Truthout

  • Tech Companies Adopt Astroturf to Get Their (Wicked) Way

    By Toshio Meronek , Truthout | News Analysis

    A May 2013 protest over Mark Zuckerberg's support of FWD.us and Keystone XL outside of Facebook's world headquarters, in Menlo Park, California.A May 2013 protest over Mark Zuckerberg's support of FWD.us and Keystone XL outside of Facebook's world headquarters, in Menlo Park, California. (Photo: 350.org)In 2013, the 10 biggest tech companies upped their spending on lobbying by 16 percent over the previous year. Companies like Amazon, Google and IBM spent far more than most pharmaceutical firms, the National Rifle Association, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and others that we tend to associate with trying to control the conversation in Washington DC. And just like these other lobbiers, tech megacorps are casting a lot of their money toward causes that increase social and economic inequality, like pushing for cheaper labor and tax breaks for the richest of the rich.

    To achieve these goals, tech corporations have begun embracing a strategy that is widely known as "astroturfing": Lobbying in a sneaky, roundabout fashion, by setting up their own faux-grassroots organizations. Executives at tech's largest companies, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Microsoft spend millions on lobbying indirectly through nonprofit groups that promote a grassroots image, but are in reality the tentacles of corporate interests that are just trying to forward their own agendas.

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  • The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

    The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

    By Laura Flanders, Yes! Magazine | Video Report

    Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

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  • An Indictment of the Invisible Hand

    An Indictment of the Invisible Hand

    By Jeffrey Madrick, Moyers & Company | News Analysis

    Thomas Piketty's 700-page book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has stunned both the economic profession and most political observers. But the economic mainstream is not truly dealing with its most serious implications even as they widely praise his work. Here in a nutshell is what he argues: Current rates of inequality are closer to historical norms than aberrations. Inequality is likely to stay high and perhaps increase.

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