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Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

“Somebody Has to Respond”

The article “Somebody has to respond” reminded me of the video we watched in class on Argentina: “Hope in hard times” and the video on the workers at the Nike plant that got shut down.  The Republic Windows and Doors factory made me think of what those workers in Argentina did to keep their suit store open.  By taking over the factory and creating a cooperative out of it, they were successful in keeping everyone’s jobs.  Perhaps this is what many companies need to start doing.  I think about the auto bailout and it’s lack of attention on the loss of jobs.  Perhaps if money was funneled to the workers to create a working cooperative, things might be more successful.   I hope at the very least that workers are able to start receiving the attention and media coverage they should be receiving.

Priorities should be set at keeping jobs for people and making sure everyone has food, health, and shelter.  Not until this becomes the focus will any proposition fix the problem.

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I’ve always liked the Buy Nothing Day campaign that adbuster’s started.  Instead of going out and celebrating black Friday in the traditional way, spend that time with your family and friends.  It’s probably a good idea with the way the economy is turning anyways.  Simplify the holidays.  Cut up your credit cards.  Instead, cook a good meal with people you enjoy being around.

I found a couple good articles.  One was on adbusters about the credit crisis.  We need to be focusing on “real wealth,” or wealth in education, health, food, shelter, etc. not investing in bad debt. These investments are not real.  I think we do need to start redefining wealth, and not until we figure that out will we be able to deal with the “triple crisis.”

Another article I found was on zmag by Vandana Shiva.  I really like her critiques on biofuel.  I think we need to start realizing that biofuel is not as economical or environmentally-friendly as we’d like to believe.  We are deforesting land to grow crops to feed the same unhealthy addiction to cars.  The crises of food, climate, and finances are all very closely linked and hopefully this is better understand with the current financial crisis.

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Michael Pollan (who if you don’t know him you must check out) wrote this great letter titled Farmer in Chief to the New York Times in October to whomever the president-elect would be.

I believe that our agriculture deserves more attention than it is receiving.  The way we shape our agricultural sector is a matter of national security, as Pollan writes.  In fact, many of our global economic, social, and political problems all relate to the food industry.  Supporting local organic farming is not only preferable, it is essential if we want to end the global food crisis, end our dependence on oil, protect the environment, protect workers worldwide, create jobs, help our healthcare systems, and create a more equal and just world.  Yeh, it’s quite a mouthful for just one sector of our societies, but food is a necessity.  We depend on nothing more than food.  So why has it become a mere commodity, a resource, that is grown in non-biodiversified, land-intensive agriculture only to let many of these grains and foods go to waste?

This obviously is linked to a history of colonialism and the conquering of people’s lands and resources to modern economic practices and institutions.  The US agriculture system has been built off of the chemical agents of WWII as Pollan points out, and with the addition of deregulation, subsidies, and the green “revolution” large export, monoculture agriculture has been pushed beyond its threshhold.

This is the time to deal with these problems.  I love Pollan’s idea of the president setting the example for the American public: having dinner as a family cooked from only local in season foods, gardening and growing food on the White House lawn, posting recipes on the White House website.  It does involve changing our lifestyles and the ways we view food and view ourselves.  But this is the reality that we must face.  Our conusmer, production-driven society is unsustainable, not only environmentally, but socially and economically.  We need Change!  I have hope that Obama will be more open to truly dealing with these issues.

(Secretary of Agriculture: Michael Pollan!)

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Nader on the Economy

It is unbelievable the amount of corporate influence over the two major party candidates.  Both candidates agreed to give this money give-away to corporate crooks with a 700 billion dollar bailout.  Ralph Nader has been very critical of this and offers his own 4-point solution as described on his website votenader.org.

One of his main points is to make the speculator pay for their own bailout.  With a one-tenth of one percent tax on security derivative transactions, 500 billion dollars would be easily raised in one year.  Now why would the two major party candidates not implement something like this, rather than making the American tax-payers pay for coporate greed?  It's simple, both candidates receive billions in dollars from these corporations, and Obama receives more from Wall Street than McCain.

Nader also brings up a great point that while the candidates talk about the middle class, they never mention the poor.  The poor is only going to increase.  They are the overworked and underpaid in our country.  I also find it important to note, as Nader mentions, that this speculation excess was pushed forward with Clinton and his deregulation in the late 1990's.

I think it is important for people to be critical of the two major party candidates on this matter.  Even if your vote is going to either Obama or McCain, rather than letting the candidates receiving your vote as a "better of the two" decision, accountability should be demanded and the real issues focused on.  This is what Ralph Nader and the other third party presidential candidates are demanding.  The debates are even corporate sponsored and put together by two former heads of the Democrat and Republican National Committees.

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The Economic Crisis-In a Nutshell

I came across this article in zmag.org.  It gives a great breakdown of the financial crisis and its links way beyond the mortgage and insurance agencies and banks.  This recession is due to our economic system as a whole.

As Bello writes, this has been a downward spiral process that mainly took foot in the seventies with the push for further liberalization of the markets and Reagonomics.  Neo-liberalization made overproduction an aspect of the free-trade market.  This caused a great amount of competition in the market which “limited the growth of purchase power and demand, thus eroding profitability,” as Bello says.  This even relates to the subsidies that Western nations use in the market to lower the costs of their agricultural products which make their products cheaper to consume than those same products in other countries that are forbidden to have subsidies under Structural Adjustment Program agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  In addition, the powerful rich countries are also able to dictate the supply and demand of the market which causes a decrease in value of foreign products due to overproduction.  The system is wasteful in many ways.

Obviously neo-liberalization only encourages this overproduction.  By removing state constraints and rulings, corporations are able to to as they please which means moving wealth from the poor to the rich.  By bringing many countries into this liberalized economy, the world becomes dependent on these wealthy corporations and banks and governments to dictate their lives.  Finally Bello links all this to financialization which is the culprit of this credit crisis.  This has to due with the greedy investments by these banks and corporations that pushes the stock market over the edge.  They fabricated money when it wasn’t their which turned this system onto itself.

It is amazing how big this system is and how it links to everyone.  I just read that the economy of Iceland collapsed today and is probably going to look towards the IMF for a loan (something that is just part of this endless spiral).  Deregulation has not worked in the past and is not working now.  Until this is challenged and there are not free money giveaways to corporations, maybe the problem can be dealt with.  Use the 700 billion for social and environmental infrastructure instead…these are the areas that need it.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/business/06markets.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

I just found this article after coming out of the theater watching “Battle in Seattle.” It is unbelievable how obviously linked corporations are to governments. All of a sudden the public goes wild because the economy is going down the hole, and Banks are going bankrupt. So we award this greed with a rescue plan. And it is so ironic that free-market capitalists are now fans of socialist government plans. Socialism for the rich with the working classes’ money, while the gap between rich and poor increases, environmental protection is hardly a concern, and basic humanitarian necessities are ignored.

A quick side note, on the tube, CNN (ergh) is talking about “America’s Money Crisis” which is way over 10 trillion dollars, and is increasing ONE MILLION $$$$$$$$$$ every 6 SECONDS. And we still are going on with our obviously failed economic system. And it still blows me away that the total of all “third world” national debts combined is around 3 trillion dollars. By that logic we should be poorer than the poorest of Africa. But since we hold so much power in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and so on we are making the workers, the children, the poor of the world carry the woes of our debt.

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