Nick Hanauer - Inequality and Job Creators (Rejected TED Talk)

well and simply put

The Guardian - The Saturday interview: Vivienne Westwood

When Vivienne Westwood was four or five, she had an epiphany. “When I first saw a picture of the crucifixion, I lost respect for my parents. I suddenly realised that this is what the adult world is like – full of cruelty and hypocrisy.” At the time she was living in the Pennine village of Tintwistle, where her father worked in the Wall’s sausage factory and her mother was an assistant at the local greengrocer’s. “I thought they’d been lying to me by telling me only about the baby Jesus, rather than what happened to him.”
We’re sitting at a table teeming with glue, scissors and drawings in her fourth-floor office at the Westwood empire HQ in Battersea. She’s wearing a beautifully cut pin-striped suit, as well as dangly earrings and more makeup than usual for the benefit, she says, of the photographer. “I’ll tell you what I was like as a child,” says Westwood. “I was a good person. I was high-spirited but I was a big reader. What I remember as a child is that other kids didn’t care about suffering. I always did.”


We’re meeting because 70-year-old Westwood has just announced she’s going to give £1m to rainforest charity Cool Earth, which aims to stop such an intolerable future being realised. It’s the culmination of three years’ involvement with a charity established in 2007 by Labour MP Frank Field. Last year, she produced 20 tablecloth designs for the charity, selling at £1,000 each. Could posh tablecloths help save the planet?
Of all the world’s good causes, why Cool Earth? I ask. “I’m going to start by talking about how I see the world,” she says. “The capitalist system is about taking from the Earth and from the other great commodity, labour. What’s happening with this system is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the only way out of it is supposed to be growth. But growth is debt. It’s going to make the situation worse. We have got to change our ethics and our financial system and our whole way of understanding the world. It has to be a world in which people live rather than die; a sustainable world. It could be great.” It could be: the vision little Vivienne beheld of human hypocrisy, cruelty and delusion 60-odd years ago need not be our destiny.
But isn’t today’s imperative to nail the bankers; maybe later we can save the rainforest? “It’s presented as though the financial crisis and climate change are two different things, but they’re connected,” Westwood replies. “We’re letting businessmen do what they want. People get paralysed by the enormity of wrong things in the world. There’s only so much that one person can do. What I decided to do was to focus on the rainforest.” In September she launched her spring/summer 2012 Red Label collection with a call to support her £7m fundraising campaign. “We must begin today – tomorrow is too late,” she said then. “Governments have been talking about saving the rainforest for 40 years. Now only half of it is left.”


Her support for Cool Earth is only one example of Westwood’s rise as a political activist. She’s long supported Liberty and CND, but in recent years she seems determined to support every good cause going. Hermost recent blog posts detail her multifarious radical interests: she backs a fundraising campaign for the Refugee Council, pledges her support for Greener upon Thames, an organisation campaigning to make next year’s London Olympics plastic-bag free, and reprints a thank-you letter from the headmaster of Uaso Nyiro primary school in Kenya for the books she sent, adding: “The school was started in 1992 but they’ve never had a library. Now they have and they’ve named it the Vivienne Westwood Library – amazing!”


"I don’t feel comfortable defending my clothes. For 15 years I hated fashion." Why? "It’s not very intellectual, and I wanted to read, not make fashion. It was something I was good at; it wasn’t all of me." She’s never recaptured the thrill of the first fashion show she did with Malcolm McLaren at London’s Olympia in 1979. It was then they launched the Pirates collection that became the template for the New Romantic look. “I watched it and I was so captivated. I had done something.” But she has fallen in love with fashion design again: “I’m happy doing my work at the moment because everything is coming together.” Even in her eighth decade, she cannot contemplate retiring. “I really want to carry on.” She hints her husband may not, though: “Andreas is considering his position – he’s a perfectionist, and that can be very stressful.”
Last month she lent her support to the Occupy demonstrators outside St Paul’s. When she was there she told anyone who would listen that they should go to London’s art galleries to become freedom fighters against capitalism, consumerism and philistinism. Why? “It’s to do with consumption – if you go to an art gallery you’re putting in, not just sucking up. Propaganda can be resisted by loving art.”


Just before Westwood introduces me to a new experience (a parting kiss on the lips from a dame), she offers some advice for Guardian readers: “Try to use your time not worrying. Try to get involved. Try to get involved in seeing art then you’ll be a freedom fighter, you’ll be working for a better world.” Is that how you see yourself? “What do I know about anything?” she smiles. “I’m only a fashion designer.”

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The Guardian - The Saturday interview: Vivienne Westwood

When Vivienne Westwood was four or five, she had an epiphany. “When I first saw a picture of the crucifixion, I lost respect for my parents. I suddenly realised that this is what the adult world is like – full of cruelty and hypocrisy.” At the time she was living in the Pennine village of Tintwistle, where her father worked in the Wall’s sausage factory and her mother was an assistant at the local greengrocer’s. “I thought they’d been lying to me by telling me only about the baby Jesus, rather than what happened to him.”

We’re sitting at a table teeming with glue, scissors and drawings in her fourth-floor office at the Westwood empire HQ in Battersea. She’s wearing a beautifully cut pin-striped suit, as well as dangly earrings and more makeup than usual for the benefit, she says, of the photographer. “I’ll tell you what I was like as a child,” says Westwood. “I was a good person. I was high-spirited but I was a big reader. What I remember as a child is that other kids didn’t care about suffering. I always did.”

We’re meeting because 70-year-old Westwood has just announced she’s going to give £1m to rainforest charity Cool Earth, which aims to stop such an intolerable future being realised. It’s the culmination of three years’ involvement with a charity established in 2007 by Labour MP Frank Field. Last year, she produced 20 tablecloth designs for the charity, selling at £1,000 each. Could posh tablecloths help save the planet?

Of all the world’s good causes, why Cool Earth? I ask. “I’m going to start by talking about how I see the world,” she says. “The capitalist system is about taking from the Earth and from the other great commodity, labour. What’s happening with this system is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the only way out of it is supposed to be growth. But growth is debt. It’s going to make the situation worse. We have got to change our ethics and our financial system and our whole way of understanding the world. It has to be a world in which people live rather than die; a sustainable world. It could be great.” It could be: the vision little Vivienne beheld of human hypocrisy, cruelty and delusion 60-odd years ago need not be our destiny.

But isn’t today’s imperative to nail the bankers; maybe later we can save the rainforest? “It’s presented as though the financial crisis and climate change are two different things, but they’re connected,” Westwood replies. “We’re letting businessmen do what they want. People get paralysed by the enormity of wrong things in the world. There’s only so much that one person can do. What I decided to do was to focus on the rainforest.” In September she launched her spring/summer 2012 Red Label collection with a call to support her £7m fundraising campaign. “We must begin today – tomorrow is too late,” she said then. “Governments have been talking about saving the rainforest for 40 years. Now only half of it is left.”

Her support for Cool Earth is only one example of Westwood’s rise as a political activist. She’s long supported Liberty and CND, but in recent years she seems determined to support every good cause going. Hermost recent blog posts detail her multifarious radical interests: she backs a fundraising campaign for the Refugee Council, pledges her support for Greener upon Thames, an organisation campaigning to make next year’s London Olympics plastic-bag free, and reprints a thank-you letter from the headmaster of Uaso Nyiro primary school in Kenya for the books she sent, adding: “The school was started in 1992 but they’ve never had a library. Now they have and they’ve named it the Vivienne Westwood Library – amazing!”

"I don’t feel comfortable defending my clothes. For 15 years I hated fashion." Why? "It’s not very intellectual, and I wanted to read, not make fashion. It was something I was good at; it wasn’t all of me." She’s never recaptured the thrill of the first fashion show she did with Malcolm McLaren at London’s Olympia in 1979. It was then they launched the Pirates collection that became the template for the New Romantic look. “I watched it and I was so captivated. I had done something.” But she has fallen in love with fashion design again: “I’m happy doing my work at the moment because everything is coming together.” Even in her eighth decade, she cannot contemplate retiring. “I really want to carry on.” She hints her husband may not, though: “Andreas is considering his position – he’s a perfectionist, and that can be very stressful.”

Last month she lent her support to the Occupy demonstrators outside St Paul’s. When she was there she told anyone who would listen that they should go to London’s art galleries to become freedom fighters against capitalism, consumerism and philistinism. Why? “It’s to do with consumption – if you go to an art gallery you’re putting in, not just sucking up. Propaganda can be resisted by loving art.”

Just before Westwood introduces me to a new experience (a parting kiss on the lips from a dame), she offers some advice for Guardian readers: “Try to use your time not worrying. Try to get involved. Try to get involved in seeing art then you’ll be a freedom fighter, you’ll be working for a better world.” Is that how you see yourself? “What do I know about anything?” she smiles. “I’m only a fashion designer.”

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occupyposters:

Adam Winnik, Toronto, Canada. (Source.) Download.

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occupyposters:

Adam Winnik, Toronto, Canada. (Source.) Download.

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Shintaro Kago
grind & mould 
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Shintaro Kago

grind & mould 

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Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York - We Must Not Serve Capitalism – We Must Make It Serve Us

Whatever happens next in Downtown Manhattan, it is terribly important that the core energy behind this protest not be lost behind a blizzard of slogans and rhetoric. The particular motivations of those protesting are, undoubtedly, as mixed as the American people itself. One dominant thread, however, is an (admittedly inchoate) critique of unfettered capitalism.
But the fundamental issue is not that the laws of capitalism are flawed; the fundamental issue is that we are flawed in our attitude to them.
There can be little doubt that capitalism is a productive way to order economic life. But we need to remember, as the protestors have reminded us, that that is all that it is – an economic system based on the entirely reasonable propositions that capital has value, and that supply and demand are the most efficient way to set prices. Capitalism is of no help at all in determining what is morally good – that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values.
And there should be no question that when an economic system fails to reflect those communal values, it should be modified and governed until it does. To say, as some do, that any attempt to control or guide our economic system is neither wise nor possible is to admit that an economic system has decisive control of our lives. For a Christian, such an admission would be nothing less than to yield to idolatry. (Though I do not claim deep knowledge of other religious traditions, I suspect that this is true for them as well.) God alone is the One, and the only One, to whom we can concede such ultimate authority. For the non-theist to make the argument that the laws of economics are immutable is to concede that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. That is the same argument that those in the grip of various kinds of addiction make: “I am not in control, my addiction made me do it.”
As the OWS protestors point out, wealth in our country is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, the real income of the broad middle class has not increased in more than a generation, and the ranks of the poorest among us each year become ever more solidified. These are the facts – and the reality behind them is, quite simply, morally wrong. Ultimately, left unchecked, that reality is deeply dangerous. It is at odds with our vision of ourselves, and as Americans we ignore it at the peril of our most cherished national ideals. As Christians, we ignore it at the peril of our souls.


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Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York - We Must Not Serve Capitalism – We Must Make It Serve Us

Whatever happens next in Downtown Manhattan, it is terribly important that the core energy behind this protest not be lost behind a blizzard of slogans and rhetoric. The particular motivations of those protesting are, undoubtedly, as mixed as the American people itself. One dominant thread, however, is an (admittedly inchoate) critique of unfettered capitalism.

But the fundamental issue is not that the laws of capitalism are flawed; the fundamental issue is that we are flawed in our attitude to them.

There can be little doubt that capitalism is a productive way to order economic life. But we need to remember, as the protestors have reminded us, that that is all that it is – an economic system based on the entirely reasonable propositions that capital has value, and that supply and demand are the most efficient way to set prices. Capitalism is of no help at all in determining what is morally good – that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values.

And there should be no question that when an economic system fails to reflect those communal values, it should be modified and governed until it does. To say, as some do, that any attempt to control or guide our economic system is neither wise nor possible is to admit that an economic system has decisive control of our lives. For a Christian, such an admission would be nothing less than to yield to idolatry. (Though I do not claim deep knowledge of other religious traditions, I suspect that this is true for them as well.) God alone is the One, and the only One, to whom we can concede such ultimate authority. For the non-theist to make the argument that the laws of economics are immutable is to concede that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. That is the same argument that those in the grip of various kinds of addiction make: “I am not in control, my addiction made me do it.”

As the OWS protestors point out, wealth in our country is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, the real income of the broad middle class has not increased in more than a generation, and the ranks of the poorest among us each year become ever more solidified. These are the facts – and the reality behind them is, quite simply, morally wrong. Ultimately, left unchecked, that reality is deeply dangerous. It is at odds with our vision of ourselves, and as Americans we ignore it at the peril of our most cherished national ideals. As Christians, we ignore it at the peril of our souls.

G

Fred Magdoff & Michael D. Yates - The ABCs of the Economic Crisis

It is impossible for ever-higher levels of consumption to make us happy. The logic of the system is that we must be perpetually unsatisfied, always wanting more. In a system that guarantees considerable inequality, we are bound to be envious of the consumption of those richer than we are. But every time we think we have caught up, we see that there are still many richer people above us. And if those below catch up with us, we have to consumer more to stay ahead. It could be argued that a consumption-based society would be more acceptable if there were a rough equality of spending power. But this is—and cannot help but be—the case; capital accumulation will not allow it. We are not and cannot be “slouching toward utopia,” to use the inapt phrase of economist J. Bradford DeLong, a utopia of a worldwide majority middle class of happy consumers, all buying big-screen televisions and nice automobiles. And does DeLong imagine that the world could ecologically support several billion human beings consuming at a pace on par with middle-class U.S. households? It is estimated that it would take the resources of four worlds like our to provide the equivalent of a U.S. middle-class consumption pattern for all of the world 6.5 billion people. Now, we are certainly not arguing that everyone should be poor or that those now at the bottom don’t need a healthy dose of consumption, especially food, clothing, and shelter. But we are saying that the so-called consumer culture that characterizes that United States and a few other rich countries is not a model worth fighting for, nor is it ecologically sustainable.
What is worth fighting for? Perhaps this severe recession offers us an opportunity to ask this question. This crisis has revealed the rotten foundation of our economy and called into question the neoliberal policies and ideology that have deepened the rot. We cannot sustain ourselves with ever-larger doses of debt relative to the underlying economy. We cannot be happy in a world of rising insecurity: How will we pay the debts? Where will we find decent and secure employment? How will we cope with health problems? How will we survive old age? Will our air, water, and food supply be poisoned? We cannot be happy in a world in which the fruits of human labor are distributed in an obscenely unequal manner. Inequality itself causes a host of problems, from lower life expectancies of those further down the ladder to more people in prison, and it raises the level of insecurity. The rage of the poor and the fear of the rich are the legacies of the growing gap between them. Finally, and of the greatest importance, we cannot be happy with the nature of the work most of us are compelled to do. Millions of us are unemployed, and this is a bad thing. But for those working, the stress is rising, as fewer people are being forced to do more work and employment becomes more precarious. Employers use periods this like to discover ways to permanently reduce the size of their workforces. They continue the strategy of lean production, using as little skilled labor as possible, constantly stressing the system so that work can be sped up, and then cutting benefits as much as possible. There is no way that the majority of people can do meaningful work in a system like this. Labor is simply a cost of production, to be minimized and on a par with a piece of equipment or fuel. What does it mean when there is a joke that says, “The only thing worse than being employed is being unemployed”?
It seems to us that there are many things worth fighting for. Here is a list for starters. Readers will no doubt think of others.
 - Adequate food for everyone. - Decent housing. - Universal health care. - Full employment/good jobs.  - Quality education for all. - Adequate income in old age. - Enhanced public transportation. - A commitment to a sustainable environment.  - Progressive taxation. - A non-imperialist government. - Labor- and environment-friendly trade.

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Fred Magdoff & Michael D. Yates - The ABCs of the Economic Crisis

It is impossible for ever-higher levels of consumption to make us happy. The logic of the system is that we must be perpetually unsatisfied, always wanting more. In a system that guarantees considerable inequality, we are bound to be envious of the consumption of those richer than we are. But every time we think we have caught up, we see that there are still many richer people above us. And if those below catch up with us, we have to consumer more to stay ahead. It could be argued that a consumption-based society would be more acceptable if there were a rough equality of spending power. But this is—and cannot help but be—the case; capital accumulation will not allow it. We are not and cannot be “slouching toward utopia,” to use the inapt phrase of economist J. Bradford DeLong, a utopia of a worldwide majority middle class of happy consumers, all buying big-screen televisions and nice automobiles. And does DeLong imagine that the world could ecologically support several billion human beings consuming at a pace on par with middle-class U.S. households? It is estimated that it would take the resources of four worlds like our to provide the equivalent of a U.S. middle-class consumption pattern for all of the world 6.5 billion people. Now, we are certainly not arguing that everyone should be poor or that those now at the bottom don’t need a healthy dose of consumption, especially food, clothing, and shelter. But we are saying that the so-called consumer culture that characterizes that United States and a few other rich countries is not a model worth fighting for, nor is it ecologically sustainable.

What is worth fighting for? Perhaps this severe recession offers us an opportunity to ask this question. This crisis has revealed the rotten foundation of our economy and called into question the neoliberal policies and ideology that have deepened the rot. We cannot sustain ourselves with ever-larger doses of debt relative to the underlying economy. We cannot be happy in a world of rising insecurity: How will we pay the debts? Where will we find decent and secure employment? How will we cope with health problems? How will we survive old age? Will our air, water, and food supply be poisoned? We cannot be happy in a world in which the fruits of human labor are distributed in an obscenely unequal manner. Inequality itself causes a host of problems, from lower life expectancies of those further down the ladder to more people in prison, and it raises the level of insecurity. The rage of the poor and the fear of the rich are the legacies of the growing gap between them. Finally, and of the greatest importance, we cannot be happy with the nature of the work most of us are compelled to do. Millions of us are unemployed, and this is a bad thing. But for those working, the stress is rising, as fewer people are being forced to do more work and employment becomes more precarious. Employers use periods this like to discover ways to permanently reduce the size of their workforces. They continue the strategy of lean production, using as little skilled labor as possible, constantly stressing the system so that work can be sped up, and then cutting benefits as much as possible. There is no way that the majority of people can do meaningful work in a system like this. Labor is simply a cost of production, to be minimized and on a par with a piece of equipment or fuel. What does it mean when there is a joke that says, “The only thing worse than being employed is being unemployed”?

It seems to us that there are many things worth fighting for. Here is a list for starters. Readers will no doubt think of others.

- Adequate food for everyone.
- Decent housing.
- Universal health care.
- Full employment/good jobs. 
- Quality education for all.
- Adequate income in old age.
- Enhanced public transportation.
- A commitment to a sustainable environment. 
- Progressive taxation.
- A non-imperialist government.
- Labor- and environment-friendly trade.

G

Calvin and Hobbes
a cute take on imperfect competition and corporate welfare, among other things
also, a reminder that I want to get that mega collection…
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Calvin and Hobbes

a cute take on imperfect competition and corporate welfare, among other things

also, a reminder that I want to get that mega collection

G