Collared or Untied: Reflections on Work in American Culture 1.Fred Armisen opened the first season of the TV show Portlandia singing “The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland,” a dream of pierced, tattooed folks hanging out, hot girls wearing glasses and putting images of birds on everything, and grown-ups making a living making coffee. He asks Carrie Brownstein if she remembers the ’90s, when people were unambitious and “they had no occupations whatsoever.” “I thought that died out a long time ago,” she says, wonderingly, before she leaves L.A. to join Armisen’s ragged troupe of relaxed and minimally-employed folks dedicated to the art of skateboarding. The context missing from this hilarious send-up is that Portland experienced a decade-long recession in the early years of the 2000s, and didn’t bounce back from it until the last couple of years. The ’90s, like the ’80s before them, were a decade of company mergers and the birth of bigger, leaner, and meaner mega-corporations.
Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth Corporate chieftains often claim that fixing the US economy requires signing new free trade deals, lowering government debt, and attracting lots of foreign investment. But a major new study has found that those things matter less than an economic driver that CEOs hate talking about: equality. "Countries where income was more equally distributed tended to have longer growth spells," says economist Andrew Berg, whose study appears in the current issue of Finance & Development, the quarterly magazine of the International Monetary Fund. Comparing six major economic variables across the world's economies, Berg found that equality of incomes was the most important factor in preventing a major downturn. (See top chart.) In their study, Berg and coauthor Jonathan Ostry were less interested in looking at how to spark economic growth than how to sustain it.
Our Gardenbrain Economy WE are prisoners of the metaphors we use, even when they are wildly misleading. Consider how political candidates talk about the economy. Last month President Obama praised immigrants as “the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.” Mitt Romney says that extending the will “fuel” a recovery. Others fear a “stall” in job growth. Call it the “Machinebrain” picture of the world: markets are perfectly efficient, humans perfectly rational, incentives perfectly clear and outcomes perfectly appropriate. List of countries by inequality-adjusted HDI World map indicating the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index in 2012 (2013 report). This is a list of countries by inequality-adjusted human development index (IHDI), as published by the UNDP in its 2013 and 2011 Human Development Reports . According to the reports, the IHDI is a "measure of the average level of human development of people in a society once inequality is taken into account."
TEDxNewWallStreet - 03/11/2012 TEDxNewWallStreet explores moving banking from the Industrial Age, into the Information Age. In 2009, Marc Andreessen remarked "banking is just information science." Inspired by Marc's words, Bruce Cahan and the Team set out to organize TEDxNewWallStreet to explore a banking system different than the Industrial Age system we inherited. THE FINANCIAL PHILOSOPHER: Foundations vs 'Castles in the Air' "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
Wealth doesn't trickle down – it just floods offshore, research reveals The world's super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy. James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has conducted groundbreaking new research for the Tax Justice Network campaign group – sifting through data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private sector analysts to construct an alarming picture that shows capital flooding out of countries across the world and disappearing into the cracks in the financial system. Comedian Jimmy Carr became the public face of tax-dodging in the UK earlier this year when it emerged that he had made use of a Cayman Islands-based trust to slash his income tax bill. "These estimates reveal a staggering failure," says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network.
The Income-Inequality Myth As we listen to President Obama, Occupy Wall Street, and much of the mainstream media working themselves into a lather over inequality in America, one thinks of Harrison Bergeron, the 1961 short story by Kurt Vonnegut that posited a society based on perfect equality, “not only equal before God and the law … equal every which way.” The government employed a “Handicapper General” to ensure that no one was smarter, more athletic, or more productive than anyone else. Beautiful people were forced to wear masks, athletic people had to carry weights, and intelligent people wore radios in their ears to interrupt their thoughts with loud noises. Poverty and freedom of expression: How the poor are being silenced Poverty can restrict your access to basic human rights. This is neither a controversial nor revolutionary statement — it is clear that access to food and shelter is diminished by poverty. But poverty also blocks the less tangible rights many of us nonetheless take for granted, among them, the right to freedom of expression.
Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It: Full Transcript This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It.” [MUSIC: Greg Ruby Quartet, “Swing for Dudley” (from Look Both Ways)] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey, podcast listeners. We made the episode you’re about to hear because you asked for it. You sent us emails – many, many emails – over the last several months, maybe over the last couple years, with questions like these: Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world "on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth." The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the "1% versus the 99%" do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing. "We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we're nothing like."
6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying All of a sudden, it's like you can't make huge amounts of money without people getting all pissed off about it. And it's only going to get worse -- with the election coming up and the weather getting warmer, this whole "Occupy" movement is probably going to come back strong. The 1 percent will feel even more besieged than before. "What the hell?" you're probably thinking, if you're somehow both rich and reading an article with this title, "I didn't crash the economy!" How income inequality contributed to the Great Recession A house in Denver lies empty and under foreclosure as the sub-prime crisis hits the US in 2007. Photograph: Sipa Pres/Rex Features The idea that the Great Recession of 2008 may have been caused not just by careless banking but also social inequality is currently all the rage among macroeconomists. Much of the impetus for the current debate stems from the widely discussed 2010 book Fault Lines, written by Raghuram Rajan, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.