"naked capitalism"

Piketty on the "Brahmin left" and the "merchant right"

Thomas Piketty, the French economist behind 2014's game-changing Capital in the 21st Century, has a new book, Capital and Ideology (out in France now, coming in English in 2020), which uses the same long-run economic series that Capital 21C benefited from to understand the relationship between wealth and ideology. Central to Piketty's thesis: that it's not enough to use class to understand how people vote -- you also have to take account of peoples' beliefs about class (this is a neat way of resolving the tension between traditional left class analysis and contemporary "identitarian" theories of leftist politics). Read the rest

Majority of Americans want free college and student debt cancellation

A Hill-HarrisX survey found that 58% of Americans "support government-funded public college tuition and the cancellation of student debt for the more than 44 million Americans who currently hold it." Read the rest

California to force NCAA to pay athletes

The NCAA is notionally an "amateur" league, but the only thing amateur about it is that the athletes (who risk their health and even their lives) are unpaid, while the universities effectively own and operate wildly profitable pro sports teams. Read the rest

Everyone's investigating Google for antitrust violations...except California and Alabama

The attorneys general from 48 states, DC, and Puerto Rico are collaborating on a joint antitrust investigation of Google's dominance in the ad- and search-markets, but two AGs are sitting this one out: California's Xavier Becerra and Alabama's Steve Marshall. Read the rest

NYT calls for an end to legacy college admissions

In the wake of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, a new debate opened up, about the mundane, everyday ways that wealthy people buy their way into elite institutions: from hiring, poorer, smarter kids to write their kids' essays, to surrendering custody of your kids in order to misappropriate low-income tuition grants, to simply "donating" shit-tons of money to the school. Read the rest

Robert Bork is the architect of the inequality crisis

If you know the name Robert Bork, it's probably in the context of his failure to secure Senate confirmation when Ronald Regan put him up for the Supreme Court (his sins from his days in the Nixon administration caught up to him). Read the rest

Interview with Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue's labor reporter

Kim Kelly is Teen Vogue's labor columnist and has written a series of excellent pieces on labor politics for the #resistance glossy. Read the rest

After unsuccessful legislative reform, German radicals defy the law to dumpster-dive at grocery stores

I've always been fascinated with dumpster diving: my first feature sale to Wired (21 years ago!) told the tale of Darren Atkinson, the most successful high-tech diver I know. Read the rest

Beijing promises "no mercy" for the "backstage masterminds" of the Hong Kong uprising

China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office hosted a press conference on the ongoing Hong Kong pro-democracy uprising, with spokesman Yang Guang directing every branch and agency of Hong Kong's government (including airports, universities, and the public transit system) to attack the protests, promising "Especially to those key violent criminals and their backstage masterminds, organisers and agitators, [we] must show no mercy and pursue till the end." Read the rest

How "meritocracy" went from a joke to a dogma, and destroyed the lives of everyone it touched

The term "meritocracy" was coined in Michael Young's satirical 1958 novel, "The Rise of Meritocracy," where it described a kind of self-delusion in which rich people convinced themselves that their wealth was evidence of their moral superiority; it's well-documented that a belief in meritocracy makes you act like an asshole, and also makes you incapable of considering how much of your good fortune is attributable to luck; now, in a new book, The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite, Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits documents how a belief in meritocracy also makes rich people totally miserable. Read the rest

A new biography reveals the Koch brothers' very early role in creating organized climate denial

The Koch brothers are quite an enigma: on the one hand, they owe their vast fortune to extremely long-range planning: Charles Koch is famously contemptuous of entrepreneurs who take their companies public, believing that the public markets insist on such short timescales that they undermine real growth; and he grew his father's hydrocarbon empire by investing heavily in automation systems with extremely long amortization schedules. Read the rest

Major corporations blacklist ads on news stories that include the words "Trump," "racism," "gun," "Brexit," "suicide" and more

The Wall Street Journal investigates major corporations' ad buyers' practice of blacklisting of ads on news stories that deal with the world's most urgent issues, including any news story that contains the word "Trump" or "racism" or "gun" or "Brexit" or "suicide" (so much for reporting on the opioid epidemic). Read the rest

Training bias in AI "hate speech detector" means that tweets by Black people are far more likely to be censored

More bad news for Google's beleaguered spinoff Jigsaw, whose flagship project is "Perspective," a machine-learning system designed to catch and interdict harassment, hate-speech and other undesirable online speech. Read the rest

"Productivity" is a perfect example of the pseudscience underpinning economics

Economists are famously fragile about their field; after all, this is the field that created a fake Nobel prize to give its practitioners the veneer of credibility and empiricism that actual sciences enjoy. Read the rest

If the election was held today, Bernie would beat Trump by 8 points

All the Democratic frontrunners outpoll Trump, but Bernie beats him 50-42 in a new Surveyusa poll; Biden has the same margin, while Warren and Harris have leads that are smaller than the margin of error. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

As Uber's stock craters amid billions in unanticipated losses, a hiring freeze on engineers

Uber -- a bezzle -- projected $8b in losses this year; but it lost more than $5b in a single quarter, and despite an initial stock price rise (dead cat bounce?) the company's shares have tumbled by more than 10% since, hitting an all-time low. Engineers who were scheduled to interview at Uber have had those interviews canceled by the company's HR department, who told them the company now has a tech-worker hiring freeze. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

New York City raised minimum wage to $15, and its restaurants outperformed the nation

After NYC raised its minimum wage from $7.25/h to $15/h this year -- the largest pay hike for low-waged workers in half a century -- the city's restaurants boomed, posting the highest growth levels in the country. Read the rest

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