Are CEOs Really “Worth” Millions of Dollars?

These days, the haughty rich in our country have developed such an arrogant sense of self-entitlement that they’ve gone from being merely irritating to infuriating. Unsurprisingly, their plutocratic greed and rigging of the system has generated a political backlash, including a widely-popular push to tax the massive stashes of wealth the upper-upper class has amassed by stiffing the middle class and poor. Alarmed by this uprising, the rich have launched a major effort to defuse public anger—not by altering their own behavior, but by a semantical twist. Interestingly, since “The Rich” has become such a negative phrase, it is being dropped from the vocabularies of …

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New Hampshire’s Environment and Energy Resources

by Rob Werner and Peter Somssich While New Hampshire is not rich in home-grown energy resources, our environmental beauty and clean natural environment is admired around the country. How can our future energy needs as a state be met in harmony with our attractive natural environment while addressing the climate crisis? In a 1999 book entitled Natural Capitalism, Paul Hawken and others identified the enormous value in environmental services provided to all of us by our natural environment free of charge. If we had to pay nature’s services to clean up dirty air, filter out pollution from our soil, treat our water until it is …

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The Source of Our Discontent

Conservative media and politicians whip their audiences into a frenzy, crying that the sky is falling: that we are losing our birthright as a nation because “hordes” of dark-skinned “aliens” are invading our country. They accuse liberals of being godless heathens for questioning the “natural order” of things in terms of who should be in charge, what it means to be a man or a woman, who we can love, the list goes on and on. In a word, these instigators are fueling moral panic, pitting us one against another, making us ever more polarized as a nation. Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist and prominent …

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New Hampshire’s Energy Future — A Path Forward

by Peter Somssich and Ken Wells Today, energy costs New Hampshire residents a lot of money! The annual amount we pay for electricity and heating fuel for our homes is $1.9 billion, more than $2,000 per adult. [U.S. Department of Energy, 2018.] But that only accounts for part of our yearly energy bill. Our annual average energy bill goes up to $4,500 when we include transportation fuel, both for our private vehicles and to get all the goods and services we rely upon transported to us from around the world. Commercial and industrial enterprises (retailers and manufacturers) pass on an additional $1,700 per year in …

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Monopoly Is What’s For Dinner

No longer just a parlor game, monopoly is what’s for dinner. Practically every commodity and every step in producing our families’ most essential consumer purchase is in the tight grip of four or fewer global conglomerates: Four chemical giants control more than two-thirds of the world market for commercial seeds. Tyson Foods and three other meatpackers control 60 percent of the U.S. poultry market, while just three global packers control 85 percent of the U.S. beef market and 71 percent of the pork market. Four multinational grain trading powers control 90 percent of all grain (corn, wheat, rice, &c.) marketed in the world. John Deere …

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Rediscovering Who We Are

I’ve written about this before in this space: We think we act rationally with the cold logic of a computer, but beneath, we remain mere animals driven by instinct, habit, geography, time, and mystery. Toward that end, there’s even a new book entitled How to Be Animal. We are not solitary but social animals, though not always the cuddlesome creatures seen on “Animal Planet.” We can get swept up in the moment and do terrible things, prompted by something sociologists call “social contagion.” There’s a new book about that also, entitled The Delusions of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups.* Examples include the mass …

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