Almost entirely from digital goods and services, in contrast to physical goods and services, according to Progressive Policy Institute article,
1. Per capita real consumption of physical goods and services, outside of housing and health care, has grown by only 10% since 2000, or an average of 0.6% annually. By comparison, per capita real consumption of digital goods and services has skyrocketed, growing by 64%, or 3.4% annually.
The whole article is short and worth the read.
If you're American, probably quite wealthy, according a recent Economist article,
IF YOU had only $2,222 to your name (adding together your bank deposits, financial investments and property holdings, and subtracting your debts) you might not think yourself terribly fortunate. But you would be wealthier than half the world’s population, according to this year’s Global Wealth Report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute. If you had $71,560 or more, you would be in the top tenth. If you were lucky enough to own over $744,400 you could count yourself a member of the global 1% that voters everywhere are rebelling against.
According to VoxEU, the "gig economy" is bigger than we thought,
Our research concludes that 20-30% of the working age population have spent time as independent workers. Extrapolating this to the US and 15 core EU countries, that’s as many as 162 million people, with up to 94 million in the 15 core EU countries alone. Government statistics show roughly half that headcount, putting the independent workforce at a mere 11% of the working age population in the US and 14% in the EU-15. The difference primarily comes from the fact that more than half of this non-traditional workforce is engaged in independent work part of the time, and also that, in recent years, the gig economy has indeed grown, but still represents only 15%, or about 24 million, of the independent workers in our study. About 9 million out of that 24 are exclusively using digital platforms for their independent work – a little less than 40% – while more than 60% are combining both digital and non-digital means to perform their work.
According to Noam Chomsky in his recent book Who Rules the World?,
For the public, the primary domestic concern is the severe crisis of unemployment. Under prevailing circumstances, that critical problem could have been overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the one Obama initiated in 2009, which barely matched declines in state and local spending, though it still did probably save millions of jobs. For financial institutions, the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population (72 percent) favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich. Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69 percent in the case of Medicaid, 78 percent for Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.
Obviously, none of the above is in line with what is likely to happen in the near future. As the link above to my recent article on Dean Baker's ideas shows, much of the deficit is fixable with changes to policies that govern the "free markets".
However, none of that matters as Republicans are very likely to try gutting education, pollution regulations, and medicare, while giving huge tax breaks to the rich. These would all seem to be the exact opposite way in which the majority of Americans would wish to see this done.
Dean Baker wraps up his new book Rigged with the following,
the point of this book is that the distribution of income can be hugely altered by restructuring the market to produce different outcomes. This doesn’t dismiss the value of tax and transfer policies, but if the market is rigged to redistribute ever more income upward, it will be difficult to design tax and transfer policies to reverse this effect. And if the rigging efforts are never challenged, then they will impose an ever greater burden on those trying to reduce inequality through tax and transfer policy.
A couple paragraphs later, he finishes with,
The standard framing of economic debates divides the world into two schools. On the one hand, conservatives want to leave things to the market and have a minimal role for government. Liberals see a large role for government in alleviating poverty, reducing inequality, and correcting other perceived ill-effects of market outcomes. This book argues that this framing is fundamentally wrong. The point is that we don’t have “market outcomes” that we can decide whether to interfere with or not.
About $435 billion according to economist Dean Baker in his new book Rigged,
This strengthening of copyright law and altering its structure to adjust to digital technology and the Internet is interesting not only because of the costs involved for the larger economy but also because it highlights alternative ways in which society adapts to technological change. Technological change has destroyed many sectors of the economy. The spread of digital cameras essentially destroyed the traditional film industry, causing the collapse of two major U.S. corporations, Kodak and Polaroid, and leading to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. While the collapse of these companies and the job losses were unfortunate, no one would have considered it a reasonable strategy to block the spread of digital cameras.
He continues a few paragraphs later with,
Table 5-6 shows projected 2016 spending and potential savings in areas where the costs of current monopolies are likely to be largest. Savings for recorded music and video material as well as recreational books are pegged here at 50 percent, under the assumption that the tax-credit system will make available a vast amount of free writing, music, and video material. Savings on educational books are pegged at 70 percent, under the assumption that the bulk of textbooks will be produced through the publicly funded system. The savings for prescription drugs are based on the calculation in Table 5-3 (see below). Savings in newspapers and periodicals, motion pictures, and cable TV are pegged at 20 percent. (With cable, many people may opt to rely on the Internet and cancel cable subscriptions.) The figure for medical equipment is loosely derived from the earlier calculation in Table 5-3; it is larger here because this figure reflects spending to purchase the equipment rather than the fees charged to patients. The total potential savings are $ 435 billion, or 2.4 percent of GDP.
By picking Betsy DeVos — a billionaire education philanthropist and activist — as his education secretary appointee, President-elect Donald Trump sent a strong message about what his education priority will be: school vouchers.
From The Atlantic,
According to Chalkbeat, DeVos’s family poured $1.45 million into an effort to prevent Michigan from adding oversight for charter schools. That effort ultimately failed. DeVos and her husband have been supporters of charter schools for decades and longtime opponents of regulation. And according to Chalkbeat, around 80 percent of the state’s charter schools are run by private companies. The lack of oversight has prompted concern from the Obama administration that some bad charters were being allowed to operate without improving or being forced to close. Civil-rights groups like the NAACP have also expressed concern that low-income children and children of color suffer when oversight is scaled back.
From The New Yorker,
The DeVos family belongs to the deeply conservative Dutch Reformed Church, and has pushed for years to breach the wall between church and state on education, among other issues. Betsy, who served as the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party in the late nineties and again in the early aughts, spent more than two million dollars of the family’s money on a failed school-vouchers referendum in 2000, which would have allowed Michigan residents to use public funds to pay for tuition at religious schools. The family then spent thirty-five million dollars, in 2006, on Dick DeVos’s unsuccessful campaign to unseat Jennifer Granholm, then the Democratic governor of the state. After that campaign, the DeVos family doubled down on political contributions and support for conservative Christian causes. Members of the family, including Betsy and Dick DeVos, have spent heavily in opposition to same-sex-marriage laws in several states. According to the Michigan L.G.B.T. publication PrideSource.com, Devos and her husband led the successful campaign to pass an anti-gay-marriage ballot referendum in the state in 2004, contributing more than two hundred thousand dollars to the effort. Dick Devos reportedly gave a hundred thousand dollars, in 2008, to an amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Florida. That year, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, Betsy Devos’s mother, was a major contributor to the effort to pass Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California.
According to Business Insider,
Interestingly enough, red states, which tend to advocate for a lesser influence by the federal government, are much more dependent on the federal government than blue states. Red states combined to form an average ranking of 18.3 (with 1 being most dependent and 50 being least dependent), while blue states combined to rank 33.2 overall.
This is particularly relevant with all of Trump's discussion of defunding "sanctuary cities and states". The backlash could be enormous, given that they take in less federal funding than they pay out to begin with. What reason would they have to continue paying federal taxes, which red states largely benefit from and they would no longer receive any of?
The figure above comes from a 2012 Pew Research Center demographic study. It concluded there were 1.6 billion Muslims living in the world, which would be over 1.7 billion today with the current population of 7.4 billion people worldwide and the same percentage of Muslims globally.
Much of Pew's research relies on percentages, which can be somewhat misleading. If Pew concludes "little support" for certain beliefs because only 10 percent of a population agrees with their survey question, that is potentially 170 million people in the Muslim world. So what are the predominant beliefs?
To start, an overwhelming number believe religion is very important in their lives.
In addition, in "32 of the 39 countries surveyed, half or more Muslims say there is only one correct way to understand the teachings of Islam".
The majority of Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa also believe the Quran should be read literally. The survey did not ask this question in other areas of the world.
The information above can be synthesized as stating that over 800 million Muslims take their religion very seriously and believe that there is only one correct understanding of it, a literal one.
Next, we can ask what all this serious, correct, and literal understanding means to most Muslims. First, many believe that Sharia should be the official law of the land. "Overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center. But many supporters of sharia say it should apply only to their country’s Muslim population."
What does, "many supporters of sharia say it should apply only to their country’s Muslim population," mean? Somewhere between 51 to 64 percent of the overwhelming majority of Muslims that believe Sharia should be the official law of the land believe it should only apply to Muslims. That leaves 36 to 49 percent of that overwhelming majority that believe otherwise. That still leaves over 100 million Muslims in the world that potentially believe Sharia should be the law of the land and not necessarily only for Muslims.
The entire report titled "The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society" is interesting and worth looking over, just keep in mind the absolute numbers when looking at small percentages. One percent of 1.7 billion Muslims is still 17 million people. It is these absolute numbers that worry people, not the relative percentages often thrown around that hide the fact, for example, that millions of Muslims around the world believe that suicide bombing is justified.
While 72 percent of global Muslims believe suicide bombing is never justified in defense of Islam, "3% of Muslims worldwide say suicide bombings and other violence against civilian targets are often justified, while 7% of U.S. Muslims and a global median of 8% of Muslims say such attacks are sometimes justified to defend Islam". That is 51 million people that believe violence is often justified and 136 million people that believe violence is sometimes justified to defend Islam.
According to Arlie Russell Hochschild from her recent book Strangers in Their Own Land,
The National Association of Evangelicals is a voice for its 30,000,000 members, who make up a quarter of the American electorate, and a leading organization of the religious right with a political voice. This is true too of the Christian Coalition, which supported some 36 senators and 243 members of the House of Representatives, half of whom received a score of 10 percent or lower on the environmental scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. (Kindle Locations 2109-2112)
It would seem nearly impossible to make forward progress on environmental concerns while holding the above belief. Given the magnitude of America's carbon footprint and its disproportionate effect on climate change - e.g. through its own emissions of green house gases and its influence on international decisions like the Paris Agreement - this seems to suggest that some 30 million evangelical Americans are deciding the future of the planet. That is roughly 0.4 percent of the current world population.
Eight-one percent of evangelicals backed Trump in the recent election, who has promised to, "lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars' worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal" and "cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs".