Tiny, poor, diabetes-wracked Pacific island nations want to ban junk food, despite risk of WTO retaliation

In the poor, remote island nations of the South Pacific, the Type-II diabetes rate ranges from 19% to 34%, a devastating health statistic that is challenging the countries' economies and wellbeing. Read the rest

In the US and UK, retirement is only for the super-rich

Since the neoliberal reforms of the Reagan era; the rollback of trade unions; the elimination of defined-benefits pensions (in favor of "market-based" SIPPs and 401(k)s); the termination of national minimum wage increases and real earnings collapse for working people; the finance-industry fraud that stole so many working peoples' homes during and after the subprime bubble; the massive increases in healthcare costs, the possibility of retiring after 45 or 50 years in the workforce has been snuffed out for nearly everyone. Read the rest

A succinct, simple, excellent description of the problems of neoliberalism and their solution

Ha-Joon Chang, an author and reader in Political Economy of Development at the University of Cambridge, opens his interview about the problems of neoliberalism with Truth-Out by quoting Gore Vidal: Neoliberalism is "free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich," where "the rich have been increasingly protected from the market forces, while the poor have been more and more exposed to them." Read the rest

Registered Democrats (mostly young and/or racialised) who didn't vote cost Hillary the election

Fivethirtyeight's analysis of a Surveymonkey data-set shows that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if registered Democrats had turned out and voted in larger numbers -- in other words, Hillary's failure to convince registered Democrats to vote, rather than abstain, lost her the election. Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). 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

Italy's referendum: a vote against neoliberalism and authoritarianism

Soon-to-be-former Italian PM Matteo Renzi just lost a referendum he called on a set of reforms to Italy's constitution, promising to resign if he lost, which he did; many of Italy's far-right, trumpist and berlusconian elements latched onto the No side of the referendum and pitched it as a kind of Italian version of Brexit, a poll on whether Italy would be another stronghold of gamergate-inflected neo-fascism. Read the rest

Giving companies more money (loans, tax-breaks) only increases investor payouts, not expansion

Before the deregulation bonanza of the 1980s, corporations were expected to use debt and the public markets as the capital of last resort: they would pay "normal" dividends, then use the left over money to increase pay and fund expansion; but after the birth of "shareholder management," companies have acted like homeowners before the financial crisis: borrowing heavily to pay investors, at the expense of expansion and wages -- but unlike homeowners, corporate management gets to duck the bill when it comes due. Read the rest

Trump and Brexit are retaliation for neoliberalism and corruption

Glenn Greenwald frames what I've been trying to articulate: as neoliberalism and its handmaiden, corruption, have swept the globe, making the rich richer, the poor poorer, and everyone in the middle more precarious; as elites demonized and dismissed the left-behinds who said something was wrong; as the social instability of inequality has been countered with increasingly invasive domestic "war on terror" policing, millions of people are ready to revolt, and will support anyone who promises no more business as usual. Read the rest

The Ice Bucket Challenge did not fund a breakthrough in ALS treatment

Yesterday's science-by-press-release announcement that a research team had made a "breakthrough" in treating ALS thanks to funds raised in last year's viral ice-bucket challenge turns out to be vaporware: the gene identified was already known to be implicated in ALS, but only affects 3% of cases, and the new refinement in the research suggests some avenues for further work, but has no immediate therapeutic value. Read the rest

America's infrastructure debt is so bad that towns are unpaving roads they can't afford to fix

Since the Reagan years, infrastructure spending has been so politically unpopular in America that the nation's roads, ports, power grid and other hallmarks of an advanced society are crumbling, sometimes beyond repair. Read the rest

Neoliberalism, Brexit (and Bernie)

John Quiggin (previously) delivers some of the most salient commentary on the Brexit vote and how it fits in with Syriza, Podemos, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders (etc) as well as Trump, French neo-fascists, and other hypernationalist movements. Read the rest

Banks confront negative interest rates with plans to store titanic bundles of money on-site

The world's central banks, freaked out about huge leverage by financial institutions and borrowers and unwilling to engage in economic stimulus themselves, have been moving interest rates lower and lower, until now, many banks are offering negative interest rates, meaning that buying $100 worth of treasury bills today will return $99 in cash tomorrow -- hoping that this will incentivize banks to issue enough loans to make up for politically impossible governmental fiscal stimulus. Read the rest

After a coup, a judgment: Brazil's "interim president" barred from holding office for 8 years

Last month, a controversial political machination at the top levels of Brazil's government saw the removal of its elected left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, and her replacement with an appointed, neoliberal "interim president" President Michel Temer, who has now been convicted of committing election fraud and barred from holding elected office in Brazil for 8 years. Read the rest

What is neoliberalism?

As recently as a couple years ago, using the word "neoliberalism" here on Boing Boing would inevitably provoke an outraged comment from someone who wanted to know why we were "liberal-bashing." Though the term was a little more widely used in Europe than in the USA, it still pretty obscure there. That obscurity is the ideology's strength. Read the rest

STUCK: Public transit's moment arrives just as public spending disappears

More Americans are riding public transit than ever before, and not a moment too soon, because between oil's direct and indirect costs, climate change, the expense of roadworks, and the scaling problems of private cars, the increasingly urbanized nation needs something to keep its cities from imploding under the logistical challenge of getting everyone everywhere. 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

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