Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

Hey, kids, let's play Corporate Monopoly!


Global Justice Now's "Corporate Monopoly" is an excellent piece of information design; it's a playable boardgame adapted from Monopoly (itself originally designed to teach the evils of capitalism), in which a shoe (the 99%) and a top hat (obvs) take it in turns to go round a familiar board whose squares tell stories about real-world class war, centred around UK policies and business. Read the rest

America's a rigged carnival game that rips off the poor to fatten the rich


America boasts a collection of one-of-a-kind policies that send wealth from the poor to the rich: the lack of competition in cable operators gives Americans some of the most expensive Internet anywhere; the rules permitting pharma companies to pay generics companies not to make cheaper versions of off-patent drugs gives Americans the most expensive pharmaceuticals in the world. Read the rest

As America's middle class collapses, no one is buying stuff anymore

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From Walmart to Hershey to Campbell's Soup, America's biggest retailers and manufacturers are warning their shareholders that flat growth is a fact of life because of "consumer bifurcation," which is plutocrat-speak for "everyone is broke except the one percent." The companies' plan for rescuing themselves is to turn themselves into luxury brands targeted at the wealthy. Read the rest

Charity with US Characteristics: how our oligarchs buy their way out of criticism

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The Koch brothers give a lot of money to universities, but on the condition that they get to approve the economics faculty. They give to public television, but only if they can cancel the airing of documentaries on climate change. They're not the only ones. Read the rest

The more unequal your society is, the more your laws will favor the rich


Political scientists and economists who've undertaken peer-reviewed research into policy outcomes have concluded that all over the world, and at every level of government, wealth inequality is correlated with corrupt policy-making in which politicians create laws and regulations that favor the rich at the expense of the wider public. Read the rest

Investing in David v Goliath: hundreds of millions slosh into litigation finance funds


Litigation finance (AKA champerty) is the practice of investing in other peoples' lawsuits, with the expectation that you will share in any court awards or settlements should your side win the case. Read the rest

70% of CEOs' effect on company performance can be attributed to random chance


Texas A&M Professor of Management Markus Fitza used a technique called variance decomposition to evaluate the extent to which the performance of companies can be attributed to astute leadership versus the random chance, and concluded that in 70% of cases, CEOs can't be shown to add any value to the companies they run. Read the rest

Read: Laurie Penny's BLUE MONDAY, class war and cute animal videos


Laurie Penny's science fiction story "Blue Monday" is a mean little kick up the ass. I workshopped this story with her last summer at the Clarion West workshop in Seattle and it doesn't get any less punchy on subsequent re-readings. Read the rest

Forced laborers sue Mississippi debtors' prison


If you're poor in Jackson, MS and you get a fine that you can't pay, the City of Jackson will sentence you to a "pay or stay" forced labor farm where you will work off your debts at $58/day literally shoveling shit; the alternative is to sit in an overcrowded, jail notorious for its violent guards and filthy conditions and pay down your fines at $25/day. Read the rest

How a lobbyist/doctor couple are destroying Worker's Comp across America


If you live in a state where Bill Minick and his company Partnersource has done its dirty work, your employer can opt out of Worker's Compensation plan and replace it with one designed by Minick -- he also writes state laws defining the terms for private replacements to Worker's Comp -- and backstopped by his wife Dr. Melissa Ton's medical practice, who gets to decide whether you deserve treatment. If she denies your claims, Minick's company makes more money. Read the rest

Some suggestions for sad, rich people


The Guardian's story about wealth therapists, who help one percenters cope with the stress of being rich in an era of widening wealth inequality, features quotes from some really awful-sounding, clueless people who compare the plight of the wealthy to the discrimination experienced by black people. Read the rest

The 21st Century's most unlikely plot device: heroic billionaires vs evil climate scientists


From Scott Westerfeld, (currently touring for his new, brilliant book "Zeroes"): "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies." Read the rest

Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax

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Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax.

This is a notable improvement on its tax bill for 2013, which was £0 on earnings of £223m. Read the rest

The hockey-stick from hell: US incarceration per 100,000 people, 1890-today


Vox parsed out the Bureau of Justice Statistics' numbers on incarceration in prisons (excluding jails) and produced this ghastly visualization tracking the transformaiton of America into the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the history of the world. Read the rest

Stephen Hawking: robots could give us all material abundance, unless rich people hoard all the wealth


In a Reddit AMA, the eminent physicist warns that while increasing automation could give us a world of "luxurious leisure," that "most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution." Read the rest

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement


Protesters angry over proposed layoffs stormed an Air France executive meeting and cornered Director Pierre Plissonnier and Resources Director Xavier Broseta, tearing off the men's jackets and ripping their shirts off, forcing them to scale a fence to get free. Read the rest

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