Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weekend Reading Suggestions

1.  This is a good read on Wall Street and parasitic economics.  An example:

So the issue is whether Goldman Sachs, Wall Street and predatory pharmaceutical firms, actually add “product” or whether they’re just exploiting other people. That’s why I used the word parasitism in my book’s title. People think of a parasite as simply taking money, taking blood out of a host or taking money out of the economy. But in nature it’s much more complicated. The parasite can’t simply come in and take something. First of all, it needs to numb the host. It has an enzyme so that the host doesn’t realize the parasite’s there. And then the parasites have another enzyme that takes over the host’s brain. It makes the host imagine that the parasite is part of its own body, actually part of itself and hence to be protected. That’s basically what Wall Street has done. It depicts itself as part of the economy. Not as a wrapping around it, not as external to it, but actually the part that’s helping the body grow, and that actually is responsible for most of the growth. But in fact it’s the parasite that is taking over the growth.

2.  Five female soccer players have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the US Soccer Federation.  According to the complaint, women get paid a lot less than men.  A snippet:

As ESPN reports about the players' complaint, "The filing, citing figures from the USSF's 2015 financial report, says that despite the women's team generating nearly $20 million more revenue last year than the U.S. men's team, the women are paid almost four times less."
Citing U.S. Soccer's annual financial reports, the complaint says that the group's initial budget had projected a financial loss for both the men's and women's teams — but that the women's national team's success "almost exclusively" brought a projected $17.7 million profit. For the 2017 financial year, the players say, the federation now "projects a net profit from the WNT of approximately $5 million, while projecting a net loss of nearly $1 million for the MNT."

3.   An excellent and nuanced take on last New Year's Eve sexual violence in Cologne, Germany by Jina Moore.  Among other aspects of the case she discusses the fact that the kind of harassment so many women suffered that night might not even be criminal in Germany.  This struck a bell with me, because I've recently learned that far too many convicted rapists in Finland don't even go to prison, because the laws have no teeth and nobody is getting them dentures.