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Daily Pickings is a blog on issues and events related to the work of the Critical Thinking project and invariably references videos, articles, books and academic papers. Accumulation of these materials adds to the "Critical Thinking reference library". Use the search facility to find articles on specific topics or you can browse the titles of every Dailly Pickings article since inception via the Site Map for which you need to be registered.
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Trade agreements in the news

There are signs that mainstream media are beginning to wake up to the detrimental consequences of free trade agreements although many pieces only focus on a particular facet or are misleading propaganda. For example, last week's Economist was lauding the achievements of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claiming many benefits that don't exist. NAFTA has led to job losses in the participating countries, US, Canada and Mexico whereas the Economist is claiming the opposite. This piece on DemocracyNow with Lori Wallach details the catastrophic consequences of NAFTA and her organisation's website has comprehensive information.

NAFTA at 20: Lori Wallach on U.S. Job Losses, Record Income Inequality, Mass Displacement in Mexico

She mentions how if you go the Trade Data Centre webpage and put in your (US) zip code, you can see the direct effect of NAFTA on jobs in your area.


Citizens Income EU petition

The petition: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) - Exploring a pathway towards emancipatory welfare conditions in the EU closes at midnight tonight. The potential benefits need to be much more widely understood and charging the EU with exploration is the first step. Unconditional citizens income opens a wealth of opportunities:

  • millions of wasteful unproductive jobs would disappear
  • equalised power between employer and employee - no need for unions
  • survival is no longer dependent on being enslaved to the consumption economy
  • those that do work will work shorter hours- work which currently goes unrecognised by the current economy becomes equally valid: childcare, care more generally, the arts, music, activism, voluntary organisations etc
  • the corporate behemoths would shrink - consumption would slow
  • abolition of state pension and unemployment benefits

Barb Jacobson talks to Max Keiser about Basic Income


The game of Monopoly

Anyone who plays Monopoly knows how the property market works but what they may not know is the origin of the game.

In the late 1800s, a young woman named Elizabeth Magie was introduced to the writings of Henry George by her father. She eventually became one of many people who took on the task of trying to teach others what she had learned from studying Progress and Poverty and George's other works.

Collaborating with friends in her Brentwood, Maryland community, Elizabeth Magie created The Landlord's Game

How Henry George's Principles Were Corrupted Into the Game Called Monopoly by Edward J. Dodson

Hat tip to Arvind for this

In the property market, the winners take all and everyone else goes bankrupt.

Global cooling

Just as claims that extreme weather is directly related to climate change (man-made or otherwise) are unsubstantiated by any empirical evidence, it would be incorrect to suggest the sudden cold snap, experienced in the US (the polar vortex), is related to global cooling. Our understanding of the complexity of global climate and how it relates to regional weather phenomena is limited - there is much work to be done but most climate science resources are focused on proving and supporting the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) position.

However, there are areas of study which do reveal a causal relationship between natural cycles and global temperatures. Studies of solar cycles and galactic cosmic rays suggest that recent warming (through the 1990s) could be accounted for by the sun's behaviour and decreasing albedo (reflective cloud cover). There is also a relationship between ocean cycles and global temperature. One of the leading experts in this field is Don Easterbrook.

Global Cooling is Here By Prof. Don J. Easterbrook

Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades