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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Apple’s shrinking diluted share count

Category : Stocks

Buying back shares will boost earnings per share and save Apple $1.5 billion a year in dividends.

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US retail sales inch up in April

Category : Business, World News

US retail sales rose unexpectedly in April, after falling back in the previous month.

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The Frankfurt school, part 8: where do we go from here? | Peter Thompson

Category : Business

Our current state of economic dislocation and rise of the far right mirrors the school’s two periods. We must overcome with reason

The final question for this series is whether any of the issues brought up by the Frankfurt school still have any currency or importance. There are two distinct periods in the work of the Frankfurt school. On the one hand there is the attempt to explain and understand fascism as it was arising during the Weimar Republic. This was a period of social, economic and political dislocation that brought to the fore very real material concerns on the part of workers that could easily be channelled into a traditional search for scapegoats and simple explanations. During this period, however, there continued to exist a powerful workers’ movement in the form of social democracy and communism which, had it been able to overcome the timidity of the former and the strategic incompetence of the latter, could have functioned as a bulwark against the rise of the extreme right.

The second period is that of the postwar years, in which there was a social consensus that was formed under the umbrella of the cold war and rising prosperity (what the French call Les Trente Glorieuses) and in which it was declared that class and class struggle had come to an end. Frankfurt school theories about commodification, alienation, reification and false consciousness were revived by the 1968 movement as a way of explaining away the apparent passivity of the working class. Indeed, it was during this period that the working class began to be seen as part of the problem rather than the solution. The forward march of labour was halted, social democratic and communist parties accommodated to the new consensus and, as the philosopher André Gorz had it, it was “farewell to the working class”.

Since the mid-70s, however, we have again been living in a different world in which the automatic prosperity and growth of the postwar decades have disappeared. Real wages have fallen at the same time that productivity has risen, thereby transferring unimaginable wealth to the richest in society. Estimates of how much money is stashed in offshore accounts vary between $12 and $32tn – enough wealth to wipe out almost all the social problems of poverty in one fell swoop were it to be confiscated, socially invested and redistributed.

The problem now is that the two original periods that characterised the battleground for the Frankfurt school exist at one and the same time. We have the economic dislocation of the Weimar period with rates of unemployment in Europe rising constantly (Spain, for example, has reached over 50% youth unemployment), which is feeding into a rise of neo-fascist and rightwing parties from Golden Dawn to Ukip. At the same time there is a supine centre-left which is tied into the neoliberal agenda, while a fractured and fragmented “communist” movement (for want of a better word) has failed to put together a convincing alternative.

The great recession since 2008 has stripped away a lot of the illusions people have about the society they live in. When a government needs to proclaim that “we are all in this together”, then it is clear what the true subtext actually is.

But perhaps even more seriously, the planet itself can no longer afford the constant expansion required by capital. We have the technological and financial means to solve pretty well all of the basic problems of humanity. What we don’t have is the political will. But that is only missing because even our hopes for the future have become privatised and commodified. Our dreams have been bought up and sold back to us as glittery tat and royal weddings. It has often been said that it is easier now to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine a better one.

But this was true at the start of the Frankfurt school. Theodor Adorno wrote:

“The prospective fascist may long for the destruction of himself no less than for that of the adversaries, destruction being a substitute for his deepest and most inhibited desires … He realises that his solution is no solution, that in the long run it is doomed. Any keen observer could notice this feeling in Nazi Germany before the war broke out. Hopelessness seeks a desperate way out. Annihilation is the psychological substitute for the millennium – a day when the difference between the ego and the others, between poor and rich, between powerful and impotent, will be submerged in one great inarticulate unity. If no hope of true solidarity is held out to the masses, they may desperately stick to this negative substitute.”

That loss of hope and optimism about a better world is the most depressing outcome of the current crisis and it is no wonder that many seek refuge in the false nostalgia of an unspoiled world before the ravages of capitalism prompted “all that is solid to melt into air“.

But there is no way back, not least because the golden age never existed and the golden dawn will never come. The only way is to push forward using science, reason, intelligence and hope. Weak power may be good enough for now but at some point someone is going to have to flex muscle. Let’s make sure that it is the good guys and not the fascists again.

India-China End Himalayan Border Stand Off as Troops Withdraw – Bloomberg

Category : Stocks

India-China End Himalayan Border Stand Off as Troops Withdraw
India and China ended a three-week standoff along their disputed Himalayan border as soldiers from both sides agreed to pull back from positions taken up after an alleged incursion by Chinese troops. The two sides are returning to locations held before April
India and China 'pull back troops' in disputed border areaBBC News
India, China begin withdrawing troops from borderHindustan Times
Indian Minister to Visit China as Crisis EndsABC News

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Bride, 4 Others Die in Limo Fire on… – ABC News

Category : Stocks

ABC News
Bride, 4 Others Die in Limo Fire on…
ABC News
When one of the nine women in his limousine complained about smoke, Orville Brown pulled to the side of a San Francisco Bay bridge to check. As he got out, the back of the vehicle became engulfed in flames. A newlywed bride and eight of her friends were
Bride, 4 others die in limo fire on Calif.
Limo fire kills 5 on San Mateo BridgeSan Francisco Chronicle

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Vince Cable: Consider RBS break-up to increase banking competition

Category : Business

Business secretary speaks out against rush to sell bailed-out bank, saying it could be used to make sector more competitive

The business secretary, Vince Cable, is urging the chancellor to consider breaking up Royal Bank of Scotland to boost competition in the financial sector instead of dashing to privatise the bailed-out lender.

He waded into the debate about the future of RBS after reports that George Osborne was hoping for a quick selloff. Cable said: “I don’t see the need for any haste.”

Sir Philip Hampton, the bank’s chairman, said on Friday that the clean-up of the battered lender would be “substantially complete” by 2014, allowing the Treasury to start selling shares before the general election. But Cable is keen to ensure that all options remain on the table, including breaking the bank up. “There’s a lot to be said for the idea of using RBS to create a more competitive banking sector,” he said. Insiders have argued that splitting up RBS would create insurmountable legal and practical problems, but Cable said: “You probably could create separate entities and I’m sure that would be healthy.”

Encouraging competition in banking is a key aim of the coalition and ministers were disappointed by the collapse last month of a deal under which the Co-operative Bank sought to buy more than 600 branches from Lloyds Banking Group, creating a powerful mutually owned “challenger bank”.

Cable said consumers and businesses had been left with even less choice than before the financial crisis. “It’s become very, very narrow, and it almost entirely consists of shareholder banks,” he said. RBS was bailed out by Alistair Darling, the then Labour chancellor, in the financial crisis in late 2008. It required two fresh recapitalisations the following year as the shaky state of its finances became clearer, receiving a total of £45bn.

With lending to small businesses in Britain’s recession-scarred economy still falling, despite a series of government initiatives, the future of RBS has become a fraught political issue. Senior figures, including the archbishop of Canterbury and former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson, have called for it to be broken up into a “bad bank”, with legacy loans from the boom years, and a “good bank” that would then be free to make new loans. Some campaigners have argued that it should be split into a series of regional lenders that could focus on small businesses.

Tony Greenham, of the New Economics Foundation thinktank, said: “It absolutely should not be flogged off: why would you turn the clock back to a banking system that was so manifestly dysfunctional before 2008 by just selling it back?” The share price of both RBS and Lloyds Banking Group remain well below the average paid by the government when it part-nationalised them.

Samuel Tombs, of Capital Economics, said: “The bottom line is that a selloff of the government’s stakes in the banks would be no quick fix for either the public finances or the problems in the lending market.”

But some Tory strategists believe that selling at a loss would be better than hanging on to RBS beyond the election. A Treasury spokesman insisted the chancellor was willing to examine alternatives to a full privatisation and denied any rush to offload the bank. “It’s a company that’s gradually returning to health, but it is gradual: it’s still quite a long slog,” he said.

Investors: Look beyond Merck’s patent loss

Category : Business, Stocks

Big Pharma is back, with shares of giant drug manufacturers doubling the returns of the broad market over the past six months. Yet Merck has been conspicuously left behind.

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Stocks: Earnings back in focus

Category : Stocks

Investors may see a bounce back after ‘sell in May’ sentiment took hold on Wednesday but earnings will again hold sway.

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Ft. Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon Overviews Breast Reduction Procedures

Category : Stocks, World News

Dr. Robert Rothfield Uses Breast Reduction Surgery to Reduce Back Pain, Increase Patients’ Ability to Exercise, and Boost Body Image

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Rich elderly ‘should shun benefits’

Category : Business, World News

Wealthy elderly people who do not need benefit payments to help with fuel bills or free travel should voluntarily give the money back, Iain Duncan Smith says.

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