New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Two-Tiered Work

January 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

What Happens in Bogotá Doesn’t Stay in Bogotá

by Diane Lefer

Jorge Parra is speaking out — even though his lips are sewn shut.

Parra was a skilled trades welder when he went to work for General Motors Colombian subsidiary Colmotores. There, he developed herniated discs, severe carpal tunnel in both hands, and upper spinal tendinosis.

In a translated written statement, he explained, “I underwent three surgeries and now walk with a cane due to the injuries I sustained at GM. When I first started feeling pain in my lower back and legs … I went to GM’s medical center. They gave me injections of Oxycontin and Diclofenac and sent me back to work.” (more…)

Time Is Money

January 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Erin Niemela

The Devastating Impacts of American Culture on Foreign Policy

by Erin Niemela

Two days before Christmas my brother called, frantically demanding I tell him what to purchase for my two young children and myself. For the kids, I said, buy Legos. For myself, I neither need nor want anything. I requested he write for me a brief letter answering the following question: If you could give me anything in the world for Christmas, what would it be and why?  My dear brother’s response was less than agreeable: “What the hell? I’m too busy to do that! Just tell me what you want!” In his defense, he just had a new baby, but his response warrants a closer look into American culture and how it impacts all of us.

My brother, like many other Americans, has aggressively adopted the metaphor for daily life time is money, and so asking him to spend 20 minutes thinking of me was in many ways more expensive than the 20 dollars he opted to spend for my brand new touch-screen Agloves. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, cognitive linguists, confronted the time is money metaphor in 1980 with their masterful text, Metaphors We Live By, explaining that in Western industrialized culture, time is a commodity, a finite resource that can be spent, invested, budgeted and borrowed. (more…)

In with the New…

January 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events

Reflections on Two Years (and Counting) of New Clear Vision

With the passage of another year, we are provided with an opportunity to reflect on what was and project toward what might be. Undoubtedly, for most of the planet’s inhabitants, 2012 will be remembered as a year where the stakes got higher and the cause for alarm grew louder.

Around the world, we are seeing mass movements for change, yet also mass complacency as the issues before us grow more complex and the elite decision-makers more remote in their processes and politics.

Here at New Clear Vision, we try to help make sense of these tidings by bringing forth incisive analysis of the news of the day, all wrapped with our usual penchant for highlighting solution-oriented perspectives and cultivating a sense of grounded optimism for the future. We are under no illusions that the road ahead will be easy, nor that hopefulness alone will somehow turn things around. Rather, we take the view that positive change is more likely to occur when people are motivated toward something instead of being in retreat or apathy. (more…)

The Hemlock Debt

December 06, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Evaggelos Vallianatos

Greece Struggles With a Financial and Ecological Tsunami

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

When in 2008 the “too big to fail” Western banks brought misery and near collapse in the economies and societies of Europe and America, the same banks hit Greece with a ton of bricks.

Greece is a small country that has no control of its currency. Second, the Greek and foreign elites of Europe and America that control both the euro, the currency of Greece and the countries of the European Union, and the giant banks, decided to shock Greece in order to make the country a pliant customer.

Since Greece can’t pay back the banks, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and America’s International Monetary Fund, known as troika, intervened to make certain the borrowers got their money back. The troika pays the borrowers and then lends Greece more money at high interest rates. (more…)

Solid Gold Peanuts

October 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Mary Sojourner

There’s No Such Thing as a Corporate Courtesy

by Mary Sojourner

“You can’t put a price on sensory experiences. They are so invaluable and so total.” — Hyatt Regency Scottsdale spokeswoman, Arizona Republic, Business, May 31, 2007

Totally. The wordsmith read the article on Hyatt’s plan to use soundtracks in their lobby, bars, restaurants, and spas. Five compilations are available on their website for download. One can download fifteen songs for $22. The first artist named was Thievery Corporation. I did not make that up.

The article pointed out that some properties were also “dabbling in branding tools….” Bend over and pull down your pants, tourist. We gotcha. (more…)

Beyond Money

August 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Family, Robert C. Koehler

The Foundation of the System’s Replacement

by Robert C. Koehler 

“Everyone loved him.”

The hole was too deep; these words couldn’t fill it. But there they remain, floating on the regret, vibrant with the possibility of a different kind of world. We’ve always been in the process of building that world, but the process has lacked a central cohesion . . . a god, if you will, to bless it and keep it.

Antonis Perris, an unemployed musician from Athens, found himself at age 60 living in a world where the love of his community didn’t matter and probably wasn’t even noticeable: He had lost his means to earn a living. Until Europe’s economic crisis hit, he had sustained himself and his elderly mother performing at local taverns. He had done well. Then business dried up. Finally, he reached a point where he saw no way to keep on living. The brief story of his death last May — one more “economic suicide” — was reported recently in the Washington Post: (more…)

For Love or Money

July 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Saying ‘No’ to the World of the Debtors’ Hell

by Robert C. Koehler 

Poverty has always been the shadow of prosperity, but now we have an advancing global depression creating more of it — pulling in more and more of the middle class, the folks who aren’t used to it. This is where the headlines are.

Oh, the drama. A suicide epidemic manifests in struggling Europe:

“On March 28, Giuseppe Campaniello set himself on fire in front of the Equitalia office” — Italy’s tax-collection agency — “in Bologna after he received a final notice about the doubling of a fine he could not pay,” Newsweek reported last week. “He died in a burn ward nine days later.”

Economics is a cruel game. The stakes are life and death. The driving theory is simplistic, mechanical, with a cauldron of emotion and judgment bubbling just below the surface.

“Today many people want much bigger government and still more handouts; these freeloaders want others to pay for their sloth,” writes Richard M. Salsman in Forbes. “‘Soak the rich,’ they cry, for the rich allegedly have no right to the wealth they’ve actually earned, but the freeloaders supposedly have a ‘right’ to the wealth they didn’t earn.” (more…)