‘Stakeholder Capitalism,’ the Climate Wars, and Democracy

Economy, Policies, Society

‘Stakeholder Capitalism,’ the Climate Wars, and Democracy

The leftist objectives of “woke capitalism,” a phenomenon which is intertwined with “socially responsible” investment (SRI) and has at its base, stakeholder capitalism, have obscured the way in which this combination works owes far more to fascism than to socialism. Nearly 90 years ago, Roger Shaw, a progressive writer, described the New Deal as “employing Fascist means to gain liberal ends.” Overwrought, perhaps, but not without some truth to it. He would recognize what is going on now for what it is.

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China, Policies

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society.

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US Healthcare Spending—Rising Fast

Health, Policies

US Healthcare Spending—Rising Fast

U.S. healthcare expenditures greatly exceed spending levels in other developed countries. They are projected to increase at a substantial rate, but produce no better—and indeed sometimes worse—outcomes, according to research sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.1  With national healthcare expenditure (NHE) estimated to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028, public policy experts, government officials, healthcare-sector leaders, business executives and ordinary citizens share mounting concern about the country’s ability to provide healthcare services that are fiscally responsible and attain acceptable levels of quality, effectiveness, and equity.2

Proposals to counter the increasing levels of U.S. healthcare expenditures abound. They include policies intended to achieve price transparency; alternatives to fee-for-service compensation, such as price controls based on Medicare fees or a percentage of negotiated in-network rates, as well as value-based and capitation systems; antitrust enforcement; simplification of administration;3 and wholesale restructuring of the sector’s present complex arrangements with a single-payer, governmental system for the entire population

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The weapon of criticism cannot replace the criticism of the weapon: What knowledge do we need for revolution against capitalism

Economy, Policies

The weapon of criticism cannot replace the criticism of the weapon: What knowledge do we need for revolution against capitalism

A world in crisis

The ongoing pandemic has resulted in millions of death.1 Millions of people have been pushed to extreme poverty due to COVID-19. According to the World Bank, “The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction”.2 The consequences of the 2007 economic contraction have not been fully neutralized. Hundreds of millions are under- or unemployed: “Almost half a billion people are working fewer paid hours than they would like or lack adequate access to paid work” (ILO, 2020). And those who are lucky to be employed are subject to “a global wages scandal, with some countries even having a minimum wage that is lower than the poverty line”.

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Inequalities are shaping how we’re fighting the Pandemic — and how we’ll remember it

Demographic, India, Policies, Society

Inequalities are shaping how we’re fighting the Pandemic — and how we’ll remember it

The first wave of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic did not have much impact in India; it was the second wave that was the most devastating.

It is now thought that 12 million people died in India during the flu pandemic, the equivalent of 4 percent of the population at that time. Most of these deaths were concentrated in a few short months from September to December 1918. This quote is from Punjab’s sanitary commissioner at the time:

The hospitals were choked so it was impossible to remove the dead quickly enough to make room for the dying….; the burning ghats (cremation site) were literally swamped with corpses; the depleted medical service, was incapable of dealing with more than a minute fraction of the sickness requiring attention.

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Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

China, Demographic

Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

Chinese nationalists who wanted to create a modern nation in the twentieth century had to contend with the dozens of regional forms of spoken Chinese, which they believed hindered the creation of a unified culture. Tam argues that these speech forms are not just dialects but distinct languages, as different from one another as many of the languages spoken in Europe. To solve the problem, modernizers designed a common language based on the vocabulary and pronunciation found in Beijing and claimed that the regional languages were mere offshoots of this main idiom. Mao Zedong’s regime forced all Han people to learn the common language.

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Red Alert: Only one Earth

Ecology, Threats

Red Alert: Only one Earth

A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Making Peace with Nature (2021), highlights the ‘gravity of the Earth’s triple environmental emergencies: climate, biodiversity loss, and pollution’. These three ‘self-inflicted planetary crises’, the UNEP says, put ‘the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk’. This Red Alert, released for World Environment Day (5 June), is produced with the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle.

What is the scale of the destruction?

Ecosystems have degraded at an alarming rate. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report from 2019 provides stunning examples of the scale of the destruction:

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A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin

Demographic, Russia

A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin

Galeotti skips through Russia’s centuries-long history in around two hundred pages by focusing on its successive rulers. He covers many early princes, along with every tsar and every Communist Party general secretary. The book traces feuds, wars, territorial expansions, and Russian leaders’ repeated attempts to modernize their country while keeping their subjects under tight control, but it does not have much to say about those subjects.

Readers will also not find much about Russia’s social structure, ethnic composition, high and popular cultures, systems of education, or faiths. Galeotti intends his book for a broad audience, and his narrative is, indeed, lively and easy to follow. The chapter on Vladimir Putin is brilliant. But a number of unfortunate inaccuracies risk misleading a curious reader.

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Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Economy, Policies

Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Globalisation – the tendency to global convergence and integration – has wonderful potential in the abstract. It offers the possibility that we can work our way out of the national container blocking collaborative action, for example, on climate change.

Global convergence suggests a full and formative encounter with the diversity of human ideas, knowledge, imagination, government, institutions, social habits, on the basis of unity in diversity, heer butong, in tianxia, all under heaven, the Chinese terms.No one country or culture has all the answers and we have much to learn from each other. That is the ideal.

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Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

Demographic, Russia

Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

For over a decade Russia has been preparing for the dreaded four front war. How did it come to this? It wasn’t easy or preordained. It took a century of bad decisions, botched diplomacy and internal misrule to make it happen. It’s one of those Russian traditions that has evolved into a curse.

A century ago, Russia only feared war on one front, the one facing West. The Western Front was where Russia fought Germany and Austria-Hungary for three years during World War I, before conceding defeat. Russia was forced to ask for a peace deal because it turned out Russia had severe internal problems and another revolution. This was caused by the economic disruption and heavy casualties of the war. This was the second such crises of the 20th century and the primary demand was an end to the war, and the monarchy. Then things got worse as the second revolution escalated into a civil war that went on longer that Russian participation in World War I. The democratic government that won the first revolution and signed the peace treaty that got Russia out of the world war, then lost to a smaller radical socialist (communist) faction that brought back stricter and bloodier autocratic rule than the monarchy ever imposed.

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