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Sunday Reading

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, October 21st, 2012 - 5 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, class war, Conservation, interweb - Tags:

My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring).  This week: plutocrats, the New World Order, benefits and solving slavery and extinction.

First up: why do the plutocrats hate Obama so much?  He gave them a $700 billion bail-out and most wealth since then has funnelled to the 0.01%, but –

Evident throughout the letter is a sense of victimization prevalent among so many of America’s wealthiest people. In an extreme version of this, the rich feel that they have become the new, vilified underclass. T. J. Rodgers, a libertarian and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has taken to comparing Barack Obama’s treatment of the rich to the oppression of ethnic minorities…

And with the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, the super rich are now free to put unlimited amounts into attack advertising against Obama – and they are.  In a more fun take on it, Nick Hanauer (a plutocrat living very, very comfortably in a place you cannot afford) says:

A bard once said that plutocrats hate regulation for the same reason that robbers hate cops.  That’s a cheap shot, and underappreciates the sophistication of our argument.

Meanwhile Seumas Milne sees the end of the New World Order.  As the first decade of the 21st century exposed the limits of US power – militarily and economically, and the failures of neo-liberal capitalism, he discusses in his new book the growing call for a social alternative.

In the UK the BBC’s lead political correspondent and the opposition’s Shadow Chief Secretary of the Treasury discuss Why We Don’t Trust Politicians.

Also over there they are looking at simplifying their benefits system (as National are here).  There system is even more complex, and their desired overhaul is to an even greater level of simplicity (leaving just 1 benefit type…).  The BBC wonders if the benefit system is too baffling to be solved?

But trying to simplify something so complex is a headache in itself, and the question is whether Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s audacious reforms will make the system any simpler.

A pessimist might echo the words of Kafka, who once said: “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”

And on some bigger issues:

– The cost to prevent all future extinctions is $US11.42 per year (each).

– and we may have more slaves than ever, but could it be eradicated in 30 years?

5 comments on “Sunday Reading”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Apple’s Low-Wage Path to America’s Future

    Over ninety percent of Apple’s iPhones are assembled in China. Its hi-tech components come from Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Germany. Along with some 700,000 Chinese workers, Apple hires another 30,000 Chinese engineers — who also come cheap. Engineers cost $41 an hour in the US, $6 in China and $4 in India.

    Moreover, it turns out that the best place to design and innovate the next “new thing” is where the last new thing is being produced. As Venkatesh Narayanamurti, founding dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, recently pointed out in the Los Angeles Times:

    With manufacturing gone to China…R&D followed Apple to Foxconn. Applied Materials set up a major R&D shop in China, where solar cells are being manufactured. GE, Texas Instruments, Cisco and others established major R&D and design centers in Bangalore, India…Proximity to manufacturing is the key to other higher-value activities — design, engineering and R&D. And with that, jobs.

    All of that could, and probably does, apply to NZ as well. There’s a simple fact about the competitive free-market that the politicians just don’t seem to get – we can’t compete, not the way we are and yet their only solution seems to be to give tax cuts and hope.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    From the link on slavery:

    “In his world, the contractor was god. He was not only the taker of life but also the giver of sustenance. When we look at why slavery has persisted we have to look at breaking those cycles of dependence.”

    And that should have people wondering why the capitalists are making up stories about how dependent upon them that society is while also increasing and ensuring that dependence through privatisations of the commons.

  3. joe90 4

    Joel Klein’s misleading autobiography.

    Klein and Rhee have recently founded an organization called StudentsFirstNY to raise millions of dollars from New York City’s wealthiest. It will support candidates in the city’s upcoming mayoral race who adopt an agenda that puts “the interests of children” over “special interests” (read: teacher unions) and commits to expanding charter schools, eliminating teacher tenure, and using student test scores to evaluate teachers. The group’s mission statement incorporates the fanciful Klein autobiographical tale, saying that “while there are many factors that influence a student’s opportunity to learn, a great teacher can help any student overcome those barriers and realize their full potential.”

    Klein’s actual biography tells an important story, just not the one he imagines: It’s more evidence that student achievement mostly reflects the social and economic environment in which children are raised and that the best way to improve academic achievement is to address these conditions directly.

  4. Jenny 5

    …. a $700 billion bail-out and most wealth since then has funnelled to the 0.01%, but –

    Evident throughout the letter is a sense of victimization prevalent among so many of America’s wealthiest people. In an extreme version of this, the rich feel that they have become the new, vilified underclass. T. J. Rodgers, a libertarian and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has taken to comparing Barack Obama’s treatment of the rich to the oppression of ethnic minorities…

    As I have said before on other occasions, when the rich and powerful start crying victim, then the rest of society better watch out.

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