Archive for November, 2013

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I’ll admit I haven’t read the books. And I did enjoy the first Hunger Games more than the second. Not to mention the fact that the filmmakers haven’t quite decided between representing class inequality (of conspicuous consumption at the top and working for a living at the bottom) or a relation of domination between the center of the empire (replete with a coliseum, chariots, and fascist insignia) and the periphery (12 districts, based on various occupations and industries). In either case, the goal of those at the top is to distract the masses from seeing what is actually going on.

But it was interesting watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire in a packed theater and listening to the audience (mostly groups of teenagers) erupt in cheers as the Capitol was being challenged, perhaps for the first time in 75 years, by the Districts.

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Chart of the day

Posted: 28 November 2013 in Uncategorized
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Economist of the day

Posted: 27 November 2013 in Uncategorized
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Dominic Barton, the global managing director at McKinsey & Co, in the Wall Street Journal:

What will be the biggest challenge to capitalism in the next two decades—and what should be done about it?

DOMINIC BARTON: Rising and persistent income inequality. In 2012, the top 1% of earners in the U.S. collected 19.3% of the country’s total household income–an all-time high, according to work by Emmanuel Saez at the University of California at Berkeley. The disparity is growing rapidly as well. Incomes of the top 1% grew by 31.4% from 2009 to 2012, compared to just 0.4% for the remaining 99%. There is still considerable debate among economists on the impact of income inequality on economic growth and the short-term recovery from the recession. However, few would disagree that unchecked increases in inequality will be costly for capitalism in the long-run–due to the divisions that it creates within society and the strain that it puts on social safety nets.

Chart of the day

Posted: 27 November 2013 in Uncategorized
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According to the Washington Post,

American workers are living with unprecedented economic anxiety, four years into a recovery that has left so many of them stuck in place. That anxiety is concentrated heavily among low-income workers. . .

More than six in 10 workers in a recent Washington Post-Miller Center poll worry that they will lose their jobs to the economy, surpassing concerns in more than a dozen surveys dating to the 1970s. Nearly one in three, 32 percent, say they worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, also a record high. . .

Lower-paid workers also worry far more about making ends meet. Fully 85 percent of them fear that their families’ income will not be enough to meet expenses, up 25 points from a 1971 survey asking an identical question. Thirty-two percent say they worry all the time about meeting expenses, a number that has almost tripled since the 1970s.