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Only the super-rich can save us!

SLJaredDiamondOp-Ed: As part of my board work, I have been asked to assess the environments in oil fields, and have had frank discussions with oil company employees at all levels. I’ve also worked with executives of mining, retail, logging and financial services companies. I’ve discovered that while some businesses are indeed as destructive as many suspect, others are among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Dec 11, 2009 - 52 comments

They want capitalism back

First they wanted socialism. Now they want capitalism back. Rescued from bankruptcy by UK taxpayers, the directors of the Royal Bank of Scotland are threatening a mass resignation unless they are permitted to share £1.5 billion in bonuses. Some people have asked why we have to share the bad times but not the good.
posted by bobbyelliott on Dec 3, 2009 - 69 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

Busy Bee Hardware, Est. 1918

Busy Bee Hardware, Est. 1918 (via)
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 17, 2009 - 39 comments

The Gervais Principle

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”. Warning: link may evoke baleful despair!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 16, 2009 - 57 comments

Capitalism Is Evil

Director Michael Moore now wants nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 7, 2009 - 367 comments

Everyone agrees. It's about to explode.

The Coming Insurrection (pdf) (in French) by the Invisible Committee. [more inside]
posted by jrb223 on Jul 21, 2009 - 28 comments

Will Pique Your Curiosity in the Most Delightful Way

SkyMall product reviews. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 20, 2009 - 47 comments

Financial innovation, you say?

Madness is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (SLBP)
posted by vivelame on Jul 9, 2009 - 29 comments

The Great American Bubble Machine

"The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Jul 6, 2009 - 76 comments

Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong

Prelude to Federation - Like a neocolonial SEZ (or TAZ) Paul Romer, not to be confused with David, posits "less developed countries contract with capitalist nations to set up Hong Kong's for them... that we rethink sovereignty (respect borders, but maybe import administrative control); rethink citizenship (support residency, but maybe import voice in political affairs); and rethink scale (instead of focusing on nations, focus on cities—on city states like Hong Kong and Singapore)." cf. neocameralism [1, 2, 3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 21, 2009 - 16 comments

Gee, 20

Protests against today's G20 summit in the UK turn predictably bloody. The main financial hub, the City, is closed off as a retail bank is broken into and dismantled. Another street, in contrast, is taken over and turned into an encampment.
posted by mippy on Apr 1, 2009 - 192 comments

great generation or greatest generation?

Now is the time for a less selfish capitalism - "we should stop the worship of money and create a more humane society where the quality of human experience is the criterion... accelerated economic growth is not a goal for which we should make large sacrifices." Lord Layard challenges the orthodoxy; perhaps it's time to rein in the banks and try trickle-up bailouts? btw Richard Layard's 2003 LSE happiness lectures I think were pretty influential in reorienting economics back towards a more 'utility-based' approach in recent years, cf. Giddens on 'third way' politics re: Blair, New Labour and now Brown, viz. "to build tomorrow today..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2009 - 14 comments

The Future of Capitalism

"For me, capitalism has never been an abstract concept. It is a real, concrete part of everyday life." President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on the future of capitalism.
posted by geoff. on Mar 11, 2009 - 43 comments

whither or wither?

What is the future of capitalism?
a) 3.0
b) Canada* ([1],[2])
c) 'smart growth' (viz.)
d) none of the above** [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 15, 2009 - 86 comments

Tragedy of the anti-commons

Tragedy of the anti-commons is the opposite of tragedy of the commons - it's when too many owners create grid-lock, nothing can get accomplished. It exists everywhere from copyright law, tech patents, music industry, airport runway expansion, medicine, etc.. it is pervasive across all aspects of modern capitalist societies. The concept was coined by Professor Michael Heller who published a book in 2008 called The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives. In an excellent Authors@Google video, Michael Heller explains what it is and how it undermines capitalism, in particular over the past 30 years with increased privatization.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 10, 2009 - 55 comments

What's going on at Circuit City?

Circuit City: Founded in 1949 as the Wards Company, Circuit City is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. At the time of the liquidation announcement (January 16, 2009), the company operated 567 stores in 153 media. Ok bai.
posted by hypersloth on Jan 16, 2009 - 72 comments

Adam Smith in Beijing

Adam Smith in Beijing Embedded Flash film 1hr59mins "Is US power in decline? What are we to make of the rise of China? Will a possible equalization of North-South relations herald a more brutal capitalism or a better world? Giovanni Arrighi, Joel Andreas, and David Harvey give their perspectives in this forum, for a discussion of Arrighi's 2007 book Adam Smith in Beijing. The event, filmed in Baltimore, MD, in March of 2008, was organized by the Red Emma's collective."
posted by Abiezer on Nov 9, 2008 - 10 comments

The forgotten Holocaust

In 1943, while the Allies were busy battling the Axis Powers and the Nazi Regime, there was another kind of war that was being waged against a helpless populace (living on the Indian Sub-continent). A war that has been largely ignored by the mass media and the history books of our time. It is known as the Great Bengal Famine, and ended up causing the death of an estimated 1.5 million to 4 million people.
posted by hadjiboy on Aug 30, 2008 - 34 comments

Disaster Capitalism

"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion." Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe — whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 17, 2008 - 50 comments

Taking Affirmative Action Against Crime and For Economic Reconstruction

The black backs by and on which the fortunes of the New South were built:
On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy.”... Cottenham’s offense was blackness.... [After a brief trial] Cottenham... was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North — U.S. Steel Corporation — the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence.... he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners.... Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.
— from the Introduction to Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II. The book's website includes reviews of the book, an excerpt of the Introduction, and an extensive photo gallery that includes disturbing images of enslaved and tortured prisoners. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality on Jun 21, 2008 - 94 comments

Dead labour.

A close reading of the text of Volume One of Marx's Capital in 13 two-hour video lectures by David Harvey. (Two online so far) David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York. He has been teaching Karl Marx's Capital, Volume I for nearly 40 years. Marx biographer Francis Wheen speaks on NPR as to why the book remains required reading.
posted by Abiezer on Jun 16, 2008 - 46 comments

Kiki and Bubu

Kiki and Bubu! Austrian art collective monochrom presents the adventures of two sock puppets. Part One: Kiki and Bubu and The Shift. "Bubu wants to know why his dad is busy all the time. And Kiki explains him why... because of the neoliberal shift." Part Two: Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege. "Bubu ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if he doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps..." [Via BB]
posted by homunculus on Jun 7, 2008 - 6 comments

Žižek!

"Žižek!" is a feature documentary exploring the eccentric personality and esoteric work of the "wild man of theory": the eminent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 12, 2008 - 18 comments

The Brilliant Issue

I asked Nathan Myhrvold, C.E.O. of Intellectual Ventures and widely considered to be one of the smartest people in technology, if he is brilliant. "If you put yourself in that camp, you might be correct," he teased. "But then, you're also an asshole." The Brilliant Issue profiles Porfolio's picks for best game-changers, upstarts, rebels, connectors and other influencers. [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur on May 2, 2008 - 10 comments

The 'advantage' of 'low human rights'

Only China can destroy socialism. Qin Hui, one of the country's most important public intellectuals, argues "China's rampant state-dominated, welfare-lite capitalism could so undercut competitors that it could threaten the social democratic traditions that underpin the West." [As ever, via.]
posted by Abiezer on Jan 8, 2008 - 26 comments

playing with the tuning knobs when the back of the appliance is in flames

The Wire is dissent; it argues that our systems are no longer viable for the greater good of the most, that America is no longer operating as a utilitarian and democratic experiment. An already-quite-good discussion about The Wire, originating in Mark Bowden's Atlantic article ('The Angriest Man in Television') and continuing through Mark Bowden's post on the show's nihilistic bleakness gets even more interesting on Matt Yglesias's blog, where the creator of the show stops by to give his opinion on what it's all supposed to mean.
posted by gerryblog on Jan 3, 2008 - 76 comments

The Rise of China

The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive? "China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 29, 2007 - 29 comments

Privatize profit. Socialize risk.

Push Capitalism. Bill Moyers' interview with Dr. Benjamin Barber about the state of our modern capitalist society and how he believes capitalism threatens American democracy. PBS.org streaming video. [more inside]
posted by orelius on Dec 23, 2007 - 74 comments

limits

The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy - naked capitalism reprints (with added commentary) an FT article by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some are calling for more socialism, while others would press on to build more megaprojects. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting and natural capitalism :P
posted by kliuless on Dec 19, 2007 - 42 comments

The New New Environmentalism

Not ones for subtlety, the Death of Environmentalism guys (previously) are at it again with a Manifesto for a New Environmentalism. Their Apollo Alliance is getting early support from both Clinton and Obama. But it's not the only "new environmentalism" out there. There's this New Environmentalism, while others would include both market-based approaches among the the idols of old environmentalism.
posted by salvia on Sep 20, 2007 - 22 comments

Of course, the frames are probably made from Chinese toothpaste...

A selection of eyeglasses for $8. (That's including your lens prescription.) Or if that's not to your liking, there's $39.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson on Sep 19, 2007 - 81 comments

Ghetto Capitalism

Ghetto Capitalists At once an outsider and a welcome participant in the ghetto economy, he found that he was suddenly part of “a vast, often invisible web” of economic exchange. That web supports the residents of Maquis Park and adds a strange sort of order to their existence, tempering chaos and adding predictability to the lives of Chicago’s poor. For the most part, the people he meets seem eager to trade. It’s just that much of what they’re trading isn’t going to meet with the approval of a law-and-order Republican or a bleeding-heart Great Society Democrat.
posted by jason's_planet on Sep 14, 2007 - 29 comments

The Age of Disaster Capitalism

The Age of Disaster Capitalism [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Sep 12, 2007 - 124 comments

The Myth of the Rational Voter

Why are American voters reluctant to support free market policies when professional economists have achieved near-consensus? Bryan Caplan of the Cato Institute investigates. (pdf)
posted by stammer on Jun 1, 2007 - 71 comments

Environmentalism and the free market

Orion Magazine hosts a two-part essay on the environmentalism movement's attempts to fit within free market capitalism, and the problems therein. Part one, The Idols of Environmentalism, focuses on the cross purposes of capitalism and environmentalism, and the apparent impossibility of the two working together. In part two, The Ecology of Work, the focus is on the human impact of the work and consumption culture.
posted by knave on Apr 29, 2007 - 27 comments

WELL SPACED SOUND STRAIGHT TEETH ARE BUILT BY BOTTLED SUNSHINE

Boilproof nipples — Girly pirates? — Hubris — Atomic nose candy — Pit paranoia — The gay mafia's beverage of choice — Mouthwash for flaky skin — Spam spam spam spamDead-fish eyes — and more American advertising from 1932 to 1959...
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Mar 30, 2007 - 17 comments

Win In China!

Win in China! A "reality" TV show in China where young would be entrepreneurs compete for a large pile of startup cash to actualize their business ideas. Not everyone is happy about the glorification of capitalism, of course, and one losing contestant may have committed suicide, but overall reaction in China to the show seems positive. Video clips here (also a full length article by the Atlantic if you have a paid subscription).
posted by Burhanistan on Mar 9, 2007 - 5 comments

"SeaWorld bespeaks the essence of Orlando, a place whose specialty is detaching experience from context, extracting form from substance, and then selling tickets to it."

"All over Orlando you see forces at work that are changing America from Fairbanks to Little Rock. This, truly, is a 21st-century paradigm: It is growth built on consumption, not production; a society founded not on natural resources, but upon the dissipation of capital accumulated elsewhere; a place of infinite possibilities, somehow held together, to the extent it is held together at all, by a shared recognition of highway signs, brand names, TV shows, and personalities, rather than any shared history. Nowhere else is the juxtaposition of what America actually is and the conventional idea of what America should be more vivid and revealing."

"Welcome to the theme-park nation." [more inside]
posted by wander on Mar 2, 2007 - 61 comments

Cancer

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers. That's the good news. The bad news is that because there's no patent and it's so cheap to make, researchers may not be able to get funding from the private sector for further research since the treatment wouldn't make a profit. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 18, 2007 - 122 comments

Ready. Set. Collapse.

This handy comparison guide can help you prepare for our turbulent future with lessons from other people's turbulent recent past.
posted by hexatron on Dec 8, 2006 - 48 comments

Business and the decline of political liberty

The Mayfair Set [Google Video]. A BBC Documentary series on how City of London bankers systematically dismantled British industry from the 1960s-90s and removed the power of the state to protect people from the greed of the market A thought provoking documentary from Adam Curtis whose other documentaries The Power of Nightmares and The Century of the Self have been previously discussed and well received on Mefi. It is almost four hours long but well worth the effort.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Dec 2, 2006 - 24 comments

Neo-Maoism in China

Conditions of the Working Classes in China is an essay that presents a Marxist perspective on the changes taking place in China. The author addresses the tensions between workers and employers, antagonisms between city workers and impoverished migrants from the countryside and the political fights between those who support the moves towards a market economy and those convinced that Mao had it right all along.
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 12, 2006 - 31 comments

"For their efforts to create economic and social development from below"

In 1976, a young Bangladeshi economics professor named Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank to implement microcredit — lending small sums to the very poorest members of society. Today, he and his bank share the Nobel Peace prize. Grameen, a profit-making company with social objectives, has lent $5.3bn to 6.4m people. 97% of borrowers are women, as Yunus believes [video] "men will do whatever they could to enjoy for themselves personally [but] women looked at it for the children, for the family and for the future."
posted by matthewr on Oct 13, 2006 - 24 comments

At least the Cold War made sense.

Now we're faced with a supposedly democratic Russia where the opposition parties are established, crushed, united, their leadership changed, all at the behest of the president. China, now clearly a capitalist state, albeit one without the democratic trimmings, still calls itself communist. Vietnam has gone much the same way.

Some things remain the same, though. America's still meddling in Latin America, just like it did during the Cold War. The US Army is also fighting a guerilla resistance in Iraq, its leaders apparently ignorant of the lessons of history, yet accusing others of exactly that. It's just like the 60s, when it was just as obvious who had learnt lessons and who hadn't.
posted by imperium on Aug 30, 2006 - 48 comments

A new, friendly face on Fascism

``Friendly fascism portrays two conflicting trends in the United States and other countries of the so-called "free world." The first is a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership... The other is a slower and less powerful tendency for individuals and groups to seek greater participation in decisions affecting themselves and others... These contradictory trends are woven fine into the fabric of highly industrialized capitalism.'
posted by Mr. Six on Jul 31, 2006 - 49 comments

Never work.

Never wanna work/Always wanna play/Pleasure, pleasure every day. What happens when the jobs go away and don't return? Should we take the surpluses generated and pay people not to work? What happens to the assumption of scarcity when nanotechology allows us to generate potentially anything we want from grass clippings? Maybe Marx had it wrong all along. Maybe, instead of fetishizing work and the authoritarian mindset that it generates, we should have been reading Paul Lafargue instead. Just as a thought experiment, what would you do if your job category disappeared? How would you spend your time? Would you invest more time and energy in friendships and other relationships? Hobbies? If you were your employer, what technologies would you use to get rid of your position and save money?
posted by jason's_planet on Jun 25, 2006 - 43 comments

Worried how Bird Flu will affect your portfolio?

We've been talking about bird flu here in the blue and in the green for a while. Now to help us answer the question eveyone is asking, Citigroup and Smith Barney bring us the Global Portfolio Strategist: Avian Flu [pdf].
posted by pwb503 on Mar 14, 2006 - 12 comments

Liberal Capitalism and Evil

On Evil: An Interview with Alain Badiou
posted by kuatto on Mar 12, 2006 - 19 comments

Thou Knowest O' Lord!

The Abrigded King James Version
And the LORD Capital said unto the socialist, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Hope you enjoy!
posted by nofundy on Feb 22, 2006 - 11 comments

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