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Advocating a Wealth Threshold
There is a poverty threshold, but how about a wealth threshold to save democracy, economic stability, the environment, cultural diversity, and much more!
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How America chose inequality | Josh Eidelson

How America chose inequality | Josh Eidelson | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

Inequality was no accident, and the president's new focus on "opportunity" is a mistake, a leading economist says:

"I think there’s been a much better consciousness of the broader social costs of inequality. It’s very divisive. It creates a lot of political problems. It’s not just, you know, some sideshow. I mean, it’s a real core issue about fairness, and how people understand and identify with their society…"

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We tend to think of promoting equality as mere redistribution -- leveling off the playing field under the current rules of the game. However, what is needed is to actually change the rules of the game, to encourage people to concentrate on more important aspects of the economy than just making more millions as an end in itself. As Eidelson says: " If we had taxes that made it less important to make the extra million dollars... people might focus on other things, and do other stuff…". So instead of merely reactive policies, we should be thinking about what those "other things" are, and how to foster them proactively in our economy.

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La Corporación (The Corporation) en español

"'The Corporation' es un documental dirigido por Mark Achbar y Jennifer Abbott que durante dos horas y cincuenta y tres minutos se interna en el mundo empresarial psicopático. Está basado en el libro con el título 'La Corporación, la persecución patológica del beneficio y el poder', de Joel Bakan. Con entrevistas realizadas tanto a ejecutivos de multinacionales, brokers de bolsa, espías industriales, así como a activistas y pensadores contra la globalización (Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein y Michael Moore, entre otros) se analiza el comportamiento de las multinacionales. Todo adornado con imágenes de anuncios y noticias de la televisión y videos promocionales de las empresas. La linea argumental consiste en dar por válida la hipótesis legal por la cual una empresa es "una persona" con derechos y obligaciones. Si es así la película se adentra en su comportamiento, su conducta y sus deseos. Amoral, única y exclusivamente motivada por la búsqueda del beneficio propio, no obstante busca la autojustificación y dar una cara humana. Sometiendole a un test psiquiátrico propuesto por la Organización Mundial de la Salud, Joel Bakan demuestra que "La Corporación" responde al perfil de un psicópata, y para testificarlo entrevistan a un alto cargo del FBI especializado en Psicópatas. La película, entre otros premios, ganó el de la audiencia al mejor documental en el festival de cine de Sundance, al que por premura no se presentó, pero fue invitada especialmente y aclamada por el público. A partir de este premio, el autor decidió distribuir libremente la serie por las redes de pares."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Una excelente explicación del cómo y por qué la "Corporación" fue creada para proteger los "intereses" de los super-adinerados, así como el cómo y por qué la legislación que la rige debe ser reformada.

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concentrations of wealth

concentrations of wealth | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"A recent study by Oxfam provided some striking data regarding growing disparities of wealth and poverty within and between countries around the globe: 50% of the world’s wealth is now owned by 1% of the population...

 

These trends cannot be reversed merely through popular mobilization within current political structures.  They will only be truly reversed when the organizing logic of interest-group competition is replaced with a new structural logic, derived from consciousness of the oneness of humanity — or recognition of the organic unity and interdependence of the entire social body.

 

It is, therefore, toward the cultivation of this consciousness, and the construction of new models of governance that are coherent with it, that we need to bend our energies in the long-term, if we hope to truly reverse the deeply troubling trends identified in the Oxfam report."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We also need to ask whether our assumptions regarding the nature of human beings and their society will admit the restructuring that is required.

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Why those who give part of their wealth in charity get wealthier

Why those who give part of their wealth in charity get wealthier | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Benefits of Benevolence:

 

You experience enhanced degree of confidence.You get a larger perspective of life.You start to like openness.You become more dignified and graceful.You overcome greed.You are more at peace with self.You acquire empathy.
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Initial considerations regarding the elimination of the extremes of poverty and wealth | International Environment Forum

Initial considerations regarding the elimination of the extremes of poverty and wealth | International Environment Forum | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"In this contribution, we briefly reflect on the manner in which the following aspects of society contribute to these extremes: a materialistic worldview, assumptions about human nature, the means of generating wealth, and access to knowledge. We propose an alternative set of assumptions and consider how these might advance a more equitable economic environment."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is one of several highly valuable statements by the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations on this vital issue.

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Paul Piff: Does money make you mean?

"It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there's good news too... Paul Piff studies how social hierarchy, inequality and emotion shape relations between individuals and groups."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Extreme wealth has its own down sides, like reducing the capacity of its owners to experience what makes us most human -- things like empathy, compassion, connectedness and sincere humility. Freeing humankind from this growing cancer will have a salutory effect across the board -- on both poor and rich alike.

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James K. Galbraith on "Inequality and Instability: What's Ahead for the World Economy"

"Economist James K. Galbraith, http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/directory/f...one of the country's leading analysts of the financial crisis, speaks on the link between the growing inequality and economic instability. Galbraith, a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, will focus on the argument in his new book, Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just before the Great Crisis, http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general... which demonstrates that increased inequality is a product of the rise of windfall profits in finance and the deregulation of markets. For an exploration of these ideas, watch Bill Moyers' interview with Galbraith online. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxDmw7...."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

There is a growing awareness among the "new economists" that the root cause of economic instability is financial inequality. This is the key issue that must be addressed, and addressed rapidly, to save what is left of global wellbeing.

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James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith

James Kenneth Galbraith (born January 29, 1952) is an American economist who writes frequently for mainstream and liberal publications on economic topics. He is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature — a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live." (James K. Galbraith)

 
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Manfred Max-Neef: “Necesitamos economistas cultos”

Manfred Max-Neef: “Necesitamos economistas cultos” | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"Primero, necesitamos de nuevo economistas cultos, que sepan historia, de dónde vienen, cómo se originaron las ideas, quién hizo qué y así sucesivamente. Segundo, una economía que entienda que es subsistema de un sistema finito más grande: la biosfera, y como consecuencia la imposibilidad de tener un crecimiento económico infinito. Tercero, un sistema que tenga claro que no puede funcionar sin tomar en serio los ecosistemas.... Sin embargo, para los economistas de hoy en día la naturaleza es un subsistema de la economía, ¡concepto que es totalmente absurdo!

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Debemos seguir muy de cerca el pensamiento de Max Neef, no sólo por las respuestas que da, las cuales han mostrado ser muy útiles en el desarrollo comunitario, sino en especial por que plantea las preguntas correctas. Se requerirá de toda una aldea planetaria para contestarlas. ¿Qué estamos esperando?

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Women and poverty: the hidden face of violence with social consent

Women and poverty: the hidden face of violence with social consent | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

“Poverty is not God-given; it is most definitely man-made. No one is born poor; society makes one poor.”

 

Delivering the 2013 Gandhi Lecture on Nonviolence at McMaster University in Canada, Ela Bhatt discusses our responsibility to address poverty and the structures that perpetuate it.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The generation of mass poverty is not an unfortunate flaw in our current economic system; it is the natural outcome of system based on win-lose negotiations, unfettered accumulation of market power and the use of that influence to gain political power. The more of it you have, the easier it is to get more, and less you have, the harder it is to move out of poverty.

 

We cannot cure the symptom of poverty through paliative measures. We must recognize the root cause of the disease in the very assumptions on which the system is based and the structural, normative practices that arise as a logical consequence of those assumptions. Only by transforming those assumptions, practices and structures will we achieve a world in which the less you have the easier it is to move out of poverty, and the more you have, the harder it becomes to get more.

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Iwan Baan: Ingenious homes in unexpected places | Video on TED.com

In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands the 45-story "Tower of David," an unfinished, abandoned skyscraper. But about eight years ago, people started moving in.

 

Photographer Iwan Baan shows how people build homes in unlikely places, touring us through the family apartments of Torre David, a city on the water in Nigeria, and an underground village in China.

 

Glorious images celebrate humanity's ability to survive and make a home -- anywhere. He captures the many ways people shape their shared built environment -- from glossy starchitecture to handmade homes.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This presentation is included to remind us not only of the dire need faced by most of humanity, but also of the industry, ingenuity and creativity of the human spirit in response to that need.

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El Final de la Pobreza - subtítulos en Español - Philippe Diaz

Un discurso fenomenal sobre por qué existe la pobreza cuando hay tanta riqueza en el mundo. De análisis obligatorio para todo aquel que desea comprender no sólo el sistema económico de EE.UU. sino también los cimientos de la economía mundial de hoy.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Es un excelente documental sobre por qué existe tanta pobreza extrema en el mundo de hoy y qué se puede hacer al respecto. Lo debe ver todo agente de cambio socioeconómico actual y potencial.

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REAL MINIMUM WAGES

REAL MINIMUM WAGES | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

Where does your country fall here? 

(Hint: The nation w the highest “real” minimum wage is Luxembourg: $10.37 USD per hour.)

Real Hourly Minimum Wages, v. International Business Times

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

And what are the real maximum 'wages' throughout the world?

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The Corporation : The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

"The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those of the United States. One theme is its assessment as a "personality", as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite[nb 1] led to corporations as "persons" having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, General Smedley Butler exposed an alleged corporate plot against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt; the tragedy of the commons; Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; economic externalities; suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station at the behest of Monsanto; the invention of the soft drink Fanta by the Coca-Cola Company due to the trade embargo on Nazi Germany; the alleged role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust (see IBM and the Holocaust); the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of a municipal water supply in Bolivia; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.
Through vignettes and interviews, The Corporation examines and criticizes corporate business practices. The film's assessment is effected via the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV; Robert D. Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI, compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath (however, Hare has objected to the manner in which his views are portrayed in the film; see "critical reception" below). The Corporation attempts to compare the way corporations are systematically compelled to behave with what it claims are the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy, e.g. callous disregard for the feelings of other people, the incapacity to maintain human relationships, reckless disregard for the safety of others, deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit), the incapacity to experience guilt, and the failure to conform to social norms and respect the law. However, the DSM has never included a psychopathy diagnosis, rather proposing antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with the DSM-IV. ASPD and psychopathy, while sharing some diagnostic criteria, are not synonymous."

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NEW MILLIONAIRES - HOW ARE THEY MAKING THEIR MONEY (Documentary) Finance/Education - YouTube

NEW MILLIONAIRES - HOW THEY MAKING THEIR MONEY (Documentary) Finance/Education
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Yet another analysis of how and why the last economic melt-down occurred, from a short-term perspective. On the long term, the reason is simpler - today's win-lose economic/financial system generates "social dilemmas", meaning a situation in which, when enough people act according to the inner logic of the system, they make it collapse. The only solution to a "social dilemma" is to re-engineer the system as a win-win game. Setting a wealth threshhold is a key part of doing this.

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Spotlight on Worldwide Inequality

Spotlight on Worldwide Inequality | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
The disparity between the wealthy minority and the billions living in suffocating poverty is greater than it has ever been.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The extreme dualities of poverty and wealth inevitably create the vulnerable and the powerful, the abuser and the abused. There are wide ranging consequences of such social division, foremost being the erosion or denial of democracy. With money comes power and with power comes political influence, making it inevitable that “inequality reinforces itself by corroding our political system and our democratic governance,” as Stiglitz says. 

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WORKING FOR THE FEW - Political capture and economic inequality

The impact of political capture is striking. Rich and poor countries alike are affected. Financial deregulation, skewed tax systems and rules facilitating evasion, austerity economics, policies that disproportionately harm women, and captured oil and mineral revenues are all examples given in this paper. The short cases included are each intended to offer a sense of how political capture produces ill-gotten wealth, which perpetuates economic inequality.


This dangerous trend can be reversed. The good news is that there are clear examples of success, both historical and current. The US and Europe in the three decades after World War II reduced inequality while growing prosperous. Latin America has significantly reduced inequality in the last decade – through more progressive taxation, public services, social protection and decent work. Central to this progress has been popular politics that represent the majority, instead of being captured by a tiny minority. This has benefited all, both rich and poor.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Those gathered at Davos for the World Economic Forum have the power to turn around the rapid increase in inequality. Oxfam is calling on them to pledge that they will:
• Not dodge taxes in their own countries or in countries where they invest and operate, by using tax havens;
• Not use their economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
• Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
• Support progressive taxation on wealth and income;
• Challenge governments to use their tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens;
• Demand a living wage in all the companies they own or control;
• Challenge other economic elites to join them in these pledges.

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Why We're So Materialistic, Even Though It Doesn't Make Us Happy

Why We're So Materialistic, Even Though It Doesn't Make Us Happy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
No matter who you are, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of acquiring new stuff. Here’s a look at why your brain is so materialistic ...
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Yet another article that attempts to tie materialism and greed to the inherent structure of the human brain or our genetic programming.

 

The fact is, we have been systematically taught and conditioned to be materialistic and greedy from birth.

 

To see how and why, I highly recommend viewing the BBC documentary series "The Century of the Self". See an introduction at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_YLy6yZeaw.

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Surviving Progress

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This fabulous documentary discusses how and why the extremes of wealth and poverty began, and what they are leading us to if we do not change our approach to economics very quickly.

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Moyers & Company Show 141:Plutocracy Rising

"The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they're using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney's campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama's modest attempts at financial reform."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Plutocracy is a necessary outcome of extreme wealth accumulation, which affords political power to its holders. Plutocracy can only be replaced with true democracy by setting a wealth threshold for individuals and market-share threshold on corporations.

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10 Compelling Reasons You Can Never Trust The Mainstream Media

10 Compelling Reasons You Can Never Trust The Mainstream Media | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Corporate media, serving corporate interests, is just one more symptom of the social disease of excessive concentration of wealth -- and the power it brings -- plaguing today's world. Setting a threshold on how much wealth any one individual can accumulate and how much market share any one company can capture would put an end to media being the servant of the powers that be.

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The Super-Rich and Their Monster

The Super-Rich and Their Monster | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
The super-rich earn more than $200 million a year and pay lower taxes than the rest of us. The biggest problem they have is the “monster” they helped create: Tea Party Republicans.

Via Khannea Suntzu
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

An interesting take on how wealth and politics are inextricably bound up in the current plutocratic economic-political system.

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The harm that casinos do

The harm that casinos do | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"State-sponsored casino gambling... parallels the separate and unequal life patterns... that increasingly divide America into haves and have-nots."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is just one more example of how heavily the poor are subsidising the rich. There are many ways to cut this unfair, unhealthy, destabilizing relationship, key among which is legislation, but legislators must free themselves from plutocratic hegemonies to make it work.

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Michael Sandel: Why we shouldn't trust markets with our civic life

In the past three decades, says Michael Sandel, the US has drifted from a market economy to a market society; it's fair to say that an American's experience of shared civic life depends on how much money they have. (Three key examples: access to education, access to justice, political influence.)

 

In a talk and audience discussion, Sandel asks us to think honestly on this question: In our current democracy, is too much for sale? He teaches political philosophy at Harvard, exploring some of the most hotly contested moral and political issues of our time

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The mercantilization of public life is just another symptom of a polarizing market system that not only allows but actually generates destabilizing, demoralizing and dehumanizing extremes of wealth and poverty.

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The End of Poverty - www.confutatis.org

A phenomenal discourse on why poverty exists when there is so much wealth in the world. A must see for anyone wanting to understand not only the US economic system but the foundations of today's global economy.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is a great documentary on why there is so much extreme poverty in today's world, and what can be done about it. A must for all current and potential agents of socioeconomic change.

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