Posts Tagged ‘austerity’
Tags: austerity, banks, cartoon, Europe, guns, JPMorganChase, Too Big to Fail, United States
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Tags: austerity, Greece, protest, strike, workers
Greek workers have shut down the country today as a demonstration against austerity measures imposed by the government and foreign lenders, whose inspectors were in Athens to review the country’s performance under its bailout.
Tags: Alain Badiou, Antonio Gramsci, austerity, communism, inequality, Left
I’ve long been saying to friends and public audiences that much of what is occurring in the world today—from the imposition of Draconian austerity policies to growing inequality—is a symptom of the failure of the Left. (It’s a hard truth, which, at least in some quarters, hasn’t won me any new friends.)
Writing about the anti-fascist protests in Greece, Alain Badiou [ht: ke] appears to agree.
For what is striking – in Greece above all, but elsewhere as well, particularly in France – is the manifest impotence of the progressive forces to compel even the slightest meaningful retreat of the economic and state powers that are seeking to submit the people unreservedly to the new (though also long-standing and fundamental) law of thoroughgoing liberalism.
Not only are the progressive forces making no headway, and failing to score even a limited success, but also the forces of fascism have been growing and, against the illusory backdrop of a xenophobic and racist nationalism, now claim to lead the opposition to the European administrations’ decrees.
The question is, how do we balance this justified pessimism of the intellect with an optimism of the will?
Tags: austerity, happiness, political economy, surplus, unions, workers
My colleague Benjamin Radcliff, author of the Political Economy of Human Happiness, argues happier people live in countries with strong social safety nets and labor unions.
The relationship could not be stronger or clearer: However much it may pain conservatives to hear it, the “nanny state,” as they disparagingly call it, works. Across the Western world, the quality of human life increases as the size of the state increases. It turns out that having a “nanny” makes life better for people. This is borne out by the U.N. 2013 “World Happiness Report,” which found Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden the top five happiest nations.
Conservatives may be equally troubled to learn that labor unions have a similar effect. Not only are workers who belong to unions happier, but the overall rate of happiness for everyone — members and nonmembers — increases dramatically as the percentage of workers who belong to unions grows, reflecting the louder political voice that organization gives to ordinary citizens.
Take it a step further and we can conclude that people will be able to have richer and more rewarding lives when the social surplus is used to support the welfare of the majority of the population and when workers have a democratic say in how that surplus is produced.
The United States will truly deserve the distinction of being exceptional when it rejects the austerity agenda that continues to be peddled as the solution to our current economic and social problems and embraces a more generous future.
Tags: austerity, cartoon, corporations, food stamps, France, Germany, politics, Republicans, unpaid internships
Tags: austerity, diet, food, Italy, unemployment
The latest victim of austerity is the once-healthy Mediterranean diet [ht: sm]. As unemployment has soared and real incomes fallen, Italians have been forced to adopt a new diet—an unhealthy austerity diet.
At her surgery in central Milan, nutritionist Francesca Noli is concerned by her fellow countrymen’s steady move away from the healthy Mediterranean diet.
“Since 2008 Italians are eating a lot more pasta and a lot more rice,” she tells me, explaining that such carbohydrates, which are cheap, fill you up quickly.
“But people here are eating far fewer fresh vegetables and fresh fish and meat – and when they do they buy discount food which is poor quality.”
She shakes her head. “I’m worried now,” she says, “but I’m very worried for the future.”
Today, one in three young Italians is obese and some 20 million adult Italians are overweight. Obesity is more prevalent in the poorer south of the country and nutritionist like Francesca Noli warn that cheap, calorie-packed fast foods and ready meals are largely to be blame.