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A style guide for writing about the rich – Donald Borenstein – Medium
"HOW TO WRITE ABOUT THE RICH (see below for explanation)

1: Do not broadly attribute a company’s work to their owner/CEO. 
2: It is always relevant to note how people have accumulated wealth, and who they have harmed to do so. Never omit it. 
3: Be skeptical and don’t just publish a wealthy person’s claims or without doing due diligence or offering a critical corollary.
4: Don’t trip over yourself to humanize a rich person and make them look good — you’re a journalist, not a PR person. 
5: Don’t let it all be about them. 
6: It’s not fucking news if a rich person likes Rick and Morty or whatever.
7: If you’re writing from a place of personal perspective, you should write about them with the same bilious contempt they have for human life."

[via: https://tinyletter.com/audreywatters/letters/hewn-no-252 ]
wealth  rich  inequality  2018  donaldborenstein  pr  exploitation  hagiography  cultofpersonality  labor  work 
february 2018 by robertogreco
James Meek · Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity · LRB 18 February 2016
"How like the Middle Ages, if it were so. Behind the twisted rhetoric of a hardworking majority oppressed by a welfare-mad government, a modern version of the medieval world has been constructed, one where the real poor are taxed more heavily than the rich; where most of those who are not rich are burdened by an onerous roster of fees and monopolies levied by remote, unaccountable private landlords; and where many of us live out our lives shackled to an endless chain of private debt.

Since the Thatcher revolution in 1979, British governments have boasted of how they’ve lowered taxes. And they have, except for one section of society: the poorest 20 per cent. In 1977, the least well-off fifth of households paid 37 per cent of their gross income in direct taxes (like income tax) and indirect taxes (like VAT), against 38 per cent for the richest fifth. In 2014, the tax take from the poorest group had gone up to 37.8 per cent, while the taxes paid by the richest had gone down to less than 35 per cent.

Not only does this understate the extent of tax cuts for the top 1 per cent; it shows only part of the burden borne by the least well off. Piketty writes that ‘modern redistribution does not consist in transferring income from the rich to the poor, at least not in so explicit a way. It consists rather in financing public services and replacement incomes that are more or less equal for everyone, especially in the areas of health, education and pensions.’ This is a very cautious definition of the modern social state. Health, education and social security make up the lion’s share of public spending, but they’re intimately linked to a wider set of networks that includes energy, water and transport and, some would argue, should include housing. What these networks have in common is that society has decided they’re essential, and therefore should be universal – that is, we think everyone should have access to them, all the time. The significance of this is that, on the one hand, society takes on itself the obligation to give its poorest members access to these networks, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford; and, on the other, payment to use these networks, if it isn’t funded out of general taxation, becomes in itself a tax, particularly when that network is a monopoly. In Britain, many of these universal networks, such as electricity and water, have been privatised, often twice – once to put them on the stock market, once to put them into the hands of overseas owners. Bills for these services have increased faster than inflation, and take little account of people’s ability to pay. It is the poorest, then, who as well as paying the heaviest combination of indirect and direct taxation bear the brunt of such hybrid public-private taxes as the water tax and the electricity tax.

Other universal networks, such as health and education, haven’t been privatised, but have been through another process that makes them ripe for the introduction of flat fees for usage in future. This process really got going under Labour, and it is a sign of the liberal left’s failure to recognise what it has done that there isn’t a name for it. One word to describe it might be ‘autonomisation’ – the process by which state-run bodies continue to be funded by the state but are run autonomously on a non-profit basis. So state secondary schools become academies, NHS hospitals become NHS foundation trusts, and council estates are transferred to housing associations. The British state is in a condition of rolling abdication, leaving behind a partly privatised, partly autonomised set of universal networks, increasingly run by absentee landlords in the form of global companies and overseas corporate investors, that is disproportionately funded by the poorest payers of taxes, fees and duties, many of whom are also deep in debt.

There is a cynical view which says that as long as the majority of the population feel they’re doing all right, a democratically elected government is safe to squeeze the poor and pamper the rich. But cynicism is a risky thing to rely on when a government is simultaneously cutting spending and shedding control of the universal networks on which its entire population relies. As Hobsbawm writes in Bandits, ‘concentration of power in the modern territorial state is what eventually eliminated rural banditry, endemic or epidemic. At the end of the 20th century it looks as though this situation might be coming to an end, and the consequences of this regression of state power cannot yet be foreseen.’ We’re a long way from the return of the literal outlaw to Nottinghamshire. But we need to remember the insight given our ancestors when they saw through the illusion of the Robin Hood myth, when they saw that the strongbox of silver coins wasn’t just money stolen from each of them individually, but power robbed from them collectively, and that they needed to wield that power collectively as much as they needed their money back. For sure, freedom to choose is a grand thing, and the market will try to help you exercise it. With a bit of money in the bank, a middle-class family might choose to send their child to private school, provided by the market; but that same family can’t choose to build and maintain a universal education network by itself, and the market won’t provide it. With money, you can choose to buy a car, and the market will provide it; but you can’t choose, all by yourself, to build and maintain a universal road network, and the market won’t provide it. To make and keep universal networks requires the authority of the state, an authority that has been absent; and it’s hard to see where that authority might come from if the people don’t find a way to assert their kingship."
2016  jamesmeek  capitalism  politics  policy  welfare  poor  class  rich  wealthdistribution  inequality  taxes  taxation  health  education  thomaspiketty  neoliberalism  autonomization  housing  uk  finance  davidcameron  margaretthatcher  ronaldreagan  stephenharper  us  canada  australia  marcorubio  georgeosborne  power  money  economics  labor  erichobsbawm  government  markets  universalnetworks  infrastructure  via:anabjain 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Self-Interest Spurs Society’s ‘Elite’ to Lie, Cheat on Tasks, Study Finds - Bloomberg
"The pursuit of self-interest is a “fundamental motive among society’s elite, & the increased want associated with greater wealth and status can promote wrongdoing,” Piff and his colleagues wrote yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The “upper class,” as defined by the study, were more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiation, cheat to raise their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work, the research found. The solution, Piff said, is to find a way to increase empathy among wealthier people.

“It’s not that the rich are innately bad, but as you rise in the ranks -- whether as a person or a nonhuman primate -- you become more self-focused,” Piff said. “You can change that by reminding upper-class people of the needs of others. That may not be their default, but have them do it is sufficient to increase their patterns of altruistic behavior.”"

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/27303050411/ ]
altruism  empathy  ethics  lying  dishonesty  upperclass  self-interest  inequality  rich  1%  wealth  psychology  greed 
july 2012 by robertogreco
A Story More Important than Debt Limit Kabuki | Informed Comment
"The reason that the Republicans deliberately destroyed the balanced budget and created unprecedented government debt was precisely in hopes that at some point they could use the debt as an excuse to destroy social security, medicare, and myriads of educational and health programs. They represent rich people, and the rich don’t want to be having to bear their fair share of the national burden. What better way to get out of having to pay those pesky taxes than making sure the government doesn’t do anything for anyone but the rich.<br />
<br />
So everything unfolding in Washington was planned out in a room in 2001, and is going according to plan."
juancole  crisis  2011  2001  wealth  wealthy  debtlimitkabuki  debtceiling  debtcrisis  government  classwarfare  rich  budget  budgetcuts  taxes  finance 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Tax the Super Rich now or face a revolution Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch
"1. Warning: Super Rich want tax cuts, creating youth unemployment… 2. Warning: rich get richer on commodity prices, poor get angrier… 3. Warning: Global poor ticking time bomb targeting Super Rich… 4. Warning: Next revolution coming across ‘Third World America’… 5. Warning: Super Rich must be detoxed of their greed addiction… 6. Warning: Politicians infected by Super-Rich Delusion, revolution"
politics  economics  taxes  us  superrich  wealth  2011  thirdworldamerica  poor  poverty  unemployment  disparity  incomegap  global  rich  youth  revolution  paulfarrell  greed  instabiity  greatdepression  greatrecession  greatrepression  commodities  food  wealthdistribution  instability 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Robert Reich (The Republican Shakedown)
"You can’t fight something with nothing. But as long as Democrats refuse to talk about the almost unprecedented buildup of income, wealth, and power at the top – and the refusal of the super-rich to pay their fair share of the nation’s bills – Republicans will convince people it’s all about government and unions."
politics  economics  us  money  policy  axes  wealth  rich  robertreich  2011  republicans  democrats  government  unions  disparity  incomegap  wealthdistribution 
february 2011 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
Taking Note: The Real Scandal
"If AIG spent $160 million on bonuses ...out of $30 billion bailout it received...from American taxpayer, what proportion...did not go to bonuses?... 99.5%...AIG is as pure as Ivory soap...bonuses are smaller than small change. What is shocking about the bailouts begun by Bush & continuing under Obama is how huge they are...impossible to imagine numbers involved except when they are set against one another...country that uses mind-boggling masses of resources to produce mind-boggling masses of output...economic crisis is showing us that policy battles of most years are concerned with nickles & dimes. Earmarks worth $8 billion – pennies...cost of healthcare for children – nickels...Social Security shortfall after 2041 – dimes. The really big money in the economy is as hard to grasp as distance to nearest star. We need to think not in miles but in light years of spending...2002-06...73% of additional income went to top 1% of households...system has failed...over last several decades"
crisis  aig  bailouts  money  numbers  economics  via:cburell  wealth  society  rich  poor  us  capitalism  georgewbush  barackobama  billclinton  bonuses  policy  politics  healthcare  socialsecurity  earmarks 
march 2009 by robertogreco
3quarksdaily - Below the Fold: A World without the Rich
"If Americans examined the deeper damage that the rich do to society, perhaps they might be willing to try cutting the rich down to size. Let’s look at how the rich damage American society."
us  wealth  economics  society  politics  money  government  corruption  policy  power  control  health  medicine  hospitals  universities  colleges  equality  freedom  meritocracy  elitism  philanthropy  influence  rich  consumerism  consumption  development 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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