This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, October 14. It is a crisis log.
There are six items
today, with six dotted links. Here is a brief survey:
Item 1 is Good News for everybody who is
rich or expects money from the rich, and Bad News for everybody else:
The richest 1% owe nearly half of all wealth there is; item 2 is about Chris Hedges' recent ordainment in the
church; item 3 is about Morales' re-election in
Bolivia, which I think is good, in spite of my being no socialist; item 4 is about the crisis in the English NHS; item 5 about Krugman's diagnosis of what is killing
the world economy (and I disagree); and item 6 is
about the rich subsidies for the few American private universities as
contrasted to the very poor subsidies for the many American public
Also, this file got uploaded a bit earlier than is usual for me.
Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth,
item is an article by Jill Treanor on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Note first that Credit
Suisse is not precisely a revolutionary organization. And personally I
see these figures as obscene, and as showing that none of the
governments have done their democratic job properly, which is not to
amass wealth for the few, which they did, but to spread wealth over
all, which also is quite possible under capitalism
The richest 1% of the
world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of
global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned
growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.
According to the Credit
Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 –
including the value of equity in their home – to be among the
wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is
required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and
$798,000 to belong to the top 1%.
“Taken together, the
bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth.
In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth,
and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets,” said
the annual report, now in its fifth year.
As I said, Credit Suisse is not at all a revolutionary organization.
But they also say:
Yes, quite so - and this
is a very dangerous development. Why? Credit Suisse explains:
“These figures give more
evidence that inequality is extreme and growing, and that economic
recovery following the financial crisis has been skewed in favour of
the wealthiest. In poor countries, rising inequality means the
difference between children getting the chance to go to school and sick
people getting life saving medicines,” said Oxfam’s head of inequality
“In the UK, successive
governments have failed to get to grips with rising inequality. This
report shows that those least able to afford it have paid the price of
the financial crisis whilst more wealth has flooded into the coffers of
the very richest.”
“For more than a
century, the wealth income ratio has typically fallen in a narrow
interval between 4 and 5. However, the ratio briefly rose above 6 in
1999 during the dotcom bubble and broke that barrier again during
2005–2007. It dropped sharply into the “normal band” following the
financial crisis, but the decline has since been reversed, and the
ratio is now at a recent record high level of 6.5, matched previously
only during the great Depression. This is a worrying signal given that
abnormally high wealth income ratios have always signaled recession in
the past,” the report said.
There is more under the
last dotted link, and you are recommended to read all of this piece: it
does show quite well, from a strongly pro-capitalist point of view,
what is wrong with both present-day wealth distribution and
present-day politicians (who in majority either are careerists bought
by the rich or else behave as if they are).
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig!:
This starts as follows:
Thirty years ago I stood
in a church in Albany, N.Y., with my father, a Presbyterian minister. I
had graduated from Harvard Divinity School and had purchased a one-way
ticket to El Salvador, where the military government, backed by the
United States, was slaughtering between 700 and 1,000 people a month.
I had decided, as George
Orwell and James
Baldwin did earlier, to use my writing as a weapon. I would stand
with the oppressed. I would give them a voice. I would describe their
suffering and their hopes. And I would name the injustices being done
to them. It was a decision that would send me to war for two decades,
to experience the worst of human evil, to taste too much of my own fear
and to confront the reality of violence and random death.
But going to El Salvador
as a reporter was not something the Presbyterian Church at the time
recognized as a valid ministry, and a committee rejected my “call.”
This continues by
quoting Baldwin and Orwell, the last to this effect, which I think is
Orwell's fundamental reason to write:
“My starting point is
always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice,” Orwell wrote.
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going
to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I
want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my
initial concern is to get a hearing.”
But now Chris Hedges
On Sunday, Oct. 5, after
several years of volunteering as a teacher in the New Jersey prison
system, I entered into the formal embrace of the church to continue my
work with the incarcerated. But in my own mind, and in the mind of my
father, I was ordained long ago. I was possessed by a vision, a call,
to tell the truth, which is different from reporting the news, and to
stand with those who suffered, from Central America to Gaza to Iraq to
Sarajevo to the United States’ vast archipelago of prisons. “You are
not really a journalist,” my friend and fellow reporter Stephen Kinzer
once told me, “you are a minister pretending to be a journalist.”
Chris Hedges is not an ordinary journalist, and I quite believe
him when he says "I was
possessed by a vision, a call, to tell the truth, which is different
from reporting the news".
Then again, this really
holds for a few only, and those few are not
circumscribed by some faith, and indeed may not have any religious faith
at all. But yes, Chris Hedges has a Christian faith, and if you want to
know more about it, you can use the last dotted link.
Bolivia's Morales claims re-election victory
item is an article by Enrique Andres Pretel on Reuters:
This starts as follows:
I say - and for me,
while I am neither a socialist nor an admirer of Castro, this is
progress, indeed because of this:
Bolivian President Evo
declared a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, hailing it
as a triumph for socialist reforms that have cut poverty and
vastly expanded the state's role in the booming economy.
Official results were
slow coming in but an exit poll and a
quick count showed Morales, a former coca grower, trouncing his
opponents with about 60 percent of the vote and easily winning a
third term in power.
Morales, who became
Bolivia's first indigenous leader in
2006, will now be able to extend his "indigenous socialism",
under which he has nationalized key industries such as oil and
gas to finance welfare programs and build new roads and schools.
"This was a debate on two
models: nationalisation or
privatisation. Nationalisation won with more than 60 percent
(support)," Morales told thousands of cheering supporters from
the balcony of the presidential palace.
A prominent member of the
bloc of socialist and anti-U.S.
leaders in Latin America, Morales dedicated his victory to
Cuba's former communist leader Fidel Castro.
Bolivia is a small
country, at least in terms of his population of 10 million, but to go
from extreme poverty for 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 in 8 years is quite good. So it is good, I think, that Morales
will be in power till 2020.
He has delivered economic growth averaging above 5
year, also winning plaudits from Wall Street for running fiscal
Under Morales, the number of Bolivians living in extreme
poverty has fallen to one in five from more than a third of the
population of 10 million in 2006.
staff are there for us in times of
need. Today we must be there for them
item is an article by Suzanne Moore on The Guardian:
This starts as follows
(and is here mainly because it highlights one of the very many failings
of the English Labour Party):
It is well known that
midwives are hardline militants who are only in it for the money. Apart
from delivering the occasional baby, looking after mothers, fathers and
entire families, working antisocial hours and doing lots of unpaid
overtime, running clinics for ante and postnatal care, surviving on
chocolate left by the thankful, what do they really do all day and
night? Why should their wages be kept in line with inflation?
This is the point, isn’t
it? We do know what midwives, ambulance staff, paramedics and hospital
porters do. Without getting misty-eyed or pretending everyone is an
angel, many of us will have experienced their grace under pressure.
This is why there is much sympathy for today’s strike. If that sympathy cannot be expressed as
solidarity by the Labour leadership, one wonders, yet again, what
Labour is for. If Labour cannot stand by these workers who are not all being offered even a 1% pay rise – yet another
Jeremy Hunt fallacy – then where does it stand?
There is considerably
more in the article that I will leave to your interests, but I will
give my answer to the last question:
Labour - its
politicians, at least - are nearly exchangeable with the Tories these
days, and indeed have been so ever since Tony Blair sold out socialism,
to change it to Tory-lite, and as an instrument for his own
currently owns a mere 60 million pounds) and those of other careerists.
And while I am not a socialist
(mostly because I am anti-totalitarian
and because I have
seen socialist countries at work: it didn't work, for most, and indeed
it didn't work at all), I am also not pro rich,
and indeed I see this as a calculated intentional betrayal
of the many poor, by the few rich or by their
servants, which these days also include most - not: all - Labour
5. Paul Krugman on What's Really Killing the
item is an article by Janet Allon on AlterNet:
This starts as
forgiveness can be a virtue when it comes to easing hard economic
times, as well as other areas of life.
economy is still stumbling, Paul
Krugman writes in his column today. Recovery is stalling. "If this
story sounds familiar, it should; it has played out repeatedly since
2008," Krugman writes, somewhat depressingly. "As in previous episodes,
the worst news is coming from Europe, but this time there is also a
clear slowdown in emerging markets — and there are even warning signs in the United States,
despite pretty good job growth at the moment."
Then he sets out
to answer this question of why things are so bad. After all, we are
years past the housing bust and banking crisis, i.e., the causes of the
Actually, I think we
are not - or more precisely: while it is true the housing bust
banking crisis are past, the crisis these started still endures, and it
still endures because of the policies that were chosen to save
banks, which again were those that saved the rich and increased their
incomes, and namely because they succeeded in switching off their
responsibility for the
crisis to the ordinary people, who had to pay the many billions that
were necessary to save the corrupt banks.
This is also mostly
Krugman's answer, but his answer to the question why governments are still
implementing the austerity policies is different
to the question "why do
governments keep making these mistakes?" Krugman answers this:
The answer, Krugman
posits, is misplaced righteousness, overzealous moralizers intent on
continuing to punish debtors even if doing so drags everyone down.
No - not anymore after six
years: in my opinion it is simply greed.
For austerity worked out to
save the few rich, both as regards their taxes and their incomes; it
worked out to take from the many poor, and that especially in incomes,
that were taken from them and given to the rich, for well over
years now, also; and to posit this fundamentally ideological
story while it is clear that what covers these facts - that the rich
over the last 35 years, and that they did so largely by stealing from
the poor, indeed in the name of ideology and a totally false "freedom"
and "free markets" - is a bit disingenuous, in my eyes.
So rather than the ending
Allon provides, which is this:
Cutbacks and austerity
have kept the economy weak. Policy makers have embraced the equivalent
of, "the beatings will continue until morale improves."
I would rather say:
Cutbacks and austerity have
kept the rich strong and made them even richer, all because policy
makers have embraced the equivalent of "the beatings will continue until the rich have virtually
It is calculated greed that
is killing the world economy, much more than ideological dreams.
Government Spends More Per Pupil at Elite Private Universities than at
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as
Imagine a system of
college education supported by high and growing government spending on
elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy
and upper-middle class, and low and declining government spending on
public universities that educate large numbers of children from the
working class and the poor.
You can stop imagining.
That’s the American system right now.
Government subsidies to
elite private universities take the form of tax deductions for people
who make charitable contributions to them. In economic terms a tax
deduction is the same as government spending. It has to be made up by
The rich can spend a lot
because they have an enormous amount of money, and indeed they do spend
it in part on subsidizing education:
endowments are now around $550
billion, centered in a handful of prestigious institutions.
Harvard’s endowment is over $32 billion, followed by Yale at $20.8
billion, Stanford at $18.6 billion, and Princeton at $18.2 billion.
Public universities, by
contrast, have little or no endowment income. They get almost all their
funding from state governments. But these subsidies have been shrinking.
State and local financing
for public higher education came to about $76
billion last year, nearly 10 percent less than a decade before.
First note this is less -
for all universities except for a few private ones - than the
endowments Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton received from
billionaires. And next, this means public university students are
subsidized by less than a tenth of the money that subsidize
students in the rich universities.
There is considerably more under the last dotted link, that includes an
explanation of how per every three dollars given (in large gifts) one
dollar is returned in tax breaks to the rich givers, from the tax money
gathered from all.
As Reich says "There is no
justification", but it continues and continues.