April 21, 2011

As the Empire Crumbles

Observations by Noam Chomsky:

The peak of U.S. power was after World War II, when it had literally half the world's wealth. But that naturally declined, as other industrial economies recovered from the devastation of the war and decolonization took its agonizing course. By the early 1970s, the U.S. share of global wealth had declined to about 25%

There was also a sharp change in the U.S. economy in the 1970s, towards financialization and export of production. A variety of factors converged to create a vicious cycle of radical concentration of wealth, primarily in the top fraction of 1% of the population -- mostly CEOs, hedge-fund managers, and the like. That leads to the concentration of political power, hence state policies to increase economic concentration: fiscal policies, rules of corporate governance, deregulation, and much more. Meanwhile the costs of electoral campaigns skyrocketed, driving the parties into the pockets of concentrated capital


Is the World Too Big to Fail? The Contours of Global Order
, Truthout, Noam Chomsky, April 21, 2011.


April 16, 2011

Maryland Tax Delinquents Named

Maryland Tax Delinquents named by Maryland Comptroller's Office:

The Comptroller of Maryland is serious about retrieving unresolved tax liabilities. As a part of the collection process, we publish the names of businesses, individuals and corporate officers having large unresolved liabilities - including individuals who have large unresolved personal income tax liabilities. All of the information is public since liens and judgments have been recorded in the judgment dockets of one or more circuit courts of Maryland.

No one is above the tax laws. If you don't want to see your name posted on our site along with other tax delinquents, be sure to keep up with your tax obligations.


April 12, 2011

Wealth Gap and Revolution

Lately I've been dwelling on the social strains caused by the wealth gap in the US. Everyone should know the difference between "income gap" and "wealth gap;" income being the annual revenues and wealth being the accumulated revenues or savings. The wealth gap is actually more pronounced than the income gap, but both have been growing for several decades. A recent statistic on wealth gap:

The top 1% of Americans own 40% of the wealth.

The word hoarding comes to mind as does a famous quote:

There is, inherent in the capitalist system, a tendency to self-destruct. - Schumpeter, 1942.

We see it happening before our very eyes playing out in the Washington budget debate. The notion, that giving the wealthy class, or owner class, tax cuts to spur growth is a widely held belief in our society. But this simplistic rule only makes sense when money is tight and production capacity at factories is tight and in need of investment to expand, neither of which hold today; we don't need any more production capacity and even if the owner class were to produce more, the commoners don't have the money to buy the stuff.

What we face is a market that is saturated with production capacity, but no money among we the little people, because the money is being hoarded and used for non-productive speculation. Buying commodities, like grains, industrial metals, oil & gas, have become disconnected from the real economy and turned into a gambling playground for the wealthy (not just Americans).

The tendency is for this kind of hoarding to create social instability (dare I say "revolution"?).
People are catching on to this, and the big questions are 1) will we get to the point where enough people become so destitute that they don't have anything, and thus don't have anything to loose if they rise up? 2) will the honest, wise wealthy people change policies before this happens, if only to save themselves?

Stay Tuned.


Show Me the Money, Zine, Autumn, 2001, Tony Honeycut.


April 7, 2011

Move to Amend Corporate Power

Was skimming the "Move to Amend" News Webpage. The progressive movement has a good hook for action here, changing state constitutions to Define ‘Natural Persons’ as Human Beings, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Saying ‘No’ to Citizens United, and Madison and Dane County Wisconsin voters moving to amend the US Constitution to check corporate power.


Graphic: Wisconsin Move to Amend Cow.