Sarah Jeong continues her excellent series of critical perspectives on technology with a piece on the way that technology is being used to let computers control their users, on behalf of the corporations who make and sell these tools. Read the rest
Multiple generations of one-child policies have left China with a calamitous demographic crunch: a system that formerly relied upon large cohorts of descendants to care for their elders is now finding itself top-heavy with ever-longer-lived pensioners relying on dwindling cohorts of working-age descendants who have all but abandoned the Confucionist virtue of filial piety.
The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the "cashless society" is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views. Read the rest
The most toxic debt in America is student debt: your student loans (originated by universities, backed by the federal government, and handed off to banks, who securitize them) are subject to virtually unlimited (and uncontestable) penalties and fees, and are immune to bankruptcy, and are the only form of debt that can be taken out of your Social Security. Read the rest
The median parental income of the parents of new med school students in America is $100,000 -- twice the national average. In Cuba, America's brilliant, working class med students pay nothing -- free tuition, lodging and meals -- and they come home to America and provide front-line medical services to families who are frozen out of the US system, in which debt-saddled doctors opt for lucrative specialties instead of family medicine. Read the rest
The latest figures on government-backed student loans are in, and with them, the news that the US government took $176 million out of ex-students paychecks and Social Security in the last three months of 2015. Read the rest
Google bans ads by predatory lenders who promise foreclosure prevention and high-rate short-term loans, but they do allow payday loan ads; when you search for "need rent money fast," the predatory lenders target you with payday loan ads that collect your information and turn it into a lead for a high-pressure sales-call from one of Google's shitlisted usurers. Read the rest
Growing wealth disparity has produced a new financial hyper-elite who make eight-figure donations to major universities, who hand that money back over to more finance titans in the form of special commissions that are taxed at a ridiculously low rate (making more zillionaire donors). Read the rest
There's about $60 trillion in public government debt worldwide, and the folks at Visual Capitalist created a chart to show proportions and debt-to-GDP ratio in one handy image.
About two dozen countries carry over 90% of the world's debt, with Japan and Greece having the worst debt-to-GDP ratios.
German higher education is essentially free, even for foreign students, and many courses are conducted entirely in English. Read the rest
Lee Siegel defaulted on his student loans because it was "absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college" just because "he had the misfortune of coming from modest origins." Read the rest
Two new, anti-establishment parties (including one that grew out of the indignados movement -- a kind of Spanish precedent to Occupy) took key seats in regional and municipal elections in yesterday's Spanish election, which is a kind of dress rehearsal for the upcoming national elections. Read the rest
A report (issued by a college savings business, caveat lector) says that the US graduating college class of 2015 has more debt than any other class in history. Read the rest