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Forum Post: "If you think we're done with 'Neoliberalism', think again", by George Monbiot [The Guardian]

Posted 1 year ago on Jan. 16, 2013, 3:35 p.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
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"If you think we're done with 'Neoliberalism', think again"

The global application of a fraudulent economic theory brought the west to its knees. Yet for those in power, it offers riches.

by George Monbiot.

How they must bleed for us. In 2012, the world's 100 richest people became $241 billion richer. They are now worth $1.9 trillion: just a little less than the entire output of the United Kingdom.

This is not the result of chance. The rise in the fortunes of the super-rich is the direct result of policies. Here are a few: the reduction of tax rates and tax enforcement; governments' refusal to recoup a decent share of revenues from minerals and land; the privatisation of public assets and the creation of a toll-booth economy; wage liberalisation and the destruction of collective bargaining.

The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples – in a thousand business schools, the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and just about every modern government – have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are now in. Total failure.

Before I go on, I should point out that I don't believe perpetual economic growth is either sustainable or desirable. But if growth is your aim – an aim to which every government claims to subscribe – you couldn't make a bigger mess of it than by releasing the super-rich from the constraints of democracy.

Last year's annual report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development should have been an obituary for the neoliberal model developed by Hayek and Friedman and their disciples. It shows unequivocally that their policies have created the opposite outcomes to those they predicted. As neoliberal policies (cutting taxes for the rich, privatising state assets, deregulating labour, reducing social security) began to bite from the 1980s onwards, growth rates started to fall and unemployment to rise.

The remarkable growth in the rich nations during the 50s, 60s and 70s was made possible by the destruction of the wealth and power of the elite, as a result of the 1930s depression and the second world war. Their embarrassment gave the other 99% an unprecedented chance to demand redistribution, state spending and social security, all of which stimulated demand.

Neoliberalism was an attempt to turn back these reforms. Lavishly funded by millionaires, its advocates were amazingly successful – politically. Economically they flopped.

Throughout the OECD countries taxation has become more regressive: the rich pay less, the poor pay more. The result, the neoliberals claimed, would be that economic efficiency and investment would rise, enriching everyone. The opposite occurred. As taxes on the rich and on business diminished, the spending power of both the state and poorer people fell, and demand contracted. The result was that investment rates declined, in step with companies' expectations of growth.

The neoliberals also insisted that unrestrained inequality in incomes and flexible wages would reduce unemployment. But throughout the rich world both inequality and unemployment have soared. The recent jump in unemployment in most developed countries – worse than in any previous recession of the past three decades – was preceded by the lowest level of wages as a share of GDP since the second world war. Bang goes the theory. It failed for the same obvious reason: low wages suppress demand, which suppresses employment.

As wages stagnated, people supplemented their income with debt. Rising debt fed the deregulated banks, with consequences of which we are all aware. The greater inequality becomes, the UN report finds, the less stable the economy and the lower its rates of growth. The policies with which neoliberal governments seek to reduce their deficits and stimulate their economies are counter-productive.

The impending reduction of the UK's top rate of income tax (from 50% to 45%) will not boost government revenue or private enterprise, but it will enrich the speculators who tanked the economy. Goldman Sachs and other banks are now thinking of delaying their bonus payments to take advantage of it. The welfare bill approved by parliament last week will not help to clear the deficit or stimulate employment: it will reduce demand, suppressing economic recovery. The same goes for the capping of public sector pay. "Relearning some old lessons about fairness and participation," the UN says, "is the only way to eventually overcome the crisis and pursue a path of sustainable economic development."

As I say, I have no dog in this race, except a belief that no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor. But staring dumbfounded at the lessons unlearned in Britain, Europe and the US, it strikes me that the entire structure of neoliberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power.

~

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

~

[Article copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/14/neoliberal-theory-economic-failure & please use this url or http://www.monbiot.com/2013/01/14/bang-goes-the-theory/ - in order to access all the embedded corroborating links.]

120 Comments

120 Comments


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[-] 5 points by Osiris2013 (3) 1 year ago

The West is on its knees? Really? Compared to whom?

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Neoliberalism was an attempt to turn back the reforms. Lavishly funded by millionaires, its advocates were amazingly successful – politically. Economically they flopped. The remarkable growth in the rich nations during the 50s, 60s and 70s was made possible by the destruction of the wealth and power of the elite, as a result of the 1930s depression and the second world war.Their embarrassment gave the other 99% an unprecedented chance to demand redistribution, state spending & social security, all of which stimulated demand. Now increasingly The US&European 50% are 'on their knees' with the next 49% catching 'up' fast, living pay check to pay check ! Ain't nothing 'trickle down' about Modern High-Finance (Low Morals/No Ethics) Crapitalism !! OWS says step out of The Underworld 'Osiris' !!! ..~*~..

fiat lux ...

[Deleted]

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

I believe the modern robber barons are already carving up portions of the emerging Asian markets. The American middle class is simply a victim of the great western political and economic decline.

[-] 2 points by Buttercup (1067) 1 year ago

Totally. It will be one of those history things where people will look back and say, 'what the hell were they thinking?!'. At least I hope at some point it becomes 'history'.

We're seriously gonna look like the biggest bunch of idiots in US economic history. We've barely addressed TBTF banks. Beyond a spaghetti bowl mess of financial bandaids. While they continue to bleed out the middle class. Slowly. Until the next financial disaster.

The middle class is not a forgone conclusion. To mess around with like a bunch of experimental guinea pigs. To the greed filled whims of the 'robber-barons'. And as pawns for the the neolibs fanciful 'theories'.

Who's gonna be left to buy all their shit?

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Given your insights, expertise and interests, I append the following for consideration if not comment :

fiat lux ...

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"A Model for Europe and the US ? - Latvia’s Economic Disaster as a Neoliberal Success Story", by Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson :

"The Lingering Crisis of Neoliberal Capitalism", by Akbar E. Torbat :

ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant ...

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Democracy for Dollars", by Bill Moyers :

Thanx for your alarming link. Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan is like his mentor ... a fucking lunatic !!

multum in parvo ...

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

R refusal to negotiate the sequester is entirely predicable. Obama gave away the farm in the December "fiscal cliff" tax deal.

According to Heritage:

"The deal did not extend all the tax policies that made up the “Taxmageddon” portion of the fiscal cliff, but it did extend most of them."

"The silver lining of the deal—one that taxpayers cannot overlook—is that Congress made these policies permanent."

"The fiscal cliff deal delivered the tax increase portion but not the spending cuts. In the rapidly approaching debates on raising the debt limit, replacing the delayed sequester spending cuts, and the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year, Congress must demand that spending be cut to deliver on the other side of President Obama’s promised balanced approach."

Full text: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/fiscal-cliff-deal-how-it-will-affect-taxpayers-and-the-economy

There is no incentive for Rs to come to the table, they've already got what they want. Apparently it's what the D leadership wants as well -- along with blaming Rs for budget cuts. This entire debacle is manufactured... Pure theatre.

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"According" to 'The Heritage Foundation' ?!!! Seriously ?!! Oblah-blah should be incentivising 'The Republicons' should he ?! With what ? More Right Wing Libertopian Clap-trap ?!! Are you for real ?!!!

"Pure theatre" - Well maybe we can agree on that at least - as 'Demoblican or Republocrat', it seems to make less and less difference these days !!

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] 1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

Well, I read everybody. The Heritage article simply said it a little plainer than most because their followers support spending cuts. Most of the so-called "progressive" and "liberal" MSM outlets have mush and pablum for commentary on the subject and are bent on covering D ass.

"The fiscal cliff deal delivered the tax increase portion but not the spending cuts."

Thus, by negotiating the tax deal before the spending cuts, the Ds gave the Rs what they wanted. Why should Rs give in on spending cuts now? The Ds are simply serving their campaign contributors, as usual, and using the sequester for cover by pointing fingers at those bad old Rs and screaming -- they made us do it!

This is common knowledge in policy oriented political circles.

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"George Carlin - Freedom of Choice" (Video) :

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice … you don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you"

Thanx for your brief insight into the 'Minutiae of Duopoly' !!! This is 'O.W.S. !! It is 'policy orientation for The 99% ! Not at all sure you clicked on any link I provided above, tho' I did of course open your 'Heritage' link, from which I excerpt :

"President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants a “balanced plan” to reduce deficits and debt, supposedly meaning a mix of higher taxes and spending reductions. The fiscal cliff deal delivered the tax increase portion but not the spending cuts. In the rapidly approaching debates on raising the debt limit, replacing the delayed sequester spending cuts, and the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year, Congress must demand that spending be cut to deliver on the other side of President Obama’s promised balanced approach." (my empahasis)

These spending cuts ?! Any talk of The Gargantuan 'Defence Budget' ?!! Also perhaps see - asap :

What is "common knowledge" and where and to whom, are also other valid questions !

ad iudicium ...

[-] 1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

Only wish I were as well spoken (not to mention funny) as George. I miss Molly Ivins too.

Many, if not most, politicians will say anything they think their constituents want to hear, as long as they've got cover on the backend. And O is a consummate politician. Personally I prefer to watch what they do. For the wealthy, the tax increase was minimal. Thus the President's negotiating strategy already gave Congressional Rs what they wanted most -- why should they come to the table now when they stand to gain everything they want by simply doing nothing and allowing the automatic budget cuts to kick in March 1?

"Congress must demand that spending be cut to deliver on the other side of President Obama’s promised balanced approach." Am not sure of your point here... IMO, this para signals bipartisan agreement to cut the budget no matter what. Now couple all this with Greenspan's comments and you can see their recipe for success -- as long as the stock market is propped up who cares (among those that "matter" in Washington and New York) what happens in the peasant economy...

I too like Information Clearing House. I've also read Foreign Affairs for more than 20 years, although I do not care for their parent organization's politics. Heritage is simply another (big) cog in the political rationalization and justification machine...

Common knowledge is dependent on the social and political circles in which one travels.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

It amazes me how Obomber has to pussyfoot about trying to be 'bi-partisan' and be collegiate to Rabid Right Wing Republicons ... whereas no one ever questioned Dubya's goose-stepping the US ever more to the right !! The whole spectrum of Corporate MSM managed 'politics' is so far to the right in the US, that Democraps and 'Liberals' are somehow seen to be 'left' !! I wish that was "common knowledge" in The U$A as well a facts like these :

"The House races last fall cost over one billion dollars. It took more than $700 million to elect just a third of the Senate. The two presidential candidates raised more than a billion a piece. The website Politico added it all up to find that the total number of dollars spent on the 2012 election exceeded the number of people on this planet -- some seven billion.

"Most of it didn’t come from the average Joe and Jane. Sixty percent of all super PAC donations came from just 159 people. And the top 32 super PAC donors gave an average of 9.9 million dollars. Think how many teachers that much money could hire.

"We’ll never actually know where all of the money comes from. One third of the billion dollars from outside groups was “dark money,” secret funds anonymously funnelled through fictional “social welfare” organizations. Those are front groups, created to launder the money inside the deep pockets."

Money Out Of Politics ! Corporations are NOT people !! Occupy Wall Street !!!

e tenebris ...

[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Just think, if 10% of all that campaign money slipped through the cracks for the POTUS, they both just made around 90 million!!

[-] 0 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'As wages stagnated, people supplemented their income with debt. Rising debt fed the deregulated banks, with consequences of which we are all aware. The greater inequality becomes, the UN report finds, the less stable the economy and the lower its rates of growth. The policies with which neoliberal governments seek to reduce their deficits and stimulate their economies are counter-productive.' - from your excellent post and also please see - http://www.nationofchange.org/trillion-dollar-coin-joke-or-game-changer-1358692579 . Never Give Up Exposing The Illusions! Keep Occupying The Issues! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"We have a chance today to end the charade of big money gridlock politics, as well as the reign of the big banks. We have the power to choose prosperity over austerity. But to do it, we must first restore the power to create money to the people.", is how the ever excellent Ellen Brown ends her excellent article. Thanx for another great link A4C & I append for your later consideration :

Never Give Up !!! Occupy Wall Street !! Solidarity !

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

A simply astounding link! So much good food for thought. I hope OWS can do something similar here. Thank you :) I have printed it out and will be sharing this. In the latest 'NoC' & also from London town - http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-playground-london-children-and-community-resist-park-closure-1358869660 ! We do what we do for the kids and we must teach them how to do it too! Never Give Up! Occupy The Future! Solidarity.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

It's all for the kids !! Thus, consider :

Thanx for the link which made me nostalgic for my South London Squatting days. Sadly, London is global Finance Crime HQ & indeed Max Keiser broadcasts from there these days :

Never Give Up Exposing The Scumbags' Faux Complexity ! Occupy Simplicity !! Solidarity @ 99% !!!

ad iudicium ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Bank Bailouts Are True Terrorism - http://occupywallst.org/forum/whos-terrorist/ and thanks for the great video links. Given what is now going on in our country, also see - http://www.nationofchange.org/how-start-direct-action-group-make-mlk-proud-1358864529 and http://www.trainingforchange.org/node/181 Never Give Up Exposing 'The Faux Complexity'! 'Occupy Simplicity' & Go 'OWS! Solidarity@the99%!

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Economics and Banking - Economic Update", by Richard Wolff :

Thanx A4C for those extremely important links which I have bookmarked for future reference. I am a big fan of George Lakey and my all time favourite forum post was posting an article about the Norwegian and Swedish 99% Struggle and how they reclaimed their nations from their own 0.01% Parasitic Class and the 1% lackeys.

Solidarity @ The 99% - may we learn each others' lessons from history and so :

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

The article about Swedes and Norwegians overcoming their 1% is fantastic & still shows a way forward for us all right now. Please see, by Bill Moyers, from - http://www.nationofchange.org/political-calculus-1359037565 - 'Our role, as change makers, social movement activists, organizers, and cultural workers is to change the social/political/economic variables and expand the scope of what is politically possible in tune with our principles and aspirations. Simultaneously, we must make politically toxic the world view that we oppose, lessening its appeal, reducing its claim in the territory of the politically possible.' Thanks for your great links. Never Give Up Working For The 99%! Occupy The 1%! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The Politics of Debt in America : From Debtor’s Prison to Debtor Nation", by Steve Fraser :

George Blakey's article about how Swedes & Norwegians broke the power of their 1% is one of my favourite post OWS articles, so glad that you liked & thanx for the Bill Moyers link. I ain't giving up occupying any time soon ! Solidarity !!

qui tacet consentire ...

[-] 1 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'The Politics Of Debt In America' is an excellent, in-depth article which all OWSers should read & to follow, see - 'The Non Zero Sum Society' by Robert Reich - http://www.nationofchange.org/non-zero-sum-society-1359471017 - from which I quote -

'The average pay of a Walmart worker is $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits. Walmart is a microcosm of the American economy. It has brazenly fought off unions. But it could easily afford to pay its workers more. It earned $16 billion last year. Much of that sum went to Walmart’s shareholders, including the family of its founder, Sam Walton.

'The wealth of the Walton family now exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40 percent of American families combined, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. But how can Walmart expect to continue to show fat profits when most of its customers are on a downward economic escalator?

'Walmart should be unionized. So should McDonalds. So should every major big-box retailer and fast-food outlet in the nation. So should every hospital in America.

'That way, more Americans would have enough money in their pockets to get the economy moving. And everyone – even the very rich – would benefit.'

Neo-Liberal Economics and Debt-Peonage is strangling America and the Global 99% and as per your Latin, I agree that those who say nothing and accept the status quo - give there consent to this state of affairs.

Never Give Up! Occupy Wall Street!

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The Zero Sum Society" is a very good article. Thanx for posting that here & I append in return :

From the first 'Truth-Out' item - "We needed heroes after the financial crisis. Instead we got bureaucrats, compromisers, and perhaps something much worse. Federal law enforcement officials, our “thin gray line” against banker crime, were charged with restoring the balance of justice and reducing the threat of future crises. Seems they had other things on their minds." ... yep, lucrative jobs !!

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Chomsky - 'On Politics and Money: Concentration of wealth yields concentration of political power. And concentration of political power gives rise to legislation that increases and accelerates the cycle. The legislation, essentially bipartisan, drives new fiscal policies and tax changes, as well as the rules of corporate governance and deregulation. Alongside this began a sharp rise in the costs of elections, which drove the political parties even deeper into the pockets of the corporate sector.' - from 2nd link.

Thanks for the very good links and the Eskow article was as eye-opening as it was infuriating. Also see - 'Welcome To The Network Of Global Corporate Control' - http://www.nationofchange.org/welcome-network-global-corporate-control-1359643763 - from which I quote - 'This small network of dominant global companies and banks, many of which are larger than most countries on earth, with no democratic accountability, are also acting independently as a type of “global supra-government” forcing even our dysfunctional and façade-like “democratic” governments to collapse if they do not do as “financial markets” say - such as the recent cases of democratically-elected governments in Greece and Italy whose officials were forced out and replaced with unelected bankers. In any other situation that’s called a coup d'état.'

Yes, 'the root of all evil is love of money'! Never Give Up Exposing The Greedy Bastards! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Many thanx for these excellent excerpts and the link, further to which I append :

"Until Americans' awareness catches up to the realities of the increasing US class divide, shrinking life opportunities for the majority and disappearance of social mobility, we will be unable to address the problems of high unemployment and economic stagnation."

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'The endgame scenario of Monopoly is a lot like the endgame of capitalism that we’re witnessing today - no matter how the game starts, the wealth will eventually accumulate into the hands of one player while the other players have to sell off their property to pay their debt to the owner and eventually lose everything they have.' - taken from the excellent article - 'The Endgame Of Capitalism' - http://www.nationofchange.org/endgame-capitalism-1359990746 .

Thanks for the excellent and important article which deserves wide readership. Without a developing a 'Class Consciousness', Americans will continue to be 'divided and ruled'. Never Give Up Exposing The Realities! Occupy The Issues!

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

" Without a developing a 'Class Consciousness', Americans will continue to be 'divided and ruled'." - I couldn't agree more, hence my parroting it back to you :-) Thanx for the excellent excerpt from an excellent article which I recommend to all readers. Here's one in return :

This article has some great embedded links & a very revealing graph & some great quotes from GK Galbraith. eg :

"That the looming debt and deficit crisis is fake is something that, by now, even the most dim member of Congress must know. The combination of hysterical rhetoric, small armies of lobbyists and pundits, and the proliferation of billionaire-backed front groups with names like the 'Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget' is not a novelty in Washington. It happens whenever Big Money wants something badly enough." & ..

"Big Money has been gunning for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for decades – since the beginning of Social Security in 1935. The motives are partly financial: As one scholar once put it to me, the payroll tax is the “Mississippi of cash flows.” Anything that diverts part of it into private funds and insurance premiums is a meal ticket for the elite of the predator state."

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'The Great Recession has seriously impacted older Americans’ ability to retire. An estimated 62 percent of working Americans now report they’re planning to put off their retirement - up from 42 percent in 2010 - largely due to job losses and financial insecurity.' taken from - http://www.nationofchange.org/more-75-percent-americans-delayed-their-retirement-avoid-losing-health-benefits-1360162330 . Thanks for your great link and how long can Americans keep silent? Never Stop Working For The 99% Occupy The 1%!

[-] -1 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Thanks for posting this. So well said.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Always excellent info from Shadz

[-] 0 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

I agree

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Thanks shadz. Will check these out tonight. Enjoy your day. :)

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Bernie Sanders Is Right! Social Security IS Strong - but 'Wealthy America, you’ve taken so much that one out of five American families have negative wealth—no assets, and household debt of $27,000—yet you still want them to give up their Social Security benefits. It’s not shame you should feel, but loathing.' from - http://www.nationofchange.org/shame-wealthy-america-some-facts-about-victims-your-greed-1360595041 Never Give Up Exposing The Greedy Corporate Scum! Occupy Wall Street! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Neoliberal Hell ? "The Global Water Grab", by Shiney Varghese :

Thanx for your very interesting link & Bernie Sanders Rox !!

pax et lux ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'The financial industry has zeroed in on water. In the summer of 2011, Citigroup issued a report on water investments. The much quoted statement by Willem Buiter (chief economist at Citigroup) gives an inkling of Citigroup’s conclusion: “Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.” Once again, several others had already seen water as an important investment opportunity, including GE’s Energy Financial Services, Goldman Sachs and several asset management firms that are involved investing in farmland in Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.' from your excellent but worrisome link, full of important embedded links and I recommend it.

In keeping with your thread - http://www.nationofchange.org/seven-reasons-obama-should-focus-jobs-not-deficit-during-his-state-union-1360684273 Never Give Up! Occupy Wall Street! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Lifting the Veil of Mirage Democracy in the United States", by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Thanx for your excerpt and link. Never Give Up Occupying Solidarity !!!

pax ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Extremely Strong Link! Thanks and I highly recommend your link to all on this forum. In return, I also refer you & other readers to - http://www.nationofchange.org/cbo-report-six-things-you-can-t-talk-about-washington-dc-1360336276 Never Give Up Exposing The MSM Illusions! Occupy Wall Street! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Whom the gods would destroy, the old saying says, they first make mad. And there’s no quicker way to become completely untethered than to read economic reports, including the latest one from the Congressional Budget Office, and then watch the political debate go on as if reality didn’t even exist. --- The short version of the CBO’s report is : Spending’s going down, but we desperately need jobs. So how did the president and Congress respond? They kept arguing about who’s got the better plan for making spending go down some more." from your excellent link, which I recommend to all readers and I follow with this beauty :

Never Give Up Exposing Wall Street's Smoke & Mirrors ! Solidarity @ OWS !!!

fiat lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

The Ellen Brown article is really something everyone should read as it goes right to the heart of OWS. To compliment your excellent link, please find the following two articles by Robert Reich and 2 others, all of which are very relevant here -

http://www.nationofchange.org/biggest-republican-lie-1360765262

http://www.nationofchange.org/minimum-wage-guns-healthcare-and-meaning-decent-society-1361024552

http://www.nationofchange.org/big-corporations-put-seed-funding-republican-dark-money-group-1361030575

http://www.nationofchange.org/lamest-excuses-money-can-buy-1361198392

From the last link - 'As we try to grasp the reasoning behind cuts to life-saving programs and while billion-dollar incomes and trillion-dollar profits are being made, we must understand that extreme wealth deadens parts of the brain. Empathy and honesty go first then rationality as evidenced by some of the outlandish excuses given by the very rich for their abuses. Here's what Goldman Sachs adviser Brian Griffiths said about it: "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all."'

'Let there be light' indeed! Never Give Up Exposing The Venality! Occupy Wall Street! Solidarity.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Thanks A4C. Good reading. The second link touches on a subject near and dear to my heart...but seldom if ever gets discussed here. Made me tear up. So thanks. Maybe I'll try and tackle it again soon and see what happens.

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Solidarity and turning you on to http://www.nationofchange.org/environment - Never Give Up Occupying!

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Lol! Sorry...that didn't work. My mind is deeply entrenched in the atrocities against children in the elite human trafficking arena...and no-one wants to talk about it when its the one thing that would shut 'them' down. They belong in fucking jail. Nice try though...and hey, thanks for the link anyway.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

The Catholoic Church is not blameless in 'the atrocities against children in the elite human trafficking arena' and there are some big, dark secrets that the erstwhile Pope will take to the grave with him. On the matter of the Catholic Church, I'll just add this article here - http://www.nationofchange.org/will-next-pope-embrace-liberation-theology-1362500804 .Never Give Up On The Future Generations! Go Occupy!

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

This caught my eye...

"It is widely noted that, before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the office of the Inquisition. There he earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler,” leading the effort to silence creative and non-conformist voices within Catholicism. During Ratzinger’s tenure as doctrinal enforcer, the church is said to have officially rejected liberation theology."

Thanks for your response 'A4C'. I was shocked that someone would acknowledge the 'dark secrets', so thanks. It does me good knowing that others are aware.

Thankfully, elite human trafficking IS starting to get recognition, albeit a trickle at a time. Baby steps I guess. Most recently is the Jimmy Saville & The BBC exposure. Brave people coming forward. And that's all I'll say on the matter....for now. ~.^

As for the Vatican and Liberation Theology, I don't hold out much hope. With the obscene wealth of that institution, there has been enough money there to feed the world many times over, but they don't....and they never will.

I say humanity is far better off looking after ourselves and each other. A 'People's Society' of 'self rule' is the way to go.

Thanks again 'A4C'...I truly appreciate your comment.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Though there are indeed 'dark secrets' in The Catholic Church, on the matter of the new Pope there just may be some reasons for cautious optimism. See - http://www.nationofchange.org/pope-and-poor-1363440237 , from which I quote -

'In November 2000, as Argentina’s economic crisis escalated, the country’s bishops, led by Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, emerged from a plenary conference with a statement that was hardly welcome news to proponents of economic neoliberalism. Arguing that the true debt of Argentina was not financial but “social,” it blasted the “growing gap between rich and poor,” the “negative aspects of globalization,” and “the tyranny of the markets.”

“We live in world in which the primacy of economics, without a base of reference in…the common good, impedes the resurgence of many nations,” the statement read. It further contended, “To accustom ourselves to living in a world of exclusion and inequality is a serious moral failure that erodes the dignity of mankind and compromises peace and social harmony.”

'In a subsequent interview, Bergoglio charged “wildly economistic” ideas with manufacturing poverty.'

'Born in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio is the first pope in the modern era to come from a country in the global South, yet both his parents were immigrants born in Italy.'

'He is from a region (Latin America) where the Catholic Church was infused with a social justice ethos in the post–Vatican II period, yet he comes from a country within that region (Argentina) whose church remained among the most conservative. He is from a religious order (the Jesuits) regarded as having progressive leanings, yet he has been a conservative force within that order. He has made statements championing the interests of the poor against market fundamentalism, yet he has also been a strong opponent of the left-leaning administrations of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.'

So we will see how it pans out and I do understand your deep and genuine reservations about The Catholic Church, but they are on the ground in some very difficult places doing some very good work at the coalface, so to speak. The further up the hierarchy one goes though, the more corrupt the system seems to be and I'm very glad you mention 'Liberation Theology'.

Never Give Up Exposing The Hypocrisy Of The Hierarchy! Occupy The Issues! Solidarity.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

From Below; Nevermind the OP. What's wrong with the subject matter? I liked the subject we were talking about. ~.^ Heheh.

I'm glad to hear of the lapsed Catholicism...and 'deep resonance' is too vague for me to comment. But, as you wish...

Excerpt from your fine article...

~ "The 1983 “Leninist Strategy” Plan To Privatize Social Security

In 1983 a couple of conservative “think tanks” developed a step-by-step plan to privatize Social Security, for the benefit of “the banking industry and other business groups.” The plan describes a strategy to convince people that Social Security is going broke and that it is a “Ponzi scheme,” to undermine confidence in the program and lead people to accept that it needs “reform.” The plan outlines methods to “neutralize” opposition. The plan involves a smokescreen strategy of saying things to distract people from seeing what they are doing.

This strategy for attacking Social Security was spelled out in a 1983 document from the Cato Institute (previously named the Koch Foundation), with Heritage Foundation input. You can read the original document for yourself, it is titled Achieving A Leninist Strategy http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/1983/11/cj3n2-11.pdf . Please, if you have time, read the entire document (in particular the section “Weakening the Opposition”)." ~

Lovely :-/

These buffoons will never know the love of their fellow human beings...much less, spirituality...whether traditional or alternative.

Thanks A4C, as always...you provide subject matter that is sustenance for the soul.


[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (1902) 1 day ago

Religion and matters 'spiritual' can be so very far apart sometimes and 'Impotent benevolence' is a great phrase and has deep resonance here. Thank you very much for your excellent and thought provoking reply and I was really speaking as a now very lapsed Catholic in hope at the arrival of someone new replacing that arch-crook, Joseph Ratzinger. However more in keeping with the OP, I submit this link -

http://www.nationofchange.org/1983-strategy-behind-today-s-social-security-attacks-1365514721 .

Never Give Up Appealing To Spirit! Occupy All That Matters For A 'Peoples Society'! Solidarity.

↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'This year, the New Deal turned 80. And those same New Deal programs championed by FDR, a Democrat, defined the bedrock of the American left political achievements for all others who would seek the presidency. Now, the corporate takeover of our government has proven that those New Deal programs can be slowly dismantled by a Democrat president, as the Obama administration fully digs its heels in on an austerity agenda.'

'He's not the one running the show, but rather, his strings are being pulled by Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers like Pete Peterson, who is most of the wallet behind the corporate-funded "Fix the Debt" sham campaign. Even one of Fix the Debt's key spokesmen admitted that their goal was to create an "artificial crisis" that would justify gutting Social Security.' from -

http://www.nationofchange.org/president-obama-one-corporate-puppet-among-many-1366119639 .

Your Cato link is very eye opening. Never Give Up Exposing The Banker Criminals! Occupy The Debate! Solidarity.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

From below; You're far more optimistic than I, 'A4C'...but, you're barkin' up the wrong tree, my friend.

The history of Vatican city, Italy, dates back to the 6th century, and I have never been able to get over that institutions capacity for impotent benevolence.

Though I am very spiritual, and that term means something very different to me than most, I just don't believe in religion of any kind. I think we're far better off without it. I know there are people within the Catholic church doing good things, but we can do that and more without religion. Many of the same social and economic problems have existed through the long lifetime of the Vatican, and if they haven't fixed the problems with the resources they have by now...they never will.

In my view the Vatican, and indeed all religions cause far more divisiveness and abuse than good atheist people who do good for the sake of doing good, and not because they're competing for a chair in heaven beside yet another impotent benevolent god.

I'm hopeful with many things, like a 'People's Society', but religion isn't one of them. Another good try though : ) Thanks, 'A4C'.


[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (1858) 5 days ago

Though there are indeed 'dark secrets' in The Catholic Church, on the matter of the new Pope there just may be some reasons for cautious optimism.

See - http://www.nationofchange.org/pope-and-poor-1363440237 , from which I quote -

'In November 2000, as Argentina’s economic crisis escalated, the country’s bishops, led by Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, emerged from a plenary conference with a statement that was hardly welcome news to proponents of economic neoliberalism. Arguing that the true debt of Argentina was not financial but “social,” it blasted the “growing gap between rich and poor,” the “negative aspects of globalization,” and “the tyranny of the markets.”

“We live in world in which the primacy of economics, without a base of reference in…the common good, impedes the resurgence of many nations,” the statement read. It further contended, “To accustom ourselves to living in a world of exclusion and inequality is a serious moral failure that erodes the dignity of mankind and compromises peace and social harmony.”

'In a subsequent interview, Bergoglio charged “wildly economistic” ideas with manufacturing poverty.'

'Born in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio is the first pope in the modern era to come from a country in the global South, yet both his parents were immigrants born in Italy.'

'He is from a region (Latin America) where the Catholic Church was infused with a social justice ethos in the post–Vatican II period, yet he comes from a country within that region (Argentina) whose church remained among the most conservative. He is from a religious order (the Jesuits) regarded as having progressive leanings, yet he has been a conservative force within that order. He has made statements championing the interests of the poor against market fundamentalism, yet he has also been a strong opponent of the left-leaning administrations of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.'

So we will see how it pans out and I do understand your deep and genuine reservations about The Catholic Church, but they are on the ground in some very difficult places doing some very good work at the coalface, so to speak. The further up the hierarchy one goes though, the more corrupt the system seems to be and I'm very glad you mention 'Liberation Theology'.

Never Give Up Exposing The Hypocrisy Of The Hierarchy! Occupy The Issues! Solidarity.

↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Religion and matters 'spiritual' can be so very far apart sometimes and 'Impotent benevolence' is a great phrase and has a deep resonance here. Thank you very much for your excellent and thought provoking reply and I was really speaking as a now very lapsed Catholic in hope at the arrival of someone new replacing that arch-crook, Joseph Ratzinger. However more in keeping with the OP, I submit this link -

http://www.nationofchange.org/1983-strategy-behind-today-s-social-security-attacks-1365514721 .

Never Give Up Appealing To Spirit! Occupy All That Matters For A 'Peoples Society'! Solidarity.

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

What a mess these idiots have gotten us all into. It is our job now to out neoliberalism for its failure and implement the necessary change.

Here you go from today's NY Times: "Bolstered by Investments, Goldman Sachs’s Profit Soars"

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/goldman-profit-soars-to-2-89-billion-in-4th-quarter/?ref=todayspaper

Wow. And, as Monbiot says, "...no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor." Yet, half of all Americans earn less than $26,000 per year, 49 million have no health insurance, 1 in 7 are on food stamps, 22% of American children live in poverty and on and on. Total failure.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Bolstered by Investments, Goldman Sachs’s Profit Soars", is the title of your important yet infuriating link & it further goes to illustrate the utter disconnect between the rarefied, ivory towers of 'High Finance Crapitalism' and the world the rest of us live in and I'm reminded of the image of 'The Goldman Sucks' building, with all its light blazing during the mass power outage in Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.

From your revealing link - "Over all, the firm produced $9.24 billion in revenue in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, up 53 percent from the same quarter in 2011. That also beat analysts’ estimates of quarterly revenue of $7.91 billion. -

In addition to strong results from its various divisions, Goldman benefited from larger-than-expected gains from various investments it holds. The firm’s investing and lending division also had a stronger-than-expected quarter, posting revenue of $1.97 billion, up 126 percent from year-ago levels. -

Revenue from investment banking in the quarter was $1.41 billion, up 64 percent from the year-ago period. - Net revenue in Goldman’s powerful division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities was $2.04 billion, up 50 percent from the quarter a year earlier. The firm said those results reflected an increase in mortgage revenue, which was “significantly higher” when compared with 2011."

We should all really consider, that at a time of mass austerity and the pauperisation of the population, what further proof do we need of the "total failure" of our obscene economic 'system' and the parasitic nature of those who "devour our future" ?!

Keep shining a light and hope that the American & Global 99% can find their collective voice and action the real change that we all need.

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

So well said, Shadz. I don't believe Goldman Sachs produces anything of tangible value, or anything that benefits human beings, yet look at the money they extort from our economic system, contributing to the impoverishment of the masses. Very sad indeed.

I loved the Chris Hedges article and after reading it can only hope that in our times, our "crisis cult" is us Occupying Wall Street! Maybe protest and direct action can bring about some real change, unlike the superstitious crisis cults of the Native Americans such as the Ghost Dance. But then again, who knows how effective that might have really been. This "New World" is turning out to be a pretty sad place, after all.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Obama : Money Power's Point Man", by Stephen Lendman :

Short, punchy and a bit shocking but if they're to avoid a new "Ghost Dance", perhaps this is how Americans need to hear the cold, hard truths outside their Corporate MSM fluff and froth. Hedges consistently exposes the Naked Emperors like Goldman Sachs and their avaricious, larcenous ilk, which is why of course CH almost never gets a look in on The Propagandist 'Lame Street Media'.

This Neoliberal "New World" is too like the Old World but it need not be like this, ergo Viva Occupy !

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

That is a very powerful piece. For me the words that sum it up from the article re: Obama are "He is a moral coward."

Very sad, indeed. America needs courage to get out of this mess, real courage not the same old same old.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The 'Washington Consensus' Failed In Latin America, Now Being Turned on the American People", by Prof. William K. Black :

Americans really need to look back at their own history and realise what they are capable of when they unite in defence of their own collective best interests. The Corporate MSM will always aim to accentuate American Amnesia And Apathy !!! Howard Zinn should be required reading from age of 16 !! Solidarity !

consilio et animis ...

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Very interesting. Debt and austerity work on the macro and micro levels to keep nations down as well as individual citizens. You better pay! Take your time paying! But you better pay! 'Cause you are the one who borrowed! Even though, you can't live a humane and decent life without borrowing because we, TPTB, have you on your f'ing knees with unfair trade and low wages.

I agree re: Howard Zinn's "The People's History of the United States."

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The real struggle confronting the United States is not between the Right and the Left in any traditional sense, but between those who believe in reality and those who are entranced by unreality. It is a battle that is testing whether fact-based people have the same determination to fight for their real-world view as those who operate in a fact-free space do in defending their illusions." - from :

fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Parry makes a very good point about Americans who deny facts and how the level of brainwashing is so severe that facts are outright ignored and even argued against. I do believe we can chip away at this though. It does appear that more and more people are recognizing the unfairness of the economy. It is very hard to argue against certain facts such as the average American wage being at $26,000 per year, 1 in 7 being on food stamps, 22% of American children living in poverty, 49 million with no health insurance, etc. Slowly, these facts are seeping in. It's kind of like behavioral therapy. Eventually it gets absorbed.

And, thanks for posting the link to Howard Zinn's epic "People's History of the United States." Anyone who reads it will not view America or it's history the same way ever again.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Re. 'Fact Denial', consider : "How to Cut Megabanks Down to Size", by Gretchen Morgenson :

As you imply, Howards Zinn's essential book is as much to do with the future as it is about the past and so again with a shameless bump on my own forum-post :

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Very interesting! "Mr. Fisher’s plan is more sophisticated than Glass-Steagall, in that it recognizes how complex big financial institutions have become. Glass-Steagall concerned only old-school banking businesses, like making loans, and Wall Street businesses, like trading stocks. Today’s financial behemoths are in so many different businesses that a top-to-bottom restructuring is required."

And here, I thought reinstating Glass-Steagall would be good enough. I always learn from you, Shadz. Thanks for all the great links. And, awesome PDF to "The People's History."

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Consider ; "The Untouchables - How the Obama Administration Protected Wall Street from Prosecutions" :

"A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest", by Glenn Greenwald :

The reintroduction of Glass-Steagall is no longer an adequate response to the new world of 'Mortgage Backed Securities' ; 'Credit Default Swaps' ; 'Collateralised Debt Obligations' and other such ''derivatives'' of Compound Interest Bearing Debt and so we need way more than that now re. Bank Reform, thus :

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

I highly recommend "The Untouchables." It's an eye opener to how special the thieves on Wall Street are considered to be and the complete failure of the government to bring justice. We will never change the mess that is our economic and financial system if we don't reign these people in. Thanks for the links.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Obama Admin. Fails to Prosecute Banking Fraud to 'Save the System'!" :

This is a follow up to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/untouchables/ & well worth the time spent watching James S. Henry's commentary on 'The Untouchables' with The Real News Network's Paul Jay.

Americans really need to see that in modern societies in which access to most essential of life from food and water to shelter and health care depends on money - control of money is the ultimate instrument of control.

Fortunately, with the help of 'OWS' - Americans are waking up to an important truth. It is a very, very bad idea to yield control of the issuance and allocation of credit (money) to Wall Street banks run by con artists who operate beyond the reach of public accountability and who view the rest of the population, as simple-minded marks ripe for the exploiting.

By going along with its deceptions, the people passively empowered Wall Street to convert America from a middle class society of entrepreneurs, investors and skilled workers into a nation of debt slaves. Buying into Wall Street lies and illusions, Americans have been lured into accepting - indeed even aggressively promoting, “tax relief” for the very rich and the “regulatory relief” and “free trade” agreements for corporations that allowed Wall Street to suppress wages and benefits for working people through union busting, automation, and outsourcing jobs to foreign sweatshops.

Once working people were unable to make ends meet with current income, Wall Street lured them into making up the difference by taking on credit card and more mortgage debt they had no means to repay. They were soon borrowing to pay not only for basics and current consumption, but as well to pay the interest on prior unpaid debt. This is the classic downward spiral of debt slavery that guarantees an ever-growing divide between the power and luxury of an avaricious Creditor Class and the powerless desperation of a Debtor Class.

The critical distinctions between - the making of money and the creation of wealth ... is The True Key to seeing through Wall Street’s illusions. Real Wealth actually includes fertile land ; pure water ; clean air ; healthy food ; caring relationships ; healthy, happy children ; quality education and health care ; fulfilling opportunities for service ; peace and even time for meditation and spiritual reflection.

These are just a few among the many forms of 'Real Wealth', to which we should properly expect a sound economy to contribute - but Wall Street has so seriously corrupted the language however - that it is now difficult even to express the crucial distinctions between money (which is a facilitator of actual economic activity) & Real Wealth (the purpose of economic activity).

Economists and 'financial commentators' will routinely use terms like 'wealth, capital, resources & assets' when referring to the 'phantom wealth' of financial assets, which makes them sound like something real, substantial and tangible - whether or not they are backed by anything of real value. Similarly, they identify folks engaged in market speculation and manipulation as 'investors', thus glossing over the distinction between those who game the system to expropriate wealth and those who contribute to its creation.

OWS - because Wall Street Has Occupied America (& this bw) - For Long Enough !!!

Sorry for the deja vu but I thought it warranted repetition and I shall end by appending :

It's up to the kids to grasp the mettle now and all we do now is for them as I concur with you from the above PCR article that - "It is going to be up to younger people to take charge of this planet. They will need to revamp their priorities re: shifting from 'phantom wealth' to 'real wealth' and really demand this from their government. Either that, or take over the government themselves."

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Yes, the shift from 'phantom wealth' to 'real wealth' is the key. This comment of yours deserves repeating as it gets to the crux of the matter. Right now society is prioritizing things based on an ethos that was ingrained through indoctrination and brainwashing. What younger kids today need to understand is that that can be undone. They can prioritize differently and like you say live their lives for 'real wealth.' They can achieve a healthy environment, time with family, and in particular, children, quality education for all, healthcare for all, opportunities for service and employment that have meaning, and time for peace and spiritual reflection, just to name a few. They can step away from a consumer-based, material-based, debt-based, fear-based economy that enriches the few at the expense of the masses toward a more love-based, sharing-based economy where everyone has enough to fulfill their own pursuit of happiness.

[-] 1 points by conservatroll (161) 1 year ago

Yeah, they got their hands slapped and went right back to what they were doing that got us in this mess.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"MLK Injustice Index 2013 - Materialism, Militarism & Racism in the US", by Bill Quigley :

"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." (Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967)

While the US celebrates the re-election of its first African American President and the successes of numerous African Americans in all walks of life, there remain troubling challenges.

While remembering how far this nation has come since Dr. King was alive, we cannot forget how far we have still to go to combat the oppressions of racism, materialism and militarism.

Racism :

Whites have 22 times more wealth than blacks and 15 times more wealth than Latinos. Median household net worth for whites was $110,000 versus $4,900 for blacks versus $7,424 for Latinos, according to CNN Money and the Census Bureau.

African Americans are 12.3 percent of the population but 4.7 percent of attorneys.

Latinos are 15.8 percent of the population but only 2.8 percent of attorneys.

African American students face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school classes and are more likely to be taught by less experienced and lower paid teachers according to a government sponsored national survey of 72,000 schools.

13% of whites, 21% of blacks and 32% of Hispanics lack health insurance, according to the Kaiser Foundation.

The latest Census analysis shows 9% of white families below the US poverty level and 23% of Black and Hispanic families below the same levels.

Materialism :

The chairman of Goldman Sachs was awarded $21 million in total pay for 2012 according to the Wall Street Journal.

From 1978 to 2011, compensation for workers grew by 5.7 percent. During the same time, CEO compensation grew by 725 percent. In 1965 CEO earned about 20 times the typical worker. In 2011, the typical CEO “earned” over 200 times the typical worker.

The top 1% of earners took home 93% of the growth in incomes in 2010, while middle income household have lower incomes than they did in 1996, according to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

People in the US spent $52 billion on pets in 2012, according to the American Pet Products Association. The latest figures from the Census Bureau indicate the US spends less than $50 billion per year in non-military foreign aid.

Student loan debt is now higher than total credit card debt and total auto loan debt.

Over 2.8 million children in the US live in homes of extreme poverty, less than $2 per person per day before government benefits. This is double what it was 15 years ago.

Nearly one in six people in the US live in poverty according to the Census. One in five children live in poverty. Latest information shows 17% of white children in poverty, 32% of Hispanic children and 35% of black children.

Militarism :

The US spends more on its military than any country in the world. The US spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined! More than China, Russia, UK, France, Japan, Indian, Saudi Arabia, German and Brazil together.

The 2013 military budget authorizes spending $633 billion on our military defense, not including money for the Veterans Administration. The VA budget submission for 2013 is $140 billion. To compare, total federal spending on Social Security for 2012 was about $773 billion.

The US has 737 military bases outside the US around the world and over 2 million military personnel, including Defense Department and local hires.

The US leads the world in the sale of weapons in the global arms market. In 2011 the US tripled sales to $66 billion making up three-quarters of the global market. Russia was second with less than $5 billion in sales.

45% of the 1.6 million veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking disability benefits from physical and mental injuries suffered while in the service.

Suicides in active US military, 349 in 2012, exceeded the 295 total combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012, according to the Associated Press.

Conclusion :

These are challenges we should face with the hope and courage Dr. King and so many others have taught us as we celebrate his accomplishment and his inspiration.

.

{Bill Quigley is a professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans and Associate Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. He can be reached at : quigley77@gmail.com.}

[Item copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33665.htm ]

===========================================================================

On this MLK day, I append the above & also echo Robert Parry, who ends his article "America's War for Reality", with "Reality must be recovered and protected – if the planet and the children are to be saved.", so roll on the "behaviour therapy", as The US 99% are now in a generational struggle for justice, sanity, peace and prosperity in the richest country the world has ever seen, where the shocking truths of your comment really are slowly but surely "seeping in".

omnia mutantur et nos mutamur in ellis ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Some pertinent points from your excellent post:

"Median household net worth for whites was $110,000 versus $4,900 for blacks versus $7,424 for Latinos."

"From 1978 to 2011, compensation for workers grew by 5.7 percent. During the same time, CEO compensation grew by 725 percent."

"Nearly one in six people in the US live in poverty according to the Census."

"The US spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined!"

"The 2013 military budget authorizes spending $633 billion on our military defense, not including money for the Veterans Administration. The VA budget submission for 2013 is $140 billion. To compare, total federal spending on Social Security for 2012 was about $773 billion."

The nexus between racism, materialism and militarism can be found in capitalism, the most heinous ism of all as it perpetuates the other isms.

Facts like these should get Americans out on the street but after watching the inauguration I think a lot of Americans think Obama is going to take care of all this stuff. Sadly, I disagree and wish they would face the reality that talk is just that, talk. In the meantime, I agree with you, Shadz, that we should continue on with the "behavior therapy" and hope that eventually it sinks in because, yes, if the planet and children are to be saved, we have no choice.

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

'Behaviour therapy' with the regular repetition of the cold, hard facts is an absolute must - IF The US & Global 99% are to wake up from their apathy, ignorance, 'manufactured consent' and torpor. Ergo :

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

From "Debt and Democracy..": "The financial sector has gained sufficient influence to use such emergencies as an opportunity to convince governments that that the economy will collapse they it do not “save the banks.” In practice this means consolidating their control over policy, which they use in ways that further polarize economies."

"Neither banks nor public authorities (or mainstream academics, for that matter) calculated the economy’s realistic ability to pay – that is, to pay without shrinking the economy. Through their media and think tanks, they have convinced populations that the way to get rich most rapidly is to borrow money to buy real estate, stocks and bonds rising in price – being inflated by bank credit – and to reverse the past century’s progressive taxation of wealth....To put matters bluntly, the result has been junk economics. Its aim is to disable public checks and balances, shifting planning power into the hands of high finance on the claim that this is more efficient than public regulation."

"Iceland and Argentina are most recent examples...A basic mathematical as well as political principle is at work: Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be.

That article is an excellent summation of debt in history. I also like the term "junk economics." Thanks for that. :)

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Economists have responsibility for earthlings’ ignorance about their environmental dependence. Economics claims that man-made capital is a substitute for nature’s capital. As nature’s capital is depleted, reproducible man-made capital will take its place. This assumption is embodied in the production function that is the basis of modern economic theory. The assumption is absurd, because it assumes that finite resources can support infinite growth. Economists should begin their education with courses in physics.", from :

Many thanx for the extraction of the excellent excerpts from an article that I recommend to all readers.

multum in parvo ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

"Only in science fiction can humans escape the consequences of destroying their own habitat."

The Roberts article is excellent. Have you ever read "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Wright? His thesis is similar to Diamond's and he shows how civilizations literally implode by depleting their resources down to nothing. We are basically doing the same. Gee, you'd think we'd wisen up.

This is an important statement by Roberts because the connection between economics and the environment cannot be stressed enough:

"Economists have responsibility for earthlings’ ignorance about their environmental dependence. Economics claims that man-made capital is a substitute for nature’s capital. As nature’s capital is depleted, reproducible man-made capital will take its place. This assumption is embodied in the production function that is the basis of modern economic theory. The assumption is absurd, because it assumes that finite resources can support infinite growth. Economists should begin their education with courses in physics."

"GDP accounting does not include the costs of environmental destruction as a cost of production."

Sadly, "There is very little of the earth left that has not been ruined by humans."

It is going to be up to younger people to take charge of this planet. They will need to revamp their priorities re: shifting from 'phantom wealth' to 'real wealth' and really demand this from their government. Either that, or take over the government themselves.

[+] -4 points by DKAtoday (25039) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Exactly - a dig down deep effort.

Let Bradley Manning inspire us to an act of real courage.

Let MLK Gandhi and others like Mother Teresa remind us of true dedication as well as courage.

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The Crisis of Finance Capitalism and the Exhaustion of Neoliberalism'', by Michael A. Peters :

''The culture of banking is endemically fraudulent, and it has bought off all political opposition. The fact is that fraudulent activity has been at the heart of international banking activities as demonstrated by the systematic manipulation of the Libor rate controlled by a small group of banks. The Libor also underpins world derivatives markets worth hundreds of trillions.

''The consensus is that what is required is fundamental transformation of finance capitalism and that the current neoliberal model is exhausted but there's no thinking being generated about what alternatives we might pursue or how countries can regain control of their own destinies.'' Also please try to see :

'An Expanded ''Heist'' Trailer for the 99%' : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltNaDDQZ07k !

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 1 points by TikiJ (-38) 1 year ago

"but there's no thinking being generated about what alternatives we might pursue or how countries can regain control of their own destinies"

Exactly. The ones who think that maybe, just maybe, we may have more options than those being told to us, that maybe slobbering at the feet of the Democratic/Republican Party is not the cure, are told they are no good.

Excellent post.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Nice. Thanx. We're in development ~*~ & I can't recommend this 99% centric doc.

fiat lux ...

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

"Another way big banks are screwing you" from today's (7/21/13) front page of Huff Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

The article from the NY Times: "A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/business/a-shuffle-of-aluminum-but-to-banks-pure-gold.html?hp

"Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars."

"The inflated aluminum pricing is just one way that Wall Street is flexing its financial muscle and capitalizing on loosened federal regulations to sway a variety of commodities markets..."

They continue to rip off the people. How is that? What's going to make this end?

Great post, Shadz. The "Heist" continues.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Brilliant links to an important story. Thanx again bw & fyi, in a similar vein and in keeping with the OP :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

All water should be not for profit!

No water for profit!

[-] 4 points by DKAtoday (25039) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Water is life - water should be protected by all and free to everyone - um - that does not include corp(se)oRATions or any industry ( the free part - they must be held to protecting water ). For life.

[-] 0 points by TikiJ (-38) 1 year ago

It's all out in the open, its more transparent than ever. Its right there for the people to see.

Robbing in daylight. Indirectly. I guess that is the key.

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

These people have no shame and the laws, no moral backing.

[-] 0 points by TikiJ (-38) 1 year ago

Why would they? 95% just got re-elected.

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

The American people have been brainwashed and mis-educated in many ways, but they sure are to blame for having their heads in the sand and the blinders of nationalism on.

[-] -3 points by aville (-678) 1 year ago

i guess johnsons war on poverty didnt work out.

[+] -4 points by DKAtoday (25039) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Not exactly a ___ Picture - Hey? Andy Warhol

Green acres is the place to be - farm livin is the life for me.................

Sorry can't think of that artists correct name - portraits of ideal settings in American life? Andy Warhol - DUUUHHH

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6614) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Norman Rockwell.

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Not a pretty picture. We want a pretty picture so, "The Revolution is Love."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRtc-k6dhgs

Occupy Wall Street!

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

''The combination of a movement that is broad-based and deepening and a government that is dysfunctional is a recipe for a movement that is likely to grow. Not only are current participants in the resistance movement building relationships and expanding the scope of their work, but they are also learning how to be more effective. There is more information available about what it takes to win and more often than not, the movement is using the right strategies and tactics.

''And, the movement is winning battles. Stopping a war after a president announced a plan to bomb is an amazing, indeed unprecedented, feat. Repeatedly stopping President Obama and Congress from cutting Social Security, something the president has tried to do four times since 2010, is another important success. Forcing Larry Summers, Wall Street's favorite and President Obama's first choice to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve, to withdraw from contention is another victory.

''We need to consistently highlight our successes because there is no question the government and corporate media will not acknowledge them. It is much easier to build a movement on victories because it shows people that we can have an impact and we can make a difference by being part of a broad-based popular resistance.

''We have no doubt that the movement is growing, that support for our views are rising and that we are reaching a tipping point that will ensure our ultimate success. People who want to see transformative change in this country should go forward with confidence and build on the strengths we have shown. We will look back on this era in amazement at all we have accomplished.'' from :

The picture is prettier than we think perhaps. Onwards, Upwards & Solidarity for a bw for all.

per aspera as astra ...

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Right now society is prioritizing things based on an ethos that was ingrained through indoctrination and brainwashing. What younger kids today need to understand is that that can be undone.

"They can prioritize differently and like you say live their lives for 'real wealth.' They can achieve a healthy environment, time with family, and in particular, children, quality education for all, healthcare for all, opportunities for service and employment that have meaning, and time for peace and spiritual reflection, just to name a few.

"They can step away from a consumer-based, material-based, debt-based, fear-based economy that enriches the few at the expense of the masses toward a more love-based, sharing-based economy where everyone has enough to fulfill their own pursuit of happiness."

It warranted repeating from above - hence the deja vu, talking of which :

Onwards & Upwards towards a bw for us all, tho' the struggle is hard and the struggle is long.

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

The struggle is hard and the struggle is long, but it's all worth what we can accomplish in the end.

It's a long way to the light, ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cccwBEsx2f4

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

A "long way to the light" ?! Yes, perhaps but hopefully the journey will be worth it !! As long as the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train, lol - then the Spirit (see below) will ultimately triumph in love and solidarity, with sanity, prosperity and humanity for all !!! Thanx for the great tune & also see :

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Very interesting article. Capitalism's very earliest roots are in the enclosures of England during the 17th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure

Hedges is right that the commons is a way to subvert the results of enclosure as "The commons protects large resources from privatization, such as the lobster fisheries in Maine or grassland management in Mongolia, and allows collectives to regulate extraction. Exploitation is avoided because no one individual has more of a right to the source than any other."

"The commons movement is a reaction to exploitative free market capitalism. It rejects the notion that resources, spaces and other assets are purely a means to wealth."

The internet, as he points out, is developing an enclosure system as well, and this is very dangerous for our personal freedom.

The commons movement, or movements like it are exactly what we need to be doing. Unfortunately, the leaders of these types of movements on the internet, such as Julian Assange and Aaron Swartz are severely punished for doing so. Something to really think about.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

We need to rediscover, reinvent & reinvigorate old paradigms like "The Commons" & thanx for your excerpts and comment and your very insightful linkage to Julian Assange & Aaron Swartz [RIP] :

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, that Assange video says "This video is private." Good thing we have the transcript that follows.

And, very nice list of our freedoms that we should be demanding in the "We are all Aaron Swartz" article. Everyone should have a peek at that.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Yes - "We are All Aaron Swartz - Fighting Back Against the 'Intellectual Property' Racket ", by Tony Cartalucci : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33602.htm ...

And - "Julian Assange Speaks From Ecuador Embassy in London" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1ZyrHT-HRM - from which I excerpt ...

"Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong. Our civilization is only as strong as its ideas are true. When our buildings are erected by the corrupt. When their cement is cut with dirt. When pristine steel is replaced by scrap - our buildings are not safe to live in. And when our media is corrupt. When our academics are timid. When our history is filled with half truths and lies - our civilization will never be just. It will never reach the sky. Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions. You can't build a sky scraper out of plasticine. And you can't build a just civilization out of ignorance and lies."

Thanx for your heads up bw. Solidarity @ JA & http://www.bradleymanning.org/ & RIP @ Aaron Swartz.

consilio et animis ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Solidarity with Julian Assange. There are so many truths in that quote, it makes me kind of sad, really.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"WikiLeaks is a Rare Truth-teller. Smearing Julian Assange is Shameful", by John Pilger :

"WikiLeaks is a rare example of a newsgathering organisation that exposes the truth. Julian Assange is by no means alone." You're right bw, those words from Julian Assange's address are hard hitting.

RIP Aaron Swartz - http://www.aaronsw.com/ & Solidarity !!!

fiat lux ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

"Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong. Our civilization is only as strong as its ideas are true. When our buildings are erected by the corrupt. When their cement is cut with dirt. When pristine steel is replaced by scrap - our buildings are not safe to live in. And when our media is corrupt. When our academics are timid. When our history is filled with half truths and lies - our civilization will never be just. It will never reach the sky. Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions. You can't build a sky scraper out of plasticine. And you can't build a just civilization out of ignorance and lies." Worth repeating.

And, isn't Jemima Khan a former girlfriend of Hugh Grant? Why do I find irony there in her attacks on Assange? LOL.

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

You've a good eye for irony and you're right. Jemima Khan is one of Hugh Grant's former squeezes & she is also the mother to the children of former international cricketer and current Pakistani politician, Imran Khan. Her brother Zack Goldsmith is a British MP and her late father was corporate tycoon, Sir James Goldsmith. She's well connected and not short of a buck but maybe she's sore about the bail money she lost because Julian Assange was forced to seek asylum from persecution.

Anyway, here's what it is all about :

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21588) 1 year ago

Interesting article and historical comparison to Thomas Paine. "He and his party supporters are bound to attract hordes of detractors. Tom Paine was cursed by foes; he even suffered the dishonour of being called a “filthy little atheist” by Theodore Roosevelt. Assange is similarly facing an army of spiteful enemies."

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (25039) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Thanks for the link- it is a good one to watch to recharge and rededicate.

[-] -1 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

"Court order reveals how approval of Queen and Prince Charles is sought on range of bills"

.

(From George Monbiot article: ~"The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else" ~

For those who think that there is true democracy, or that the monarchy is a benevolent entity. This has been 'actively' hidden for a l-o-n-g time. Expose the Oligarchs!!!)

.

[The Guardian]

"Secret papers show extent of senior royals’ veto over bills Court order reveals how approval of Queen and Prince Charles is sought on range of bills.

The extent of the Queen and Prince Charles’s secretive power of veto over new laws has been exposed after Downing Street lost its battle to keep information about its application secret.

Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals’ little-known power to consent to or block new laws. They also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war.

The internal Whitehall pamphlet was only released following a court order and shows ministers and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles in greater detail and over more areas of legislation than was previously understood...."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jan/14/secret-papers-royals-veto-bills

.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Sadly, there is a deep, dark truth to this and it really further goes to show to what extent our notions of 'Western Democracy' is just a sorry sad sham of demoCRAZY deMOCKERYcy, which is why I hold to the hope of :

Keep Exposing The Oligarchs !!!

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Thanks for the great article!

"Intellectual capital"?!? Give me a break!!

Now why can't we get intelligent people like Richard Wolff 'serving the people' in government?? Sighhh...

Hey thanks for the reintroduction to "Mondragon Co-operative Corporation"! I had forgotten about them. Now this is what a corporation should look like! Fair, honest, dignified, earth conscious, compassionate, and on, and on, and on!!

.

~ "MC is composed of many co-operative enterprises grouped into four areas: industry, finance, retail and knowledge. In each enterprise, the co-op members (averaging 80-85% of all workers per enterprise) collectively own and direct the enterprise. Through an annual general assembly the workers choose and employ a managing director and retain the power to make all the basic decisions of the enterprise (what, how and where to produce and what to do with the profits).

As each enterprise is a constituent of the MC as a whole, its members must confer and decide with all other enterprise members what general rules will govern MC and all its constituent enterprises. In short, MC worker-members collectively choose, hire and fire the directors, whereas in capitalist enterprises the reverse occurs. One of the co-operatively and democratically adopted rules governing the MC limits top-paid worker/members to earning 6.5 times the lowest-paid workers. Nothing more dramatically demonstrates the differences distinguishing this from the capitalist alternative organization of enterprises. (In US corporations, CEOs can expect to be paid 400 times an average worker's salary – a rate that has increased 20-fold since 1965.)"~

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/alternative-capitalism-mondragon

.

Damn straight I'll keep Exposing The Oligarchs!!

.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Thanx for the Mondragon reminder & the great link as this matter is highly relevant here & so I append :

You may recognize the final author & re. your final sentence - power to you & http://itsoureconomy.us/ !!

consilio et animis ...

[-] 4 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Wonderful links Shadz! Ahhh...what bliss. Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone were part of such fairness and dignity...

I had no idea there was such a media blackout on the various degrees of Employee Owned Co-operatives in the U.S., or globally for that matter.

How many people do you think know this? Not many, I'm sure...

"We are not starting from scratch. There are thousands of successful, majority worker-owned businesses in the United States. The largest majority employee-owned business is Florida-based Publix Super Markets, a $27 billion company that employs 152,000 people. That's more workers than Costco and Whole Foods combined. As we finish the international year of the co-op, worker ownership is growing. One in five adults in the world are members of co-ops; and a majority of Americans find cooperatives to be less expensive, more trustworthy and to provide better service than traditional businesses.

As political economist Gar Alperovitz reports, "There are 120 million members of cooperatives in the United States; 20 percent of the American electric system is either co-op or municipal, essentially socialized. Land trusts are developing at the local level. At the state level, there are many approaches, like public pension funds, for example. California's is the most well-known, but the state of Alabama is heavily using its pension funds and even investing in some forms of worker-owned companies."

Wolff argues that workplaces need to go beyond majority ownership, to "Worker Self Directed Enterprises" (WSDE). He makes a strong case that workers in control of their own workplaces are much less likely to ship their own jobs overseas, underpay employees or pollute their own communities. As workers' enterprises become fully functioning, they benefit those who participate as workers as well as the customers and communities they serve."

I envision a world where we can all live a dignified life...to have our minds & bodies be free from drudgery...so we have the mental space to explore what it is like to always...walk in beauty.

.

You're an inspiration Shadz...

Staple Singers: I'll Take You There ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9rh3JTvvlk

.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

'Employee Owned Co-ops' are a great way for The 99% to reclaim the fruits of their own labour where it is recognised that the ONLY true 'Capital' - is 'Human Capital'. Thanx for the excellent excerpts and the tune & slightly more prosaically, I append :

A future of shared sanity, dignity and prosperity for us all is possible as we, The 99% slowly wake up.

vox populi vox dei ...

[-] 4 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

A practical little guide indeed! Thank you. From the book, I particularly liked the 'John Lewis Model' of employee owned corporation.

Though I risk running a similar post as the last one on Employee Owned Corporations, this is so relevant to a 'People's Society' and just is not spoken about enough on the forum, that I think it is warranted.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/16/john-lewis-model-lessons

"The John Lewis Partnership is one of the few UK companies where bumper bonuses do not provoke a public outcry.

All staff — from chairman Charlie Mayfield down to Saturday shelf-stackers – receive the same percentage payout which rises or falls in line with its financial fortunes. Last year its staff, or "partners" as John Lewis calls them, received 17% which is the equivalent of around nine weeks' pay.

The retailer's employee-owned partnership model operates differently from private-equity backed businesses and stock market-listed companies as instead of profits flowing to the shareholders, at John Lewis they flow to the staff, in the form of the annual bonus. It is not a one-off; according to the Employee Ownership Association there more than 100 UK companies with significant employee ownership, a section of the economy that is worth more than £25bn annually. Other examples include Blackwell bookshops, jam maker Wilkin & Sons and polymers manufacturer Scott Bader.

John Lewis's ownership structure was established by pioneering businessman John Spedan Lewis whose father founded the business in 1864. He signed away his ownership rights in 1929 to allow future generations of employees to take forward his "experiment in industrial democracy". His ideas are set out in the company's constitution which at its heart has the idea of establishing a "better form of business".

All 76,500 of John Lewis's permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer's 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets, which generate annual sales of more than £8bn. As the company itself puts it: "Partners share in the benefits and profits of a business that puts them first." John Lewis's constitution also lists a formal mission to maximise the "happiness" of its staff. The power structure involves a staff council – for ideas and complaints to filter up to the board – and a weekly magazine where staff can air their views about policies and management, anonymously if they choose.

Tony Greenham, the head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation says it is important that employees should "have a greater say in how their businesses are run, not just a bigger share of the profits". He said: "The idea that workers have nothing useful to contribute to management belongs to the 19th century, not the 21st."

Greenham says both privately held and employee owned businesses can contribute to an economy that does a better job of creating social and environmental value over the long run. "A successful economy is one where private interests ultimately serve the broader public interest," he adds. "What companies like John Lewis demonstrate is that this does not have to come at the expense of commercial success."

John Lewis staff earn the same as shopworkers at rival chains – but the year-end bonus is a significant top-up. Its directors, on the other hand, are paid substantially less than their boardroom counterparts at businesses such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's. Staff also receive employee perks – worth £70m this year – ranging from holiday homes to sailing clubs, theatre outings, theme park admissions, and even a choir, all subsidised. It also one of the dwindling number of companies to operate a final salary pension scheme which is funded entirely by the company.

The ownership model means it is in the interests of John Lewis and Waitrose staff to work hard as they are the direct beneficiaries.

Companies such as Next are far more profitable than John Lewis but a report by academics at the Cass business school found that employee-owned businesses had a higher rate of sales growth and job creation during the recession than companies in conventional ownership. Over the course of the boom-and-bust period between 2005 and 2009, they generally created new jobs more quickly and were at least as profitable as their counterparts.

The findings — based on a survey of more than 60 senior executives of both types of company, and financial data from more than 250 firms — back up other studies that show that employee owned businesses typically outperform those companies in which employees do not have an ownership stake or the right to participate in decision-making. "The advantage comes from taking a stakeholder rather than a shareholder view of management," said the study. "Employees who have a stake in the company they work for are more committed to delivering quality and more flexible in the face of the needs of business."

.

John Lewis is unselfishness personified!

Thanks!!

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

V-e-r-y Inspiring article! There are so many good excerpts that its hard to pick which would be the best. I hope that everyone here just reads the whole article. This shows exactly the kind of action and results to one of the main reasons we are here at OWS! Worker Owned Co-operatives are a fundamental foundation...'the bedrock' for a "People's Society"

Wow! People are really doing it! So many willing people. I am Truly Inspired!! Thanks once again Shadz, for a stellar link!

From Article...

"What’s happening in Chicago is part of a very important national trend; many parts of the country are looking towards worker ownership as a way to root jobs in the communities that need them. In Cleveland, for instance a community foundation, with the support of local universities and hospitals, is helping create a network of interlinked green worker cooperatives as part of an economic development strategy designed to help lift devastated neighborhoods out of poverty. With an industrial scale laundry and a solar installation and weatherization firm already operational, and a 3.5 acre urban greenhouse scheduled to launch in a few months, the Cleveland model is one that many other cities—including Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Washington D.C.—are actively exploring today. Crucially, the model developed in Cleveland looks beyond the individual worker-owned company to understand how a community can support the businesses and workers that in turn support it: in this case, the purchasing power of the city’s largest so-called “anchor institutions” is mobilized to develop worker-owned jobs in the very neighborhoods these institutions call home."

NOW, READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE EVERYONE!

http://www.garalperovitz.com/2012/07/a-new-era-for-worker-ownership/#more-1171

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Cooperatives and Community Work Are Part of American DNA", by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers :

Further to the above link, I also append for your interest and information :

Thanx for your great excerpt and reference to http://www.garalperovitz.com/ .

pax et lux ...

[-] 2 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Oh my...I think you've outdone yourself!

The piece by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers is particularly relevant...and also special to me precisely because it includes something that I've been trying to convey recently...that being Gandhi's approach of Non-Compliance. Essentially 'turning our backs on "their" system.'

This is probably the best article on the subject of Employee Owned Corporations, and I highly recommend everyone take a few minutes and have a positive & progressive read.

"History reinforces the idea that to achieve transformational change, we must proceed on twin tracks: protesting and building. Mahatma Gandhi changed his emphasis in the mid-1930s, a dozen years before independence from the British Empire, to work focused on building economically self-reliant communities from below (sardovaya, or social uplift for all). This became an adjunct to the strategy he is most known for, satyagraha (noncooperation and civil disobedience to unjust laws). Gandhian economics meant thousands of self-sufficient small communities with self-rule and the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level joined together in a cooperative federation of village republics. This is bookended by the Gandhian social ideal of dignity of labor, equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom."

Brilliant!!

.

The Maude Barlow piece is a very bleak but accurate & chilling narrative of the symbiotic Canadian agenda with the U.S. and global oligarchs.

In my opinion...Stephen Harper has brought us back to the dark ages. A bitter disappointment for many Canadians.

Thank goodness there are activist groups with clout like "Common Causes" who expose the exorbitant amount of fraud, disappearing human rights and atrocious foreign policy.

" Stephen Harper's aggressive trade agenda extends not only to countries with poor human rights histories such as China, Colombia and Peru, but also restricts our economic and environmental policies by giving foreign-based transnational corporations new powers."

Thanks once again! Solidarity!!

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Dr. Margaret Flowers is one of the guiding lights behind :

It is an excellent web-site, which I thoroughly recommend & thanx for your important excerpt and gracious comment. I do concur with your view of Harper as he is a Neo-Liberal / Neo-Con Snake !

pax ...

[-] 2 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Stellar website! Scores of important & germane articles.

What I didn't know is that Dr. Margaret Flowers: "serves on the steering committee of October2011.org which organized the Occupation of Washingon, DC on Freedom Plaza and continues to report on and help organize Occupy events around the country."

From the article: "We each have the same collective wisdom and genius within us. If we are presented with a problem and provided with good information from around the world, people can come together and solve their issues locally. They start by looking 20 years forward and asking what they want their town, neighborhood, or community to look like. The reality is that we need energy independence because fossil fuels are disappearing, and we are dealing with new disaster weather patterns. How do we transition to this reality?

At the local level we are building resilience. The thing that sets transition apart from other good efforts is that we focus on relationships. It is a cultural shift based on building relationships whether in big cities or small towns. We are pulling people together, presenting problems, providing information and then developing solutions. We look not only to outward actions but to inner transition away from what we are addicted to. We help each other to remove ourselves from our addiction to current society. We create a positive vision and work toward it."

Full article...

http://itsoureconomy.us/2011/08/a-revolution-of-cooperation-transitioning-to-sustainable-communities/

In essence, this is the Employee Owned Corporation brought to the residential community level. Similar to the indigenous, where the residents consciously work together for the better of all in the community, while being mindful of the future of their resources.

Harper, the two headed snake. Although true and sad...the cartoonish visual did make me chuckle. Thanks.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Re. Dr. Margaret Flowers, thanx for the excellent link and excerpting this item from her fantastic website. She is warrior for The 99% & power to her elbow. From the item, I've further extracted :

"Think Global - Act Local" & we all must 'K.O.K.O.' : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-l91O9VxN0 !

Re. Harper, he's a two-faced, fork-tongued, Corporate Stooge & he IS a cartoon !!! Chuckle ?!! I nearly puked ! Can you tell that I don't like him either ?

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 4 points by Middleaged (5140) 1 year ago

Is it possible that shadz66 is an institute. lol reading Renneye below. I can't keep up with all the links you send out. I know you keep the text brief. So I guess that is your secret. But... what if there was a world where shadz66 was an institute?

Could shadz66 provide links and info on many websites to many people everyday? Perhaps, we would do websearches and end up on your websight to ask questions... And you would reply with links for the answers.

[-] 4 points by Renneye (4004) 1 year ago

Dr. Margaret Flowers follows her innate moral compass. Integrity, compassion for her fellow human beings and intellect. A real force to be reckoned with!

Your links here are excellent as usual. The first two have a very earthy, organic, Mother (Gaia) Earth feel and sensibility to them...ones that weave beautifully with circadian rhythms. I particularly enjoyed...and will continue to enjoy http://permaculture.tv/ , as there are so many interesting videos there that I haven't gotten to them all yet. I don't know how you manage to get all your information.

You don't mind if I share these links on another thread on Co-ops, do you? Thanks! I knew you wouldn't mind!

YES! "Think Global - Act Local" YES!!! And thanks for K.O.K.O.!!

Re Harper; You mean, you don't like him? I never would have guessed. ^.~

Would it help if I said it was a cynical chuckle?

.

A little on the goofy side, but fun....

Where on Earth is Matt? 2012 ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwe-pA6TaZk

We're out of reply posts. No reply needed. Solidarity!!