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Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]

Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on.
Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience.
We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both.
Why am I doing this?
It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore.
Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays
152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.
(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
The oft-mentioned Section 152 of the Constitution was an administrative continuation of previously existing colonial policy towards the Malays [Col: 126]. Regardless of the “special position” of the Malays, the only form of assistance rendered to the Malays was the policy of free education for all Malay students. This minimal approach of the government did little to improve the educational and socio-economic standing of the Malays as revealed by the 1980 national census. The free tertiary education policy was ultimately removed in 1990, despite opposition from Malays who questioned the constitutionality of its removal [col: 126].
With free education for all Malays, why haven’t their socio-economic and educational standings improved?
There are many factors to look at, and the issue goes way back to the colonial era so that’s where we shall start. The colonial administrators of Singapore, in their pursuit of capitalistic gains, had little use for the native inhabitants. The natives who were already living off their own land had no desire to work for the British as labourers. The British saw this unwillingness to work for them as indolence, and ascribed many other negative cultural stereotypes to the locals [pdf]. Nailing home the capitalistic intent of colonial presence in Singapore, the British Director of Education R. O. Winstedt explained their policy for education for the natives in 1920 [pg. 2]:
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
And in 1915, a British resident revealed the colonial attitude towards education [pg. 3]:
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
The type and quality of education that the British set up for the native inhabitants show that they had no intentions to empower the locals with skills for a new economy. The education provided, while free, was to make sure the locals were kept out of trouble for the British, and remain subservient to the colonial causes. Further impeding the socio-economic status of Malays, the British actively discouraged Malays in switching from agricultural production to more lucrative cash crops, preventing the building of wealth among the Malay communities (Shahruddin Ma’arof, 1988: 51). In contrast to the British suppression of the buildup of Malay wealth and provision of vernacular education, Chinese businessmen, clan associations and Christian missionaries established Chinese schools where students were taught skills like letter-writing and the use of the abacus. By the turn of the 20th century, the curriculum in these Chinese-language schools expanded to include arithmetic, science, history and geography while Malay-language schools under Winstedt’s educational policies focused on vernacular subjects such as basket-weaving.
So, when Singapore attained self-governance, did things get better?
Discontent with the education system and social inequalities was already a big issue in the mid 1950s that the parties that contested for the Legislative Assembly championed for reforms to social issues like better education systems, housing subsidies and workers rights.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) won the 1959 Legislative Assembly general elections by running on a rather progressive platform of low-cost housing, improvement of employment opportunities for locals and a stronger education. They also campaigned for abolishing the inequality of wealth in their election manifesto (Petir, 1958: 2), with PAP chairman Dr Toh Chin Chye expressing his disgust at seeing “so many of our people reduced to living like animals because under the present social and economic system, the good things of life are for the ruthless few, those who believe that the poor and the humble are despicable failures.”
With the PAP in power, assurances were made to Singaporeans that no community would be left behind. In 1965, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew promised aid specifically to help raise the economic and education levels of the Malays. In 1967 during a mass rally at Geylang Serai, PM Lee again promised that “the Government with the support of the non-Malays are prepared to concentrate more than the average share of our resources on our Malay citizens [pdf].” He emphasized the importance of lifting all sections of the community to an even footing, reasoning that “if one section of the community were to lag behind it would harm the unity and integrity of the nation” (Bedlington, 1974: 289).
Despite these promises to help the minorities narrow the inequality gap, very little was done to realize it. Instead, the government took a ruthless approach towards economic growth, sparing no expense. Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee explained the government’s main concern was “to generate fast economic growth by any and every possible means. . . . If unequal distribution of income induced greater savings and investment . . . then this must be accepted as the price of fighting unemployment.” (Goh, 1972: 275)
By the late 1970s, a strong shift in parents’ preference towards an English-medium education for their children had resulted in a rapid decline in the number of vernacular schools.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there was a shift of parents’ preference towards educating their child in the English stream. This shift, together with a period of minimal intervention in terms of educational policy and assistance to the minorities by the government, caused the number of enrolments in vernacular schools to rapidly decline. The socio-economic gap also widened between the Malays and Chinese, as the Chinese community enjoyed greater occupational mobility relative to the minorities. This can be seen in the shift in the lower manual occupation category, from a relatively equal proportion in 1957 to a 10 percent difference in 1980 [Table A]. In 1980, the average Malay household income was only 73.8 percent of the average Chinese household income. The income gap widened considerably by 1990, where the average Malay household income dropped to 69.8 percent of the average Chinese household income [Table B] (Rahim, 1998: 19-22). Decades after the lofty promises were made by the government, the Malay community’s slide into marginality continued.
Table A

Table B
Wait, the gap got bigger? Did the government do anything?
In 1979, Education Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee with the Education Study Team released a report on the Ministry of Education, more widely known as the Goh Report. The team was made up of 13 members, most of them systems analysts and economists, and none of whom ‘possess much knowledge or expertise on education’ (Goh Report, 1979: 1). The all-Chinese team excluded social scientists and educationalists, as the Education Minister had little regard for their expertise (Rahim, 1998: 121). The Goh Report made recommendations for radical changes to the educational system, recommendations which then became the basis of the New Education System (NES).
During a time when Tamil, Malay and Chinese schools were getting closed down due to declining enrolment numbers due to the popularity of English medium ones, the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) was introduced in 1978 to preserve and develop nine Chinese schools into bilingual (Mandarin and English) schools while retaining the values and traditions of a Chinese school. As part of the NES, these schools were to be the only ones to offer the Special course which the top 10 percent scorers of the PSLE are eligible to opt for. With these schools getting more resources, better facilities and the best teachers, the SAP contradicts the multi-racial principle of giving equal treatment to the non-English language streams. This exclusivity and the elite status of SAP schools affords its students better opportunities and advantages that are virtually out of reach for many minorities in Singapore. Effectively, the SAP is an institutionalized form of ethnic/cultural favouritism (Rahim, 1998: 130)
The NES also introduced early streaming for students which further exacerbated existing inequalities. Despite primary school education being free for all Singaporeans, families with better financial means have a huge advantage in preparing their child for streaming through additional tuition and better preschool choices#. (Barr & Low, 2005: 177) As we have seen from the disparity in household incomes between the Chinese and Malays, early streaming served to widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. The have-nots, more often than not, find themselves in the lower streams, trapped with very limited options providing upward social mobility. They will have to face an insurmountable task to lift themselves and their future generations out of their current predicament.
In 1982, the PAP slogan “a more just and equal society” was quietly dropped from the party’s constitution. This signaled an end to the socialist ideals that the party built its identity upon.
Why? It can’t be that the government favours one race over another...can it?
Examining the PAP leadership’s attitude towards the different cultures and ethnicities is key to understanding what the government values and how these values shaped its policies. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, as quoted in the Goh Report, extolled the values of East Asian philosophies: "The greatest value in the teaching and learning of Chinese is in the transmission of the norms of social or moral behaviour. This means principally Confucianist beliefs and ideas, of man [sic], society and the state" (Goh, 1979: v). The government’s championing of SAP schools and ‘Chinese values’ is also complemented by the launch of ‘Speak Mandarin Campaign’ in 1979.
In 1991, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong espoused similar values as his predecessor, praising the virtues of ‘Confucian dynamism’ and claiming that Singapore would not be able to thrive and prosper without the Confucian core values of thrift, hard work and group cohesion. The fear of erosion of the Chinese cultural identity was never matched with a similar concern for the erosion of minority cultural identities, where the minorities were “expected to submit to a form of partial or incomplete assimilation into a Chinese-generated, Chinese-dominated society.#” (Barr & Low, 2005: 167)
On top of favouring Chinese cultural values and identities, the PAP leadership associated the cultures of the minorities with negative connotations. Speaking about a Malay who did well in business, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew described the man as “acting just like a Chinese. You know, he’s bouncing around, running around, to-ing and fro-ing. In the old culture, he would not be doing that” (Han, et al., 1998: 184). In a Straits Times article on 26 June 1992, SM Lee also implied that the Chinese are inherently better at Maths, and that "If you pretend that the problem does not exist, and that in fact (the Malays) can score as well as the Chinese in Maths, then you have created yourself an enormous myth which you will be stuck with.+"
These attitudes from the ruling elite translated into more policies that preserved the advantage of the majority. When faced with the “pressing national problem”* of a declining birth-rate of the Chinese, the government took steps to ensure Chinese numerical dominance in Singapore. The Singapore government encouraged the immigration of skilled workers from countries like Hong Kong, Korea, and Macau, countries which were accorded the status of ‘traditional sources’ of foreign labour (Rahim, 1998: 72). Meanwhile, showing the government’s preference and/or dislike for specific groups of people, Malaysian Malays faced great difficulty in getting work permits. (“‘Harder’ for bumiputras to get S’pore work permits.+”, The Straits Times, 7 Mar 1991)
Another policy which worked to preserve the advantage of the majority was the urban resettlement programmes of the 1960s and 1970s. This resulted in the dissolution of the Malay electoral strongholds in the east, undermining the organic growth of Malay political grassroots. When it became apparent in the 1980s that the Malays were moving back to the traditional Malay residential areas, an ethnic residential quota, labelled the Ethnic Integration Policy, was implemented. The rationale behind the quota was to ensure a balanced racial mix, purportedly for racial harmony. However, this rationale does not stand up to scrutiny in the face of numerous academic studies on interethnic urban attitudes and relations**. Another consequence of the policy is the reinforcement of racial segregation when taking into account the income disparity between the races. Underlining the weakness of the government’s reasoning, constituencies like Hougang were allowed to remain Chinese residential enclaves despite its population being approximately 80 percent Chinese. (Rahim, 1998: 73-77)
Perhaps the most controversial policy introduced was the Graduate Mothers Scheme. It was introduced in 1983 to reverse the trend of falling fertility rates of graduate women versus the rising birth-rate of non-graduate women***. In a push to encourage graduate mothers to get married and have children, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee unveiled a suite of incentives; all-expenses paid love-boat cruises for eligible graduate singles in the civil service, a computer dating service, fiscal incentives, and special admissions to National University of Singapore (NUS) to even out the male-female student ratio#. At the other end of the spectrum, lesser-educated women were encouraged to have smaller families in a scheme called the Small Family Incentive Scheme. This was achieved by paying out a housing grant worth S$10,000 to women who were able to meet the following set of conditions: be below 30 years of age, have two or less children, educational level not beyond secondary school, have a household income totalling not more than S$1,500 and willing to be sterilized#.
Based on the average household income statistics, a simple deduction could be made that those eligible for the sterilization programme were disproportionately from the minority communities.
Isn’t that eugenics?
Yes. Singapore had a government-established Eugenics Board.
The graduate mothers and sterilization programmes were greatly unpopular and were ultimately abandoned or modified after the PAP’s mandate took a 12.9 percent hit in the 1984 general election. However that did not mean that eugenics stopped being an influence in policy-making.
In his 1983 National Day address, PM Lee stated that when it comes to intelligence, “80 per cent is nature, or inherited, and 20 per cent the differences from different environments and upbringing.” This is telling of the role that eugenics, biological determinist and cultural deficit theories played in the formation of PAP policies.
To further safeguard Singapore from “genetic pollution” (Rahim, 1998: 55, Tremewan, 1994: 113), the Ministry of Labour in 1984 issued a marriage restriction between work permit holders and Singaporeans. The work permit holder would have his work permit cancelled, be deported and be permanently barred from re-entering Singapore if he were to marry a Singaporean or permanent resident without obtaining prior approval. Approval from the Commissioner for Employment would only be given if the work permit holder possesses skills and qualifications of value to Singapore.
Doesn’t sound to me like the government targets any particular race with its policies.
Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 1987 rationalized that certain posts in the Singapore Armed Forces had been closed to Malays for "national security" reasons. He claimed that this policy was implemented to avoid placing Malays in an awkward position when loyalty to nation and religion came into conflict. PM Lee also added that the Malays behaved more as Malay Muslims than as loyal Singaporeans. PM Lee and DPM Lee’s statements finally made explicit what many suspected to have been an implicit rule. It could be observed that, despite being overrepresented in the civil service, Malays tend to stay in the lower-to-middle rungs of organizations like the SAF. It is also noteworthy that, to date, no Malay has held important Cabinet portfolios such as Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Trade and Industry.
The conflation of loyalty to the country with approval of the ruling party proved to be patently flawed, as studies by the Institute of Policy Studies (ST, 30 Sept 1990: 22; IPS, 2010) indicate that Singaporean Malays showed a stronger sense of national pride and identification compared to the other major ethnic groups. The study also found that Citizen-Nation Psychological Ties (CNP) scores, that is, national loyalty, weakens with: higher socio-economic status, Chinese, youth, and political alienation. Even when the Malays have been historically disenfranchised, they were found to be proud to be Singaporeans, loyal to Singapore and more willing to sacrifice for the nation than the other ethnic groups.
Additionally, Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong threatened to withhold aid to the Malay self-help organization Mendaki in 1988. The threat was issued over an incident during election night where several Malays in a crowd of Workers Party supporters had jeered at PM Goh at a vote counting centre. It became apparent from this incident that any aid offered by the government was tied to loyalty to the PAP instead of it being the duty of the government to serve Singaporeans regardless of party affiliation^^.
There have always been Malay PAP Members of Parliament (MP), did they not help fight for these issues?
The Malay PAP MPs are in the unique position of having to represent not only people of their constituents but also the rest of the Malay Singaporeans while toeing the party line. With many of the government policies being unhelpful towards the Malays, it is near impossible to fulfill this role satisfactorily. PAP MPs Ahmad Haleem (Telok Blangah) and Sha’ari Tadin (Kampong Chai Chee, Bedok) were both made to enjoy early retirements from their political careers for bringing up “sensitive” issues of the Malay community^^^. This set the tone for future PAP Malay MPs to remain unquestioningly in step with the leadership, regardless of their personal agreement, in order to have a long career within the party. Today, Malay PAP MPs have continued with the trend of parroting PAP policies that ran against the interests of the Malay/Muslim community (e.g. Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim with regards to the tudung issue).
What about the Mendaki and the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS)?
The policy providing free education for all Malays was ended in 1990 despite opposition from the Malays and the opposition party[Col: 126]. In its place, Mendaki introduced TTFS in 1991 to subsidise the cost of tertiary education in local institutions for those living in low household income. Due to the long history of marginalization and the widening of the inequality gap, the number of Malays who were able to make it to tertiary education institutions, especially in local universities, have been disproportionately low compared to the other ethnic groups. As such, the number of students able to benefit from this subsidy is even lower.
It was only recently, 20 years after the introduction of the subsidy, that the criteria for eligibility underwent revision. The revision takes into account the size of the family of the applicant, allowing for more Malay students to benefit from it. However, this subsidy is only one measure in an attempt to ensure that Malays students who were able to qualify for tertiary education are able to do so. Short of totally ditching streaming, more care, thought and resources are needed to lift the quality and accessibility of education for the Malays, especially in the early years of a child’s education.
So what needs to happen now?
Singaporeans, especially politicians, need to move on from making assertions similar to what PM Lee had made in 1987, that the "problem is psychological . . . if they try hard enough and long enough, then the education gap between them and the Chinese, or them and the Indians, would close. . . . Progress or achievement depends on ability and effort." It is important for Singaporeans to recognize the nearly Sisyphean task faced by marginalized communities in improving their socio-economic standing. Handicapped right from the start, their perceived failures in our “meritocratic” society should not be judged as an indictment of their efforts, but influenced in no small measure by the failings of the state in dragging their feet to take action. As a community, Singaporeans need to actively combat negative stereotyping, and move away from policies that were rooted in eugenics. Government intervention into ensuring unbiased, fair hiring practices would also help in raising the standing of the marginalized minorities. It would be impossible for Singapore to live up to its multiracial, meritocratic ideals without making fundamental changes to the above mentioned policies.
# Academic journal behind a paywall. Most tertiary institutions should have partnerships with these journals, so you are likely able view them if you have a student email address.
+ Online scan of the article is unavailable
\* The declining birth-rate of the Chinese was one of three pressing national problems, according to PM Lee in a National Day rally speech in 1988; the others being education and the growing number of unmarried graduates [at approx 29 mins].
\* From Lily Zubaidah Rahim’s* The Singapore Dilemma (1998: 76-77): Rabushka’s (Rabushka, Alvin (1971), ‘Integration in Urban Malaya: Ethnic Attitudes Among Malays and Chinese’, 91-107) study found that it was common for people living in ethnically homogeneous areas to adopt favourable attitudes towards other ethnic groups. People who resided in ethnically mixed areas but did not mix with other ethnic groups were also found to hold negative attitudes towards others. He postulated that physical proximity coupled with superficial interaction across ethnic lines may in fact lead to heightened contempt for other ethnic groups. Urban studies (Fischer, Claude (1976), The Urban Experiment*) have similarly found that close physical distance of different ethnic groups does not necessarily result in narrowing the social distance between the communities. Indeed, physical ethnic proximity in large cities may well engender mutual revulsion and a heightening of ethnocentrism. These research findings have been corroborated by several Singaporean studies (Hassan, Riaz (1977),* ‘Families in Flats: A Study of Low Income Families in Public Housing’; Lai, Ah Eng (1995), ‘Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Singapore’) which have found interethnic relations in the ethnically integrated public housing flats to be relatively superficial.
\** In the same article, PM Lee drew a straight line connecting the Malays with lower educational levels in this line of rhetoric questioning: “Why is the birth rate between the Malays, and the Chinese and Indians so different? Because the educational levels achieved are also different.”*
^ The stronger representation of Malays in civil service and Western multinational corporations was likely due to the difficulty in seeking employment in local firms. Prevalence of negative stereotyping of Malays meant that a Malay job applicant has to be much better qualified to be considered for a job in a local firm (Rahim, 1998: 25). A recent study into this phenomenon can be found here#.
^^ The PAP’s quid pro quo policy was put under the spotlight again in 2011, when PM Lee made it clear that the government’s neighbourhood upgrading programmes prioritised PAP wards over opposition wards.
^^^ PAP MP Ahmad Haleem raised the “sensitive” issue of the government’s exclusionary policy towards Malays in National Service, which adversely affected socio-economic standing of the Malay community [Col: 144]. PAP MP Sha’ari Tadin was actively involved in Malay community organizations and helped to organize a 1971 seminar on Malay participation in national development (Rahim, 1998: 90).
Recommended Reading:
The Myth of the Lazy Native: A study of the image of the Malays, Filipinos and Javanese from the 16th to the 20th century and its function in the ideology of colonial capitalism [pdf].
The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community.
Eugenics on the rise: A report from Singapore#.
Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore’s Malay#.
Racism and the Pinkerton syndrome in Singapore: effects of race on hiring decisions#.
Bedlington, Stanley (1974), The Singapore Malay Community: The Politics of State Integration, Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University.
Chew, Peter K.H. (2008), Racism in Singapore: A Review and Recommendations for Future Research, James Cook University, Singapore.
Fook Kwang Han, Warren Fernandez, Sumiko Tan (1998) Lee Kuan Yew, the Man and His Ideas, Singapore Press Holding.
Goh, Keng Swee (1972), The Economics of Modernization and Other Essays, Singapore: Asia Pacific Press.
Michael D. Barr & Jevon Low (2005) Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore's Malays, Asian Ethnicity, 6:3, 161-182, DOI: 10.1080/14631360500226606
Rahim, Lily Z. (1998), The Singapore Dilemma: The political and educational marginality of the Malay community, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press.
Shaharuddin Ma’aruf (1988), Malay Ideas on Development: From Feudal Lord to Capitalist, Times Book International, Singapore.
Tremewan, Christopher (1994), The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore, London, Macmillan.
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CoinEx Weekly Recap, 10-16 August

CoinEx Weekly Recap, 10-16 August
Dear CoinEx users, to keep you updated each week, we will share with you a recap of all the exciting events in CoinEx ecosystem during the previous week. Below are major events that occurred in the ecosystem over the past week.


As alt season sustains bullish momentum, DeFi projects continue to draw more attention to potential traders and investors, this past week, CoinEx has listed more projects centered on DeFi. Below are projects listed during the week.

Curve (CRV) Launched: A Governance Token with Time-weighted Voting and Value Accrual Mechanisms

CRV is a governance token with time-weighted voting and value accrual mechanisms. -Governance with time-weighted voting -Value capture mechanism to promote certain pools -Locking mechanism to accrue rewards for long term liquidity providers -Fee burn (once enabled by governance further down the road)
CoinEx will list CRV with trading pairs of ETH, BTC, and USDT. Due to the limited current circulating supply of CRV tokens, CoinEx will announce the exact trading start time once CRV deposits have reached a level sufficient enough to ensure healthy market dynamics. Prior to its exact trading start time, adequate announcement will be made.
About CRV Website | Explorer

JUST- JST Launched: Building the Financial Infrastructure for Billions of People Worldwide

JUST allows all transactions, collateralization, and governance to be transparently executed on-chain. JUST is built on the TRON Network, the largest decentralized application ecosystem, and aims to provide a set of easy-to-use and transparent financial services for all its members. A one-stop service platform for managing CDP and USDJ, offering an entrance into decentralized finance.
About JST Website | Explorer | White paper
Listing details

Nexus Mutual — WXNM Launched: A People-powered Alternative to Insurance

Nexus Mutual is a decentralized alternative to insurance. Its Team used blockchain technology to create a mutual model (a risk sharing pool) to return the power of insurance to the people. The platform is built on the Ethereum public chain. It allows anyone to become a member and buy coverage.
About WNXM Website | Explorer | White paper
Listing details

Kleros - PNK Launched: An Open Source Online Dispute Resolution Platform Bringing Justice for All

Kleros is an open source online dispute resolution protocol which uses blockchain and crowdsourcing to fairly adjudicate disputes. Development efforts are coordinated by Coopérative Kleros, a Société Coopérative d’Intérêt Collectif (SCIC) incorporated in France. All its research and code development are open source and free for anyone to use.
About PNK Website | Explorer | White paper
Listing details

DAOstack - GEN Launched: Building Collaborative Network

DAOstack is an open-source software stack designed to support a global collaborative network. The stack can be used to build organizations for any kind of collective work, and it also contains tools to link these organizations together, so as the network grows, all its member organizations are strengthened.
About GEN Website | Explorer | White paper
Listing details

More on BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration

Continued Publication Of “Trade to Get 20 BCH Airdrop” Winners Everyday

As the second event of BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration Trade to Get 20 BCH Airdrop continues, winners of the second event will be published daily from August 6th to 16th August. Winners are encouraged to check their CoinEx account to see rewards within two weeks after the end of the event.

Third Event — Conduct Perpetual Contract Trading to share 6,000 USDT Begins

The third and final event for BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration now ongoing. Rules: Users can choose to complete any of the following tasks, and share the corresponding rewards in terms of the amount of tasks completed. Task 1: Invite a Perpetual Contract newbie (newly registered during the event and conduct a Perpetual Contract trading) Task 2: BCH contract trading value reaches 500 USD Task 3: Net deposit up to 100 USD (applicable for all coins/ tokens ) (1) Complete 2 tasks can share 2,000 USDT (2) Complete 3 tasks to share 3,000 USDT

July rewards For “Hold ONT/VET/NEO to receive ONG/VTHO/GAS“ has been allocated

After a successful snapshot, all CoinEx holders of the mentioned coins have got their staking rewards allocated. Rewards were allocated on the 10th 0f August, users are encouraged to check their account for their staking reward.
Hold & get staking incentives 1. Hold NEO and get GAS 2. Hold ONT and get ONG 3. Hold VET and get VTHO
Details here

Suspension of ONG Airdrop for ONT Holders

Users holding ONT positions will not continue to receive ONG airdrop rewards. This is coming after the Ontology team upgraded the Ontology Governance and Staking Economic Model in accordance to ONT (Ontology) Official Plan.

About CET

Important Services


As a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider, CoinEx was founded in December 2017 with Bitmain-led investment and has obtained a legal license in Estonia. It is a subsidiary brand of the ViaBTC Group, which owns the fifth largest BTC mining pool, which is also the largest of BCH mining, in the world.
CoinEx supports perpetual contract, spot, margin trading, and other derivatives trading, and its service reaches global users in nearly 100 countries/regions with various languages available, such as Chinese, English, Korean and Russian.
Click here to register on CoinEx!
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CoinEx Weekly Update, 17–23 August 2020

CoinEx Weekly Update, 17–23 August 2020
Dear CoinEx users, to keep you updated each week, we will share with you a recap of all the exciting events of the previous week. Below are major events that occurred in the ecosystem over the 17–23 August.


Link CoinEx to Turkey — Register & Trade to Seize 11,000 USDT

This is an event exclusively to reward and appreciate Turkish users for our successful entry and operations in the Turkish market. The exclusive event which has a total reward pool of 11,000 USDT is of two categories, which are:
Event 1: Register to share 6,000 USDT
Event 2: Trade to share 5,000 USDT
Event details

Third Event — Conduct Perpetual Contract Trading to share 5,000 USDT Ongoing

The third and final event for BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration is currently open.
Rules: Users can choose to complete any of the following tasks, and share the corresponding rewards in terms of the amount of tasks completed. Task 1: Invite a Perpetual Contract newbie (newly registered during the event and conduct a Perpetual Contract trading) Task 2: BCH contract trading value reaches 500 USD Task 3: Net deposit up to 100 USD (applicable for all coins/ tokens ) (1) Complete 2 tasks can share 2,000 USDT (2) Complete 3 tasks to share 3,000 USDT


DIA Launched: Verified and Transparent Oracles for the DeFi Economy

As DeFi projects continues to shine, CoinEx has listed and launched DIA for trading after rigorous reviews. This will present users more trading and investments options.
About DIA Website | Explorer DIA (Decentralised Information Asset) claims to provide financial institutions with an immutable and verified single source of financial market data for any market and asset type. DIA also aims to be an open-source, data and oracle platform for the DeFi ecosystem.
Listing details here

CRV Launched: is a governance token with time-weighted voting and value accrual mechanisms

About CRV Website | Explorer CRV is a governance token with time-weighted voting and value accrual mechanisms. -Governance with time-weighted voting -Value capture mechanism to promote certain pools -Locking mechanism to accrue rewards for long term liquidity providers -Fee burn (once enabled by governance further down the road)
Listing details here


About BTS upcoming maintenance

In line with the upcoming maintenance of BTS, withdrawal and deposit for BTS will be suspended until the successful completion of maintenance.
Notes: 1. Trading and inter-user transfer of BTS trading pairs on CoinEx will not be affected during this period. 2. Users will be updated if there’s any latest information or newer development.

CoinEx Project Research

Ampleforth Research Report
Ampleforth has managed to create what used to be an imaginary perfect asset with infinite supply, the owners of which don’t have to worry about it getting devalued. Ampleforth has to some degree successfully redesigned the way money works despite only being a few years old. Their influence has not penetrated a huge portion of the market as of yet but there is a lot of room for them to grow. And being part of the DeFi movement makes it a lot easier to gain more traction. In fact, over 36 million AMPL has been deposited in Geyser as of now. This is a great stepping-stone for the protocol.
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Ocean Protocol Research Report
The Ocean Protocol Foundation develops a decentralized data exchange protocol that facilitates the sharing and monetizing of data assets for artificial intelligence (AI) while guaranteeing control, auditability, transparency, and compliance to all actors involved.
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submitted by CoinExcom to btc [link] [comments]

The Democratic Party Platform Draft - A Review (Part 1/?)

Hello friends. The draft of the platform is out but it's 80 pages long and I'm sure some of you will be unable to read the entire thing due to your busy schedules so I offer a humble review, section by section.
The draft begins with acknowledgement of indigenous peoples and lands, specifically acknowledging the tribes whose land the convention is being held on. Not much to say here, it's harmless politically and the right thing to do.


The Preamble is next and really is all you'll probably need to read to get a feel for the platform. Calling out having defeated communism in the opening line is a nice prebuttal to people who will accuse this of being a leftist document. It'll alienate commies but they're used to that by now. It talks about covid and the current economy, placing much of the blame on Trump and stressing that the country needs to do better. It also accuses Trump and "America First" of being weak on foreign policy.
The preamble also states that Republicans have rigged the economy in favor of the wealthy and that "a new social and economic contract" is necessary to create millions of jobs and fight inequality. It also promises guarantees on the rights to join and form unions and securing retirement for everyone. All in all, I love it. I think this paragraph highlights many of the problems labor has with the current economy.
After that it says that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that universal healthcare will be pursued. There's also a discussion of expanding voting rights, combating racism, and protecting other minorities based on gender, sexuality, religion, disability, etc. There is a paragraph dedicated to fighting climate change, another to improving education that includes the words 'school-to-prison pipeline' which is good to see. It ends by stating that foreign policy will be pursued with a focus on domestic renewal (jobs) and fighting climate change.
All in all it's about what you'd expect. Not a lot of policy specifics and instead staking out general outlines of where the party's ideology is. I don't see anything that I would complain about in it.


For the second time the platform states that Trump is directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. I suspect this will be a common refrain throughout the campaign. The first page or so is an indictment of Trump's handling of the pandemic and a recognition that marginalized and poor people have suffered the most during it. It then goes into the Democratic plan.
It opens by stating that testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccine should be free to charge to everyone in the United States without qualification. Great! It then goes on to talk about how the crisis has made it all the more clear that a lack of health insurance coverage leaves people vulnerable and talking about how expanding the ACA is essential. I imagine this will come up again. I'm saddened to see the platform focusing on health insurance as I believe that system needs to eventually go away but I'm sure there are others that are happy it's not pushing for nationalized healthcare.
Interestingly, it mentions that during this pandemic, and future health or economic crises, a public option would be created that low-income Americans are automatically enrolled in with zero expenses paid by them, but that they'd have the option to opt out of it. Sounds like a way to test out the public option for eventual universal use.
The next section discusses returning to pre-Trump policies on pandemic prevention and reinvesting in technology and medical infrastructure. After that it returns to discussing labor, stating:
During acute economic downturns, Democrats believe that we must take care of our workforce and aim to keep workers whole. We will reform the current unemployment insurance system to enable more workers to remain attached to their jobs, including by promoting payroll support and work-sharing programs with generous rates of wage replacement and requirements that employers maintain workers’ benefits. For those workers who do lose their jobs, we will expand the unemployment insurance system to cover more workers, including independent contractors and gig, part-time, and tipped workers; make sure platform companies and companies that misclassify employees as contractors pay in to support the system like other employers do; and raise wage replacement rates, which are far too low in many states. We will expand, not cut, nutrition assistance and food security programs that millions of Americans are relying on in this crisis. Democrats will also make long-overdue investments to upgrade and modernize states’ unemployment system technology and ensure the Department of Labor conducts strong oversight of state unemployment systems to make sure that unemployed workers can quickly and efficiently access the benefits they are owed.
The platform is making a consistent pitch for working class voters so far. It ends by discussing investing in states to create domestic jobs and to counter reduced tax revenues, increasing oversight of large companies, providing assistance to small companies, and subsidizing universal access to high-speed internet for all households.


This is where we start seeing references to the "Obama-Biden Administration." It seems like that could've been used in the prior section as well so I'm guessing different authors worked on different sections. I'll quote this paragraph here as it probably tells you everything you need to know about this section:
But our economy was rigged against working families and the middle class even before the novel coronavirus sickened millions and killed more than 140,000 Americans. Working families’ incomes have been largely stagnant for decades, while the cost of basic needs—from housing to health care, higher education to child care—keep rising at precipitous rates. Meanwhile, the rich have been capturing a larger and larger share of the economic pie, with incomes for the top one percent growing five times faster than those of the bottom 90 percent.
A big theme of this section is "a new social and economic contract" with Americans that promotes "shared prosperity" instead of allowing the wealthy to continue hoarding the majority of economic gains. Housing is a right, protecting unions, increasing wages, and fighting inequality is what this section is all about.
The labor section specifically calls out a $15 minimum wage and repealing right-to-work laws, while also protecting the right to boycott and launch secondary boycotts. There will also be new regulations to do away with "non-compete clauses, no-poaching agreements, and contracts that force workers into mandatory arbitration to resolve violations of employment laws." This entire section is written clearly and specifically to appeal to union voters. The part about holding executives criminally liable if they interfere or attempt to discourage unions from forming is fairly notable.
It also mentions guaranteeing collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees through a new federal law. There's some standard stuff about protecting families and investing in infrastructure that follows so I'll skip to the next section I assume people here will care about, talking about trade.
It's a pretty short section so I'll just quote it in full.
For too long, the global trading system has failed to keep its promises to American workers. Too many corporations have rushed to outsource jobs, and too many countries have broken their promises to be honest and transparent partners. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the risks of relying too heavily on global supply chains, as shutdowns and shortages have created chaos for workers and consumers and made our public health response even more challenging. The Trump Administration has failed time after time to deliver for American workers on this crucial issue, siding with corporate interests over our workers and launching a trade war with China that they have no plan for winning—creating incredible hardship for American farmers, manufacturers, workers, and consumers in the process.
Democrats will pursue a trade policy that puts workers first. We will negotiate strong and enforceable standards for labor, human rights, and the environment in the core text of our trade deals. Future trade agreements should build on the pro-labor provisions added to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by Democratic members of Congress.
Democrats will take aggressive action against China or any other country that tries to undercut American manufacturing by manipulating their currencies and maintaining a misaligned exchange rate with the dollar, dumping products like steel and aluminum in our markets, or providing unfair subsidies. Unlike President Trump, we will stand up to efforts from China and other state actors to steal America’s intellectual property and will demand China and other countries cease and desist from conducting cyberespionage against our companies.
We will eliminate President Trump’s tax and trade policies that encourage big corporations to 8ship jobs overseas and evade paying their fair share of taxes. If companies shut down their operations here and outsource jobs, we’ll claw back any public investments or benefits they received from taxpayers. And we will take immediate action to repair the damage President Trump’s reckless policies have done to American farmers, by working with our allies to stand up to China and negotiate from the strongest possible position.
So far I'm liking basically everything I'm seeing from the platform, with a few small quibbles here and there like talking about expanding health insurance coverage as a means of achieving universal coverage. The most consistent theme I've seen so far is that this document seems to be written with unions very much in mind.
I'll stop here for now as this is getting fairly long. Part 2 will (might) follow later.
submitted by farrenj to neoliberal [link] [comments]

How to Daytrade Without $25,000

TLDR: Get a cash account.
A lot of people complain about the 3 day trades per 5 trading days rule for accounts with less than 25K. Those complaints are completely understandable. However, there is a way to get around that rule without having 25K in your account.
(Obviously if you have a $25,000 account, then you don't need to read this post.)
This works with most cash accounts, but I'll be talking about thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade since that's what I use.
Create an account on TD Ameritrade. It needs to be a cash account with options trading level 2 enabled. Margin privileges should NOT be enabled.
Here's what day trading is like with a cash account:
For example, let's say you have an account of the size $1,000. On Monday, you buy calls for $200 and sell those calls on the same day for $500. You just made a $300 profit. Your account is now worth $1,300. Now, you won't be able to use the $500 you made on this day trade for the entire rest of the Monday. You'll be able to use those funds on Tuesday. However, you still have $800 that you can use to day trade on Monday. You can basically keep day trading until available funds reaches 0 for that day. Then, those funds free up the next day and you repeat. This prevents you from force trading and over trading.
Here's the best part...
You can also open up a thinkorswim margin account. Link it both ways with your cash account. You now have the ability to instantly transfer your funds to margin account and vice versa. Transfer all of your funds to the thinkorswim margin account, and use up the 3 day trades on this account. You can't use margin to trade options so don't worry about interest or anything like that. Once you've used up your 3 day trades, use the instant transfer feature to transfer all of your funds from margin account to your cash account. Now day trade as many times until buying power reaches 0. Once your 3 day trades come back on the margin account, instantly transfer all funds from cash account to margin account. Use up the 3 day trades here, then transfer back to cash.
Here's the bad part...
You have to pay commissions of .65 cents per contract. However, once you've placed enough trades on this platform and you day trade often, you can always negotiate with the broker to lower your fees.
The UI is nowhere as good as Robinhood. However, you can try thinkorswim on an iPad, it looks a bit cleaner... but nothing close to Robinhood's UI. Robinhood will always have the best UI, imo. Unfortunately, Robinhood only offers margin account.
This setup allows you to day trade with a bit more freedom. It's not close to having 25K account and day trading, but it's still pretty damn good.
If you need help setting anything up, just contact thinkorswim support team via the mobile app. Or, just PM me and I can try to help. There's also a countless number of videos and articles that can help you as well.
submitted by RoyalPatriot to Daytrading [link] [comments]

What you can do this summer (and how covid might impact admissions) - a guide by Novembrr, former Berkeley & UChicago reader

Note: I began writing this guide before George Floyd’s murder. I vacillated for a long time regarding posting this guide, as it feels privileged to worry about gaining acceptance to elite universities when there are disenfranchised groups of people who don’t have the ability to study, work, and live freely. But I ultimately decided to share this with you guys in the hopes that some would find it helpful.
Covid has completely derailed many of your plans; from summer programs being cancelled to research labs closing to internships being nixed, many of you are looking at a long summer with nothing to do.
And that’s okay. Just as universities are trying to give students grace in what they’re able/unable to achieve in a covid-19 world, extend that grace to yourself. People are dying and, tragically, death might hit close to home for some of you. People are losing their jobs and, again, your family might be impacted. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 children are going hungry during this time; you might be more worried about putting food on your table than improving your resume. You might be trapped in an unsafe, unhealthy environment without the support systems you once had. Social distancing and sheltering in place are impacting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of people worldwide. Focus first on what really matters: the mental, emotional, physical, and financial health of you and your loved ones.
But many of you are wondering how covid-19 might impact your college admissions process, and I am, too. Truthfully, no one knows; college administrators are scrambling to make decisions regarding online vs in-person classes this fall, and admissions officers are trying to determine how to make the admissions process simultaneously equitable/accessible and on-par with the academic caliber of previous classes. Lee Coffin, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth College, said in a recent Harvard Graduate School of Education webinar: “Students are coming into next year’s application process with less information than they might have had, [and] different kinds of data points that frame their academic record. We don’t have all the answers today as to what [the college admissions process this fall] might look like.” He went on to add: “As I try to anticipate the [class of] 2025 reading cycle... how do we start to think and reimagine a college assessment if the high schools are largely giving pass/fail grades right now? If that happens to continue into the fall, a transcript as we know it will look really differently... If you combine that with a lack of testing, we’ve removed a lot of data from what would have typically been our assessment.”
Pass/fail vs letter grades
I want to interrupt my train of thought to address whether you should take letter grades or choose pass/fail, if given the option. Multiple students have told me that their GPA and/or class rank hinges on them choosing pass/fail, even though they’ve earned all As this semester. I would not choose pass/fail to game the system; choose pass/fail (if given the option) if your grades were impacted during this turbulent time. If your grades were on par with your past performance, I’d stick to letter grades. Alongside letters of recommendation, counselors are asked to evaluate students on a few criteria, one of which is character. I worry that students’ characters will be called into question, or that a counselor might call you a “grade grubber” in their letter of recommendation. In contrast, they can talk about your ethical decision to take letter grades, and how you seem to truly love learning solely for the sake of learning (not for a grade or an accolade)—a quality, in my experience, that universities love. Alternatively, if your school is mandating that everyone go pass/fail, and you would have earned stellar grades, ask your counselor to address that fact in your letter of rec.
Ok, back to regular programming.
How might colleges evaluate your achievements?
The question on everyone’s mind lately: How will universities evaluate applicants without test scores and with pass/fail grades? Standardized tests were already flawed—they disadvantaged students from marginalized backgrounds, for instance—but universities clung to them as a way to, in their minds, even the playing field. It’s hard to compare students from, say, an under-resourced rural public school in Iowa to an abundantly-resourced private school in Massachusetts, and so universities try to avoid doing so by evaluating students within “context”: the opportunities of their family, school, and community (i.e., if your high school doesn’t offer AP Calculus BC, you won’t be compared to peers in the high school two towns over who all take BC as freshmen; if your family lives in poverty, your achievements might look different than those of a student from an uber-wealthy community; and so on). I believe that grace has to be extended to individuals impacted by covid-19, as well; if circumstances of covid-19 (your illness, a family member’s illness, a parent’s undeunemployment, lack of access to standardized testing, online courses, etc.) impact your achievements, I cannot imagine an admissions office would not extend leniency.
But at the nation’s most selective universities, everyone cannot be given a pass on everything. So I believe now, more than ever, qualitative components of an application may be heavily weighted in the admissions processes of the nation’s most selective universities.
The webinar’s host, Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard senior lecturer and leader of the Turning the Tide national effort to rethink college admissions, added his opinion: “It seems to me that if you are putting less weight on the SAT, then this is a time where you really can pay attention to the social and emotional strengths—like self awareness, social awareness, self regulation, curiosity, empathy—that we know are so strongly predictive of doing well and doing good in college and beyond.”
So where do you show these qualities? In your letters of recommendation, essays, and extracurriculars.
Getting stellar letters of recommendation
I recommend you seek out recommenders ASAP, as they might need even more time than usual to write your recommendations. Dartmouth’s Dean Coffin, in a 2017 alumni magazine article, said: “In combination with the qualitative data, the teacher recommendations that talk about grit and focus, determination and optimism, as well as the student’s own work and the essays—that’s where it all knits together and you say, ‘This is someone who’s primed for success.’” Don’t just have your teachers rehash your resume; what anecdotes can they provide that will offer detailed insight into your best qualities?
Alongside your teacher letter of recommendations in the Common App, teachers are asked to evaluate your:
  • Academic achievements
  • Intellectual promise
  • Quality of writing
  • Creative, original thought
  • Productive class discussion
  • Respect accorded by faculty
  • Disciplined work habits
  • Maturity
  • Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Integrity
  • Reaction to setbacks
  • Concern for others
  • Self confidence
  • Initiative, independence
  • And overall characteristics
Consider subtly addressing some of these qualities in a letter to your recommender. I recommend reading this Reddit post by u/LRFE. One point where we disagree: I don’t recommend you send your resume to your teachers, unless they ask for it; in my experience, resumes are helpful for counselors so they can put all your achievements into context. However, some teachers erroneously spend more time talking about your extracurricular achievements than your personal qualities and performance in class; your resume will be detailed in your activities list and, most likely, your essays. Your objective personal qualities won’t be detailed anywhere, unless your recommenders provide that insight. Instead of saying:
“Marissa is a talented young lady! Not only does she frequently solo on the saxophone in jazz band, but she earned first place at the DECA regionals competition, is captain of the varsity tennis team, volunteers for National Honors Society, and earned silver in the United States of America Computing Olympiad. Quite the busy bee!”
Your teacher could say:
“Marissa is an incredibly introspective and thought-provoking young person. In a class discussion about The Great Gatsby, she challenged her classmates to reflect on their own privilege. She made reference to current events and incorporated books she read in AP US History (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Second Sex). What’s more, she artfully mediated what could have been a contentious discussion between her politically-divided classmates.”
Do you see how the latter example would better say to universities “this student is primed for success”? And, remember, you don’t have to hope that your teacher will write with such detail—you can write them a letter and include anecdotes to remind them of your best moments in class.
Doing something impactful this summer
And as for extracurriculars, it would be great to do something this summer. But what? That’s the million dollar question, but you don’t need a million dollars to do something this summer that will be emotionally or intellectually rewarding and beneficial for your college applications (+ success in college).
  • Build a computer
  • Tinker (take apart and rebuild electronics, “hack” electronics to improve them, rig up devices that solve everyday problems, etc.)
  • Draw/create artwork
  • Lead a social justice initiative (rally teens to protest; provide masks, snacks and water to protesters; create a “voices of our community” newsletter to highlight marginalized perspectives; and so much more)
  • Create birdhouses and offer to install them in neighbors’ yards
  • Conduct science experiments (and/or create science kits, record instructions, and share them with kids in your neighborhood)
  • Offer virtual babysitting, tutoring, language teaching, or music lessons
  • Grocery shop/run errands for at-risk members of your community
  • Build an app that solves a need in your community, like alerting SNAP recipients when SNAP-eligible food is in stock at their local grocery store
  • Start a lawn mowing business
  • Run the social media for a small business floundering in this economic environment
  • Create the website or build an online store for a small business that used to sell only in person
  • Translate important public health information, create a database of healthcare/public resources, or offer to virtually translate conversations with doctors for non-native-speaking members of your community
  • Offer your help negotiating smaller fees for services (like internet/tv) for low-income families
  • Fundraise to buy internet/hotspots/computers for low-income students who are otherwise unable to learn online
  • Create fun learning packets for students and drop them off in “subscribers” mailboxes
  • Do a data visualization project on covid-19 for your community
  • Take online courses via Coursera, EdX, MIT OpenCourseWare, Udemy, Udacity,, Khan Academy, etc.
  • Listen to podcasts associated with your intended major, like this one from MIT
  • Foster or transport shelter animals
  • Foster the pets of those who have been hospitalized
  • Walk the pets of those who are at-risk and cannot be out and about in the community
  • Drive people to routine hospital appointments/work/necessary errands who otherwise would be forced to take public transit
  • Create virtual mental health office hours, where classmates can call in or submit anonymous questions, and where you can host weekly guest professionals to answer those questions
  • Start a themed book club with friends (perhaps related to your major)
  • Fundraise to purchase video cameras for NICUs, labor & delivery, and covid-19 wards where loved ones cannot be present in the hospital
  • Ask to help design the online curriculum for a favorite teacher (even better if related to your intended major)
  • Edit the resumes of recently-unemployed community members
  • Write stories, poetry, a news/politics blog
  • Sew masks and distribute to those in need
  • Propose an independent research project and ask a professor to be your mentor
  • And tons of ideas that I haven’t discovered (you guys constantly amaze me with your ingenuity)
So you want to do research…
It was always difficult for high schoolers to earn coveted spots in research labs, and covid-19 offers even more challenges, with the suspension of many labs. Says Polly Fordyce, an assistant professor of bioengineering and genetics at Stanford, covid-19 is “really destructive. Some people were about to do the last experiment they needed for a paper, or an experiment that would have given them months of data to analyze. And now they’re stalled.” Instead, her colleagues are “thinking creatively about existing data sets we can analyze, reading more papers… doing a paper on data that they weren’t going to write up.”
I want you to think just as creatively. Where, in the past, I have helped many of my students gain research internships at highly-selective universities, don’t count on doing so this summer. Instead, consider devising your own research project—like Fordyce said, using existing data sets and papers—and ask a professor, PhD student, or professional to mentor you.
I’m going to give you some ideas on topics you could analyze. I urge you not to run with one of these projects, because who knows how many other kids read this post and likewise pick the same project. Harvard will likely catch on if 500 kids all have the same research project… Instead, find the subject most closely linked to your interest for some inspiration, reflect on your unique interests, and spend a few days harvesting the internet for some ideas. If you’re truly stuck and need some help, reach out for more information regarding how I work 1-on-1 with students.
So without further ado…
Biology/Public Health
  • Cancer (under)diagnosis in queeobese/minority populations (and the healthcare biases that lead to this issue)
  • How cancer diagnoses are impacted by covid-19 (like this, for instance)
  • The cultural norms that support and the efforts to end genital mutilation worldwide
  • The inhalation of Lysol and the spread of misinformation in public health crises (covid-19, AIDS)
  • The effect of Yelp reviews on prospective patients’ selection of healthcare providers
  • Best approaches to treating individuals with memory loss/eating disorders/etc.
  • Pharmaceuticals’ roles in the opioid epidemic
  • The rise of the female workforce during WWII, and how covid-19 is impacting female workers
  • How businesses’ responses to covid-19 and the Black Lives Matters movement impact their (inter)national reputations
  • The challenges of being male, female, trans, or nonbinary in workplaces dominated by individuals with different gender identities
  • A history of black entrepreneurship
  • Predicted cost impacts of a year without college football for U.S. universities
NOTE: Instead of conducting research, consider pursuing a hands-on project, such as assisting a small business in their social media strategy; starting your own small business or product; or designing a mock product, website, and advertising campaign.
  • Gender and sexuality in Ancient Rome
  • The use of a particular literary device across an author’s body of work
  • History of disease in Roman antiquity
Computer Science
  • How Bay Area tech giants succeed/fail in hiring and supporting minority engineers
  • The effects of avatars’ identities in video games on players’ personal identities in real life
  • Various approaches to introducing children to computer science
NOTE: You can also use computer science tools to analyze a topic in another field—such as using AI to predict a disease.
Cultural Studies/Ethnic Studies
  • Why Black Americans are dying from covid-19 at greater rates
  • Racial disparity in the rate of police killings
  • The societal stereotyping of ethnic first names
  • The challenges refugees face before, during, and after immigration
  • A specific culture’s identity and representation in film
Data Science
There are tons of opportunities here; pick a project that interests you and analyze the data associated with it. Don’t have any data? Check out these sites or reach out to your local librarian for help. Really dig into the data to pose questions, draw conclusions, and pursue a data visualization project.
  • The challenges of living in high-density housing during social distancing
  • How highways bifurcated white and black America
  • Minorities’ pursuit of STEM majors in predominantly white vs historically black colleges and universities
  • The school-to-prison pipeline
  • Menstruation as a barrier to education in India
  • Sex education’s impact on underage pregnancies
NOTE: Consider doing something hands on, like building a drone, robot, or computer; designing a bridge; or building an app or device. Here are some additional ideas from Southern Methodist University and ElProCus. Stanford Alumni Magazine just featured a “multitalented tinkerer”, and you can see some of his projects on [YouTube](
English Literature
  • Analysis of an author’s use of a literary device across their body of work
  • How spouse/sibling authors draw upon different/similar inspirations (The Brontë Sisters, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, etc.)
  • Analysis of a particular style of writing within books of a certain genre
  • How a book reflects society and beliefs of that time (how slavery is depicted, mental health stigma, etc.)
  • How a book/body of work represents an author’s beliefs (John Milton, John Updike, any other notably-religious Johns?)
  • The representation of a minority group in a genre (i.e., LGBTQ+ within graphic novels)
Environmental Science
  • How murder hornets and other invasive species have impacted indigenous species
  • Differences in the perception of global warming across various societies
  • Modern day impacts of Chernobyl, Fukushima, or other environmental disasters
  • Analysis of climate change policies in the Democratic debates
  • How a Supreme Court decision regarding a natural gas pipeline could impact the Appalachian Trail
Gender Studies
  • Violence against indigenous women and the inadequate response by communities/law enforcement
  • History of achievements of America’s first ladies
  • Gender inequality during stay-at-home orders
  • Overcoming the gender gap in STEM
  • The response to the 1918 Spanish Flu and similarities/differences between today’s response to covid-19
  • A history of un- and under-employment in America
  • How businesses pivot during times of crisis (WWII, covid-19, etc.)
NOTE: There are so many cool topics in history! Here’s a good place to start (though this list is U.S.-centric)
Journalism/Media Studies
  • Partisanship in American media organizations
  • Freedom of the press in [insert country of choice here]
  • The rise and fall of the American newspaper
  • Jazz’s influence on community in Harlem
  • Your favorite musical artist’s influence on a genre
  • What various cultures’ earliest musical artifacts showcase about those societies
Find a cool philosophephilosophy and analyze the person/idea within their time period
Political Science/Law
  • The impacts of gerrymandering on marginalized communities
  • The impacts of social media on voter turnout and behaviors
  • The corrupt misuse of NGO funds in Third World Countries
  • A compare and contrast between two leaders’ approaches to international trade
  • Legal precedence foagainst stay-at-home orders, curfews on protestors, etc.
  • Freedom to/freedom from: the different approaches to personal liberties in various democratic societies
  • Unemployment’s impact on mental health crises during various economic downturns
  • Mental health risks of social isolation
  • Building empathy across political/racial divides
  • The impact of a belief in fixed vs malleable intelligence on children’s achievements
In order to get a research internship off the ground, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to devise a topic in the first place. This is not the sort of summer activity that is going to be handed to you, but it will be so rewarding to drive the project from start to finish (I promise). And if my promise doesn’t come true and you hit tons of speed bumps, well hey, at least you’ll have a great response to any prompts that ask you to address your greatest challenge. ;)
How to approach mentors
You can either organically devise a project you would love to pursue, or first poke around prospective departments at your dream university to see what they’re doing, before creating a spinoff project from one of their research labs. Either way, do some research into who else in the world is doing similar stuff. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a professor—it could be a principal investigator, PhD student, postdoc, or even someone at a company/non-profit). Find their email and reach out to them, outlining something such as the following:
  • What you love about their work/research (I like to start with sincere flattery)
  • How their work/research relates to your interests/experiences
  • Who you are and what research you are conducting this summer (be specific—not “I plan to conduct economics research this summer. Got any ideas?”)
  • Your first ask: Can they recommend books, data, journal articles, etc. to point you in the right direction? (Again, be specific—“know of any bio journals?” is not going to lead to mentors begging to mentor you)
  • Your second ask: Are they or anyone they know willing to mentor you in pursuing this project? You would love occasional guidance on your sources, data, conclusions, paper, etc.
  • A sincere thanks for their time
Keep it short but detailed! And add a catchy subject line to cut through their inbox.
Remember: They don’t owe you. They might not respond. You shouldn’t pester. You shouldn’t spam (multiple people with the same generic email and especially not multiple people in the same department at the same university). Consider reaching out to one or two people at different universities/companies/non-profits simultaneously; if you don’t get any responses after a week or so, consider tweaking your email and reaching out to one or two more individuals.
Shoot to have one to two mentors, focusing only on those who can help you maximize your learning experience and do good work.
What other questions do you have for how covid-19 might impact admissions? What other ideas do you have for summer activities? Happy to weigh in!
And, as a reminder, don’t stress about college if you have other stressors in your life that need your attention first. I personally realized last year, when facing a family emergency, that you shouldn’t fix your leaky faucet if your house is burning down. Put out the fire first, then turn your attention to college. I’m here for you if you need me!
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CoinEx Weekly Update, 23 July - 2 August, 2020

CoinEx Weekly Update, 23 July - 2 August, 2020

Dear CoinEx users, to keep you updated each week, we will share with you a recap of all the exciting events of the previous week. Below are major events that occured in the ecosystem over the past week.

CoinEx launches $50 million Ecosystem Development Fund to back visionary companies

CoinEx announced the launch of a $50 million Ecosystem Development Fund to back visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the development of CoinEx’s ecosystem.
Before any investment, our team will conduct a thorough and multi-dimensional assessment of the project to ensure its quality and potential,” said Haipo Yang, Founder and CEO of CoinEx. “Recently we have been focusing mainly on finding promising DeFi projects.
Since the establishment of the Ecosystem Development Fund, the CoinEx team has conducted in-depth researches and analysis on dozens of DeFi projects worldwide. Finally, OneSwap successfully got the first investment from the Fund.
OneSwap is a fully decentralized exchange protocol on smart contract, with permission-free token listing and automated market making.

CoinEx To Host Mining Pools And Exchange Meetup

Themed ‘NiceTo Meet Again”, CoinEx is excited to host China Tour meet up to gather together for blockchain.
First stop — Shanghai
Date: 8 August 2020

BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration, 3 Exclusive Events Are Ready for You

As a way of showing gratitude to esteemed users for their long term support, CoinEx will launch a series of exclusive events for BCH 3rd anniversary with big rewards of 20,000 USDT and 20 BCH.
Event 1: Invite new users to register on CoinEx can share 10,000 USDT
Duration: August 1 — August 10 (UTC)
Event 2: Trade to get 20 BCH airdrop
Duration: August 5 — August 15 (UTC)
Event 3: Conduct Perpetual Contract Trading to share 6,000 USDT
Duration: August 15 — August 25 (UTC)


To provide users with more,better trading and investment options, more projects centered on DeFi were listed after rigorous reviews.

UMA Online: A Protocol for Building Synthetic Assets

UMA is designed to power the financial innovations made possible by permissionless, public blockchains, like Ethereum. Using concepts borrowed from fiat financial derivatives, UMA defines an open-source protocol that allows any two counterparties to design and create their own financial contracts. But unlike traditional derivatives, UMA contracts are secured with economic incentives alone, making them self-enforcing and universally accessible.
Listing details
About UMA Website | Explorer | White paper

BAL Online: A Protocol for Programmable Liquidity

Balancer is an automated portfolio manager, liquidity provider, and price sensor. Balancer turns the concept of an index fund on its head: instead of a paying fees to portfolio managers to rebalance your portfolio, you collect fees from traders, who rebalance your portfolio by following arbitrage opportunities. Balancer is based on an N-dimensional invariant surface which is a generalization of the constant product formula described by Vitalik Buterin and proven viable by the popular Uniswap dapp.
Listing details
About BAL Website | Explorer | White paper


To provide users with a better trading experience and further realize our ambition of building a world-leading digital coin exchange, we carried out an upgrade on our system at 9:00 on July 29, 2020 (UTC). Some related services was suspended at that time. See details of the upgrade here.


SUSPENSION OF ETC Deposit & Withdrawal

As a result of maintenance of ETC nodes, CoinEx suspended deposit and withdrawal of ETC to ensure users’ assets security until completion of maintenance. Trading is not affected.

CoinEx to support Augur (REP) Token Swap to Augur (REPv2)

CoinEx supports the token swap from Augur (REP) to Augur (REPv2), as result, deposit and withdrawalof REP was put on hold until completion of swap.
REP Deposit & Withdrawal: Close on: July 28, 2020 (UTC) Estimated time to reopen: Depends on the swap progress.
Notes: 1. After Augur (REP) has been successfully swapped to Augur (REPv2), REP token name and its trading pairs on CoinEx will remain unchanged. 2. Trading and inter-user transfer of REP on CoinEx will not be affected during this period. 3. We will keep you updated if there’s any latest information.
For more token swap info, please refer to: Countdown: Augur v2 Launch & REP Migration

CoinEx Token CET weekly update

Important Services


As a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider, CoinEx was founded in December 2017 with Bitmain-led investment and has obtained a legal license in Estonia. It is a subsidiary brand of the ViaBTC Group, which owns the fifth largest BTC mining pool, which is also the largest of BCH mining, in the world.
CoinEx supports perpetual contract, spot, margin trading, and other derivatives trading, and its service reaches global users in nearly 100 countries/regions with various languages available, such as Chinese, English, Korean and Russian.
Click here to register on CoinEx!
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CoinEx Weekly Update, 20–26 July 2020

CoinEx Weekly Update, 20–26 July 2020
Dear CoinEx users, to keep you up to date, each week we will share with you a recap of all the exiting events of the previous week.


More tokens centered on DeFi continues to get listed to provide users with more trading and investment options. For users’ safety, every listed project undergo proper scrutiny to minimize risks. Below are the projects listed over the last week.

RSR Online: Build a Universal Storage Medium of Value

The Reserve protocol comprises two tokens: the Reserve token (RSV — a decentralized stablecoin) and the Reserve Rights token (RSR — a cryptocurrency used to facilitate the stability of the Reserve token and confers the cryptographic right to purchase excess Reserve tokens as the network grows). Trading activity of RSR started 9:00 July 22, 2020 (UTC) with trading pairs of RSBTC, RSUSDT, RSETH.
About RSR Website | Explorer | White paper

ERG Launched

Ergo builds advanced cryptographic features and radically new DeFi functionality on the rock-solid foundations laid by a decade of blockchain theory and development. Deposits starts on July 24, 2020 (UTC) while trading with ERG/BTC and ERG/USDT pairs will be available from July 28 (UTC).
CoinEx will hold deposit and trade events to celebrate the launch of ERG.
Event 1: Deposit to share 27,000 ERG Duration: 3:00 July 24–16:00 July 31, 2020 (UTC)
Event 2: Trade to share 8,000 ERG Duration: 9:00 July 28–16:00 July 31, 2020 (UTC
About ERG Website | Explorer | White paper

YFI Launched: An On-chain Lending Aggregator is an on-chain lending aggregator, shifting capital between protocols like Compound, Aave and dYdX with an aim to provide lenders with the best return on liquidity. Services including margin trading of stablecoins and Curve pool are supported in yEarn’s latest version. Deposit and trading starts 2:00 July 24 (UTC) and 9:00 July 24, 2020 (UTC) respectively with trading pairs of YFI/BTC, YFI/USDT, YFI/ETH.
About YFI Website | Explorer

Completion of BTS Event Rewards Distribution

The “BTS Launched: Deposit & Trade to Share 100,000 BTS” event has ended with all rewards distributed. Participants are urged to check their CoinEx account for their rewards.

KSM Withdrawal Resumption

After a successful completion of node maintenance, KSM withdrawal resumes with full force.

“Catch the DeFi Train” event has finished

The event which was to give back to the community came to an end and was massive while it lasted. Stay tuned for more campaigns!

CoinEx TikTok Contest Ends with Winners Announced

The campaign that aimed to reward users’ creativity ended with winners announced. It was fun watching most of the entries!
1st Place — Reginjr
2nd Place — Menny Kitty
3rd Place — ShaaNikeyyy




As a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider, CoinEx was founded in December 2017 with Bitmain-led investment and has obtained a legal license in Estonia. It is a subsidiary brand of the ViaBTC Group, which owns the fifth largest BTC mining pool, which is also the largest of BCH mining, in the world.
CoinEx supports perpetual contract, spot, margin trading, and other derivatives trading, and its service reaches global users in nearly 100 countries/regions with various languages available, such as Chinese, English, Korean and Russian.
Click here to register on CoinEx!
submitted by CoinExcom to Coinex [link] [comments]

Divinity - Chapter 21

First Chapter | Chapter List | WordPress | RoyalRoad |
Caelan frowned. It was more a statement than a question. The man before him sat at a small desk in the middle of a large entryway made of white stone. The man’s clothes were a simple gray and he didn’t bother to raise his head.
“Family name?” the man asked, his quill hovering over the parchment.
“I don’t have one.”
The man looked up at him from beneath his brow. “How do you not have...nevermind. Choose one.”
“Ermm…” Caelan fidgeted, attempting to come up with a name at random. Why were the only ones that came to mind those he had known from his home? “Fair...tree?” he said, quite sure that it sounded ridiculous.
“Good enough. Proceed into the second room on the left.” The man gestured over his shoulder with the quill, ignorant of the small drops of ink he flung onto the floor. The parchment was shoved into Caelan’s hands and he walked past the table in the direction the man indicated. The floors, the halls, even the next room were all made of the same immaculately white stone. Upon his entry, Caelan was greeted by another man sitting behind another desk.
“Close the door behind you, please,” the man said politely. Caelan complied, pulling on the handle until it gave a soft click. “Please, have a seat.”
Again, Caelan obeyed. He strode to the chair positioned opposite the desk and the man reached out with an open palm. There was an awkward moment while Caelan stared at the hand before realizing the man probably wanted the piece of parchment. He offered it and the man deftly snatched the sheet, then spun it upright onto the desk in a smooth motion.
The man spoke quickly, but clearly, as he recited a series of information from memory. “This is the first portion of your entrance evaluation for joining the Templar Order. You may leave at any portion of the evaluation with no penalty. Once the evaluation is complete, you will be offered a final opportunity to leave with no consequence. Upon passing the evaluation and accepting a position as an Initiate, you will no longer have the option to quit the Order without repercussions. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Caelan answered.
“Good.” The man smiled briefly, then picked up his quill from a small pot of ink. “I will be asking you several questions about your past. This information is largely for record keeping, however, some items may result in our inability to accept you into the Order.” The man barely paused before continuing, “Do you have any living family?”
“No.” A common occurrence, Caelan presumed, given that the man made no special note of it.
“Where were you born?”
“What was your occupation?”
“Sentinel.” Caelan watched the man write ‘soldier’ and thought about correcting him, but didn’t have the heart to argue semantics.
“Have you ever committed any crimes? Please state even those that you were not caught and/or punished for.”
“Do you have an affinity with the Light?”
“Why do you wish to join the Order?”
Caelan paused, breaking the rhythm of rapid question and answer. He briefly considered saying he believed an Archangel wanted him to, but being branded mad was probably one of the criteria for being denied entry. Some considered the Church to be filled with fanatics, but somehow Caelan doubted they actually wanted the insane to join. The man peered upward across the table without raising his head, quill held in position for the awaited response.
“Common answers include a desire for an education, learning a trade skill, earning an income, or having outgrown an orphanage,” the man offered.
“To protect the Realm,” Caelan stated.
“Very well. That concludes the questions. This document will be the start of your record within the Order, should you join,” the man said and handed the piece of parchment back to Caelan. “Please head out of this room and continue down the hall until you reach a courtyard. Another member will direct you from there.”
Caelan rose, expecting the man to do the same. Instead, the man remained seated, making a note on another piece of paper and resetting his desk for the next person. Caelan turned and left the room, glancing back toward the first desk to see if anyone else would be along shortly. A family stood, hugging a young boy barely in his mid-teenage years. The boy broke away and strode over confidently to the desk. It was somewhat encouraging that not everyone here was going to be an orphan. It made the Order seem more…human, as opposed to the two bland personalities Caelan had interacted with so far today. He turned and headed to the courtyard where a pair, one male one female, wore matching gray and white outfits with a crimson sash.
“Candidate,” the man said. “Step this way.”
The man had spoken with a certain authority in his voice and instinct took over. Caelan followed the order and stopped in front of the pair, waiting for the next instruction. His posture became more rigid as his muscles fell back into the familiar form of military training.
“We will be performing the final two portions of your evaluation.” The man held out his hand and Caelan instinctively handed over the piece of paper. The woman was the next to speak while her partner looked over the form.
“The first is a basic test of physical ability. You will complete one lap around the training yard. At the far end are ten sacks of grain. You will carry them to the other end after completing your lap.”
Caelan waited for more instruction but neither of the pair offered any further detail. He turned from them with a crisp pivot on his heel and began to jog along the exterior wall of the courtyard. The middle was mostly empty, little more than a few scattered benches and ropes left in parallel lines or circles on the packed dirt. He completed the lap quickly and hauled the sacks of grain across the yard two at a time atop his shoulders. Once he finished Caelan returned to a spot in front of the pair, his breathing labored, but controlled. They had watched him, but it didn’t seem to be with a critical eye. Boredom, then? Caelan wondered. He was the only thing moving, after all, and there didn’t seem to be many others seeking entry today.
“Very good,” the woman said. “Now, for the final portion of your evaluation. You have indicated you have an affinity with the Light—please demonstrate this.”
Caelan scowled. “What kind of demonstration?”
“Anything will suffice,” the man replied. “We simply need to see that you do indeed have affinity.”
Caelan sighed and shook his head. This evaluation was far simpler than he had imagined. Even if the Order had arrived to help Bastion, if this was the requirement for entry they would have been little help. As fodder for the Void, though, they might have allowed Bastion’s warriors time to rest and recover…
He pushed the thought from his mind. None of it made a difference now. He raised his hand, palm up, and formed a small white flame that danced on his fingers. It was no larger than if it were from a candle, but they hadn’t asked for a grand display. Even so, he fought to suppress the wince that came from opening the himself to the Light. Whatever Camael had done to him, he’d be unable to fully recover.
From the testing he had done when he found some time alone in the caravan he felt like he could still summon just as much power as he ever could, yet each time the Light came to him from the aether instead of the heat he’d become accustomed to all he felt was burning—no matter the amount. Nevermind that his fingertips were discolored from when he’d cauterized himself or that the grip in his off-hand still felt weak from the beams he’d summoned in Joyce’s rescue. Caelan let the flame die and sighed softly. This was how things were to be now. It wasn’t that the pain was intolerable, it was just…frustrating. Power that had once come so naturally now punished him each time he called for it.
“Very good,” the woman said. “Please enter through the doorway over there,” she gestured across the courtyard, “where you will end your evaluation.”
The man handed back the piece of paper. Caelan glanced at it and noticed two small marks under the writing from the previous man. He rolled the parchment as he walked across the courtyard and through the door on the other side. This hallway had a woman with a stern face and neat bun of brown hair posted outside of one of two doors about halfway down. She kept her gaze straight ahead as he approached. Caelan attempted to hand her the piece of paper, but her arm instead moved to push against the door to hold it open. Once again he entered a room with a man sitting at a desk, however, this time there was no place for him to sit.
“Please surrender your document, candidate,” the man said. Caelan approached the table and handed the man the piece of paper, then took up a stiff posture in front of the desk. The man gave a huff as he unrolled the parchment and scanned the neat ink across the page.
“Caelan Fairtree, you have completed the evaluation and are eligible to join the Order as an Initiate. Please remember that even as an Initiate you are still being evaluated and you may be removed from the Order if deemed necessary. If you decide to join, you will have up to five years to attain the rank of Templar or else be excommunicated from the Order. If you wish to join, please state so now.”
“I wish to join.”
The words came easily. When Kai had told him of the commitment last night, five years had seemed an eternity. Yet this morning, when he stood in front of the enormous gatehouse that separated the rest of Elysium from the Order, he had felt a sense familiarity. The towering buildings of white stone nestled away on a large island at the edge of the city seemed to call to him. The Order was the militant representation of the Light and he was a Sentinel—a barrier against the Void. There was nothing else he was more fit to do.
“Very well,” the man said and placed a large stamp across the bottom of the form. “The Order will keep this record. Please exit the room and follow whoever is outside.”
The man placed the document in a large box that, from where Caelan stood, didn’t seem to have many others inside. The man laid his arms on the desk, hands clasped together and eyes staring blankly ahead. Caelan spun on his heel and strode out the door, which was once again held open for him. As he crossed the threshold, the stern woman let the door swing shut and began to walk down the hall.
“Please follow me,” she said once there was some distance between them. Caelan took several long strides to catch up and trailed the woman as they made their way through a seemingly endless amount of hallways. There weren’t any signs either and he had no idea how the woman knew where they were going. They rounded another corner and she stopped in front of three people on a bench. All were dressed in various shades of tan or brown clothes and each had a white sash around their waist. They stood quickly upon noticing the woman’s presence.
“Initiate…” she trailed off, waiting for the first person’s input.
“Wait!” A voice called from behind them. Caelan spun quickly, recognizing the speaker. Kai approached, slowing from his jog as he drew closer. “I’ll take him. The other Initiates can take the next one.”
The woman clicked her tongue, but acquiesced. “Very well. Initiate Caelan, your first class is tomorrow. History. I trust your guide will inform you of the location and times?” she said with a glare in Kai’s direction.
“Of course,” the islander replied.
“Very good.” The woman walked back the way they had come, disappearing around the corner. Once her footsteps faded, the other Initiates sat back down in silence.
“They’re normal people, I promise,” Kai said. “They’re just told to act like that during the evaluation for some reason. Glad to see you decided to join though! I’ll show you around and get you the standard issue clothing.” Kai turned and gestured for Caelan to follow.
“They’re Initiates too?” Caelan asked as they walked.
“No, Templar,” Kai corrected.
“There are enough Templar to spare that they can stand around and give basic tests?”
“More than enough,” Kai said with a roll of his eyes, “but the people at the desks are normally Oracles. You probably couldn’t tell the difference. Templar do make up most of the Order, though. Nearly four times as many of them as there are any other rank.”
The day turned into a lot of walking as Kai escorted him around the Order’s vast grounds. As they headed towards the central building, Kai explained that the entirety of the facility was known as the Citadel, despite the towering building at the center being similarly named. The main structure and the wings immediately branching off it it were all the same white stone, but as the distance grew the structures turned into normal grays and earth tones.
They toured the Great Hall where meals were served, the baths, the kitchens, several locations where Caelan’s presence would be expected for class, and multiple courtyards that were used for various types of training. It had been early morning when Caelan had arrived, yet by the time he had seen the quartermaster to receive his issue of clothing and other supplies the sun had begun to fall from its daily climb. Kai led him to his quarters, a barracks-style room within the Initiates Wing that all new arrivals were placed in.
“I’ll go and report that I’ve finished escorting you, but I’ve also got to check if I’ve got a guard shift tomorrow. I’ll see you for supper?” Kai asked.
“Sure,” Caelan answered, placing the clothes, some of the only items he could call his own, on the bed. Kai left and though he was thankful for the welcome from someone he at least vaguely knew, Caelan was equally as glad for the time alone. The night prior still lingered in his mind—the way Tera had politely, yet firmly, implied for him to leave. He wasn’t sure why he expected to stay the entire night, she had never explicitly said that he would, but it felt wrong. She spoke little more than a small thank you while they had gotten dressed. Then she showed him out, giving quick directions back to the inn and closing the door while he stood on the porch.
Caelan rubbed his hands across his face, taking in the blanched walls that surrounded him. The room was a simple rectangle occupied by several beds barely wide enough for one person. Small desks, each with its own stool, and dressers lined the opposite wall. He began packing away the sets of issued clothing into several drawers, saving one set to change into. They outfit fit well and the fabric was softer than what he had received from the caravan. The boots, too, were made of strong but malleable leather. Caelan wondered how large the Order truly was and how they could afford to equip all of their members with this quality of clothing, especially since the new arrivals like him were, technically speaking, useless.
He made the bed with the sheets and blanket he’d been given before stepping into the hall, taking a moment to remember which stairwell led down to the bathhouse. There were several other Initiates there, but the baths were large enough that he found an area to himself to wash and let the heat work its way through his body. The water flowed gently through the interconnected baths, slow enough that it was possible to miss the current entirely without looking closely.
Caelan leaned forward, curious, to observe the opposite end of the room. The water entered into the bath from a wide porthole in one wall and out through another at the far end. How do they keep the water hot if it constantly flows out? he wondered. There aren’t any natural hot springs, not this close to the rivers around the city. He resigned himself to ignorance and tried to let his body relax, but his mind had other ideas. Thoughts of Tera permeated his consciousness and he only became more tense. He forced the images out in frustration and gathered his things to leave.
The evening meal, surprisingly, turned out to be the best part of the day. It was nothing like the bland, dense food the warriors-in-training received in Bastion. The bread was fresh, the stew filled with meats and vegetables, and the broth well spiced. Kai laughed and informed him that he would tire of it eventually, but Caelan doubted the warning, informing his new friend of what he had dealt with for years in Bastion.
Not only was the food good, but there was an enormous amount. All of it was necessary to feed the hundreds that filled the long rows of tables that lined the great hall. Initiates and Templar shared the same eating spaces, Kai explained, but their living and training areas were separated so that the Initiates could stay together. For many Initiates, this was their first taste of life outside their home or away from family. The Order wanted to offer them comfort in numbers.
The meal finished, Kai showed him some of the lesser visited spots throughout the grounds. There was a patch of woods near the back corner of the island with an off-limits glade that housed a small lake and an abandoned manor. It was supposedly the residence of every Highlord until the current one, who preferred to stay within the Citadel. One of the courtyards was a garden was full of plants, both local and exotic, and neat rows of raised beds overflowed with various herbs.
“Are these used in the food?” Caelan asked.
“Curious as to how we feed ourselves?” Kai chuckled. “No, everything here is just for looks. All our food is brought in from elsewhere.”
“So the Order is entirely reliant on things that aren’t on this island.” Caelan confirmed his suspicion. Being reliant on imports seemed ill-advised. With the massive bridge the only way in or out besides the harbor the Order could be defeated were it cut off.
“Yes, but we’ve got enough in our stores to outlast any siege, not that there’d ever be one,” Kai said. “We only bring in raw goods, though. Everything else you see has been crafted by our members. Or members of the Church, at least. The Acolytes do nearly all the linen work. Your bedsheets and clothes and such, mostly.”
They continued walking and Caelan noticed the small smithy nestled in the northeast corner of the grounds, no more than ten bellows in a row. “Is that all you have to make armor and weapons?”
“No,” Kai replied with a shake of his head. “Look again.”
Caelan did, searching for his mistake, and noticed the tops of stairwells in each corner of the stone ground. “There’s more underneath?”
Kai grinned. “Much more. What you see here is only for basic smithing. Nails, horseshoes, and the like. The armorers and weaponsmiths work in secret below. There’s lots of things below ground on this island, in fact. When the Citadel was built they even diverted a portion of the river through the island to use down there for cooling the metal. That water continues on below each of the Citadel’s wings to be used in the baths, pre-heated for your enjoyment.”
So that was how they did it. Caelan marveled at the grandeur of it all. In Bastion water was heated by coals under each bath, something that took a lot of preparation. Nearly every farling had become accustomed to bathing in cold or lukewarm water as a result. It was a wonder that the line for those wishing to join the Order didn’t surpass the length of the bridge each day. The privileged life here was certainly alluring.
With the unofficial portion of the tour finished, Caelan attempted to lead them back to his quarters, each of the numerous incorrect turns met with a laugh from Kai and a mocking finger pointing a different direction.


The days passed slowly as Caelan became more familiar with the grounds, navigating to and from his quarters, finding classes held in buildings around the complex, and locating the training courtyard and Great Hall for meals. Each morning the Initiates were taken through several hours of drills, though the instructors allowed Caelan to move over to the group performing unit movements and group-based attacks after three days.
The training was tedious, but afterward most in attendance left the grounds and Caelan enjoyed the relative freedom to train as he saw fit, drilling sequences with wooden weapons and running laps around the island before the midday meal. It was the classes that bored him most, each of the lessons covering what he had already been taught as a child. Every afternoon brought the same order of instruction: reading, writing, basic mathematics, and the history of their world. Kai wouldn’t hear his complaints, reminding him that the Order accepted everyone, to include the young and those that were too poor to afford any sort of education. The scolding did nothing to alleviate Caelan’s boredom.
His history instructor, old enough that his hair had lost even the faint color of gray, finished another long-winded story and came to rest behind the desk at the front of the room. “Now, can any of you name the seven Archangels that comprise the Seraphic Council?” the old man asked. One young Initiate in the middle of the room bravely raised his hand. “Go ahead.”
“There’s Netzach, the Archangel of Eternity, Jophiel, the Archangel of Wisdom--”
“Please, just the name and aspect, if you will,” the instructor interrupted.
“Right. Well, Camael of War, Raguel of Justice, Sachiel of Mercy, Sabriel of Miracles, and…” The Initiate struggled to remember the last.
“Phan…” the instructor offered.
“Phanuel! Archangel of Repentance,” the Initiate finished.
“Good. Now, the Archangels...”
Caelan sighed in the back of the room and slumped deeper in his seat as the instructor droned on about the first appearances of the Archangel’s on the grounds the Citadel was built on. The Archangel’s had apparently worked alongside the Church and what would later become the Order, too. Caelan’s thoughts turned to that of the next meal, wondering if there might be more fruit pies from the previous evening. He was startled out of the memory of the sweet jam-like insides by a question from the boy sitting immediately to his right.
“What about the other Angels?” the boy asked in a timid voice.
“Ah, you mean the eight Ascended, I assume?” The instructor perked up at the sudden participation. “Yes, in the midst of the Void War all seven Archangels, who were known as the Seraphic Council mind you, raised eight humans as Angels. They were each given their own Aspect by the Archangel that raised them and they represented humanity in the Void War, fighting alongside the Lightborne from the High Heavens.”
“Where did they go?” the boy asked.
The instructor frowned. “We know very little about them, admittedly. It seems that not even our archives list their Aspects. As for where they are now, there are many theories: that they were permitted entry into the Heavens after the war, that they returned to being normal humans, or that they all perished, but the short of it is that no one truly knows.” The question satisfied, the old instructor quickly returned to the lesson with a tiring explanation of how the Kingdom of Elysia had once spanned the entire Realm prior to the rebellions.
Caelan sat through the rest of the class, painstakingly retold the lessons from his youth. He remembered Ulrich quizzing him as a young boy on names, places, and years of major events throughout history. Every wrong answer had meant another round through the training course. Covered in mud, scratched from splintered wood, and freezing from the bitter wind, he would attempt to recall information that simply would not come. Ulrich would shake his head and nod towards the beginning of the course. Upon completing another round, Caelan had complained that the information didn’t matter, a statement that Ulrich took as an incorrect answer to a question that hadn’t been asked, and sent the boy through again. As Caelan aged, the questions changed, requiring more specific answers, and so too did the physical demands escalate in turn. The process, over years, was one of several methods Ulrich had used to hone both body and mind.
The flashback was interrupted by the class rising to leave, the day’s lecture complete. Caelan stood, stretching his legs and back that had gone stiff from the wooden chair before heading out to the training ground. Kai leaned against the courtyard wall with two wooden poles, waiting. The two had made it a daily routine to spar prior to supper, a habit Caelan was all too happy to indulge.
“How was class?” Kai asked, white teeth from his wide smile contrasting dark lips.
“Were I a decade younger it would’ve been interesting, I’m sure,” Caelan replied. “Shall we?”
Kai chuckled and tossed him the extra wooden pole. The islander was stronger by a decent margin, but Caelan was faster. They warmed up with basic sequences, yet when the short bouts began in earnest so too did Caelan’s enjoyment. It was a race, a test of skills—could he break through Kai’s guard faster than the islander could wear him down with powerful strikes? Several clacks of wood later and he held his weapon against Kai’s neck, having closed the distance between them faster than Kai could counter. They went again and this time Kai pulled him off-balance before giving him a playful jab in the ribs.
“Come on Kaikoa, you’re only feeding the Initiate’s ego.”
Caelan and Kai separated at the end of their round and turned to face the critical voice.
“Why are you here, Eligor?” Kai asked. “I’ve never seen you on the mixed grounds.”
“I’m free to observe, am I not?” The stranger, Eligor, was about Caelan’s height and strikingly handsome. Blonde hair was painstakingly combed into holding its shape and the newcomer carried himself with shoulders raised and head held high despite the arms crossed over his chest. It was the air of arrogance, Caelan realized, that gave him the instantaneous feeling of hatred towards Eligor.
“Of course,” Kai admitted. There was something off in the tone, Caelan noted. The islander always had a hint of joy that came from the permanent smile plastered on his face, yet it was absent now. “Caelan, this is Templar Eligor Belestram. His family financed Joyce’s caravan over a decade ago when she was first starting out. They’ve fallen on some hard times since then.”
Eligor cleared his throat. “It’s of no consequence. Nalani asked me to tell you if I saw you to find her at supper.”
“I will. Thank you,” Kai replied. The three stood, Caelan eyeing both parties. Eligor remained motionless, arms folded on his chest while Kai gently tapped his pole against his boot to knock away some dust.
“Please, continue training,” Eligor said exasperatedly and waved a hand toward them.
“I think I’ve had enough for the day,” Kai replied.
“Well your friend here has hardly worked up a sweat,” Eligor declared. “Come on, Caelan, was it? What do you say?”
Caelan looked to Kai for some sort of sign, but the islander simply shrugged and handed over his pole to the blonde Templar before stepping away. Eligor assumed a wide stance, off-shoulder leading the rest of his frame. Caelan tightened his grip on his own weapon.
The two took small steps to the side, maintaining mirrored positions, before Eligor took a half lunge forward. A quick jab of the pole followed the step. The wood clacked as Caelan parried the attack easily and they returned to their original forms. Eligor tested several other quick strikes, looking for slowness or a weak off-hand that would afford him the opening to decisively win the bout. He found such an opening and Caelan was greeted by a sharp pain as the wooden pole cracked into his shoulder.
They reset, but three more short bouts led to similar results. Caelan knew nearly three dozen sequences, but Eligor apparently knew more. Worse, the blonde Templar wasn’t pulling the finishing blows. Every mistake made was met with punishment. Caelan ground his teeth. Had it been Kai he might have accepted the lesson, but not from this prick.
The fifth bout began and Caelan committed to a powerful strike at Eligor’s shoulders. The blonde Templar stepped forward to intercept, but found air to block rather than Caelan’s weapon—the feint had worked. Caelan dropped his staff behind Eligor’s leg and pulled. When the wood freed his opponent of his gait, Caelan brought the other end to meet the side of Eligor’s head with a satisfying thump and the Templar went limp. Caelan turned without pause and strode towards the training yard’s exit.
“Light, did you kill him?” Kai asked, hurrying to catch up.
“No,” Caelan answered, “but he won’t be happy when he wakes in a few moments.”
They made it to the wall and Caelan placed his pole in the rack along the stone. They were about to cross the threshold out of the courtyard when Kai hesitated at the weak voice calling out to them.
“Initiate!” Eligor groaned.
Caelan saw Kai turn and caught Eligor hoist himself onto his hands and knees out of the edge of his vision. The blonde Templar attempted to stand, but stumbled in a daze and found himself sitting in the dirt. This isn’t the time to dawdle. Caelan continued through the archway and headed down the hall towards the Initiate’s quarters.
“Initiate!” Eligor’s voice was louder, but still lacked the vigor of full mental clarity.
“You’re going to get in trouble for that,” Kai said, catching up again as they reached the stairs.
Caelan raised a doubtful brow. “For winning a training bout?”
“He’ll say you attacked him or something, I’m sure,” Kai insisted. “Eligor is very...guileful.”
“He’s too proud to admit being bested by an Initiate,” Caelan retorted.
“We’ll see.”
First Chapter | Chapter List | WordPress | RoyalRoad |
Lot of into in this one...woof. I did my best to not make it just straight exposition, but let me know if it's too brutal, it's one of the ones I have marked for a rewrite once the whole story is complete. But hey, what's fantasy without some world-building, right? Happy Saturday!
If you're new, Divinity is a web-serial I've been working on for a bit now. There are 22 parts/chapters "published" already, so I'll be posting one a day on HFY to catch up, then fall into the rhythm of one chapter a week posted every Saturday. Feel free to read ahead if you'd like, the links are above. If you like it I'd love to have you subscribe to any of the sites and/or leave feedback!
If Sci-Fi is more your thing, check out my short story, Valkyrie! It's 3 chapters plus an epilogue. You'll read about Cara, a public affairs officer on assignment to cover a story of growing public unrest for the war against the rebellion, though she ends up learning the harsh realities that come with even a limited conflict. Enjoy!
submitted by Lightenant to HFY [link] [comments]

Alright, neoliberals. I've got a ton of notes from Joseph Stiglitz's "The Great Divide" and "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy". What have the succs got wrong?

At the same time that I've been browsing this subreddit prolifically (because it's the only political subreddit I've found where something like this thread I've linked gets upvoted), I've done a lot of reading, specifically Joseph Stiglitz's books The Great Divide and Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy. Apparently you guys don't like Stiglitz, so I'm looking for whatever criticism you have to throw at the ideas presented in these two books. Stiglitz seems to agree with you all a lot, so I'm kinda confused. I read these books thinking your ideas and his are one of the same.

The Great Divide

Despite being longer than Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy, I took less notes on this one, since I didn't care as much about retaining my memories of what I read at the time. Anyways, here's everything you guys apparently don't agree with:

Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy

The Current Rules:

Rewriting the rules:

These proposals aim to reduce inequality and improve economic performance by restructuring the rules shaping the economy. It’s a twofold approach: the first move is to tame rent-seeking behaviors that unduly reward those at the top while raising costs for the rest and reducing the efficiency and stability of the U.S. economy. The second part of our agenda seeks to restore the rules and institutions that ensure security and opportunity for the middle class.

Taming the top

Make markets competitive
-We need a 21st century competition law that recognizes that we have moved from a manufacturing to a service and knowledge economy, where different principles of competition are relevant. Restore balance to global trade agreements -Trade agreements written behind closed doors with the active participation of firms but no other stakeholders are failing to deliver the rules we need to manage globalization in a way that benefits all. -Businesses wishing to trade with businesses in the US under the terms of an agreement should be audited and certified by a credible, independent third party such as the International Labor Organization; certification then buys the company a right to trade under the preferential treatment of a trade agreement.
Control health care costs by allowing government bargaining
-Firms from across the health care industry have been allowed to consolidate and expand, reducing competition and raising prices. -By bargaining with drug companies for bulk purchases, the VA pays 40 percent lower prices for prescription drugs than typical market prices. -The federal government should establish a national prescription drug formulary, establishing the cost effectiveness for all prescription purchases covered under all public health insurance plans, not just those for veterans.
Rebalance the rules for bankruptcy by expanding coverage to homeowners and students
-Removing the special protections for derivatives in bankruptcy, a feature that benefits Wall Street but actually makes firms more risky as they rely more on these exotic instruments, is essential in reducing the excessive financialization of the economy. -Removing some of the most burdensome elements designed to make filing for bankruptcy harder will help individuals move on from the misfortunes that can happen throughout life. -A homeowners’ chapter 11, analogous to corporate chapter 11, would keep families in homes and give a fresh start to families overburdened with debt.
Fix the Financial Sector
-The financial sector isn’t doing what it’s supposed to: managing risk, allocating capital efficiently, intermediating between savers and investors, providing funds for investments and job creation, and running an efficient 21st century payments mechanism.
End “too big to fail”
-Banks that are so big that their failure will cause the entire economy to contract don’t need to internalize the costs of their failures and can reap huge benefits from risky bets. They have a perverse incentive to take on excess risk, knowing that should a problem arise they will be bailed out, with losses being borne by others. -Even when banks aren’t too big to fail, they can be too interlinked to fail: with excessive linkages the failure of one institution can lead to a cascade of other failures - stoppable only with a government bailout. That is why interlinkages need to be transparent and regulated. -The Financial Stability Oversight Council should assess large, systemically risky financial firms with an additional capital surcharge above what regulators currently assess under the Basel Accords in order to make failure less likely and more manageable. A surcharge would force banks to internalize the true cost of their risks and improve economic efficiency, while insulating taxpayers from the costs of failed institutions.
Regulate the shadow banking sector and end offshore banking
-Shadow banks are nonbank financial institutions that engage in lending by trading bonds and securities, often by bundling them through a process called securitization. -The SEC should reevaluate and expand on its recent ruling on money market mutual funds, whose vulnerabilities in the 2008 financial crisis sparked a panic. -The Federal Reserve must write clear rules outlining the government’s role in back-stopping the shadow banks. -There needs to be a re-examination of the extent to which shadow banks and offshore financial centers are used to end-run the regulations designed to ensure a safe and sound financial system.
Bring transparency to all financial markets
-Congress should expand the SEC’s mission, and require private equity and hedge funds to disclose holdings, returns, and fee structures. The SEC should provide additional regulatory scrutiny and investor advice on these deals. This will formalize their regulation, making it similar to mutual fund regulations; the competition that will follow from this price transparency will help reduce financial rents.
Reduce credit and debit card fees
-High consumer fees on credit and debit card transactions are one clear symptom of abuse of market power in the financial sector. -These fees are a monopoly rent on the country’s networked payments infrastructure.
Enforce rules with stricter penalties
-In the past decade there’s been a shift away from strict criminal enforcement of financial regulation. Fewer, if any, cases go to court. Instead the SEC and the Justice Department settle with favorable conditions, such as deferred prosecution agreements. Under these agreements, the parties regularly don’t admit to any wrongdoing, or even pay penalties commensurate to their benefits. No individual is held directly accountable. The fines that are paid come from shareholders and are tax deductible; the perpetrators of the offenses aren’t necessarily punished or made to give back the compensation they received as a reward for the extra profits generated by their illegal activities. -Firms promise not to repeat their offenses, but they usually do. -The SEC and other regulatory agencies should instead focus on more strict enforcement, and Congress should hold the agencies accountable if no progress is made. No company should be able to enter into a deal like a deferred prosecution agreement if it is already operating under such an agreement. These agreements should face stricter judicial review and scrutiny, and compensation schemes should be designed so that perpetrators face significant consequences - for instance, a clawback of bonuses and a reduction in retirement benefits.
Incentivize long-term business growth -The rules governing corporations and taxes on capital and top incomes have changed to favor short-term shareholders and CEOs who chase short-term stock price gains above all else. -This has led to greater inequality and has undermined real investments that create long-term growth.
Restructure CEO pay
-Adjust the tax code, which privileges compensation of executives through equity-heavy compensation, particularly stock options. -Eliminate or curtail the performance-pay loophole (by which stock options and other excessive CEO pay receives favorable treatment). This will both address executive pay being too high and discourage CEOs from behaving like financial speculators. -Maintain the $1 million cap on the deductibility of executive compensation reform, eliminate the exception for so-called performance pay, and expand these limits on deductibility to the highest paid executives in a company overall. -The SEC should require corporations to state the value of compensation in simple, easy to understand language. -There should be mandatory shareholder votes on executive compensation on an annual basis(footnote: our current Say-on-Pay rule is non-binding). Enact a financial transactions tax -Short-term financial transactions can contribute to economic volatility without providing any larger benefit to the economy as a whole. -A variant of financial transaction taxes are currently employed without negative consequence in vibrant financial centers like London and Hong Kong. -Congress should pass a financial transaction tax designed to encourage productive investment. Empower long-term stakeholders -There should be a surtax on short-term capital gains given the negative externality of the trading behavior incentivized. -To improve long-term management of corporations, workers must be given a say in corporate governance, specifically by including a representative of employees on the corporate board. -Those managing retirement accounts should be obligated to avoid all conflicts of interest and, especially in the case of worker pensions, ensure the corporations in which they invest act in a responsible way, with good corporate governance, an eye to long-term value, good labor policies, and sound environmental policies.
Rebalance the tax and transfer system
-The United States ranks among the least redistributive countries in the OECD. -Taxes can improve incentives, encourage socially desirable economic behavior, and discourage undesirable behavior like short-termism. -Over the past 35 years, changes to the tax code have prioritized tax cuts and subsidies focused on those at the top, placing a greater tax burden on the rest and causing neglect of critical public investments.
Raise the top marginal rate
-Lower marginal tax rates at the top distort the economy by actively encouraging rent seeking. -A 5 percent increase on the top 1 percent’s current income tax rate would raise between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion of additional revenue over 10 years. -For an extra $50,000 taxed on every $1 million of a wealthy individual’s income, the United States could make all public college education free and fund universal pre-K.
Enact a “fair tax”
-The preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends - income received almost entirely by the richest Americans - is one of the most important reasons that those at the top pay less than ordinary taxpayers. -Most Americans earn negligible capital income outside already tax-sheltered retirement savings accounts or on home sales - for which a large exemption exists. -Capital gains tax breaks do not spur investment. They reward speculation as opposed to work. -The US should tax capital gains income at the same rate as labor income. -Short-term capital gains should be taxed at an even higher rate to discourage volatile short investments. -The provision for step-up in basis at death needs to be eliminated. This provision allows all of the capital gains earned during an individual’s life to escape taxation when the asset is bequeathed, meaning a small number of wealthy families pass on wealth free from capital gains tax in perpetuity.
Encourage U.S. investment by taxing corporations on global income
-The current tax code allows corporations to defer paying U.S. taxes on profits earned abroad until the profits are repatriated, which has the perverse effect of encouraging corporations to keep profits abroad as opposed to using the funds for U.S. investment. -One option is to replace the transfer price system with a formulaic approach that would tax firms on their global income in a fair and comprehensive way, apportioning those profits to the U.S. on the basis of the economic activity - including sales, production, and research - that occurs here.
Enact pro-growth, pro-equality tax policies
-We should tax things that have an inelastic supply, like land, oil, or other natural resources. -We should tax pollution (including carbon emissions), a move that can raise revenue while improving economic efficiency. -Eliminating agricultural subsidies and noncompetitive bidding processes for the sale or lease of government-owned natural resources or for the purchase of armaments or prescription drugs under public programs would improve efficiency and reduce inequality.

Growing the middle

Make full employment the goal
-The Fed should emphasize full employment as the goal of monetary policy, and Congress should enact a large infrastructure investment to stimulate growth.
Reform monetary policy to prioritize full employment
-The Fed’s prioritization of price stability has caused labor markets to remain slack, kept wages growing slower than productivity, and has brought down workers’ share of economic output. -Contractionary monetary policy has much stronger unemployment effects for low-wage and often minority workers than for the highest earners. -The Fed should resist raising interest rates until wage growth makes up for the lost ground of the Great Recession, even if this means allowing inflation to temporarily overshoot the 2% target. -There is growing consensus that a higher inflation rate will lead to better economic performance, facilitating adjustments in our highly dynamic and ever-changing economy.
Reinvigorate public investment
-Critical public investments today lay the foundation for long-term economic performance and job growth. -Public investments in education, technology, and infrastructure are complements to private investment, raising returns and thus “crowding in” such investments.
Invest in large-scale infrastructure renovation
-America’s failure to keep up what infrastructure it has makes it more costly to do business and for people to go about their daily lives, and leads to more wasted time and more environmental degradation. -Public transit and broadband play a crucial role in connecting all Americans, regardless of income level, with the 21st century local and global job market. -Not only is infrastructure crumbling, it’s unevenly distributed, with distinct areas and communities segregated from the rest of society and without the opportunities that connecting affords. -A comprehensive plan would provide investments in air, rail, and road transportation; public transit; ports and inland waterways; water and energy; and telecommunications and the Internet. Some estimates put the cost of such a project on the order of $4 trillion - well beyond the small sums currently debated but within our means. The investment would yield dividends in the form of more productive businesses, millions of new jobs, and sustainable management of our energy and environmental resources. -Public infrastructure banks could be useful for financing large infrastructure projects.
Expand access to public transportation
-Decades of disinvestment in U.S. infrastructure have resulted in high commuting costs that fall disproportionately on low- and middle-income families and decrease access to jobs. -Only a little over half of Americans have access to public transit. -If more people have better access to jobs, productivity will increase and lives will improve.

Empower workers

Strengthen the right to bargain
-The National Labor Relations Act is flawed. -One flaw in the statute has allowed employers to delay workers’ votes to unionize by litigating each step of the process. Recent rule changes issued by the National Labor Relations Board have attempted to rebalance some of the power, and they provide a positive example of how the statutes can be updated to reflect current challenges. -Stricter penalties are needed to deter illegal intimidation tactics by employers. -Companies seeking to prevent unionization can retaliate by firing workers; if an NLRA violation is found, the employer merely has to reinstate the worker and pay back wages. A ruling like this can take more than three years. -The legal framework should be amended to adapt to the changing nature of the workplace. Today, few employers resemble the large manufacturers the creators of the NLRA had in mind. Corporations like Walmart employ people through outsourcing and subcontracting, bearing little responsibility for the employment relationship. Legal scholars have envisioned new models for defining the employer-employee relationship that would establish clear lines of responsibility within the modern fissured workplace.
Have government set the standards
-State, local, and municipal governments should grant public contracts only to corporations that meet high labor standards and possess strong antidiscrimination/pro-inclusionary hiring practices.
Increase funding for enforcement and raise penalties for violating labor standards
-Charged with enforcing the minimum wage and overtime protections, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor has seen a third of its inspectors disappear since 1980, despite a doubling of the country’s workforce. -Congress should increase the agency’s budget to reflect growth in the labor market, the low-wage workforce in particular, and recent evidence of systemic wage theft. -Penalties for minimum wage and overtime infractions are insufficient to deter bad behavior. -Minimum wage and overtime violation convictions should pose an existential threat to businesses so managers and owners will think twice before engaging in such behavior.
Raise the minimum wage
-Raising the minimum wage is unlikely to hurt jobs, unless taken to an extreme. -Given the present weakness in aggregate demand, higher wages would stimulate the economy. -Raising the minimum wage could help reduce working poverty and particularly improve prospects for women, their families, and other disadvantaged groups that are disproportionately represented among minimum wage earners. -The minimum wage for tipped workers should be raised to the same floor that applies for all other workers.
Raise the income threshold for mandatory overtime
-The New Deal’s Fair Labor Standards Act requires that workers who work more than 40 hours a week get overtime pay, at a rate of 150 percent of their regularly hourly wage. However, the act exempts some employers, executives, administration, and traveling salespeople, among others. To provide a base level of coverage, the Department of Labor has periodically issued a rule that establishes an income threshold under which any employee must be paid for overtime. -The current threshold of $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, was last updated in 2004, and covers just 11 percent of the salaried workforce. In 1975, 65 percent of salaried workers were covered by overtime rules; if the 1975 threshold had kept pace with inflation, 47 percent of workers in 2013, rather than just 11 percent, would have received overtime. -The Department of Labor should raise the threshold to restore this pillar of middle class income, ensuring that the majority of salaried workers are covered.

Expand access to labor markets and opportunities for advancement

Reform the criminal justice system to reduce incarceration rates
-The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. -In addition to incurring direct costs, mass incarceration reduces employment opportunities and wages, and increases dependency on public assistance for a large share of the population. -The total public cost of incarceration was more than $31,000 per inmate in 2010, according to a study by the Vera institute. -Those who have been locked up end up facing lower hourly wages, annual employment, and annual earnings. This burden falls disproportionately on men of color. -In 2008 the US economy lost the equivalent of 1.5 to 1.7 million workers, or roughly a 0.8 to 0.9 percentage-point reduction in the overall employment rate. -Congress should reduce the burden ex-felons face when searching for jobs by expunging certain records after a set amount of time. -Mandatory minimum sentencing particularly targets people of color. -African-Americans and Latinos accounted for 69.8 percent of mandatory minimum sentences in 2010; tackling this issue will effectively reduce part of the inequality inherent in the nation’s sentencing rules. -Congress should allow judges the ability to waive mandatory minimums. -The DoJ should focus on encouraging alternatives to incarceration. -Inaccessibility to quality attorneys results in disproportionately harsh sentencing for the poorest. According to a report from the Brennan Center of Justice, a concerted effort to reclassify nonjailable offenses, increase public defense funding, and improve effectiveness through regular attorney and social worker training would ensure more equitable access to representation. -Onerous fees at every level of the criminal justice system generate severe financial burdens for the poor and create further points of entry back into the incarceration system.
Reform immigration law by providing a pathway to citizenship
-More than 11 million undocumented immigrants live and work in the shadows of the U.S. economy, in every corner of the country and every sector of work. -The broken immigration system is costly to businesses, who face risks of an uncertain labor supply. -Exploitation of undocumented immigrants drives down wages and working conditions throughout the labor market. -The federal government must provide a pathway to citizenship for those already here and simplify the process by which new migrants can continue to come and contribute to America’s economic success. -We should cease the deportation and internment of all but violent criminals and to normalize the legal status of families working, learning, and serving in America. -We should better coordinate the efforts of different parts of government to enforce immigration laws in ways that don’t undermine the conditions for people working here. ICE should take a back seat to the Department of Labor to ensure that unscrupulous employers cannot easily threaten workers with the prospect of deportation by calling in worksite raids. -Congress should ensure that labor laws apply to everyone, regardless of their documentation status.

Expand economic security and opportunity

Invest in early childhood through child benefits, home visiting, and pre-K
-The state run Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is one of the most effective investments of taxpayer dollars. -One proposal that should be considered is a universal child benefit, a monthly tax-free stipend paid to families with children under 18 to help offset part of the cost of raising kids. -The U.K. recently cut its child poverty rate by more than half through a package of anti-poverty measures, including a universal child benefit. -Congress could immediately expand funding to provide pre-K childcare subsidies to all currently eligible children, expanding access to 12 million children at a cost of $66.5 billion.
Increase access to higher education through more public financing, restructuring student loans, and increasing scrutiny of for-profit schools
-The G.I. Bill helped create the middle-class society that we had aspired to partly by providing free education to returning soldiers. -It’s not true that we can’t afford similar programs, we cannot afford not to ensure that all young Americans get the best education for which they are qualified so they can live up to their potential. -The government should look to follow the lead of Australia and adopt universal income-based repayment, in which repayment consists of a set percentage of future income. Students could then repay their student debts more easily - at much lower transactions costs - through withholding. -Removing bankruptcy protection for those with student loans, particularly in the 2005 policy change under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, has done nothing to reduce bankruptcy filings resulting in costly defaults. It has extracted money from poor students that goes into the coffers of the banks. The government should restore those protections. -One way to improve outcomes for graduates is to increase scrutiny of for-profit schools, which receive a large share of government-funded loans or government-guaranteed loans while failing to provide students with a quality education. Eighty-seven percent of revenues at for-profits come from federal or state sources, including student loans and Pell grants. Though they teach around 10 percent of students, they account for about 25 percent of total Department of Education student aid program funds. Studies show that those at for-profit schools do poorly compared to those at community colleges. Completion rates are poor, as is success in getting a job.
Make health care affordable and universal
-The health care system is rife with the kinds of market failures that economists have studied extensively, including information asymmetries and imperfections in competition. -Hospitals, physician networks, and health care insurers increasingly operate in conditions approaching monopolies. -Patients largely have neither the medical expertise to perform the cost-benefit analyses necessary for making optimizing choices about the care they need, nor the access to price information for comparison shopping, leaving providers to determine both the demand and supply of health care. -Medicare, with its record of controlling costs and delivering better outcomes, should be opened to everyone. Competition from Medicare’s entry into the insurance exchange would lower premiums for everyone; one study found increased competition on exchanges could lower fees by an estimated 11 percent.
Increase retirement security by reducing transactions costs and the exploitation of retirees, and expanding Social Security
-More people in America will face retirement with inadequate savings, driving down their consumption and/or diverting it from others, or relying more heavily on social transfers. -Expanding the Social Security system to include a “public option” for additional annuity benefits would enhance competition, driving down costs and increasing services. -Research shows that the average 401(k) participant could lose up to a third of future savings in fees. Requiring fund managers to adhere to a fiduciary standard would be an important move in the right direction. -We could require that any pension or retirement account eligible for preferential tax treatment not have excessive transactions costs. Fees on any account could not exceed those on the best-performing indexed funds, unless there were demonstrably higher risk-adjusted returns. -We should remove the payroll cap that limits the amount of revenue Social Security raises to help make Social Security self-sustaining, budget-wise.
Reform political inequality
-Policies favored by the wealthy receive attention, while policy preferences of poor and middle-income Americans are ignored. -People with higher incomes vote more frequently than those with lower incomes and election campaign finance is dominated by a relatively small number of large donors who wield outsize influence. -Voting should be made easy: we should establish a federal system of universal voting that includes automatic voter registration, accepted throughout the country without the need to reregister and without burdensome voter identification requirements; the ability to vote by mail or early in-person on multiple days; the establishment of weekend Election Days or a national election holiday; and online voting when cyber-security concerns are met. -A constitutional amendment could go a long way toward allowing Congress greater leeway to reform campaign finance laws to increase political equality. -We could require shareholders to vote in support of any political contributions before they can be made.
This post is almost as long as Reddit allows, so nice job reading all of this if you have. Now, what's all the disagreement about? How is Stiglitz wrong?
submitted by Skeeh to neoliberal [link] [comments]

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