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Welcome to the Third World

Poverty – or its prospect – sometimes leads one to make surprising choices. Here’s a truly disturbing example, from London’s Independent: Students and the sex industry: Empowering or the last resort of the debt-ridden? With unemployment levels soaring across Britain, job prospects for graduates have never looked so bleak. But one sector proving resilient, and […]

For most small business people, the ideal life goes pretty much like this: a few years of all-consuming obsession to get set up, followed by a few decades of 12-hour days to build a reputation and client base sufficient to make the business valuable. Then sell out for enough to retire comfortably. This is easier […]

Newly-minted anthropology PhD Sarah Kendzior has written a chilling piece for Aljazeera on what things are really like in academia these days: The closing of American academia It is 2011 and I’m sitting in the Palais des Congres in Montreal, watching anthropologists talk about structural inequality.   The American Anthropological Association meeting is held annually […]

Meredith Whitney was an obscure Oppenheimer & Co. bank analyst back in 2008 when she broke from the pack and predicted Armageddon. She was right, the pack was wrong, and she parlayed her new-found fame into a research boutique of her own. Last year she went for it again, predicting that the next big crisis […]

Last month I took a long, winding West Coast trip, partially for work and partially to see some old friends. It was…shocking. Almost without exception the old friends are having money or career troubles, in some cases catastrophically so. Most, to one degree or another, have lost the lifestyles they once saw as every well-educated […]

Not all that long ago, most college campuses were pleasant but somewhat austere places where kids without much free cash learned from modestly-paid (but dedicated and respected) professors. Then came the credit bubble, which allowed universities to put up modern buildings and hike pay and benefits, all paid for with state aid, student loans (which […]

It was fun while it lasted. We Baby Boomers got to diss our elders when we were young and borrow without restraint through middle-age. Few generations have traveled such a smooth stretch of financial/psychological highway. But now that we’re…old…the world we created isn’t so congenial. Our savings are inadequate, jobs are scarce, and retirement, as […]

It was fun while it lasted. We Baby Boomers got to diss our elders when we were young and borrow without restraint through middle-age. Few generations have traveled such a smooth stretch of financial/psychological highway. But now that we’re…old…the world we created isn’t so congenial. Our savings are inadequate, jobs are scarce, and retirement, as […]

One of the things that separate the “rich” world from the rest of humanity is the expectation that a lifetime of work is rewarded with a comfortable retirement. Whether through an employer’s pension or 401(K), or government plans like Social Security and Medicare, citizens of the US, Canada, Europe and Japan take it for granted […]

Welcome To The Third World, Part 2: Real Lives

by John Rubino on November 1, 2011 · 11 comments

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal devoted an entire page to the differences between today’s economy and a typical recovery: Slow Recovery Feels Like Recession Americans are two years into a recovery that doesn’t feel much different to many of them from life during the most bruising recession in seven decades. Scenes of the long haul back […]


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