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World Fair Trade Day

"Do you know how much effort and time is put into the clothes you wear and the food you eat?"
-Sarah, 12, Bristol
Today is World Fair Trade Day. Even Dunkin' Donuts is giving it a try. Is Fair Trade potentially a better idea than boycotting?
posted by Shane on May 17, 2003 - 24 comments

No, you're wrong! And I can prove it!

The National Priorities Project Database provides a dynamic, numbers and graphs comparison of federal and state spending from 1983 to today. Compare labor costs in Louisiana to military spending in Maine, or infectious disease spending in Idaho to hunger in Hawaii. For the political-thread MeFier in your life who has everything, but could use some actual data now and then.
posted by gramcracker on May 13, 2003 - 3 comments

If I stay in the gutter long enough, I might get trickled on

Trickle Down Economics. What with the neo-conservative movement in full swing behind Wolfowitz, the Bush administration is looking to take another cue from the Reagan years with the new tax cut for the rich. George H. Bush called it "voodoo economics". Does TDE or "supply side" economics actually work? Depends who you ask and how they take their statistics.
posted by destro on May 2, 2003 - 38 comments

What if oil was traded in euros?

What if oil was traded in euros? "Even more alarming, and completely unreported in the U.S. media, are significant monetary shifts in the reserve funds of foreign governments away from the dollar with movements towards the euro. It appears that the world community ... seems poised to respond with economic retribution if the U.S. government is regarded as an uncontrollable and dangerous superpower." An analysis of the previous link. Apologies to those I
posted by Birichini on Apr 23, 2003 - 25 comments

IMF Policies Admitted Wrong

Oops! IMF Admits Failed Policies
International financial integration should also help countries to reduce economic volatility, the study said, but in reality this has not happened.

"Indeed, the process of capital account liberalization appears to have been accompanied in some cases by increased vulnerability to crises," the report said.

"Globalization has heightened these risks since cross-country financial linkages amplify the effects of various shocks and transmit them more quickly across national borders."

In the last 10 years, developing countries from Thailand and Russia to Argentina, have seen their economies collapse, even though many of them were trying to follow IMF-prescribed open market policies.

So does this mean corporate facism harms the world's poor?
posted by nofundy on Mar 19, 2003 - 25 comments

bread hours

http://www.Breadhours.org A group of over 300 residents and merchants in California’s Bay Area has established a local currency called BREAD (a rough acronym for Bay Area Regional Exchange and Development), based on hours of work valued at $12 an hour. Through the BREAD network, which now has over $20,000 worth of currency in circulation, members can pay for dinner, carpentry, childcare, tutoring, clerical assistance or organic produce. Tired of traditional activism, founder Miyoko Sakashita wanted to create a positive local economy and “stop our resources from supporting global corporations that are not accountable to people and the environment.” Check it out at Breadhours.org
posted by bureaustyle on Mar 15, 2003 - 28 comments

Turncoats in Bermuda shorts.

Turncoats in Bermuda shorts. Arianna Huffington continues to skewer offshore tax shelters in her latest Salon opinion piece. Despite her patriot-speak denouncing these corporations for avoiding taxes while our young men are getting ready to die for their country, she does shine the light on a growing problem – “basic fairness and economic justice” – or, the lack of it. How can the average American not be outraged at this, when so many of us are expected to be able to account for even the smallest charitable donation we would dare to use as a tax write-off?
posted by archimago on Mar 13, 2003 - 11 comments

War and the Economy

War and the Economy Peace and prosperity, and their enemy, the state. Another side of this Iraq thing.
posted by grefo on Mar 11, 2003 - 1 comment

Budget game

National Budget Simulation Think Washington is doing a poor job of allocating funds? See if you can eliminate the deficit with this little game.
posted by synecdoche on Feb 28, 2003 - 25 comments

Forecast: Fun!

Play the classic lemonade stand game. (jave req'd). Or, for more grown-up fun, play BeerStand (no java req'd).
posted by Ufez Jones on Feb 28, 2003 - 14 comments

Bush Cited Non-Existent eport

Bush Cited Non-Existent eport There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.
posted by orange swan on Feb 24, 2003 - 82 comments

Iraq War-Capital

Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital "In a series of packed lectures in Oxford, Professor David Harvey, one of the world's most distinguished geographers, has provided what may be the first comprehensive explanation of the US government's determination to go to war. His analysis suggests that it has little to do with Iraq, less to do with weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with helping the oppressed. "
posted by thedailygrowl on Feb 18, 2003 - 34 comments

Another one bites the dust.

Salon going down? Looks like it. According to this article, they may not make it past Feburary. Even with 47,300 paying subscribers, it still can't pay the bills. What's it take these days?
posted by Hackworth on Feb 14, 2003 - 35 comments

Almost unbelievably, the way being charted to revive the economy is to reinflate the bubble

Almost unbelievably, the way being charted to revive the economy is to reinflate the bubble When you're on a permanent war footing, it's worth being reminded, stupid, that it's all about the economy. A lengthy piece.
posted by skellum on Feb 5, 2003 - 23 comments

The New Global Job Shift

The New Global Job Shift. The next round of globalization is sending upscale jobs offshore. They include basic research, chip design, engineering--even financial analysis.
posted by Ty Webb on Jan 31, 2003 - 50 comments

My Sports Franchise Can Beat Up Your Sports Franchise

There Ultimate Standings. ESPN has done a ranking of the relative value of each major U.S. sports franchise not in terms of mere victories, or championships, or even felony convictions, but in terms of how much value (as calculated here) each franchise is providing its fans. Stunned to see perrennial winners such as the Yankees & Lakers pushed down to the 20s, while small market teams like Green Bay, San Antonio & Sacramento dominate. Clearly life IS better in the small towns, at least for sports fans. Here's a more in depth explanation of what it all means.
posted by jonson on Jan 21, 2003 - 39 comments

Slouching towards Sierra Leone?

US income distribution moves towards 3rd world profile? - US Census Bureau data on growing family income inequality, 1947 to 2001. Also see: The "L Curve" (for a graphic depiction of current US wealth distribution). "The most egalitarian countries have a Gini index in the 20s. European countries like Germany, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Norway, and Sweden all fall in that range, according to World Bank figures. Canada and Australia are just over 30. The United States is around 40...Once inequality reaches 50 percent, disparities become glaringly obvious, to the point where they undermine a society's sense of unity and common purpose....Sierra Leone takes the prize. At 63 percent, it offers the world's most extreme example of inequality." By multiple measures, income inequality in the US is rapidly increasing, and a substantial percentage of middle class Americans may be gradually sliding into poverty..
posted by troutfishing on Jan 15, 2003 - 137 comments

Tax Cuts

How Bush's economic stimulus proposal may affect you. An easy to understand explanation of what we might expect from Bush's tax cut proposal to be announced on Tuesday.
posted by Ron on Jan 6, 2003 - 48 comments

10 Country Expansion Of European Union

My Union Is Bigger Than Your Union: On May 1 2004 the European Union will become 25-country strong and the most powerful political and economic force in the world. And? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 15, 2002 - 28 comments

China. Abandons Communism. Gets AIDS. May be about to lose its shirt. While everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning about the state of America, here's one American who thinks the state of the Middle Kingdom is at least equally interesting (as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
posted by jfuller on Nov 12, 2002 - 11 comments

Jiang outlines plans to make China wealthier

Jiang outlines plans to make China wealthier Ah, Adam Smith in and K. Marx out. Brting on the Krispy Kreeme franchises. Bet there won't be labor unions in the near future but an economically powerful China plus the EU will give America some strong competition.
posted by Postroad on Nov 8, 2002 - 14 comments

For Richer: the first in a New York Times series on class in the United States. Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman declares the death of the middle class, pointing out disparities between the rich and the poor, examining efforts to cover up class makeup with quantile data, and probing the transformation of corporate executive ethics and influence. Even Glenn Reynolds is taken to task for his Sweden-Mississippi per capita GDP comparison. Krugman's sources are on the slim side, but the question must be asked: Are we living in a new Gilded Age? And, if so, how can citizens and government work to change things?
posted by ed on Oct 20, 2002 - 53 comments

Doomsayers refuted yet again,

Doomsayers refuted yet again, this time by the United Nations and the Institute for International Studies, who independently released studies declaring that humanity is, for the most part, in the best condition it’s ever been. (Former MeFi-er DenBeste comments here.) With more and more studies reaching similar conclusions as Bjørn Lomborg's "Skeptical Environmentalist" and the CATO Institute's "It's Getting Better All the Time", I'm on my way to buy myself a new pair of shades. The future does indeed look bright!
posted by dagny on Oct 11, 2002 - 32 comments

"By removing both costs and the barriers, weblogs have drained publishing of its financial value, making a coin of the realm unnecessary. A lot of people in the weblog world are asking "How can we make money doing this?" The answer is that most of us can't." Though he finally admits: "Right now, the people who have profited most from weblogs are the people who've written books about weblogging."
posted by zenpop on Oct 5, 2002 - 27 comments

Ever wonder just who's fattening who's wallet? The Transnational Corporations Observatory [multilingual] seems to know quite a bit. Now if i can only figure out how the ad council gets their money...
posted by phylum sinter on Sep 29, 2002 - 3 comments

Want your independent coffeehouse to be a success? Pray for a Starbucks to open next door.
posted by NortonDC on Sep 24, 2002 - 54 comments

Boston is having a real brouhaha over grass-roots efforts to return to rent control. Here in D.C., some folks aren't happy about a massive vending machine in Adam's Morgan. Meanwhile, D.C. braces for protests surrounding the upcoming meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Is there, in this day and age, a debate raging about the equity, and even the efficacy, of capitalism? Is Marxism still a viable vein of thought in the modern age? Are free markets as self-policing as some folks argue? Or does industry require a more arduous watchdog?
posted by NedKoppel on Sep 13, 2002 - 33 comments

Republicans' economic policy is now closer to that associated with the Democrats, and vice versa.

Republicans' economic policy is now closer to that associated with the Democrats, and vice versa. "Since the 1960s, the Republican and Democrat administrations have switched places on economic policy. The pattern is so well established that the generalisation can no longer be denied: the Republicans have become the party of fiscal irresponsibility, trade restriction, big government and bad microeconomics." Who'd have ever thought Bush would follow a Keynesian economic policy? Meanwhile, as the budget deficit grows, Greenspan cautions fiscal responsibility.
posted by Kneebiter on Sep 13, 2002 - 8 comments

Screw you

Screw you worldcom, enron. In Australia we know how to make a loss. AU$11,962,000,000 in fact. One has to wonder how much of this is a "paper loss" or how much of this is "creative accounting for tax purposes". Or just where the hell did the money go?
posted by Neale on Aug 14, 2002 - 17 comments

What a real depression looks like. Total collapse of the middle class, malnutrition, starving bands of marauders eating road-kill, it's every survivalists dream come true. Until last year, Argentines were part of the richest, best-educated and most cultured nation in Latin America. Not anymore.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 6, 2002 - 47 comments

Economic migrants

Economic migrants trying to cross into the U.S from Mexico are being driven to risk ever more hazardous routes. Bizarrely, the clampdown on illegal border crossing has led to an Indian (Asian) hanging himself in a Guatemalan jail. Where was that border again?
posted by Fat Buddha on Jul 25, 2002 - 32 comments

The CEO White House

The CEO White House has yet another CEO with credibility problems. On Mr. O'Neill: "Administration officials "need to bring in someone with real credibility, with a good understanding of economics and who understands politics," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee."
posted by nofundy on Jul 18, 2002 - 2 comments

Someone we trust says something reassuring.

Someone we trust says something reassuring. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, arguably the most powerful man in the world, blames "infectious greed" for the recent panic-like tail-spins on Wall Street, but says that the economy is on the way to recovery. One comment held that Greenspan was finally able to let out how he feels about what's going on, without shrouding his opinion in economic jibber-jabber.
"For once he really spoke his mind. He usually tends to obfuscate things quite a bit."
But really, how many of you expected Greenspan to say anything other than "the fundamentals are in place for a return to sustained healthy growth"? Does Greenspan actually feel this way? Could it be that he is actually majorly pessimistic, but is using his soothing sweet-song voice and obvious clout and earned respect to somehow buck recent trends? Bush's speech didn't do much for our faltering economy, but will Greenspan's? Can one man's mere words possibly change the course of history? Well?
posted by Hammerikaner on Jul 16, 2002 - 27 comments

"The bigger the binge,

"The bigger the binge, the longer and more severe the hangover." A short history of accounting scandals and fraudulent bankruptcies that follow bubble economies.
posted by raaka on Jul 10, 2002 - 3 comments

Outside of traditional IP structures, there has been ongoing research by WIPO and other organizations to develop a system of remuneration for the use of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. How could lines be drawn fairly so indigenous cultures could see some kind of return? If you think it's fair to compensate a tribe for technological and pharmaceutical contributions to patents, what about a royalty for that Maori tattoo design on your shoulder? What about drumming styles that have localized roots somewhere in Africa? What would you say is reasonable?
posted by anathema on Jul 9, 2002 - 28 comments

"Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz talks about the corporate looting spree and Bush's woeful mismanagement of the economy."

"Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz talks about the corporate looting spree and Bush's woeful mismanagement of the economy." "The fiscal mismanagement of the current administration -- leading to a change in the fiscal position of the United States over the past year -- is absolutely phenomenal; going from huge surpluses to huge deficits and the deficits are probably going to be larger than people anticipated."
posted by semmi on Jul 6, 2002 - 26 comments

The New Gilded Age and its Discontents.

The New Gilded Age and its Discontents. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz began explaining why markets fail long before Enron and WorldCom rose, exploded and crashed. But not many people wanted to listen during the boom-boom '90s; Stiglitz was even fired from his position as chief economist at the World Bank after he repeatedly criticized the organization's free-market obsessions.
posted by Ty Webb on Jul 3, 2002 - 8 comments

J.K. Galbraith shocked at scale of corporate failures.

J.K. Galbraith shocked at scale of corporate failures. "I can only say I hadn't expected to see this problem on anything like the magnitude of the last few months – the separation of ownership from management, the monopolisation of control by irresponsible personal money-makers." Myself and chrispy came to the same conclusion on the drive home from the resolutely un- (rather than anti-) corporate Glastonbury Festival today. Profit is valued and rewarded by the vast majority of corporations above all else. As a consquence, people with the same values dominate executive positions, to the exclusion of those with more 'humanitarian' or longer-term outlooks. Where is the balance? Should we make hippie non-exec directors compulsory? Or should I just go back to bed and let the drugs wear off???
posted by barnsoir on Jul 1, 2002 - 9 comments

"No national railway of a developed country has ever run a profit.

"No national railway of a developed country has ever run a profit. They're not supposed to. The correlative economic and social benefits they throw off -- bringing commuters to taxpaying corporations daily, for one thing -- more than offset any net loss they suffer." [via camworld]

You don't run your home's central heating, air conditioning or plumbing at a profit, so why should a country try to run its infrastructure that way, be it rail, health service, water, ...? Is it forced on us because nationalised services always seem to become fantastically inefficient and bureaucratic?
posted by southisup on Jun 26, 2002 - 63 comments

More from the Textual Analysis Department: Spiderman as class warrior. "This battle of good vs. evil features the alter egos of an orphan raised by financially-strapped working class relatives versus an egotistical corporate executive."
posted by raaka on May 17, 2002 - 16 comments

"Trade with x only benefits the repressive government of x; it does not get into the hands of the people." How does the White House policy towards x make sense in light of Bush's statement that "Free trade supports and sustains freedom in all its forms. When we open trade, we open minds. We trade with x because trade is good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for democracy"? Well that's because the first x refers to Cuba and the second x is for China. How's that economic engagement working out with China? Why don't we ask the Tibetans, Falun Gong or the Uighurs? Which foreign policy is the right way to go? Economic isolation or engagement?
posted by buddha9090 on May 16, 2002 - 17 comments

Enron cheated California

Enron cheated California - The Los Angeles Times is reporting the discovery of a memo detailing how Enron manipulated prices by fraud during the power crisis while blaming the problem on powerplants.

One of their strategies was actually called 'Death Star'. Look like the Enron Empire has suffered the same fate as the Palpatine's Empire.

LA Times login: cpunks password: cpunks
posted by Argyle on May 7, 2002 - 18 comments

Understanding what makes America tick

Understanding what makes America tick "The belief that America is exceptional, in the double sense that it is superior and that it is different...The United States had a mission, a manifest destiny, to change the world in its image. This conviction echoes down through American history....Other countries—France, Britain, Russia—have from time to time in their history felt a sense of mission, of carrying their civilisation to other peoples and territories. But in their cases it has been episodic and not deeply rooted—usually limited to when their power was at its zenith and usually clearly recognisable as a rationalisation for what they were doing for other reasons. In the case of the United States, it has been constant and central." [Centre of Independent Studies in Sydney via aldaily] American Exceptionalism. Mix it with sole super power status and massive military might. Should make it quite an intoxicating ride these next few years.
posted by Voyageman on Apr 4, 2002 - 26 comments

''That's a handsome looking beef you've got there.'' (NYT)

''That's a handsome looking beef you've got there.'' (NYT)
Long and involved explication of something I've always wanted to do: raise a cow from birth to slaughter inside of an american factory farm. How does a cow get from being a cute little cow to my dinner plate? Is it safe? Is it moral? Is it yummy?
posted by zpousman on Mar 30, 2002 - 31 comments

on a budget madame, well incarceration is our cheaper plan.

on a budget madame, well incarceration is our cheaper plan. Yes it seeems that the economics suggest that life imprisonment is the prudent option rather than the wanton excess of execution.
posted by johnnyboy on Feb 28, 2002 - 17 comments

Looks like

Looks like the Olympics isn't the boon to business Salt Lake City expected it to be. It might be convenient to blame the terror scare, but the same thing happened to Atlanta a while back. Businesses hired extra workers and spent money to prepare for crowds that never showed. Is all the money to be made taken in through corporate sponsorship deals and television? How have other cities fared financially during and after past Olympics?
posted by troybob on Feb 14, 2002 - 19 comments

The world of the laid-off techie.

The world of the laid-off techie. "Human resource experts say the underemployment trend in the current economic cycle is just starting to emerge. Many workers got the ax when mass layoffs peaked in the summer and fall of 2001, and they coasted on several months of severance and unemployment insurance, which generally lasts six months. With the tech job market still in the doldrums, they're now considering new gigs as waitresses, bartenders, forklift drivers or baby sitters--anything to pay the rent. " I wish the media hadn't/didn't focus so much attention on the suits who seem to only be able to "fail upwards" versus the folks in the trenches. (via /.)
posted by owillis on Feb 11, 2002 - 64 comments

How geeks can do away with cash and be their own banks. We've been around the topic of alternative economics a few times before on MeFi, but this piece from the reliably clever Shift makes it all clear to me. How you can do it, and why. And it actually suggests that programmers are the best people to manage a new money system. There's even a Bay Area monetary guru to hand. Does this make as much sense to anyone else as it does to me?
posted by theplayethic on Feb 6, 2002 - 6 comments

Wealth Spawns Corruption. Socialist economies could be more at risk from corruption than Liberal ones. Ironically, wealth condensation poses the greatest danger to economies that impose constraints on the accumulation of great wealth - broadly speaking, Socialist economies. Liberal economies that maintain free and unrestricted trade are less susceptible.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 28, 2002 - 8 comments

The "Pardon Effect" - economic theory applied to the death penalty

The "Pardon Effect" - economic theory applied to the death penalty Pardons increase homicide rates. "The pardon effect is a matter of simple market economics... pardons reduce the chances that convicted killers will pay the ultimate price for committing murder. Thus a pardon represents a decrease in the cost of committing the crime and is accompanied by an increase in the homicide rate. Conversely, if you increase the "cost" of committing murder by executing a larger share of convicted killers, then economic theory suggests that the murder rate will fall" . The chairman of the economics department at the University of Colorado claims to have the data to support the theory from their analysis of all 6,143 death sentences handed out between 1977 and 1997 in the United States.
posted by Voyageman on Jan 24, 2002 - 23 comments

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