  economics  politics  economy  crisis  aig  2010 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The case for economic rights: FDR said it and it holds 66 years later: There are benefits and opportunities every American should expect to enjoy - U.S. Economy - Salon.com
"In the ideal America of economic citizenship, there would be a single, universal, integrated, lifelong system of economic security including single-payer healthcare, Social Security, unemployment payments and family leave paid for by a single contributory payroll tax (which could be made progressive in various ways or reduced by combination with other revenue streams). Funding for all programs would be entirely nationalized, although states could play a role in administration. There would still be supplementary private markets in health and retirement products and services for the affluent, but most middle-class Americans would continue to rely primarily on the simple, user-friendly public system of economic security."
rights  economy  fdr  us  policy  human  healthcare  retirement  welfare  libertarianism  corporatism  corporations  capitalism  freemarkets  socialsecurity  economics  markets  via:cburell 
january 2010 by robertogreco
How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room | Mark Lynas | Environment | The Guardian
"Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen. ... Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China's century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower's freedom of action. I left Copenhagen more despondent than I have felt in a long time. After all the hope and all the hype, the mobilisation of thousands, a wave of optimism crashed against the rock of global power politics, fell back, and drained away."
politics  environment  change  international  barackobama  climate  china  globalwarming  climatechange  copenhagen  economy  geopolitics  blame  2009  global  green  un 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Mute magazine - Culture and politics after the net
"California dreaming turns to California nightmare as decades of agribusiness, real estate development and exploitation of migrant workers take their toxic toll. Gifford Hartman takes us on a guided tour of the Golden State's darkside"
technology  art  culture  internet  economics  media  geography  activism  michaelpollan  california  politics  capitalism  crisis  economy  ecology  marxism  us  agribusiness  agriculture  realestate  labor  via:grahamje 
december 2009 by robertogreco
California's deficit of common sense -- latimes.com
"This is the usual problem of the United States, which is not just the richest and most powerful nation on Earth now, but on Earth ever, and one of the most blessed in terms of natural resources. We just collectively make loopy decisions about how to distribute the money and water, and we could make other decisions. Whether or not those priorities will change, we could at least have a reality-based conversation about them...Turn­ing Cal­i­for­nia into a Third World nation where the envi­ron­ment is neglected, a lot of peo­ple are gen­uinely des­per­ate and a lot of the young have a hard time get­ting an edu­ca­tion or just can’t get one doesn’t ben­e­fit anyone. We're not poor in money or water. We've just chosen to allocate them in ways that benefit tiny minorities at the expense of the rest of us. We should at least have a conversation about how we distribute our abundant resources. Derek is right: California is a place of abundance, except when it comes to political sense."
us  california  money  water  resources  budget  policy  politics  economics  thirdworld  economy  agriculture  latimes  culture  society  2009  priorities  education  colleges  universities  farming 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Will California become America's first failed state? | World news | The Observer
"Los Angeles, 2009: California may be the eighth largest economy in the world, but its state government is issuing IOUs, unemployment is at its highest in 70 years, and teachers are on hunger strike. So what has gone so catastrophically wrong?"
california  creditcrunch  society  government  recession  healthcare  environment  economics  politics  future  crisis  finance  failedstate  financialcrisis  budget  2009  us  state  economy 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Index Mundi - Country Facts
"This site contains detailed country information compiled from multiple sources."
demographics  data  geography  global  maps  statistics  world  reference  research  international  countries  economics  economy  charts  business  database  facts 
february 2007 by robertogreco

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