Stephan A. Schwartz
Here is what I think is a correct assessment of the new global aristocracy that owns a growing percentage of the world’s wealth, and wants more. We think of peasants as agricultural workers. But that is the past. In the present day it is increasingly ordinary workers — both blue and white collar. The wealth differential now is even greater than it was in the 14th century. Click through to see the very useful graphs.
How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong
DEREK THOMPSON – The Atlantic
For years, I’ve been making the same embarrassing mistake about U.S. economic inequality. Sorry.
300 Million Talons…
Half of Americans can’t afford their house
Over half of Americans (52%) have had to make at least one major sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last three years, according to the “How Housing Matters Survey,” which was commissioned by the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and carried out by Hart Research Associates. These sacrifices include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care, running up credit card debt, or even moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.
Stephan A. Schwartz
And the surveillance state just keeps oozing out across our lives like a toxic smog. It will soon be possible to track any person, almost anywhere. There is already no problem turning on your phone’s camera, or microphone. Moving through any public space will result in multiple images, which are keyed to every electronic interaction you have.
Report: NSA Collects Millions of Facial Images Per Day
DANA FORD – CNN
The National Security Agency is reportedly capturing millions of images per day to feed facial recognition programs. Citing top-secret documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the New York Times reported the agency ‘s reliance on such technology has grown in recent years.
New software allows the NSA to “exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications,” the newspaper said. “The agency intercepts ‘millions of images per day’ – including about 55,000 ‘facial recognition quality images’ – which translate into ‘tremendous untapped potential,’” the newspaper reported, citing documents from 2011.
A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:
Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.
Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.
In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.