On the steps of the city courthouse, a monument to equality and the rule of law, Baltimore residents have learned how dreams can be brutally deferred. There, the property of the city’s poor and working families has been, by order of the court, auctioned to the highest bidder.
President Barack Obama and his corporate allies are starting their campaign to manipulate and pressure Congress to ram through the “pull-down-on-America” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and foreign investment treaty between twelve nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam).
Most world leaders seem to believe that economic growth is a panacea for many of society’s problems. Yet there are many links between our society’s addiction to economic growth, the disturbing ecological crisis, the rapid rise of social inequality and the decline in the quality of democracy.
Here’s a game to play over dinner. One person names a profession that they believe can’t be taken over by a machine, and another person has to make a case why it’s not so future-proof. We played this game on an upcoming episode of SBS’s Insight on the topic of the future of robots and artificial intelligence.
After working a computer job on Wall Street for three years, Mason Wartman wanted to try something new. He opened Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Little did he know that his pizza shop would soon help feed local homeless people and receive global attention.
Many believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that “I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.”
I know a high school senior who’s so worried about whether she’ll be accepted at the college of her choice she can’t sleep. The parent of another senior tells me he stands at the mailbox for an hour every day waiting for a hoped-for acceptance letter to arrive.
On rare occasions, a book frames an issue so powerfully that it sets the terms of all future debate. Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis may do just this for the growing gulf between America’s rich and poor.
More schooling and harder problems may be the best explanation for the dramatic rise in IQ scores—often referred to as the Flynn Effect—during the past century, a new study reports.
Crude oil prices have dropped dramatically since last summer. Strangely, over the same time period, gasoline prices have fallen much less. If a barrel of oil today costs less than half what it did last summer, why hasn’t the price people pay at the pump decreased a similar amount?
At a time when mounting student debt is dominating news, students across America are leaving nearly $3 billion in federal financial aid on the table each year. That this happens is often simply because a potential student doesn’t fill out the FAFSA, (free application for federal student aid) form, that funds aren’t dispensed.
Public banks in North Dakota, Germany and Switzerland have been shown to outperform their private counterparts. Under the TPP and TTIP, however, publicly-owned banks on both sides of the oceans might wind up getting sued for unfair competition because they have advantages not available to private banks.
Franchisees, consultants, and free lancers, construction workers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, office technicians, even workers in hair salons. What they all have in common is they’re not considered “employees” of the companies they work for. They’re “independent contractors” – which puts all of them outside the labor laws, too – contributing directly to low pay, irregular hours, and job insecurity.
If we want to see well-being and health improve, policies that promote a greener economy should be pursued. Redefining what we think of as prosperity, encouraging the consumption of green goods and services – and moving away from an emphasis on material consumption – could save governments money, as well as lead to better lives for its citizens.
Often seen in art and business, hybrid solutions are gaining increased attention in education. In the classroom, the blend of traditional and new teaching methods, and the mix of online and face-to-face learning – known as the “hybrid classroom” – is posing profound questions about the lessons of the future.
There are two million home care workers in the United States. They change diapers, administer medications, bathe and dress people and transfer the immobile from one place to another.
The economy added 257,000 jobs in January for an average gain of 336,000 over the last three months. More importantly, the report showed that real wages grew by 1.5% in 2014, the biggest gain since before the Great Recession. And job openings rose 3.7% in January, the biggest increase since 2001, signaling companies are having a hard time filling positions, which should put more upward pressure on wages.
Nestled in the woods of central Minnesota, near a large lake, is a nature sanctuary called the Audubon Center of the North Woods. The nonprofit rehabilitates birds. It hosts retreats and conferences. It's home to a North American porcupine named Spike as well as several birds of prey, frogs, and snakes used to educate the center's visitors.
Narendra Varma loves chocolate. However, he’s also co-founder of Our Table Cooperative, a farm and grocery cooperative that aims to provide locally sourced, organically grown food to the city of Sherwood, Oregon. That means his love of chocolate is complicated.
The Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) in the greater Washington DC area helps over 130 churches, synagogues, schools and other institutions save money and make investments in environmental sustainability, worker equity, and community organizing.
For years people have been running around Washington yelling that the United States was at risk of becoming Greece. There may actually be a basis for such concerns, but not for the reason usually given.
The health of a nation is often measured in economic terms – how much a country chooses to spend, where that money comes from, what it spends it on and how much that money translates into quality of care. This infographic shows how health expenditure, access to care and health outcomes compare with seven other OECD countries.
A major milestone on the road to ridding Africa of polluting and dangerous kerosene lamps has been passed with the sale of solar lights reaching 1.5 million. Many of the 600 million people who are still without electricity in Africa rely on home-made kerosene lamps for lighting − putting themselves in danger from fire, toxic black smoke, and eye damage.
My recent column about the growth of on-demand jobs like Uber making life less predictable and secure for workers unleashed a small barrage of criticism from some who contend that workers get what they’re worth in the market.
A new batch of Australian five-year-olds has just started school, eager to learn to read and write. Unfortunately for them, English has one of the most difficult spelling systems of any language, thanks to the way it developed.
How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?
After 30 years, the practice of paying every resident—including children—at least $1,000 has made Alaska one of the least unequal states in America. Here's what the rest of us can learn.
If ever we wanted a reminder of how global capitalism has got things wrong, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa serves the purpose well. Our assumption that economic growth is essential is not only a feature of markets and politics, it also feeds into our thinking on development goals such as poverty reduction.
Not since the 1960s has a sitting President engaged in issues around higher education as frequently as Barack Obama. He’s had little choice.
An independent, civil society organization campaigning for a fairer sharing of wealth, power and resources, Share the World's Resources recently released Sharing As Our Common Cause, a report detailing all the ways sharing can act as a unifying force to address multiple planetary crises.
After President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night, today’s discussion has largely focused on his tax proposals. While these are important measures, two other areas he addressed raise issues that will have at least as many consequences.
It’s time to pay attention to a startling stealth killer. What’s the leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries?
Farmers in the high Himalayas partner with a U.S.–based nonprofit to cultivate medicinal plants — and the environmental and economic benefits they offer. Nepalese residents learn cultivation skills needed to move their medicinal plant enterprises from foraging to farming — an environmental and economic win-win.
No one disputes the importance of affordable access to high-speed internet for economic growth in the 21st century. The United States has seen consistent and rapid growth in its broadband infrastructure since the internet became popular in the 1990s, offering more households and businesses connectivity at faster speeds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released its Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases, the second in a series tracking worldwide progress in the prevention and control of cancers, lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It focuses on how to reach the internationally agreed overarching target of a 25% reduction of premature mortality from these four major non-communicable diseases by 2025.
Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important.
Jobs are coming back, but pay isn’t. The median wage is still below where it was before the Great Recession. Last month, average pay actually fell. What’s going on?
Germany has sent the message that a Greek exit from the eurozone might be the lesser of two evils. It has been interpreted as a warning to the Greek electorate ahead of its January 25 election as left-wing party Syriza runs on a platform of easing the country’s debt and austerity burden.
One of the big end of the year sports news items was Jim Harbaugh leaving the San Francisco 49ers to become head football coach at the University of Michigan.
The conventional image of suburbia is one of bland affluence and social homogeneity. Suburbs are where the middle classes aspire to make their nests. They are the idealised safe havens for raising children and growing old. They are where white people migrate to flee ethnic diversity.
A modest change in an accounting rule is normally too much inside baseball to attract notice. But a proposal by the institutions that set accounting standards for publicly traded companies is prompting criticism from Congress and corporate America, backed by estimates that the change could kill millions of US jobs.
Oil prices have now almost halved in six months to below $60/barrel thanks to OPEC’s refusal to cut production. This means all the member countries are revising their government spending policies. While countries such as Iran and Venezuela face an imminent fiscal crisis, the short-term ramifications for the Arabian peninsula’s oil monarchies are less dramatic.
Department stores and other brick-and-mortar retailers registered another lackluster holiday shopping season, while online sales have remained upbeat since Cyber Monday. As more consumers spend a larger share of their dollars online, does this signal the days of shopping at department stores and shopping malls are numbered?
Apple’s product launches are covered with breathless enthusiasm usually reserved for royal weddings and vaccines for dread diseases. The recent launch of the iPhone6 featured an exciting new technology - ApplePay - which, if widely adopted, will allow Apple’s discerning customers to make electronic payments from their phones in situations where they would have used credit cards or cash.
Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster.
Let me tell you about this one stretch of Hillsborough Road in Durham, North Carolina. It’s between two freeways, just a short drive from the noble towers of Duke University, and in the space of about a mile, you will find a McDonald’s, a Cracker Barrel, a Wendy’s, a Chick-fil-A, an Arby’s, a Waffle House, a Bojangles’, a Biscuitville, a Subway, a Taco Bell, and a KFC.
It is a sobering thought that in ten years, around 65% of the jobs that people will be doing have not even been thought of yet, according to the US Department of Labor.
With the holiday season upon us, the time for end of year lists is fast-approaching. To beat the rush, today I give my list of the top dead and enduring myths of 2014.
Religious aspects aside, for many people Christmas has been that unique time of the year when the demands of work finally disappear, if only for a brief period. We get a well-deserved break, time to indulge in fatty food, drink more than we should, and quarrel with people we love and hate...
Imagine if a corporation used Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounting to do its books: it would be adding all its income and expenses together to get a final number.
On the weekend of November 16th, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking.
The subprime crisis and the subsequent failure of Lehman Brothers came as such a shock – and the repercussions were so severe that when the time came to mount a response, policy makers were as surprised as the rest of us and woefully unprepared.
It’s no secret that the global population is ageing. We’re living longer than ever and are healthier until much later in life. But we’re still struggling to adapt to this changing demographic – and some are struggling more than most.
Instead of loaning students money, the federal government could just pay for their tuition, without causing any significant economic problems. Last month, Lower Saxony became the final state in Germany to abolish tuition for all students at public universities.
The fragmentation of global production has dramatically increased the length and complexity of supply chains. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than half of the world’s manufactured imports are intermediate goods.
Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the minimum-wage hike won’t cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.
Despite enormous economic growth over the past 200 years, developed and developing countries alike are failing to tackle crime and environmental problems, a major report from the OECD has concluded.
How do corporate attorneys sleep at night considering that with the power of their large corporate clients, they often crush the freedoms of workers, consumers and small communities who are trying to break out of a complex web of shackles?
After the global financial crisis in 2008, economics was in disarray. Even the Queen was moved to chide economists for failing to warn about the build-up of debt in households and banks in the major economies and the threat this posed to the global economy.
There has been much publicity in recent years about China and its teachers. After the most recent results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were published in 2013, considerable discussion has focused on the reasons why Chinese students’ test results are more than 100 points above the PISA average.
Since June 30 2014, all UK employees have been granted the right to request flexible working. It is clearly an important step in the battle to achieve some form of balance between our work and non-work lives, but it looks like a tricky battle. Research still shows that there are gaps between the idealised outcomes and realities...
Many people nearing retirement saw much of their savings disappear as the stock market collapsed, house prices plummeted and they lost their jobs during their peak savings years. This meant that millions of workers had to draw down their savings at a point where they had planned to be accumulating wealth for retirement.
Involuntary part-time employment has fallen by 670,000 over the last year, however it's still up by almost 3 million from its pre-recession level. While there would seem to be a very simple and obvious explanation for this one -- weak demand in the economy -- you can't employ many people saying the obvious. Hence we see a lot of nonsense in the media on the topic.
In the 4th century BC, Athens and nine other Greek city states defaulted on their loans from the Temple of Apollo at Delos. It was the first recorded financial crisis. Nearly 25 centuries of human evolution, progress and technological advancement later, the modern nation of Greece defaulted in 2012 as a sovereign debt panic seized Europe.
Has the United States finally reached peak sprawl? Recent research, including a new study out of the George Washington University School of Business, suggests that the end of the era of automobile-oriented suburban growth is upon us.
Having poor people in the richest country in the world is a choice. We have the money to solve this. But do we have the will? Inequality and poverty are suddenly hot topics, not only in the United States but also across the globe.
Recently we have seen, at the level of city government, all around policies designed to build community wealth and encourage the growth of cooperative local economies. The work of grassroots developers, local foundations, community activists, and field builders is beginning to gain a foothold in the world of municipal policy...
Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours, and family health insurance. With an investment of $1.2 million into the cooperative sector, New York City is hoping to build on the group's success.
The summer employment rate for U.S. teens held steady at around 50% from 1950 to 2000, but began to decline dramatically in the 21st century. By 2009, it had fallen below 33%. The decline has been most pronounced for more educated and economically advantaged teens.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) management just ran into a possible game-changing obstacle to its shameful pursuit of a fully privatized post office: labor solidarity.
Over the past two decades, the amount of money a college student must borrow to pay for their education has doubled. The graduates of 2014 now sit at the top of the class in student debt. Tuition fees have risen dramatically as household incomes have stagnated, at best, causing some 70 percent of students to fund their higher educations through loans.
In the 1980s, corporate CEOs were paid, on average, 30 times what their typical worker was paid. Since then, CEO pay has skyrocketed to 280 times the pay of a typical worker; in big companies, to 354 times.
Throughout history, local currencies have been used not only as a way to survive during periods of economic uncertainty, but also as a bold way to opt out of a global monetary system that many find exclusionary and, in some cases, corrupt. The only thing that gives modern money value is the fact that...
The pertinent question is not whether income and wealth inequality is good or bad. It is at what point do these inequalities become so great as to pose a serious threat to our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.
In Missouri thousands of independent small and mid-size family hog farmers have gone out of business because they don’t have access to a fair market. “Because of massive corporate control of the market, we’ve lost 91 percent of hog producers in Missouri since 1985. That’s over 20,000 farmers and many, many jobs in our rural communities.”
Thomas Piketty's "Capital In The 21st Century" is certainly the the biggest economic book sold in this century, having reached # 1 book status on Amazon. It may also be the most important book. No doubt it will become the book some in the "money class" most love to hate.
The fact that McDonald’s can consistently sell a Bacon McDouble burger for a dollar seems preposterous; it’s a wonder we have a large-scale meat industry at all, much less a highly profitable one.
For centuries, coastal wetlands were considered worthless. A mounting body of research is demonstrating that coastal habitats are vital, valuable components of healthy coastal communities and economies. It’s time to acknowledge the environmental and economic value of restoring these ecosystems...
We’re in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy
One of the worst epithets that can be leveled at a politician these days is to call him a “redistributionist.” Yet 2013 marked one of the biggest redistributions in recent American history. It was a redistribution upward, from average working people to the owners of America.
Though it’s certainly easier to find local, sustainably grown meat and produce in America than it was 20 years ago, the deck nevertheless remains stacked against small farmers and sellers who would feed the steadily increasing demand for such fare. Many of our food-production system’s most dangerous and unsustainable practices...
In a way, nothing could be simpler. I can still hear Carol Peppe Hewitt saying at a Slow Money national gathering: “It really isn’t complicated. There are local food entrepreneurs who need money and local investors looking for good places to put their money. We just need to connect them.”
As far as Mark Dimondstein is concerned, the members of the Postal Workers are going to be out in the streets even more than they already are. Their causes? Increasing revenues for the Postal Service, stopping its creeping privatization, via Staples stores, by the Postmaster General
America has a serious “We” problem — as in “Why should we pay for them?” The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor.
Your instincts may be telling you otherwise, but the global economy will be strengthening in 2014, according to two major reports released in recent weeks. In an improvement over 2013’s global economic growth of 2.1 percent, we will see a 3 percent rise this year and a bump up to 3.3 percent in 2015...
Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the thirty years following World War II? Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons...
America’s savage inequality is the main reason equal opportunity is fading and poverty is growing. Since the “recovery” began, 95% of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, and median incomes have dropped. This is a continuation of the trend we’ve seen for decades. As a result...
Last year, when Maryland lawmakers refused to act on bills to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10, Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties joined the District of Columbia to create the first regional minimum wage compact at $11.50 an hour
While it is hard for the time being as consumers to avoid the big boys altogether, we can pick those that are responsible good citizens, live by the golden rule, and who treat their employees humanely. In the end we all live cooperatively whether we choose to accept it or not...
Usually it is better to assume the best of people for it really is difficult to know what is in someone's heart. That said many in the modern Republican "conservative" party show every sign of being either mentally challenged, guilty of projection with increasing regularity, or they are just intentionally deceiving anyone who is listening with a blank mental slaten.
You’ve heard the refrain “we live in the information age.” We have fingertip access to the Internet, providing us with massive amounts of information. There are no longer any excuses for us to say we don’t have the information; it is there, but up to us to act on the information. The above is all true but very incomplete
Wealth of half the world’s population now the same as that of tiny elite. Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population, worldwide development organization Oxfam warns in a report published today.
Methane leaks in natural gas pipelines have long been a concern with the shale gas and fracking boom in Pennsylvania, Colorado and elsewhere. A new study shows methane leaks are also a hazard in major U.S. cities, posing an explosion risk and a threat to the climate.
As a 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health indicates, even those who have deep knowledge in this area and work directly with the homeless often have difficulty assessing patterns and needs. Further, the problem’s deep and sometimes hidden causes, the diversity of stories of those affected, and the often-invisible nature of life on the streets complicate attempts to quantify the true size and nature of the homeless population
In 2007 members of the homeless community in Olympia, Wash., erected a tent city in a downtown parking lot to protest the lack of services and support. Predictably, the city government responded with arrests and shutting down the encampment
What must be understood is that mental bandwidth is a limited resource which is used for everything. So what happens if we can make some things, like banking, easier for the poor ?
Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his "war on poverty," which led to many of the federal and state initiatives low-income Americans rely on today
Deregulation brings us cramped airplane seats and increased TV ads. The skies and airwaves are commons owned by all of us together. That’s the reason why airlines and broadcasting were once regulated—to protect the public’s interest.
When thinking 40 years into the future, people step out of the current political situation, and our sense of what's possible becomes much more expansive. We are not only able to think bigger—we crave it.
Although it’s still possible to win the lottery (your chance of winning $648 million in the recent Mega Millions sweepstakes was one in 259 million), the biggest lottery of all is what family we’re born into. Our life chances are now determined to an unprecedented degree by the wealth of our parents.