Daily Archives: May 28, 2014

‘Inclusive capitalism’ the big new thing?

Business Ethics, 27 May 2014

Prince Charles has opened a conference on “inclusive capitalism” in London. Institutional investors and business leaders discussed how trust in capitalism could be restored by making it work better for the majority.

The global financial crisis that began in 2007-2008 has led to wide-ranging criticism of the world’s current finance-driven capitalism. A conference in London aimed at addressing some of capitalism’s shortfalls has been organised by the “Inclusive Capitalism Initiative” (ICI), convened by a senior member of one of the world’s leading financial-capitalist dynasties, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

ICI’s aim is to adjust the workings of the capitalist system so that it works well for more people. Not incidentally, this is seen as necessary in order to restore trust in capitalism, and so head off possible threats to its continuing dominance as a social and economic model.

Anti-capitalism protests in London and Frankfurt

ICI’s web page says: “At its core, Inclusive Capitalism is concerned with fixing the elevator of the economist Larry Katz’s famous analogy, portraying the American economy as an apartment block in which the penthouses have increased in size, the middle apartments are more and more squeezed, the basement is flooded, but what gets people down the most is that the elevator is broken.”

Luminaries gather to talk about the future of capitalismLady de Rothschild assembled a cast of senior dignitaries to participate in Tuesday’s discussions at Mansion House. The starting keynote speech was given by HRH Prince Charles. He was followed at the mic by IMF head Christine Lagarde. Former US President Bill Clinton, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Bank of England chief Mark Carney were also scheduled to give plenary speeches. All the speakers were introduced with gushing praise, as is customary at conferences featuring high-level dignitaries.

Prince Charles doesn’t want capitalism to become an uncontrollable beast

One of the presentations was given by Michael Sommer, who this month retired from posts as President, German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB), and President, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Sommer discussed the German economic model – how labor, management and capital can work together to increase the benefits of capitalism.

It was claimed that institutional investors and business leaders assembled at the meeting represented companies that together control about 30 percent of the world’s total stock of financial wealth under professional management. Lady de Rothschild suggested that the amount of influence in the room was sufficient to change the capitalist game, if those assembled could come together behind a common approach – but cautioned that developing a more inclusive capitalism would be a journey that takes time.

…(read more).

See also: 27 May 2014 – Newshour – 13:00 GMT

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Inclusive Capitalism Initiative is financial Trojan Horse to quell coming global revolt | Nafeez Ahmed

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/may/28/inclusive-capitalism-trojan-horse-global-revolt-henry-jackson-society-pr-growth
Henry Jackson Society’s pre-emptive PR offensive seeks to popularise parasitic economic growth for the few

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, before the start of the Inclusive Capitalism Conference at the Mansion House on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Yesterday’s Conference on Inclusive Capitalism co-hosted by the City of London Corporation and EL Rothschild investment firm, brought together the people who control a third of the world’s liquid assets – the most powerful financial and business elites – to discuss the need for a more socially responsible form of capitalism that benefits everyone, not just a wealthy minority.

Leading financiers referred to statistics on rising global inequalities and the role of banks and corporations in marginalising the majority while accelerating systemic financial risk – vindicating the need for change.

While the self-reflective recognition by global capitalism’s leaders that business-as-usual cannot continue is welcome, sadly the event represented less a meaningful shift of direction than a barely transparent effort to rehabilitate a parasitical economic system on the brink of facing a global uprising.

Central to the proceedings was an undercurrent of elite fear that the increasing disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the planetary population under decades of capitalist business-as-usual could well be its own undoing.

…(read more).

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Will Big Oil Execs Ever Stand Trial for Willful Climate Deceit?

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/28-7
Published on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Common Dreams

Green groups issue letter to insurance companies and energy giants asking, ‘Who will pay?’

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Protesters demanding an end to impunity for energy companies on fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/ Creative Commons)Fossil fuel executives, watch out.

A group of environmental organizations want to know who is going to be held responsible for the corporate obstructionism of climate change information and policies, despite clear scientific consensus.

In a letter of warning issued Wednesday to over 75 major insurance and fossil fuel corporations, Greenpeace International, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) beg the question: Who will pay for this climate deceit?

Citing “asbestos to tobacco to oil spills,” Carroll Muffett, president of CIEL, said history shows that “those who mislead the public, the market or the government about the risks of their products, or the availability of safer alternatives, can face substantial legal liability, both as companies and as individuals.”

“While lawful lobbying is a vital part of the democratic process,” the groups write, “corporate influence—either directly or through outside organizations—aiming to obstruct action on climate change, coupled with the development, sponsorship or dissemination of false, misleading or intentionally incomplete information about the climate risks associated with fossil fuel products and services to regulators, shareholders, and insurers could pose a risk to directors and officers personally.”

…(read more).

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Moms to EPA: End Monsanto’s Poisoning of America

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/28-9
Published on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Common Dreams

“We will get Roundup recalled, and we will have an impact on the chemical treadmill,” said Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America

– Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Photo: London Permaculture/cc/flickrIt’s time for Monsanto’s Roundup to stop poisoning our food.

That was the message brought to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday by a group of concerned mothers who say that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widespread herbicide made by the chemical and biotechnology giant, is putting public health in jeopardy.

The group of 11, which included scientists, a lawyer and health worker, urged the agency to look at the results of a recent pilot study commissioned by their group, Moms Across America, and Sustainable Pulse. Their study found glyphosate present in human breast milk, indicating — contrary to industry claims — that the herbicide may build up or “bioaccumulate” in women’s bodies.

The results of that study were “considerable and shocking,” Zen Honeycutt, Founder and Director of Moms Across America, told Common Dreams.

Honeycutt pointed to a previous study which looked at on Roundup’s negative effects on gut bacteria and pointed to possible links between those effects and a number of diseases. She said that in her group’s breast milk study, the sample with the highest levels of Roundup detected had levels that were higher than was shown to destroy gut bacteria in the earlier study.

…(read more).

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Millions Worldwide March Against Monsanto | Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/24-1
Published on Saturday, May 24, 2014 by Common Dreams

Dr. Vandana Shiva: “We did not choose to target Monsanto. Monsanto chose to target our seed and food freedom, our scientific and democratic institutions, our very lives.”

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Marchers in Durban, South Africa. (Photo: @Revonews/ Twitter)”It’s time to take back our food!” was the cry as people in 52 countries worldwide took to the streets in a global day of action on Saturday against chemical behemoth Monsanto.

The third annual March Against Monsanto (MAM) is slated to be the biggest yet, according to movement founder Tami Canal, with millions of people in over 400 cities expected to take part.

“From Agent Orange to Monsanto’s pending patents directly affiliated with weather modification to the gross government corruption, MAM has evolved to expose all the insidious tentacles that Monsanto possesses,” said Canal in an interview with Anti-Media.

Across social media, protesters shared images from demonstrations around the world where people called for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals.

…(read more).

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Obama: ‘I Believe in American Exceptionalism with Every Fiber of My Being’

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/28-2
Published on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Common Dreams

President’s foreign policy speech at West Point leaves progressives with plenty to criticize
– Jon Queally, staff writer

President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Class of 2014, Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in West Point, N.Y. (Photo: AP)In a speech rife with incongruities and contradictions, President Obama set out his vision and defense of U.S. foreign policy on Wednesday at the West Point Military Academy in New York.

In the speech, Obama announced that he believes “in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being” and spoke repeatedly about “American leadership” and “American strength.”

Progressives and foreign policy experts on the left, however, were quick to criticize the president’s speech from various angles via their Twitter accounts with many noting that for all his grand rhetoric on the nation’s special place in the world, the United States under his leadership has done little to inspire and much to undermine such a role. From assaults on human rights and the flouting of international law to serves its own interests, many critics charge, the United States continues to export militarism while undermining efforts to create a more just and peaceful world.

…(read more).

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The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

Published on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Monbiot.com

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.

by George Monbiot
Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1). The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. We simply can’t go on this way.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems(2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained(3). But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and the pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, as the most accessible reserves have been exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

…(read more).

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