Friday, January 15, 2021

The UK's Population Drop

 The United Kingdom is set to likely have the largest population decline since WWII, according to a new study.

As many as 1.3 million migrants born abroad left the UK in just over a year – from July 2019 to September 2020 and the UK’s Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) think-tank said it was an “unprecedented exodus” driven by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. London had lost nearly eight percent (700,000) of its population in a little more than 14 months.

The study noted a high number of job losses in sectors that rely heavily on workers from abroad, such as hospitality.

“It seems that much of the burden of job losses during the pandemic has fallen on non-UK workers and that has manifested itself in return migration, rather than unemployment,” the study's authors said. But a number of people who left the UK last year explained the pandemic was not the biggest factor in their decision to relocate. Instead, they said, it was mainly the country’s exit from the European Union.

The ESCoE study’s authors said the exodus may be temporary, suggesting some could return when the pandemic eases.

“But it may not,” they cautioned, noting a permanent drop in London especially would have “profound” implications.

“Big shifts in population trends in London, driven by economic changes and events, are by no means historically unprecedented,” they wrote. “Inner London’s population shrank by fully 20 percent in the 1970s, so the recent picture of sustained growth driven by international migration is relatively recent.”

‘Unprecedented exodus’: Why are migrant workers leaving the UK? | Migration News | Al Jazeera

Beware Biden

Biden is Trump with better table-manners, so say some. 

Biden is a proud authoritarian who supports draconian laws.

As he shamelessly boasts himself, “Every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.”

Biden even claims the credit for the Patriot Act. 

And now after the Capitol riots, he is going to be permitted to draft new laws on protests and access to social media. 



Them and Us

 


The Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, added more than $70bn to his net worth during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which is now nearly $185bnAmazon’s sales have soared. Profits and stockholder shares have risen through 2020 by billions of dollars, but Amazon has only provided a fraction of those extra earnings in hazard pay and bonuses to workers. Amazon ended hazard pay in June 2020, and instead have provided sporadic one-time bonuses to workers during the pandemic. On average, Amazon workers have seen a $0.99-an-hour pay bump during the pandemic, compared with Bezos’s hourly wealth increase of $11.7m.

Workers at Amazon and Amazon-owned grocery chain Whole Foods have protested against unsafe working conditions and the pressures to keep up with demand. Several workers who participated in or led protests at Amazon over working conditions have alleged they were fired in retaliation and Amazon is fighting federal complaints alleging at least two of the firings violated US labor laws.

“What they considered hazard pay was just for show,” said an Amazon warehouse employee in Baltimore, Maryland who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “We couldn’t see a difference unless we were willing to work almost 60 hours a week. Several of us had no choice because we’re the breadwinners of our family. It’s infuriating that we live in fear every day because of minimal efforts to protect us, while executives take in tons of money while sitting safely at home.”

Jessica Oneto, a Whole Foods employee for four years in Redwood City, California, said, “They gave us hazard pay for maybe a couple months. It was only $2 and they literally took it away as the pandemic got worse. One of the biggest companies couldn’t afford to keep it up?”

Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla Motors, saw his wealth surge by more than $140bn during the coronavirus pandemic and surpassed Bezos as the wealthiest person in the world with a total net worth of $195bn. Tesla’s share prices have soared during the coronavirus pandemic, but workers for the company have been subjected to a Covid-19 outbreak at the Fremont, California, plant earlier this year when Musk defied local shutdown orders to reopen the plant and restart production. Musk sent out an internal email to all employees implying they would lose unemployment benefits if they didn’t show up to work in defiance of the order, and at least two workers who took unpaid leave due to coronavirus fears for themselves and at-risk family members received termination notices for not showing up to work. Salaried employees at Tesla had their pay reduced by 10% to 30% from mid-April to the end of June 2020.

“While people in cubicles stay home to work, we can’t do that and we don’t get any hazard pay,” said a Tesla employee at the Fremont plant. “Nothing has changed. Musk can afford to do so much more and he doesn’t. I find it sickening to see how much Elon Musk’s wealth has grown while we take all the risks. All we get is a ‘thank you so much’ email.”

Another Tesla employee in Fremont cited ongoing mistreatment toward Black workers at Tesla amid several lawsuits alleging discrimination at Tesla.

“Musk has not once addressed this issue in his workplace or supported Black Lives Matter,” said the worker. “No hazard pay or bonus. They gave all regular workers their regular raise, but being that I’m maxed out at my position I didn’t get anything.”

Bill Gates has seen his wealth increase by nearly $18bn through 2020, to $131bn. Though his initial fortune stems from co-founding Microsoft, Gates’s net worth has continued to climb through investments; his trust owns significant holdings in companies such as Amazon and his investment company Cascade Investments holds a more than 34% stake in the waste management company Republic Services. During the pandemic, Republic Services approved $2bn in stock buybacks and paid out $387.1m in dividends to shareholders, but the company’s sanitation workers have not received any hazard pay or bonuses.

“They gave us a couple $25 gift cards early in April or May but that was it,” said Yogi Miller, a sanitation worker for Republic Services in the Akron, Ohio, area. “During this time, workers would like to see a little bump in their pay as many people have spouses who have been laid off during this and now they’re a one income family. If we stopped picking up trash for a week or two, people would realize how essential it is the work we do.”

Billionaires add $1tn to net worth during pandemic as their workers struggle | Coronavirus | The Guardian

After Brexit - The race to the bottom

Worker protections enshrined in EU law — including the 48-hour week — would be ripped up under plans being drawn up by the government as part of a post-Brexit overhaul of UK labour markets.  The package of deregulatory measures is being put together by the UK’s business department with the approval of Downing Street. It has not yet been agreed by ministers— or put to the cabinet — but select business leaders have been sounded out on the plan.

The proposed shake-up of regulations from the “working time directive” will likely to spark outrage among Britain’s trade union leaders. The main areas of focus are on ending the 48-hour working week, tweaking the rules around rest breaks at work and not including overtime pay when calculating some holiday pay entitlements, said people familiar with the plans. The government also wants to remove the requirement of businesses to log the detailed, daily reporting of working hours, saving an estimated £1bn.

The move would potentially mark a clear divergence from EU labour market standards but the UK would only face retaliation from Brussels under the terms of its new post-Brexit trade treaty if the EU could demonstrate the changes had a material impact on competition.

“Workers in the UK are the primary beneficiaries of the very positive judgments of the European courts,” said an official at the Trades Union Congress, adding that any attempt to “whittle down and narrow” the interpretation of European law “is a concern because it amounts to a diminution of rights”. A change in the calculation of holiday pay could be “a significant monetary loss” for a low-paid worker often forced into overtime to make ends meet, the TUC official said.

In a call with 250 leading business figures earlier this month, prime minister Boris Johnson urged industry to get behind plans for future regulatory liberalisation after Brexit — to the delight of many free marketeers in his cabinet.

 Matt Kilcoyne, deputy head of the free market Adam Smith Institute, welcomed the proposals — saying the current “one size fits all” 48-hour rule was a “straitjacket on the economy”.

Colin Leckey, partner in employment law at Lewis Silkin, said employers would welcome the UK rejecting new European case law requiring the detailed, daily reporting of working hours. However, any move to overturn recent European case law on holiday pay — which stipulates that sales commissions and overtime must be taken into account in its calculation — would be more contentious. 

UK workers’ rights at risk in plans to rip up EU labour market rules | Financial Times (ft.com)

India's Poisoned Air

 The Lancet said in a report toxic air killed 1.67 million Indians, the deaths accounting for 18% of all fatalities.

Air pollution led to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory infections, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neonatal disorders and cataracts.

New Delhi is the world's most polluted capital. Kolkata and Mumbai are also on the list of the world’s 20 worst polluted cities. 

Pollution deaths in India rose to 1.67 million in 2019 -Lancet | Reuters

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The system ain't workin'

  


T
he UN has warned that millions of people around the world are facing disaster from flood, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather, as governments fail to take the measures needed to adapt to the impacts of climate breakdown. 

Nearly three-quarters of countries around the world have recognised the need to plan for the effects of global heating, but few of those plans are adequate to the rising threat, and little funding has been made available to put them into force, according to the UN environment programme’s Adaptation report 2020.

Spending on measures to adapt to extreme weather has failed to keep pace with the rising need, according to UNEP. Only about $30bn (£22bn) is provided each year in development aid, to help poor countries cope with the effects of the climate crisis, which is less than half of the $70bn currently estimated to be needed. Those costs are set to increase further, to between $140bn and $300bn by the end of the decade.

About half of global climate finance should be devoted to adaptation, the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, has said, with the rest going to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, while private companies are often willing to provide funding for some projects to reduce emissions, such as profitable renewable energy generation schemes in rapidly emerging economies, projects that help people adapt to the impact of climate change, such as early warning systems, flood barriers or storm drains, are often more difficult to finance.

Many countries will also struggle to find the resources for climate adaptation because of the coronavirus pandemic, the UN warned. The economic impacts of Covid-19 have pushed adaptation further down the political agenda across the world, while in the longer term the consequences of the pandemic are likely to put additional pressures on public finances, and “might change national and donor priorities in support of climate action”. 

Yet if countries were to prioritise a “green recovery” in their Covid-19 economic stimulus packages, they could help to solve many of these problems, UNEP noted. Economic studies have shown that measures to increase resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis – including planting trees, building flood barriers, restoring natural landscapes and protecting and updating infrastructure such as transport and communications networks – can all provide “shovel-ready” jobs of the kind needed to lift economies out of recession. That opportunity will be missed if countries stick to the economic rescue packages announced to date, which so far have failed to focus on a green recovery.

Countries adapting too slowly to climate breakdown, UN warns | Climate change | The Guardian


Socialist Sonnet No. 16

 Profits Going Viral

 

Capital’s driven to make capital,

It must pursue profit unerringly;

Whatever the need, nothing’s for free

As profit views need as a very poor pal

Unless there’s a balance to settle the bill.

Then comes a pandemic, when society

Takes preference over economy:

There’s no profit if the workforce is ill.

Big pharma has to take a deep, deep breath,

Produce a vaccine before all is lost

And allow it to be given at cost,

Or the bottom line’s not-for-profit death.

 

But time will come for accumulation,

With year on year of virus mutation.

 

D. A.

The Coffee Conspiracy

 Despite all the friendly PR and promotion of fair trade there is little evidence efforts by the world’s top coffee roasters and traders to prevent human rights and environmental abuses are having any impact, with most farmers operating at a loss and unable to produce sustainably, a major coffee report said.

The coffee sector is valued at $200-250 billion a year at the retail level, according to the report, but producing countries receive less than 10% of that value when exporting beans, and farmers even less than that.

Coffee is grown on roughly 12.5 million farms globally, about 95% of which are labour intensive smallholdings that usually employ an entire farming family as well as seasonal workers. Coffee, in other words, provides a livelihood for tens of millions of people worldwide.

“Smallholder farmers are under constant pressure to cut costs, especially those related to labour and the environment,” said the report.

Peru estimates 25% of deforestation in the country is linked to coffee production.

Little evidence coffee companies' sustainability efforts have impact: report | Reuters

Remembering Murray Bookchin

 


14th of January marks 100 years since the birth of Murray Bookchin. Although there are differences in his and his supporters view with our own, there are also many similarities that we should not ignore or neglect. Murray Bookchin , too, stands for a class-free, state-free society of common ownership in which money becomes redundant and the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” applies. He recommends Marx’s analysis of how the capitalist economic system works when he says, “As a study of the capitalist economy as a whole, it [Capital] has no equal today. Marx’s economic studies are central to any socialist analysis”.

His ideas described as ‘social ecology’ were always directed towards radical social change and have influenced many around the world, particularly recently in the Kurdish enclave Rojava. While not socialism there, people living in Rojava inspired by Bookchin’s libertarian thought are able to directly contribute to decisions affecting their community, and there is more gender equality and less sectarianism than elsewhere in the region. Likewise, Bookchin views the Spanish Civil War not as a struggle to defend a discredited and treacherous republican regime but to create a social revolution in Spanish society. While we in the World Socialist Movement may not always agree with the attempts to build socialism, this sort of discussion should be of concern to all of us attempting to build libertarian forms of organisation that can begin to challenge capitalism. 

Bookchin developed a political programme known as ‘libertarian municipalism’ which he saw as a method for getting from our present society of minority control and environmental destruction to a new rational and ecological society of mass democratic control. Bookchin shares with the World Socialist Movement the belief that workers must run society themselves with the use of leader-free organization. The basic building block of libertarian municipalism is the community or neighbourhood assembly, face to face meetings where citizens meet to discuss and vote on the issues of the day. These assemblies elect mandated and recallable delegates who then link with other assemblies forming a confederated council, a ‘community of communities’. The difference between this form of delegate democracy and our current form of representative democracy is that in a representative democracy power is given wholesale to the representative who then is free to act on their own initiative; in a delegate democracy the initiative is set by the electing body and the delegate can be recalled at any time should the electing body feel that their mandate is not being met, thus power remains at the base. 

“The movement . . . will be shaped by the people it has tried to assimilate and not the people by the movement”. (On Spontaneity and organisation.)

Murray Bookchin is one contemporary thinker and writer who comes close to us on a number of key points. Despite some significant differences there is much that the WSM would agree with and find of use. 

In his writings, Bookchin defends rationalism, science and technology against the current trend of New Age mysticism and life-style culture that has spread among the environmentalist movements. He also opposes so-called “identity politics”, seeing this as essentially seeking a better deal for women, gays and blacks within capitalism as well as being divisive.

Bookchin took up basically the same position as us that, for humanity to produce and consume in ecologically acceptable ways, it must first replace capitalism and its drive to make profits with a system of common ownership, democratic participation and production for use, which can make full use of modern science and technology but for ecological and human ends instead of profit. According to Bookchin, the ecology movement has a choice: either it can realise that capitalism is the cause of ecological damage and work to end capitalism or it can retreat into “ecomysticism” blaming science, technology and reason as such, calling on individuals to adjust their personal lifestyles so as to better attune with “nature”.

Murray Bookchin points out in ‘Remaking Society’ that human beings are both a part and a product of nature; that humans do have a unique significance in nature since they are the only life-form capable of reflective thought and so of conscious intervention to change the environment. It is absurd to regard human intervention in nature as some outside disturbing force since humans are precisely that part of nature which has evolved that consciously intervenes in the rest of nature. Bookchin describes the human species as the brain and voice of nature, nature becomes self-conscious, so to speak. But to accomplish this, humanity must change the social system, a change from capitalism to a "community where each contributes to the whole to the best of his or her ability and takes from the common fund of produce what he or she needs." Bookchin explains, "The earth can no longer be owned; it must be shared. Its fruits, including those produced by technology and labour, can no longer be expropriated by the few; they must be rendered available to all on the basis of need. Power, no less than material things, must be freed from the control of the elites; it must be redistributed in a form that renders its use participatory."

Some Greens blame modern technology rather than the use — or, more accurately, the abuse — that is made of it under the present system. Bookchin answers:

  "To substitute words like industrial society for capitalism can thus be misleading . . . To speak of an 'industrial society' without clear reference to the new social relations introduced by capitalism, namely wage labour and a dispossessed proletariat, often wilfully endows technology with mystical powers and a degree of autonomy that it does not really have. It also creates the highly misleading notion that society can live with a market economy that is 'green', 'ecological', or 'moral', even under conditions of wage labour, exchange, competition and the like. This misuse of language imputes to technology - much of which may be very useful socially and ecologically - what should really be directed against a very distinct body of social relationships, namely, capitalistic ones.”

 Bookchin is explicit that what is required is a change from capitalism to a "community where each contributes to the whole to the best of his or her ability and takes from the common fund of produce what he or she needs":

"The earth can no longer be owned; it must be shared. Its fruits, including those produced by technology and labor, can no longer be expropriated by the few; they must be rendered available to all on the basis of need. Power, no less than material things, must be freed from the control of the elites; it must be redistributed in a form that renders its use participatory."

 

World Socialist Magazine

 


The second issue of the World Socialist Party of the United States new journal, World Socialist, is out!

It starts with a look at the dark side of antidepressants (Drugs to drive you nuts: delights for the depressed).

 Next comes an article about the struggle of homeless squatters in California (Black Wednesday), then an interview with a member of the Minsk Socialist Circle about ‘What’s going on in Belarus?’ 

After that — a piece on the plight of Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange; an analysis of ‘What to expect from Biden and Harris’, the next in our series of personal accounts of ‘How I became a socialist’; and, as always, Reviews and Funnies.

For the electronic version of the issue use this link:

World Socialist No. 2 (Winter 2021)


For the print version go to:

WORLD SOCIALIST NO. 2 (Winter 2021)


We would appreciate your contributing a review on lulu.com.

Low Pay in the Supermarkets

 A new report showing 45 per cent of supermarket staff still earn below the real living wage, currently £9.50 per hour outside of London and £10.85 per hour in the capital.

 Citizens UK, the campaign group, claimed 410,000 underpaid staff working behind the tills, stacking shelves and keeping the food supply chain should be given “that bit extra”.

Matthew Bolton, executive director at Citizens UK, said: “Whilst some employers are really struggling, supermarkets are experiencing bumper sales ... It is unacceptable.”

December was a record month for British supermarkets, with shoppers spending nearly £12bn – the highest Christmas trading result on record.

Campaigners also expressed concerned supermarket workers continue to struggle to get regular full-time hours to help them pay their bills. Supermarket employees work 28 hours per week, on average, in comparison to 37 hours across all sectors.

Supermarkets also have some of the country’s largest pay gaps, with Tesco, Morrisons and Ocado among the top 10 companies on the FTSE 350 with the biggest gaps in earnings between CEOs and low-paid staff.

One Sainsbury’s employee of almost 25 years, who has recently had to get a second job to cover their bills, said: 

“Two and a half years ago we stopped getting paid for our breaks so now when I work a six-hour shift I only get paid for five hours and 40 minutes – the system they use automatically deducts a 20-minute break from your clocking in card.  

“In effect for a six-hour shift I’m only getting £8.78 an hour. I’ve had to get a second job because I was struggling to pay the bills on this job alone. We’re the backbone of the company at the moment and deserve better.”

Nearly half of supermarket workers earn below real living wage, report says | The Independent

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It's always the poor that suffers

 Again another think-tank highlights the detrimental and disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the less wealthy. Joseph Rowntree Foundation says lockdowns have hit incomes of those in insecure work the hardest.

People who were trapped in poverty before the pandemic have suffered the most financial damage during the crisis, according to its report.  Those who had been struggling to make ends meet before March last year were more likely to work in precarious jobs or sectors of the economy that had been hardest hit by lockdowns.

In its annual poverty report, the JRF charity said struggling families would find it harder to recover from the double-dip recession triggered by the renewed restrictions and rapid growth in Covid-19 infections.

According to the research, workers on the lowest incomes experienced on average the largest cut in hours at the start of the pandemic almost a year ago, with 81% of people working in retail and accommodation recording a drop in income. More than a third of single parents working in hospitality and over a quarter of those in retail were already living in poverty before their sectors were severely hit by restrictions.

In a reflection of the uneven economic impact caused by the pandemic, the foundation said that four in 10 workers on the minimum wage faced a high risk of losing their job, compared with just 1% of workers earning more than £41,500 a year.

Even before the pandemic struck, causing the deepest UK recession for more than 300 years, the foundation said that millions in the UK had lived through a “decade of deprivation” with little progress made on reducing poverty, rising hardship among working households, and a steady increase in child poverty. The charity said this rise was mainly because of the Conservative government’s austerity-era benefits freeze between 2016 and 2020, which meant that benefits had not kept up with the rising cost of living. Even after taking into account the boost for universal credit – launched as a temporary measure in March last year when Covid first hit – research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that out-of-work households got £1,600 per year less in benefits than they would have done before the Tory austerity drive began a decade ago. 

Helen Barnard, the foundation’s director, said: “It is a damning indictment of our society that those with the least have suffered the most before the pandemic and are now being hit hardest once again by the pandemic. The government must now make the right decisions to avoid another damaging decade.”

Lowest paid in UK have suffered the most financially in the pandemic, report finds | Poverty | The Guardian

Neglected Nations

 Not surprisingly the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the news for 2020. Nevertheless, there were other humanitarian crises that were largely unreported. The relief agency CARE International produces  an annual report titled "Suffering in Silence," on those neglected problems. 

Six African countries made the list, sharing a list of malaise ranging from internal displacement, hunger and malnutrition, and chronic poverty. 

Burundi, the fifth-poorest country in the world, topped the list with 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The country has one of the highest rates of chronic malnourishment in the world, the report said. 

"The Central African Republic (CAR), Madagascar, Mali and Burundi have appeared on the list across multiple years, yet the people in these countries don’t get sufficient media attention," the report said, highlighting a number of African nations on the list. 

The suffering is particularly acute for those living in the Central African Republic, a country whose "perennial" massive crises go largely underreported each year.  

"Despite its significant mineral deposits that include gold, diamonds and uranium, as well as rich arable land, CAR sits at second last on the 2019 Human Development Index," the report added.

Madagascar is another underreported nation particularly ravaged by climate change, CARE highlighted. The island nation suffers from "recurrent, protracted droughts, and an average of 1.5 cyclones per year — the highest rate in Africa."   The report stressed that an estimated one fifth of Malagasy people, some 5 million, are directly affected by recurring natural disasters, including cyclones, floods and droughts. 

 Non-African countries on the list also share an urgent need for aid amid food insecurity, but they also face conflict and climate change as structural factors fueling their humanitarian crises. 

 Guatemala is reeling from the aftermath of two back-to-back category four storms, Iota and Eta. Guatemala – considered a middle-income country by the World Bank – has had continued, moderate (3.5 percent) growth over the last five years. This economic stability, however, has not made much of a dent in poverty and inequality. Even before COVID-19, Guatemala had the sixth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world with close to half (47 percent) of all Guatemalan children chronically malnourished and at risk for stunting. Also worrisome is the national maternal mortality rate which stood at 108 deaths per every 100,000 live births pre-COVID. Around thirty-five children out of every 1,000 born in Guatemala die before the age of five. In desperation, migrants continue to seek a way to the United States, despite the pandemic, and despite American law which in effect bars their entry. Pervasive poverty, high homicide rates driven by gang violence, and corruption – factors that pushed migrants to flee Central America pre-COVID – have not eased during the pandemic.

Pakistan, ranked seventh on the list and the world's fifth most populous country, has been plagued by the intersection of conflict, the effects of climate change, and pervasive povertyIn 2020, "Pakistan suffered its worst locust plague in history, forcing the government to import wheat for the first time in six years," the report said. This was followed by extreme flooding which destroyed crops, food supplies and livestock. 

Less than 10 kilometers from Australia’s most northern islands lies Papua New Guinea (PNG), one of the world’s most culturally diverse and naturally rich nations. It hosts over 800 languages and more than 1,000 distinct ethnic groups. However, in stark contrast to its neighbor, PNG is one of the least urbanized countries globally with the lowest life expectancy in the Pacific region. The island nation is prone to natural disasters. In 2020, it faced flooding, landslides and tremors in addition to the consequences of the global pandemic. PNG is endowed with a wide array of mineral resources, including crude oil, natural gas, gold, copper, silver, nickel and cobalt, and produces a range of primary commodities such as: timber, cocoa, coffee, tea and palm oil. Challenges in development remain to date because of the rugged territory which makes transport difficult. The country’s population of more than 8 million is largely rural (87 percent) and highly dispersed; spread out across the highlands and over 600 islands and atolls. In 2020, the UN estimated that about 4.6 million people in PNG (more than half of its population) are in need of humanitarian assistance. Only 46 percent of the population has access to improved drinking water and some parts of the country face challenges in nutrition, lacking a balanced diet. Pre-COVID-19, PNG’s health system

Ukraine, the only European country on the list, is one such example. Years of conflict in its eastern regions have lost relevance in today’s media landscape, CARE said. The elderly and women have been left most vulnerable. Fear of shelling, violent clashes, and the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war are the daily reality for those living on either side of the front line. Many people are increasingly affected by mental health issues, both due to the fear of violence as well as the long-term socio-economic impacts of the conflict. Gender-based violence is a serious problem in Ukraine with about three-quarters of Ukrainian women having experienced some form of violence since age 15.


Big Money and Big Science

'The Tragedy of American Science' by Clifford D. Conner is a book that lays bare how the direction of science is determined by private profit rather than by the desire to improve the human condition. 

Connor exposes Big Science which has been irredeemably corrupted by Big Money and which threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the medicines we take.

 The U.S. economy is addicted to military spending and it distorts and deforms science by making it overwhelmingly subservient to military interests. The primary motive driving American science and technology has become the search for new and more efficient ways to kill people. 

This transforms science from the classic ideal of a creative force for the advancement of humankind into its destructive and antihuman opposite. That those trillions of dollars in resources and scientific talent are not devoted to solving the problems of poverty, disease, and environmental destruction is one of the greatest tragedies of our times.

 Conner compellingly argues that replacing the current science-for-profit system with a science-for-human-needs system is not an impossible, utopian dream. The Tragedy of American Science makes a strong case for freeing science from the fetters of capital and rededicating it for the good of humanity.