| Marianne Maeckelbergh | The year 2011 has breathed new life into horizontal models of democratic decision-making.
The Occupy Wall Street movement means a lot of things to a lot of people, but one of the things it pretty much universally represents is the concept of agency . Instead of sitting passively by and allowing a dysfunctional system to detract from a culture, the participants in Occupy want to object, to reform the system, and if that doesn’t work, to build a new system. And the crucial point is that they feel that they have the right (if not obligation) to do so.
One route for the educated, jobless young was to join a protest group like The People's Movement of Nepal. (PhysOrg.com) -- A new study led by the University of Oxford is looking at how young educated people who are unemployed become politicized in different ways - either through violent struggle or as reformers working for a more equal society. The project is one of the first to compare in depth the experiences across different countries of the young who are educated and yet unemployed. The project focuses on three countries particularly affected by youth unemployment: northern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, but the findings will have wider global relevance. Youth unemployment is now a critical problem across the world. It recently propelled uprisings in the Arab world, contributed to sectarian violence in India, and has now reached record highs in the UK.
Over the last three decades, income inequality has again soared to the sort of levels that alarmed Brandeis. In 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans made 9.1 percent of our nation’s pre-tax income; by 2006 that share had risen to 18.8 percent — slightly higher than when Brandeis joined the Supreme Court in 1916. Congress might have countered this increased concentration but, instead, tax changes have exacerbated the trend: in after-tax dollars, our wealthiest 1 percent over this same period went from receiving 7.7 percent to 16.3 percent of our nation’s income.
Farmers have been through this before — our lives and livelihoods falling under corporate control. It has been an ongoing process: consolidation of markets; consolidation of seed companies; an ever-widening gap between our costs of production and the prices we receive. Some of us are catching on, getting the picture of the real enemy. The "99 percent" are awakening to the realization that their lives have fallen under corporate control as well. Add up the jobs lost, the health benefits whittled away, and the unions busted, and the bill for Wall Street's self-centered greed is taking a toll. (Brennan Cavanaugh / Flickr) It's not the immigrants, the homeless, the unions, or the farmers that have looted the economy and driven us to the brink of another Great Depression.
MORE than any other country, America defines itself by a collective dream: the dream of economic opportunity and upward mobility. Its proudest boast is that it offers a chance of the good life to everybody who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. This ideal has made the United States the world's strongest magnet for immigrants; it has also reconciled ordinary Americans to the rough side of a dynamic economy, with all its inequalities and insecurities.
Voting for the finalists in the third annual prize for “the best blog writing in politics & social science” at 3 Quarks Daily has started. Here are the nominees , and here is where to vote. Several friends of the blog are in the running, and if you read this site perhaps you are familiar with their work.
By SARAH PALIN Mark Twain famously wrote, "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw Them All Out," reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.) Mr.
More than two and a half million Americans slipped into poverty this year bringing the total number of Americans in poverty to 46.2 million. There are millions more Americans near or in danger of going into poverty because they could lose their job, their home to bank foreclosure, or contract a disease or illness that leads to a medical bill they will be unable to pay. Americans have made it a habit of taking time every Thanksgiving (and Christmas) to appreciate how lucky they are despite how poor or worse off they might be this year. This avoids having to show empathy toward Americans, who are struggling and have become victims of economic, political and social structures of America.
Whattup. Moving on from Lewis’ cute Bloomberg column reprint, we come to the next essay in the series: The Widening Gyre: Inequality, Polarization, and the Crisis by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells Indefatigable pair Paul Krugman and Robin Wells (KW hereafter) contribute one of the several original essays in the book, but the content ought to be familiar if you read the New York Times , know something about economics or practice finance. Paul Krugman is prolific, and it isn’t hard to be prolific when you have to rewrite essentially the same column every week; question, are there other columnists who have been so consistently right yet have failed to propose anything that the polity would adopt ? Political failure notwithstanding, Krugman leaves gems in every paragraph for the reader new to all this.
Great and expansive front-page WSJ feature from 15th. Disappointing to the anti-globalization crowd, but it's been very, very good to LATAM, decreasing its poor and increasing its middle class in a steady fashion since Cold War's end. A realistic snapshot: The expanding middle is benefiting from a strong period of economic growth—fueled by high commodity prices in many countries—along with more aggressive social programs with a decided focus on education. But the advances are still tenuous, and the possibility of a global recession haunts the prospects of los emergentes —the emerging ones—as marketers call the newly minted middle-class members.
While the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has been gaining momentum, growing in terms of visibility, media coverage and sheer numbers of participants, it has had a difficult time “occupying” the Twitter trending topics (TTs) list. #OccupyWallStreet , the movement’s dominant hashtag, has never once hit the New York TTs list. Similarly, #OccupyBoston has trended all across the world, but never in Boston, which only saw the phrases ‘Dewey Sq’ and ‘Dewey Square’ trend. Some point the blame at Twitter for censoring content, yet what seems to be happening is purely algorithmic.
History shows us it is easy for ‘grassroots’ campaigns to become co-opted by the very interests they are fighting against. A 21st-century grassroots movement faces many pitfalls. This was as true back in 1968 as it is today.
Excerpted from Gar Alperovitz : “Take an obvious example: Many of the advances that have propelled our high-tech economy in recent decades grew directly out of research programs financed and, often, collaboratively developed, by the federal government and paid for by the taxpayer. The Internet, to take the most well-known example, began as a government defense project, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), in the 1960s. Today’s vast software industry rests on a foundation of computer language and operating hardware developed, in large part, with public support. The Bill Gateses of the world might still be working with vacuum tubes and punch cards were it not for critical research and technology programs created or financed by the federal government.
‘I don’t want to live in an economy where everything is the same, where progress is halted and human creativity is stifled’, is a common response to post-growth theories. I agree absolutely – I wouldn’t wish to live in that kind of economy either. The new economy doesn’t hit the pause button on progress, innovation, science, creativity, culture or change, and neither does it go backwards. It just sets some new parameters, and will therefore deliver a different kind of change. Instead of bigger, we’ll have to develop better; qualitative change rather than quantitative.
Commentary and Observations
1% vs 99%