Severing the link between the government and the people

Movie poster for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975). Credit: United Artist / Fantasy Films

Not all wars are fought on the battleground. Today, many of them are political. Soldiers with the strongest economic sponsors win. Combat arms don’t bring out their machine guns or bazookas anymore. Silent but just as deadly, they bring out their suits and their cash. Then, they sneak into the obscure halls of the national Congress and use every tactic at hand to sway the law in their favor, checkmating civilians.

There’s a name for this: lobbying, a form of advocacy that aims to influence governmental decisions. Legend has it that the practice stems from President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration…


But are too self-absorbed to care

Humans play God reviving dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1993. (Photo by Universal Studios)

Last week, I asked myself “what are the stupidest things humans have ever done?” Like anyone with internet access, I procured the oracle. Google immediately produced thousands of results to my question.

What caught my eye was a Reddit post from about a year ago asking the same thing. Guess I wasn’t the only one wondering. Apart from the expected “elected Donald Trump” and “ate Tide Pods,” most comments were surprisingly thought-provoking and hypercritical of mankind.

One answer really hit home: we are driving ourselves to extinction. From where we’re standing, that does appear to be the next logical step…


Was it always this oppressive?

A mother in Bangladesh cuddles with her one-year-old son. Photo by: Suzy Sainovzky | World Vision.

The summer before my senior year of college, I found out I was pregnant. Until then, I was reluctantly walking down the beaten-down path toward "success." I was just another type-A student in the dog-eat-dog battleground that was my school.

Pregnancy really shook things up

A career immediately after graduation was suddenly out of reach. I was terrified, but at least I got a free pass from all the mind-numbing recruiting events. No more ass-kissing. Still, even though part of me was relieved and wore the mask of indifference, inside I felt hopeless.

A pregnant woman at a career fair? It was certain death. Everyone…


It’s a toxic system we have yet to escape

Photo by: Markus Spiske | Unsplash

Overview

“Economics” is a very loaded term. It’s such an intimidating bundle of topics like data, society, numbers, money, and the world as a whole, that we’re better off just leaving it to the pros. It’s overwhelming and complex, so why take any interest in it, right?

Well, that’s kind of the point. By keeping the masses blind to the real truth behind economics, a group of very powerful people was able to erect a system that’s always in stealth mode, preserving the gospel truth of the rich who keep getting richer. …


How did we get here and where do we go now?

One of São Paulo's favelas, Paraisópolis, in contrast with its higher-income neighbors. (Photo by: Vilar Rodrigo)

It’s time we stop referring to economic inequality as a mere “gap” between the have and have-nots. That ship has sailed. What we have now is a growing black hole that has been tearing our so-called democracies apart, crippling their abilities to provide for their citizens.

If left undeterred, it will unleash upon us a huge beast capable of nasty social catastrophes. Yes, you read that right.

The phenomenon is global in scale. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a select few, while everyone else is stuck in a quagmire. The world’s billionaires claim as much wealth as over…


Or is it a result of the system?

"The treatment of workers in this industry has been very bad for a very long time." (Photo: Youtube | John Oliver)

Last week, John Oliver outed the dark reality of the meatpacking industry. With tragicomic skill, he made very clear how horrific working conditions are, ones which no one should have to endure. Ever.

What’s most startling is that public figures like him still find themselves having to educate the public on the obscurities of human exploitation. How can it be that we, as a whole, are still impossibly blind to the atrocities that indirectly make their way to our dinner table every night?

Food Inc. came out over a decade ago and, yet, to this day, meatpackers are still denied…


Yes, unemployment figures are terribly elusive

An unemployed person in Louisiana, September 2020. (Photo by Max Becherer | The New Orleans Advocate)

Unemployment is the word on everyone’s lips these days. As the pandemic gained strength, unemployment hit millions of people, hard. Supply chains were disrupted, businesses went under, and workers everywhere had the rug pulled out from underneath them.

It was all over the news. It still is. The media has been sure to stamp unemployment figures everywhere and, all of a sudden, people had more to fear than the rising number of infected persons.

Traditionally, journalists have published the statistic like it’s gold, an indication of a super economy — or doomsday. Last year, the unemployment rate peaked at around…


Are there better ways to measure economic prosperity?

Strawberry pickers in California's Salinas Valley. Photo by Carlos Chavarría | The New York Times

The GDP "measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile." Bobby Kennedy just about summed it up when delivering one of his most famous speeches back in the late sixties. After all, it's simply the total money value of all final goods and services produced in an economy. And society is much more than total economic activity.

Had RFK lived to become president, perhaps he would have brought America, the cradle of the GDP, to its senses way before it spiraled out of control. …


One non-profit is at the forefront of poverty alleviation; the rest should follow suit

GiveDirectly hosting an introductory community meeting in Kenya. Credit: GiveDirectly

These days, it seems people are always rising to the challenge of giving the poor what they think is most important: skills training, financial education, books, seeds. Even cows. Has anyone ever stopped to ask them what they need? No. Their needs are fully dictated by an outdated model of development aid. It has yet to dawn on them that the future of aid is cash.

Philanthropies pride themselves on alleviating poverty. But they play by their own rules. Only the poor know what they need best. Yet, despite all the checks written in their name, they never get to…


What it means for the balance of power and why the world's political leaders are trembling in fear

A Trump supporter wearing a gas mask and holding a bust of the former president outside the Capitol building on January 6. Photo/Getty Images

Just weeks before the inauguration, Trump's minions threatened the indelicate balance of power in the country. He was condemned for deliberately inciting an insurrection against the government. That's old news, alright. He's no longer swaying his masses online — not through Facebook and Twitter, at least. And America has now sworn in a leader that shines the beacon of hope across the nation.

When Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerburg listened to the public's demands and pulled the plug on their former president, the world stood in awe. Liberals rejoiced; Trump's supporters, not so much.

Both execs took action; it's as…

Vitoria Nunes

Writer, practical idealist, & mom. Reimagining society one word at a time. Say yes to progress.

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