GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

The rich-poor obesity gap in kids is widening

A long time ago, obesity was often used as a shorthand for wealth, but over the decades obesity has become more and more correlated with poverty, both in culture and science (while wealth is increasingly correlated with being slim). Read the rest

Amid wage stagnation, corporate leaders declare the end of annual raises triggered by increased profitability

It was once the standard that firms that performed well would give all their employees an annual raise, in part to acknowledge workers' contribution to the business's fortunes, in part to ensure that wages kept pace with inflation (otherwise workers would be suffering a real-terms pay-cut every year). Read the rest

White Americans abandoned democracy and embraced authoritarianism when they realized brown people would soon outvote them

A working paper from a pair of political scientists analyzed World Values Survey data to trace the rise of support for authoritarianism in America to a growing sense among white people that democracy's commitment to giving everyone a vote would soon erode their privilege, as the growing population of racialized people started to vote for fairer policies. Read the rest

The Vatican dunks on the finance industry and its "amoral culture"

The Vatican has published “‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones’. Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, 17.05.2018, a lengthy report on the wickedness of Wall Street, in which the finance industry is condemned in the strongest and most specific terms, accused of creating an "amoral culture" dedicated to the "profit of the strongest" instead of the "authentic good." Read the rest

America's new aristocracy: the 9.9% and their delusion of hereditary meritocracy

It's true that the 1% have accumulated a massive share of America's national wealth; but just as significant is the cohort of professionals -- "well-behaved, flannel-suited crowd of lawyers, doctors, dentists, mid-level investment bankers, M.B.A.s with opaque job titles, and assorted other professionals" -- who style themselves as the "meritocratic middle class" but who actually represent the top decile of American wealth, with net worths from $1.2m to $10m. Read the rest

How the "global super-rich" have honeycombed London's posh neighbourhoods with sub-basements, sub-sub-basements, and sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-basements

London -- ground zero for financial shenanigans, money-laundering, and the conversion of housing from a human necessity to an asset-class -- has spent decades converting itself to an inert, open-air vault full of status-displaying safe-deposit boxes owned by offshore criminals and oligarchs who "improve" their empty properties with absurd fripperies to make them more flippable come the day that their local warlord purges them and they need the ready cash. Read the rest

Scottish Tories defeat anti-money-laundering measure aimed at shutting down the Russian oligarch-Scotland pipeline

The Scottish Limited Partnership is a notorious financial secrecy vehicle that's been used to launder at least $80 billion, mostly from oligarchs and organised crime figures from the former USSR, in only four years. Read the rest

McDonald's workers across the UK are striking

It's May Day, and McDonald's workers in Manchester, Watford, Crayford and Cambridge have walked out, demanding an end to zero-hours contracts and a £10/hour living wage. Read the rest

George Mason economics department admits it sold hiring control to anonymous, super-rich donors

Universities -- especially public universities -- are never, ever supposed to cede their academic independence to their donors, who might otherwise use their departments as glorified think-tanks, laundering their ideology and giving it the veneer of objective, scholarly credibility. Read the rest

Koch is abundant and low value: how the super-rich are buying American politics

In Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, he advances a theory that as the rich acquire a critical mass of the national wealth, they are able to influence policy in ways that diverts even more of the national wealth to their benefit, getting even richer, and giving them more opportunities to buy policies that increase inequality. Read the rest

The US workforce is the most productive, best educated in history and unemployment is at an all-time low, but wages are stagnant

Orthodox market economics holds that when unemployment falls and the labor supply gets tighter wages go up; it also predicts that better-educated workers and more-productive workers get paid more for their work -- none of this has happened. Read the rest

Leaked docs reveal Koch/Walton/DeVos's anti-teacher talking points

The "State Policy Network" is a coalition of 66 far-right organizations who've been given $80M by a small number of billionaires, including the Walton family (heirs to the Walmart fortune), the Koch Brothers, and Betsy DeVos; they're terrified of the teachers' uprising, in which wildcat strikes have raced across America because teachers whose unions were neutralized have been put on starvation wages in underfunded facilities. Without any union bosses to keep them in check, the teachers have demanded the world -- and they're getting it. Read the rest

The other class war: technocrats vs plutocrats

After World War Two, the balance of wealth shifted dramatically: the super-rich lost so much capital during the two wars and the interwar period that their grip on power slipped, creating the space for a welfare state and other reforms. Read the rest

If this goes on... The 1% will own two thirds of the world by 2030

The House of Commons Library has published research projecting the post-2008 growth of inequality until 2030, arriving at an eye-popping headline figure: at current rates, the richest 1% will own two thirds of the world's riches by 2030. I think that number is too low. Here's why. Read the rest

Rail barons and the new gilded age: one-percenters travel in style by hitching private "super-luxe" railcars to Amtrak trains

The Wall Street Journal profiles rich "train buffs" who buy vintage Gilded Age railcars and refurbish them, then pay to have them hitched to Amtrak trains and pulled between their city houses and their country places. Read the rest

Billionaire Cartier boss returns from fishing holiday gripped with terror that the poors are going to start building guillotines

Tobacco heir Johann Rupert is worth $7.5B; he's head of Cartier, Montblanc, Chloe and other luxury goods labels, having returned to the helm of his Richemont holding company after a year-long fly-fishing sabbatical; in a speech to the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco he revealed that he no longer sleeps at night because he is worried that "envy, hatred and social warfare" will destabilize the world. Read the rest

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