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NYT: Starkest Warning Yet

NYT: Starkest Warning Yet

The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. In the starkest language the IPCC has ever used, the expert panel made clear how far society remains from having any serious policy to limit global warming.

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?

PS: Moral Economy of Debt

PS: Moral Economy of Debt

The creditor-debtor relationship embodies no iron law of morality; rather, it is a social relationship that always must be negotiated. When quantitative precision and an unyielding approach to debt obligations are the rule, conflict and penury soon follow. We need to limit the supply of and demand for credit to what the economy is capable of producing.

RE: 25% of Americans Wish To Secede

RE: 25% of Americans Wish To Secede

For the past few weeks, as Scotland debated the wisdom of independence, Reuters has been asking Americans how they would feel about declaring independence today, not from the United Kingdom, but from the mother country they left England to create. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they were strongly or provisionally inclined to leave the United States, and take their states with them. The sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt. This should be more than disconcerting; it’s a situation that could get dangerous.

TD: The Coming Climate Revolt

TD: The Coming Climate Revolt

We have undergone a transformation during the last few decades—what John Ralston Saul calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. We are no longer a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “inverted totalitarianism.” By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent.

RE: US Minimum Wage Hike?

RE: US Minimum Wage Hike?

President Barack Obama’s push to raise the minimum wage, which has largely found success in liberal-leaning coastal states to date, could make headway in the conservative heartland in the November elections. Voters in several Republican-controlled states will consider ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage above the national rate of $7.25 per hour.

DS: The Children of War

DS: The Children of War

Ahmed is hungry. Eyes closed, he clutches his mother’s breast and drinks, oblivious to everything around him. He ignores the rattling of the ceiling fan, dangling precariously. And he doesn’t notice the dull thuds that cause the walls to shake and his mother, Marwat al-Asasma, to cringe. Sometimes his body trembles, and he balls his tiny hands into fists. Her son now weighs a little over three kilograms (6.6 lbs.), says al-Asasma, 18, and he is healthy and gaining weight. She sounds as if she can hardly believe what she is saying. Ahmed is just over two weeks old — born in the night when the Israelis sent their first tanks to the Gaza Strip border. Ahmed is both a child of the war and one of its victims. Ten days after he was born, he lost his father, his grandparents and his home. His mother doesn’t know how much is left of the family house. She remembers only dust and smoke, but is trying to forget even that.

Oxfam: Ending Poverty and Suffering

Oxfam: Ending Poverty and Suffering

Two major injustices – inequality and climate change – are threatening to undermine the efforts of millions of people to escape poverty and hunger. By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives. And as climate change devastates crops and livelihoods, it undoes poor people’s efforts to feed their families.

BBC: Global Refugee Crisis

BBC: Global Refugee Crisis

The number of people living as refugees from war or persecution exceeded 50 million in 2013, for the first time since World War Two, the UN says. Large numbers of refugees and IDPs fleeing to new areas inevitably put a strain on resources, and can even destabilise a host country and the burden of caring for refugees is increasingly falling on the countries with the least resources.

TG: Children Mental Health Crisis

TG: Children Mental Health Crisis

In 2004, the first academic studies of trends in child and adolescent mental health began to report a worrying deterioration. The origins of this crisis – and it is a crisis – do not lie in massive overuse of the web, but elsewhere. But if things looked worrying in 2004, they look a darn sight worse today, 10 years later.

NYT: Medicated Kids

NYT: Medicated Kids

More than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FA: Thomas Piketty

FA: Thomas Piketty

“Every now and then, the field of economics produces an important book; this is one of them,” writes Tyler Cowen in his Foreign Affairs review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Justin Vogt, deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs, recently sat down with Piketty to discuss inequality and his controversial policy proposals.

AJA: Water Privatization Despite Risks

AJA: Water Privatization Despite Risks

Humans can survive weeks without food, but only days or hours without water. Water is life. So what happens when private companies control the spigot? Evidence from water privatization projects around the world paints a pretty clear picture: Skyrocketing water prices, unsafe supply, failing infrastructure. These problems fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable among us. This is why public institutions, not private corporations, must lead the development of water systems and delivery.

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.

AN: UN Says US Cruel and Inhuman

AN: UN Says US Cruel and Inhuman

The U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva on Thursday condemned the United States for criminalizing homelessness, calling it “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that violates international human rights treaty obligations. It also called upon the U.S. government to take corrective action, following a two-day review of U.S. government compliance with a human rights treaty ratified in 1992.

NYT: Climate Risk

NYT: Climate Risk

Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

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.

NYT: Benefits of a Higher Wage

NYT: Benefits of a Higher Wage

Republicans sputtered with outrage when the Congressional Budget Office said that immigration reform would lower the deficit, strengthen Social Security and speed up economic growth. What Republicans fail to mention is that Tuesday’s report from the budget office, a federal nonpartisan agency, was almost entirely positive about the benefits of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016.

NC: More Inequality Shock

NC: More Inequality Shock

Inequality is a cancer on society, here in the U.S. and across the globe. It keeps growing. But humanity seems helpless against it, as if it’s an alien force that no one understands, even as the life is being gradually drained from its victims. The recent Oxfam report on global wealth inequality reveals some of the ugly extremes that have divided our world.

BI: Development Revisited

BI: Development Revisited

The true measure of aid’s impact lies in the difference it makes to the lives of people living in poverty. Sweeping generalizations asserting how small the contribution is of aid to development are not only likely to be wrong, but can have real, adverse and unnecessary consequences for the lives of the least fortunate on our planet.

TG: 85 as Wealthy as World’s Poorest Half

TG: 85 as Wealthy as World’s Poorest Half

The world’s wealthiest people aren’t known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker.

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.

AN: Right to Clean Water

AN: Right to Clean Water

UN member States have affirmed that the rights to water and sanitation are legally binding in international law, yet their agreement is marred by the reluctance of the United States to join in a universal agreement on the definition of these rights. The U.S. government’s position works against the interests of the billions of people who lack adequate access to water and sanitation.

AN: American Inhumanity

AN: American Inhumanity

What would it be like if people in the United States knew they had rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and demanded to have them realized? We believe it would be a very different world – the economy would be a more equitable with full employment, healthcare for all, no people without housing and more humane on every front. Instead, this week an annual report of Credit Suisse ranked the US as the most unequal of all advanced countries.

NPR: Easter Island

NPR: Easter Island

Easter Island has been thought of as a clear example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources. Two anthropologists now think that may not be what happened, but their alternative view is hardly consoling. On Easter Island, people learned to live with less and forgot what it was like to have more. Maybe that will happen to us. A future in which we continuously degrade our planet, losing plant after plant, animal after animal, forgetting what we once enjoyed, adjusting to lesser circumstances, cannot be called “success.” To prevent an ecological crisis, we must become alarmed – that’s when we’ll act – but the new Easter Island story suggests that humans may never hit the alarm. There’s a lesson here and it’s not a happy one.

NYT: Caught in Unemployment

NYT: Caught in Unemployment

Joblessness itself has become a trap, an impediment to finding a job. Economists are concerned that joblessness lasting more than six months is a major factor preventing people from getting rehired, with potentially grave consequences for tens of millions of Americans and for the country, too: lost production, increased social spending, decreased tax revenue and slower growth.

TE: Cash to the Poor

TE: Cash to the Poor

Unconditional Cash Transfers work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant. But Conditional Cash Transfers are usually better still, especially when dealing with the root causes of poverty and, rather than just alleviating it, helping families escape it altogether.

AN: Dickensian Nightmare

AN: Dickensian Nightmare

Can art do anything for the 99%? The case of Charles Dickens argues that yes—when genius, perseverance, activism, and admittedly, luck, combine, artistic creations can spark fires that burn through encrusted layers of human wrongs. It doesn’t happen overnight, and not as often as we wish. But it happens.

NYT: Childhood Obesity

NYT: Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity, at long last, may have peaked — even among the poor, where the problem is most prevalent. So how has this small bit of success been achieved? One factor is an extensive behavior-change campaign; another is the provision of healthier food to poor neighborhoods. But there may be a more direct reason for the progress against child obesity.

Brookings: Social Mobility

Brookings: Social Mobility

Achievement gaps open up in early childhood, damaging chances of upward mobility—especially for those from poor backgrounds. The question is: what can we do about it? High-quality pre-k and high-quality home visiting programs can both help to close early childhood gaps in parenting and in the development of cognitive skills.

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.

Alternet: Schools Failing Imagination

Alternet: Schools Failing Imagination

Critical pedagogy becomes dangerous in the current historical moment because it emphasizes critical reflection, bridging the gap between learning and everyday life, understanding the connection between power and difficult knowledge, and extending democratic rights and identities by using the resources of history.

Josette Sheeran: Civil Servant

Josette Sheeran: Civil Servant

Josette Sheeran is president and CEO of Asia Society. She is responsible for leading and advancing the organization’s work throughout the U.S. and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education. Formerly, Sheeran was Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum and Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

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.

Paul Collier: Economist

Paul Collier: Economist

Paul Collier is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. His research covers the causes and consequences of civil war; the effects of aid and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural-resources rich societies.

Guardian: Climate and Violence

Guardian: Climate and Violence

As much of Europe and America swelter under the effects of unusually warm temperatures this summer, it may be cold comfort to learn that climate change affects more than the weather; it also influences our behaviour. A hot-off-the-presses study finds that as global temperatures increase, so does violent human behaviour. Further, thanks to climate change and extremes in rainfall, this study predicts that conflicts may increase between now and 2050.

NoC: Obscenities of Capitalism

NoC: Obscenities of Capitalism

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.

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.

Economist: Household Debt

Economist: Household Debt

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.

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%.

NoC: Looting of Detroit

NoC: Looting of Detroit

Detroit, which grew and prospered for much of the last century, has become a wasteland of abandoned buildings, lawlessness, and municipal debts. Somebody’s going to pay for that. It’s not going to be the politicians whose decisions undermined Detroit, nor the executives who made bad decisions yet retired with their full pensions and portfolios.

Foreign Affairs: Millennium Dev Goals

Foreign Affairs: Millennium Dev Goals

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.

Amnesty Int’l: Refugees & Migrants

Amnesty Int’l: Refugees & Migrants

In 2012 the global community witnessed a range of human rights emergencies that forced large numbers of people to seek safety, within states or across borders. Those who live outside their countries, without wealth or status, are the world’s most vulnerable people but are often condemned to desperate lives in the shadows. Human rights protection must be applied to all human beings – wherever they are.

Brookings-LSE: Displacement

Brookings-LSE: Displacement

The Project on Internal Displacement monitors displacement problems worldwide, promotes application of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, works with governments, regional bodies, int’l organizations and civil society to create policies and arrangements for IDPs, convenes int’l seminars on internal displacement, and publishes studies, articles and reports.

Brookings: Development Solutions

Brookings: Development Solutions

The global development community is teeming with different ideas and interventions to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. Whether these succeed in having a transformative impact depends not just on their individual brilliance but on whether they can be brought to a scale where they reach millions of poor people.

Reuters: Political Clout of Superrich

Reuters: Political Clout of Superrich

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.

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.

The Economist: True Progressivism

The Economist: True Progressivism

BY THE end of the 19th century, the first age of globalisation and a spate of new inventions had transformed the world economy. But the “Gilded Age” was also a famously unequal one, with America’s robber barons and Europe’s “Downton Abbey” classes amassing huge wealth: the concept of “conspicuous consumption” dates back to 1899…

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.

Emmanuel Saez: Economist

Emmanuel Saez: Economist

Emmanuel Saez is the Director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California at Berkeley. His main areas of research are centered around taxation, redistribution, and inequality, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. He recommends much higher taxes on the rich.

NYT: Money and Morals

NYT: Money and Morals

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.

CEPR

CEPR

The Center for Economic and Policy Research promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives through presenting issues understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among various policy options.

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.

Oxfam International

Oxfam International

Oxfam International is part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. We work directly with communities and seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods, and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International

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.

CBO: Poverty and Income Security

CBO: Poverty and Income Security

The share of people living in the United States in families with income below the official federal poverty threshold has fluctuated over the past several decades. CBO analyzes federal programs that aim to reduce poverty, alleviating poverty’s adverse consequences, and enhance income security.