Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

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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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

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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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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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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Big Savings!

November 29, 2013

Big Savings!

The Friday after Thanksgiving or ”Black Friday“ is reserved by global corporations for whipping Americans into a frenzy of over-consumption.  Millions camp out and line up for hours hoping for bargains. Most end up buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford.

Save big today. Don’t buy a single thing. If you want to spend something, spend the day with friends and family. Spend time at the library; borrow a book and spend time reading it. Spend time making something. You’re not what you buy. You’re not a “consumer.” You’re a human being.

More:

“Buy Nothing Day,” AdBusters

“Buy Nothing Day,” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“The Dirty Secret of Black Friday ‘Discounts,’” Suzanne Kapner, Wall Street Journal

“Black Friday: 5 reasons to skip the madness,” Erik Sherman, CBS Money Watch

Updates:

“Holiday shopping mayhem and misadventures across the U.S,” AP vis St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Everything You Know About Black Friday is Wrong, Amy Merrick, The New Yorker

“Why Black Friday Doesn’t Matter,” Danielle Kurtzleben, U.S. News & World Report

“Holiday sales are a dirty lie,” Lydia DePillis, Washington Post blog

“The Economic Case for Ignoring Black Friday,” Matthew O’Brien, The Atlantic

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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.

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Pope Francis Attacks ‘Idolatry of Money’

November 26, 2013

Pope Francis Attacks 'Idolatry of Money'

“Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny’, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.

The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the ‘idolatry of money’ and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens ‘dignified work, education and healthcare’.

He also called on rich people to share their wealth. ‘Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,’ Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.”

– “Pope Francis ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ Calls For Renewal Of Roman Catholic Church, Attacks ‘Idolatry Of Money.’” Naomi O’Leary, Reuters via Huffington Post [link added]

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Congress Mandated Postal Service Insolvency

November 16, 2013

Congress Mandated Postal Service Insolvency

It’s not email or political pressure to maintain inefficient low-volume post offices that’s put the U.S. Postal Service in a deep financial hole. In 2006, Congress “reformed” the Postal Service by requiring it to prepay all retirement costs for current employees, something no other agency or business has to do. This costs the USPO $5.5 billion a year and is responsible for most of the agency’s losses. “Congress created the problems, and it can fix them by taking away the requirement that no other government agency or business has to face,” says Rural Letter Carriers Association President Jeanette P. Dwyer.

More:

– “Amid Capitol Turmoil, Postal Crisis Drags On,” Ron Nixon, New York Times

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hMd

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.

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