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The Myth of the Ethical Shopper

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Abigail Goh

We're still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that's not how the world works in 2015.

Michael Hobbes, Huffington Post

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55c39aee1d00006e001440d9.jpeg Inside the Tazreen garment factory after the fire. (Photo credit: Reuters/Corbis) 

07/15/2015 | There’s this video that went viral earlier this year. On Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, a vending machine is selling plain white T-shirts for €2 each. Customers approach in ones and twos, insert coins, pick a size. Then, before the shirt comes out, a photo appears—a black-and-white image of rows of sewing machines. “Meet Manisha,” the screen reads, dissolving to a close-up of a girl in a headscarf who looks about 16. She earns “as little as 13 cents an hour each day for 16 hours.” The Berliners put their hands over their mouths.

“Do you still want to buy this shirt?” the display asks. The menu comes up again. This time, the options are “buy” and “donate.” As the music swells, all the shoppers press “donate.”

Michael Hobbes is a human rights consultant in Berlin. He’s written for The New Republic, Slate and the Huffington Post.

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Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

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  • Amazon mixes the brutality of the Victorian workhouse with the paranoia of Stalinist Russia.
  • Part 1: Amazon Only Perfected What American Work Culture Created.
  • Part 2: Amazon mixes the brutality of the Victorian workhouse with the paranoia of Stalinist Russia.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Amazon Only Perfected What American Work Culture Created

We created the 24/7 work culture. Amazon just took it to the extreme.

Emily Peck, Huffington Post

Amazon%20Employees%20Going%20to%20Work.jpg08/17/2015 | Nasty, brutish and short. The Amazon workplace, as depicted in this weekend’s damning New York Times front page story, is apparently a Hobbesian world where over-achieving employees work 24/7 for bosses who demand slavish devotion at the expense of their health and personal life until they finally burn out and quit. 

Does that really seem that unusual to anyone? 

The bruising workplace described by The New York Times is basically a stand-in for the white-collar, always-on, male-centric workplace that many U.S. workers know all too well.

Emily Peck, Executive Editor, Business and Technology, Huffington Post

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Part 2: Amazon mixes the brutality of the Victorian workhouse with the paranoia of Stalinist Russia

I encourage you to read this article in full, but will share a few bits that horrified me the most.

james321, Daily Kos <>

 

Sat Aug 15, 2015 | If you want to understand 21st century exploitation of labor by the billionaire class, you must read this horrifying story about Amazon's working conditions from the New York Times.

In short, Amazon mixes the brutality of Victorian workhouse with the constant paranoia of Stalinist Russia. Amazon's working conditions are an obscenity -- after reading this article, I have decided that Amazon is not a company of which Americans should be proud -- Barack Obama visited a warehouse in 2013 -- but one of which we should be truly ashamed. Amazon is an obscenity.

james321Daily Kos member

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New UN report finds almost no industry profitable if environmental costs were included

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  • The truth is that our current system allows pretty much every corporation to externalize both environmental and social costs. 
  • Paul Craig Roberts | The Social Cost of Capitalism

Michael Thomas, Exposing the Truth

pollution2.jpg?94c325April 9, 2015 | If you haven’t been paying attention, I don’t blame you for at first not believing this. After all, companies go to great lengths to greenwash their image and present themselves as progressive and environmentally responsible, even while they turn your land to deserts and your oceans into dead zones. Unfortunately, as Mark Twain once famously said: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

The truth is that our current system allows pretty much every corporation to externalize both environmental and social costs. In this article, we won’t even be touching on social costs. If you don’t know what cost externalization is, you can imagine it as making someone else pay part or all of your costs. For example, BP externalized the environmental costs of the Deepwater Horizon disaster by consuming all of the profits but making the government pay for anything beyond the most shoddy and superficial attempts at stopping the crisis.

Michael Thomas: I am politically active and am working on creating my own political movement based on the idea of the government and politicians being almost totally transparent, and localized/decentralized decision making.

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Paul Craig Roberts | The Social Cost of Capitalism, Paul Craig Roberts, paulcraigroberts.org

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  • The public subsidies provided to miners, loggers, and ranchers are as extravagant and as harmful to the public interest as the subsidies that the Federal Reserve and Treasury provide to the “banks too big to fail.”
  • The massive toll of the Animas River spill
  • The System Must Be Overthrown

5 Tips for Employers on Improving Disability Inclusion

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  • In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the recent White House Summit on Disability Employment explored how we can better include people with disabilities in the workplace. Here are five top takeaways from the summit for employers on improving disability inclusion.
  • Deepening Our Inclusion of People With Disabilities

Meredith AusenbaughU.S. Department of Labor

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blog.dol.gov/files/2015/07/6.png July 24, 2015 | 1. Connect with local disability advocacy organizations

Advocacy organizations across the country are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. Let them know your business needs and goals and they can help improve your disability employment program.

Meredith Ausenbaugh is an intern at the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Deepening Our Inclusion of People With Disabilities, Bonnie St. John, Huffington Post

  • Disability awareness and responsiveness is important to any organization, from large multi-national corporations to small local companies. 
  • GOP Assault on Social Security Could be 'Death Sentence' for Nation's Disabled
  • Open Letter to the City of Bloomington, Minnesota: White People can time travel, Black People cannot – A short Memoir

Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture

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  • Here are seven ways living abroad made it hard to return to American life.
  • 5 ways corporate HR departments monitor your movements — even when you’re not working.
  • “I think America is out of hand”: The shocking numbers that reveal just how burnt out American workers are.

Chantal Panozzo, Vox 

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July 21, 2015 | I was halfway through a job interview when I realized I was wrinkling my nose. I couldn't help myself. A full-time freelance position with a long commute, no benefits, and a quarter of my old pay was the best they could do? I couldn't hide how I felt about that, and the 25-year-old conducting the interview noticed.

"Are you interested in permanent jobs instead?" she asked.

"I could consider a permanent job if it was part-time," I said.

Chantal Panozzo: Contributor to Vox

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/computer_user_worried.jpg(Credit: pafe via iStock)

5 ways corporate HR departments monitor your movements — even when you’re not working, Glynis Sweeny, Alternet / Salon

More and more workers are being spied on by human resources and they probably don't even know it.

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“I think America is out of hand”: The shocking numbers that reveal just how burnt out American workers are, Matt SaccaroSalon

  • Productivity has exploded in the American workforce in recent years, but at a terrible cost
  • To Check Power of Greedy Bosses, Workers Need to Bargain in New Ways

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5 ways corporate HR departments monitor your movements — even when you’re not working.

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More and more workers are being spied on by human resources and they probably don't even know it.

Glynis Sweeny, Alternet / Salon

I%20Want%20You.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

/computer_user_worried.jpgCredit: pafe via iStock)

Tuesday, Jul 21, 2015 | It comes to no surprise to most people that corporate Human Resources departments work in conjunction with IT to monitor employee activities at the workplace. They monitor your movements with keycards and video cameras; they register when you log in and out of your work computer; and they even track your keystrokes, your email (including your personal account) and web browsing on their workstations. It can be argued that they have the right, as it is their equipment and you are on company time. However, more and more workers are being spied on and manipulated by Human Resources in more insidious ways, and they probably don’t even know it. Here are five.

1. They monitor your personal electronics. Many companies allow employees to use their own cell phones, tablets and computers for work purposes, instead of providing these devices. Employees like this because their work life and personal life can coexist on a single device and they can use the phone, tablet or computer of their choice. This is often referred to as Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. However, employees are often asked to install device management software on their devices, and are pressured into signing vague user policies that give the company the right to monitor and access the devices.

Glynis Sweeny is an American illustrator and caricaturist who is known for lampooning political and business figures in newspapers, newsweeklies, and consumer magazines.

Full story … 

Related:

“I think America is out of hand”: The shocking numbers that reveal just how burnt out American workers are, Matt Saccaro, Salon

  • Productivity has exploded in the American workforce in recent years, but at a terrible cost
  • To Check Power of Greedy Bosses, Workers Need to Bargain in New Ways

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