SUEZ CANAL TROUBLE

Insatiable Shipping Companies Set the Table for the Suez Canal Ship Debacle

Justin Hirsch

Labor Notes | April 07, 2021

Huge ship loaded with containers, viewed from stern which says "Ever Given, Panama." In the background are port cranes.
Investigators are more likely to blame the ship’s crew than an industry that avoids regulation and aims to grow infinitely. Container ships are four times as big as they were 20 years ago—while the earth’s waterways have remained roughly the same size. Photo: kees torn (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A lot of ink has been spilled to explain exactly what happened in the Suez Canal, where a massive container ship got wedged across the narrow channel, idling ships or forcing lengthy detours around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Early speculation on social media laid blame on the captain and crew, mechanical failures, or mysterious forces of nature. Was it the fault of a drunken navigator, as was claimed in the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez, which spilled oil across Prince William Sound? Was there a failure of the steering gear that controls the ship’s rudder, or a did a loss of propulsion make it impossible to control the steel behemoth?Read More »

BIG CORPORATIONS 

J tax

A Journal of People report

Fifty-five of the biggest U.S. companies paid $0 in federal taxes or no tax last year, found a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Despite raking in billions, Nike, Duke Energy, FedEx, and other public companies have paid no federal corporate income tax in the U.S. since 2018, according to the study.

The 55 publicly traded companies would have paid an estimated $12 billion in federal taxes if not for corporate tax breaks in 2020, including $8.5 billion in tax avoidance and $3.5 billion in tax rebates, the report found using regulatory filings and other information.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

Bernie asks Jeff Bezos: You are worth $182 billion … why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers from unionizing?

A Journal of People report

amazon union

At a hearing on March 17, 2021, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke critically about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who declined Sanders’ invitation to testify, and Elon Musk, the two wealthiest men.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders said in his opening remarks at the Senate Budget Committee hearing, which was titled The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.

“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $182 billion – that’s a B,” Sanders said. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars, you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”Read More »

CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION OF ENVIRONMENT 

Intensive Fishing and the Birth of Capitalism, Part 2

Ian Angus

Climate and Capitalism | March 08, 2021

Part One discussed the development of fish as a mass food commodity, and the Dutch use of factory ships in the North Sea in the 16th Century.  Part Two looks at the rise of an even bigger capitalist fishery on the other side of the Atlantic.

“In the sixteenth and partly still in the seventeenth, the sudden expansion of trade and the creation of a new world market had an overwhelming influence on the defeat of the old mode of production and the rise of the capitalist mode.” — Karl Marx[1]

Accounts of transatlantic trade in the 1500s typically focus on what Perry Anderson calls “the most spectacular single act in the primitive accumulation of European capital during the Renaissance” — the plunder of precious metals by Spanish invaders in South and Central America.[2] Year after year, well-guarded convoys carried gold and silver to Europe, simultaneously enriching Spain’s absolute monarchy and destabilizing Europe’s economy.

Spain’s treasure fleets certainly played a big role in the long-term development of European capitalism, but they were not alone in creating a disruptive transatlantic economy. While Spanish ships carried silver and gold, a parallel trade involving far more ships developed far to the north. Historians of capitalism, including Marxists, have paid too little attention to what Francis Bacon called “the Gold Mines of the Newfoundland Fishery, of which there is none so rich.”[3]Read More »

CAPITALISM

The Age of Social Murder

Chris Hedges

MintPress News | March 02, 2021

Ruling Elites Feature photo

Princeton, New Jersey (Scheerpost) — The two million deaths that have resulted from the ruling elite’s mishandling of the global pandemic will be dwarfed by what is to follow. The global catastrophe that awaits us, already baked into the ecosystem from the failure to curb the use of fossil fuels and animal agriculture, presage new, deadlier pandemics, mass migrations of billions of desperate people, plummeting crop yields, mass starvation, and systems collapse.

The science that elucidates this social death is known to the ruling elites. The science that warned us of this pandemic, and others that will follow, is known to the ruling elites. The science that shows that a failure to halt carbon emissions will lead to a climate crisis and ultimately the extinction of the human species and most other species is known to the ruling elites. They cannot claim ignorance. Only indifference.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

For FinTech Magnates: Digital Dollars for the Poor, Exponential Profits for the Rich

Raul Diego

MintPress News | February 24, 2021

Fintech Feature photo

In a virtual conference hosted by The New York Times, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gave her nod of approval to the idea of “sovereign digital currencies” to solve the riddle of financial inclusion in America.

According to recent data, approximately 7.1 million, or 5.4 percent of households, in the United States have no access to a bank account and almost 20 percent more are underbanked, leaving tens of millions of people at the mercy of predatory pay-lending services and other means to receive or make payments. While these numbers do seem to be on a downward trend, they are still far above those of most developed countries, such as France and Germany.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

Intensive Fishing and the Birth of Capitalism

Ian Angus

Climate and Capitalism | February 03, 2021

Fishing is as old as humanity itself.[1] Indeed, it is older — paleontologists have found evidence that our ancestors Homo habilis and Homo erectus caught lake and river fish in east Africa a million years ago. Large shell deposits show that our Neanderthal cousins in what is now Portugal were eating shellfish over one hundred thousand years ago, as were Homo sapiens in South Africa. Island people have been fishing in the southwestern Pacific for at least thirty-five millennia.Read More »

WALL STREET IN PANIC

NYPD Deploys Counter Terrorism Unit To Protect Wall Street in Response To Gamestop Protests

Alan Macleod

MintPress News | February 01, 2021

NYPD Wall Street Feature phot

The Charging Bull statue in Manhattan’s Financial District has become the sight of protests amid a wider financial rebellion happening online. On Friday, a handful of activists were seen in Bowling Green Park, posing with the bull, and holding signs that said “Tax Wall Street Trades.” A thin band of tape was also placed on the statue’s head and rear end, featuring slogans like “Hold the line” and “WSB” — both allusions to the GameStop insurrection against hedge funds organized by Reddit’s “Wall Street Bets” community. A similar fate befell the new Fearless Girl statue, which faces the New York Stock Exchange building. Both the bull and the girl are meant to symbolize the power, bravery and daring of the city’s financial traders.Read More »

CAPITAL IN RENEWABLE ENERGY 

The Most Influential People in New Energy

A Journal of People report

Leaders in New Energy

A major shift is going on in the global energy sector. The transition away from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy is in full swing as the fight against climate change continues to gain serious momentum. 

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2020 Outlook points to the highest-ever share of newly built generation capacity for renewables. 

According to the energy watchdog, 200 gigawatts of renewable power have been added in the current year, with renewables expected to account for 95% of the net increase in global power capacity through 2025. 

The agency has projected that installed wind and solar capacity will surpass natural gas and coal in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Following are, as an Oilprice.com report said, some of the most powerful and influential people driving the new energy sector. Read More »

U.S. CAPITALISM 

A Bond Girl’s Student Loan

A Journal of People report

Gemma Arterton at the Quantum of Solace premiere in 2008

Actress Gemma Arterton found international fame as ill-fated agent Strawberry Fields opposite Daniel Craig’s James Bond in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. 

But in a new interview with the Sun, the British star says she’s gotten flak for being a Bond girl — a role she admits she has her own reservations about.

“At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living,” Arterton, who has also starred in Their Finest and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, told the British newspaper.

“I still get criticism for accepting Quantum Of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and you, know, it was a Bond film,” the actress, now 34, added.Read More »