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Monday Links

(1) Esther Kaplan, Losing Sparta: the Bitter Truth Behind the Gospel of Productivity.  This is a must-read piece that came out last week in the Virginia Quarterly Review.  Yves Smith wrote about it at Naked Capitalism last week, and Doug Henwood did an (as-usual) terrific interview with the author on his radio show, Behind the News. It is the story of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Sparta, Tenn., and how the Dutch multinational corporation Philips shut the plant down and moved production to Monterrey, Mexico, even though (as Kaplan documents) the company probably lost market share as a result of the move. It is a brilliant piece, shuttling back and forth between the stories of the town and the plant and those of various people involved, and then to the big-picture economic level to explore the logic (or illogic) of off-shoring.

(2) Doug Henwood, More New Segments.  Besides the show with the Esther Kaplan interview, Doug Henwood posted a couple of other new shows last week–all three shows are great. The June 19th show features Jennifer Taub talking about her new book, Other People’s Houses, which traces the most recent financial crisis to the S&L crisis, in ways that go beyond what I knew from reading stuff by Bill Black. That show also includes an interview with Margaret Gray about her book Labor and the Locavore, about how the organic farms (she focuses on the Hudson Valley) from which the locavore movement “sources” its ingredients often exploit their migrant farmworker workforce. She covers a lot of ground about how farmworkers are covered by different, and weaker, labor laws. (This is a topic I used to do research and activism on; to hear me talking about many of the same issues, listen to the second hour of this episode of Unwelcome Guests, the radio show I used to co-produce.) The June 26 episode includes another excellent interview, of Sarah Stillman about her recent piece in the New Yorker, Get Out of Jail, Inc., about so-called “offender-funded justice.”

(3) Sean McElwee, Conspiracy of the Plutocratsan interview at Salon with Piketty protegee Gabriel Zucman.

(4) Lew Daly, Our Mismeasured Economyin last week’s New York Times, an excellent op-ed.

(5) Gideon Levy, Israel’s real purpose in Gaza operation? To kill ArabsDoug Henwood posted a link to this on his Facebook page; it “pairs nicely” with Doug’s interview with Alex Kane on his 7/3 episode (after the Esther Kaplan interview).

(6) David Bacon, Debunking 8 Myths about Why Central American Kids are MigratingNeeded.

(7) Linda Marsa, The Longevity GapVia the always-awesome Too Much, by Sam Pizzigati (it comes out on Mondays, so my links will frequently draw on it), a piece from Aeon Magazine about what it would be like if current trends continue and the super-rich are able to pay for medical services that allow them to live to 120, while access to health care continues to decline for ordinary people, who will live on average to be 60.  This reminds me of the excellent book Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart, in which the protagonist works for a company that helps the super-rich defy aging. (That book also predicted the Occupy movement.)

(8) Sarah Anderson, The State of Runaway CEO Pay Resistance.  More great stuff from the Institute for Policy Studies (which sponsors Sam Pizzigati’s Too Much also).  Though the titling suggests that it is the resistance to CEO pay is runaway–if only!

(9) Dan Read, The Homeless Spike, a report on effects of Britain’s “bedroom tax,” from sometime D&S author Dan Read.

(10) Bookstore Owner Takes On a Union, Shocking a Liberal Bastion.  Hat-tip to TM.  A great story, but we were annoyed (but not surprised) that the Times cast this as a human-interest story about those quirky Upper West Side liberals instead or a labor or business news story. The article fails to even tell readers that firing workers for signing up for a union is illegal.

That’s it for now,

–Chris Sturr

PS Happy Bastille Day!



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