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This Week

Austerity Bites

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Every Friday we take a look back at the week’s headlines, centering on a theme we’ve singled out as particularly important. Signs of ongoing austerity were everywhere this week. Meanwhile we were starting to make sense of the Great Recession and trying to avoid the next one.

Study: Rich more likely to take candy from babies:

They also note that the study isn’t alone. It “builds on previous research that has shown wealthy people are worse at recognizing how others feel and are more likely to be disengaged during social interactions than others.”

Audio: Imagining the UK if it faced austerity cuts on the scale currently facing Greece:

Unemployment would be nearly seven million…half of our young people would be out of work.

Day in the life of an Athens bookstore/cafe that can neither sell books nor make coffee:

Legislation in Greece has been set up on an ad hoc basis, with laws just layered over—and often contradicting—one another. No one has taken a holistic view of the system and consolidated it.

Johnny Marr says he’ll reform the Smiths if David Cameron’s coalition government steps down:

Five years later, Marr demanded that [PM] Cameron drop out of the figurative fan club. “Stop saying that you like the Smiths, no you don’t,” he wrote. “I forbid you to like [them].” On this point even Morrissey agreed.

Chart: The world’s most miserable people are those in the wealthiest nations:

The world is happier than before the financial crisis. The most cheeful citizens tend to live in poor and middle-income countries, while the gloomiest are in rich ones.

During the 2008 crash, illegal drug money was the only thing that kept banks afloat:

“In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital,” Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.”

Inside the dehumanizing world of the online warehouse wage slave.

“Well, what if I do start crying?” I ask the woman who warns me to keep it together no matter how awfully I’m treated. “Are they really going to fire me for that?” “Yes,” she says. “There’s 16 other people who want your job. Why would they keep a person who gets emotional, especially in this economy?”

In the nation’s largest Medicare fraud case, a Dallas doctor is accused of bilking $375 million:

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.…said that in the last fiscal year alone, they had recovered nearly $4.1 billion in funds “that were stolen or taken improperly from federal healthcare programs.”

To halt the decline of America, make more Americans:

If more labor is the secret to continued American global economic dominance, there is one course other than importing it -- expanding domestic production. Paying people to get pregnant can work.

By 2020, it’ll seem quaint that we thought the world’s financial center needed to be near the Atlantic:

Throw in a few of the Asian tigers—Indonesia or South Korea—and it seems clear that a majority of the world’s financial activity will take place somewhere between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.

On the unspeakable pleasure of exploring ruins:

Ruin porn is a corrosively repeatable meme that makes any picture of ruins seem suspect.

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