Holding Banks to Account
Re “Is the World Bank Group Above the Law?” [Oct. 22]: Barry Yeoman provides a great overview of the history of the International Finance Corporation and what’s at stake for small communities around the globe. If big money is allowed to run roughshod over people and the environment without ever taking responsibility for the results of their actions, we will all pay a high price as we watch our environment and food supplies slowly collapse all over the world. Our leaders must act to bridle the world finance system, which seems to operate without legal, moral, or ethical constraints. What is happening to this Indian community will one day happen here if our courts do not rule for the welfare of all.
A Radical Cure
I agree wholeheartedly with Bryce Covert’s conclusion in “All Work and No Play” [Oct. 22] that Americans work way too much. But I disagree with Covert’s resistance to allowing employers to drop health insurance from their compensation packages. Employers should be encouraged to drop health insurance for all workers, full- and part-time. This would force everyone into the open market and under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act. At that point, one of two things would happen: Either the ACA would be amended and become more efficient, or—my preference—the Medicare for All movement would gain unstoppable momentum.
The 40-hour workweek is an artifact and relic of the Industrial Revolution, keyed to the social, economic, and civic needs of that time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in the Industrial Age anymore; we inhabit the Digital Age. The social, economic, and civic requirements of our citizens are vastly different from those of our great-grandparents. The state demands much more of us and our time, as do employers, leaving us short-changed on the amount of time available to raise children, understand and address the needs of our communities and nation, get enough sleep, and just enjoy life.
What is required is an acknowledgment that the full-time workweek needs to shrink. We need a new labor law setting the full-time workweek at 30 hours, with overtime after that, and requiring employers to pay a living wage based on this new framework.
Time for Amazonian Outrage
It is evident that deforestation is an issue that is already having an effect on Brazil—and the globe [“A Climate Tipping Point in the Amazon,” Sept. 24/Oct. 1]. Radical change can be complicated, but when it’s something worth fighting for, it overrides the possibility of financial and procedural difficulty. I challenge The Nation’s readers to take a stand against big corporations like Cargill and say “Enough is enough,” to show that we care about the land as much as the people of Brazil do. It’s time to make a difference.
Michele G. Borsari