In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits (SLNYT)
The concept of virtual companies, also known as practice firms, traces its roots to Germany after World War II, when large numbers of people needed to reorient their skills. Intended to supplement vocational training, the centers emerged in earnest across Europe in the 1950s and spread rapidly in the last two decades.
"The world authorities have run out of ammunition as rates remain stuck at zero. They have no margin for error as economy falters" (Telegraph) [more inside]
The Washington Post reports companies like Whole Foods originally assumed Millennials would spend more on food (among other consumptive goods) than they're actually willing to. So they're lowering their prices. [more inside]
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America (mirrored at Salon.com)
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
Need temporary housing? Want to live large for less? Showhomes matches high-end vacant houses for sale with people who have beautiful furniture and need temporary housing. If you are moving from one city to another, are building a home or simply want to live in a beautiful home for a fraction of what it would normally cost, consider becoming a Showhomes Home Manager. You can enjoy a Showhome as if it were yours while it remains on the market for sale. In exchange for keeping it clean and letting buyers view the home, you get dramatically reduced monthly fees.... [more inside]
U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff on "Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted In Connection With The Financial Crisis?" Judge Rakoff, a federal trial judge who sits in the Southern District of New York, writes: "[M]y point is that the Department of Justice has never taken the position that all the top executives involved in the events leading up to the financial crisis were innocent, but rather has offered one or another excuse for not criminally prosecuting them – excuses that, on inspection, appear unconvincing."
In an essay for The New Inquiry, Moira Weigel and Mal Ahern consider The End of Men, global recession era capitalism, and ironic sexism.
"Mancession Lit portrays the Man-Child as pitiful, contrasting him with women who are well-adjusted and adult. But it rarely acknowledges the real question that this odd couple raises. Namely, are women better suited to the new economy because they are easier to exploit?"
Recession prompted 'unprecedented' fall in wages - Wages have fallen more in real terms in the current economic downturn than ever before, according to a report. On top of the rising cost of living, a third of workers who stayed in the same job saw a wage cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). "The falls in nominal wages... during this recession are unprecedented," said Claire Crawford from the IFS. Labour said the figures showed there was a "living-standards crisis".
“My husband and I, our parents wanted better for us than what they had,” Bonnie says. “And it’s gone backwards.” [more inside]
After Forbes magazine declared Dayton, OH, one of America's " fastest dying cities," a group of local media makers created Reinvention Stories. The interactive film/multimedia experience rolls out this month in three acts.
Last One Falling - photographer Amy Connolly documented the last days of a Liverpool branch of HMV whilst working there in 2011, a stark contrast to the images of the flagship store in the sixties and seventies (previously). The chain yesterday announced it was entering administration after 91 years on the high street. [more inside]
Stimulus or Stymied?: The Macroeconomics of Recession: An American Economic Association panel discussion on the Great Recession between four leading economists - Paul Krugman (Princeton), Valerie Ramey (UCSD), Harald Uhlig (Chicago) and Carlo Cottarelli (IMF), chaired by Brad DeLong (Berkeley).
UK dividends hit new record in Q3 2012: "Dividend payments in the UK hit highest quarterly total of £23.2bn, up 10.4 per cent in the third quarter compared with last year, according to Capita Registrars." [more inside]
The National Bureau of Economic Research has published a new paper analyzing 138 years of economic history in 14 advanced economies, which proves that high levels of private debt cause severe recessions. (Via) Bonus SLYT: Money As Debt (1hr)
"Some date the crisis to August 9 2007, the day it became clear that Europe’s banks were up to their necks in US housing debt. The ECB flooded markets with €95bn of liquidity. It seemed a lot of money then. The term “trillion” was still banned by the Telegraph style book in those innocent days. We have since learned to swing with the modern dance music from central banks." [Five years on, the Great Recession is turning into a life sentence]
"The Quinns are decent people." At a rally in County Cavan thousands of people showed up to support local business man Seán Quinn. From local sports personalities to high profile priests to ordinary people, they came to support the man once known as Ireland's richest man. [more inside]
The Ones We've Lost: The Student Loan Debt Suicides: "I'm an advocate for people who are struggling to pay their student loans, and I've been receiving suicidal comments for over two years and occasionally receiving reports of actual suicides".
DEAR AMERICA: You Should Be Mad As Hell About This. Here is a helpful series of excellent visual aids that shed light on the state of our current American socioeconomy.
"...Charles Marohn and his colleagues at the Minnesota-based nonprofit Strong Towns have made a very compelling case that suburban sprawl is basically a Ponzi scheme, in which municipalities expand infrastructure hoping to attract new taxpayers that can pay off the mounting costs associated with the last infrastructure expansion, over and over." Building resilient cities and towns with fiscal conservatism. [more inside]
Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor. The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
The nation is awash with a new black market commodity... Across the country, retailers are finding massive amounts of this product missing. In West St. Paul, Minnesota, one enterprising individual has taken $25,000 dollars of this chemical that some Police Departments are calling liquid gold: Tide Detergent
The New Dealers : For some time, I'd been hearing stories from my sources in the interstate marijuana racket about law-abiding "civilians" turning to the game because of the recession, and so, armed with introductions, I hit the road to meet some of these unlikely criminals face to face. That's how, on a hot evening in June, I found myself in Dan's Northern California kitchen.
With the recent news that unemployment applications are at their lowest levels since 2008, Congressional Republicans are attempting to curtail unemployment benefits. Democrats want to extend benefits for another year. This has led to an impasse. [more inside]
ink&paper A short film about the last paper shop, and the last letterpress, in Los Angeles. "There are days go by that there can be absolutely no business at all."
China's economy poised to join the rest of us in the toilet. I certainly hope one of you smart people can prove this article wrong.
You know about the Great Depression, but do you know about the Long Depression? For a while now some have been suggesting we're in a "Third Depression", not so much like the Great one, but more like the Long Depression (1873–96) of 23 years (originally called the Great Depression). Suggesting "This slump won’t end until 2031". [more inside]
"Too many people are out of work, struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Many are lacking health insurance and foregoing staples that in different times were a given. So please, protesting retail workers, stop whining about having to work holiday hours. Be grateful to have a job." [more inside]
Economics blog VoxEU debates Why do we need a financial sector? Serious, important and very dull articles discuss the trade-offs and myths of innovation, and whether the sector is overrated, critical or a contributor to the wider economy.
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue." -- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, explaining that the surge in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1, 2, 3, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ / Photo Gallery / Video. [more inside]
9 Ideas From Around the World to Fix the American Economy. "People in the U.S. confuse big government and small government as the only two models. What we need is smart government". Selected economic and social policies that actually work - from Germany, Brazil, Israel, Canada, Australia, China, Thailand and Singapore.
The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright: Why the Current Crop of Twentysomethings Are Going to Be Okay
"I wonder whether the endless fake cultural wars around identity politics are the main reason we have been able to ignore the tech slowdown for so long." - Peter Thiel, The End of the Future [more inside]
Political revolution, the Tea Party, and Occupy Wall Street notwithstanding, what actual policy steps could be taken to prevent the U.S. from falling into a Japanese-like decade of stagnation (or worse)? Economists from the New America Foundation offer a rather balanced, clearly articulated, and comprehensive proposal: The Way Forward. [more inside]
The dream of a laptop-powered "knowledge class" is dead. The media is melting. Blame the economy -- and the Web This is something I've been thinking about for some time, and voila!, here's a really good piece to back up my assumption that the expansiveness and multiple profusions of creative freedoms made possible by the Internet has helped bring down a large swath of "creative types", just as it has enabled others. This is a worthy and provocative read, and will be part of a Salon series that looks into the "hollowing out" of the creative class. [more inside]
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]
"It is this failure of political will both in the EU and US which is starting to make the contemporary economic scene resemble that of the 1930s. " The Eurozone and the US are heading into a bad economic decade, argues John Lanchester (wiki). [more inside]
Coming Apart: After 9/11 transfixed America, the country’s problems were left to rot. "No national consensus formed around 9/11. Indeed, the decade since has destroyed the very possibility of a common narrative."
Roubini warns of global recession risk. In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, Economist Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics warns that the risk of a global recession is higher than 50%, suggests investing in cash, blames George Bush for the United States' economic predicament, advocates higher taxes, warns of a possible break-up of the European monetary union and states that "Karl Marx was right". [more inside]
Markets declined sharply this week in preparation for a U.S. credit downgrade by Standard & Poor's ABC news felt confident to break the news of the U.S. government preparing for an expected S&P down grade sometime after market close this weekend. [more inside]
With the conclusion of the debt ceiling debate ending in another defeat for liberals, the emerging narrative is that Obama is weak, a poor negotiator who was out-maneuvered by Republicans and forced into the agreement because of strategic errors. But Glenn Greenwald tells a different story: [more inside]
In an investment manager's view on the top 1% - referring to the richest Americans by wealth and income - we learn that one needs $1.2 million in net worth to barely slip in the door of the top 1%. But that's just a start: the real power and influence in the U.S., the author argues, resides in the top 0.1%. You can guess who you'll find there: bankers and large-cap CEOs. Relevant quotes include... [more inside]
"I had to stand in front of 92 people and say 'Not only do you not have a job anymore, you don't have a house anymore'". On June 20th, the United States Gypsum Corporation will shut down its plant in Empire, Nevada, the last Company town in America.
Exquisitely Corrupt Charles Hugh Smith's predictions on the housing bubble, from almost five years ago, are proving accurate. Previously.
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]