Jason Hickel

It’s time for a global minimum wage

Last April, 1 127 workers were killed when Rana Plaza, a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, collapsed. To put this in perspective, that’s more than twice the number of Americans that have been killed in mass shootings since 1983. This unfathomable tragedy reached us around the world in the form of images troubling enough to make…

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The truth about extreme global inequality

The crisis of capital, the rise of the Occupy movement and the crash of Southern Europe have brought the problem of income inequality into mainstream consciousness in the West for the first time in many decades. Now everyone is talking about how the richest 1% have captured such a disproportionate share of wealth in their…

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HarlemShake1

The Harlem Shake and Western illusion of freedom

Co-authored with Arsalan Khan When five teenagers in Queensland, Australia, uploaded a video of themselves dancing to a short excerpt of Baauer’s song Harlem Shake it immediately went viral, garnering some 400 million views and spawning well over 100 000 copycat versions. Critiques of the fad thus far have pointed out that it looks nothing at all…

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The neoliberal plague: Aids and capitalism

Another World Aids Day is behind us and the usual spatter of annual reports and politicians’ eager promises continue to reverberate through the media. If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of the whole show at this point. After all, it’s 2012, we were supposed to have this epidemic licked by now. Why, despite billions…

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The World Bank’s ‘development’ delusion

When Jim Yong Kim took the helm of the World Bank in July, progressives in the development community hailed it as a turning point in the fight against poverty: for once the bank is headed not by a US military boss or a Wall Street executive, but by an actual expert in the field of…

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Can South Sudan learn from the Alaska Model?

South Sudan will be celebrating the first anniversary of its independence on July 9.  But the day’s revelry will be marred by the fact that the past year has brought none of the peace and prosperity that people hoped it would.  With a poverty incidence of 90 percent, literacy rates as low as 24 percent,…

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Occupy Philanthropy: From charity to change

What would an Occupy activist say to a group of 100 millionaires? I was recently asked to speak at the Nexus Global Youth Summit in London, a gathering of the most innovative and influential young millionaires and CEOs in Europe and the Americas. The conference focused on how to make philanthropy and social enterprise work…

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The advent of “democracy” in Egypt

Egypt’s presidential elections this month have been accompanied by the expected media fanfare in Europe and the United States. News outlets are awash with pictures of ink-stained fingers, photographs of people standing in snaking queues to vote through the heat of the day, and headlines hailing the elections as a historic “victory for democracy”. If these representations…

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How to occupy the world

The leading tagline of the Occupy Wall Street movement reads: “Protest for world revolution.” This is an ambitious claim. In most respects it seems to ring quite true: the movement has successfully taken root not only in cities and towns throughout the United States but also in major urban centres around the world. On October…

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Sweatshop sugar

When you pour a packet of South African-made sugar into your morning coffee, you can feel good about the fact that the workers who milled, refined, packed, and shipped it are paid relatively decent wages, enjoy basic benefits, and are protected against severe exploitation. In many respects, South African sugar is about as “ethical” as…

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