PARIS: The gap between the rich and poor in most of the world’s advanced economies is at record levels, according to an OECD study that also found glaring differences between men and women.
In most of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development the income gap is at its highest level in three decades, with the richest 10 percent of the population earning 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent.
In the 1980s this ratio stood at 7 to 1, the OECD said in a report. The wealth gap is even larger, with the top 1 percent owning 18 percent and the 40 percent only 3 percent of household wealth in 2012.
“We have reached a tipping point. Inequality in OECD countries is at its highest since records began,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.
The slaves interviewed by the AP described 20- to 22-hour shifts and unclean drinking water. Almost all said they were kicked, beaten or whipped with toxic stingray tails if they complained or tried to rest. They were paid little or nothing.
Runaway Hlaing Min said many died at sea.
“If Americans and Europeans are eating this fish, they should remember us. There must be a mountain of bones under the sea,” he said. “The bones of the people could be an island, it’s that many.”
Original article from the New York Posthere
How tough is it to find qualified powertrain engineers?
Pretty darn difficult according to Felicia Fields, Ford group vice president for human resources and corporate services, who is looking to social media to help fill hundreds of technical jobs the automaker has open, including 60 powertrain engineering positions.
“Ford has a high degree of recruiting success in many areas, but in the U.S. we do see a talent shortage when it comes to specific skill sets,” Fields said.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs also left unfilled by the thousands at area corporations and small companies down the street.
It’s a problem plaguing Detroit, Marquette, Traverse City, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo and towns in between.
“Michigan has a real talent gap, especially in the skilled trades,” said Stephanie Comai, director of the newly created Michigan Talent Investment Agency.
“Employers are desperate to find qualified talent to fill their vacancies,” Comai added. “Our mission is to make people aware that the skilled trades offer a great career path if that’s their choice, and to create opportunities for skilled trades training that helps employers fill their in-demand jobs. “
The agency is one of three comprising the newly created Department of Talent and Economic Development, with the others being the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Gov. Rick Snyder recently created the new agency to more effectively address changing workplace and talent needs.
Getting back to Ford’s dilemma of finding engineers with the right stuff.
“Powertrain engineers with electrification skills, software developers with engineering and manufacturing expertise, and automated driving engineers, are examples of talent that we are seeking,” Fields said.
To bridge the gap, Ford is stepping up its efforts and supporting STEM initiatives in a more holistic way.
“We are also using social media to communicate the reasons Ford is an exciting place to work,” she said.
I’d never heard of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) until about an hour ago when a book on Amazon with an unusual title (Islam Is a Foreign Country) piqued my interest. It just so happened that its author, Zareena Grewal, turned out to be the (former) director of the Center, so I went looking to see who they were. Here’s what I found:
ISPU is an independent, nonpartisan think tank and research organization committed to conducting objective, empirical research and offering expert policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States. These issues include U.S. foreign policy, national security, the economy, and public health. In addition, ISPU has assembled leading experts across multiple disciplines and built a solid reputation as a trusted source for information about American Muslims and Muslim communities around the world. […]
More: ISPU - Who We Are
I also checked out the site to see who was on their Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, staff, and scholars (under Experts). Yes, I’m very cautious these days because there are too many so-called “scholars” and “specialists” who are little more than paid hacks of the Islamophobia industry. Then there are the Muslim concern trolls who only ever show up on Fox News & CNN (especially after terrorist attacks or when they’re hawking one of their books) or who are hired by right-wing outfits like the Gatestone Institute, where they rub shoulders with some of the worst, most hateful anti-Muslim mouthpieces.
There are also some rather extreme Muslims out there, so there’s the concern about anyone known for their antisemitic views. I didn’t see any names that set off alarms, and the article “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia Surge in Europe” put my mind at rest on that particular matter.
I found their Islamophobia: A Threat to All page especially interesting as it offers three research publications for download. Towards the bottom of the page, under the heading “Existing ISPU Research on Islamophobia”, it also provides PDFs of some (slightly) older, but still very relevant topics.
The Issues section covers such topics as American Muslims, European Muslims. the Middle East, South Asia, US Politics, National Security, the Economy, Public Health, and of course there’s a 9/11 Series.
Last but not least, is the Publications section. There, in addition to the first volume of ISPU Insights (a biannual publication that highlights things they’ve been working on throughout the year), you’ll find sections for Reports. Policy Briefs, Articles and Books.
It was under Policy Briefs that I found the PDF below, which this Page takes its title from and which I thought might be of particular interest to quite a few of you here. The author, Asifa Quraishi-Landes, does a great job of articulating what Sharia is (and isn’t) as well as explaining what’s required in terms of scholarship for reform to happen that will be accepted by most Muslims (i.e. the mainstream, not the far-left progressives who are much smaller in number and tend to lack the gravitas and credibility—in an Islamic context—required for them to be considered a serious catalyst for change).
I think most of you will find the ISPU website to be a very useful resource when struggling to understand certain aspects of Islam and the Muslim worldview. Sure, there is a shared foundation, but there are many other factors that influence that worldview: where one was raised/lives, whether one was born into a Muslim family or is a convert (most of whose immediate family members are probably not Muslim), why and at what point in life one converted, not to mention one’s socioeconomic background, education level, individual personality, etc.
Alright, I’ll stop yakking now and let you move on to reading the PDF and/or exploring the website (I’ve only barely scratched the surface myself—there’s a LOT of info there). Hope this helps a little.
Interesting. I came on to LGF and of course the first thing I saw was the article on Twitchy.
Which immediately made me think of the article my news aggregator discovered this morning, One on a psychological study on the differences between people and the groups they identify with relating to their reaction to assorted stimuli.
Specifically ‘conservatives’ react far more strongly to ‘negative stimuli’. Fear mostly. They often create fear when there is none immediately to hand.
Also interesting was a little bit near the end of the article. It turns out that a point I’ve often said here and elsewhere, that the poor are regarded as sinners, has been demonstrated to exist in another study.
Two things stand out about how conservatives talk about economy, Osorio said, based on several years of intensive observation and analysis. First is the “the tendency to compare it to something natural — a body or the weather or moving liquid,” she said. “But the other idea undergirding their worldview, and thus shaping perceptions of poverty, riches, inequality and desirable economic policy, is the idea that the economy exists for a specific purpose: to reward the good and punish the bad. It’s a moral arbiter; simply having great riches indicates you deserve them because the economy loves you the best. Thus, it follows that poor people deserve to be poor and we can know this because they’re poor.”
There are two things I will disagree with though.
This excessive reaction to negative stimuli is not limited to ‘conservatives’. The jacobins and the Bolsheviks were definitely not ‘conservative’ so it seems to me that a political ideology is chosen to deal with the fear caused by this phenomena.
I believe they’ll also have to consider the fact that, as I’ve pointed out before, that fear, anger and hate makes a person high.
Still, a fascinating article.
Hiring is Up, Tax Receipts are Up, Economy Up, Deficit Down to $37 Billion….
I guess for Obama is is Mission Un-Accomplished in purposely wrecking our economy. The Right Wing must be pleased.
Or, maybe not. Opposing Obama has been their only policy for years now.
The top 1% (aka the self-styled “job creators”) say lowering tax rates on the very wealthy will stimulate the economy, create jobs, benefit everyone, achieve world peace, cure cancer, and finally explain where Jimmy Hoffa got to.
But, as this graph illustrates (link below), tax rates for the tippy-top earners (the 0.01%) have dropped dramatically since the end of World War II. Yet, the economy has had any number of recessions, stagflations, and inflations, unemployment rates have varied up and down regardless of these tax rates.
Created by Catherine Mulbrandon at VisualizingEconomics.com
The graph is from August 2013, but I only found Catherine Mulbrandon’s site today. She’s got a lot of good stuff there - perfect for economic policy wonks.
Their new album Sleepify consists of 10 songs of absolute silence, each clocking in at either 31 or 32 seconds long (tracks need to be listened to for 30 seconds to register as having been played). All they ask is that their fans stream it overnight on repeat while they sleep, in order to produce enough royalties for the band to go on tour.
It’s entrepreneurial stuff. … this is clearly the more profitable next step, increasing both scale and economy.
There are two questions. First, how much money would it actually make? The company itself admitted last year that it only pays out $0.007 for each track, which sounds rubbish at first. But that means we’re only looking at 100 streams of a track to make 70 cents, or about 143 streams to make a dollar. Sleepify will get through 10 streams in just over five minutes. So if a fan slept for seven hours (plus some added time for the extra one or two seconds on each track) and streamed the album for the whole time, they’d play 840 tracks, generating $5.88 for Vulfpeck. If you can convince one hundred fans to do the same, that works out at $588 per night royalties - and that’s assuming each listener only has one playable device and only streams through the night (if they let it play all through the day, Vulfpeck’s earnings could be more than tripled). You could, with willing fans, make a load of money from this scheme.
There is no doubt that the main economic challenge before the new Lebanese government is the burden of the public debt, which has recently grown at an alarming pace. The lack of growth and the widening fiscal deficit are putting great pressure on public finances. This puts the central bank in front of serious risks, not least of which is the high inflation rate and what may happen at the monetary level if the appropriate monetary policy is not implemented to support the Lebanese pound.
By the end of January, Lebanon’s public debt had reached $64 billion and its debt-to-GDP ratio has reached 163.1%. It should be noted that the debt in Lebanese pounds reached the equivalent of $37.8 billion, up 12.6%, while foreign currency debt increased by 6.7% to reach $26.1 billion. The rate of growth of the public debt is worrisome because it has exceeded 10%, and gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2012-13 didn’t exceed 2%. In other words, the debt is growing faster than the economy at a rate exceeding 500%. One doesn’t need to be well-versed in economics to see that the country is heading for bankruptcy.
When I was young, I was taught, “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage.” I could work a 40 hour week and make a decent living. I could even raise a family, send my kids to college and still look forward to retiring someday. But since trickle down economics, multiple recessions, the housing bubble, special treatment of banks ‘too big to fail’ and other corporate rot, that’s all gone. The jobs that are now available require I work two of them so I can default on a mortgage, apply for food assistance and deny my children the opportunity for a higher education. Meanwhile, the lazy rich help themselves to the fruits of my labor and produce nothing. Somehow, though, this is my fault.
The reality is that corporate America has stopped paying their workers for their work. Productivity is way up but wages are stagnant. Does that sound like the America you grew up believing in? It certainly doesn’t to me. The obvious solution is for corporate America to pay a fair minimum wage but the right finds the idea of this simple fix horrifying. When asked, those on the right use canned responses to explain why you don’t, and shouldn’t, make a living wage. Here are the top 5 “reasons” and why they’re completely wrong.
(1) Raising The Minimum Wage Will Cost Jobs
The biggest lie. Several studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage reduces turnover, increases spending and increases demand. These studies have all come to the conclusion that raising the wage has a negligible effect one way or another on job creation.
U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many ‘natural experiments’ here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment. - Paul Krugman
Does giving an increase really cost jobs? No. It seems that the real “problem” with an increase is that it affects profit margins. We, as a country, can more than afford increases on the minimum wage at the cost of a wage decrease on those earning the maximum. In other words, millions of poor workers can make more if millionaires and billionaires lose a tiny fraction of their yearly income. Clearly, you can see why corporate America is allergic to this idea. Sacrifce a third yacht so millions of people don’t have to use food stamps to survive? Blasphemy!