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  • pennelk2 12:23 pm on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    Cotton is still a huge factor in economics with far reaching social consequences. Monsanto is pushing genetically modified cotton in India and many small farmers can’t afford the seed and insecticide required for crop growth. India has no real social safety net, and crop failure has led to many farmer suicides. Ironically, this is usually accomplished by drinking liquid pesticide until dying gruesomely from acute toxicity. The wife and children continue in servitude elsewhere, somehow it can still get worse for them. Cotton is a false king and tyrant over agriculture and industry- hemp products are artificially suppressed by long-standing business interests. The tax act of 1937 was by and for king cotton to eliminate the competition.

  • pennelk2 12:03 pm on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    40% of WalMart employees draw public assistance. Why are we subsidizing the wealthiest family in America? The Walton heirs coincidentally have as much wealth as the whole bottom 40% of the U.S. population. Sure, Sam was an entrepreneurial legend and everyone loves low prices- but there is clearly something wrong about with this arrangement. Not that WM is evil, they make money legally from people working just like in the Old South.
    Have you ever heard of a “Dead Janitor Insurance Policy”? I hear they don’t do it anymore, but WM used to buy bulk life insurance policies on many of their employees without them actually knowing. WM would list itself as the beneficiary and a worker fatality(outside the store i’m sure) would pay a death benefit amount to them as policy holder. So the worker dies broke much like they lived while the employer cashes in their “human resources”.

  • pennelk2 11:45 am on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    I told my two kids: “Do not get a job- ever. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to work for someone that is motivated to pay you as little as possible for as much output as they can weasel out of you.” “Work for Yourself.” “People make money when they sell the work of others- find something that you like to do and a way to make money without being owned by a company.”
    I have been a private subcontractor for most of the past two decades, and have seen the modern forms of indentured servitude and near slavery. Employer collaboration and manipulation of workers is still commonplace, as is cheating the government in various ways while often relying on the social safety net to make up the difference of paying a living wage.
    Here are some examples: I worked in a carpet warehouse for a few years and became familiar with the business practices of carpet installers, carpet salespersons, and carpet store managers/owners. The best thing to compare them all to would be professional thieves and con artists that work together but steal from each other compulsively, gleefully and frequently.
    Aside from the presumption of stealing anything available, the installer mainly cheats his own workers and the government. I saw this occur in regular ways- contractors for carpet are paid piecework and considered sole proprietors. When they pay their helpers cash hourly or daily wages, taxes are skirted and employment status regulations are avoided. One guy had a regular flow of Lebanese immigrants that worked all day in 1994 for $25, lunch at mcd and a pack of marlboros. The new helper would sometimes learn the game and find his own immigrants to exploit. It has worked well (600k) for at least one guy.
    TAXES are rarely paid on time, if at all- which is a way that installers cheat the gov but also are themselves cheated by management in form of wage manipulation. When workers essentially live from job to job, taxes become an afterthought and prices for work are set by whoever goes lowest. Individual contractors tend to work for carpet stores for 4-5 years before the IRS catches up with them, and more often there is no money to pay compiling taxes. The worker is forced to move on by gov liens for carpet store checks- while the owner repeats the cycle with a new sucker that thinks he is cashing in on higher pay. The main thing a carpet store wants from an installer is lack of reading and math skills. If a worker can’t figure out what an employer is making from their work then there is really no way for them to improve upon that situation.
    (Much like the laws against teaching slaves how to read.)
    The carpet industry is only one of the sectors wherein a very common form of business scam takes place.
    This pandemic form of cheating is what I call: “Subcontracting on the Clock”
    Just like it sounds, workers in many small business endeavors like lawn and snow care are paid by the hour and treated like regular employees except that at tax-time they will receive a 1099 form for the total amount they were paid.
    The worker can file as his own small business- but the letter, spirit, and intent of the law has already been broken.

  • pennelk2 9:26 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    Howard Zinn

    I tried to read the history of hispaniola last year, but got too depressed and had to stop when I got to the part about the native Arawak getting their hands chopped off for not finding enough gold for their Spanish masters. Haiti is the backward and treeless wasteland left by the exploitation process that started when the discoverers arrived. C.C. opened great wealth to the Spanish crown, but was not favored by the royals and died as persona non grata.

  • pennelk2 9:11 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    Boston Tea Party- Yes Tom Brady cheated and shady stuff has been happening in that town since forever.
    The grade school lesson was pretty simple: “Boston citizens were mad because of tea taxes so they dressed up like Indians and threw some tea into the harbor. It was noble act of defiance against a heavy handed empire. Why did they dress up? They never really explained that part- why would they want the Indians blamed for this commercial assault?
    The implication was always that the colonies were forced to pay British prices and taxes for their goods- which were limited to what empire chose to provide. Free market economics had to be promulgated by dressing up and making harbor tea.
    The Great Revelation within this reading is that England had cratered the price of tea, and the very much not free economists that wished to control the price- were the Boston colonist tea merchants.
    They dressed like Indians to not get caught performing an act of economic terrorism in an effort to create artificial scarcity.
    The American way has always been to commit crimes for self enrichment and then blame a minority group.

  • pennelk2 8:50 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    One time on Reddit- I saw a cool map detailing which countries had or had not been invaded by the British Empire, and it was about 180 that had, and maybe two dozen that had not. Mongolia has not been conquered by England, for instance.
    I remember this tidbit from the econ readings: “The inhabitants of a conquered realm were considered to be ‘spared from execution’ and therefore beholden to the kingdom. Essentially:”I was going to murder you but decided against it so instead I own you and your services and land. And also I will definitely kill you if I think you are working against the crown.
    More trivia: someone said slavery would have ended in the colonies in about 1832 if the British had thwarted the American rebellion. I don’t think it is that clear fact because of the greatmwealth of the South during the colonial period. The South had substantial amounts of money amassed from tobacco and slavery- affording them the possibility of having been able to form their own nation as slavery became illegal in the British Empire.

  • pennelk2 10:38 am on 2015-09-09 Permalink  

    Howdy Y’all,

    I wasn’t born in Texas but I got there as quick as I could, and now I’m back but I’ll never be the same person.
    I recommend sampling the Hill Country Bohemian garlic beef jerky from Buccee’s(yes it’s a beaver mascot). It is expensive, but you will want to max out your credit card right away because this stuff is that good.
    Economic History is a synergy or fusion of two individual academic elements that becomes a new unique thing or undertaking.
    Having survived all the booms, busts, bubbles, and so on, since high school in 1988- I can tell you that economic history is actually happening all the time, and that a little knowledge goes far towards avoiding being sold a line of bs by politicians etc.
    This is the only online lcc class I’ve had that has: fully broken away from the lame cookie cutter template provided. I believe anybody that is new will appreciate this class format more when it is compared to the standard (low effort) offering.

    • Kyle
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