20 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2021
    1. The conclusion was obvious: The system was rigged for insiders. The economic recovery took years; the recovery of trust never came.

      Economic recovery for the masses took ages while the economic recovery for the wealthier was nearly instantanous.

      What is the relationship to the recession with the rise of the Tea Party?

      Will the pandemic recession do better since there seems to be more focus on the lower classes than the upper? The upper classes (and certainly the billionaires) apparently did incredibly well.

    2. The financial crisis of 2008, and the Great Recession that followed, had a similar effect on the home front. The guilty parties were elites—bankers, traders, regulators, and policy makers. Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman and an Ayn Rand fan, admitted that the crisis undermined his faith in the narrative of Free America. But those who suffered were lower down the class structure: middle-class Americans whose wealth was sunk in a house that lost half its value and a retirement fund that melted away, working-class Americans thrown into poverty by a pink slip. The banks received bailouts, and the bankers kept their jobs.

      The 2008 recession was a major hit to middle-class America and another bail out for the upper classes.

    3. As an Army officer in Iraq wrote in 2007, “A private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

      This seems a solid microcosm of the idea of of privatizing profits and socializing the losses.

      It also fits at the corporate level where a CEO who makes a horrible decision can wreck a company, but the low level blue collar worker or even low level white collar worker who steals hand tools or office supplies faces much larger consequences.

      It's much harder to and more complicated to hold power to account, but we're obviously failing miserably at it in American society. How might we incrementally improve this situation. We desperately need it.

    4. Finally, Real America has a strong nationalist character. Its attitude toward the rest of the world is isolationist, hostile to humanitarianism and international engagement, but ready to respond aggressively to any incursion against national interests.

      Humanitarianism and international engagement are definitely important, but their value is often made invisible to "Real America" or "middle America".

      How can this value be made more apparent? How could we account for it to make it easier to see?

      The issue is compounded when large corporations receive massive bailouts as it's an additional cost weighing down the system. Would humanitarianism and international engagement be easier to uphold if we left off corporate costs? Do most of the value of humanitarianism and international engagement redound to corporations as an additional value primarily to them rather than everyday people? Is their perceived problem that they're another method of privatizing profits to major corporations and elites and socializing the losses to the average person?

    5. What professionals actually do to earn the large incomes that pay for their nice things is a mystery. All those hours spent sitting at a computer screen—do they contribute something to society, to the family of an electrician or a home health aide (whose contributions are obvious)?

      A solid question.

      Perhaps less mysterious when gauged against the extreme financialization of our economy since the 1970's.

      Are these people primarily propping up our classist structures to the lack of all else?

      What could be done to re-regulate things back into some semblance of balance?

      How much of the financialization is strip mining the lower classes or even middle classes of their earnings and retirements in progressively more vicious economic downturns that get bailed out by the populace?

      Would allowing companies that are "too large to fail" help right the system and push more wealth back down to the lower classes?

    1. It’s a familiar trick in the privatisation-happy US – like, say, underfunding public education and then criticising the institution for struggling.

      This same thing is being seen in the U.S. Post Office now too. Underfund it into failure rather than provide a public good.

      Capitalism definitely hasn't solved the issue, and certainly without government regulation. See also the last mile problem for internet service, telephone service, and cable service.

      UPS and FedEx apparently rely on the USPS for last mile delivery in remote areas. (Source for this?)

      The poor and the remote are inordinately effected in almost all these cases. What other things do these examples have in common? How can we compare and contrast the public service/government versions with the private capitalistic ones to make the issues more apparent. Which might be the better solution: capitalism with tight government regulation to ensure service at the low end or a government monopoly of the area? or something in between?

    2. the underprivileged are priced out of the dental-treatment system yet perversely held responsible for their dental condition.

      How does this happen?

      Is it the idea of "personal responsibility" and "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" philosophy combined with lack of any actual support and/or education?

      There has to be a better phrase or word to define the perverse sort of philosophy espoused by many in the Republican party about this sort of "personal responsibility".

      It feels somewhat akin to the idea of privatize profits and socialize the losses. The social loss is definitely one that is pushed off onto the individual, but who's profiting? Is it really so expensive to fix this problem? Isn't the loss to society and public health akin to the Million Dollar Murray problem?

      Wouldn't each individual's responsibility be better tied to the collective good as well as their own outcomes? How can the two be bound together to improve outcomes for everyone all around?

  2. Jun 2021
    1. You have to be right that the best society is one where people get ahead by being good at things that are worth doing.

      Quote from Daniel Markovitz

      This does raise the point of whether or not some of the things elites are doing is actually good or productive for society. Many are only working at privatizing profits and socializing losses which can be phenomenally caustic to society as well.

  3. May 2021
    1. I worked on a recent project to sketch out for a centre-right German think-tank how a European data commons might work. I tried to steer it away from property rights and towards what you’d get if you started with the commons and then worked back to what data could be harnessed, and to which collective purposes. This is eminently do-able, and pushes you towards two distinct areas; groups of people who are served poorly or not at all by current data regimes, and existing cooperatives, unions and mutual societies who could collect and process their members’ data to improve collective bargaining, or licence access to it to generate revenue and boost affiliate membership. Viewing personal data as a collective asset points towards all sorts of currently under-provided public goods (I briefly describe several, on p. 74 here – yes, oddly enough, this stuff got shoved into an annex).

      Apparently lots of reading to catch up on here.

      I definitely like the idea of starting with the commons and working backwards, not only with respect to data, but with respect to most natural resources. This should be the primary goal of governments and the goal should be to prevent private individuals and corporations from privatizing profits and socializing the losses.

      Think of an individual organism in analogy to a country or even personkind. What do we call a group of cells that grows without check and consumes all the resources? (A cancer). The organism needs each cell and group of cells to work together for the common good. We can't have a group of cis-gender white men aggregating all the power and resources for themselves at the cost of the rest otherwise they're just a cancer on humanity.

    1. banning DDT also seemed ludicrous until it wasn’t.

      And even with the ban, we can find dumped barrels nearly 60 years later which become problematic: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/us/ddt-barrels-california.html

    2. There’s many examples around the world of communities banding together to collectively govern a shared resource, like forestry, grazing grounds, and wells.

      If we all take action to do these things collectively, then it isn't a "tax" on any individual or corporation.

    3. The thing about common goods like public health, though, is that there’s only so much individual actions can achieve without a collective response that targets systemic problems. While we owe a duty of care to one another, it’s not enough for all of us to be willing to wear masks if there’s no contact tracing, no paid sick leave, no medical manufacturing and distribution capacity, no international sharing of vaccine research. And it’s not enough for each of us to be individually vigilant about our information if unscrupulous trackers are gathering up data we didn’t even know we were shedding, or if law enforcement is buying up that data on the private market to use for surveillance purposes none of us ever consented to.

      This example underlines that as a society we need better collective responses to many things which not only improves the lives individuals, but of society as a whole.

      A rising tide lifts all boats should be a government mantra rather than the more typical libertarian or republican responses of each person on their own. Without society and cohesion, neither individuals nor corporations can succeed, so let them carry more of the share that's due rather than externalizing all the costs.

    1. This is another great example of companies attempting to privatize profits and socialize the losses, or in this case pass along the losses and lost productivity to their employees (or as described here their independent contractors).

      Why can't they do some of the hard "technology" work and solve the problem of helping their workers become dramatically more productive?

  4. Jan 2021
    1. For example, the notion of the workplace as a family is a refrain in offices but it is most explicit for nannies.

      Too often corporations use the idea that the workplace is a "family", but when times get tough, we don't abandon our families the same way that corporations will summarily fire their employees to try to survive themselves without any real thought about their supposed "family members".

  5. Aug 2020
    1. Harper, Craig A., and Darren Rhodes. ‘Ideological Responses to the Breaking of COVID-19 Social Distancing Recommendations’, 19 August 2020. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dkqj6.

    2. Harper, Craig A., and Darren Rhodes. ‘Ideological Responses to the Breaking of COVID-19 Social Distancing Recommendations’, 19 August 2020. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dkqj6.

    3. Harper, Craig A., and Darren Rhodes. ‘Ideological Responses to the Breaking of COVID-19 Social Distancing Recommendations’, 19 August 2020. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dkqj6.

  6. Apr 2020
  7. Sep 2018