How "philanthropy" is a way for rich people to preserve the inequality that benefits them

Since its publication in August, Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World has been tearing through the world, changing the way we think about inequality, philanthropy and elites; Giridharadas is an Aspen Institute Fellow who's long traveled in elite circles, but who concluded that the philanthropy of the super-rich isn't just an inadequate substitute for a fairer world -- it's actually part of the system that perpetuates the gross unfairness of mass inequality. Read the rest

Wanna get into Harvard? Just ask your parents to donate a building.

A batch of internal Harvard admission-related emails have come into the public domain as part of a lawsuit alleging that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants, and they reveal that the admissions process is tilted in favor of members of families who are major donors to Harvard. Read the rest

Slaves - including children - make the bricks for Cambodia's housing bubble

Two bedroom apartments in Phnom Penh start at $260,000 -- equivalent to 2,000 years' worth of average annual wages for Cambodia's workers. Read the rest

One in ten of New York's public school students is homeless

114,659 of New York's public school students is homeless, bouncing from shelters to relatives' beds: homelessness is a predictor of poor academic performance for all the obvious reasons, including very long commutes to school (some students' families have ended up at shelters that are two boroughs away from their schools). Read the rest

During the Kavanaugh hearings, House Republicans voted in a $3.1 trillion tax cut for the rich

Tax Reform 2.0 was rammed through the House at the literal exact same moment that everyone in America was watching Brett Kavanaugh caper and gibber for the US Senate. Read the rest

The world's richest families got MUCH richer, thanks to the stock market

As low interest rates and terrible bond yields have driven more everyday people into the stock market in the hopes of protecting their savings from inflation and building their pensions, the market has surged -- with the richest people on Earth surfing the wave. Read the rest

Rice University eliminates tuition for all but wealthiest students, makes housing free for poorest

From its founding in 1912 until 1965, Houston's Rice University was free to attend; but today, Rice has joined other US universities in saddling its students with ghastly, inescapable mountains of debt, with annual attendance costing $61,350, $40,000 of which is tuition. Read the rest

Oakland to expand managed homeless shantytowns of prefab sheds

Oakland, like San Francisco, has an out-of-control homeless crisis fueled by out-of-control housing prices; like San Francisco (where aid for homelessness can include tents to make outdoor sleeping more comfortable and safe), Oakland is supplying "temporary housing" for homeless people that institutionalizes a kind of living that has heretofore been viewed as a problem in and of itself. Read the rest

History's solutions to runaway inequality: warfare, revolution, state collapse and plague

In Walter Scheidel's new book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, the Stanford classics prof traces the rise and fall of inequality from humanity's history, showing how over time, the rich get richer and richer, creating an ever-more-unstable situation, until, basically, the world melts down or the people start building guillotines on their doorsteps. Read the rest

From Tahrir to Trump: how the internet became the dictators' home turf

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) leads Tech Review's politics issue with the best overview of the forces that have combined to make the internet so hospitable to totalitarians and racist pigs. Read the rest

NYU makes med school free for all students

The median US med-school grad has $195,000 in loans; all 93 of NYU's freshman med-school class will have free tuition for their entire degree program, as will all future students (the 350 currently enrolled students will no longer pay tuition, same goes for the school's 9 grad students) Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren wants to save capitalism from itself

President Elizabeth Warren (2020-2028) has proposed the Accountable Capitalism Act, which will subject US corporations with $1B/year or more in revenue to the "German model" of corporate governance, in which workers get board-seats and financial decisionmaking must take into consideration the impact that decisions will have on "stakeholders" including workers, investors, suppliers, retailers, and residents near plants or facilities. Read the rest

Economic indicators: consumer debt continues to grow, delinquency rises, students face "crippling debt"

Trump's economic statistics are all about stock growth and low unemployment numbers, but more than two thirds of the US economy is driven by consumer spending, so if you want to know where we're headed, you should be looking at the average American's ability to buy things. Read the rest

Extreme poverty is on the decline, extreme inequality is on the rise

The rich world has never been more unequal, and the poor world has never richer: in 2018, we're seeing record low levels of global "extreme poverty" (a measure that's admittedly a bit fuzzy) and record levels of inequality, which wealth concentrated into a declining number of hands. Read the rest

America's big cities are increasingly home to people living in their cars

In King County (which encompasses Seattle), the number of people living in their cars surged by 46% in the past year; and other big cities are catching up: LA, San Francisco, Portland, etc. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

Trump wants to hand a $100,000,000,000 tax cut to the super-rich, without Congressional approval

Trump finance secretary/supervillain Steve Mnuchin says he wants to unilaterally allow Americans to factor in inflation when calculating capital gains; the move would cost the US government $100 billion and 97% of that would go to the top 10% of US earners (66% would go to the 0.1% of US earners). Read the rest

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