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News Why World Change is Necessary

America's Yawning Racial Wealth Gap

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Since the 1980s, as inequality has increased dramatically in the United States, there has been a steady increase in the racial wealth divide. Before the Great Recession, middle- and high-income African-Americans saw their levels of wealth stagnate or decrease, while middle- and high-income whites their wealth increase over the last 30 years. Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, the gap has only widened. On average, white families have more than $113,000 in wealth, whereas African-Americans have an average of less than $5,700.

Rip-off fees 'wiping out pension savings' as workers are being automatically signed up to expensive schemes

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Millions of savers are being ripped off by complex pension charges which could wipe out the value of their nest-eggs, the Office of Fair Trading warned yesterday. The consumer watchdog’s explosive report comes just months after the Government introduced rules forcing bosses to pay into a pension for their workers for the first time. All workers aged between 22 and state pension age, who are not currently members of a scheme, are in the process of being signed up to one.

Inside the migrant Shed City: Immigrants living in cramped and illegally built garden sheds (no wonder officials underestimated the number of new arrivals)

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These impoverished immigrants — who were not in ‘residence’ but had gone out for the day — are just a few of the countless thousands now living in so-called ‘beds in sheds’ in back gardens across London’s suburbs and the Home Counties. They represent the sad human face of Britain’s struggle to accommodate the huge numbers of immigrants arriving here every month. Only this week, it was revealed that the number arriving from the EU was undercounted by the Office for National Statistics by 600,000 over a 13-year period. It means that immigration between 1997 and 2010 was nearly four million.

Desperate migration of Europe's unemployed, as the jobless masses head north to Britain and Germany in search of work

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Millions of Europe's unemployed youth are moving to more wealthy countries in the European Union as they desperately try to find work. New figures have revealed that the number of Europeans who have moved to better off countries in the north to find work has doubled since the economic crises first hit four years ago, with Britain and Germany topping the list of choices. Almost a quarter of the EU's under 25s - some 5.6million - are now unemployed.

Collecting Rainwater Now Illegal in Many States as Big Government Claims Ownership Over Our Water

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Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I'm about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials, that rain belongs to someone else.

'Daylight Robbery': UK Announces Privatization of State-Run Mail Service

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30-year Royal Mail employee Malcolm Curry told the Guardian, "The government are the winners, not the Royal Mail workers. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer … I don't think there's any benefits for us and none for the customers. I can't see that in 12 months' time we'll be delivering to every household every day. Privatization is all about making profits. There will be cut-backs, and shareholders will have profits instead." The privatization is happening "with the aid of a syndicate of banks headed by those well-known guarantors of the public interest, Goldman Sachs and UBS. The financiers will take home around £30m; over time, the rest of us will likely end up with a threadbare postal service, and the feeling that we were robbed, in broad daylight." John Harris

Privatization's the Name of the Game for Accident-Prone Train Company Behind Lac-Mégantic Oil Disaster

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Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Maine, Montreal and Atlantic Railways (MM&A) and President and CEO of Rail World, Inc., its parent company, headed to the tragedy-stricken town where he hoped he was "not going to get shot," though he faced heckling by residents and dodged a handful of reporters. The Canadian Press, citing information from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration, reports that the MM&A has had 8 derailments and four collisions since 2010, and it has an average of 34.7 accidents per million miles traveled, well above the national average of 2.3 accidents per million miles. The Wall Street Journal adds that the company had "23 accidents, injuries or reportable mishaps from 2010 to 2012."

Three Trends that will Create Demand for an Unconditional Basic Income

The digitization of our economy will bring with it a new generation of radical economic ideologies, of which Bitcoin is arguably the first. For those with assets, technological savvy, and a sense of adventure, the state is the enemy and a cryptographic currency is the solution. But for those more focused on the decline of the middle classes, the collapse of the entry-level jobs market, and the rise of free culture, the state is an ally, and the solution might look something like an unconditional basic income. Before I explain why this concept is going to be creeping into the political debate across the developed world, let me spell out how a system like this would look...

Wal-Mart to DC: We'll Skip Town Before We Pay a Living Wage

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Wal-Mart threatens to abandon Washington DC if living wage bill passes. Communities say 'good riddance!' "Many have opposed Wal-Mart from beginning because of their poverty wages, horrible healthcare, efforts to prevent workers from organizing and unionizing, and because of the Walden family's dedication to using money and power to influence other kinds of harmful policies like promoting privatization of public education," Norouzi declared. "Furthermore, the building of six Wal-Mart stores would spell out the end of black-owned businesses in our city."

Child Labor Will End With Basic Income Guaranteed

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Child labor tends to be thought of as a 19th century evil that has now been eradicated. The reality is that, throughout the world, the labor of millions of children still occurs, often in conditions as horrific as the factories of 150 years ago. These children are forced to engage in back-breaking labor in stone quarries, brick kilns, construction sites, and other hazardous occupations.

Disaster Unpreparedness: Wildfire Tragedy Sheds Light on Dangerous Budget Gaps by Michelle Chen

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At the same time, fire-management resources are drying up. This fiscal year's cuts to the Forest Service's Fire and Aviation Management budget shrank its forces from 10,500 to 10,000 firefighters. These fiscal strains also impede efforts toward comprehensive, sustainable wildfire control. With tightly limited overall resources, the Forest Service strains to pay for frontline fire suppression, while longer-term wildfire programs are depleted. This makes it harder overall to invest in mitigating future hazards and prevent catastrophes.

How Capitalism's Great Relocation Pauperized America's 'Middle Class'

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Detroit, Cleveland, Camden and many other cities display what capitalism left behind after it became profitable for capitalists to relocate and for new capital investments to happen more elsewhere. Workers' struggles eventually forced capitalists to pay rising wages, enabling higher living standards for large sections of the working classes (so-called "middle classes"). Capitalists and their economist spokespersons later rewrote that history to suggest instead that rising wages were blessings intrinsic to the capitalist system.

Corporate Interests Prevail in Transatlantic Trade Talks

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Critics warn of push for 'dangerous deregulation' across industries - Lauren McCauley A transatlantic agreement that is little more than a vehicle to facilitate deregulation would not only threaten to weaken critical consumer and environmental safeguards, but also conflict with the democratic principle that those living with the results of regulatory standards – residents of our countries – must be able to set those standards through the democratic process, even when doing so results in divergent standards that businesses may find inconvenient.

Bolivia: Evo Morales Intends to Prosecute the IMF for Economic Damage

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Morales stated that the international organization that implemented privatization policies meant serious damage to the Bolivian economy. He said that in Bolivia “there were governments that were submitted to the IMF and international mandates that destroyed the national economy.” For that, it is considered “an action against the IMF for economic damages to impose policies of privatization.” The president confirmed that since taking office in 2006, there was a spike in the Bolivian economy and the international reserves rose to U.S. $9bn. He said this was because the government “did not follow the prescriptions of the IMF,” and focused on, “export policies and economic and social programs.”

Don't call people on benefits 'scroungers', Archbishop of Canterbury warns ministers

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The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, yesterday called for the Church to resist ‘rhetoric’ that accuses people of choosing a life of idle dependence on the welfare state. ‘It is an insult to claim that poverty in this country is caused by people choosing unemployment,’ he told members of the General Synod. ‘Six out of 10 families in poverty have at least one adult in work. ‘We need to remember who caused our economic downturn. Was it those workers on low wages, working hard to provide for their families - or was it the gambling casino culture of a group of wealthy bankers that has left our economy where it is today? Who was bailed out with large sums of money?’

China's smog has cut life expectancy by five-and-a-half years for those living in its polluted north

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China's smog has cut life expectancy by five-and-a-half years for those living in its polluted north. Researchers estimate that the half-billion people who lived there in the 1990s will live an average of 5 and a half years less than their southern counterparts because they breathed dirtier air from coal burning. While previous studies have found that pollution affects human health, 'the deeper and ultimately more important question is the impact on life expectancy,' said one of the authors, Michael Greenstone, a professor of environmental economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Where the Hell Is the Outrage? by Richard Eskow

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Wealth inequity and other economic injustices are the product of deliberate policy choices – in taxation, Social Security, health care, financial regulation, education, and a number of other policy areas. So why aren’t Americans taking action? The “change” theories Krugman mentioned don’t tell the whole story. For one thing, it’s not true that the lives of the majority are frozen in an ugly stasis. Conditions continue to become objectively worse for the great majority of Americans. But these ongoing changes – in actual wages, in employment, in social mobility and wealth equity – have received very little media attention or meaningful political debate. It’s not that things aren’t changing. It’s that people don’t know they’re changing. And without that knowledge the public becomes a canary in a coalmine, only aware of its declining oxygen supply when it keels over and dies.

Pundits, Politics, and Plutocracy. The Death of Reality and the Origins of Cynicism

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Budget discussions, which are an exercise in hypocrisy unrivalled for sheer gall. Faced with popular support for government programs like Social Security, Medicare, affordable student loans etc, etc, conservatives launched a brilliant campaign. First, beginning with Reagan, they cut taxes and increased expenditures, creating an enormous deficit. Little mention was made of the deficit while Republicans were in power, and Clinton had the temerity to actually reduce it, but George W. jacked it up to obscene levels, prompting Cheney to say, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Of course, once Obama got in and deficits continued to grow as a result of Bush’s recession, the deficit became a cause to cut and gut these popular social programs. Austerity, we were told, was our only hope.

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