51% Believe Capitalism No Longer the Right Way Forward

 

Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

https://www.fastcompany.com/40439316/are-you-ready-to-consider-that-capitalism-is-the-real-problem

Before you say no, take a moment to really ask yourself whether it’s the system that’s best suited to build our future society.

Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?
Fifty-one percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism. [Illustration: Kseniya_Milner/iStock]

This story reflects the views of this author, but not necessarily the editorial position of Fast Company.

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In February, college sophomore Trevor Hill stood up during a televised town hall meeting in New York and posed a simple question to Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. He cited a study by Harvard University showing that 51% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism, and asked whether the Democrats could embrace this fast-changing reality and stake out a clearer contrast to right-wing economics.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback. “I thank you for your question,” she said, “but I’m sorry to say we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is.”

The footage went viral. It was powerful because of the clear contrast it set up. Trevor Hill is no hardened left-winger. He’s just your average millennial—bright, informed, curious about the world, and eager to imagine a better one. But Pelosi, a figurehead of establishment politics, refused to–or was just unable to–entertain his challenge to the status quo.

There’s something fundamentally flawed about a system that has a prime directive to churn nature and humans into capital. [Illustration: Kseniya_Milner/iStock]

It’s not only young voters who feel this way. A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the U.S., it’s as high as 55%. In Germany, a solid 77% are skeptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.Why do people feel this way? Probably not because they deny the abundant material benefits of modern life that many are able to enjoy. Or because they want to travel back in time and live in the U.S.S.R. It’s because they realize—either consciously or at some gut level—that there’s something fundamentally flawed about a system that has a prime directive to churn nature and humans into capital, and do it more and more each year, regardless of the costs to human well-being and to the environment we depend on.

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Because let’s be clear: That’s what capitalism is, at its root. That is the sum total of the plan. We can see this embodied in the imperative to grow GDP, everywhere, year on year, at a compound rate, even though we know that GDP growth, on its own, does nothing to reduce poverty or to make people happier or healthier. Global GDP has grown 630% since 1980, and in that same time, by some measures, inequality, poverty, and hunger have all risen.

Gains are seen as the natural property of the investor class. [Illustration: Kseniya_Milner/iStock]

We also see this plan in the idea that corporations have a fiduciary duty to grow their stock value for the sake of shareholder returns, which prevents even well-meaning CEO’s from voluntarily doing anything good—like increasing wages or reducing pollution—that might compromise their bottom line.Just look at the recent case involving American Airlines. Earlier this year, CEO Doug Parker tried to raise his employees salaries to correct for “years of incredibly difficult times” suffered by his employees, only to be slapped down by Wall Street. The day he announced the raise, the company’s shares fell 5.8%. This is not a case of an industry on the brink, fighting for survival, and needing to make hard decisions. On the contrary, airlines have been raking in profits. But the gains are seen as the natural property of the investor class. This is why JP Morgan criticized the wage increase as a “wealth transfer of nearly $1 billion” to workers. How dare they?

What becomes clear here is that ours is a system that is programmed to subordinate life to the imperative of profit.

 

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Dr. Jason Hickel is an anthropologist at the London School of Economics who works on international development and global political economy, with an ethnographic focus on southern Africa.  He writes for the Guardian and Al Jazeera English. His most recent book, The Divide: A Brief History of Global Inequality and Its Solutions, is available now.

Martin Kirk is cofounder and director of strategy for The Rules, a global collective of writers, thinkers, and activists dedicated to challenging the root causes of global poverty and inequality. His work focuses on bringing insights from the cognitive and complexity sciences to bear on issues of public understanding of complex global challenges.

Cure for Trumpism: Pay People Better, Then They’ll Spend $$, Then the Economy Will Improve

To My Fellow Plutocrats: You Can Cure Trumpism

Daniel Strauss

Since Election Day, I’ve been overwhelmed by anguished calls, emails and conversations from you, my wealthy friends, who, for the first time, are confronting the real possibility that our cozy utopian, urban, pluralistic lifestyles may be in peril. I share your fear. And with good reason.

Three years ago, in these pages, I warned you that the pitchforks were coming. I argued that 30 years of rising and accelerating inequality would inevitably lead to some sort of populist revolt that would disrupt the fantastic lives we elites enjoy. I cautioned that any society which allows itself to become radically and indefensibly unequal eventually faces either an uprising or a police state—or both.

And here we are.

Our new president was swept into power through exactly the kind of populist anger I predicted. He was an historically terrible candidate, and his behavior and actions

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Confront the Plastics Kraken: Carry a Zero Waste Kit Every Day

Plastic Free July: What YOU Can Do to Reduce Plastics Waste

7/19/2017

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She now spends much of her time in Asia and is currently researching a book about textile artisans. She also writes regularly about legal, political economy, and regulatory topics for various consulting clients and publications, as well as scribbles occasional travel pieces for The National.

Click on the link above to see entire original post at NakedCapitalism.com.

 

A zero waste kit is made up of all the things you carry with you on a regular, day-to-day basis. You incorporate these items into your daily routine so as to always be prepared for the coffee on the go, the spontaneous decision for takeout or picking up veggies on your way home from work.

Her Zero Waste Kit includes:

  • a collapsible coffee cup;
  • a leakproof, stainless steel container with removable dividers;
  • three lightweight veggie bags and a cloth bread bag (all of which it into the stainless steel container;
  • cloth napkins;
  • bamboo chopsticks;
  • stainless steel straws;
  • a wooden spoon and a foldable spork;
  • combination placemat/cutlery holder, which holds all the cutlery and the cloth napkins;
  • a cotton canvas tote bag.

Blessed Are the White Trash

Blessed are the White Trash

I grew up poor.

Often, when one reads memoirs or oral histories from folks who grew up where I did — that is, in Appalachia, or in the South, or somewhere that’s either both or in-between  — one will see a disclaimer from the speaker or writer indicating that while they were poor, they didn’t know it at the time. That is, though they were poor by the numbers, their basic needs were met, and they were surrounded by others facing similar economic realities. For me, that was not the case. I was poor, and I knew it. We had substantially less than most folks in our community, and I knew that too. My mother had a less glamorous and lower-paying job than did the parents of most of my classmates, and I knew it. Sometimes, we’d move on short notice because we couldn’t pay the rent. Sometimes, the move was a temporary or extended stay with family members. We ate a lot of boxed macaroni and cheese, we consumed plenty of cheap hot dogs, and steaks were a tax return treat. We lived in an assortment of rented trailers for much of my childhood, a fact that made me unbearably self-conscious. In short, as I said, I knew we were poor. I knew that most folks around us considered us to be white trash. I also knew, in the way children know something they can’t articulate, that I would probably be poor all my life.

Today, despite the odds, I’m not poor. My wife and I live a comfortable middle-class life. We aren’t rich, and sometimes we still worry about money, but our direct payroll deposits at the end of the month keep coming, staving off any crisis, real or imagined. Our cars aren’t new, but they are nice. Our home isn’t huge, but it’s a hell of a lot nicer than any of the homes I occupied growing up. I still eat mac and cheese, but only by choice. These days, we prefer organic veggies, whether homegrown or store-bought. I have a master’s degree and I’m working toward a doctorate. My wife already has a doctorate. She’s a psychologist, and I’m a college professor. Sometimes, for me, social media is a stark reminder that very few of the poor people I grew up with were able to escape the twisted and life-strangling web of poverty in which we were mired growing up. It turns out that I am one of the lucky ones. I am the statistical anomaly, and I think about this almost every day of my life.

Earlier this week, as some of my students were furiously writing their final exam essays, I happened to run across a recent essay by David Joy. Though I have never met him, he and I grew up in the same county, finished both undergrad and graduate degrees at the same university, and I’m told, share a mutual love for Innovation Brewing. Joy’s essay cut straight to my soul. He articulated so many of the things I had felt all my life but rarely admitted. There’s a sort of raw truth in his words that reveals something important about Appalachia. 

Joy writes: “I’m tired of an America where all the folks I’ve ever loved are dismissed as trash, where people are reduced to something subhuman simply because of where they live. I’m tired of having to explain it. I’m just goddamn tired.”

Those words brought the tears to my eyes. I, too, am tired of seeing the people I love – MY people – reduced to lazy, ignorant hillbillies. I’m tired of seeing them labeled as trailer trash who face the burdens they carry through some vague or unarticulated fault of their own making. I’m ready for Americans to take a long, hard look at why Appalachia is the way it is; I want people to begin to think critically about the plight of poor people, not just in Appalachia but in all of America, in historical context.

I have spent a goodly portion of my life since entering academia attempting to explain Appalachian poverty. At first, I thought that perhaps l lacked the credibility to write about Appalachia because I grew up here. Later, I thought that I could write about the region so long as I did not inject my own story into my work. Now, I realize, I have a responsibility to write about my region and my people specifically because I have experienced the heartbreaking realities of Appalachian poverty firsthand, first as a child growing up poor in the mountains, and later, as an observer who sees the tragedies and realities firsthand almost every day of my life.

In central Appalachia’s coal country, where I lived for seven years of my adult life, people are often poor because of coal and not in spite of it. Similarly, in southern Appalachia people are often poor because of tourism rather than in spite of it. When one seriously considers the history of the region, particularly the economic history, one realizes that Appalachia is a rich land with poor people.

I remember being caught off guard the first time I heard Appalachia described in that way, as “a rich land with poor people.” I was in my first semester of graduate school, already in my mid-thirties, and I had lived my whole life here without thoughtfully considering the stark contrast between the region’s abundant natural resources and the people who had never experienced anything resembling abundance.

When poor Appalachian people are reduced to being white trash, it seems, in a rather twisted way, more reasonable that their resources can be exploited and extracted without adequate compensation. When hardworking men and women in central Appalachia are portrayed as dumb hillbillies, it is easier to pretend that coal companies are benevolent saviors rather than plunderers treating the region as a sort of internal colony. It seems more plausible, when Appalachian people are stripped of their humanity, that they should be sent down mine shafts to break their bodies and their hearts for the benefit out-of-town coal barons making a mint on the backs of the working poor, while such exploitation is heralded as a boostraps-up opportunity. When a new Chevrolet and a double-wide counts as making it big in a region marked by stark poverty, it is easier to pretend that coal jobs are a step up rather than a crushing boot to the throat. When a region is tagged a “Big White Ghetto,” it is easier to destroy its environment, rip off its mountaintops, and poison its water for profit. 

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Human Chain Saves the Day!

Rip currents swept away a Florida family. Then beachgoers formed a human chain.

A riptide swept away a family from a beach in Panama City, Fla., on July 8. Beachgoers formed a human chain to rescue them. (Video: WJHG-TV; Photo: Roberta Ursrey)

When Jessica and Derek Simmons first saw the beachgoers pausing to stare toward the water, the young couple just assumed someone had spotted a shark.

It was Saturday evening, after all, peak summer season in Panama City Beach for overheated Florida tourists to cross paths with curious marine life. Then they noticed flashing lights by the boardwalk, a police truck on the sand and nearly a dozen bobbing heads about 100 yards beyond the beach, crying desperately for help.

Six members of a single family — four adults and two young boys — and four other swimmers had been swept away by powerful and deceptive rip currents churning below the water’s surface.

“These people are not drowning today,” Jessica Simmons thought, she told the Panama City News Herald. “It’s not happening. We’re going to get them out.”

She was a strong swimmer and fearless in the face of adversity. But others had tried to reach them and each previous rescue attempt had only stranded more people.

There was no lifeguard on duty, and law enforcement on the scene had opted to wait for a rescue boat. People on the beach had no rescue equipment, only boogie boards, surf boards and their arms and legs.

“Form a human chain!” they started shouting.

Beachgoers formed a human chain to save a family on July 8 in Panama city, Fla. Here are four other times good Samaritans came to the rescue. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

Roberta Ursrey was among those caught in the treacherous rip currents. From 100 yards away in the Gulf of Mexico, between crashing waves and gulps of salt water, she heard the shouting, she told The Washington Post.

By then, Ursrey and the other eight people stranded with her had already been in the water for nearly 20 minutes, fighting for their lives. Ursrey and the others had ventured into the water to rescue her two sons, Noah, 11, and Stephen, 8, who had gotten separated from their family while chasing waves on their boogie boards.

Stephen Ursrey, 8, and his 11-year-old brother Noah. (Courtesy of Roberta Ursrey)

Tabatha Monroe and her wife, Brittany, in Panama City for a birthday getaway, were the first two to hear the boys’ panicked cries for help. The couple had just gone into the water when they saw the boys far from shore. They swam over and grabbed hold of their boogie boards.

But when they tried towing them back to shore, the women couldn’t break free of the current.

They tried to swim straight and they tried to swim sideways, Tabatha Monroe told The Washington Post, but nothing worked. After about 10 minutes, a few young men with a surfboard snagged Brittany and towed her back to shore, just as the number of people who needed rescuing grew.

Soon Ursrey, who had heard her boys’ cries from the beach, was also caught in the rip currents, followed in close succession by her 27-year-old nephew, 67-year-old mother and 31-year-old husband. Another unidentified couple struggled to tread water nearby.

“The tide knocked every bit of energy out of us,” Ursrey said.

So much water went up Tabatha Monroe’s nose that she was sure she would drown, she told The Post.

“I was exhausted,” she said.

On shore, the human chain began forming, first with just five volunteers, then 15, then dozens more as the rescue mission grew more desperate.

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GREENHOUSE GASSES USEFUL IN GREENHOUSES, PERHAPS

I’ve never been sure what was what re: global warming.  I have always been suspicious of the argument that global warming must be due to greenhouse gasses since all but 8 of the world’s scientists agree.  That could be merely an expression of one of the most common fallacies, appeal to authority.  This article seems quite credible.

New study blows global warming ‘greenhouse theory out of the water’

‘All observed climatic changes have natural causes completely outside of human control’

A new scientific paper contends the entire foundation of the man-made global-warming theory – the assumption that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere by trapping heat – is wrong. If confirmed, the study’s findings would crush the entire “climate change” movement to restrict CO2 emissions, the authors assert. Some experts contacted by WND criticized the paper, while others advised caution.

Still others suggested that the claimed discovery represents a massive leap forward in human understanding – a “new paradigm.”

The paper argues that concentrations of CO2 and other supposed “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have virtually no effect on the earth’s temperature. They conclude the entire greenhouse gas theory is incorrect.

Instead, the earth’s “greenhouse” effect is a function of the sun and atmospheric pressure, which results from gravity and the mass of the atmosphere, rather than the amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere.

The same is true for other planets and moons with a hard surface, the authors contend, pointing to the temperature and atmospheric data of various celestial bodies collected by NASA.

So precise is the formula, the authors of the paper told WND, that, by using it, they were able to correctly predict the temperature of other celestial bodies not included in their original analysis.

The paper

The paper, published recently in the journal Environment Pollution and Climate Change, was written by Ned Nikolov, a Ph.D. in physical science, and Karl Zeller, retired Ph.D. research meteorologist.

The prevailing theory on the earth’s temperature is that heat from the sun enters the atmosphere, and then greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and water vapor trap part of that energy by preventing it from escaping back into space. That theory, which underpins the anthropogenic global-warming hypothesis and the climate models used by the United Nations, was first proposed and developed in the 19th century. However, the experiments on which it was based involved glass boxes that retain heat by preventing the mixing of air inside the box with air outside the box.

The experiment is not analogous to what occurs in the real atmosphere, which does not have walls or a lid, according to Nikolov and Zeller.

The new paper, headlined “New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model,” argues that greenhouse theory is incorrect.

“This was not a pre-conceived conclusion, but a result from an objective analysis of vetted NASA observations,” Nikolov told WND.

The real mechanisms that control the temperature of the planet, they say, are the sun’s energy and the air pressure of the atmosphere. The same applies to other celestial bodies, according to the scientists behind the paper.

To understand the phenomena, the authors used three planets – Venus, Earth and Mars – as well as three natural satellites: the Moon of Earth, Titan of Saturn and Triton of Neptune. They chose the celestial bodies based on three criteria: having a solid surface, representation of a broad range of environments, and the existence of reliable data on temperature, atmospheric composition and air pressure.

“Our analysis revealed a poor relationship between global mean annual temperature] and the amount of greenhouse gases in planetary atmospheres across a broad range of environments in the Solar System,” the paper explains.

“This is a surprising result from the standpoint of the current Greenhouse theory, which assumes that an atmosphere warms the surface of a planet (or moon) via trapping of radiant heat by certain gases controlling the atmospheric infrared optical depth,” the study continues.

The paper outlines four possible explanations for those observations, and concludes that the most plausible was that air pressure is responsible for the greenhouse effect on a celestial body.

In essence, what is commonly known as the atmospheric “greenhouse” effect is in fact a form of compression heating caused by total air pressure”, the authors told WND in a series of e-mails and phone interviews, comparing the mechanics of it to “the compression in a diesel engine that ignites the fuel.”

And that effect is completely independent of the so-called “greenhouse gases” and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, they added.

“Hence, there are no greenhouse gases in reality – as in, gases that can cause warming,” Nikolov said when asked to explain the paper in layman’s terms.

“Humans cannot in principle affect the global climate through industrial emissions of CO2, methane and other similar gases or via changes in land use,” he added. “All observed climatic changes have natural causes that are completely outside of human control.”

For the first time, Nikolov said, there is now empirical evidence from NASA data that the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere is not caused by the trapping of heat, but by the force of atmospheric pressure. The pressure is the weight of the atmosphere, he added. And the combination of gravity and the mass of the atmosphere explains why the Earth, for example, is warmer than the moon.

“The moon receives about the same amount of heat from the sun as Earth, yet it is 90 degrees [Celsius] colder than the Earth, because it has no atmosphere,” Nikolov explained.

 

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DREAM JULY 8-9

I approach an indoor fish’n’chips booth run by Greek guys.  The booth sits along one of the access corridors leading to the large transit station I saw in another dream.  It is constructed from sliding plexiglas windows and aluminum framing, not unlike a 24-hour package store in a dicey district.  I ask for a Large but they say no, and I surmise aloud it must be due to the generous size of the dish.  The proprietor confirms my belief.  In the ensuing atmosphere of collegiality, I agree to work there and I buy their t-shirt.  I feel a sense of oncoming dissolution, though, because I also have copious school commitments.

Working overnight at fish’n’chips, I am distracted and only slice one loaf of bread, which I am forced to admit was all moldy to begin with anyway when the morning guy shows up.  He is a black-haired, round-faced man with a moustache who doesn’t say anything, but the look he gives me communicates eloquently his confused wonder at the paucity of my work product.

Meanwhile, I can’t get changed for school, which will include wearing the fish’n’chips tee.  I wonder if I can store the shirt among the cereal boxes sitting on the shelves in the booth.  Then I leave, and get locked out of the booth, even while I don’t know how or why; the uncomplicated morning man does not seem to be an agent of my exile.

Now I am outside on the urban sidewalk trying still to get to school and still needing to change.  I put my worn clothes in a pile on the cement, and I get the t-shirt on but I am prevented from completing my dressing by not having any new underwear.  There I am, bottom-half naked, exposed in public.  I succeed in entering the school building nonetheless.  I have been in this building before also; sometimes it looks like a large corporate law firm, other times the basement of Grand Central.

I see my old folding mini-umbrella lying discarded under the cafe table where one of the other students sits, looking tired and slightly exasperated.  I don’t have time for the umbrella anyway.

My misfortune continues, although if I weren’t so anxious I might enjoy the campus center air conditioning on parts of myself that are normally not so free.  And who should appear to save my day but Richard Simmons!  He owes me a favor, he knows how to be properly naked in public, and he’s wearing (only) just what I need, a pair of very brief men’s underwear.  He must know where to get more, so I approach him with my situation.  He smiles wryly like a man who knows, albeit sympathetically, that his hand of cards will beat mine with ease.  No, it is  who owes him a favor!

Strangely, dreamlike, this is the end of the dream, but I have a feeling that Richard’s compassion and my need somehow will lead together to my eventual acquisition of the required pair of underwear.