CAPITALISM 

Vaccine Patents = Mass Murder

Paul Demarty

Climate and Capitalism | May 07, 2021

As a new wave of Covid-19 rips through many countries, notably India, Argentina and Brazil, it is disconcerting to look on from the vantage point of a country where things are — for now — well under control, with over half the population at least partly vaccinated.

With scientific opinion — and plain common sense — united in the certainty that Britain and the few other rich countries which have had a successful vaccination program still cannot protect themselves so long as some of the most populous countries on earth are effectively giant Petri dishes for the emergence of new variants of the virus, scrutiny must rightly fall on Britain’s failure to aid the global effort adequately. And, while much of the discussion focuses on how many spare vaccine shots are ‘donated,’ there is a far more serious moral failure on display in the present situation.Read More »

COVID VACCINE 

Ahead of crucial WTO meet, rights groups urge patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines

Peoples Dispatch | April 22, 2021

Demand for patent waiver WTO meet
(Photo: NICEF/Jake Verzosa)

Several human rights groups, including Doctors Without Border (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF), ­­­­­­­­made an urgent appeal to the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the eve of its scheduled virtual meeting on Thursday, April 22, to waive off the patent rights on COVID-19 vaccine production.

More than 100 countries, led by India and South Africa, have demanded the temporary waiver of some clauses of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on the production of vaccines and other related medical equipment in order to increase their production and facilitate their wider and more equitable reach.Read More »

INEQUALITY RISING 

Number of World Billionaires Increases to 2,755

POLITSTURM | April 15, 2021

Number of World Billionaires  Increases to 2,755

Forbes released its data surrounding billionaires in 2021 whose wealth exploded amidst the pandemic. The number of billionaires increased by 660 over the past year to 2,755. The U.S. has the most billionaires at 770 followed by China at 698 (including Hong Kong and Macao). Read More »

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 »

SOCIALIST MOVEMENT 

The Historical Challenges Facing the Socialist Movement

Translation of Introduction to the Latin American Edition of Beyond Capital

István Mészáros and John Bellamy Foster

MR Online | March 26, 2021

István Mészáros

Preface to the English Edition

On February 16, 2015, István Mészáros sent me a letter addressing the history of the Latin American Spanish edition of Beyond Capital and its reception by President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, along with a narrative of the origins of his close friendship with Chávez. In that letter, he explained that Vadell Hermanos, the publisher of the Spanish edition, had “asked me to write a special Introduction for the Latin American edition in Spanish, and I completed this special introduction—nearly 10,000 words, not published in English—in January 2000.” The entire book incorporating this special introduction was published by Vadell Hermanos in 2001, followed by the Brazilian Portuguese translation in 2002.

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 »

CAPITALISTS IN USA 

Ultra-Wealthy Evade 20% of Taxable Income

POLITSTURM | April 01, 2021

Ultra-Wealthy Evade 20% of Taxable Income

According to new research published in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the wealthiest Americans are more successful at evading taxes than was previously expected. The paper suggests that due to the use of sophisticated techniques, the sampled data of random audits do not capture the true amount of tax evasion. The authors estimate that the top 1% shelter 20% of their taxable income. 

Audit data showed a very small amount of tax evasion for the wealthiest Americans which can be explained by the use of foreign intermediaries (ex. Foreign bank accounts) and pass-through business entities which serve to complicate detection efforts.Read More »

COVID-19 VACCINE

Explained: How Intellectual Property Rights are blocking vaccine production

Peoples Dispatch | April 04, 2021

Estimates suggest that the mass of the population in wealthier countries are likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid of 2022. However, in poorer economies, mass immunization will take until 2024, if it happens at all. These countries will pay the cost of this delay in the form of 2.5 million avoidable deaths.

What is standing in the way of expanding production and carrying out mass vaccination campaigns across the world?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 »

ENVIRONMENT

The financialization of environment protection

Riccardo De Cristano

Climate and Capitalism | March 11, 2021

“Business as usual is killing us” [1]

Recent years have seen the rise and expansion of new financial instruments aimed to create a positive impact on society. One peculiar instrument, green bonds, is facing enormous growth, and we can notice how it is becoming a popular type of investment.[2] Through its mechanisms, even if a universal definition of what a green bond does not exist, investors can raise profits and provide positive outcomes for the environment.Read More »