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The Ghost of the Colonels

Adam Curtis on The legacy of the Colonels Coup - "What is forgotten is that from 1967 to 1974 the Greek people lived under a harsh and violent dictatorship that tortured and murdered thousands of ordinary people. The Colonels also corrupted the society by handing out vast loans to individuals in towns and villages across the country - to buy their loyalty. At the same time the repression and torture bred a powerful resistance that finally burst out in incredible bravery in 1973." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Feb 29, 2012 - 12 comments

The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
posted by kliuless on Feb 23, 2012 - 25 comments

Dermot O'Connor's "There's No Tomorrow"

"There's No Tomorrow" is a half-hour animated documentary that deals with resource depletion, energy, and growth. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 22, 2012 - 14 comments

Economic Development: The Examples of India and China

"This is an intriguing little video summarizing the hypothesis of a new study by Vamsi Vakulabharanam. It looks at the puzzle of why China and India are exceptions to the Kuznets curve, that economic development at first increases income inequality but then starts to produce less disparity. But that did not occur in India and China. Vakulabharanam argues that the difference lies in changes in institutional arrangements, and the inflection point was roughly 1980."
posted by marienbad on Feb 18, 2012 - 3 comments

The End of the Free Market?

We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 10, 2012 - 29 comments

Objects of philanthropy and NGOs or targets of the war on terror

Ayn Rand has a fantasy in Atlas Shrugged of striking ‘creative’ capitalists, a fantasy that finds its perverted realisation in today’s strikes, most of which are held by a ‘salaried bourgeoisie’ driven by fear of losing their surplus wage. These are not proletarian protests, but protests against the threat of being reduced to proletarians.
The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie in the London Review of Books.
posted by klue on Jan 21, 2012 - 91 comments

Weren't you the 1% who hurt me with your lies?

We Will Survive Capitalism! flash mob with US Uncut [previously] and the Brass Liberation Orchestra
Previous BLO flash mobs include Bad Hotel [previously], Operation Hey Mackey [previously], and "PAY UP!" (demanding Bank of America pay their taxes). Speaking of BofA, in San Francisco on Thursday activists turned every Bank of America ATM in the city into an Automated Truth Machine, using special non-adhesive stickers designed to look exactly like BoA’s ATM interface. But instead of checking and savings accounts, these new menus offered a list of everything BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses. [more inside]
posted by finite on Jan 15, 2012 - 42 comments

The State Of The Situation.

Two months after being kicked out by the NYPD in an early morning raid, the Occupy Wall Street protestors have returned to Zucotti/Liberty Plaza to meet new regulations that make protesting all but impossible. Meanwhile, OWS is looking for an accountant and NYC councilman Ydanis Rodriguez wants to donate his 5k stipend to the protestors. Yasha Levine of The Exiled writes about his arrangement hearing after being arrested during the Occupy LA raid and Political Cartoonist and Essayist Tim Kreider releases four essays he wrote during the first occupation of Zucotti/Liberty Plaza, "What OWS Wants" "Capitalism, A Bummer" "An Open Letter To The Tea Party." and "OWS: The Morning After." [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jan 12, 2012 - 142 comments

the new humanism and socialism? developing human and social 'capital'...

The Future of History (non-gated, summary): Many have noted that democracy [1,2,3] does not often sit well with capitalism [1,2,3], but Foreign Affairs argues in its latest issue that, while the ideological battle was won in the 20th century, the challenge of 21st is one of implementation -- how to make liberal democracy work. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2012 - 12 comments

Steve Jobs and the Joseph Stalin Charm School

"“Out of the crooked timber of humanity,” Kant wrote, “no straight thing was ever made.” Not even an iPad." "[A]ll the credit you give Steve Jobs for the ecstasy must be equal to the blame for the agony." Gary Sernovitz on Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs (previously), and Mike Daisey's The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. [via]
posted by daniel_charms on Jan 4, 2012 - 50 comments

15 Million Merits

Are you encourages in your place of work by the use of gamification? Congratulations, comrade, you are treading in the footsteps of Soviet Russia!
posted by Artw on Dec 28, 2011 - 50 comments

Corporate constituencies: shareholder value vs. real performance

“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world” — Jack Welch, 2009. As GE’s CEO in the 80s, however, Welch championed corporate focus on shareholder returns. “Converts to the creed”, the Economist summarizes, “had little time for other ‘stakeholders’: customers, employees, suppliers, society at large and so forth.” What went wrong? Steve Denning describes how such a stance is counterproductive, creates turmoil in capitalism and fosters an environment in which “CEOs and their top managers have massive incentives to focus most of their attentions on the expectations market, rather than the real job of running the company producing real products and services.”
posted by the mad poster! on Dec 27, 2011 - 38 comments

Life After Capitalism

One thing we can be certain of is that capitalism will end. Maybe not soon, but probably before too long; humanity has never before managed to craft an eternal social system, after all, and capitalism is a notably more precarious and volatile order than most of those that preceded it. The question, then, is what will come next.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 24, 2011 - 85 comments

sorry we torched the world and now you have to live like saints and suffer

Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
posted by gerryblog on Dec 22, 2011 - 15 comments

John D. Rockefeller

Mr. Rockefeller has not squandered his income. He has applied it for thirty-five years to accumulating not only oil property but real estate — railroad stock, iron mines, copper mines, anything and everything which could be bought cheap by temporary depressing and made to yield rich by his able management. For thirty-five years he has worked for special privileges giving him advantages over competitors, for thirty-five years he has patiently laid net-works around property he wanted, until he had it surely corralled and could seize it; for thirty-five years he has depreciated values when necessary to get his prey. And to-day he still is busy. In almost every great financial manoeuvre [sic] in the country is felt his supple, smooth hand with its grip of steel, and while he directs that which is big, nothing is too small for him to grasp. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 16, 2011 - 7 comments

The characteristic art form of our age may be the business plan

Previous youth cultures — beatniks, hippies, punks, slackers — could be characterized by two related things: the emotion or affect they valorized and the social form they envisioned. [more inside]
posted by AlsoMike on Nov 14, 2011 - 29 comments

Zizek on Charlie Rose

"Never in my life did I dance or sing - the obscenity of gestures...I just cannot do it" - In a predictably outrageous interview, Slavoj Zizek goes on Charlie Rose and discusses Stalin, Zionism, Kung Fu Panda, Niels Bohr and Occupy Wall Street, among other things.
posted by beisny on Oct 27, 2011 - 47 comments

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that played bongos and overthrew the tables of the anti-capitalists.

St Paul's canon Giles Fraser resigns over plans to forcibly remove Occupy London protesters from outside the cathedral. A debate is building up about the role of the church and which side of the capitalist argument they should be on.
posted by pmcp on Oct 27, 2011 - 61 comments

There isn't one cabal. There's a 147 of them.

The 147 companies that run the world.
posted by empath on Oct 20, 2011 - 93 comments

Occupy Everything

After deftly calming negative press coverage of his administration's handling of the Wall Street occupation by announcing that protestors may remain at the privately held public park in lower Manhattan which they have held for 26 days, Mayor Bloomberg has told the activists that they must vacate the premises by tomorrow (Friday) morning at 6AM for "cleaning." [more inside]
posted by fartron on Oct 13, 2011 - 435 comments

Pay Poor Tax: $12

If you're occupying a financial center, you might want to pass the time with a game of Monopoly. Though Hasbro gives ahighly contested "official history" asserting that the game was invented by an unemployed Philadelphia man, it actually originated 30 years earlier as The Landlord's Game, an anti-capitalist protest against the movement of wealth from poor to rich via real estate profiteering. Designed and patented by a Georgist Quaker woman, Elizabeth Maggie, in 1904, it was published by her Economic Game Company, but also spread far and wide - including in circles of socialist-leaning academic economists like Scott Nearing - as a hand-drawn and independently printed folk game. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Oct 13, 2011 - 24 comments

Death of a Fucking Salesman

Glengarry Glen Ross endures mainly as a spectacular display of verbal warfare and alpha-male gamesmanship. There’s a musical quality to it, with a great composer and a great chorus hitting the complicated runs of broken dialogue and solos that weave into profane poetry and nuggets of philosophical wisdom. Perhaps the greatest sign of the movie’s success, owed equally to Mamet’s script and this cast, is that it does a great sales job in itself, convincing us that there’s nobility to men who lie for a living — a bill of goods we’re all too happy to buy. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 29, 2011 - 67 comments

We appreciate your candor

BBC News asks independent trader Alessio Rastani "what would keep investors happy, make them feel more confident?" and gets a surprisingly honest answer: "Personally, it doesn't matter. See, I'm a trader. I don't really care about that kind of stuff. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. So, for most traders, we don't really care that much about how they're going to fix the economy, about how they're going to fix the whole situation; our job is to make money from it. And, personally, I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession which is I go to bed every night and dream of another recession, I dream of another moment like this." [SLYT]
posted by finite on Sep 26, 2011 - 235 comments

The 6th Force

Capitalism is an unparalleled vehicle for meeting human needs, improving efficiency, creating jobs, and building wealth. But a narrow conception of capitalism has prevented business from harnessing its full potential to meet society's broader challenges. The opportunities have been there all along but have been overlooked. Businesses acting as businesses, not as charitable donors, are the most powerful force for addressing the pressing issues we face. The moment for a new conception of capitalism is now; society's needs are large and growing, while customers, employees, and a new generation of young people are asking business to step up. The purpose of the corporation must be redefined as creating shared value, not just profit per se. This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also reshape capitalism and its relationship to society. Perhaps most important of all, learning how to create shared value is our best chance to legitimize business again. ~ Creating Shared Value by Michael Porter & Mark R. Kramer (PDF) [more inside]
posted by infini on Sep 18, 2011 - 27 comments

An invitation to rebellion, and your window to weight gain!

For China, yesterday marked the Mid-Autumn Festival, when Chinese at home and abroad gather to worship the Moon Rabbit, carry paper lanterns, and eat mooncakes. From its humble beginning as an agitprop-stuffed pastry, the mooncake has become a strong futures commodity in the People's Republic. Accordingly, authorities are stepping in; apparently everyone wants a piece of the pie cake.
posted by obscurator on Sep 13, 2011 - 31 comments

you owe me, but I’ll cut you a break for now

If you want to take a relation of violent extortion, sheer power, and turn it into something moral, and most of all, make it seem like the victims are to blame, you turn it into a relation of debt. Naked Capitalism talks to David Graeber about his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Previously. And more generally. Bonus Graeber classic: "Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!" [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Aug 28, 2011 - 163 comments

or would people start to ask why the wealth of knowledge and culture was being enclosed within restrictive laws, when “another world is possible” beyond the regime of artificial scarcity?

Given the material abundance made possible by the replicator, how would it be possible to maintain a system based on money, profit, and class power? Towards an Anti-Star Trek. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Jul 15, 2011 - 147 comments

Rich Finks

Mark Ames delves into the FBI documentation on surveillance of the Yippies and dredges up the anti-capitalist core of 60's radicalism.
posted by clarknova on Jul 10, 2011 - 28 comments

the feeling is great after he cut the chair piece to piece

"For his new project, Err, artist Jeremy Hutchison contacted various factories around the world, and asked if one of their workers would produce an 'incorrect' version of the product they make every day: in doing so, the functional objects became artworks. Hutchison has also kept all of the correspondence with the factories as part of the project."
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 5, 2011 - 27 comments

The Total-Corporate State May Have Arrived

Rob Horning has a wide-ranging and insightful essay up at n+1 that seeks connections between three apparently disparate phenomena: global fast-fashion retailers with dubious labor practices like H&M and Forever 21; self-presentation on social media web sites; and neoliberal capitalism's new demands for workers to embrace precarity by endlessly reinventing their identities. [more inside]
posted by AlsoMike on Jun 6, 2011 - 59 comments

Madison Avenue no longer marketing to the middle-class as the rich have all the money.

According to Financial Blog TooMuch, a new white paper from AdAge claims that the era of "Mass Affluence is over". This means that because the middle-class no longer have the dominent share of disposable income that marketing directly to the super-rich is the future of advertising. This means that if you're over 35 and make $100,000 to $200,000, Madison Avenue no longer really cares about you.

Apparently no one in America really realised what it meant that "The top 10 percent of American households.. now account for nearly half of all consumer spending, and a disproportionate share of that spending comes from the top 10’s upper reaches."

It reminds me of that Steinbeck quote, that 'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.'
posted by rudhraigh on Jun 1, 2011 - 163 comments

We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is the name of a new documentary series by Adam Curtis. The first episode, Love and Power [BBC iPlayer], draws connections between Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, an experiment by Pixar co-founder Loren Carpenter, the Californian Ideology of Silicon Valley in the 90s, Bill Clinton's presidency, and the persistence of the global capitalist hegemony in the face of continuing economic crisis. Curtis discusses his ideas in the Guardian.
posted by Acey on May 26, 2011 - 79 comments

the benefits of work sharing

Work Sharing - "Work-sharing schemes, in many different forms, are becoming the norm in Holland and Denmark, and have made inroads in France and Germany. The key element in any such approach is to separate work from income. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 22, 2011 - 25 comments

smaller companies are using robots

Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 20, 2011 - 52 comments

The means of production

‘Everyone is a worker.’ That is a powerful statement, if you think about it. Richard Scarry wasn’t afraid to paint contemporary American society in such bold strokes. Nor was he afraid to explain commerce and capitalism to children. - What Do People Do All Day.
posted by Artw on May 4, 2011 - 34 comments

speculative, but instructive, economics

In a pinch, upgrade the humans or redistribute the robots - "[S]uppose [as a factory owner] I replace all my workers with machines... This squeeze has many implications, one of them being that here is an important sector of the economy in which more or less all the gains accrue to the owners of capital and more or less none to the working class..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2011 - 98 comments

Capitalism for the Long Term

In Capitalism for the Long Term Managing Director of McKinsey & Company Dominic Barton sums up his prescriptions for the future of corporate governance for the Harvard Business Review. [more inside]
posted by ob1quixote on Feb 22, 2011 - 42 comments

more of the same

Life after Capitalism - Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of... capitalism: [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 25, 2011 - 33 comments

entrepreneurial paradise

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
posted by kliuless on Jan 20, 2011 - 52 comments

Benjamin Franklin's Advice to a Young Tradesman

Always remember that time is money. [more inside]
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Jan 18, 2011 - 22 comments

Why value the donations of rich people more than those of the poor?

How Private Is 'Private Charity'? Private charity may be more accurately described as "private donations coupled with involuntary, tax-financed public subsidies." And it's not fair: "very low-income people paying only payroll taxes get hardly any leverage for their donations. Very high-income people in states with high income-tax rates – such as New Jersey and New York – can through the tax code virtually double the money funneled to a charity per dollar of their own sacrifice." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Jan 17, 2011 - 39 comments

Communists and Religion and Corporations and Capitalism and Taxes and the 9th Circuit, oh my!

How do you tax religious communists engaged in capitalism through an exempt religious corporation? The Stahl Hutterian Brethren is a 65-member community of Hutterites that runs a 30,000 acre farm in Washington. The community is incorporated as a religious corporation. Its members give all their "time, labor, services, earnings, and energies" to the community. They disavow individual property ownership, draw no salary, and do not contribute to or collect Social Security benefits. Instead, the community provides for its members' personal needs. And now it is the subject of the most fascinating 9th Circuit tax case [PDF] you'll read this year!

But before you dig into the 9th Circuit opinion, here's a great summary and commentary by law professor Shaun Martin. The case addresses the very tricky question of whether, as employees of a non-profit religious corporation, the community members should be allowed to deduct their living expenses, which are paid for by the corporation (they're communists, after all). Tricky additional fact: The 65-member community is all one big family.
posted by The World Famous on Dec 13, 2010 - 36 comments

Distributism Review

Distributist Review promotes distributism (wiki), a "third way" of economics between capitalism and socialism, inspired by Catholic social teaching. Popularized by G. K. Chesterton (more, more), Fr. Vincent McNabb (more, more), Hilaire Belloc (more, more), and E. F. Schumacher (more, more, more), as well as through the pages of the Catholic Worker (more, also), distributism seeks to put "productive" property into the hands of the many, with implications for urban homesteading and agricultural reform, as well as the rebirth of the guild as an idea. Distributism is not merely an economic system - it is wholly fused with Catholic teachings, fusing the left and right, standing against modern, liberal political and sociological thought. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 28, 2010 - 33 comments

Matt Taibbi strikes again

Matt Taibbi strikes again. Having gone after the investment banking industry, incidentally attaching a description to Goldman Sachs in ways their PR machine is still trying to peel off, his latest article in Rolling Stone illuminates the pervasive fraud at the heart of the foreclosure scandal. [more inside]
posted by pharm on Nov 12, 2010 - 105 comments

If You Build It, They Will Come.

Arizona's Immigration Bill Was Drafted By Private Prison Companies
posted by empath on Oct 28, 2010 - 94 comments

You have nothing to gain but free time.

Workers of the world, relax. via
posted by DU on Oct 12, 2010 - 24 comments

The Trouble With The View From Above

The Trouble With The View From Above. James C. Scott at Cato Unbound has an interesting essay on what we gain - and what we lose - when we trade localized, vernacular categories for the uniform, official categories of a state. His ideas are fleshed out more in his book, Seeing Like A State. Economist Donald Boudreax responds. Brad DeLong and Timothy Lee have forthcoming responses.
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 13, 2010 - 22 comments

David, Ed, and Ralph.

In the runup to the British Labour Party's leadership election, John Gray writes about Labour's embrace of (and attempts to tame) capitalism, and what the frontrunners' father might think of it all.
posted by greymullet on Sep 6, 2010 - 7 comments

mad as hell

Dylan Ratigan's Howard Beale Moment (via se) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 19, 2010 - 35 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

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