Friday, September 24, 2010

Economy Financial Greed Has Led to Worldwide Poverty: Amy Goodman Explains

Tags: Economy Financial Greed End of Age of Greed and Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global

Paul Mason in his two books “Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed” and “Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global”

When I watch the news, I always think of the question I want the reporters to ask and they never do. Even the BBC which is much better by far, still misses critical questions. Think! There has been a news blackout about the Republican claim that tax cuts will harm small business.

Since most new companies and thriving ones get money from the rich and corporations who want new ideas and products at a bargain price. We really don’t need Wall Street as it is now constituted. See The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein, 2010, The Penguin Press

Quote from last chapter, page 296. “Prior to the ‘90s, the profits of financial firms had averaged about 1.2 percent of the GDP, with little annual variation. But in the ‘90s and ‘00s they soared; in 2005 such profits totaled 3.3 percent. There is no inherent reason why finance should have suddenly tripled its share of the national output, and in a world with less leverage, less risk, less appetite for exotic securities, and, off in the distance, higher interest rates--no reason why it should continue.”

Here again Lowenstein wanted to keep his job at the New York Times. Before the crash, the GDP of Financials was about 42%. After the crash and free money from the Federal Reserve, Financials now take up about 62% of GDP.

It is never mentioned that the Republican definition of Small business unlike President Obama is that they mean a small number of owners, not workers.

Billionaires Koch Brothers whose private oil company is an S-Corporation where they pay taxes like all of us but have the privilege of deferring taxes for many years. They have tens of thousands of employees and is one of the most profitable of all businesses because of all the subsidies they get from our government put in place by Bush and Republican controlled Senate, House, or all three as President Bush.

How to control Americans? Just keep them entertained and ignorant. Orwell’s “1984” I might add, keep them insecure about their jobs by exporting similar jobs.

Television, Facebook, Twitter, Texting, and games leaves little time to learn. No one reads anymore except for weak detective fictions and the like or screen plays books. That is why Patterson books written by many different writers, and overseen by Patterson are so popular. We hear news in soundbites and we read fiction in soundbites.

Some dating sites want cater to those who read serious books of fiction. That is one place we learn about how people behave. Even the adult fable book with spirits and all that stuff I am reading now “Of Bees and Mist” by Erick Setiawan does not veer too far from too many real life examples in how the Right Wing treats their families.

Throughout history, fiction has been used to tell people the truth!

The Jon Stewart Daily Show uses satire to depict Republicans and Democrats. Colbert exaggerates conservative actions to ridicule them, but very few catch on.

Kakutani of the New York Times seems to try to trash both fiction and nonfiction books that has any liberal sentiments. She trashed books during the 2000 election year that made Bush look bad. She did the same with the #1 best selling fiction by Franzen Freedom about our Middleclass. Lot to learn about real life by reading fiction. Obama has bought the book. Oprah recommended!

Jim Kawakami, Sept 24, 2010,

Economy Financial Greed Has Led to Worldwide Poverty: Amy Goodman Explains

The Census Bureau's latest report shows that the numbers of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance have skyrocketed. 43.6 million people˜about one in seven˜lived below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four in 2009, pushing the national poverty rate to a fifteen-year high of 14.3 percent. We speak with British journalist Paul Mason about his new book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.


(Emotional Response is necessary to remember and make decisions. That is why watching the video is preferred to reading the transcript. Everything we do is now rushed for what purpose? Most smart folks such as reporters and Democratic politicians think they remember everything, but they seem not to remember the really important things. Just gossip. More truths from and and especially Amy Goodman !

This emotion is generated by curiosity and interest and as the Republican exploit well our emotional responses to political ads. Democrats talk too abstractly. Take a lesson from Joe Biden who is a superb salesperson on a one to one basis just like Hillary Clinton. They are not even close to Obama on reading speeches, but excel over Obama in talking to people. Jim)

Paul Mason on Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global


The Census Bureau’s latest report shows that the numbers of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance have skyrocketed. 43.6 million people—about one in seven—lived below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four in 2009, pushing the national poverty rate to a fifteen-year high of 14.3 percent. We speak with British journalist Paul Mason about his new book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global. [includes rush transcript] …

Paul Mason, award-winning journalist and author. He is economics editor for BBC Newsnight appearing on BBC America. His books include Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed and Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.

Age of Greed and Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.

Paul Mason, it’s great to have you in New York right before you go back to Britain. You’ve been traveling for two weeks now through the United States. Talk about the middle class.

PAUL MASON: It’s disappearing. For us, the Brits, the concept (idea) of the American middle class has always been a bit flaky. We notice that your politicians call people who earn salaries and work "workers" at election time and then "middle-class" when things are going, you know, a little bit south in terms of the economy. The figures you’ve just read out are borne out by the income statistics. We had the Census Bureau telling us that American average incomes have stagnated for a decade—on some measures, stagnated for thirty years. We know what filled the gap: credit. The credit boom is over. And I think, for many Americans I’ve met on this trip, the whole—the economic collapse of their lives. I met a couple who had lost—who had gone from 75,000 pounds a year to 14,000 pounds a year. I said to them, "Do you still feel middle-class?" They said, "Kind of, but we’re not sure what that means anymore." To me, as a journalist looking from the outside, that’s going to have big impacts on your—on the sociology of America, and eventually on its politics.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I was struck in your book where you basically go head on against a myth that’s been spread quite a bit in—especially in Europe and the United States: the deindustrialization of the modern world. (Developed First Tier Countries) And in fact, you say that the opposite is true, that in fact there are more industrial workers than ever before. It’s just that they’re not in necessarily the United States or Germany or England.

PAUL MASON: I think the number one fact that history will record about the three decades we’ve lived through is the doubling of the world’s workforce, "The Great Doubling," as one Harvard academic calls it. Now, this has huge implications. I’ve had the privilege to report on this. You were speaking about contractors earlier, Iraqi contractors earlier on. I went to Lima, Peru, and found some of the people who had been working in the Green Zone, dumped back in Lima with life-changing injuries, no insurance. They’re part of the global working class.

But, you know, just as the stories in history didn’t get reported in that way, they’re not being reported in that way now. I think the story of global labor is one of the most important things we’re living through and certainly is something that everybody should own. It shouldn’t be the property of archivists and activists, because these are great human stories of individual bravery and triumph over adversity. I just wanted to retell them to people who just have no other way of knowing what their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Mason, we were just in London, where you’re going back to, and we interviewed the great spy writer John le CarrĂ©—and we’re going to play that in the next few weeks. You begin your book in the community, often called the slum, in Kenya, Kabira, where—well, people may know it in the United States only as the place—the backdrop of The Constant Gardner, John le CarrĂ©’s book. But why did you start in Kenya, in Kabira?

PAUL MASON: Because I’ve reported from that shantytown, that slum—that self-organized community, as they would prefer to call it—many times. But it always occurs to me that we see it as a poverty story. And, of course, the struggles in those streets are about avoiding your shack being bulldozed by some hoodlum. But just one mile away is the Kenyan industrial district. And every morning at 5:00 a.m., those people go out of the slums and into the factories. We don’t see them as workers, and yet, without those people living in the slums—earning, by the way, much less than a Chinese worker could earn—all our green beans in Europe and our fresh tulips would not appear.

It’s a hidden story. And they need to know, I think, just as the people here in Lower Manhattan, on your streets. You know, they’re having trouble with the geography of the place they live, recent migrants. They don’t know the history, that Irish and Jewish migrants before them fought exactly the same battles and how they won and what it did to them as people and how it raised them up as people. I just think that we’re almost living in a sort of Groundhog Day, where workforces keep repeating and reliving, just as the people in Kenya are reliving what, you know, my great, great-grandfathers actually went through in the first phase of industrialization. I’m from an industrial town in northern Britain.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The impact of the new centers of the working class and the world being China, India, Mexico, these other countries now, where labor organization is a lot more difficult because the government is so—in most of these places, in essence, controlling, even the unions that develop. What is it doing to labor consciousness, to solidarity between labor organizations around the world?

PAUL MASON: Well, above all, I think China is the absolute pivot of what’s going to happen in the world. I’ve managed to track the emergence of the Chinese labor movement. When I first started to go into China, migrant laborers, the most oppressed people, were just happy to be living in a dormitory, to be honest. You interview a young woman who gets her first pair of high-heel, pointy shoes. That is not—she doesn’t see it as a tragedy that she has to live in a dormitory and work twelve, fourteen hours a day.

But now, five years on, it’s not just the fact that the militancy is there. I’ve spoken to some of the people who organize these Chinese strikes. You know how they organize them? I said, "How do you organize a strike?" Woman said to me, "You write on a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp the single Chinese character 'strike.' And then you pass it to the next person on the line." She looked to me gone out, as—that there might be a difficulty organizing a strike. It’s easy, because they see the gap between what they’re promised and what they’re getting. So we are in a tremendously rapid development of a labor movement in China.

Now, don’t think that this is a labor movement that is going to bring down the Communist Party. The Communist Party has done something very clever. It has depoliticized labor disputes, so that these strikes we had this summer, in Foshan with Honda and the Foxconn, the suicide bids, it became political, but it doesn’t become insurrectionary. The Chinese government has learned its lesson from the twentieth century revolutions where those two things mixed up. But we are seeing the development of a labor movement in China. There’s no mistaking it. …

JUAN GONZALEZ: You have in Sweden, in Italy, and even in Germany now, in France, huge anti-immigrant movements that are developing, here in the United States. And in essence, immigration is the other side of international capital. It’s international—people being forced to move to be able to survive. How is this whole anti-immigrant trend feeding into potential fascist movements in many of these countries?

PAUL MASON: Well, the interesting thing is that the European right—you know, most of the European right originated in the remnants of World War II fascism. But it’s evolving. You’d have to say that it’s evolving towards a kind of plebeian—often based on things like opposition to Islam rather than race itself, color of skin. It certainly is there. I think that you have—your news has been dominated by this whole issue of mosques. We have that in the UK.

But I think the point about my book is to say we live in a global labor market. The labor market starts at our door and ends at a bus stop in the poorest city in China. That’s the labor market. And I think organized labor has had a lot of trouble getting its head around this. They hate offshoring. The American unions don’t like it. Fair enough. Then parts of the American population don’t like the influx of migrants. But if you were to stand back and say, "What period of history are we living through?" we’re living through the history of the globalization of labor. So, one has to, in one’s life, get used to it.

My town I come from in Britain is unrecognizable demographically to what it was when I lived there in the 1980s. But when I was in there in the 1980s, it was the same as it was in the 1900s when my granddad was there. The change we’re going through is a one-time-only change, I think. It’s for everybody to decide what they thing about that. But it’s—I can’t see it as stoppable. The country of Spain is short ten million people. It won’t have a pension system, unless it gets ten million more employees by the middle of the century. Where is it going to get them from?

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Mason, why are US labor organizations, why unions, are so vilified in the United States? I mean, you have the blaming of the demise of the auto industry, by many, on the pension plans, the healthcare funds of the United Auto Workers. You have the blaming of the education budget shortfalls on teachers’ unions and their pay.

PAUL MASON: I think you have to see both sides of this. I think when everyone finds the remains of a strong union way of life, one finds people who are grieving about the collapse of the social solidarity around them. I found this in Detroit. You find people who want to hang on to what they have. You know, I think that can sometimes lead to behavior by unions that seems to people who have no rights or benefits as selfish. Now, I think that is where that debate begins. And I think in Britain unions stick to what you’ve got. You hang on to what you hold. The episodes I cover historically in my book are when trade unions stepped out of that. … Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism--1945-1960-- by Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf, University of Illinois Press, 1994. …

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