Posts tagged economics
Posts tagged economics
I can’t believe I’m writing these words, but Cracked.com just ran one of the best short pieces on class in America I’ve read in a long time.
1. Start a Cypriot shell company
2. Wait for funding from shady Russian oligarchs
3. Mismanage the company into the ground
4. Wait for inevitable EU bailout.
Holy shit this is fascinating. Academians build data sets from medieval records and correlate expulsion of medieval Jewish communities in Europe to droughts and traumatic weather events.
I just found out, via Slate, about a book in which the author went undercover working at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. The author, Tracie McMillan, went undercover as a farm worker, an Applebee’s employee and a Wal-Mart employee.
Just to be clear, I’m not criticizing McMillan. Her book seems genuinely interesting; I will probably buy it. I’m just taken aback that working at Wal-Mart and Applebee’s (and, well, working as a farm worker) is so far outside of the experience of typical non-fiction buyers that a book has been written about it.
Here’s the thing: Non-fiction is generally written to cater to the prejudices and interests of the upper-middle class and those who aspire to it. Many members of that class never worked at a McDonald’s, a Wendy’s or a Target. A book is needed to explain it to them. Make of that what you will.
I grew up in a white ethnic, mostly lower middle-class neighborhood in outer borough NYC. It’s beyond the subways — you need to drive or take a bus to go there. Every time I return home, I notice that the local strip malls have all turned into vacant storefronts, pawn shops, or check-cashing joints. I don’t care what your political leanings are, but that just isn’t right. We seem to have lost the script somewhere along the way…
The ranks of America’s poorest poor have climbed to a record high — 1 in 15 people — spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income.God Bless America!
Ok, everyone read this Slate piece about Lynda Barry right the hell now. There’s going to be a ton of interest/linkage/reporting on Barry over the next few weeks due to the epic NYT Magazine profile coming out, but here’s what I want to discuss…
Barry, one of the best known underground cartoonists in the world, is frank about not being unable to afford health insurance and having serious financial issues. This is a person whose work is regularly taught in university classes and whose books had a huge influence on American popular culture.
I’m lucky enough to have befriended a lot of people I idolized when I was a kid. Musicians, authors, artists, folks like that. Many of them have t-shirts for their bands sold at little shops at St. Marks Place and others have torrents of their work circulating around every single warez site. Neither see a penny from that. Being in a legendary indie rock band or having your cartoons in the back pages of the Village Voice for years isn’t a guarantee of being able to retire comfortably. Being in the culture industry may be fun, but sometimes it really sucks.
In Tunisia, the young people who helped bring down a dictator are called hittistes—French-Arabic slang for those who lean against the wall. Their counterparts in Egypt, who on Feb. 1 forced President Hosni Mubarak to say he won’t seek reelection, are the shabab atileen, unemployed youths. The hittistes and shabab have brothers and sisters across the globe. In Britain, they are NEETs—”not in education, employment, or training.” In Japan, they are freeters: an amalgam of the English word freelance and the German word Arbeiter, or worker. Spaniards call them mileuristas, meaning they earn no more than 1,000 euros a month. In the U.S., they’re “boomerang” kids who move back home after college because they can’t find work. Even fast-growing China, where labor shortages are more common than surpluses, has its “ant tribe”—recent college graduates who crowd together in cheap flats on the fringes of big cities because they can’t find well-paying work.
As a professional journalist, I need to explain what’s happening with the stock market right now.
This. Click. On. It.
This, via the WaPo’s Ezra Klein, is the best primer on the debt crisis I’ve ever seen. If you’re like me and are/were scratching your head at just WTF is happening in Congress and what could happen, read this.
Great post on being working-class and middle-class at Harvard from the Awl. Long read but so worth it.