Capitalism

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, December 12, 2013
Who writes the rules

The new National Energy Board rules restricting public participation in oil pipeline project hearings were taken directly from an August 2012 oil industry report, ForestEthicsAdvocacy said today. The report, Who Writes the Rules?

Chris Hedges, TruthDig, December 13, 2013
Chris Hedges

“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist  Alexander Berkmanwrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.” Berkman was right.

Tim Donovan, Salon, December 11, 2013
AP/David J Philips

Last week, Salon ran an article, “Thanks for killing the planet, boomers!,” where I argued that it’s wholly unrealistic to assume humanity will undertake the massive, world-changing, economy-disrupting policy solutions needed for us to even stand a chance of long-term survival. Given that our local political and economic systems are as fragile, stalled and polarized as they’ve been in most of American history, these predictions only seem more dire, and the problem only more intractable.

Ben Campbell, The Bullet, December 2, 2013
system change or climate change

Amid disputes between developed and developing countries, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19) in Warsaw, Poland are set to conclude today [November 23, 2013] with little in the way of progress. Environmental groups and trade unions walked out of the conference on Thursday [November 21], just after developing nations had staged a dramatic exit of Wednesday morning's session. “Warsaw, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing.

Peter Rugh, Vice, November 28, 2013
Anthony Goytia, whose yearly income is only $12,000 as a Walmart associate

When Anthony Goytia sits down with his wife and three children for Thanksgiving dinner in East Los Angeles, he's going to be chewing out of one side of his mouth. With every bite he takes of his meal, provided by a local food pantry, he will be thinking of his employer. Anthony makes about $12,000 a year working nearly full-time as an “associate” for Walmart. With worldwide revenues totaling $443.9 billion in 2012, Walmart tops the Fortune 500 list, yet Anthony can't afford the $20-a-month premiums on the insurance plan Walmart provides.

Chris Williams, TruthOut, November 25, 2013
Warsaw climate talks

The contradictions of world affairs are shifting into sharp relief in Warsaw. As the denouement of the climate conference approaches, political fissures are appearing that even the most diplomatic and experienced of civil service soothers are unable to paper over. The fractured lives and incendiary event of Typhoon Haiyan have been tossed into the most business-friendly COP yet.

Julian Beltrame and Mike Blanchfield, Vancouver Sun, November 29, 2013
Trade Minister Ed Fast is advising Canada's diplomats to focus on advancing commercial issues.  Photograph by: Sean Kilpatrick , CP

OTTAWA — The Harper government says it wants Canadian diplomats in foreign countries to re-channel their energies and resources into advancing the country’s commercial interests. Trade Minister Ed Fast has laid out a new strategic direction for Canada’s foreign service called “economic diplomacy,” a plan that’s designed to put commerce at the heart of foreign policy. The objective is to improve Canada’s lacklustre trade and investment performance in emerging markets, which the government and the Bank of Canada have identified as key to the country’s future prosperity.

Mining Association of Canada, CNW, November 28, 2013

"The Canadian mining industry welcomes the new Global Markets Action Plan and we look forward to working with the Government of Canada to implement it, particularly the development of the Extractive Sector Strategy," said Pierre Gratton, MAC's President and CEO.

George Monbiot, George Monbiot, November 25, 2013
feeling guilty

“Consumers in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, China and India,” the survey tells us, “tend to be most concerned about issues like climate change, air and water pollution, species loss, and shortages of fresh water … In contrast, the economy and the cost of energy and fuel elicit the most concern among American, French and British consumers.”(2) The more you have, the more important money becomes. My guess is that in poorer countries empathy has not been so dulled by decades of mindless consumption.

Ralph Nader, Reuters, November 26, 2013
corporate espionage

It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups. For these big companies with pliable ethics, if they don’t win political conflicts with campaign donations or lobbying power, then they play dirty. Very dirty. That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations, by my colleagues at Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt.

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