Reminder: if you have one penny, your net worth is equal to the combined wealth of the world's poorest 40%

Every year, Oxfam publishes a headline number about global wealth inequality that takes this form: "The richest X people own more than the poorest Y billion people on Earth" (some examples: 2014, 2016, 2017, UK edition). Read the rest

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver

Ian Welsh says that the USSR collapsed because its promises -- "a cornucopia and a withering away of the state" -- conspicuously failed to materialize; now, neoliberalism's promises ("If the rich have more money, they will create more jobs; Lower taxes will lead to more prosperity; Increases in housing and stock market prices will increase prosperity for everyone; Trade deals and globalization will make everyone better off") are likewise being shown to be lies, and so we're in crisis. Read the rest

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives

I've been writing about the work of Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil for years: she's a radical data-scientist with a Harvard PhD in mathematics, who coined the term "Weapons of Math Destruction" to describe the ways that sloppy statistical modeling is punishing millions of people every day, and in more and more cases, destroying lives. Today, O'Neil brings her argument to print, with a fantastic, plainspoken, call to arms called (what else?) Weapons of Math Destruction.

John Oliver buys and forgives $15M in medical debt, illustrates horrors of America's debt-collectors

John Oliver now holds the American record for largest single giveaway in history, doubling Oprah's "you get a car!" record -- but Oliver did it by forming a debt-collection agency and buying up the debt of Americans who'd defaulted on the sky-high expenses from life-threatening illnesses, then forgiving the debts. Read the rest

Revealed: the amazing cover for Walkaway, my first adult novel since 2009

Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I've written specifically for adults since 2009; it's scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they've hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman's Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed. Read the rest

Chelsea Clinton's husband shuts down vulture fund after losing 90% of his investors' money

Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Sachs alumnus; in 2014, he founded Hellenic Opportunity, a hedge fund that raised $25M to bet on distressed assets from Greece's collapsed economy, wagering that the country's investors would force it to make deeper cuts to finance payments on the debts. Read the rest

Data-driven look at America's brutal, racist debt-collection machine

In 1996, New Jersey's courts heard 500 debt-collection cases; in 2008, they heard 140,000 cases, almost all against black people, almost all of whom were not represented by lawyers. The cases were filed by vulture capitalists who bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and employed "attorneys" who filed up to 1,000 cases a day, "reviewing" each one for about four seconds. Read the rest

TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight

The TSA gambled on millions of wealthy Americans opting out of its pornoscanner-and-shoe-removal process and signing up for its Precheck policy, which allows travellers to pay for the "privilege" of walking through a metal-detector with their shoes on, while their laptops stay in their bags. Read the rest

High tech/high debt: the feudal future of technology makes us all into lesser lessors

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

Shanghai law uses credit scores to enforce filial piety

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.

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A cashless society as a tool for censorship and social control

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

Study: people who believe in innate intelligence overestimate their own

In Understanding overconfidence: Theories of intelligence, preferential attention, and distorted self-assessment, an open access paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, psych researchers from Washington State U, Florida State U and Stanford report on their ingenious experiments to investigate how subjects' beliefs about intelligence affect their own intelligence. Read the rest

Stop paying your student loans and debt collectors can send US Marshals to arrest you

Student debt is a life-destroying trap, engineered by Wall Street and backed by the US government. Read the rest

Watch: tone-deaf manager announces layoffs to 1400 Carrier Air Conditioner workers whose jobs are moving to Mexico

In this video, employees at the Carrier Air Conditioner factory in Indianapolis are gathered together by a manager who explains that the company's profit-margins dictate that all 1400 of them will lose their jobs as their factory is moved to Mexico. Read the rest

Eviction epidemic: the racialized, weaponized homes of America's cities

Americans are being evicted from their homes at record levels, and the evictees are disproportionately single mothers of color. Read the rest

The Red Cross brought in an AT&T exec as CEO and now it's a national disaster

In 2008, the Red Cross was a dysfunctional mess, so it hired on Gail McGovern, an AT&T exec and Harvard Business School prof, who parachuted in a group of other AT&T alums to oversee a program of rigid, centralized control; mass layoffs;secrecy and funny accounting, an emphasis on "branding"; and a collapse in volunteer morale and public reputation for one of America's most respected charities. Read the rest

Pharma-hedge-douche: I should've charged more for AIDS/cancer drug

Martin Shkreli, the most hated man on the Internet, regrets that he jacked up the price of the off-patent drug Daraprim, taken mainly by people with AIDS and cancer, by a mere 5,000%. Read the rest

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