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thinkahol *

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery? - 0 views

    Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.
    There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.
    What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?
thinkahol *

The Wall Street Protests and America's Choice - James Allworth - Harvard Business Review - 0 views

    The past few days have seen some very unusual events in New York. You might have heard that, over the weekend, a large contingent of folks started a protest on Wall Street. Using Twitter and other online tools, they started a large sit-in of the south end of Manhattan. The day before that, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that frustrations over the U.S. economic and political situation could boil over into riots. The U.S. has seen its share of robust political protests in recent years, but this feels different. Something is emerging within America that has never happened before: the country has to choose between democracy and capitalism.

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