Robert Reich Lays It Down (Video)


Berkeley prof and former labor secretary, Robert Reich, says the U.S. is letting itself go.  He cuts to the chase in this short video.

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This Land is Our Land?


Several things got under my skin today which  I thought I’d share in this post…

It’s gouge today and sell tomorrow as Senator Sanders takes on oil speculators and Dylan Ratigan tackles the privatization of America’s public goods.

First up is a video from The ED Show which features Senator Sanders talking about his bill to cap oil speculation.

Next we have a couple of segments from Dylan Ratigan on a growing trend in which public goods are being sold to foreign interests.  Click on the links in Dylan’s tweets below to see the videos.

Both of these gentlemen are tackling issues which I find to be incredibly inappropriate. In fact, I have a hard time reconciling their occurrence. What do you think? Am I off the mark? Is it really acceptable to drive up the price of oil for personal gain, no matter the cost to the economy as a whole? What about those whose budgets have been stretched thin by the recession? Is this supposed to be a rising tide that lifts all boats? The tide may be rising, but from this vantage point it appears that most boats are anchored. Furthermore, is it also okay to sell off our public assets to cover short term deficits?

Mortgaging our future won’t fix the problems that got us here. It will compound them. Does anyone believe that the toll roads will be run more efficiently, or that the costs will be lower for it’s users? I think not!

I thought I’d close with an old favorite, Uncle Tupelo’s “Life Worth Livin,” which captures the mood these recent developments have brought about. At least it will allow me to head to bed with a wistful smile…

Enjoy!

Lyrics:

This song is sung for anyone that’s listening
This song is for the broken-spirited man
This song is for anyone left standing
After the strain of a slow, sad end

It seems everybody wants what someone else has
There’s sorrow enough for all
Just go in any bar and ask
With a beer in each hand and a smile in between
All around’s a world grown mean

We’ve all had our ups and downs
It’s been mostly down around here
Now this whole damn mess is becoming quite clear

Looks like we’re all looking for a life worth livin’
That’s why we drink ourselves to sleep
Yeah, we’re all looking for a life worth livin’
That’s why we pray for our souls to keep

There’s nothing left now but broken pieces
Of one man’s broken will to care
And in the end before all is said and done
How many others might follow him there?

This song is sung for anyone that’s listening
This song is for the broken-spirited man
This song is for anyone left standing
After the strain of a slow, sad end

Midnight is comin’ ’round
Still mostly down around here
Now this whole damn mess is becoming quite clear

Governance and Policy Traps, Not Just for the Developing World?


Image by: Studentersamfunnet i Bergen

I’m reading “The Bottom Billion” by Oxford economist Paul Collier.  The book analyzes the biggest issues facing developing countries and lays out customized recommendations for improving their circumstances.  The book is highly accessible and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to develop a better understanding of the impacts of governance and policy as they pertain to developing nations.  Collier is able to break down complex situations, with great clarity, through a remarkable economy of words.  If you see the world as an interconnected whole, which is in need of a little balance, Collier will help light the way.

On to the reason for this post…

Collier’s book is set up in five parts. (1. The Issue, 2. The Traps, 3. Globalization to the Rescue? The Tools, The Struggle for the Bottom Billion)  Part One sets up the what to which the rest of the book responds.  Part Two, which the following passage comes from, discusses the various traps which can retard or prevent progress from occurring.   Give it a read and see if it sounds familiar.

Why is bad governance so persistent in some environments?

One evident reason is that not everybody loses from it.  The leaders of many of the poorest countries in the world are themselves among the global superrich.  They like things the way they are, so it pays to keep their citizens uneducated and ill-informed.  Unfortunately, many of the politicians and senior public officials in the countries of the bottom billion are villains. ~Paul Collier

Any thoughts on this?  Please share them in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!