Tag Archive: economics
The short version? The American Empire is going down, baby, and a lack of perspective on things means that there ain’t no turning back.
Everything you learned, everything you believe and everything driving our political leaders is based on a misleading, outdated theory of history. The American Empire is at the edge of a dangerous precipice, at risk of a sudden, rapid collapse.
Why? Throughout history imperial leaders inevitably emerge and drive their nations into wars for greater glory and “economic progress,” while inevitably leading their nation into collapse. And that happens suddenly and swiftly, within “a decade or two.”
“Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” We sense the “consummation” of the American Empire occurred with the leadership handoff from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush.
Unfortunately that peak is behind us: Clinton, Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and all future American leaders are merely playing their parts in the greatest of all historical dramas, repeating but never fully grasping the lessons of history in their insatiable drive for “economic progress,” to recapture former glory … while unwittingly pushing our empire to the edge, into collapse.
Look, of all the reasons I went to university, the opportunity to earn more money that those that didn’t was barely on the list. In fact, thinking back, I don’t think it was on the list at all. I went for the freedom, the knowledge, the library, the experience, the parties, to meet interesting people and the opportunity not to have to work full-time for a couple more years. I sure as fuck wasn’t thinking about how I would be in a beater position when I entered the job market. Who the fuck goes into higher education for that?!?
Okay, maybe it’s a little different in the UK. The government paid my fees and I don’t have to start repaying my student loan until i’m earning a certain amount. But still, seriously? You went to uni to earn more money in the long run? You shallow, vapid, proto-yuppie consumer fuckwit.
Okay, that was totally uncalled for and not a true reflection of my thoughts and feelings on the situation. Sure did feel good to type though.
In recent years, the nonprofit College Board touted the difference in lifetime earnings of college grads over high-school graduates at $800,000, a widely circulated figure. Other estimates topped $1 million. [...]
Mark Schneider, a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, calls it “a million-dollar misunderstanding.”
One problem he sees with the estimates: They don’t take into account deductions from income taxes or breaks in employment. Nor do they factor in debt, particularly student debt loads, which have ballooned for both public and private colleges in recent years. In addition, the income data used for the Census estimates is from 1999, when total expenses for tuition and fees at the average four-year private college were $15,518 per year. For the 2009-10 school year, that number has risen to $26,273, and it continues to increase at a rate higher than inflation.
Dr. Schneider estimated the actual lifetime-earnings advantage for college graduates is a mere $279,893 in a report he wrote last year. He included tuition payments and discounted earning streams, putting them into present value. He also used actual salary data for graduates 10 years after they completed their degrees to measure incomes. Even among graduates of top-tier institutions, the earnings came in well below the million-dollar mark, he says.
Hot on the heels of the story in Publisher’s Weekly that “publishers could be losing out on as much $3 billion to online book piracy” comes a sudden realization of a much larger threat to the viability of the book industry. Apparently, over 2 billion books were “loaned” last year by a cabal of organizations found in nearly every American city and town. Using the same advanced projective mathematics used in the study cited by Publishers Weekly, Go To Hellman has computed that publishers could be losing sales opportunities totaling over $100 Billion per year, losses which extend back to at least the year 2000. These lost sales dwarf the online piracy reported yesterday, and indeed, even the global book publishing business itself.
From what we’ve been able to piece together, the book “lending” takes place in “libraries”. On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange for a “card”. But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons. Although there’s no admission charge and it doesn’t cost anything to borrow a book, there’s always the threat of an onerous overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle of not paying for copyrighted material.
To get to the bottom of this story, Go To Hellman has dispatched its Senior Piracy Analyst (me) to Boston, where a mass meeting of alleged book traffickers is to take place. Over 10,000 are expected at the “ALA Midwinter” event. Even at the Amtrak station in New York City this morning, at the very the heart of the US publishing industry, book trafficking culture was evident, with many travelers brazenly displaying the totebags used to transport printed contraband.
As soon as I got off the train, I was surrounded by even more of this crowd. Calling themselves “Librarians”, they talk about promoting literacy, education, culture and economic development, which are, of course, code words for the use and dispersal of intellectual property. They readily admit to their activities, and rationalize them because they’re perfectly legal in the US, at least for now.
Go to the full article of more of this scathing satirical scribbling!
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