"naked capitalism"

Hong Kong protests: "Might as well go down fighting"

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) has been in Hong Kong reporting on the protests for months, and she's witnessed firsthand the failure of every prediction that the uprising would end soon -- but despite the mounting numbers and militancy of protesters, she reports that the protesters are not animated by hope or optimism, but rather, a fatalistic understanding that they will lose eventually, and a determination to go down fighting. Read the rest

"Mist showers": a decadent shower that the planet can sustain

The energy budget for a traditional shower for every person on the planet would exceed the entire world's (present-day) supply of wind power: even as we bring more renewables online, the energy consumption for planetary daily hot showers just doesn't pencil out. Read the rest

American health care's life-destroying "surprise bills" are the fault of local, private-equity monopolies

Surprise billing -- when your urgent or emergency medical care results in massive bills that your insurer won't cover -- are a life-destroying phenomenon for an increasing number of Americans, who not only can't shop around for an emergency room from the back of an ambulance, but who also have no way to learn in advance whether their visit will generate five- or even six-figure bills. Read the rest

The poorest half of Americans have nothing left, so now the 1%'s growth comes from the upper middle class

The Fed's latest figures on American household wealth paint a rosy picture -- in the aggregate. US households now own a record-breaking $107T worth of assets! Read the rest

Before you ask your Chinese factory for a discount, make sure you won't be kidnapped and/or have your product cloned

A post called "The Right Way to Reduce Your China Product Costs" on China Law Blog (previously) sounds like pretty anodyne stuff, but it turns out to be a catalog of several technothrillers' worth of ultra-weird, real-world skullduggery and chicanery from the world of late-stage capitalism and trade war. Read the rest

Amazon spent a fortune to block a socialist candidate's re-election to Seattle city council; she won anyway

Former tech worker Kshama Sawant (previously) won an unprecedented victory in 2013 by running for Seattle city council as on the Socialist Alternative ticket, raising unprecedented sums in small-money donations, and then winning the election after a last-minute surge in the polls. Read the rest

The case for breaking up Disney

Disney has always been a problematic company, from its crypto-minstrelsy (and not-so-crypto-minstrelsy) to its perpetual copyright extensions to its censorship activities to its gender stereotyping to its anti-union work and so on, but, as anti-monopoly activist Matt Stoller (previously) writes, under CEO Bob Iger the company has changed into an entirely different kind of corporate menace: a monopolist committed to crushing competition, rather than an entertainment company that -- whatever its other sins -- was ferociously committed to making movies, TV shows, theme parks, art and toys. Read the rest

Chicago teachers declare victory after 11-day strike

After 11 days, Chicago's teacher's strike is at an end, with the city agreeing to the majority of the union's demands, including: higher pay, limits on class sizes, a nurse and social worker in each school, 120 new "equity positions" (librarians, counselors and restorative justice coordinators), bilingual/special ed educators, and five make-up days for teachers and students to compensate for part of the missed instructional calendar. Read the rest

Massive spike in young people registering to vote in the UK

The announcement of a UK General Election on Dec 12 -- the third in less than five years! -- was attended by predictable rises in the numbers of people registering to vote, but as official statistics show, the end of October saw a massive spike in voter registration among under 45s, led by under-25s and 25-34 year olds. Read the rest

70% of millennials would vote for a socialist

Yougov conducted a poll with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and found that 70% of millennials would happily vote for a socialist and that half of millennials and Gen Z have an unfavorable view of capitalism -- all figures that have climbed since the same poll was conducted last year. Gen X support for socialist candidates is 44%. It's 33% for boomers and "silent generation" voters. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Indigenous elder on Sidewalk Labs's Toronto consultation: "like being given blankets and gun powder and whisky to trade for our participation"

Sidewalk Labs (previously) is a "smart city" company that was spun out of Google, though it remains owned by Alphabet, Google's parent company; Sidewalk Labs's first major outing is a planned "experimental city" on Toronto's lakeshore, and it's been a disaster, from the bullying it used to get the project's initial approval to being outed for sneaking a massive expansion into the agreement and then lying about it, to mass resignations by its privacy advisors, who denounced the project as a corporate surveillance city whose "privacy protections" were mere figleafs for unfettered, nonconsensual collection and exploitation of residents' data. Read the rest

Bernie supporters are the most diverse of any Democratic presidential contender

49% of Bernie Sanders supporters are white; compare with Biden (56%) and Warren (71%). Sanders also leads in support from women under 45. Last quarter, Sanders outraised every other candidate, and he did it with small money donations averaging $18.07. Read the rest

The tactical evolution of #HongKongProtests: bolted-down barricades and calling out businesses

Two new notes from the tactical evolution of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, which continues to build on its incredible iconography and its DIY hardware. Read the rest

AOC to endorse Bernie Sanders today

Following on Ilhan Omar's endorsement of Bernie Sanders earlier this week, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to make her own endorsement for Sanders's candidacy today. Read the rest

Relatives and cronies of Cambodia's dictator have bought "golden passports" from Cyprus and exfiltrated millions

Cambodia's long-serving dictator Hun Sen nearly lost power in 2013 when an opposition party mobilized over Facebook (Hun Sen recovered by mastering Facebook and using it to crush the opposition, whose leaders are now exiled. Read the rest

"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

The rich poop different: measuring inequality with sewage

In Social, demographic, and economic correlates of food and chemical consumption measured by wastewater-based epidemiology, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, a group of researchers in Australia and Norway present their analysis of a 2016 Australian sewage census, which sampled 22 waste-water treatment facilities and looked for 42 biomarkers. Read the rest

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