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http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/paul-mason-post-capitalism-will-set-you-free-1.2303406 Paul Mason sits in his two-up, two-down terraced house in south London while a newly arrived wheaten terrier, Lottie, still getting used to visitors, slumbers in a pen on a sultry afternoon. Mason, the outspoken economics editor of Channel 4 News, is readying to return to Greece, the land whose fortunes, or otherwise, he has charted at length. For some its experience marks the end of Europe’s single currency. But Mason believes the crisis facing capitalism does not stop at Greek overspending and maladministration – or, indeed, at an Irish banking crisis caused by property debt. In his new book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, Mason’s thesis is this: neoliberalism, the economic doctrine that has dominated the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has run its course, or soon will. “The future of neoliberalism is low wages. In the next 30 years 40 to 50 per cent of all jobs will disappear and be automated – retail and office administration, firstly,” he says. Even higher-skill jobs are being simplified or eradicated. “My job in television has been surrounded by less and less skilled people the more sound and editing have been automated.” The cause is the information-technology revolution. “There are no circumstances in which that technology creates more jobs. It is the first time that a technology has not done that. A hundred years ago, yes, lots of jobs were automated. Yes, you got a production line; the agricultural workforce were decimated, but new jobs were created that needed higher skills,” he says. “John Maynard Keynes in the 1920s said that once you have abundance you don’t have economics. I am not the first to argue that IT is creating a dynamic of cheapness, freeness and shareness – and cheap, free and shared forms of producing are things that mainstream economics has not got its head around. “But I am one of the first to say that this is totally related to the crisis that we are living through, that the stagnation, the failure of a new industrial revolution to take off, is basically down to the fact that neoliberalism was not the springboard for a new industrial revolution but turns out to be a dead end.” “Bullshit jobs” To some this will sound like a call to smash the machines in the manner of the Luddite millworkers of northern England as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace. Mason says it shouldn’t. “The real Luddites are the people who go around opening nail bars, contract cleaners, lap-dancing clubs, bullshit jobs. Capitalism is creating bullshit jobs. We have got nothing better for people to do, so we are going to create jobs to which you can’t apply technology, jobs for minimum wages.” The crisis awaiting capitalism dwarfs even current challenges, Mason says, quoting a disciple of the system, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Ageing societies will be unable to service national debt, he believes, and tax-raising powers will wither in the face of automation. Inequality, even in Scandinavia, will grow dramatically. “The OECD’s economists were too polite to say it, so let’s spell it out: for the developed world the best of capitalism is behind us, and for the rest it will be over in our lifetime,” he writes in his book. Matters can end in one of two ways: “In the first scenario, the global elite clings on, imposing the cost of the crisis on to workers , pensioners and the poor over the next 10 or 20 years.” If this happens the enforcers of globalisation, as he sees them – the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation – will survive, but much weakened. “The cost of saving globalisation is borne by the ordinary people of the developed world. But growth stagnates.” “Globalisation falls apart” There is an even bleaker vista. “The consensus breaks. Parties of the hard right and left come to power as ordinary people refuse to pay the price of austerity. Instead states then try to impose the cost of the crisis on each other. “Globalisation falls apart, the global institutions become powerless and, in the process, the conflicts that have burned these past 20 years – drug wars, post-Soviet nationalism, jihadism, uncontrolled migration and resistance to it – light a fire at the centre of the system. “In this scenario lip service to international law evaporates; torture, censorship, arbitrary detention and mass surveillance become the regular tools of statecraft. This is a variant of what happened in the 1930s, and there is no guarantee it cannot happen again.” And this is before the political, economic and social costs of global warming, ageing societies and rapid population growth are counted. “If we can’t create a sustainable global order and restore economic dynamism, the decades after 2050 will be chaos,” Mason says. But the future is as yet unwritten. Capitalism is bust, he argues, but post-capitalism could thrive, offering shaded groves of adequate incomes, co-operation, sharing. One key will be a basic income for everybody – £120 a week in the UK, similar to its maximum state pension – to help people “volunteer, set up co-ops, edit Wikipedia, learn how to used 3D design software, make a late entry or early exit from working life, switch more easily in and out of high-intensity, stressful jobs.” The idea is not new. The left and right have both, at different times, embraced it, but it would double the welfare bill – “a significant claim on resources”, he admits. People would be free to do other work. “The ultimate aim is to reduce to a minimum the hours it takes to produce what humanity needs,” Mason writes. In turn the world of finance would change: central bankers would be democratically elected and told to follow sustainability targets. Society would be served by the economy, not the other way around. Crippling national debts would wither in the face of higher inflation; banks’ profits would be capped; accountants would be jailed for even suggesting tax evasion. Offshore financial havens would be destroyed; the companies using them would be told to return to their home bases “or be treated as the financial equivalent of al-Qaeda”. The richest 1 per cent would fight to protect their power, even though, Mason says, they recognise that capitalism’s days are numbered. “But there is good news. The 99 per cent are coming to the rescue. Post-capitalism will set you free.” Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future is published by Allen Lane
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+1Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage may pave way for expanded gun rights With the high court’s latest ruling on same-sex marriages, some contend the decision could lead to increased gun rights, specifically national CCW reciprocity, by using the same argument. Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and recognize those sanctioned by other states. “No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the landmark decision that arguably made same sex marriage a reality in the 13 remaining states that continued to ban the practice. With similar logic applied, gun rights advocates argue that the nation’s patchwork of firearms laws governing the concealed carry of handguns are now circumspect under the same guidelines. In short, they reason if marriage equality is guaranteed from state to state, then so should concealed carry rights. “To paraphrase what Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy said about same-sex marriage,” noted Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb in a statement Friday, “no right is more profound than the right of self-preservation, and under the Constitution, all citizens should be able to exercise the right of self-defense anywhere in the country. It disparages their ability to do so, and diminishes their personhood to deny the right to bear arms they have in their home states when they are visiting other states.” While every state has a framework to issue concealed carry permits, they are under no obligation to recognize those issued by other states and territories. For example, Illinois and Hawaii only recognize permits issued by their respective jurisdictions. In contrast, Ohio recognizes licenses from any other state regardless of whether Ohio has entered into a reciprocity agreement. This can lead to otherwise lawful gun owners facing jail time when traveling into states that do not recognize their conceal carry permit. In 2014, a Florida man was detained while passing through Maryland after authorities, discovering he had a concealed carry permit from his home state not recognized under local law, subjected him to a search for his handgun. After a 55 minute roadside search in which no gun was found, he was allowed to proceed. In a separate case, a Pennsylvania mother of two traveling with a valid Keystone State permit was stopped in New Jersey and, after telling police she had a gun in her car when asked, was brought up on felony charges of illegal possession of said firearm. Facing three years in prison, her case was dismissed following intense pressure from gun rights advocates and a pardon from Gov. Chris Christie. The Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1866 just after the Civil War, expanded the protection of personal civil rights to all Americans no matter which state they live in and is often cited in litigation based on perceived civil rights violations. Gottlieb contends that its scope, backed up in its latest interpretation by the nation’s top court, should be a powerful nail in the coffin of non-recognition by one state of another state’s issued concealed carry permit. “State drivers’ licenses are universally recognized,” Gottlieb said, “and with today’s high court ruling, same-sex marriage must now be recognized in all 50 states as well. It not only stands to reason, but common sense demands that the concealed carry licenses held by more than 11 million citizens across the country should now be valid in every state without question.” Other groups agreed, arguing that the stakes could be even bigger than carry reciprocity. “Did the Supreme Court rule today that all gun laws are unconstitutional?,” noted Open Carry Texas on their social media account. “If states can’t infringe upon ‘marriage equality’ then they also can’t infringe upon civil gun rights. That is the essence of their rulings over the past 48 hours. If we have a right to health care and marriage, we have a right to guns.”
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+2Housing market recovery may lead to more foreclosures It's been about six years since the housing market crashed. Since then millions of Americans have either lost their homes or suddenly found themselves owing more than their homes were worth. Today, the housing market is recovering and home prices are finally rising again. It's great news...[Show All] for a lot of people, but not for everyone. In fact, the housing market recovery could spell doom for homeowners that are behind on their mortgage and facing foreclosure. Before the recovery When the housing market first crashed, mortgage credit was hard to come by and home prices plummeted. As a result, lenders found themselves swamped with delinquent mortgages. In some instances, banks had more foreclosure cases that they could effectively handle and many of them became bogged down with legal problems such as missing documentation and unclear title chains. Rather than try to handle all of these foreclosures, many lenders opted to pursue only the most profitable ones, the properties they felt they would be able to sell quickly. The rest were temporarily ignored. When the lender takes possession of a home they assume responsibility for the upkeep of that property until it is auctioned off to somebody else. Rather than take that financial burden, many lenders allowed borrowers who were behind on mortgage payments to stay in their homes. A seller's market In real estate, the term seller's market means that the conditions of the industry are optimal for sellers as opposed to buyers. In other words, sellers have more to gain when selling properties. With the housing market now on the mend and with home prices rising, experts agree that we are now heading into a seller's market. This is where the trouble starts for those behind on their mortgage. Lenders that were previously hesitant to foreclose and take possession of certain properties are now more likely to do so. In order to consider pursuing a foreclosure, lenders need to feel reasonably certain they can turn around and sell the property at a decent price. Now that home prices are on the rise, lenders are a lot more confident they can sell the properties they've been ignoring for some time.So while no one would argue that the end of the housing crisis is a good thing, it may not be the best news for everyone. Business, real estate, and bankruptcy law and litigation news brought to you by mbblegal.net Source: moneynews.com/Economy/RealtyTrac-Blomquist-foreclosure-lender/2014/01/06/id/545362 [Show Less]
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