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Lineages of the Absolutist State

Lineages of the Absolutist State

By Perry Anderson

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Tag: Business

If You’re a ‘Little Guy,’ a Contract Means Nothing

If only the contracts entered into by shop-floor workers at auto plants were as inviolate as those secured by the incompetent pirates of the American International Group.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE

Toxins ’R’ Us

The American Chemistry Council assures us that “we make the products that help keep you safe and healthy.” But U.S. consumers are actually exposed to a vast array of harmful chemicals and additives embedded in toys, cosmetics, plastic water bottles and countless other products.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE

America Faces the Music in Davos

The American participants in this year’s World Economic Forum have been the first to confront the full international blowback to the U.S.-created world economic crisis, which has devastated the nation’s reputation for competence, along with the justification for its six-decade role as world leader.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE

Mark Fischer on Copyright in the Digital Age

A new book by Lawrence Lessig asks what constitutes copyright infringement in the era of “sampling” and point-and-click downloading.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE

Stimulus Brings on a Family Feud

President Obama’s visit with House and Senate Republicans this week was useful for setting a new tone and a refreshing break from the Bush administration’s habit of consulting almost no one. But it was a sideshow to the main battle over how to improve the economy, which is among Democrats.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / treehouse1977

Bankers Took Home Billions While Wall Street Burned

If you’re in a good mood, you may just want to skip this bit of news from The New York Times: “Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York ... collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.” Update

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Geithner Claw!

Geithner Urges ‘Fundamental Reform’ in Bailout

It’s the first full day of Obama’s administration and things are looking a bit different in D.C. Treasury secretary nominee Timothy Geithner called for “fundamental reform” of the $700 billion bailout, claiming the existing bailout package favored big business over struggling families.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE

Geithner’s Record of Failure

Forget that business with the maid whose work papers expired. The real scandal with Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama’s choice to head the Treasury Department, is his history of lax regulation—at least where his friends at Citigroup were concerned. ProPublica did some digging and found that Geithner’s New York Fed “eased the reins as the company blew billions. ...”

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE

Beware, Mr. Obama, of Tax-Cut Seduction

Much of the business-tax package Obama contemplates fails his own test of cutting business taxes “where it makes sense and is going to work.”

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / Brave New Films

Wal-Mart’s $640 Million Sneeze

Wal-Mart will pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits around the country alleging that the retailer had exploited its workers. The payout could add up to less than 0.1 percent of the company’s revenues this year.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE

AP file photo / Reed Saxon

SAG Strikes Out

The Hollywood-centric “Membership First” faction that has controlled the Screen Actors Guild’s national board for most of the last five years chooses tactics—misinformation, tough talk and over-promising—that undermine the union’s credibility.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE

It’s a Man’s Meltdown

Today’s brainteaser: Name the top female executives who were forced to go before Congress, explaining why their companies made multibillion-dollar mistakes that helped wreck the economy but nonetheless deserve billions in taxpayer bailouts.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE

Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Douglas Healey

The Best and the Brightest Led America Off a Cliff

The multiple failures that beset the country can be laid at the feet of our elite universities. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford, along with most other elite schools, do a poor job educating students to think. They focus instead on creating hordes of competent systems managers.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE

Warren I. Cohen on China’s ‘Factory Girls’

There’s a revolution underway in Chinese culture as young women flock from villages to factory employment in the cities, leaving traditional values behind.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE

Wikimedia Commons /

Bailout Ballpark

The U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for more than $300 billion of Citigroup’s junk investments, so where did the ailing bank find $400 million to put its name on the New York Mets’ new stadium?

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE

Chevron in the White House

President-elect Barack Obama introduced his principal national security Cabinet selections to the world Monday and left no doubt that he intends to start his administration on a war footing. It is revealing that his choice for national security adviser is a director of Boeing, a weapons manufacturer, and Chevron, an oil giant.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE

The Peril and Promise of Interesting Times

If things get much more “interesting,” we might have a collective nervous breakdown. But along with the anxiety, there’s also a sense of rare opportunity—a chance to emerge better than we were economically, politically and socially.

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE

Flickr / LoopZilla

Fed to Rescue Another Shaky Bank

What’s a hundred billion dollars between capitalists? The Fed and the Treasury are once again throwing good cash after bad business. This time the culprit is Citigroup, which could get bailed out—courtesy of you—to the tune of $100 billion. And with that, we’d like to announce that Truthdig is officially too big to fail. Update: Done deal.

Posted on Nov 23, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Carlos Osorio

Bailout or Bust: How to Save the Big Three From Themselves

There’s no guarantee that a bailout would save the incompetently managed American automobile industry. However, doing nothing may be worse, especially for the state of Michigan.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE

Flickr / Brave New Films

A Wal-Mart Christmas for a Wal-Mart Country

The giant discounter is the only store where hard-squeezed consumers can afford to buy anything, and so it has kept posting sales gains amid the retail bloodbath.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE

This Is the Man Who’s Going to Fix the Economy?

John McCain was telling the truth when he said that economics wasn’t his strong suit. In response to what many economists have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Republican nominee has sounded—and let’s be honest here—totally, embarrassingly and dangerously clueless.

Posted on Sep 18, 2008 READ MORE


U.K. Cracking Down on Net Piracy

The British government is planning to “significantly reduce” the country’s online file-sharing of copyrighted content, by at least 50 percent, in the next three years through a sequence of warning letters, Internet account suspensions and ultimate expulsion from Internet access.

Posted on Jul 25, 2008 READ MORE

book cover

William Pfaff on General Motors

Are workers to blame for the fix that General Motors (along with many other corporations) is in? A new book by Roger Lowenstein argues that they are. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 READ MORE

600 Down ...

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 READ MORE

book cover

Doug Henwood on the Global Power Elite

Are we now ruled by an international “superclass” that hollows out traditional notions of national sovereignty, and whose loyalties are only to the bottom line and its own members?

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE

The Populist Uprising

American history is the history of populist uprisings. From the Revolutionary War to the coalfield wars, from labor organizers to anti-tax crusaders, from the New Deal to the current conservative era, backlashes to the status quo have defined every major political era.

Posted on Jun 5, 2008 READ MORE

Iraqis walking

Business Stirs in a Walled Neighborhood

In this first installment in her series of stories from Iraq for Truthdig, veteran foreign correspondent Anna Badkhen reports about the civilian costs of war, life under occupation and the precarious state of a Baghdad burger joint.

Posted on May 9, 2008 READ MORE

Flickr / azrainman

$10.9 Billion Ain’t What it Used to Be

Exxon Mobil made $10.9 billion last quarter, but investors were disappointed that the world’s biggest oil company had only its second-biggest quarter ever. With a product that is harder and harder to find, shareholders who demand even bigger windfalls and consumers who are about ready to revolt, you almost have to feel sorry for the oil companies. No, you really don’t.

Posted on May 1, 2008 READ MORE

The Cutting Edge of Backward Thinking

Senate Republicans are determined to join with the Supreme Court to keep women on the losing end of discriminatory pay.

Posted on Apr 28, 2008 READ MORE


Top WSJ Editor Stepping Down as Murdoch Moves In

Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Marcus Brauchli is said to be leaving his post after 24 years at the paper—an unexpected development that media-watchers are attributing to conflict over new owner Rupert Murdoch’s plans for the newspaper.

Posted on Apr 21, 2008 READ MORE

Escape Foreclosure

Billions to Business in Foreclosure Bill

With a mind-set reminiscent of the Bush administration’s recent bailout of mortgage lenders, the Senate last week approved the Foreclosure Prevention Act, a bill that provides billions of dollars in tax breaks to big businesses like Ford and General Motors but takes only modest steps in addressing the plight of homeowners.

Posted on Apr 16, 2008 READ MORE


Delta and Northwest Join in Airline Mega-Merger

As airlines around the globe struggle to navigate through tough times for the industry, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. have come up with their own possible solution. By Tuesday, the two companies had reached an agreement to join forces and create Delta, the world’s biggest airline.

Posted on Apr 15, 2008 READ MORE

Slap Down ‘Free Market’ Pirates

For years, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has warned that the nexus of capitalism and criminality poses a serious threat to America.  With Bear Stearns now in ruins, maybe we will listen to him.

Posted on Mar 26, 2008 READ MORE

Greed Is Not Good

The housing crisis brings to mind Gordon Gekko, that fictitious ambassador of Wall Street whose words, then and now, remind us why uninhibited capitalism just doesn’t work.

Posted on Mar 24, 2008 READ MORE

Saddam Statue
The New York Times / James Hill

War Started With Lies, Continues With Lies

All governments lie in wartime, but American and British propaganda in Iraq over the past five years has been more untruthful than in any other conflict since the First World War.

Posted on Mar 19, 2008 READ MORE

A Trade Transformation

When it came to sex, Bill Clinton made us debate the definition of “is.” Now, when it comes to economics, Hillary Clinton wants to debate the definition of “long,” claiming this week in Ohio that “I’ve long been a critic of the shortcomings of NAFTA.”

Posted on Feb 22, 2008 READ MORE

Why Obama Owes Women

On Tuesday, I got a sarcastic e-mail from a Hillary supporter. She forwarded a crack made by Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s media man, about Obama. “Senator Clinton,” he scoffed, “is not running on the strength of her rhetoric.” To which my friend added: “Unfortunately.”

Posted on Feb 21, 2008 READ MORE

book cover

Mark Arax on California’s Capitalist Founders

It is said that behind every great fortune there is a crime. Here’s a true-life drama of self-invention, greed and ambition involving four larger-than-life men who singly, and together, helped create California. A book to be read after you’ve watched “There Will Be Blood.”

Posted on Feb 7, 2008 READ MORE

No Time to Argue About the Economy

With the economy teetering on recession, there’s a way out of the usual political impasse, if the politicians want to find it.

Posted on Jan 15, 2008 READ MORE

Al Gore

Gore Puts Venture Money Where His Mouth Is

Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management has teamed up with venture capital heavyweight Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to try to close the “significant gap between the capital needed and the capital currently deployed to create enduring solutions to the climate crisis.” The alliance will have a global focus and will seek to multiply by “many times” the $200 million already invested by KPCB in green projects.

Posted on Nov 12, 2007 READ MORE

Getting iRipped Off

It might be hard to feel sympathy for someone who spends $600 on a phone, but iPhone owners could use some emotional support, now that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced he’s cutting the price of the 10-week-old device by a third.

Posted on Sep 6, 2007 READ MORE

Dow Jones Agrees to Sell to Murdoch

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has long coveted The Wall Street Journal and has now reached a deal to buy parent company Dow Jones & Co. Many employees of the iconic paper and two board members who resigned expressed fears that the conservative Murdoch would damage the Journal’s objectivity and journalistic integrity, as with previous conquests.

Posted on Aug 1, 2007 READ MORE

Murdoch Nearing Dow Jones Deal?

A weekly British business magazine, appropriately named The Business, reported Friday that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch had successfully added Dow Jones & Co. Inc. to his News Corp. empire, but other sources insist the deal is not yet sealed.

Posted on Jul 6, 2007 READ MORE

Big Shots

Posted on Jun 14, 2007 READ MORE

Hillary Gets It

A majority of Democratic primary voters are women, and their support for Hillary Clinton goes beyond mere gender profiling—she’s led the fight against the kind of discrimination the Supreme Court now seems eager to protect.

Posted on Jun 5, 2007 READ MORE

Save Internet Music

Internet radio has provided an eclectic and independent alternative to the mainstream hit-oriented, payola-ridden music marketplace, but industry greed now threatens to wipe out the medium. Truthdig checks in with Frannie Wellings of Free Press to find out whether Internet radio stands a chance and what music fans can do to save it.

Posted on May 22, 2007 READ MORE

Beware Murdoch’s ‘Necessary Promises’

While Rupert Murdoch is as conscious of his image as any other legendary villain, he also seems to possess a sense of humor—or at least somebody around him does. Early in his ongoing bid to take over Dow Jones Publishing and The Wall Street Journal, a Murdoch spokesman said that the media mogul would reassure those who may fear for the paper’s independence and integrity with all of the “necessary promises.”

Posted on May 16, 2007 READ MORE

ONN Reporter

Fessing Up to Those Tiny Employees

In this satirical news brief, the Onion envisions a world where marketing and exploitation meet. What if clothing companies that depend on abusive labor practices were honest about it?

Posted on May 10, 2007 READ MORE

Give Moms Their Due—They’ve Earned It

The “mommy wars” are a sad distraction from the rampant unabashed discrimination against working mothers. A recent study showed that just dropping the PTA bomb was enough to send employers into a paranoid mom-bashing tizzy.

Posted on May 10, 2007 READ MORE

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