Can There Be “Good” Corporations? by Marjorie Kelly When companies are owned by workers and the community—instead of Wall Street financiers—everything changes. posted Apr 16, 2012 George Siemon calls himself Organic Valley’s “C-E-I-E-I-O.” Photo courtesy of Organic Valley. Our economic system is profoundly broken. There is another approach. First, we haven’t acknowledged what unites them. Ownership unites them. The alternatives emerging in our time represent an unsung ownership revolution. Here we confront the second consideration—the need for a name. Employees in this firm are not a countervailing power. Options like worker ownership and cooperatives not only spread wealth but ensure that owners are local, hence more likely to care about local ecological impacts. In writing the book, Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, I’ve been traveling around and visiting places where this new economy is bubbling up. Founded on Fairness Consider, for example, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) in England. “Very much so,” he said. 1.
Mind Over Money Mind Over Money PBS Airdate: April 27, 2010 NARRATOR: Does raw human emotion dictate your financial decisions, or are we rational calculators of our own self-interest? It's a bitter scientific debate that has real-world consequences. The crash of 2008 nearly collapses the global economy. Experiments show our behavior is bizarre when it comes to money, but not everyone agrees. ZACH BURNS (University of Chicago): Okay, who's ready? NARRATOR: It's an unusual experiment that challenges all our ideas about money:... ZACH BURNS: Who wants to bid? NARRATOR: ...an auction of a twenty dollar bill. BIDDER ONE: One dollar. ZACH BURNS: Do I hear two dollars? BIDDER TWO: Two dollars. ZACH BURNS: Do I hear three? You want five? BIDDER THREE: Five. ZACH BURNS: Six? BIDDER FOUR: Six. ZACH BURNS: Seven? BIDDER FIVE: Seven. NARRATOR: The rules are simple. BIDDER SIX: Ten. ZACH BURNS: Eleven? BIDDER FIVE: Thirteen. NARRATOR: But there's a catch. ZACH BURNS: Thirteen. ZACH BURNS: Do I hear 20? BIDDER SEVEN: Twenty. Ooh!
Slide Show: Obama on The New Yorker's Cover In the past four years, the covers that feature President Obama, his family, and his political foes have taken many forms. Here’s a look back at how our cover artists have depicted the President since 2008. “Eustace Tillarobama,” by Ria Irvin and Seth. February 11 & 18, 2008. “I’ll Get It! “Herding Cats,” by Barry Blitt. Advertisement Sign up for email newsletters Wealth Inequality Sep 30 Wealth Inequality in America Perform the following thought experiment. Remove yourself for a moment from your present socioeconomic circumstances and imagine that you are to be replaced randomly into society at any class level. Now, before you know your particular place in society you are told that it is within your powers to redistribute the wealth of that society in any way that you choose. Here is what we found: As you can see from the figure, participants rather badly estimated the current state of wealth disparity! What this tells me is that Americans don’t understand the extent of disparity in the US, and that they (we) desire a more equitable society. Maybe this suggests that when there are no labels, and we think about the core of our morality in abstract terms (and under the veil of ignorance), we are actually very similar?
Secret Fears of the Super-Rich - Graeme Wood The October 2008 issue of SuperYacht World confirmed it: money cannot buy happiness. Page 38 of “the international magazine for superyachts of distinction”—if you have to ask what it takes for a yacht to qualify as “super,” you can’t afford to be in the showroom—presented the Martha Ann, a 230-foot, $125 million boat boasting a crew of 20, a master bedroom the size of my house, and an interior gaudy enough to make Saddam Hussein blush. The feature story on the Martha Ann was published just as the S&P 500 suffered its worst week since 1933, shedding $1.4 trillion over the course of the week, or about 2,240 Martha Anns every day. Still, one of the captions accompanying the lavish photos betrayed the status anxiety that afflicts even the highest echelons of wealth. The lesson that Mammon is a false or inadequate god goes back a long way, and a glossy spread in SuperYacht World is just one place to relearn it. Such complaints sound, on their face, preposterous.
The Whitewashing of the American Farmer: Dodge Ram Super Bowl Ad Edition - Alexis C. Madrigal Maybe God did make farmers, but why'd Dodge only show us the white ones? Dodge Ram turned heads with its high-production value remake of a Farms.com YouTube video, featuring conservative radio broadcaster Paul Harvey's voice laid over beautiful photographs of Americans farmers. The arresting images combined with the crackle of what everyone immediately recognizes as old audio made everyone at our Super Bowl party stop and watch. Dodge, I'm sure, had good demographic analysis of their audience, so they knew they could go godly with the message and encounter little backlash. But there's a problem. Stipulating that visual inspection is a rough measure for the complex genealogical histories of people, I decided to count the race and ethnicity of the people in Dodge's ad. I couldn't help but wonder: Where are all the campesinos? It's true that whites are the managers of 96 percent of the nation's farms, according to the USDA's 2007 Census of Agriculture.
Economy and psychology The podcasts and blogs below are produced by professionals with extensive experience working in their respective fields as a psychotherapist and an economist. Here they combine what they have learned to explore how the twin crises of the US economy and our psychology interact today. Isolation, anxiety, loneliness, and depression are psychological issues that profoundly impact work, consumption, and debt. Likewise, unemployment, income inequality, and exploitation shape our emotional and intimate lives. The interaction of economy and psychology helps to determine our society and our individuality as well. Yet these topics remain loaded with taboos, confusions, ignorance, and fear preventing us from asking big questions and daring to discuss big answers. Podcasts Meanings of the Election Results Monday, December 3, 2012 Everyone from the candidates to the parties to observers and voters are making their respective senses of what the election results mean. The Decline of Traditional Families
Alain de Botton: Imagining Advertisements for Things We Really Need | Think Tank What's the Big Idea? You don't need this product. But I want you to buy it. So I am going to confuse you. But what if advertising could be used for things that we really do need? Watch the video here: What's the Significance? Is it at all practical to imagine an "ethical advertising agency," as Botton proposes, that would be used to create "beautiful presentations of the most important ideas around." The real difficulty with the ideas which underlie virtues like love or compassion is not that they seem surprising or peculiar, but rather that they seem far too obvious: their very reasonableness and universality strip them of their power. Botton's ad agency would each year promote 6 virtues, selected through an online poll. Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Behold, the First Video-Game About the Millennials - Joseph Bernstein In Far Cry 3, a stalling man-boy graduates from "first-world problems" to real-world problems. Ubisoft You may know some people like Jason Brody. Brody, the hero of Ubisoft's commendable new shooting game Far Cry 3, is unmistakably a Millennial, that subject of a thousand unsatisfying think pieces in a hundred magazines. The game begins with a montage of Jason and friends flitting dilettantishly about some Southeast Asian sin den, in the manner of good, debauched Millennials. Because we are in video-game land, the answer is: very easily, thanks. Rook Island is technically in the South Pacific, but it is really a surreal microcosm of the "Third World" as seen by the "First World." When Jason first arrives on the island, he can't compete. "He is back from the dead!" Far Cry 3 is a "sandbox" game. Far Cry 3, as gamers probably know, is a "sandbox" game. (As far as I can tell, the only real distraction is Rook Island itself, which looks pretty enough to propose to.
How Class Works Richard Wolff Examines Class on The Real News Published on May 6, 2013 Richard Wolff is an economist who has studied class issues for more than 40 years. In this animation and audio presentation, Wolff explains what class is all about and applies that understanding to the foreclosure crisis of 2007--2011. He argues that class concerns the "way our society splits up the output [and] leaves those who get the profits in the position of deciding and figuring out what to do with them... Visit Professor Wolff's social movement project, democracyatwork.info. Permission to reprint Professor Wolff's writing and videos is granted on an individual basis.
Making the Choice Between Money and Meaning - Umair Haque Remind me: why is an average investment banker worth, say, a hundred times as much as an average teacher? And why does a top hedge fund manager “earn” enough to pay for thousands of teachers? Is there a trade-off between meaning and money? There is indeed a stark, sharp, gigantic trade-off between meaning and money in our so-called brain-dead shell-game Ponzi-scheme of an “economy.” But there shouldn’t be. In a “working” economy, one should gain a sense of meaning from one’s work when one makes a lasting, visible difference; and when one makes a difference, one should be rewarded for (and in proportion with) it. You and I face the difficult choice of trading meaning for money; we weigh the searing moments of real human accomplishment against the soul-sucking “work” of earning the next car payment by polishing up another meaningless PowerPoint deck packed with tactics to win games whose net result is the creation of little of real value for much of anyone who’s not a sociopath. You’re 25.
One Dad's Ill-Fated Battle Against the Princesses - Andy Hinds He tried to keep Cinderella and Rapunzel away from his daughters, but the girls found them anyway. Disney There's no room in my family's life for any more princesses. Four years ago, the news that my wife and I were going to have twin girls coincided with the moment of my most fervent dedication to the notion that gender is, for the most part, socially constructed. Before the twins were born, friends and family inundated us with hand-me-down "girl clothes." During the first two years of parenthood, I was able to maintain the princess blockade in our home with very few breaches. Inevitably, though, Disney Princess items started appearing in the playroom. "Um..." So princesses were called "little ladies" for several months, even after an anthology of Disney Princess stories somehow made it into heavy bedtime rotation, and branded plastic trinkets started spontaneously generating and multiplying in their toy collection. Sometime after my daughters' third birthday, I gave up. "No," she said.
Machines Can't Flow: The Difference Between Mechanical and Human Productivity - Linda Stone More output, produced faster may be great metrics for machines, but for homo sapiens, the most powerful metric is engagement. Workers punching the clock at the SKF roller bearing factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Library of Congress) At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, it seemed machines could do anything. We tend to think of productivity as maximizing output or quantity. A few years ago in a set of interviews, I asked people if they managed their time, their attention, or both. Mid-level managers talked about their best practices for time-management, and at the same time, expressed their concerns: "I just can't get it all done. They expressed anxiety about the future: "Can I accomplish all these things?" In contrast, surgeons, artists, and many senior managers talked about managing both their time and attention. What is engaged attention and what is flow? Surgeons, by necessity, have to manage time and attention. It's time to rethink productivity.