Browsing Posts in Economy

I am going to officially be an evil, faceless, corporate-fascist machine; exploiting our resources and labor for profit (mwah-hah-hah-hah: I’ve got a fat cigar and a brandy snifter in my hand).

Well, technically I’ve been a corporation for about two and a half years — at least the President, Sole Proprietor and Chief Executive of a Corporation I started. Probably not quite as nefarious as I make it out to be. I had intended on starting a business and decided to incorporate it. The business never took off, so recently I figured I might as well file for dissolution considering it was “dead” for all intents and purposes.

My father however, suggested I look into changing the name and the charter of my corporation to relate to my blogging/writing. Well, I did look into that and I am now filing the proper paperwork to change the name of my corporation. I won’t give that out until everything is finalized and approved — suffice to say “publishing” will be in the name since I will be a publisher. continue reading…

This is the only Tea-Bagging I want to see!

I am not one that typically likes to involve themselves in issues or social movements that anyone with moderate intelligence could deduce to be completely irrational and/or counter intuitive to one’s well-being. But lately I’ve been barraged by the “small government is better” crowd, not necessarily a part of the tea party, but coming from the same philosophical ilk nonetheless. Hell, I’ve even talked with some “liberal” democrats buying into to some of this toxic rhetoric from the ill-informed.

To give them a simplified critique: the oppressive taxes you pay (the lowest Americans have paid in over 60 years) go toward building and maintaining roads, schools, fireman, policemen, protecting us from foreign invasion, making sure our food and water is (somewhat) safe to eat and drink and on and on and on….

Again, that is a very simplistic analysis — don’t worry, it’ll get more pedantic as the caffeine kicks in. This leads to the clever title; when will, if ever, cognitive dissonance kick in for those of the belief that government is always the enemy no matter what? For those who aren’t up on social psychology, cognitive dissonance is simply holding two contradictory views at once. continue reading…

With the costs of name-brand drugs rising exponentially over the past 20 years and higher premiums and co-pays, US citizens have, to a large extent, been able to count on lower-priced generics, which have always been assumed to be the same as their name-brand equivalents. This is not the case anymore as Teva Pharmaceuticals, based in Israel, has been swallowing up many of the leading generic drug manufactures over the past few years, making them the sole producer of many important generics that so many of us count on for a myriad of medical conditions. The fact that Teva is buying up the competition is not the focus here–though corporate monopolies are never good for consumers. It is the fact that so many of Teva’s generics are poorly produced in third-world countries and are not the same as their brand-name equivalents. While the chemical components of their drugs are the same, or bio-equivalent,  as the main chemical compound of the name-brand, it is the low-quality precursor chemicals, inferior manufacturing facilities and lack of production oversight that is causing adverse reactions in consumers that have begun taking generics produced under the Teva Umbrella.

Teva takes over

Teva was officially created in 1976 after the merger of three pharmaceutical companies created in Israel by European Immigrants. In 1982, the FDA approved its main manufacturing plant — and so began the path to market domination.

Teva is not solely interested in generics as they have produced some very effective and useful proprietary drugs such as Copaxone and Azilect. Despite their own research and development, Teva’s meteoric rise atop the pharmaceutical food chain has come through buying and merging with other large drug manufacturers. Most recently, the acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals in 2008 for over 7 billion dollars has further entrenched them in generic manufacturing. continue reading…

A blow for consumers

For those not following the FCC as of late, the issue of Net Neutrality has been a hot-button issue. For a few years now, mega internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon have been of the mindset that they can dictate the bandwidth allocated to whatever services they deem acceptable. In 2007, Comcast decided they had the god-given corporate right to slow down the bandwidth of BitTorrents, among other things Comcast didn’t find appropriate—-Oh Crap, I’m using Comcast Broadband right now, better watch my tongue, otherwise my faithful readers will be going back in a 1998 dial-up time machine when they visit my site.

My conspiratorial delusions aside, Comcast fought the FCC–who’d a thunk it–and on April 6 of this year, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to stop all mighty Comcast from doing as they please; essentially ruling that the FCC can’t impose net neutrality at all. Here is the FCC’s response to the decision:

The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies — all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers — on a solid legal foundation. continue reading…

What is the prison industrial complex?

A very brief answer to that question would be: the private businesses, corporations and contractors that benefit from the construction, security and maintenance of prisons as a profit generating enterprise. In and of itself, making a profit by providing a service, in whatever form that service manifests, is how capitalism works. When it comes to the private prison industry however, that profit comes at the expense of; not only the tax-paying public that supports the private prison industry, but also the largely minority and poor population that is disproportionally incarcerated when compared to whites. The guards, or correctional officers, of these institutions are typically unable to unionize and generally paid very poorly for the dangerous job they do, ultimately leading to widespread corruption throughout the prison system; from the guards to law enforcement to the judicial system.

In the United States, 1.8 million individuals are behind bars. This is nearly 500,000 more than China, which has a population over quadruple the population of the United States and is largely criticized–deservedly so–for their human rights violations. If you are a black male in the United States, you are six times more likely to be in prison than a white male, and almost three times more likely than a Hispanic male. In 1993, while apartheid still existed in South Africa, the incarceration rate of black men was almost 1/6 what the current incarceration rate of black men in this country is. Not only is this emblematic of broad and systemic racial injustice, it is also the result of a profit-motivated prison system that makes more and more money–at taxpayer expense–when our citizens are locked up; increasingly for non-violent offenses. continue reading…

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