Author Archives: 21st Century Poet

Corporate consolidation by brand

Corporate consolidation by brand

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This picture is but a drop in the ocean of corporate consolidation. When you read about an increase of M&A (mergers and acquisitions) it is usually an indication that rich people (using the corporations they own) have just stolen a great deal of money from you, legally (because the rich write the laws) and/or illegally. The past decade or so has been one of those times. The consolidation of money/power has surpassed that of the gilded age. Inequality has never been greater in human history. The rich have so much money they literally don’t know what to do with it. When you see stock buy-backs, art and property selling for record amounts, and billions “invested” in silicon valley vaporware, you see this in action. Of course, the rich bought most of the world’s politicians long ago. They always came cheap. The $200,000 a speech is nothing to sneeze at, but only the high profile politicians get those kind of payoffs. The rest can usually be purchased with petty cash.


Fresh audio product

LBO News from Doug Henwood

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

March 15, 2018John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty on what’s wrong with a Universal Basic Income • Isabel Hilton on Xi Jinping’s becoming China’s president for life

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UNAM 3 – the robotic future

Michael Roberts Blog

My third and final lecture at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) was on the impact of robots and artificial intelligence (AI). Are robots set to take over the world of work and thus the economy in the next generation and what does this mean for jobs and living standards for people? Will it mean socialist utopia in our time (the end of human toil and a superabundant harmonious society) or capitalist dystopia (more intense crises and class conflict)? Robots and AI Mexico

As readers of my blog know (only too often), I consider the current period in the world capitalist economy as a long depression, with low productivity, investment and trade growth.

One question is whether robots and AI can turn things round for capitalism and perhaps for us all. Robots have arrived. The level of robotics use has almost always doubled in the top capitalist economies in…

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Fresh audio product

LBO News from Doug Henwood

Just posted to my radio archive (click on date for link):

February 8, 2018 DH on stock market madness (longer version is here) • Yasha Levine, author of Surveillance Valley, on the military/intelligence roots of the internet, which live on today (hi NSA!)

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The disappearing strike

LBO News from Doug Henwood

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released this morning, last year saw the smallest number of major strikes in recorded history: seven. This is close to the record low set in 2009, five—in the depths of the Great Recession, when the unemployment rate was approaching 10%. Last year’s average unemployment rate was less than half that, 4.3%.

Here’s the grim history of the decline of labor’s most powerful weapon in two graphs:


The number of days of “idleness”—a curiously moralizing word for an instrument of class struggle—wasn’t as close to a record low. There were four years in which this measure (the number of workers involved times the length of the strike) was lower—all recent years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014).

Between 1947 and 1979, there were an average of 303 “major” strikes (involving 1,000 or more workers) every year; since 2010, the average has been fourteen. The average number…

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What goes up. . .

occasional links & commentary


Must come down. . .

I’m not referring to karma or the application of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. No, it’s just the way capitalism works.


Take the stock market, for example. Last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 666 points, or 2.5 percent, its biggest percentage decline since the Brexit turmoil in June 2016 and the steepest point decline since the 2008 financial crisis.

The large decline is really no surprise, since the U.S. stock market—a thoroughly speculative institution within contemporary capitalism—has been on the rise, based on soaring corporate profits, since 2009.

Rising stock values are related to corporate profits in two ways: First, they are bets on corporate profits, in the sense that stock speculators expect future prices to track the rate at which corporations are able to extract surplus and realize profits from their workers. Second, the profits themselves are distributed by corporations—internally…

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Facebook details plans to censor news feeds and manipulate public opinion

Rise Up Times

Over the past two weeks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to reduce the amount of news shown to Facebook users and to ensure that the news that does appear comes from vetted sources, to introduce censorship to the world’s largest social network.

By Andre Damon   WSWS   January 24, 2018

Even as it incrementally rolls out new “features” to its product intended to prevent users from communicating freely, Facebook is publicly making the case for limiting the freedom of expression online.

The latest examples are two postings on Facebook’s corporate blog by Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Product Manager for Civic Engagement, and Cass R. Sunstein, professor at Harvard Law School and former Obama administration official. In the saccharine and Orwellian language that has become common in official apologies for censorship, the posts explain how the company plans to put into practice Zuckerberg’s plans to limit free speech on the Internet.

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