The Art of Passing a Free Flying Elephant
through the Eye of a Needle
Presented at a Symposium on Free Market at the University of Arizona
“Like views in the classical liberal tradition, however, market democracy affirms the economic liberties of capitalism as basic rights. These include weighty rights of working, transacting, holding and using. Many libertarians ground their concern for economic liberty on some principle of self-ownership; classical liberal thinkers typically defend economic liberties because of their (hoped-for) positive effect on the economy over time. Market democracy, by contrast, sees a moral ideal of society and personhood as the most appropriate foundation for rights. According to market democracy, a thick conception of economic liberty is needed for citizens to exercise and develop the moral capacities they have as responsible self-authors. This is the core idea of market democracy, and we shall examine the moral case for it in a moment. For now, note that market democracy affirms a thick conception of economic liberty as a requirement of democratic citizenship.”
~ John Tomasi, from the draft of his upcoming book Free Market Fairness, Chapter 4, p. 78
I enjoyed Professor John Tomasi’s (Brown University) presentation and discussion in front of a room-full audience specializing in political philosophy, in which the University of Arizona is ranked first in the USA. Compared to laser-focused graduate students in the audience, I had hard time following the angels dancing on the cracks of the details of issues discussed by modern Political philosophers. I am even more an outsider regarding the further details among the sub-branches of a particular branch. Thus, I benefited from the comparative table put on the board, which will be published in the fourth chapter of Tomasi’s upcoming book, Free Market Fairness:
|Classical Liberal(Milton Freedman, Hayek, Epstein)||Economic Liberty||Ends directed||Utility Seeker/ Maximizer|
|Libertarian(Nozick, Eric Mack)||Economic Liberty||Naturalistic||Self-Owner|
|High Liberal(Freeman, Rawls)||Social Justice||Deliberative/Justificatory||Democratic Citizen|
|Market Democracy(Tomasi)||Econ-Lib + Soc-Just||Deliberative/Justificatory||Democratic Citizen|
I was also impressed by Tomasi’s humility and appreciation of criticisms directed by students and professors in the audience. Tomasi’s response to my sharp criticism was also calm and gracious. I know, in this short paper, I have to ignore all the great points and arguments raised by him. I will ignore his sleepless nights and deep thoughts trying to construct his arguments. I may also ignore his vested interest in this book, and perhaps his potential interest working for the Koch Brothers for more deregulation. So, please do not consider my criticism as an assessment on the merits of his whole work; I mostly focused on chapter four. I ended up with semi-philosophical and semi-political reaction.
In this paper, I occasionally let the emotions run in my reaction, since I do not have intention to submit it to a journal. As long as our emotions are led and controlled by reason, I think they are an important ingredient of being a moral agent. Morality cannot exist without empathy. However, even if I do not agree with many of his arguments, I would still respect Tomasi’s work since it helps me and others to clarify further our positions and sharpen our swords against the wolves under sheep clothing, this time under “market democracy.”
I think that depicting Free Market as one of the basic rights of “democratic citizens,” in par with other basic rights requiring strict scrutiny is like trying to push a camel through the eye of a needle. Here is why.
Minimum Taxation and Minimum regulation
I concede that Tomasi’s position is less extreme than of the Libertarians who consider ownership as the most important and an absolute right that should not be encumbered by taxation to promote the welfare of the society. After referring to Kant’s political philosophy, which justifies taxation of property to help those who cannot provide for natural needs, Tomasi is forced to peel a thin layer from his “thick conception” of property rights:
“Market democracy’s affirmation of a tax-funded social safety net programs follows this pattern. This very status of people as responsible self-authors may be threatened by conditions of extreme need. The state must be empowered to act to protect people’s moral status as self-authors. But, unlike many traditional classical liberals, market democracy’s justification of the safety net is thoroughly principled. After all, the same reasons that market democracy uses to justify the social safety net also justify the market democratic position against the pervasive encroachments on economic liberty allowed by high liberals such as Rawls. Without constitutional guarantees protecting the independent economic decision-making, people cannot fully executrices their moral powers of self-authorship.” (Ibid, p. 84)
Tomasi is proposing a system whose default rule is freedom of market. Let the free market work miracles! “But the tendency of market democratic regimes is to look to market-based solutions before turning to simple regulatory ones.” (p. 89) He welcomes anti-discriminatory regulations, albeit more for the public sector, and regulations aiming to prevent deception and fraud and setting monetary policy (p. 89). He thinks that the government should have “some ability to regulate work hours/wages/conditions” (p. 90), but he also hopes that those regulations to be kept in minimum, since he thinks that economic growth is “an antidote to the problem of worker vulnerability in post-industrial societies.” (p. 90).
The perpetual money-making machine!
As for the major concern of our times, environmental issues, Tomasi is utopist and comes up with a very thin conception that contradicts our experience with the free market in the last century. Regarding consumerism, he assures us that “It is fundamental to market democracy to see people not only as consumers of goods but as producers and innovators too.” (p. 91). I would like to believe this assurance, but knowing how greed has been the engine of private markets and how they would prefer hiring robots to humans if they could make more profits, I am not that optimistic. As for environmental sustainability, Tomasi wants us to believe that “market democracy advocates growth only within the boundaries of long term environmental sustainability (p. 91). Somehow, through his binocular he sees “capitalism and environmentalism as standing in a potentially positive relationship to each other.” (p. 91).
And that’s it. Sustainability, environmental protection, global warming, pollution, imperial wars, yes all these major and vital problems caused by even semi-regulated markets is dealt with through appealing to our trust in the positive powers of free markets. Though the author visits the issue again in chapter 8, he avoids dealing with the real issue:
“Along with securing the civil and political liberties of citizens, market democratic regime-types rely upon the state to refine and protect property rights, protect the environment, and to provide for a small number of genuinely public goods.” (p. 182)
Let’s see how the market democracy protects the environment:
“As Garret Hardin himself noted, when a good yields itself to private ownership, the structure of the incentives can change in a way that makes the economic agents better stewards. If a common field is privatized, the owner of the field has reason to protect that resource from the ruin of overgrazing. Economic liberties of private ownership can prevent the negative externalities from the use of a particular resource from being spread across society. David Schmidtz writes: “Private property is the preeminent vehicle for turning negative commons into positive-sum property regimes.” Ownership breeds responsibility. Market democracies therefore seek the thicken ownership, in part by expanding to range of things that are made subject to legal ownership by private individuals and groups. Property rights can [be] crafted and extended so as to make economic agents responsible not just for the quality of fields but also waterways and even the atmosphere itself.” (p. 189)
You have a problem with the fox? Then make the fox the owner of the chicken farm, and lo and behold: the problems are solved. I understand the argument made by the example of “tragedy of commons,” but in that example there is no government to regulate, manage, and enforce the rules. The tragedy of commons is not necessarily an argument against social democracies, it is against anarchism. Besides, let’s accept for the moment that private corporations in Tomasi’s market democracies would indeed work miracles in preventing negative externalities. Then what should we do to accomplish it? “Give them ownership,” suggests Tomasi. Ownership of what? National parks? Granted. Cities? Granted. Landfills? Granted. Forests? Rivers? Lakes? Seas? Oceans? Skies? You may not believe it, but Tomasi hopes that we grant all of them to the highest bidder.
The author’s magic formula of free market is a modified version of nick-knack store’s rule, “if you break it, you own it.” According to Tomasi, if lands, seas and skies are polluted by private companies, then they should be owned by the private companies. They will no more pollute. But, perhaps he ignores the little difference between the goods in the knickknack store and the food, the water, the air. The first one is reproducible and trivial, while the latter is limited and priceless! You own the broken china, you simply own a broken plate; but you own the water, you own the people!
A fantastic circle, a perpetual money-making machine! Let the private companies poison all rivers, lakes, and underground water by dumping their toxic chemicals as they wish. Then, let them own the rivers, the lakes, and underground water, and watch how they would keep them clean. For free? No, there is no free “free market”! Don’t be silly. These are democratic citizens with high moral values exercising their economic rights; they are not a bunch of tree-hugging bums. Private companies make profits when they pollute or vice versa; and they will surely make profits again if they clean them up. For each step they will charge the rest of the democratic citizens who own very little or nothing. Isn’t that fantastic?
You will end up running out of drinking water, which is a horrible news for you but a very good news for those citizens who are well-endowed and eager to exercise their authorship rights: they will sell you water in bottles and you will work damn hard to afford the price of bottled drinking water and similar products. Of course, the millions of discarded plastic bottles will not be teleported to a plastic heaven in another universe. They will end up filling your land, the seas, and the oceans. No problem! Market democrats will ask you to let them have the ownership of the land, the seas and the oceans so that the citizens exercising their economic rights could clean up the mess. Well, do not tell anyone that those few who end up exercising their economic rights do not really do the cleaning; they will hire you and your children to clean up their mess, and they will pay you as little as they wish. Of course, Tomasi will tell you that you are too equally free to buy the land and the sea; but you know that he knows that none other than those mass-producers and mass-polluters can afford buying them from the government of corporations, by corporations, for corporations.
If water is your concern, you don’t know the whole story. It is thicker then you imagine. It is beyond water. Tomasi will not have any problem if the “free citizens” (with thick conception of wallets) who have polluted and poisoned our atmosphere decide to exercise their “economic rights” by selling us clean air in bottles! Welcome to unregulated free market!
Markets declare their ultimate freedom, freedom from democracy!
In the following paragraph, Tomasi let his (fat) cats out of the bag:
“Market democracy also attends to public choice concerns about the regulatory approach to environmental protection favored by social democracies. Information is costly not only in the private sector but in the political one as well. The regulatory approach rests ultimately on political processes that in turn rely upon b[l]ocks of voters. For reasons discussed earlier, such voters typically do not have the information they need to make rational decisions about the environment. Further, environmental damage typically occurs when people lack accountability. But this applies to political actors no less than to economic ones: the farmer is more accountable with respect to his field than is the politician in whose general jurisdiction that field lies. What’s more, when political actors do not directly share the opportunity costs, such as higher energy prices, less technological innovation, or a weaker economy with less growth, over-protection can occur.” (p. 190) 
A clever argument, but an inconsistent one. Throughout the book, Professor Tomasi repeatedly accuses social democrats and high liberals of committing the cardinal sin of capitalism, “economic paternalism”, by trying to redistribute wealth or regulate their economic freedoms, yet here he does not hesitate to promote “political paternalism,” to save the environment from over-protection and corporations from under-protection. He considers democratic citizens and their elected officials incapable of learning the truth to protect their environment and demand for clean food, clean water, and clean air, and the same for their grand children. When the vital interests of democratic citizens contradict the interests of corporations, we are expected to cheer for the “market” in the “market democracy” to shoot the “democracy” into irrelevancy!
And, despite our experience with the reckless and avaricious acts of corporations over and over, all around the world, we are again asked to be optimistic. We must be pessimistic about the capacity of citizens who cannot breath because of the smog, or suffer from diseases caused by chemicals put in their food and environment, or cannot eat sea food because of ocean-size industrial poisons, but we should put our full trust in corporations, and even in bigger corporations of the ideal political system: market democracy! We should not regulate the market; but we should delegate most of our powers to the mercy of corporations and they will come up with a solution for our pollution.
“By contrast, market democracy is optimistic about the capacity of markets to track subtle changes in people’s concerns about environmental issues, and about the ability of markets to generate diverse avenues by which people can act on those concerns for themselves. At the turn of the 20th century, for example, the global market for fair trade products was expanding at over 10 percent a year; that for organic products, at 20 percent per year. These international movements are examples of the emergent, bottom-up approach to environmental sustainability favored by market democratic regimes. As with the other aspects of justice, there can be no guarantee that the property-rights based approach of market democracies will actually satisfy the requirements of environmental justice. But here again, we are examining the institutions of market democracy at the level of ideal theory. If we grant that the institutional arrangements of social democratic regimes pass the ideal theoretic test of “realistic utopianism,” we must recognize the arrangements of market democracies as passing that test too.” (p. 190-191)
We all witnessed how the semi-regulated markets have consumed us and harmed the planet earth. They wasted the limited resources of earth through reckless promotion of consumption, raked havoc on environment, poked holes in the precious ozone layer, filled the North Pacific Gyre with tons of Texas-size floating toxic plastic island, filled our cities with smog, filled the market with unhealthy food loaded with hormones and artificial additives, killed public transportation initiatives, fought public desire to support alternative energy, contributed to climate change, poisoned our air and water with toxic materials, exploited the working class through robber-banks, doomed millions in prisons, bombarded us with lies and propaganda through their TV channels, used the children of the poor to kill the children of other poor people in wars for bloody profits, designed complex financial tricks and derivatives, and recently committed the biggest financial heist in history by transferring billions of our money into their private banks and companies as bonus for destroying the economy and having become too big to fail… and on top of that they pick and choose political candidates for us, control political parties (which they limit our choices with only two identical twins), and they manufacture public consent. And they want us to swallow this as “democracy,” with the line, hook and sinker.
This tragedy becomes surreal when we hear capitalist liberals and conservatives telling us that we need to give corporations even more power and freedom! After witnessing all of the malfeasance listed above and even more, now imagine the “potentially positive” effect of little-regulated or “hopefully and potentially” unregulated free markets envisioned by Tomasi! By the end of reading his book, if you are a “democratic citizen” you should accept the so-called Market Democracy as the “fairest of them all!” and “the most highly evolved form of liberalism” (p. 195) With the presumably democratic government’s economic powers limited or totally castrated, big multinational corporations is expected to “pursue policies of free trade, free migration and peace.” (p. 91).
Dreaming, as it appears, is not exclusive to communists who once believed that the “dictatorship of proletariat” would bring justice and peace! We are expected to believe that unregulated foxes and vultures would foster freedom, justice and peace in the chicken farm! Edip don’t be unfair; foxes and vultures are animals too! Or, Edip don’t be paternalistic by likening people to chickens; each democratic citizen is a potential fox and vulture! All animals are equal and some (less than 1 percent) are more equal. All should have right to pursue their economic liberties, so that some (less than 1 percent) could own the 90 percent of the wealth! What is wrong with that?
Freedom for Cells
The salt that rubs the wound comes in the following statement: “Market democracy rejects the contention of the early 20th century progressives that the best way for a liberal state to respect its citizens is by systematically insulating them from individual economic decision-making.” (p. 91). As the pro-abortion crowd prefers calling themselves pro-choice, and the anti-abortion crowd prefers the euphemistic pro-life, the pro-corporate intellectuals call the Forbes 500 elite “citizens,” poor citizens whose right to grow even more is limited and regulated by big bad government! Ironically, the so-called democratic government is also mostly owned by those elite citizens! The great majority of citizens are doomed to lose either way, since they are left with only two options: big government or big corporations, where the first is the disguised form of the latter wearing the Uncle Sam mask.
It is a clever hiding scheme. First, liken the multi-billionaires citizens to Joe and Jane who work hard to make the ends meet, and then make us feel pity for them regarding their “moral right” to pursue unlimited freedom as citizens! I will call them the One Percent Club. Indeed the One Percent members are citizens, but when they are unregulated by people’s government, their greed transforms them into cancer cells, betraying the rest of the citizens, their country, and even the planet they live on. Here are a few statements so that you can appreciate how lofty and how “fairest of them all” is the free market:
“A reciprocity-based conception of social justice requires that we reject the temptation to trade-off the political autonomy of individual citizens for other goods and values –however attractive or pleasant those other values might seem. Liberal justice requires that we ask of any regime: does the regime create the social conditions in which all citizens, viewed as individuals, can exercise and develop the moral powers they have as citizens: the capacity for responsible self-authorship, and the capacity to respect the self-authoring capacity of their fellow citizens too?” (p. 92)
“Free market fairness pursues a different, and more lofty [sic], moral ideal. Market democracy challenges the high liberal suggestion that we respect people as free and equal self-governing agents by restricting the range of choices they are allowed to make in the economic areas of their lives. Market democracy rejects economic paternalism, however well motivated it might originally have been. Instead, market democracy insists that economic activity and decision-making are essential aspects of responsible self-authorship: protection of economic liberty is a requirement of democratic legitimacy itself.” (p. 194-195).
“Instead, these free market regimes are the fairest of them all. Evaluated by the quality of its moral intentions, market democracy is the highly evolved form of liberalism.” (p. 195).
Greed and vice is good for you!
I am surprised not only because of what I read in the book, but also because of what is missing from the book. This book, which presents a new moral political and economic system and yet do not even discuss the most relevant moral concept, greed. The book briefly mentions the issues without satisfactory argument and dismisses our justified concern regarding the damage of greed on the well-fare of the society. Here are the few words taken from three paragraphs:
“Naturally, these facts can read in different ways: perhaps these people are greedy, ignorant, and easily misled (as well as vain). Another reading …” (p. 16). “Cynics have an easy answer: as people’s incomes rise, they become increasingly greedy and self-interested. They resist taxes for that reason. No doubt some people resist taxes simply because they are greedy, but there also seem to be other, more complex moral factors at play” (p. 60). “Bernard Mandeville is best known for his disquieting suggestion that even the most vicious forms of vice and greed could result in positive cooperative outcomes, if only those vices would be properly channeled. (p. 104)
Indeed Bernard Mandeville is disquieting. Let the tobacco companies sell more cigarettes to our kids. Otherwise poor people working in cigarette companies will lose their jobs, and hospitals will lose revenue from people with lung cancer. Let the banks charge as much interest and fees they deem right; let the speculators play with the currency and economy. Otherwise the poor and idiot citizens will never learn arithmetic and learn how to work according to the rules.
Those who do not accept the economic reality imposed on them by banks and corporations will still have options in our free-market economy: (1) they could enroll to military service and serve the interest of free market there and strive to get medals of heroism for their “volunteer” service; or (2) become homeless and escalate the “natural selection” process; or (3) try alternative markets (steal, sell drugs, etc) and join the prison population and become invisible! Ironically, the world’s biggest capitalist and champion of freedom, has also the biggest prison population per capita, a sure product of a very free market producing not-so free people!
After this highly charged reaction, I suggest that Professor Tomasi should address the following points when he revises his book:
Why is it immoral to impose limitations on economic liberties? Why should we treat the right of a billionaire citizen to make more billions the same with the right of another citizen with small business? If one does not wish to live in the jungle as a Tarzan or Jane, he or she should accept that we have to compromise, and our every right and freedom is weighed against the right and welfare of others we live together.
When the rights of millions of people struggling to provide for the basic necessities of life (food, shelter and health care) clash with the rights of a few people wishing to add many more millions and billions in their bank account, the latter class have no moral high ground in demanding more freedom to make bigger profits, to build bigger mansions, and throw more ostentatious parties, while bragging about the benefits of few crumbs and drops trickled down on their servants.
The unregulated and unlimited rights for the few wealthy will only increase the gap between the rich and poor, and will lead to major revolutions around the world. We recently witnessed the decline and collapse of the one extreme, the authoritarian socialism, and there are signs that the decline and collapse of the other extreme, with its several flavors, is not too far. Bad timing for Tomasi’s book!
Accumulation and concentration of wealth is not necessarily related to hard work; many inherit their wealth, which in turn provides them with much greater advantage against the great majority of citizens. Admittedly, during the last two decades, we have seen more self-made millionaires and billionaires, but that is an anomaly and overly publicized by the propaganda machine of the capitalist system.
Recent economic data shows that the gap between two classes of citizens has been growing bigger and bigger. Furthermore, the trend is global.
“World’s rich got richer amid ’09 recession: report (Reuters) – The rich grew richer last year, even as the world endured the worst recession in decades. A stock market rebound helped the world’s ranks of millionaires climb 17 percent to 10 million, while their collective wealth surged 19 percent to $39 trillion, nearly recouping losses from the financial crisis, according to the latest Merrill Lynch-Capgemini world wealth report.”
Due to the economic and political system designed by the wealthy elite, increase in wealth is not linear but geometric. Such a growth usually occurs at the cost of others. There is no free lunch! In other words, the wealth is astronomically increased by astronomically decreasing the wealth and opportunities of others. In the USA, almost in every industry we now have oligopolies and they collude and fix-prices. The owners of Wal-Mart are role models for Tomasi. Perhaps, Tomasi wishes less regulation imposed on Wal-Mart. Not because Wal-Mart sells some items a few cents cheaper. Tomasi is not primarily defending free-market for its over-exaggerated utilitarian advantage, but based on an idealistic concept of individual’s “economic rights.” Wal-Mart might be praised for their management and sound business model, but do we really want having a system that rewards a few that a little better with astronomical awards? Do we really want to live in a world where life is like the TV’s Survivor, in which one takes all, or monopoly game, or any other games produced by corporations to condition us to their maxim “Life is not fair. One person or one team must win and the rest must loose!” In the world of Wal-Marts there could be only few citizens who would exercise their economic rights. Does Tomasi know how many small businesses went bankrupt and lost chance of exercising their “economic rights” because of the giant fish in the sea?
The wealth accumulated in the USA is not just generated by hard working capitalists, but partially is gained and sustained by overt and covert military aggression and imposition against other nations with rich natural resources.
I would like to finish this draft article with the remarks of Chris Hedge in April 15, 2011, in Union Square in New York City during a protest across Bank of America.
“We stand today before the gates of one of our temples of finance. It is a temple where greed and profit are the highest good, where self-worth is determined by the ability to amass wealth and power at the expense of others, where laws are manipulated, rewritten and broken, where the endless treadmill of consumption defines human progress, where fraud and crimes are the tools of business.
“The two most destructive forces of human nature—greed and envy—drive the financiers, the bankers, the corporate mandarins and the leaders of our two major political parties, all of whom profit from this system. They place themselves at the center of creation. They disdain or ignore the cries of those below them. They take from us our rights, our dignity and thwart our capacity for resistance. They seek to make us prisoners in our own land. They view human beings and the natural world as mere commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. Human suffering, wars, climate change, poverty, it is all the price of business. Nothing is sacred. The Lord of Profit is the Lord of Death.” 
I know that this article has become too long and polemical, yet I cannot ignore the voice of a famous consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, whose fight against big car companies have perhaps saved the lives of someone you know:
Meanwhile, the inequality, gouging, political exclusions and overall gaps between the top one percent and the rest tighten the grip of the oligarchy and its draining, violent militarized empire.
Loss of control over almost everything that matters, including their children to daily direct corporate marketing of junk food and violent programming, is rampant. Over seventy percent of those polled told Business Week that they believed corporations had “too much control over their lives”—and that was in 2000 before conditions and controls—viz, the Wall Street collapse, severe recession and taxpayer bailouts—worsened.
The American people don’t see much they can do to counter the pressures of greed and power that tracks them daily from debt to debt, from lower standards of living to outright penury, from denial of critical healthcare to the iron collar of the cruel credit score, from inscrutable, computerized bills to fine-print contracts trapping their sense of unfairness into waves of frustrations, from being put on hold by the companies until they’re told no, no, no or penalty, penalty, penalty!
How do we break the cycle of despair, exclusion, powerlessness, and endless betrayal by those given the authority to bring down the exploiters and oppressors to lawful accountability?
The Empire rips up the Constitution and takes the reserve army of the young unemployed to kill and die in aggressive wars of the White House’s choice, with Congress watching from the sidelines; its only role to funnel trillions of tax dollars into the insatiable war machine’s unauditable budgets. President Eisenhower wanted us to control the “military-industrial complex”. Instead it grew much more out of control. Eisenhower’s grave warning as expressed in his farewell address in 1961 was prescient.
The spark can come from a recurrent sequence of abuses that strike a special chord of deeply felt injustice. Or it could be a unique episode or bullying that tolls the feeling “enough already” throughout the land. Such sparks cannot be manufactured; the power to arouse and break people’s routines is spontaneous.
When that moment comes, millions of Americans whose self-respect and keen sense of wrong will remind them precisely why our Constitution begins with “We the People” and not “We the Corporations”. They will realize the necessity for a Jeffersonian revolution. 
 UA Philosophy Department Ranks 13th in the World; Political Philosophy Specialty Ranks 1st. See: http://web.sbs.arizona.edu/college/node/398
 David and Charles Koch made billions from refining oil and they have recently poured their money to kill social projects, financial and environmental regulation and the laws protecting consumers. They have been donating millions to numerous conservative and libertarian think tanks, organizations, scholars. It is now evident that the so-called ultra conservative Tea Party was not a grass root organization, but was the product of Koch brothers. Many people living in poverty were manipulated through jingoistic and deceptive propaganda leading them to vote against their own interest.
 Ibid, 1245.
 David Schmidtz, “The Institution of Property” in The Common Law and the Environment: Rethinking Statutory Basis of Modern Environmental Law (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2000), 177. See also David Schmidtz “When is Original Appropriation ‘Required’?” The Monist, 73 (1990): 504-18.
 Terry Anderson and Donald Leal Free Market Environmentalism (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1991).
 Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan, U.S. Prison Population Hits All-Time High: 2.3 Million Incarcerated, ABC News, June 6, 2008. Accessed On May 5th, 2011. Http://Abcnews.Go.Com/Thelaw/Story?Id=5009270&Page=1
 World’s rich got richer amid ’09 recession: report, By Joseph A. Giannone, New York, Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:55pm, Reuter. com
 Sean Gregory and West Deptford, Walmart’s Latest Move to Crush the Competition, Time Magazine, Sep. 09, 2009 , Accessed on May 5, 2011 http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1920698,00.html#ixzz1LVDHOJEp
 Chris Hedge, Throw Out the Money Changers, Published on Monday, April 18, 2011 by TruthDig.com. (Accessed on April 26, 2011)
 Ralph Nader, Waiting for the Spark, Published on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 by CommonDreams.org