Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Karl Marx Cashes In

July 8, 2014

Karl Marx Cashes In

In recent antiquarian book irony financial news: Commodity Fetishism?

“Copy of Das Kapital sells for $40k just as Dow Jones hits record high,” Richard Davies, AbeBooks

Related:

“Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy,” George Magnus, Bloomberg View

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Real Artists Have Day Jobs

June 29, 2014

Real Artists Have Day Jobs

“The biggest myth we are fed as artists is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on our art. This is ridiculous. Every artist has at some point in time had some other job. Some of them kept these jobs their entire lives. In the latter category: William Carlos Williams was a doctor in New Jersey; Henry Darger was a custodian in Chicago; Harvey Pekar was a VA Hospital clerk in Cleveland.

In more temporary capacities: Maya Angelou was a cable-car conductor; Sandra Cisneros was an administrative assistant; JK Rowling was a secretary; Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist (Please read that again: Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist).

Art does not require an MFA. Art does not require a BA. Art does not require a high school diploma. Art does not require any formal education at all.

Art does not need your full-time attention. Art does not demand that you starve in order to afford paint and canvas and brushes.”

– “Real Artists Have Day Jobs,” Sara Benincasa, Medium [links added]

Sara Benincasa’s website

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Image (“Self-Portrait of [Name Withheld], after van Gogh”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

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Millionaires Vote Down $10.10 Minimum Wage

May 1, 2014

Millionaires Vote Down $10.10 Minimum Wage

“A broad-based coalition of millionaires converged on Washington today to defeat a bill that would have increased the minimum wage for American workers to $10.10 an hour.

Leaving behind their mansions and yachts, the millionaires were motivated by what they saw as an existential threat to the country, Mitch McConnell, a spokesman for the millionaires, said.

‘This was an extremely diverse coalition,’ McConnell said, noting that everyone from the rich to the very rich to the super-rich united to vote down the bill.”

– “Millionaires Unite to Defeat Minimum Wage,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

More:

“GOP Blocks Minimum-Wage Bill in Senate,” Caitlin Huey-Burns and Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

Related:

“Which Millionaire Are You Voting For?” Nicholas Carnes, New York Times

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Chutes & Ladders

March 19, 2014

Chutes & Ladders

“A meritocracy requires more than simply making it possible for people at the bottom to climb the ladder of opportunity. It also involves chutes of accountability for those at the top. These are two sides of the same coin: the skilled must be able to rise, but grandees caught with their snouts in the trough must also come tumbling down. ‘We cannot have a just society that applies the principle of accountability to the powerless and the principle of the forgiveness to the powerful,’ writes Chris Hayes in his sweeping meditation on meritocracy, Twilight of the Elites.‘ And yet: ‘This is the America in which we currently reside.’”

– “There is no meritocracy: It’s just the 1 percent, and the game is rigged,” Thomas Frank, Salon

Related: See the fascinating Wikipedia entry on Snakes and Ladders.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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lnternational Women’s Day

March 8, 2014

March 8, 2014 is International Women’s Day. The century-old observance has its origin in social demonstrations for voting rights and political representation, but the facts of economic inequality were always obvious and acknowledged. That’s why we prefer the IWD video (above) by the nonprofit Kiva microfinance group to the better-known, token Doodle Google (below).

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The Price of Pizza

March 6, 2014

The Price of Pizza

How much does a cheese pizza cost in various neighborhoods of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC?

Quoctrung Bui at NPR crunched the numbers, if not the crusts:

The Price Of A Pizza In 237 U.S. Neighborhoods,” Quoctrung Bui, NPR Planet Money

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.  Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Davos 2014

January 26, 2014

Davos 2014

It cost the 2,500 participants at the 2014 World Economic Forum meeting at Davos $40,000 each to attend, $20,000 for the ticket (“accreditation”) alone. But the billionaires and their pet politicians didn’t ignore the global crisis of economic inequality. They had millionaire rock stars and movie stars tell them all about it.

“Davos Wants You to Know It Really, Really Cares About Inequality,” Elias Groll, Foreign Policy blog

“Jetsetters ponder poverty gap over mulled wine,” Toby Manhire, New Zealand Herald

“Where is the Davos for the 99 percent?” John Aziz, The Week

“Davos 2014: from PMs and CEOs to Goldie Hawn, Matt Damon and Bono,” Simon Goodley, The Guardian

“The two Davoses: Short-term greed, long-term paranoia,” The Economist blog

“Pope Urges Davos Notables to Remember the Less Fortunate,” Michael J. de la Merced, New York Times blog

“Social Responsibility Weighs Heavy on Economic Chieftains at Davos,” Katrin Bebnnhold, New York Times blog

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

January 20, 2014

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Eqality

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned a Poor People’s Campaign for May 1968 to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, affordable housing, and education for poor adults and children, an Economic Bill of Rights. The effort was to involve poor people of all races from all parts of the country, urban and rural, but the historical roots of racial economic disparity could not be ignored:

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The Majority Party

January 12, 2014

The Majority Party

What’s the majority party in Congress? Forget Democrats and Republicans. For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires. An analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics found that at least 268 of the 534 members of Congress had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012. Median net worth: $1,008,767.

That doesn’t mean congressmen pay for their own meals or foreign travel, of course. Hey, what that’s what lobbyists and campaign donors are for. Of course, there’s a good salary too, because it’s hard work being a congressman:

“Breaking the numbers down … members of the House of Representatives will make approximately $1,539.82 per day or, given an eight-hour work day, roughly $192.47 per hour.”

– “Congress Working Less Than 1/3 Of Year In 2014, Getting Full Salary,” CBS Miami

Don’t expect these folks to deal with the critical issue of economic inequality in the near future.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

Yesterday, on “Black Friday,” millions of Americans spent billions of dollars with the multi-national corporations that sell imported products in U.S. shopping malls. Some of us resisted this retail feeding frenzy and bought nothing. Today people from both camps will buy local, shopping with neighborhood shops on Small Business Saturday.

$100 spent with local businesses returns $68 to the community vs. $43 spent at big box stores. So think outside the big box and shop local, maybe even buy some art. The Small Business Saturday campaign was started by American Express, but your local shopkeepers will really thank you if you leave your Amex card at home (they pay swipe fees).

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Short Link:  http://wp.me/p6sb6-hTO

Image (“Small Business Saturday, after Edward Hopper”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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