Home » Posts tagged with » Living Standards (Page 3)
People act from wellsprings of emotions, values and non-conscious fears and longings much more than they do from rational calculations of costs and benefits that, in an ideal world, should underlie their relationship to politics and social change. The more leaders understand people, what makes them tick and what they need and fear, the better able they are to connect with their real interests.
We often focus our energy on the nuts and bolts of what’s wrong with the world, what has to be fixed immediately, but perhaps it’s time to try a different approach. Everyone has their own dream of the world as it should be, and every dream is open to endless interpretation. The world will never look exactly like our mythic dreams. But we can’t get to any better future unless we first imagine that future, together. A political dream is a magnet that pulls us toward our goals.
The less free-market thinkers are regulated, the less they seem to care about others. They ignore the fact that America’s most productive eras were driven by progressive taxes that funded entrepreneurship in the middle class. And they fail to see the deficiencies in a system that relies solely on profit-making to the exclusion of social responsibility.
Within a decade, the U.S. will likely deploy an aerospace shield, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and even vaster, more omnipresent digital surveillance networks that will envelop the Earth in an electronic grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield, atomizing a single suspected terrorist, or monitoring millions of private lives at home and abroad.
If you’d like to know where American political debates are headed, the data suggest a simple answer. The next major struggle – in economic terms at least – will be over whether taxes on personal wealth should rise – and by how much. Wealth-to-income ratios in these nations climbed from a range of 200 to 300 percent in 1970 to a range of 400 to 600 percent in 2010.
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.
The median compensation of chief executives at 200 of the nation’s biggest public companies came in at $15.1 million last year, a 16 percent jump from 2011. Is that excessive? One way to answer that question would be to look at the pay gap, the ratio of the pay of the chief executive to that of the company’s employees. But nobody really knows what the gaps are.
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.
In the years leading up to the financial crisis, household debt soared in most rich countries. There were a couple of notable exceptions: Germany and Japan. The ratio of debt to disposable income rose by an average of 30 percentage points, to 130%, in OECD countries between pre-boom 2000 and pre-crisis 2007.
What, exactly, will bring us back to full employment? We certainly can’t count on fiscal policy, nor on the natural recuperative powers of the private sector, nor on the outrage of voters. Someday perhaps something will turn up that finally gets us back to full employment – but the last time we were in this kind of situation, the thing that turned up was World War II.
The NSA programs represent a troubling increase in state power, even if—so far, and so far as we know—they have not occasioned a troubling increase in state wrongdoing. The harm is to the architecture of trust and accountability that supports an open society and a democratic polity. The harm is to the reputation of the United States as such a society, such a polity.
The Millennium Development Goals have unified, galvanized, and expanded efforts to help the world’s poorest people. The goals will expire on December 31, 2015, and the debate over what should come next is now in full swing. But prior to deciding on a new framework, the world community must evaluate exactly what the MDG effort has achieved so far.
Verizon has been supplying the National Security Agency (NSA) with phone records for all domestic calls, and the NSA and FBI are datamining nine technology companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs enabling analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
Elder financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds or property. It has been described as an epidemic with society-wide repercussions. While combating elder financial exploitation is largely the responsibility of state and local social service, criminal justice, and consumer protection agencies, the federal government has a role to play in this area.
On recycling in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come a long way. 11 years ago, Mr. Bloomberg eliminated a major chunk of the city’s recycling program to save money. He has since been working hard to restore the city’s recycling program to its pre-2002 levels.
Some carmakers try harder than others to be green. Besides making their models cleaner to run, many carmakers are also trying to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing them. Having been depicted as environmental villains since the 1950s, cars and their makers may soon be able to move out of the spotlight.
Study shows that in the United States, voting rights do not translate into much actual political power. You could predict what the government would do based on the preferences of the top 10% income level. When the preferences of middle class and poor income levels diverged from the affluent, there was no impact at all on the policies that were adopted.
William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
Critics counts air conditioning as more a curse than a miracle. Cooling buildings and vehicles pumps out almost half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Between 1995 and 2004 the proportion of homes in Chinese cities with air conditioning rose from 8% to 70%.
For most of the past several millennia, Flevoland, a province which sits more or less at the center of the Netherlands, lay at the bottom of an inlet of the North Sea. Now, Flevoland is home to the Oostvaardersplassen, a wilderness that was also constructed, Genesis-like, from the mud.
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.
The myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited. The social changes taking place in America’s working class result from sharply rising inequality, and are not its cause.
Amnesty International works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. As the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, it investigates and exposes abuses, educates the public, and helps transform societies to create a safer, more just world.
Maybe it’s a sign that the public has given up on honesty from presidential candidates. The assumption seems to be that politicians will always lie and that voters’ defense against that is fact checking by journalists. But … why do voters let politicians lie to them?
The mission of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions.
The Copenhagen Consensus Center is a think-tank that publicizes
the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money. CCC focuses on solving the world’s biggest challenges and on how to do this in the most cost-efficient manner.