Links New Year’s Day 2014

Readers, Happy New Year! You get an extra ration of linky goodness because I couldn’t stop with the 2013 top tens. –lambert

Two freezing kittens abandoned in a polystyrene box in the middle of a snow-covered forest are spotted by eagle-eyed motorist and nursed back to health Daily Mail

last comment on fiscal drag for the year The Center of the Universe

What Comes After the Evans Rule? Tim Duy’s Fedwatch (and see also).

Dallas Fed’s Richard Fisher talks TBTF on EconTalk (#OWS) Mathbabe

Market Price and Replacement Cost: Why Homebuilding Remains Subdued CSEN

Buyout kings seek U.S. partnerships as deal prices rise Reuters. PE has so much money it doesn’t know what to do with it.


For Stocks, an Amazingly Good Year Times. Thanks for the reach-around, Ben!

The Best-Performing Stock Market In 2013 Is Located In A South American Socialist Paradise Business Insider

5 overlooked activist victories in 2013 Waging Nonviolence

2013: The FT’s year in charts FT

Top Ten Stories of 2013 Virtually Speaking

Best of 2013: The Top 10 TV Stories of the Year That Was Hollywood Reporter

The top 10 most viewed fact-checks of 2013 Politifact

Gallup’s Top 10 U.S. Well-Being Discoveries in 2013 Gallup

Universe Today’s Top 10 (or so) Stories of 2013 Universe Today’

Top 10 NBA Dunks of 2013! NBA

The Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2013 Times

The Strange Case of American Inequality Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate. “Unless something – and it will need to be something major – returns the US to its pre-2008 growth trajectory, future economic historians will not regard the Great Depression as the worst business-cycle disaster of the industrial age. It is we who are living in their worst case.” Livin’ the dream!

Hillary Clinton calls for unemployment benefits extension Politico

How Obama can kick off the minimum-wage push WaPo. Uh huh.

Cash Handouts Are Changing Inequality In Brazil Crooks & Liars

The Decline and Fall of Post War Liberalism and the Rise of the Right (Reprint: the Reagan Legacy) Ian Welsh

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide from the cancer-inducing scan High Clearing. Nothing to do with this cancer-inducing scan.

Is The NSA Quartering “Digital” Troops Within Our Homes? Washington’s Blog. I like this Constitutional argument a lot.

Judge upholds search of passengers’ laptops WaPo

Drone Testing Sites Announced In Six States AP (CB)

Edward Snowden, the insufferable whistleblower Ruth Marcus, WaPo. Good liberal works herself into a lather defending imperial prerogatives. Pass the popcorn!

Robots and the Demographic Crisis CEPR

Uber-Economist Marginal Revolution

ObamaCare Launch Enrolls 1.1 Million by Year-End––Cause For Celebration or Worry? Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review

With new year, Medicaid takes on a broader health-care role WaPo

Is “value-based’ health insurance really “value-based” or is it just an excuse to pay more? Respectful Insolence

Latvia reluctantly joins euro after shock therapy, but controversy rages on Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph. What could go wrong?

Putin vows to annihilate ‘terrorists’ after suicide bombings Reuters

Exhumation Proves Murder of Brazilian President, New York Times Must Admit Who What Why (SW)

Navy sailors have radiation sickness after Japan rescue NY Post. Yeah, the Post. But the quotes.

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring. Citizen science!

Mystery over what’s killing bald eagles in Utah Seattle Times

Four Degrees Warming by 2100? Angry Bear

Giant rubber duck bursts in Taiwan BBC (SW)

The Snarky, Clever Comments Hidden in the “Acknowledgments” of Academic Papers Future Tense

Profits May Rise, Profits May Fall, the Capitalist System Doesn’t Care at All Counterpunch. “As I get older, I think every day that, relative speaking, we know less and less.”

Antidote du jour (via):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. grayslady

    Regarding the bald eagle deaths, it was reported yesterday that scientists had determined the deaths were caused by eagles eating grebes that were infected by West Nile Virus. The virus was then transmitted to the eagles. Now if only the scientists could figure out how to keep the eagle from eating the grebes!

  2. no more banksters

    “Why people don’t rise up massively today? Why there are no real revolutions? How we tolerate all things that have been imposed to us? These questions come up in people’s minds more and more often today in Greece and abroad, due to the economic crisis. Some theories are circulated as an answer, among these, explanations which include, for example, the psychosynthesis of modern Greeks, but the truth is that there is something more fundamental behind this passive behaviour and concerns not only Greece, but the entire Western world.”

    1. Eeyores enigma

      “Why people don’t rise up massively today?”

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s because they have to go to work in the morning. And even when this is not the case absolutely everyone instinctively understands that they must not do anything that inhibits their ability to acquire money or its equivalent as that would bring them and their loved ones closer to death.

      All these op-eds on “gee how come people don’t just stand up as one and resist” are total bull shit and ignore the facts of life on the ground. No Money=You Die!

      How do you take over the world? Design a super-system wherein every living person must do WHATEVER IT TAKES to acquire the tickets that you issue in order to continue to LIVE. NO EXECPTIONS…..The more tickets you have the better yours and your loved ones chances of LIVING are.

      This super-system is guaranteed to bring out the worst in human nature. Then our attention is drawn to this bad behavior as a distraction from looking at the super-system itself. In fact we are told again and again how bad we are, how it is just our nature to be bad. Bull Shit!

      Lets start looking at the cause not the symptoms.

      1. Pete

        Nicely put. I’ll add that deeply conditioned system cogs have tremendous difficulty imagining anything other than the system they are trying to navigate and survive in because it’s all they’ve ever known, and all they are ever conditioned to embrace… one giant case of Stockholm Syndrome.

      2. Pete

        Let’s see what happens when enough people operating in “Western Societies” can’t get their mitts on enough food-like morsels to keep their families from going hungry. Seems like systemic white collar crime as a political/economic system is tolerable as long as most everyone has enough to eat…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When you make a person who is dying die a day early, that’s murder, because our eyes can see it and our mind can process it.

          When you nag a person for decades and make him or her die a year or two earlier than otherwise, that’s, well, that’s life.

          White collar crimes are often like the latter…less visible, often abstract, and often slow or little by little, like nagging or evolution.

          That’s why also we react viscerally to gun shootings but not the corruption of the soul…(whispering), look at all the sweet things in life…and painless and so easy and comfortable…you want it…buy it…put it on credit…consume…growth…happiness

        2. no more banksters

          Maybe it’s too early to see real revolutions. There is still a middle class. But if this thing go on and destroy middle class, then the “safety pillow” between the economic elites and the poor will vanish …

          I’m afraid that we have to deal with a such powerful and sophisticated system, never seen before in human history. This system possess all the knowledge of human psychology, controls money, mainstream media, generates armies of economists, people in public relations to defend it, produces slaves which are not able to realise their slavery.

          It has so much power that probably can adjust things as wants …

          1. Pete

            “There is still a middle class. But if this thing go on and destroy middle class, then the “safety pillow” between the economic elites and the poor will vanish …”

            That’s what the growing police state and elimination of due process is for. Unemployed, hungry and miffed at the PTB? Yer a terrist.

      3. JTFaraday

        “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s because they have to go to work in the morning.”

        Yes, it’s because we have to go to work in the morning, but it’s also because we can’t imagine ourselves as anything other than an employee, can’t imagine society as anything other than a collection of employees. ie., “A nation of shopkeepers,” only more degraded.

        Meanwhile, in this talk on Giovanni Arrighi’s “Adam Smith in Beijing,” we can see in sociologist Joel Andreas’ discussion (45:00) of the “great transformation” to capitalism in China, that being an employee was the worst possible position one could be in. In pre-capitalist China, employees in capitalist enterprises were migrant laborers to whom the collectivity owed nothing. Capitalism turned this into a new normal for Chinese, (just not all Chinese. Some got lucky):

        The “failedevolution” post is about “vision” and what society might be, but then it collapses into a lament for the labor movement. “Why don’t people rise up?”

        The labor movement may have helped, and may still help, to make “employee” a better position to be in, but it offers no alternative vision of society, and no redefinition of who we are or might be as people.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When smart people out-number wise people, it’s a dangerous world.

          Unfortunately, everyone, it seems, wants to be smart…intellectual.

      4. no more banksters

        From the article:

        “The more the welfare state, human and labor rights retreat, the more difficult the “recovery” of the Vision becomes. Situation becomes worse in front of the attack of neoliberalism. Vision becomes not only a utopia, but also a luxury because the top priority of the people is to survive. The concept of Liberty itself tends to disappear permanently inside increasingly militarized societies of private armies.”

        “The Western man learns to compromise with the current situation since the retirement from a search of a better society is established permanently at the core of the Western neo-rationalism. Therefore, the lack of Vision leads to a more terrifying result concerning the concept of Liberty: Liberty has downgraded to a more fundamental level since the “lobotomized” brain has lost its capability to imagine ideal situations beyond the limits imposed by its nature.”


        “But the stereotype “humans are what they are and will never change”, for example, does not come eventually from an empirical process during our life. In other words, it is not a conclusion which comes through life as we grow, as many of us believe. In reality, it is a dogmatic belief which was “planted” inside the Western neo-rationalism and become one of its basic building blocks as a result of all these theories which affected Western thought deeply, mostly during the last 100 years. Therefore, as a basic building block of the Western neo-rationalism is reproduced from generation to generation.”

      5. F. Beard

        Indeed! In ancient Israel nearly every family owned a farm that they could not lose permanently. Otoh, in the US farms have been permanently stolen via the banking cartel.

    2. XO

      Just as we pretend that debt is wealth, we pretend that we are “successful.” “Successful” people don’t demonstrate.

      Wouldn’t want to get lumped in with the rabble.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think we are just waiting for the next tech wonder gadget that will solve all our problems.

      Besides, are you sure you want to ruin your credit scores?

      Well, time to get back to our expresso, grass, or football, unless we have to hunt or gather our next meal at the plantation.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Let’s not forget, ‘we can grow our way out of this’ mantra…no need to rise up.

      Growth, the non-violent way…on the surface, at least. But don’t tell that to Nature.

    5. Antifa

      Every revolution needs tinder fuel for the fire, and that fuel is always the same: DWOL (Dissatisfied With Our Lot). ‘Not one more day of this’ dissatisfaction. As when the Arab Spring began in Tunisia over a vegetable cart, or America’s Revolution started over some tax stamps for tea. Some stray spark finally ignites the pile, and then all bets are off.

      People have to identify with their kind, and realize and agree that their kind are getting the short end of the stick — so short that they don’t even want the stick anymore. They’d rather go to work with a Molotov cocktail in hand than their lunchbox or briefcase. Streets running with blood is preferable to taking one more day of this crap.

      That’s a revolution, brother. It ain’t pretty.

      We aren’t there just yet, but are getting closer every day. The people at the top taking all the income and cleverly absconding with the profits while pulling the ladder up after themselves are going to be amazed at what one stray spark can do.

      It’ll go something like this:

      “Hey, you know the difference between a poor black family, a poor Latina family and a poor white family?”

      “No, what?”

      “Me neither. I’m asking you.”

      1. Mildred Montana

        So true. In the case of the French Revolution, the spark was not the storming of the Bastille (as many people mistakenly believe) but rather a lavish banquet Marie Antoinette held at the Palace of Versailles on October 1, 1789.

        The ill-advised banquet, on the heels of the destruction of the Bastille and in a time of food shortages, enraged the people. They marched to the palace, seized the king and queen, and imprisoned them in Paris. From thereon in, the fate of the royals was sealed and the momentum of the revolution became unstoppable.

        All because of a foolish decision by a frivolous queen who just wanted to have a party.

    1. lambert Strether

      My father always said to cultivate a catholicity of taste.

      And they are beautiful dunks. Balletic.

    1. AbyNormal

      agree. (we enter KraftyLambert World or die bahahahaa)
      “Putin vows to annihilate ‘terrorists’ after suicide bombings”
      i do luv ironic napalm in the mornin…

      “What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
      David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

  3. don

    The debate among Marxists as to whether there exists an inherent falling rate of profit in capitalism has been ongoing and heated for many a decade. It is there if one gets close enough, but recedes into the background and perhaps disappears entirely once one steps back far enough. Many Marxists don’t even give it attention.

    One source of difficulty here is to think that Marx was an economist. He wasn’t. He was much more than that, and all one has to do is read his writing prior to the three volumes of Das Capital to know that. He was just as much an historian and philosopher as he was an economist.

    A comment regarding the author’s remark regarding an environmental “meltdown” that could sooner or later catch up with us: the meltdown is already with us; it is a process, not an event.

    1. RanDomino

      I think the author of this piece did a disservice by neglecting the importance of “primitive accumulations” (finding and/or exploiting new sources of profit, such as new land, technology, oil, driving wages down, etc) which can stall the declining profit rate, of which financialization could be considered one (wealth extraction very similar to mining, except the vein that is mined is expected future profit).
      Up to the 1930s-40s, capitalism was financed by imperialism; after WWI, that was tapped out. The Great Depression lingered and defied all explanation and solutions, except for debt-financed infrastructure projects and the general shift of the economy to be based on oil, which is practically miraculous as a source of energy. But starting in the 1970s those both became tapped out. The 1980s saw profit-seeking shift to robbing workers by destroying the unions and reducing wages, and a sharp increase in the importance of the stock market and other Ponzi schemes. In the 2000s, those again both reached their logical limit. That leaves us where we are now, with no new Primitive Accumulation in sight. There will either be an unexpected new source of profit found, or this will be the terminal phase of classical capitalism- meaning there will either be boot-stamping-on-a-face misery in a new sort of feudalism (based on serf-like work conditions and landlordship) which will continue to be called “free market capitalism”, or a revolution.

  4. AbyNormal

    “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

    Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

    So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

    Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

    Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
    Neil Gaiman
    (i do so hope to make my mistakes more carefully. i suspect i’ll be more full of care to share.)

    Hat Tip NC’rs…id have gone mad (alone’) if not for your shared humanities.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” —Carl Sandburg

      And as with Plato’s allegory of the cave, like ancient Greek warriors creating animated images with shields by the light of campfires… we remember Jean Baudrillard.

      Thank you, Aby.

  5. Eureka Springs

    I wonder just how accurate the translation/usage of “total annihilation” in the Reuters link might be? And I wonder how they conclude he has “staked his personal reputation” on the Olympics? When, where, why would he do that?

    Anyway, this may be a more accurate translation of his New years speech which Reuters seems to rely on / misinterpret.

    Note: Putin does not tell everyone to go shopping.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We used to complain in history class that history is written only about a few royal persons.

      But historians aren’t alone. We talk about Putin’s ‘personal reputation’ and the president saving ‘his’ Obamacare…never saving ‘those’ needing healthcare.

      So, we talk about Big Government, Big Education, Big Thinkers, Big Religion, Big Art, Big Science, Big Military, Big Police, Big Busienss…anything but Big Little People.

  6. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for posting the link to Michael Yates’ critique of “Marx’s Law” in Counterpunch, Lambert. Have casually been considering a variant hypothesis with respect to financial markets, and agree with his assessment.

    What are the characteristics of a system that most closely aligns with human nature, or at least the nature of those individuals who seek power, control, dominance of others, an enormously disproportionate share of wealth and resources, and influence in a society? And when and how does a society both enable and control those individuals so a few survivors don’t end up in an equivalent of Easter Island, or as victims in any of many other sad chapters in human history?

    IMO the solutions lie in a well-educated, well-informed populace; democracy and democratic institutions; giving the marketplace of ideas a chance; and the rule of law. I believe anthropologists, sociologists and historians (among others) can inform this conversation, which has carefully and artfully been largely limited to economists.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Lead sentence of today’s NYT Obamacare article:

    ‘Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday …’

    And in paragraph no. 10:

    ‘Others will find that they are no longer insured by their old plans, which were canceled or discontinued because they did not comply with coverage requirements of the law. Of several million who received cancellation notices, most should be able to obtain other coverage.’

    It’s a reasonable guess (pending updated figures) that the net number of privately-insured Americans has actually DECLINED compared to a year ago. But ‘millions of Americans gain coverage’ is a much more upbeat way for Pravda-on-Hudson to highlight for its subscribers the half of the story that they want to hear.

    Central planning, comrades. Focus on the bright side!

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Unless something – and it will need to be something major – returns the US to its pre-2008 growth trajectory, future economic historians will not regard the Great Depression as the worst business-cycle disaster of the industrial age. It is we who are living in their worst case.” – from the DeLong article.

    Again,” the oft-repeated message that shall become the truth’ from one of the commissars of the Nature-Conquering Army – we need that growth trajectory.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ” PE has so much money it doesn’t know what to do with it. ” – related to Reuter’s buyout kings.

    Again, it’s not we don’t have enough money in the system.

    It’s a distribution problem.

  10. optimader

    Made my first mistake of the year Aby, it was the pickled herring at 4am. My last mistakes of 2013 conspired to make my first mistake of 2014 seem like a good idea. good day

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cash handouts and inequality in Brazil.

    That does nothing but those receiving them and those just above the threshold but not getting them.

    Addressing inequality starts with looking at those at the top and at the bottom at the same time…or at least you can’t avert looking at and avoid doing something about the those at the top.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Navy sailors…radiation…Japan rescue.

    I wonder if there is a McGovern/Sussan film about them?

    1. ambrit

      I’d like to know why these Navy personnel ended up having to sue in the first place. When the DoD starts denying reality, somethings wrong. This looks pretty low, even for them.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots and crisis.

    Question 1: How long did it take, working with mules, donkeys, etc, for humans to come up with the term ‘dumb ass?’

    Question 2: How long will it take for the term ‘dumb computer’ or ‘dumb robot’ to become popular enough to enter Oxford’s new words list?

    Note: due to a conflict of interest, I recuse myself, for now anyway, any discussion on the term ‘dumb humans.’

  14. Mildred Montana

    Well, the phrase “dumb computer” may not have entered the popular lexicon yet, but I have used it many times myself in the past before I permanently disabled my Auto-Correct.

    As one commenter here did several years ago, he or she tried typing the word “banksters” with the Auto-Correct on. They got the word “banisters” instead. Which left them with a sentence something like this: “The world has been taken over by evil banisters”. Not exactly what they meant to say, I presume.

    The dumb computer did not recognize that banisters, being inanimate objects, cannot be evil. Or (spooky thought) maybe the computer, being less dumb than I think, knew that they could be evil and furthermore, that banksters could not possibly be evil. Woo-woo!!

    Anyway, I just turned on Auto-Correct and it appears you can now safely type the word “banksters” without it being “corrected” to “banisters”. The dumb computer seems to be learning! But I still think it’s dumb and I’m leaving my Auto-Correct off until further notice.

    1. optimader

      A friend of mine related a story about a icebreaker contest at a dept. lunch which was a reflection on the most embarrassing things experienced on the job.

      A secretary, who was an newly minted English as a Second Language immigrant related a story when she was on her first job and was tasked to type and reproduce a PPT display printed companion hand-out ( best yet, for a H.R. Dept meeting). She was puzzled when her panicked boss told her to recollect all the copies in a hurry! She apparently had mistyped the word “count” in a sentence like “…it is important to have a good count….” At the time due to her limited vernacular he had to explain the altered meaning.

      Moral of the story, the problem w/ less than fully successful typing exercises, it usually boils down to “the nut behind the wheel”.
      In this case, Auto -Correct would have demonstrated it’s worth by seamlessly adding the missing “o” .
      She won the contest btw..

      1. Mildred Montana

        That might have been a while ago, Optimader.

        I just turned on my Auto-Correct and entered “its c_nt.” Stupid Auto-Correct “corrected” “its” to “it’s” but left “c_nt” to stand. I also entered the phrase “good c_nt”. Auto-Correct allowed it to stand with no suggested changes.

        So, Auto-Correct might be as stupid as ever, but it seems to be becoming increasingly liberal. ;)

        1. AbyNormal

          Awe Thanks Mildred Montana… my 1st hard belly laff of 2014!

          “COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods.”
          “If at first you don’t succeed; call it version 1.0”
          “Yo moma is like HTML: Tiny head, huge body.”
          “I can’t uninstall it, there seems to be some kind of ‘Uninstall Shield’.”
          “My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.”
          “Programming is like sex, one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.”
          “If you don’t want to be replaced by a computer, don’t act like one.”
          “Helpdesk: There is an icon on your computer labeled “My Computer”. Double click on it.
          User: What’s your computer doing on mine?”

          1. AbyNormal

            (it woulda been Opti’s ‘pickle herring @ 4am’ but that just got beyond me. id consider it a rookie mistake but since reading Opti i figure someone earlier that evening… opened the good stuff)

            Hope your well Opti and the year brings you good/better health’)

  15. skippy

    Mexico Supreme Court orders Wal-Mart to stop paying workers in store vouchers
    Joe Shaulis at 11:27 AM ET

    [JURIST] The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice [official website] on Thursday ruled [press release, in Spanish] that Wal-Mart de Mexico [corporate website; JURIST news archive] may not pay employees in part with vouchers redeemable only at its stores. The court nullified the employment contract of a worker who challenged the voucher payments, finding that they violated Article 123 of the Mexican Constitution [PDF text], which guarantees the right to “dignified and socially useful work.” The court likened the arrangement, which Wal-Mart called the Plan of Social Welfare, to a practice that prevailed during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz [profile], who ruled Mexico [JURIST news archive] in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Until the practice was abolished by the current constitution in 1917, workers could be forced to buy exorbitantly priced goods at company stores. AFP has more. AP has additional coverage. From Mexico City, El Universal has local coverage.

    Among other legal setbacks for Wal-Mart [JURIST news archive], four labor groups filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the Federal Election Commission last month, alleging that the retailer forced employees to attend meetings where political campaigns were discussed. Last year, a Philadelphia judge ordered Wal-Mart [JURIST report] to pay nearly $47 million in legal fees and costs resulting from a class action brought by employees who had been denied pay for work they did during breaks. A jury awarded the same plaintiffs $78 million for their off-the-clock labor, plus $62 million in damages [JURIST reports] under a Pennsylvania law that prohibits employers from withholding pay for more than 30 days. Also last year, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the certification [JURIST report] of a class alleging that Wal-Mart had discriminated against female employees.

    skippy… defectively yours…. Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth


    Kevin Loving
    1 month ago

    Theme song of the Great Recession

    1. F. Beard

      Workers should be paid with Wal-Mart shares in Equity that is also redeemable for Wal-Mart goods.

      But that’s only part of a needed reform package.

  16. Hugh

    “Unless something – and it will need to be something major – returns the US to its pre-2008 growth trajectory”

    It is not just the whole mantra of growth as MyLessThanPrimeBeef notes above, but the “growth” trajectory that DeLong pines for was based on a huge housing bubble and the largest associated frauds in human history. It was also period in which wealth inequality increased, albeit not as fast as during the Clinton and Obama Presidencies.

  17. Francois T

    “Ruth Marcus, WaPo. Good liberal works herself”
    Wait…what? Ruth Marcus, the Villager…a liberal?

    Can we skip these false labels ad vitam aeternam and focus on the Villagers’ deeds, instead? Ruth Marcus is part of the Establishment, and as such, considers herself above The People’s mundane preoccupations, such as due process, privacy and the Rule of Law.

  18. Francois T

    Under the Big Brother is Watching You Watch Department, we suggest this blog post from VC exec Michael Dearing

    A sample:

    Inside our companies and research centers, talented minds are being conscripted into surveillance. Think about the software developers who wrote the code behind your email service. Or the team who built the guts of a blogging service’s geo-location features. Not one of them chose to work for the NSA. But their work has been co-opted, effectively turned into surveillance tools. The freedom of talented people to work for whom they choose, building what they choose, for the purpose they choose is being deleted. This is another deep violation of our community’s social fabric.

    All this leads back to trust. Billions of people let Silicon Valley into their daily lives and they hug it close. They trust our products to find information, to get work done, to talk to each other, to buy and sell stuff, and to have fun. That trust is a decades-old endowment built up by inventor-founders from Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore through to the present day. The magic of compound growth works in our favor when trust is accumulating. But now we are making trust withdrawals every day as people around the world learn how the NSA has woven surveillance, search, and seizure into and around our products. This is the painful flip side of compound growth: the trust withdrawals compound too.

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