Corporate buybacks: Have you heard about this trillion dollar Ponzi scheme?

Few know about the trillion dollar crime that stole pay raises while weakening our economy. The “lootocrats” and their courtiers are taking us for a ride.

Illustration by Julia Suits, author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions, and The New Yorker cartoonist.

1. A scheme that was till recently a crime now consumes trillions of dollars. That’s one of many market maladies Rana Foroohar publicizes in her book Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street.

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Why People Are Happier with the Economy If Their Party Is in Power

Are you more likely to think everything is going well with your finances if the politics of your country’s leaders align with yours? One new study says yes. 

Wikicommons

Are you more likely to think everything is going well with your finances if the politics of your country's leaders align with yours?

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Why Diversity Is More Important Than Having a Meritocracy

Look at Wall Street in 2008, and the White House right now. Diversity—of people and cognitive perspectives—is crucial for avoiding failure.

We need to rethink our diversity strategy, says Sallie Krawcheck. What we've been trying for the last decade hasn't been working, but what exactly is the problem? Research reveals that diversity is actually worse in meritocracies. Managers—and particularly middle managers, Krawcheck points out—fall into the cognitive trap of hiring people who "remind me of a young me" (i.e. look like them and think like them) instead of more cognitively diverse people who would bring a missing skill set to a team. This is as important now, under the almost all-white male Trump administration, as it was in the 2008 Financial Crash. Wall Street is one of the most homogenous institutions in America, and Krawcheck has no doubt that having a more diverse set of minds in finance would have lessened the severity of the global crash. In addition, risk-taking and the poor decision making that results can be tracked to fluctuations in one hormone: testosterone. Whether it's the housing bubble, America's healthcare, or foreign policy, these are mistakes that affect millions of lives. As a CEO, Krawcheck's approach and advice on diversity is changing. The current strategy has been a failure, but what if companies paid their managers, in part, based on the diversity of their hires? What if we thought of diversity as more important than meritocracy? Sallie Krawcheck is the author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.

Cornel West: Hope Is an Action We Can All Take

Cornel West talks about everyday poets, being the best of the human species, hope, what wokeness really means, and revolution.

Institutions—governmental, religious, financial, even revolution itself—have a way of turning stale and sour. "Thank God for the history of the heretics and the blasphemers. That's my crowd," says Dr. Cornel West. Quoting from some of history and literature's greatest thinkers and doers, West presents a poetic lecture on the role of hope in America's past and its future, and how to make your voice matter.

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Can Universal Basic Income Fix America’s Inequality?

Can't the U.S. be a little more like Scandinavia in its ethos? Fixing inequality in America will take more than economic reform, it will also need a cultural shift.

From a human rights and decency standard, everybody in a society should be able to meet their basic needs, says economist and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs – but he questions whether a popular proposal known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the way to achieve a better standard of living in the U.S. At its simplest, UBI is an unconditional base salary that is paid to all citizens of a society, no matter their employment status, current wealth, attempts to gain work, and regardless of how they intent to spend it. Sachs sees the value in the idea, but isn’t confident in the proposal’s no-strings-attached nature – will some people coast for free off the hard work of others? A guaranteed basic income experiment known as ‘Mincome’ in Canada in the 1970s showed a just a 9% reduction in working hours among two main groups of citizens: new mothers, using their additional income to extend their maternity leaves and spend more time with their infants, and teenage boys who were using that income to stay in school. A new UBI trial is planned for 2017 in Ontario, and many nations await the results.

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