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TN: Walmart’s Billion $ Tax Avoidance

TN: Walmart’s Billion $ Tax Avoidance

Walmart avoids $1 billion a year in taxes through federal loopholes. The losers are the working-class consumers who think they’re getting a good deal by elbowing through the mob surrounding the Xbox floor display. An even more convenient source of “savings” for Walmart operates on the retail level, through the pockets of consumers and workers who rely on taxpayer-funded federal welfare programs.

PS: The Population Challenge

PS: The Population Challenge

When people think of the world’s “population problem,” they often focus on rapid demographic growth in parts of the developing world. But, globally, the population-growth rate is actually falling, and population is expected to plateau later this century. Though we cannot afford to ignore the fact that, according to United Nations estimates, there will be 2.4 billion more mouths to feed worldwide by mid-century, another population problem also merits serious attention: large pockets of demographic decline.

DS: The Zombie System

DS: The Zombie System

Six years after the Lehman disaster, the industrialized world is suffering from Japan Syndrome. Growth is minimal, another crash may be brewing and the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen. Can the global economy reinvent itself?

AJ: Trade Agreements Kept Secret

AJ: Trade Agreements Kept Secret

In August 2007, then–presidential candidate Barack Obama vowed that, if elected, he would “immediately” amend NAFTA. Six years later, with NAFTA still untouched, Obama faced the decision to appoint the chief U.S. negotiators for the two largest trade agreements in history. And he picked Wall Street bankers for the job. While labor organizations worry about losing leverage, the financial industry seems poised to entrench its influence.

TA: Why Young Chinese Know More About Money

TA: Why Young Chinese Know More About Money

In a new report comparing financial literacy skills among 15-year-olds in 18 countries, U.S. students scored in the middle of the pack on basic questions about savings, bank accounts and credit/debit cards, and weighing risks and rewards in deciding how to spend their dollars. The ranking of U.S. students in the new assessment is consistent with the nation’s stagnant performance on the most recent PISA for math and reading—two skills that track closely with financial literacy.

PM: Pitchforks Coming for Plutocrats

PM: Pitchforks Coming for Plutocrats

Zillionaire Plutocrat Nick Hanauer calls for higher minimum wage: Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

HP: Cooperation for Growth

HP: Cooperation for Growth

The United States passed a major milestone last month, having now regained all 8.7 million of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. But many American families, businesses, and communities are still living with the legacy of the most severe contraction in decades. Wages have stagnated, poverty has increased, social mobility has decreased, and too much human potential is being left untapped.

NYT: Noncompete Clauses

NYT: Noncompete Clauses

Noncompete clauses are now appearing in far-ranging fields beyond the worlds of technology, sales and corporations with tightly held secrets. From event planners to chefs to investment fund managers to yoga instructors, employees are increasingly required to sign agreements that prohibit them from working for a company’s rivals.

R: Apple and Google Wage Conspiracy

R: Apple and Google Wage Conspiracy

Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley. The case was based largely on emails in which Silicon Valley rivals hatched plans to avoid poaching each other’s prized engineers.

PS: Growing Divide Developing Economies

PS: Growing Divide Developing Economies

When researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute recently dug into the details of Mexico’s lagging economic performance, they made a remarkable discovery: an unexpectedly large gap in productivity growth between large and small firms. In view of the huge gulf separating the “two Mexicos” it is no wonder that the economy performed so poorly overall. This is in fact an increasingly common occurrence around the developing world, a bewildering fissure is opening up between economies’ leading and lagging sectors.

NC: Slavery Benefit to Corporations

NC: Slavery Benefit to Corporations

Slavery, in its various forms of physical and mental torment, has been a part of U.S. history from the beginnings of our country to the present day. There are numerous modern-day corporations who profited immensely from slave labor. The 13th Amendment bans slavery “except as punishment for crime.” The 14th Amendment bans debt servitude. But each inmate in a modern-day private prison, according to Chris Hedges, “can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year.”

NYT: Was Marx Right?

NYT: Was Marx Right?

In the golden, post-war years of Western economic growth, the comfortable living standard of the working class and the economy’s overall stability made the best case for the value of capitalism and the fraudulence of Marx’s critical view of it. But in more recent years many of the forces that Marx said would lead to capitalism’s demise have become real, and troubling, once again.

CP: On Academic Labor

CP: On Academic Labor

Noam Chomsky discusses issues related to the breakdown of our educational system, specifically he discusses hiring faculty off the tenure track, how higher education ought to be, “shared governance” and worker control, the alleged need for labor “flexibility”, the purpose of education, and the love of teaching.

WRI: US Manufacturing Resurgence

WRI: US Manufacturing Resurgence

U.S. manufacturing—and the jobs that go with it—have been steadily increasing since 2010. Whether the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing jobs continues depends on a range of factors—including environmental initiatives. While the future of U.S. manufacturing jobs is uncertain, energy-efficiency and clean-energy investment can help ensure that this sector continues to thrive.

TA: The Next New Deal

TA: The Next New Deal

Americans will look back and marvel at what became of our old welfare state–that tangle of inequity and dysfunction once known as federal entitlements. Why did the public tolerate a system that wound up distributing most of its benefits to the well-off? And how did the economy survive its costs? With the vaunted post-Cold War Peace dividend evaporating, the United States found itself unable to invest adequately in either its infrastructure or its children. Eventually people began to talk of another Great Depression, before the coming of the next New Deal. This Atlantic magazine article from 1992 almost could have been written today.

AN: Obama and Haiti’s Minimum Wage

AN: Obama and Haiti’s Minimum Wage

The Obama Administration fought to keep the Haitian minimum wage to 31 cents an hour. Haiti passed a law in 2012 raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. America corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss vociferously objected, claiming such an increase would irreparably harm their business and profitability.

NYT: Abolish the Corporate Income Tax

NYT: Abolish the Corporate Income Tax

In recent decades, American workers have suffered one body blow after another: the decline in manufacturing, foreign competition, outsourcing, the Great Recession and smart machines that replace people everywhere you look. Amazon and Google are in a horse race to see how many humans they can put out of work with self-guided delivery drones and driverless cars. What can workers do to mitigate their plight? One useful step would be to lobby to eliminate the corporate income tax.

PS: Income Inequality Policy

PS: Income Inequality Policy

US President Barack Obama recently declared that growing income inequality and the inequality of opportunity that it creates are the defining challenges now facing America. These problems have risen to the top of the political agenda in the United States, but they are not uniquely American problems.

NC: Perpetual Underemployment

NC: Perpetual Underemployment

The primary distribution through the free market economy, whose distributive principle is “to each according to his production,” delivers progressively more market-sourced income to capital owners and progressively less to workers who make their contribution through labor.

SGI: Middle Class and American Power

SGI: Middle Class and American Power

The greatest danger is one that will not be faced for decades but that is lurking out there. If we move to a system where half of the country is either stagnant or losing ground while the other half is surging, the social fabric of the United States is at risk, and with it the massive global power the United States has accumulated.

NC: Obama and Economic Inequality

NC: Obama and Economic Inequality

Today’s techniques of finance are designed to make the rich richer. None are designed to make the poor richer. That’s why the poor are poor. The reason they are poor is because they do not have viable capital ownership. Thus, we need to focus on revising today’s techniques of finance to broaden capital ownership.

NYT: Europe v Amazon

NYT: Europe v Amazon

On its home territory, Amazon.com is routinely hailed as a jobs machine. The recession might have cut deeper in Europe, making the question of new jobs even more crucial, but the attitude there is much cooler toward Amazon and its high-tech ways. In Britain, the warehouses that so impressed President Obama have been compared, in a February story in The Financial Times, with a “slave camp.”

HP: Denmark Happiest on Earth

HP: Denmark Happiest on Earth

Last month, Denmark was crowned the happiest country in the world. The happiest countries have in common a large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth and a lack of corruption in leadership. But also essential were three things over which individual citizens have a bit more control over: A sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity.

PS: Best Brightest Least Productive

PS: Best Brightest Least Productive

Are too many of our most talented people choosing careers in finance – and, more specifically, in trading, speculating, and other allegedly “unproductive” activities? We surely need some people in trading and speculation. But how do we know whether we have too many? As economists like to point out, traders and speculators provide a useful service, but these people’s activities also impose costs on the rest of us.

AN – RIP Middle Class

AN – RIP Middle Class

For the majority of human history – and in the majority of countries today – there have been only two classes: aristocracy and peasantry. Twentieth century America temporarily escaped this stratification, but now, as statistics on economic inequality demonstrate, we’re slipping back in that direction.

WP: Americans and Retirement Funds

WP: Americans and Retirement Funds

When lawmakers added a subsection to the tax code called the 401(k) more than three decades ago, they could not have imagined that this string of three numbers and a letter would become a fixture in the financial lexicon. But the rise of the 401(k) has steadily shifted more financial responsibility onto the shoulders of many Americans who are – let’s face it – clueless.

Marketplace: 401(k)s Fail Americans

Marketplace: 401(k)s Fail Americans

By the mid ’90s, 30 million Americans had 401(k) plans. Do-it-yourself retirement seemed easy in the decade’s bull market, but in 2000 the dotcom bubble burst, and then in the financial crisis the average 401(k) plan lost 27 percent. Today, the typical middle-class household nearing retirement has saved $120,000 — one-tenth what many say it needs.

WP: 401(k)s Making Inequality Worse

WP: 401(k)s Making Inequality Worse

The once-dominant defined benefit pension plan–which pays out a fixed amount after an employee retires–is on its way to becoming an historical artifact. According to a new analysis from the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute, the effect has been a stratification of retirement savings by education, income, and race–which could deepen inequality among the elderly as the population ages.

Economist: Praise for Laziness

Economist: Praise for Laziness

There is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but altogether too much busy-ness. All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, and has been producing negative returns for some time now. It is time to try the far more radical strategy of leaning back.

Brookings: Globally Fluent Metropolises

Brookings: Globally Fluent Metropolises

Swift global integration, the expansion of a global consumer class, and the rise of urban areas as the engines of global economic growth have ushered in a new era. This paper presents 10 traits of globally fluent metro areas and their critical relationship to the competitiveness, productivity, and prosperity of cities and regions in the 21st century.

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica is a social entrepreneur focused on empowering others through entrepreneurship and access to capital. She currently serves as a Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, focused on investing in creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world through emerging technologies.

Muhammad Yunus: Economist

Muhammad Yunus: Economist

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s vision is the total eradication of poverty from the world. This work is a fundamental rethink on the economic relationship between the rich and the poor, their rights and their obligations. Credit is the last hope left to those faced with absolute poverty. That is why Muhammad Yunus believes that the right to credit should be recognized as a fundamental human right.

Richard Wilkinson: Social Epidemiology

Richard Wilkinson: Social Epidemiology

Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, trained in economic and social history and then in epidemiology. Over more than 30 years Richard has played a formative role in research and public awareness of health inequalities and the social determinants of health.

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

AlterNet: Cooperative Economies

AlterNet: Cooperative Economies

Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths. First, capitalism somehow “invented” entrepreneurship; second, capitalism provides the only “market” economy; third, only capitalism is compatible with “self-reliance” and individual responsibility; fourth, capitalism is the model of “efficiency,” when in truth it generates enormous waste of all kinds; finally, there Is No Alternative. All of this is nonsense. The economy of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and its largest city, Bologna, is living proof.

PSE: Wealth Income Ratios

PSE: Wealth Income Ratios

How do aggregate wealth-to-income ratios evolve in the long run and why? We address this question using 1970-2010 national balance sheets recently compiled in the top eight developed economies. For the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France, we are able to extend our analysis as far back as 1700. We find in every country a gradual rise of wealth-income ratios in recent decades, from about 200-300% in 1970 to 400-600% in 2010. In effect, today’s ratios appear to be returning to the high values observed in Europe in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries (600-700%). This can be explained by a long run asset price recovery (itself driven by changes in capital policies since the world wars) and by the slowdown of productivity and population growth. Our results have important implications for capital taxation and regulation and shed new light on the changing nature of wealth, the shape of the production function, and the rise of capital shares.

NoC: Tax Avoidance

NoC: Tax Avoidance

CEOs are legendary for defending their tax paying records, and eager to imply that government is responsible for any of their tax delinquencies. For example, just 32 companies avoided enough in 2012 taxes to pay the entire 2013 federal education budget. Changing the tax rules is a specialty of big business, but so is flouting the tax rules.

NoC: Tales of Redistribution

NoC: Tales of Redistribution

It is widely recognized that economists are not very good at economics. That is why we are looking at a decade of economic stagnation with tens of millions of people being unemployed or underemployed in Europe and the United States. We recently had the opportunity to see that economists are no better at moral philosophy than economics.

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth. In the context of social mobility, broad participation in growth contributes to further growth by providing families the ability to invest in their children and communities, optimism that hard work and efforts will lead to success, and openness to innovation that lead to new economic growth.

The Bureau: Predatory Loans

The Bureau: Predatory Loans

Britain’s top dozen ‘payday’ lenders – some charging interest rates of more than 4,000% – made almost £1bn in the last 12 months. The figure is more than four times greater than the turnover of the entire industry assessed just three years ago. Half of the biggest high-risk loan companies in the Bureau’s research also posted profit margins of more than 30%.

New Yorker: Silicon Valley and Politics

New Yorker: Silicon Valley and Politics

Like industries that preceded it, Silicon Valley is not a philosophy, a revolution, or a cause. If this new generation of smart, wealthy, successful tech leaders want to make a difference in terms of policy, it’s the right idea to leave their cool headquarters and gorgeous campuses and actually engage.

Economist: Smart Machines

Economist: Smart Machines

Smart machines are evolving at breakneck speed and have reached a new social frontier. There are concerns that modern technologies will widen inequality, increase social exclusion and provoke a backlash. Policymakers need to think as hard about managing the current wave of disruptive innovation as technologists are thinking about turbocharging it.

NYT: Beyond the Fence

NYT: Beyond the Fence

The opponents of immigration reform have many small complaints, but they really have one core concern. It’s about control. America doesn’t control its borders. But the opponents rarely say what exactly it is they are trying to control. They talk about border security and various mechanisms to achieve that, but they rarely go into detail about what we should be so vigilant about restricting.

NYT: Stories of Creativity

NYT: Stories of Creativity

The $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as sequestration are beginning to be felt far from the nation’s capital, some programs are coping, some are struggling and others appear to be out of luck. While not everyone is feeling the pain, the good-news stories are eclipsed by the bad. At issue for many programs is politics — specifically the politics of President Obama’s health care law.

NYT: 401(k) World

NYT: 401(k) World

Something really big happened in the world’s wiring in the last decade, we went from a connected world to a hyperconnected world. Connectivity and creativity has created a global education, commercial, communication and innovation platform on which more people can start stuff, collaborate on stuff, learn stuff, make stuff (and destroy stuff) with more other people than ever before.

The Economist: Education

The Economist: Education

Mr Obama’s biggest initiative in education, Race to the Top, awards grants on a competitive basis to states and school districts that present the best plans for such improvements. Nineteen states have now received RTT grants, and all but four have applied for them. The result has been a dramatic acceleration of reforms in America’s public schools, at least on paper.

The Economist: Energy

The Economist: Energy

Cheap shale gas is translating into cheap electricity. Economists at Citigroup and UBS predict that the shale gale will lift America’s GDP growth by half a percentage point a year for the next few years. Indeed, cheap energy is cited as one factor by those who predict a manufacturing renaissance in America.

The New Yorker: The Thatcherist

The New Yorker: The Thatcherist

Thatcher was a breaker of consensus, not a builder of it. And she did not care about everybody. She seemed not to care about the poor and the near-poor, whose misfortunes she tended to regard as failures of character. The moral high point of her tenure was a passionate speech on global warming, delivered at the United Nations in 1989.

Brookings: Postsecondary Student Learning

Brookings: Postsecondary Student Learning

College completion rates in the U.S. are stubbornly low despite the large and rising returns to a college degree. Efforts to increase student success in college have largely ignored a potentially key factor: the instruction that students receive in the sequence of courses that add up to a college education.

Brookings: Importance of Manufacturing

Brookings: Importance of Manufacturing

Manufacturing—or rather advanced manufacturing—is essential to the U.S. economy because it is the main source of innovation and global competitiveness for the United States. Simply put, advanced manufacturing is the U.S. pipeline for new products and productivity-enhancing processes.

Brookings: Students and Immigration

Brookings: Students and Immigration

Despite bipartisan consensus in favor of retaining foreign students studying at U.S. universities to make America economically competitive, Congress continues to disagree over the details. Very soon, the American public will see some version of these proposals in a much-anticipated comprehensive immigration reform bill.

NYT: Engineering Serendipity

NYT: Engineering Serendipity

Silicon Valley is obsessed with serendipity. Armed with social network maps, managers can spot isolated teams and structural holes, tweaking the organizational structure in real time. Rather than wait for their employees to cross paths, they could simply make the necessary introductions.

Brookings: American Education

Brookings: American Education

This is the twelfth edition of the Brown Center Report. Part I examines the latest data from state, national, or international assessments. Part II explores the controversial topics of tracking and ability grouping. Part III is on the national push for eighth graders to take algebra and other high school math courses.

Patagonia

Patagonia

Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time, and a healthy planet is necessary for a healthy business. We want to leave behind not only a habitable planet, but an Earth whose beauty and biodiversity is protected for those who come after us. We think that business can inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.

Economist: Higher Education

Economist: Higher Education

There is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.

Economist: The Great Mismatch

Economist: The Great Mismatch

Better vocational education is hardly a cure-all for the global jobs crisis: millions of young people will be condemned to unemployment so long as demand remains slack and growth sluggish. But it can at least help to deal with an absurd mismatch that has saddled the world not just with a shortage of jobs but a shortage of skills as well.

CNN: Will 401(k) Plans Keep Getting Worse?

CNN: Will 401(k) Plans Keep Getting Worse?

In the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009, more than 11% of companies stopped their 401(k) match. Because they are voluntary, most workers do not even have a retirement account plan, which means many middle-class and upper-middle-class workers will only have Social Security to rely on for retirement.

Thomas Piketty: Economist

Thomas Piketty: Economist

Thomas Picketty, Professor of Economics, specializes in economic inequality with his works covering both theoretical and normative issues. His scholarship includes work on long-term economic inequality, the evolution of inequalities in France, and comparative studies of different developed systems.

CB – Initiative on Global Markets

CB – Initiative on Global Markets

The massive global movements of capital, products, and talent in the modern economy have fundamentally changed the nature of business in the 21st century. The Chicago Booth Initiative on Global Markets supports original research on international business, financial markets and public policies.

CorpWatch

CorpWatch

The actions of private corporations have very real impact on public life. CorpWatch employs investigative research and journalism to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency.

IGLHR

IGLHR

The mission of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights is to promote and defend human, women’s and worker’s rights in the global economy. With a highly experienced team of international advocates, the IGLHR supports exploited workers all over the developing world.

PERI: UMass Amherst

PERI: UMass Amherst

The Political Economy Research Institute promotes human and ecological well-being by translating research into workable policy proposals capable of improving life on our planet today, and in the future. PERI strives to make a workable science out of morality.

CBO: Labor Force Projections

CBO: Labor Force Projections

An expected development in the US economy is a slower rate of labor force growth relative to its average over the past few decades. That slowdown is anticipated because of the retirement of baby boomers and women’s participation in the labor force leveling off after rising for decades.

Robert Reich: Professor

Robert Reich: Professor

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, and is the author of thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future.

Adam Curtis: Filmmaker

Adam Curtis: Filmmaker

Adam Curtis is a BAFTA-winning documentary filmmaker, whose work includes The Century of the Self, an award winning documentary film on how Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have analyzed and controlled ‬people.

EPI: Regulatory Policy

EPI: Regulatory Policy

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Regulatory Policy Research program debunks claims that regulations impede job creation and addresses attempts to roll back laws that protect the environment and guarantee worker protections.

EPI: Retirement

EPI: Retirement

The Economic Policy Institute’s retirement program examines the inequities in the current system and promotes initiatives that protect Social Security and lead to universal, secure and adequate retirement policies.

EPI: Labor Policy

EPI: Labor Policy

The Economic Policy Institute’s research reflects its belief that strong unions and employees’ rights to organize foster a strong middle class, especially in times of high unemployment and overall job insecurity.

EPI: Jobs, Wages, Living Standards

EPI: Jobs, Wages, Living Standards

The Economic Policy Institute’s thorough research in this area is as critical as ever and focuses on understanding the intricacies of high unemployment, mass underemployment, and sluggish wage growth in the U.S. labor market.

EPI: Immigration

EPI: Immigration

The Economic Policy Institute proposes comprehensive immigration reform that improves wages for American workers while helping address the needs of U.S. employers during shifting labor market conditions.

Economic Policy Institute

Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute was created to broaden discussions about economic policy to include the needs of low and middle-income workers. EPI proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers.

The Institute for the Study of Labor

The Institute for the Study of Labor

IZA is a private independent economic research institute focused on the analysis of global labor markets. Operating an international network of 1,100 economists and researchers in more than 40 countries, the institute provides publications and events, and advises on labor market issues.

GAO: Human Capital

GAO: Human Capital

The Government Accountability Office provides public access to its wide-ranging research related to Human Capital. Covered topics include Disaster Assistance, Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Private Pensions, Credit Rating Agencies, Education, Labor, and Performance Management.

GAO: Employment

GAO: Employment

The Government Accountability Office provides public access to its wide-ranging research related to Employment. Covered topics include disability employment, workplace safety and health, defined contribution plans, private pensions, unemployment insurance, and budget and spending.

CBO: Employment and Labor Markets

CBO: Employment and Labor Markets

CBO analyzes the causes and consequences of unemployment, the effects of the unemployment insurance program, the impact of various policy proposals that might affect employment, and other issues concerning labor markets such as people’s participation in the labor force.

CBO: Immigration

CBO: Immigration

In 2009, the US granted permanent resident status to 1.1 million people, temporary admission to 5.8 million, and citizenship to 744,000. 1 in 7 people in the US labor force are foreign-born workers. CBO analyzes trends in immigration and policy proposals that would affect immigration.