Daily Archives: May 25, 2016

How Makers Became Takers: Is Wall Street To Blame?

BOOK REVIEW

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business, Author: Rana Foroohar.

By Steve Denning – One aspect of Wall Street’s power is financial: the financial sector represents about 7% of our economy but takes around 25% of all corporate profits, while creating only 4% of all jobs.

Its power to shape the thinking of government officials, regulators, CEOs, and even many consumers and investors is even more important.

It is behind decisions in the 2008 financial meltdown which resulted in large gains for the financial industry but disastrous losses for homeowners, small businesses, workers, and consumers.

Instead of financial markets playing their historical role supporting Main Street, now corporations are increasingly becoming the means of money-making by Wall Street.

Instead of financial markets enabling investments in real goods and services, corporations are increasingly seen as vehicles for “making money out of money.”

The end results are growing income inequality and secular economic stagnation. more> http://goo.gl/59nzN2

We’re Inching Closer to Making Solar Power as Cheap as Regular Electricity

By Madeleine Thomas – It’s been nearly five years since the Department of Energy rolled out plans to make solar power a cost-competitive electricity source by the end of the decade. Also known as the SunShot Initiative, the goal of the program is to drop the cost of solar power 75 percent by 2020.

Once prices reach $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, solar power will officially become cost-competitive and could supply as much as 27 percent of the country’s electricity by 2050 as more homeowners, businesses, and communities switch over.

Solar power installations have grown 17-fold since 2008, from 1.2 gigawatts to 20 gigawatts nationwide, according to government figures.

That’s enough electricity to power all of Austin and Seattle for an entire year. more> https://goo.gl/AdsrRQ

Updates from GE

Made In The USA: This Map Shows How Americans Benefit From Exports
By Tomas Kellner – Large companies often play an unseen but key economic role in their communities. Their suppliers — as well as local grocers, restaurant workers, non-profits and others — feel their pain in bad times, and profit when orders and jobs swell.

GE, which employs 125,000 people in the United States and works with more than 15,000 American suppliers, decided the measure this effect. This spring, the company created an interactive map to show the size of its own ecosystem and how it depends on free trade.

“About 70 percent of the products GE will make in the United States in 2016 will be exported,” says Nancy Dorn, vice president for government affairs and policy.

The world, including the United States, seems to be turning away from the notion of free trade. We actually need to continue along the trade path if we are to continue to prosper.

Let me give you an example. The United States is still GE’s single biggest country market, but at the same time, the growth rate in the United States in terms of the latest power-plant technology is not as meteoric as in some developing countries that are really starting from scratch.

Developing markets are leapfrogging the legacy systems in many of the developed countries and going with the most modern, most ecologically friendly technology. It’s analogous to the era when everyone went from landlines to cellular networks. more> http://goo.gl/oMX1zO

Uber deal shows divide in labor’s drive for role in ‘gig economy’

By Daniel Wiessner and Dan Levine – Rideshare companies say contracting, rather than employing, workers keeps costs down and provides the flexibility drivers say they want.

But contract workers are not entitled to the same legal protections employees enjoy, including minimum wage guarantees and overtime pay.

Organized labor has struggled with how to react with the new realities of the rapidly growing part of the economy dominated by gig, or temporary and contract, workers. Some union officials have argued it’s crucial to engage in new ways with the changing nature of labor, while others have doubled down on traditional organizing.

The one thing all sides agree on is that the struggle over how to organize labor in the new economy is just beginning, and for some observers, that’s not a terrible thing. more> http://goo.gl/FnAOAy

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