It Could Happen Here Weekly 100

    enSeptember 16, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Building strong community connections in uncertain timesIn uncertain times, relying on neighbors for social bonds and disaster preparedness is essential. New ideas and open dialogue can spark engaging discussions and lead to further research in various fields.

      In uncertain times, building strong community connections can bring hope and prepare us for challenges. Neighbor to Neighbor, a California volunteer network, emphasizes the importance of relying on neighbors for social bonds and disaster preparedness. Meanwhile, in a different realm, the economic theory of inflation spreading through supply chains continues to intrigue scholars. Last year, the theory, outlined in the paper "Notes Toward a Theory of Inflation," sparked engaging discussions among economists and readers. This led to further research, with scholars exploring specific implications and building upon the original ideas. The theory suggests that inflation begins in supply chains and propagates through networks, giving price setters socially acceptable reasons to raise prices when necessary. These conversations and collaborations demonstrate the power of new ideas and the importance of open dialogue in various fields.

    • Walmart's buying power shapes pricing dynamicsWalmart's power sets prices, suppliers face rigid terms, competitors respond with price indices

      Walmart's immense buying power allows it to dictate prices to its suppliers and maintain low prices for consumers, creating a complex dynamic in the supply chain. This was highlighted in Alex Ficcolo's updated pricing manager survey, which revealed that cost-plus market pricing remains a bedrock strategy for companies, with innovations like dynamic pricing and price indices emerging in response to market leaders like Walmart. For suppliers, the Walmart contract can mean significant business, but comes at the cost of selling at the retailer's dictated price and meeting rigid quality standards. Conversely, competitors may develop price indices to keep up with Walmart's low prices, creating a pressure that can ripple through the entire market. This dynamic illustrates the intricate relationship between pricing strategies, supplier relationships, and competition in the business world.

    • The importance of cost savings and efficiency in businessAs firms grow, they become more efficient and offer lower prices, forcing smaller businesses to differentiate themselves through convenience or reliability. Cost-plus pricing, where prices are based on production costs plus a markup, is a prevalent model in the economy, with robust evidence supporting its use.

      As firms grow, they become more efficient in producing goods through automation, administrative innovation, and sometimes less ethical means. This allows them to offer lower prices than smaller businesses, forcing them to differentiate themselves through convenience or reliability. Economists have long debated the prevalence of cost-plus pricing in the economy, but numerous studies have found evidence supporting this model. The burden of proof is on those who argue for the dominance of supply and demand and the price mechanism, as the evidence base for cost-plus pricing is robust. Companies like Uber, which attempt to react to supply and demand in real-time, can also benefit from this dynamic by offering lower prices than traditional taxi services, further emphasizing the importance of efficiency and cost savings in business.

    • Businesses don't simply react to market forces for pricingPricing is a complex process involving manual cost determination, market markups, and strategic decisions based on historical trends and industry standards.

      The relationship between supply, demand, and pricing in real-world business situations is not as automatic or functional as the neoclassical economic theory suggests. Contrary to the theory, businesses do not simply react to market forces by adjusting prices based on demand. Instead, pricing is a complex process that involves manual determination of costs, market markups, and strategic decisions based on historical trends and industry standards. Companies like Walmart have teams of people working together to determine appropriate margins, and even dynamic pricing algorithms used by companies like Uber require a significant amount of manual input and collaboration between various departments. Furthermore, the concept of supply and demand in business contexts is much broader than the specific theory, and pricing strategies like everyday low prices or last-minute discounts are not determined solely by market forces but by strategic business decisions.

    • Dynamic pricing success is mixedDynamic pricing can put customer goodwill at risk and lead to inconsistent prices. Success depends on common sense judgment and a reliable revenue model.

      While dynamic pricing, such as surge pricing during events, can be an attractive idea based on supply and demand principles, its success is often mixed at best. Critics argue that these pricing models put customer goodwill at risk and can lead to inconsistent prices. Moreover, the success of dynamic pricing models depends on the availability of common sense judgment and the ability to learn from companies that have a reliable revenue model. The failure of Sears Canada's attempt to implement a dynamic pricing model in the 1990s serves as a cautionary tale. Additionally, the 1990s saw an extreme market-driven mindset, exemplified by the proposal for the military to bid for control of nuclear weapons, which was met with confusion and disbelief by military leaders.

    • Proposed radical ideas to combat terrorism and inflation in the 90sEconomist Tim D'Amazio's shift in focus from terrorism markets to interest rates as a price and its impact on inflation, challenging traditional supply and demand perspective.

      During the nineties, there were some radical ideas proposed to combat terrorism and inflation. One of these ideas involved creating futures markets for terrorist attacks. However, these theories were met with skepticism, and the most impactful work came from economist Tim D'Amazio of the University of Wollongong. D'Amazio, influenced by Steve Keen's theory of inflation, shifted the focus to interest rates as a price, and how it impacts inflation. The interest rate, set by central banks, is a crucial price in the economy that sets the cost for banks to borrow, and they then set a markup for consumers and firms. Banks, like any company, determine their cost structure and markup. D'Amazio's work added to the ongoing discussion about the role of prices in understanding economic phenomena, challenging the traditional supply and demand perspective.

    • Fed's interest rate affects borrowing costsWhen the Fed raises rates, borrowing becomes more expensive. Lower rates make loans cheaper. However, the relationship between money supply, inflation, and the Fed's rate is complex.

      The Federal Reserve's interest rate sets off a chain reaction in the economy, affecting the cost of borrowing for banks and ultimately consumers. When the Fed raises its interest rate, the cost of lending increases, leading to more expensive loans for firms and households. Conversely, when the Fed lowers its interest rate, loan prices tend to decrease. However, it's essential to note that the Fed's rate doesn't automatically control everything else in the economy. Firms and businesses make decisions based on their priorities, and the relationship between the money supply and inflation is a complex issue. Mainstream economic theories, such as the quantity theory of money and the demand-pull theory, attempt to explain the relationship between money and prices, but they don't capture the full complexity of the issue. Ultimately, understanding the impact of the Fed's interest rate requires a nuanced understanding of the economy and the various actors involved.

    • Misconception of interest rates, unemployment, and pricesThe belief that raising interest rates leads to lower prices through induced unemployment is a flawed understanding and may not hold true in practice.

      The belief among some economists and policymakers that raising interest rates will lead to lower prices by causing unemployment and reducing demand, is based on an outdated or flawed understanding of the relationship between interest rates, unemployment, and prices. The speaker in the text acknowledges that the actual cause of inflation in the current economic climate is external factors such as supply chain disruptions and geopolitical events. However, despite this knowledge, some economists still advocate for raising interest rates to induce a recession and reduce demand in the hopes of lowering prices. The speaker also points out that D'Amazio, an economist who challenged this orthodoxy, found no evidence of an inverse relationship between interest rates and prices in his research. Therefore, the common belief that raising interest rates will lead to lower prices through induced unemployment may not hold true in practice.

    • The Volcker Shock: More than just raising interest ratesThe Volcker Shock, while credited for solving the inflation crisis, had complex political and economic consequences, including the collapse of economies due to higher interest rates and global instability for USD-dependent countries.

      The Volcker Shock, which is often cited as the solution to the inflation crisis in the late 1970s and early 1980s through raising interest rates, was a complex event with far-reaching political and economic consequences. While it is true that OPEC's solidarity in the face of opposition during the oil crisis played a role in price increases, the relationship between interest rates and oil prices is more nuanced. The Volcker Shock also led to the collapse of many economies due to the impact of higher interest rates on adjustable rate loans, potentially preventing further OPEC-like organizations from forming and reducing the influence of raw material producers on pricing. Furthermore, the Volcker Shock had significant global effects, particularly for countries dependent on USD finance, leading to increased interest rates and economic instability. The complexities of this economic crisis make it problematic to base inflation-fighting theories solely on this event.

    • The relationship between inflation, oil prices, and interest rates is complexDuring periods of high inflation, oil prices and interest rates can rise together, making it challenging to determine which factor is causing the other, and simplistic explanations may not fully capture the complexities of the economic phenomena at play.

      The relationship between inflation, oil prices, and interest rates is more complex than some economists make it out to be. Contrary to the neoclassical economic theory that suggests higher interest rates lead to lower prices, the evidence shows that all three variables often move in tandem. During periods of high inflation, oil prices, and interest rates can rise together, making it challenging to determine which factor is causing the other. For instance, during the 1980s, when oil prices were high, and the Fed was raising interest rates to combat inflation, some economists argued that the interest rate hikes were causing the price increases. However, Dimuccio's research showed that oil prices and interest rates moved in lockstep, making it difficult to determine which one was causing the other. Additionally, the money supply, which is supposed to be affected by interest rates, did not decrease as expected, further questioning the effectiveness of interest rate adjustments as a tool for controlling prices. Ultimately, the relationship between inflation, oil prices, and interest rates is multifaceted, and simplistic explanations may not fully capture the complexities of the economic phenomena at play.

    • The relationship between interest rates and the general price level may not be as straightforward as believedEconomic research suggests little correlation between interest rates and the general price level, with recessions and fixed-rate loans playing significant roles in any observed relationship

      The relationship between interest rates and the general price level is not as straightforward as some may believe. Economist D'Amato's research suggests that there may be no correlation between the two, and even if there is, it's likely due to recessions that put people out of work. Many other economists, including Blair Fix, have found similar results. The prevalence of fixed-rate loans and alternative sources of liquidity for businesses further weakens the argument that interest rates significantly impact prices. This theory gained attention when D'Amato's paper was picked up by various publications and economists, leading to a wider debate within the economics community. Ultimately, the evidence suggests that the Fed's efforts to fine-tune the economy by manipulating interest rates may not be as effective as assumed.

    • The disconnect between business and economics educationEconomics theories may not always translate directly to business applications, and proper attribution is essential for accurate knowledge transfer.

      The divide between business and economics education leads to different perspectives and conclusions, with business schools focusing on making money and economics schools on intellectual pursuit and rule-making. A study by Nils Gormson and Killian Huber revealed that interest rate hikes do not necessarily decrease inflation, as economists often assume. However, when Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, presented this idea in The Guardian, he did not credit the original source. This incident highlights the disconnect between economics theory and practical business applications, as well as the potential for ideas to be disseminated without proper attribution. Ultimately, it's crucial to recognize the unique purposes and biases of different educational backgrounds and to promote transparency and collaboration in the exchange of knowledge.

    • The power of rigorous research and alternative perspectives to challenge orthodoxiesGroundbreaking research by D'Amazio and the supply chain theory of inflation, inspired by Fred Lee's work, challenged the traditional neoclassical perspective on interest rates and inflation, eventually gaining recognition through the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

      The economics field has seen a significant shift in perspective regarding the relationship between interest rates and inflation. This change can be attributed to the groundbreaking research of D'Amazio and the supply chain theory of inflation developed by Steve and inspired by Fred Lee's work. Despite facing initial skepticism and resistance, their ideas gained traction and are now recognized as a viable alternative to the traditional neoclassical perspective. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, though not an actual Nobel Prize, has played a role in legitimizing certain economic viewpoints. This anecdote illustrates the power of rigorous research and alternative perspectives to challenge orthodoxies and reshape the discourse within a discipline.

    • Criticizing the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic SciencesEconomics should prioritize empirical data over theoretical models, as history shows that economists can be wrong but eventually discover new insights through real scientific inquiry.

      The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, often referred to as the "fake Nobel" by some mathematicians and economists, has been criticized for its questionable use of mathematics and its tendency to reward theories that don't fit the data. The speaker argues that economics should prioritize empirical data over theoretical models and that the history of economics is filled with examples of economists being wrong but eventually discovering new insights through real scientific inquiry. One notable example is Alan Blinder's study of administered prices, which challenged the neoclassical theory of perfectly flexible prices and found evidence of sticky prices due to factors other than menu costs. Moving forward, the speakers plan to explore the importance of foreign exchange markets in macroeconomics, particularly for small countries without hegemonic monetary authority.

    • Limited use of national currencies for international transactionsNations are often limited to using major currencies for international trade and development work, and the politics of which currency dominates can impact a country's economy and geopolitical standing.

      A nation's ability to use its own currency for international transactions and development work is limited, as most of the world relies on major trading currencies like US dollars, euros, and yen. This is because other countries may not want to transact in a nation's currency for major purchases, necessitating the need to maintain balances of major currencies to meet biophysical obligations. The politics of which currency becomes a major trading currency is intertwined with imperialism, development, and the balance of payments. The US, for example, has been able to print the international means of payment for decades, but if this changes, the US would have to hold reserves of the new dominant currency and become a net exporter to acquire it. This could lead to economic consequences such as an economic crash and inflation, and it's essential to understand this interconnectedness of economics and politics to fully grasp historical and current geopolitical situations.

    • Community connections and ethical journalismBuilding community bonds is crucial in uncertain times, while ethical journalism upholds truth and integrity

      The importance of community connections and support cannot be overstated, especially in uncertain times. During the discussion, Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang highlighted the Neighbor to Neighbor volunteer network, which encourages individuals to build meaningful bonds with those around them and prepare for potential disasters. Meanwhile, in the realm of media, the New York Times has faced criticism for publishing transphobic articles, as discussed with Evan Urquhart from Assign Media regarding the controversial case of Jamie Reid. Despite reputable organizations debunking Reid's allegations against a St. Louis gender clinic, The New York Times continued to publish her claims, sparking concerns about journalistic integrity. Overall, these conversations underscore the significance of both community connections and ethical journalism. If you're interested in learning more about these topics, consider checking out the resources mentioned, such as the Neighbor to Neighbor website, Strange Matters magazine, and It Could Happen Here podcast.

    • Allegations against Jamie Reed discredited, but media fueled debate caused real-world consequencesMedia outlets' sensational coverage of Jamie Reed's case led to threats against healthcare centers and restricted access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

      The allegations against Jamie Reed, a figure who gained notoriety for reportedly blocking transgender youth from receiving healthcare, quickly fell apart as numerous parents and patients came forward with contradictory experiences. The New York Times investigation further discredited Reed, revealing potential attempts to sabotage kids' access to healthcare due to her personal beliefs. Instead of covering this story, some media outlets used it to fuel the debate on gender-affirming care, leading to threats against healthcare centers and clinics, causing real-world consequences such as restricted access to healthcare and threats of violence against doctors. The tactics used to attack healthcare centers proved effective in driving attention and clicks, but at the cost of endangering vulnerable individuals and their access to essential medical care.

    • Media's sensational coverage of unfounded allegations against healthcare professionalsMedia's exaggerated reporting of unproven claims against healthcare professionals can harm families and fuel moral panics, with lasting consequences.

      The media's sensational coverage of unfounded allegations against healthcare professionals, such as the case of Jamie Reid and Azine Gureshi, can cause significant harm to families and perpetuate moral panics. Reid and Gureshi's actions, which included sharing private medical information and discouraging parents from discussing their children's treatment options, were found to be bizarre and disturbing. Yet, these allegations received extensive coverage from mainstream publications, often presented as investigative journalism. This coverage can be more damaging than outright lies, as many readers may not delve deep into the articles and instead rely on the headlines. The consequences of such coverage can be long-lasting, as seen in the ongoing debate around vaccines and autism. It's crucial to approach such stories with skepticism and consider the potential harm they may cause to real people and families.

    • Mother's Suspicion of Journalist's Relationship with SubjectTransparency and trust are vital in journalism to maintain accurate reporting and uphold ethical standards. A lack of transparency can result in betrayal and damage relationships between journalists and sources.

      Transparency and trust are crucial elements in journalistic ethics. The discussion revolves around a mother's experience with a journalist, Azine, who was working on a story for The New York Times. The mother had initially agreed to share her story but became suspicious when she saw a warm relationship between Azine and the subject of the article, Jamie Reed, who had lied about the mother's daughter's history. The mother tried to withdraw from the story but was pursued relentlessly by Azine. The family felt betrayed and devastated when they discovered the article was not a hit piece on the clinic but instead presented Jamie Reed in a positive light despite her lies. This incident highlights the importance of maintaining transparency and trust between journalists and their sources to ensure accurate reporting and uphold ethical standards. The New York Times' response to criticism of the article defended its journalistic rigor, but the incident underscores the potential consequences of a lack of transparency and trust in journalistic relationships.

    • Reporting on trans issues can have harmful consequencesJournalists must be accountable for accurate reporting on trans issues to avoid causing harm, and should educate themselves, seek out trans voices, and consider the potential impact of their reporting.

      The reporting on trans issues by some journalists and media outlets, despite having a good reputation, can lead to harmful consequences for the trans community. This was exemplified in a specific case where a reporter's actions led to a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth in Missouri. The consequences of such reporting extend beyond the trans community, as right-wing politicians and lawyers use it to support discriminatory policies. The speaker, a trans person, emphasizes the need for accountability and for journalists to ensure they get things right when reporting on trans issues to avoid causing harm. The lack of accountability and reckoning with the consequences of such reporting is concerning, and it's important for cis journalists to be aware of this and take steps to avoid falling into biased or harmful reporting. Some recommendations for cis journalists include educating themselves on trans issues, seeking out and listening to trans voices, and being mindful of the potential impact of their reporting.

    • Journalists should deepen their understanding of trans issues and engage with experts and trans people to avoid misinformationJournalists should consult the Trans Journalists Association's style guide, engage with trans people and experts, and fact-check using the upcoming Trans Data Library to report accurately on trans issues.

      Journalists, especially those who are not experts in trans issues, should be cautious about assuming they understand the complexities of the topic and be wary of conspiratorial thinking. The Trans Journalists Association's updated style guide provides valuable resources for journalists to deepen their understanding of trans issues. It's essential to engage with trans people, experts, and mainstream consensus to avoid falling for misinformation spread by marginalized groups or individuals who may not have credible sources. The upcoming Trans Data Library is a promising resource intended for journalists to fact-check information and separate fact from fiction. It's crucial to approach trans issues with a grounded understanding and avoid sensationalism or assumptions that could perpetuate harm.

    • Bridging the information gap on right-wing groups targeting trans communityThe Trans Data Library is a new project that will provide essential info on right-wing groups, grifters, and extremist organizations targeting trans community, helping journalists and public understand complex web of relationships.

      There is a lack of awareness and accessible information regarding the connections between certain right-wing groups, grifters, and extremist organizations that target the trans community. A project called the Trans Data Library aims to bridge this gap by providing journalists and the public with essential information on these groups and their funding sources. The library, which can be found at transdatalibrary.org, is currently in development and will be a valuable resource for understanding the complex web of relationships between these entities. The creator encourages following her on Twitter for updates on the project's progress. Additionally, the importance of building strong community connections was highlighted through the introduction of Neighbor to Neighbor, a California volunteer network that aims to help people create meaningful social bonds and prepare for emergencies.

    • New Mexico's concealed carry restrictions sparks controversyNew Mexico's executive order restricting concealed carry permit holders sparks controversy, with criticism from gun rights advocates and legal debates over its constitutionality

      The recent executive order in Albuquerque, New Mexico, restricting concealed carry permit holders from carrying firearms in the county has sparked controversy and national attention. While the order restricts open carry and unlicensed carrying in vehicles, the Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot restrict concealed carry. This has led to criticism from gun rights advocates, including unexpected voices like David Hogg, and has generated significant media attention. The order, which was issued in response to rising crime rates, particularly those related to drug-related homicides and road rage incidents, has been met with a range of responses, from supportive to angry. The legality and constitutionality of the order are being debated, adding to the complexity of the issue.

    • Executive Order on Firearms in Vehicles Contradicts State LawThe recent executive order may not effectively address gun violence as it contradicts state law and restricts lawfully carrying concealed handguns, potentially overlooking the root causes of gun violence.

      The recent executive order in New Mexico limiting the carrying of firearms in vehicles to certain exclusions contradicts existing state law and may not effectively address gun violence. The speaker, a longtime gun owner, argues that a significant number of shootings involve individuals acting outside of the law and that restricting lawfully carrying concealed handguns may not solve the problem. Instead, a more limited and surgical approach to tackle the causes of gun violence is suggested. Additionally, the speaker raises concerns about the duplicative nature of the executive order, as firing a gun from a moving vehicle is already a crime. The discussion also touches upon the complexity of gun laws and their implications.

    • New Mexico gun control law faces resistance from sheriffsThe New Mexico executive order restricting open carry in certain areas has met resistance from local law enforcement and the attorney general, fueling debates about constitutional authority and the limits of executive power in enforcing gun control measures.

      The recent executive order in New Mexico restricting the open carrying of firearms in certain areas has led to a lack of enforcement from local law enforcement and the state's attorney general. This situation highlights the belief among some on the far right that sheriffs hold constitutional authority to refuse to enforce certain laws, particularly gun control measures. The debate raises questions about the limits of executive power and the potential for future disputes over similar issues. The situation underscores the complexity and divisiveness surrounding gun control and the role of law enforcement in enforcing such measures.

    • Complex relationship between law enforcement and gun control during public health emergenciesThe lack of centralized requirements and oversight for sheriffs and their deputies can lead to varying interpretations and enforcement of gun laws, exacerbating tensions and confusion during public health crises. A comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence is needed, focusing on root causes rather than arbitrary bans.

      The current situation in New Mexico, regarding the enforcement of gun control measures during a declared public health emergency, highlights the complex relationship between state and local law enforcement, and the potential for conflict with state and federal authorities. The lack of centralized requirements and oversight for sheriffs and their deputies can lead to varying interpretations and enforcement of laws, exacerbating tensions and confusion. Furthermore, the ongoing gun violence crisis in New Mexico, specifically in Albuquerque, necessitates a comprehensive approach that goes beyond arbitrary bans and instead focuses on addressing the root causes of the issue. The unexpected order from the governor, who generally enjoys Democratic support, to put more demands on law enforcement during a public health crisis, could be seen as an own goal and may further fuel the ongoing debate about the role of law enforcement in addressing public health concerns.

    • Focusing on practical solutions for gun controlThe gun control debate should prioritize practical measures, such as ending private sales and instituting safe storage laws, while acknowledging the complexity of the issue and the need to balance public safety with individual rights. The root cause of rising violence may be deeper than gun access, requiring a productive dialogue to find realistic solutions.

      The ongoing debate about gun control in the context of rising violence in New Mexico and other states should focus on practical solutions rather than divisive rhetoric. The speaker supports some gun control measures, such as ending private sales and instituting safe storage laws, but acknowledges the complexity of the issue and the need to balance public safety with individual rights. They also point out that the root cause of the surge in violence may be deeper than gun access, with many people becoming unhinged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting in antisocial behavior. The speaker calls for a productive dialogue to find realistic solutions, rather than blame and finger-pointing.

    • Underlying causes of interpersonal violenceAddressing the root causes of interpersonal violence, such as lack of resources for education, housing, and employment, could help reduce its occurrence.

      The rise in interpersonal violence, including shootings, in New Mexico and other states is not solely due to easy access to guns. Instead, it's linked to a broader issue of antisocial behavior and a lack of coping skills, potentially due to extended periods of isolation and lack of resources. This problem is particularly pronounced in rural states like New Mexico, which have fewer resources and a larger rural population. The urban areas, which often have higher populations and more resources, can be politically dominant but may also experience significant issues with interpersonal violence and drug-related fatalities. The speaker suggests that addressing the underlying causes, such as providing resources for education, housing, and employment, could help mitigate the problem.

    • Gentrification in Albuquerque: Displacing Native Populations and Challenging CommunitiesGentrification in Albuquerque has led to the displacement of native populations, creating challenges for accessing essential services and increasing isolation in rural areas. Retirees and federal entities contribute significantly to the city's revenue, but the process also pushes residents out, impacting communities in complex ways.

      Albuquerque's gentrification has led to the displacement of native populations, making it harder for them to access essential services and creating a sense of danger in certain areas. Retirees and federal entities contribute significantly to Albuquerque's revenue, but the gentrification process has pushed many residents out to rural areas, leading to increased isolation and challenges. The issue is complex, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Listeners can expect continued discussions on the topic, including the role of state entities and the impact on communities. If you're interested in New Mexico politics, follow Lucas Herndon on Twitter or check out Progress Now New Mexico on social media. To build more connected communities, consider joining Neighbor to Neighbor, a California volunteer network. And remember, in a world that sometimes feels uncertain, your neighbors are your best resource.

    • Aid Groups Help Migrants Amidst Border CrisisGroups like Free Shit Collective and American Friends Service Committee provide essential aid to migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, addressing their needs for water, food, and phone charging.

      The ongoing migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border involves people from various countries, not just Mexico, and many are fleeing due to climate change and instability in their home countries. The border patrol does not have to provide services to these individuals, leading organizations like Free Shit Collective and American Friends Service Committee to step in and provide aid. These groups have implemented efficient systems for distributing water, food, and charging phones, with the help of volunteers and those in between the fences. Despite improvements, donations are still needed to ensure everyone receives the necessary assistance.

    • Harsh living conditions for migrants at U.S.-Mexico borderMigrants face uncertain situations with limited resources, fear of returning home, and lengthy wait times for legal entry into the U.S.

      The living conditions for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border are harsh and underserved. They often sleep in exposed areas with no shelter from the elements, and there are limited resources for basic needs like water, food, and medical care. Those who seek asylum are sometimes released from hospitals into uncertain situations, without proper documentation or support. The situation leaves many in a difficult position, unable to return to their home countries due to fear, but also unable to legally enter the United States. The U.S. Border Patrol is working to provide care and transportation to migrants, but the facilities and resources are strained, leading to long wait times and unclear communication. The situation highlights the complexities and challenges of the immigration process and the need for more comprehensive solutions.

    • Migrants Rely on Mutual Aid During Border Crossing Events with Insufficient ServicesDuring border crossing events, mutual aid organizations play a crucial role in providing essentials to migrants when official support is lacking, as seen in recent events involving large numbers of Spanish speakers, Vietnamese, and Francophone Africans.

      During a recent border crossing event, migrants were being processed in a makeshift camp without adequate services or information from border patrol. People from various nationalities, including Spanish speakers, Vietnamese, and Francophone Africans, were arriving in large numbers and relying on mutual aid for essentials like food, water, and blankets. The situation echoed the conditions from a previous event in May, where border patrol initially denied contact with the migrants but later admitted they had encountered and apprehended them. Despite this, border patrol was not providing services to the migrants, leaving mutual aid organizations to fill the gap. The scale of the issue is significant, with hundreds of people relying on mutual aid during each event. It's crucial to recognize the importance of mutual aid networks in addressing the needs of migrants during times when official support is lacking.

    • Celebrating aid to those in needSupporting aid to those in need, regardless of affiliations or organizations, is essential. Trauma of being stuck in limbo can be as damaging as war, emphasizing the importance of helping and creating supportive networks.

      The provision of aid to those in need, regardless of their religious affiliations or the nature of the organizations providing the aid, should be celebrated and supported. The speaker expresses admiration for those who are helping people in desperate situations, even if they are part of religious organizations. The potential for tragic situations, such as the one in Del Rio, Texas, where people were left in the heat with no shade or access to water, remains high. The speaker emphasizes the importance of creating networks that look after each other without trying to control each other, and the need to celebrate and support those who are making a difference in the world, no matter their background or beliefs. The speaker's experiences in refugee camps have shown him that the trauma of being stuck in limbo, with no idea of the future, can be as damaging as being in an active war zone. The speaker would rather be in a dangerous situation where he can help, than be in a safe place where he can only watch children suffer.

    • Offering human connection and empathy at the borderEmpathize with those affected by the border situation and remember our shared humanity to make the world a less barbaric place

      The situation at the border can be traumatizing for both the migrants and those who witness it. The lack of control over their future and basic needs can strip people of their agency and humanity. Despite the powerlessness to stop the situation, we can still offer human connection and empathy to those affected. As someone who came to America differently, it's important to remember that all people, regardless of their circumstances, deserve respect and kindness. By recognizing our shared humanity, we can work together to make the world a less barbaric place.

    • Leveraging Language Skills to Help MigrantsVolunteer language skills to organizations aiding migrants, regardless of faith or background, to facilitate communication and empower individuals seeking refuge. Many languages are needed beyond Spanish, including French, Haitian Creole, and others.

      Language skills are in high demand when it comes to helping migrants, and the need for translation services extends beyond Spanish. Volunteer organizations like the American Foreign Service Committee welcome help from people of all backgrounds, regardless of faith. The border crisis requires active participation from individuals, and language skills are a valuable resource. Many languages, including French, Haitian Creole, and others, are needed to facilitate communication and empower migrants. The current political climate at the border can be infuriating, but it's important to remember that each person seeking refuge has a story and deserves respect and dignity. To make a difference, individuals can volunteer their time, resources, and language skills to organizations that provide aid and support to migrants. By doing so, we can foster a sense of solidarity and community, rather than treating people as mere numbers or political pawns.

    • Finding connection and empowerment amidst immigration challengesDespite the difficulties of the immigration process, building community and standing up for ourselves can lead to meaningful connections and positive change.

      The immigration process at the border can be a dehumanizing experience, filled with uncertainty and hardships. Feeling ashamed and helpless in the face of these challenges is valid, but it's essential to find ways to help and connect with others. Mutual aid and community building are powerful tools to combat feelings of disconnection and powerlessness. The unionization efforts at New Seasons serve as an inspiring example of workers coming together to address their concerns and fight for better working conditions and wages. By standing up for ourselves and our communities, we can create meaningful social bonds and make a positive impact.

    • New Seasons Market workers quickly form union due to healthcare and working conditions concernsWithin a year, New Seasons Market workers formed a union due to dissatisfaction with healthcare and working conditions, inspiring other stores to organize and resulting in over 900 members. Portland's union scene and Amazon Labor Union's success contributed to the growing momentum.

      The New Seasons Market workers' union, formed just over a year ago, grew rapidly due to widespread dissatisfaction with healthcare and working conditions. The union's early meetings gained significant support, leading to a quick filing of a petition with the NLRB. The union's success inspired other stores to organize, resulting in multiple store announcements and over 900 members. Portland's active union scene, with numerous independent unions and resources, played a crucial role in the union's formation and growth. The Amazon Labor Union's public success also contributed to the growing energy among workers to organize and form unions, especially in industries and jobs where representation had been lacking, such as healthcare and service industries.

    • Independent unions leading the charge for worker organization in PortlandHighly educated workers and unique challenges result in independent unions' success in organizing, despite high turnover. Their dedication and experience contribute to the labor movement.

      In Portland, the independent unions are leading the charge for worker organization due to the reluctance of larger unions to invest heavily in smaller, less traditional industries. This dynamic is linked to the prevalence of highly educated workers and the unique challenges of organizing in sectors with high turnover. However, the independent unions' success can be attributed to their passion and dedication to improving working conditions for current and future employees, collectively making them stronger and able to stand up to employers. Additionally, even when workers leave, they carry the militant culture and organizing experience with them, contributing to the broader labor movement.

    • Independent union organizing in PortlandWorkers at progressive workplaces are forming unions to challenge authority and protect their dignity and rights, driven by dissatisfaction and the realization that even these companies can be greedy.

      Portland's unique cultural orientation towards protest and social activism, combined with high turnover rates and dissatisfaction with progressive workplaces, has led to a surge in independent union organizing. People are voluntarily "salting" jobs at companies like New Seasons, Starbucks, and REI, not for financial gain, but to create change and challenge authority. This trend has been fueled by the energy from recent social movements and the realization that even workers at progressive workplaces can be vulnerable and undervalued. The assumption that these companies have good business practices, when in reality they're becoming more greedy, has been a catalyst for workers to take matters into their own hands and form unions to protect their dignity and rights.

    • Progressive businesses facing backlash for failing to deliver on employee promisesProgressive businesses risk public backlash when they don't honor commitments to employees, leading to labor disputes and potential legal action.

      Businesses with a progressive reputation can be more vulnerable when they fail to deliver on their promises to employees. This was discussed in relation to New Seasons Market, where workers have faced backlash for perceived hypocrisy in management's actions. The workers have been advocating for changes to attendance policies, but have faced resistance, leading to protests and strikes. The situation has escalated to the point where the workers have filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company. The discussion also touched upon the importance of transparency and good faith bargaining in labor disputes. Ultimately, the workers' actions highlight the potential consequences for businesses that do not uphold their progressive image.

    • New Seasons workers prepare for potential strike with informational picketsWorkers plan peaceful pickets to build solidarity, educate public, and put pressure on company to negotiate fairly

      New Seasons workers are preparing for a potential strike due to what they perceive as a regressive attendance policy and a lack of good faith negotiations from the company. To build solidarity and show their readiness, they plan to conduct peaceful informational pickets at each store. These pickets will not discourage shopping or encourage customers to leave, but rather serve as a visual demonstration of their preparedness and a chance to educate the public about their cause. The pickets also aim to rebuild the cultural understanding of union practices and their role in advocating for workers' rights. By engaging with customers in a respectful manner, they hope to leverage the strong relationships New Seasons has built with its customers to gain support and put pressure on the company to negotiate fairly.

    • Workers at New Seasons Market form an independent unionWorkers at New Sections Market in Portland are building an independent union, using tactics like guilt tripping shoppers and creating a GoFundMe page to gain support. They've gone head-to-head with a major anti-union law firm and encourage listeners to form their own unions, emphasizing that anyone can organize.

      Workers at New Seasons Market in Portland, Oregon, are building an independent union from the ground up, and they're using various tactics to gain support, including guilt tripping shoppers and creating a GoFundMe page. The union, which started with volunteers with no legal experience, has gone head-to-head with one of the largest anti-union law firms in the country. The labor movement, they argue, is a powerful way for the working class to unite and fight for better conditions. They encourage listeners to get involved and form their own unions, emphasizing that there's nothing magical about union organizers other than their decision to organize. They recommend resources like Labor Notes and the Coalition of Independent Unions for those interested in learning more or seeking advice. Ultimately, the labor movement is about workers coming together to fight for their class interests, and it's a powerful tool for creating change.

    • Building meaningful connections within communitiesVolunteering, social games, or sharing a meal can strengthen community bonds and bring joy, support, and growth.

      Building meaningful connections within your community can bring about positive change and help prepare you for unexpected situations. Neighbor to Neighbor, a California volunteer's network, is an excellent example of this. They believe that the people living around you are your best resource for creating social bonds and providing support during times of need, whether it's lending a helping hand or coming together during natural disasters. Highfivecasino.com, on the other hand, offers a more lighthearted form of connection through its social casino platform, where users can win virtual rewards and connect with others. In both cases, the importance of community and connection shines through. Neighbor to Neighbor empowers individuals to grow their local networks and build stronger communities, while Highfive Casino provides a virtual space for people to connect and have fun. Meanwhile, Boar's Head Sweet Bee's Honey Barbecue Glazed Chicken serves as a reminder that sometimes the simplest pleasures in life, like good food and strong community connections. Boar's Head's slow-roasted chicken, infused with a sweet, smoky honey glaze, is a delicious ode to the legends of barbecue and a reminder that even the smallest things can bring people together. So, whether it's through volunteering, playing social games, or enjoying a delicious meal, remember that the connections we make with people in our communities can bring joy, support, and growth to our lives.

    Recent Episodes from Behind the Bastards

    Part Two: How the British Empire and U.S. Department of Defense Murdered an Island Paradise

    Part Two: How the British Empire and U.S. Department of Defense Murdered an Island Paradise

    Robert killed a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Also he concludes the story of the murder of the Chagos Islands by the U.S. and the ailing British Empire. With bonus Dog Genocide!


    Behind the Bastards is doing it's annual fundraiser for the Portland Diaper Bank! We had a soft start a week or so ago but will actually be plugging it this week and next. Please help if you can!





    Vine, David. Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (p. 18). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.




    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Behind the Bastards
    enJune 20, 2024

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