Labor in market, and the mainstream economics

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | March 26, 2023

Market and labor in market are crucial questions both to capital and labor. The questions have been discussed and answered by economists, from the mainstream, and also from the camp of labor.

“Markets”, writes Michael D. Yates in his Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle (Monthly Review Press, New York, USA, 2022), “act as a veil, hiding the face of the system. They are imper­sonal mechanisms, which allow us to use them without knowing what is underneath.”

Yates elaborates the issue: “We buy goods and services and are thereby dependent on those who produce our food, clothing, shelter, and services of every kind. However, we simply exchange money for them. And as the Romans said, Pecunia non olet. Money has no smell.”

He shows the argument employers use to defend self-interest: “Employers say that they pay the market wage. If it is too low for survival, that is no fault of the boss.”

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U.S.: What’s Fueling the Graduate Worker Union Upsurge?

Dave Kamper

Labor Notes | March 22, 2023

The University of Minnesota’s Graduate Labor Union gathered union authorization cards representing nearly half the bargaining unit in the first 24 hours of the drive. Photo: Nolan Ferlic.

The Twin Cities saw one of its biggest-ever snowstorms the week of Presidents Day. But for labor activists the snow was overshadowed by the launch of the University of Minnesota Graduate Labor Union.

In its first 24 hours, the new union—affiliated with the United Electrical Workers (UE)—gathered more than 1,700 authorization cards representing nearly half the entire bargaining unit. Eight days in, they had a strong majority. And this week they filed for election with 65 percent support.

Such a first day bodes well for the success of the campaign, despite five—count ’em, five—previous election losses in graduate union drives at the University of Minnesota.

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Nord Stream sabotage was to undercut Germany, says Seymour Hersh

Countercurrents | March 25, 2023

Journalist Seymour Hersh

U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed.

Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday.

“The [U.S.] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [to Ukraine]. That is all. I do not know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.

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Victims of climate change: This year, 135 people may die every day due to drought in Somalia

Consecutive years of failed rains may have caused this longest, most severe drought in the country’s history

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | March 22, 2023

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

At least 43,000 people died due to drought in Somalia in 2022, according to estimates in a new study. This year may be worse, it added. 

The total number of human deaths forecast for January was 18,100 and that for June 34,200, stated the report released March 19, 2023.

This means 135 people may die each day due to drought in Somalia, the study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The drought crisis is far from over and is much more severe than the 2017-2018 drought crisis. 

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More children in central Sahel will face severe hunger in June-August 2023: Survey

The number of hungry people in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso is projected to cross 7.5 million

Madhumita Paul

Down To Earth | March 17, 2023

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

More than seven million children will suffer from severe hunger in central Sahel during the June-August 2023 lean season, according to a new joint survey by non-profit, Save the Children and other agencies in the region.

The number of hungry people in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso is projected to cross 7.5 million, being in the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) crisis level 3 or worse by mid-2023. 

That is a significant rise from the level of 5.3 million people between October-December 2022.

Children account for up to 50 per cent of the population in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, according to the United Nations population data. 

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Bank busts and regulation

Michael Roberts Blog

Stock markets are jumping back up today. It seems that financial investors think the monetary authorities and banking supervisors have got the banking crisis under control. That could be wishful thinking.

The banking crisis of 2023 is not over yet. The Californian ‘tech’ bank Silicon Valley (SVB) that went bust last week has been taken over by the US banking authorities; and so has the cryptocurrency bank Signature. First Republic Bank, used by local companies and rich New Yorkers, has got liquidity funding from a batch of big banks, but it is still tottering on the brink, as depositors flee.

And over in Europe, one of the largest and oldest banks Credit Suisse has been eliminated after 167 years. In a shotgun marriage, its rival Swiss bank UBS has taken over CS for just $3.2bn, a fraction of its book value. The Swiss authorities forced this through to ensure that…

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