So what we were going to talk about is really the Third World debt crisis, the new Third World debt crisis. How similar and how different is it from the one that hit the Third World back in the 1980s? What has been the specific contribution, if any, of the pandemic and the war? And what is the future of the Third World, given that in addition to all the other calamities, it is now hit with this debt crisis? Now, last time we started with a list of seven questions and we only got through the first two. So let me just go through the seven questions and then we will begin with the third question. So the first question was, what was the genesis of the 1980s debt crisis?
A recently published joint study conducted by Oxfam and Action Aid claims that the total windfall profit of the world’s 722 top companies crossed USD 1 trillion for the second consecutive year in 2022. The study notes that this figure, which is higher than the GDP of a majority of countries in the world, reflects an “obscene” and “immoral” quest for higher profits by the rich, who have exploited the global crisis of energy and food price inflation and higher interest rates in the last two years caused by multiple factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
With attention fixed on this week’s events in Bolivia, you would be excused for not realizing that much of the rest of the region has for weeks also been ablaze in the flames of protest. In Costa Rica, the neoliberal coalition government of Carlos Alverado attempted to force through a $1.75 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As has been its modus operandi this year, the organization offered the money attached to a host of free-market changes, including tax changes, cuts to public services, and privatization of state-owned assets, something Alverado was more than happy to do.
A nation built on greed is not a nation; it is just a legal framework for rape and pillage, slavery and exploitation, theft, murder, and genocide. A nation whose primary function is to protect the exclusive right of the rich to engage in those behaviors under other names has no more moral legitimacy than the lawless state that allows common criminals to run wild. Greed by any other name smells just as foul. Greed cloaked in terms of “national security” or “for the good of the economy” is just as detestable as the greed that steals toys from children and purses from old women. Greed is not a founding principle for a long-lasting society. It is the calling card of tyrants.
Over the years, the IPS Program on Inequality and the Common Good has examined the ways that extreme inequality effects philanthropy. In 2016, IPS published the report Gilded Giving: Top Heavy Philanthropy in an Age of Extreme Inequality, which looked at the rise of mega-donors and the decline of small-dollar donors, and the risks of both for a democratic society. In that report, IPS briefly examined the rise of donor-advised funds (DAFs) as a mechanism for holding funds for later donations. At that time, in 2015, the largest recipient of charitable donations in the U.S. was the United Way, an enormous public charity that had traded that top spot back and forth with the American Red Cross for decades.
By Mike Ludwig for Truthout. The rash of suicides alarmed mental health experts and local watchdogs, and Arce's death has advocates calling out the lack of equal access to services for disabled people in prison. Despite concerns about the mental health of its prisoners and alleged discrimination against disabled people, the local sheriff's office no longer allows in-person visitation at the jail, which serves major suburbs of New Orleans. Critics say changing the visitation policy could take a heavy toll on people who are already in an emotionally challenging position.
By Nika Knight for Common Dreams - Panama saw populist protests on Wednesday in response to Panama Papers revelations that the nation's lax tax laws are providing a haven for the world's wealthiest to stash their cash. But in the United States, where observers note that corporate greed is surely not lacking, the leak has yet to produce such a grassroots display of outrage. This may be because U.S. one-percenters have largely escaped the leak unscathed...
Because we don't understand the pathology of the rich. We've been saturated with cultural images and a kind of cultural deification of wealth and those who have wealth. We are being--you know, they present people of immense wealth as somehow leaders--oracles, even. And we don't grasp internally what it is an oligarchic class is finally about or how venal and morally bankrupt they are. We need to recover the language of class warfare and grasp what is happening to us, and we need to shatter this self-delusion that somehow if, as Obama says, we work hard enough and study hard enough, we can be one of them. The fact is, the people who created the economic mess that we're in were the best-educated people in the country--Larry Summers, a former president of Harvard, and others. The issue is not education. The issue is greed.
Heimbold’s story is actually not that uncommon. In a report I co-authored at the Institute for Policy Studies, we analyzed 18 extremely highly paid CEOs who led companies that had to shell out more than $100 million in fraud-related settlements. Eleven of the CEOs had left their firms before the fraud charges were fully resolved. This finding is part of a larger IPS “performance review” of CEOs who made the annual top 25 highest-paid lists over the past 20 years. Theoretically, these CEOs should be the cream of the crop of American corporate leadership. But instead of stellar performance, we found that nearly 40 percent were bad performers -- even by the most narrow, incontrovertible definitions. Twenty-two percent led firms that crashed or got bailed out in the 2008 crisis. Another eight percent had to pay massive settlements for fraud. And yet another eight percent wound up getting fired. Even the guys who got the boot didn’t suffer too much. The size of their average golden parachute: $48 million.