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Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Weekly Audit: Ending the Economic Status Quo



by Zach Carter, TMC MediaWire Blogger

The banking lobby still holds enough sway inside the Beltway to torpedo sensible consumer protection rules, even after releasing a flood of predatory mortgages that kicked off the current economic crisis. On issues ranging from payday loans to subprime mortgages, the banking industry continues to successfully defend itself against new regulations that would protect the consumer. As if that weren't outrage enough, the finance lobby has also joined other corporate interest groups to fund misinformation campaigns that smear unions and block wage growth.

As Mary Kane explains for The Colorado Independent, the push to rein in predatory mortgage lending appears to be losing steam on Capitol Hill. An extremely complex mortgage reform bill that is conciliatory to the finance lobby passed the House last month, angering consumer advocacy groups. Among the problems: the bill pre-empts many stronger state predatory lending laws and protects the Wall Street investment banks that gorged themselves on mortgage-backed securities.

Consumer protection shortfalls are not limited to messy mortgages. [...]More
From The APC Blog by meb on 09 Jun 2009Permalink

Monday, 08 June 2009

News from the French press

Are windmills environmentally friendly?

From Le progrés

Clean energy: while energy windmills have their detractors, the possible benefits have most of France debating the pros and cons of this national interest.

While farmers used to use wind energy to grind their grain, today windmills provide enormous amounts of clean electricity. France currently counts over 2300 energy windmills spread throughout the nation, with a combined energy output of 3400 megawatts. In 2008, the windmills produced 5.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy, just over 1% of the nation’s total electrical production. The Rhône-Alpes region, located in eastern France, counts 88 windmills in the Drôme-Ardèche department, with 30 more recently obtaining construction permits and a hundred more new-built windmills that will soon begin turning. According to recent polls, 79% of the French have a “favorable” attitude towards the construction of windmills in their area, and 62% have one or more windmills less than a kilometer from their homes. However, this popular source of clean, renewable energy has its critics, who cite in opposition noise and visual

[...]More
From The APC Blog by dk on 08 Jun 2009Permalink

Friday, 05 June 2009

The Africa Report: Rice, a new cash crop for Uganda's busy farmers

by Gemma Ware

A specially-developed new grain is helping farmers earn more money than they do from growing maize,and it is beginning to drive a revolution in smallholder farming

Sprouting up amid fields of matoke, maize and coffee which carpet the hills of eastern Uganda is a new cash crop.  Rice, which is also fast becoming the food of choice for a young generation reluctant to spend time preparing the traditional maize-porridge ugali, has helped spark a revolution in smallholder farming. 

A sea change came with the energetic dissemination of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA), which was developed in West Africa in 1992. A hybrid of African and Asian rice varieties, it is high-yielding, diseaseresistant and well-suited to both Uganda’s rain-fed upland areas and its swampy dambo or wet areas. 

Smallholder rice farming in Uganda has doubled as farmers have seen the advantages of growing rice as a cash crop. The area cultivated for upland rice grew from 1,500 ha in 2002 to 40,000 ha in 2008. Rice farmers are [...]More
From The APC Blog by dk on 05 Jun 2009Permalink

Thursday, 04 June 2009

News from the French press

France's secondary school reform controversial

From L'Humanité, 3 June 2009

Former Minister of Education Jack Lang has recently conferred upon current President of the French Republic Nicholas Sarkozy his suggestion of secondary school reform. After spending several months consulting high school students, teachers, and social partners, Lang’s conclusions highlight the necessity to “correct what doesn’t work” and “preserve what does.” His nation-wide tour took him to 80 schools in 76 different districts.

His objective: nullify the reforms instituted by current Minister of Education Xavier Darcos in April 2008. Said reforms were quickly abandoned after the riots and protests in Athens, Greece in December 2008 led by “the 600-euro” generation, that is to say high school and college age students whose entry-level jobs pay around 600 euros. The reason: Darcos was made to serve under the administration of a leftist president, one with strong ties to national education, and one who increased educational budget restrictions. Seeing these attempted reforms stagnate, and Darcos quietly back down, Richard Descoings became heavily involved in the debate over secondary school education as of January 12, 2009. With his assessment as director of the Paris Institute for Political Studies and his hands-on education experience as a ré [...]More
From The APC Blog by dk on 04 Jun 2009Permalink

Wednesday, 03 June 2009

Weekly Audit: EFCA Vital for Recovery

by Zach Carter, Media Consortium MediaWire Blogger

It's official: The U.S. economy has been in a recession for a year and a half and many of the economic troubles worrying progressives in 2007 have yet to be addressed. While the Obama administration has taken steps to relieve some problems, a series of counterproductive bailouts, woefully inadequate labor laws and rampant inequality are still in urgent need of attention.

Severe economic inequality has persisted for decades in the U.S., but the current crisis is bringing things into focus. Unfortunately, while Wall Street excess and the corporate jet-setting of Detroit executives have dominated headlines and garnered plenty of justified outrage, the other side of the inequality coin has been largely neglected. As Katrina vanden Heuvel explains in The Nation, the routine exploitation of day laborers and domestic workers has grown even more pervasive since the recession began. Workers who managed to survive by laboring for predatory wages under abusive conditions now see those wages stolen with increasing regularity, as contractors simply refuse to pay up when the work is done. Huge portions [...]More
From The APC Blog by meb on 03 Jun 2009Permalink
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Capital & Class

Publisher
Conference of Socialist Economists
Publisher URL
Editors
Editorial Committee: Andreas Bieler, Surhan Cam, Ana Dinerstein, Nik Hammer, Jane HArrington, Andrew McCulloch, Kate Mulholland, Peter Nicholls, Valeria Pulignano, Mike Richardson, Peter Shirlow, Paul Stewart, John Stirling, Gerard Stange, Martin Upchurch
Total Circulation
800
Circulation Region
international
Listed Since
1977
ISSN
0309-8168
OCLC
3388313
Readership
Researchers and activists interested in class analysis, the political economy of capitalism, and socialist alternatives
Reviewed In
  • New Statesman 111(May 9, 1986): 28.

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