Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “child labor”

Republicans are Playing to Lose – Tom Rossi

It should be clear by now that the Republican Party doesn’t want to win the presidency in 2012. Why would they? Things are going great for the 1%… profits are skyrocketing, “labor costs” are falling, corporations are legally human beings when it comes to rights but not when it comes to responsibility or accountability – great. Better yet, the people who wish these things were different blame President Obama for the worsening condition of the American middle class. Why screw with the perfect arrangement?

This lack of purpose explains the clown college graduation ceremony that we see every other week on TV in the form of Republican “debates.”

I can almost see their managers in the dugout: “Swing toward right field! I don’t care if you get a hit, just swing that way anyway!” How far right do they swing? Sometimes-frontrunner Newt Gingrinch [sic] went as far as to suggest a return to child labor in having school children replace janitorial staff. Wow.

In recent years, it was the Dems who didn’t want to win (remember when the best they supposedly had to offer was Michael Dukakis???). Why? Well, the Democratic voters wanted to win, thinking (mostly mistakenly) that it would make a difference. But Democratic politicians are themselves members of the 1%, for the most part, as are the powerful people who pull their marionette strings. Their true, underlying desires were for the same as the Republicans – lower taxes on their investments and less interference with getting even richer.

This system of regression has worked beautifully for the masters of our country. The “he said, she said” (Dems said, Reps said) routine has distracted America perfectly while we’ve happily bumbled our way toward the real goal – 1929. That was the last time the economic imbalance in this country reached such an outrageous level. You know what happened next.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


Socially Responsible Investing – Not Everyone is in Favor

Sean Williams understands about unethical business. He worked in the world of  jewelry business, where apparently “endless ethical quandaries that arise between gemstone suppliers and a demanding public.”

Such conflicts included child labor and rebel militia and governments using black-market stones to pay for their weapons and armies. Though there are ways to do ethical business in the gem world, it is littered by beauracracy and red tape.

While he supports people wanting to do what is ethically right, he does not believe you should exclude investing in a company just because they fail to reach a vague set of standards that determine what’s right or wrong ethically.

What happens when you discard these socially responsible investing principle? Williams’ answer is clear – You profit!

This is from his article. For the full text click here.

“I’m not saying you’ll profit on every trade in what I’ll call “sin stocks,” but by simply including them in your field of investment choices you’ve broadened your scope of understanding of the business landscape and given yourself other avenues by which to boost your portfolio.

Since the barrier to entry in these industries is so high, due to the stringent laws that govern these industries, sin stocks often have considerable pricing power. Because of this, they can often provide a nice hedge against prolonged economic downturns.

Perusing sectors usually cast aside by social responsible investors, you can unearth some truly solid growth stories. After carefully searching through these sin stocks, I’ve uncovered two that present tempting valuations while offering solid long-term outlooks.”

Williams has a point. If you need to make money fast (and many of us are playing catch up after the economic hurricane of the past few years), then SRI doesn’t match up in simple returns to many of what Williams calls the “sin stocks.”

He may very well be right. The question is, who is responsible for sustainable economies. We have seen that big business can’t do it, and the government won’t do it. Perhaps we need to stop investing for tomorrow  and begin investing for our children’s future.


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

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