The top ten banks in the U.S., along with their European counterparts have racked up over $300bn of fines, metered out by regulators since their egregious criminality caused a global crisis that unfolded in 2008. Its lingering influence is felt by billions of people worldwide nearly a decade later in a recovery slower than the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Jails are devoid of the Armani suited mobsters employed by the financial services industry that are now causing the breakdown of the rule of law, threatening democracies and even statehood itself in the countries they operate in.
This is no better demonstrated than through a WikiLeaks release last October where we learn that the banking giant Citigroup, having played a pivotal role in bringing America and the West to its knees, received the largest U.S. taxpayer bailout to resuscitate its insolvent corpse, played a leading role in shaping and even staffing Barack Obama’s first term in office after donating $millions to his election campaign. (1)
A new study by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment crunches the numbers for a bunch of these factors to try to predict the impacts of California’s rising minimum wage, which will gradually increase to $15 per hour over the next six years. The study’s authors came to two major conclusions: The state’s higher wages will lead to large increases in pay for workers, and they will not result in major job losses.
Income inequality among British men has risen significantly in the last 20 years, according to research that shows the opposite happened to women’s earnings.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reported Friday that one in five low-paid men work less than 30 hours a week, and economists have said it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing the results.
Twenty years ago, only one in 20 British men aged 25 to 55 in the lower income percentiles worked part time. Now, one in five of the same group work part-time.
American slavery was technically abolished in 1865, but a loophole in the 13th Amendment has allowed it to continue “as a punishment for crimes” well into the 21st century. Not surprisingly, corporations have lobbied for a broader and broader definition of “crime” in the last 150 years. As a result, there are more (mostly dark-skinned) people performing mandatory, essentially unpaid, hard labor in America today than there were in 1830.
With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, the United States has the largest incarcerated population in the world. No other society in history has imprisoned more of its own citizens. There are half a million more prisoners in the U.S. than in China, which has five times our population. Approximately 1 in 100 adults in America were incarcerated in 2014. Out of an adult population of 245 million that year, there were 2.4 million people in prison, jail or some form of detention center.
The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related.
Big Business is making big bucks off prison labor: