Asia Pacific shares suffer sell-off amid prospect of US rate rise

3 days ago

Broad index of Asian shares see biggest drop since Brexit shock as European markets set to follow suit

Shares fell across Asia Pacific on Monday with UK and European stock markets poised to follow suit after investors were rattled by the prospect of a rise in US interest rates as early as next week.

Following the lead from a sharp sell-off on Wall Street, Japans Nikkei average was down 1.51% while the MSCI index for other shares across the region fell 2.2%. It was the largest daily drop since the frenzy caused by Britains vote in late June to leave the European Union.

Australian stocks sank 2.22% at 1.30pm local time with the countrys large banking sector badly hit by suggestions that the US Federal Reserve could raise borrowing costs at its meeting next week.

A near 4% fall in oil prices, also put pressure on the Australian marlket where the large resopurces companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum were all down.

The FTSE 100 benchmark in London was set to open down nearly 100 points, or almost 1.5%, according to online trading firm IG. Germanys Dax 30 was set to drop 231 points, or 2.2%.

Some Fed members have been trying to convince markets that the September meeting would be live for a hike, even though futures 0FF: only imply a one-in-four chance of a move.

No less than three Fed officials are expected to speak later on Monday, including board member and noted dove Lael Brainard. Any hint of hawkishness would likely further pressure bonds and equities.

Market participants are wondering if maybe [Brainard] is being wheeled out to give the market one last warning of a rate hike at next weeks meeting, said Marshall Gittler, head of research at broker FXPRIMUS.

The thinking is that if someone as dovish as she is starts talking like a hawk, people will notice. Her speech will be closely examined.

Chris Weston at IG in Melbourne said: Perhaps Lael Brainard can cool tensions of a near-term hike from the Fed. However given her pessimistic view of late expect any clear hints of a hike this year to be magnified, in turn causing the global sell-off in fixed income to ramp up.

Such risks led the Chicago Board options exchange volatility index to close at its highest level since late June on Friday. The Dow shed 2.13% on Friday, while the S&P 500 lost 2.45% and the Nasdaq 2.54%.

Government bond yields have been pushed to historic lows by years of monetary easing and made returns on equities seem relatively more attractive in comparison. Any tightening of that easy money approach, such as a Fed rate hike, will weigh on stock valuations.

The yield on benchmark German debt, for instance, had turned positive for the first time since July 22 and ended at 0.02%, its highest since 23 June. Yields on US 10-year and 30-year paper hit 11-week peaks.

In the forex market, the sudden bout of risk aversion benefited safe havens such as the yen while hitting carry trades in higher yielding currencies including the Australian dollar.

The Aussie has lost 1.5% against the yen in two sessions to stand at 77.21, while the Japanese currency was firm on the US dollar at 102.55.

The euro was sidelined on the dollar at $1.1239 after weak German trade data dragged it down from $1.1271 on Friday. The dollar index, which tracks it against a basket of six currencies, eased fractionally to 95.317.

Adding to the jittery mood on Monday was news that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton fell ill at a memorial ceremony for the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York and had been diagnosed with pneumonia.

Markets have generally assumed Clinton would win the presidency and have not properly priced the implications, both economic and for national security, should Donald Trump prevail.

Geopolitical concerns had already been inflamed by North Koreas fifth and biggest nuclear test, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.

North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test, South Koreas Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday, citing South Korean government sources.

In commodities, oil prices extended Fridays 4% fall in Asia after reports showed increasing oil drilling activity in the US, indicating that producers can operate profitably around current levels.

Brent crude was off 70c, or about 1.5%, at $47.31 a barrel, while US crude lost 79c to $45.09.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

How to fix your broken Facebook echo-chamber of news

13 days ago

Image: Associated press/ dapd, Joerg Koch

For all its talk of a more connected world, Facebook has a tendency to silo usits usersinto feedback loops-the-loops, those spheres of information where we’re rarely will be submitted to views that differ from our own.

Never was this phenomenon more pronounced than in the months leading up to the 2016 election, when it sometimes seemed as if people were living in entirely different, ideology-driven realities.

This interactive tool utilizing analysis from the Wall Street Journal does a good job of illustrating how this is with different standpoints might occupy completely different media worlds.

But you don’t have to submit wholly to Facebook’s take on the news. Below are some ways to hacker your feed for a more well-rounded online experience.

Adjusting your feed

The bad news: Facebooks proprietary news algorithm is an unpredictable black-box. The good news: There are ways to adjust your puts so that you consider more of certain types of posts or sources than others.

Facebook’s “News Feed preferences” let you to set which accounts’ posts you see as soon as you log in.

The tab can be found under the arrow in the righthand corner of your homepage.

Put together a handful of well-rounded news sources to get a dose of different opinions at the top of your page.

Ads might seem like an irrelevant factor in the news you see, but oftentimes publishers will boost posts by promoting them among users whose interests line up with those of their prospective audience. Facebook’s “Ad Preferences” control panel gives you a good idea of what ads you can expect to see based on your interests and lets you adjust those interests accordingly.

To access this tool, click on the arrow in the righthand corner of the desktop page, scroll down to “settings, ” click “ads” in the lefthand column of that page and go to the row that says “manage the preferences we use to show you ads.”

The panel also dedicates a sense of Facebook’s best guess of your ideological orientation. Remember that even if you don’t spend a lot of time on the site, Facebook has ways of following you around the web with trackers and cookies, so its profile of your perceived interests might still be extensive.

It’s worth noting that Facebook’s been around a while and these interest pages tend to accumulate on your profile. Sometimes innocuous interest pages even adopt odd political notions that they broadcast out to followers.

When I went through my predilections, I unchecked lots of pages I had subscribed to years ago and since forgotten about.

When I went through my preferences, I unchecked lots of pages I had subscribed to years ago and since forgotten about.

Following a well-rounded set of voices

Playing with your News Feed puts can only get you so far. The only real route to ensure an ideologically diverse feed is a good working knowledge of the legitimate sources on all sides. Here’s a starter list for some intelligent opinionated outlets.

Conservative-leaning prestige media

The National Review Long recognized as a leading voice in intelligent conservatism, the William Buckley-founded magazine tends to hold a lot of weight in right-wing circles. Like most legacy conservative outlets, the Review was outspoken in its opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy.

The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol’s weekly publication features an array of neoconservative viewpoints and informed takes from right-leaning Washington think tanks.

The American Conservative The bi-monthly publication is supposed to be a bastion of “true conservatism” and doesn’t hesitate to call out Republican party opinions when it disagrees.

Liberal-leaning prestige media

The New Yorker While not explicitly liberal, the New Yorkers editorial board leans left on most contemporary issues. Widely deemed to be of Americas best publications, look to it for in-depth reporting, unique commentary and some humor but watch out for fake headlines from uninspired satirist Andy Borowitz.

The Nation The oldest endlessly running weekly publication in the United States, The Nation can be reliably counted on to provide a thoughtful liberal point of view.

Mother Jones On top of some great investigative reporting, the San Francisco-based publication provides incisive liberal punditry.

Conservative new media

Independent Journal Review IJR seems to aspire to be a sort of BuzzFeed of the human rights with a heavy emphasis on social media and a bloggy tone.

Heat Street Rupert Murdochs provide answers to dominant conservative blogs, Heat Street brings a new media mindset to conservatism thats geared towards a young, digitally in-tune audience.

Daily Caller The Tucker Carlson-founded blog looks at politics, culture, entertainment and other topics through a conservative lens.

Liberal new media

Salon Salon was one of the early pioneers of online news, and the staunchly progressive site has a reputation as a launching pad for respected lefty voices like Glenn Greenwald and Joan Walsh.

AlterNet Another web innovator, AlterNet is known for its liberal activism and policy critiques. It’s syndication service has also made it a hub for content from liberal outlets of all stripes.

Talking Phases Memo Run by respected liberal pundit Josh Marshall, the progressive blog helps set the agenda for liberal thought.

Libertarian media

Reason The decades-old publication is widely seen as the publication of record for libertarian thinking.

Socialist media

Jacobin For anyone looking for voices even further to the left, Jacobin offers unabashedly socialist perspectives on contemporary events.

International perspective

Al Jazeera It may be a state-run outlet for the Qatari government, but Al Jazeera has consistently proven it’s committed to clear-headed thinking and in-depth reporting on issues facing the Middle East. It’s a good go-to source for sentiments and angles you might not be able to find in Western media.

The Economist The vaunted British publication features bold reporting-backed commentary on foreign affairs all over the world that were likely to get little attention in the U.S. press.

Der Spiegel( International edition) One of Europe’s biggest news weeklies, Der Spiegel offers an English-language international edition that dedicates readers a comprehensive window into continental politics.

Dig Deeper

ProPublica The Pulitzer prize-winning nonprofit is known for its in-depth investigative journalism, invaluable explainers and informative databases that demonstrate the tangles of interests at play in everyday institutions.

News Deeply The media organisation encompasses a collecting of specialized sites that excavate deep on important issues. Syria Deeply, which traces the ongoing civil war in the country, is particularly well-regarded.

The Marshall Project The investigative outlet another Pulitzer winner delves into criminal justice and law enforcement issues. Its editorial operation is headed by former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller.

Outside the media-sphere

Medium Medium’s Facebook page highlights the best and most popular posts from the blogging platform. It’s a good place “ve been looking for” views that might fall outside the traditional media bubble.

StoryCorps StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project that collects audio accounts of experiences from a diverse array of Americans.

Individual media figures

Most prominent journalists often update their followers with news and connects from their own perspective as well as insight into their work. Appear for names connected with reputable organizations or other well-regarded personalities.

What to avoid

Any accounts that share fake news

While thousands of people fall for hoax narratives every day, it merely takes a few minutes to check for the telltale signs of a bogus article.

Check the URL: Oftentimes, fake news sites will try to fool you with a site address thats almost identical to that of a trusted news source abcnews.com.co, for instance, is a real operating instance of a scam news hub.

Be wary of hyperbolic headlines: Any article headers with lots of caps, breathless adjectives or a shouty tone should instantly create suspicions

Watch out for common formulas: Many fake news novelists rely on the same provocative set-up over and over again. “X celebrity is moving to[ your hometown ]” is a common one for example. A quick Snopes search can easily debunks these.

Actually skim the article: Many fake articles count on the fact that most people dont read beyond the headline and pad the text with complete gibberish. The text in the screenshot below, taken from a fake post about Barack Obama banning the pledge of allegiance, should be a dead giveaway. But this article racked up nearly 50,000 views and more than 700 remarks the vast majority apparently unaware of its falsehood.

What Mark Zuckerberg Get Wrong–and Right–About Hate Speech

24 days ago

When he testified before Congress last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the problem of using artificial intelligence to identifies online detest speech. He said he was optimistic that in five to 10 years, “We will have AI tools that can get into some of the linguistic subtleties of different types of content to be more accurate in flagging content for our systems, but today we’re not just there on that.”

WIRED OPINION

ABOUT

Brittan Heller( @brittanheller) is director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society and works with social media companies to reduce cyberhate and online harassment.

As an expert on hate speech who recently developed an AI-based system to study online dislike, I can confidently say that Zuckerberg is both right and wrong. He is right that AI is not a panacea, since detest speech relies on subtleties that algorithms cannot fully detect. At the same day, just because AI does not solve the problem solely doesn’t mean it’s useless.

In fact, it’s only the opposite. Instead of “il rely on” AI to eliminate the need for human review of hate speech, Facebook and other social media platforms should invest in intelligent systems that assist human discretion. The technology is already here. It can not only help tech companies deal with the scale of this challenge; it can also construct platforms more transparent and accountable.

At its core, AI identifies patterns in data sets. In his testimony, Zuckerberg may have been trying to say that AI is not a good mechanism by itself to remove abhor speech. That’s true. Even the best filters will not replace human reviewers.

This is because hate speech evolves. For instance, Shrinky Dinks are plastic playthings from the 1980 s that are designed to get smaller when baked in an oven. Toys by themselves certainly aren’t hate speech. But when those same terms are used to describe Jews, as they are today by some white supremacists, the name of a child’s plaything can be transformed into an offensive Holocaust metaphor. Another instance came in 2016 when white supremacists started putting triple parentheses around Jewish people’s names on Twitter in an effort to harass and intimidate them.

Imagine trying to build an artificial intelligence that could capture this subtlety. The technology simply doesn’t exist yet. Because loathe speech is nuanced, even the best AI can’t replace human beings. Computation will not solve the abhor speech dilemma.

The clearest proof that AI alone can’t solve hate speech is the false-positive problem. As Zuckerberg explained in his testimony, “Until we get it more automated, there’s a higher error rate than I’m happy with.” However, even though it is AI was 99 percentage effective at removing controversial content like loathe speech, there would still be real repercussions, made worse by the immense scale and reach of online platforms.

Take the example of terrorist propaganda: Facebook already relies on AI to tackle that. In February, the British government announced it would employ AI to filter out radical content on social media and claims its automated tool can detect 94 percent of Islamic State propaganda with 99.995 percent accuracy. With a false positive rate of 0.005 percentage, if appropriate tools analyzed 1 million randomly selected videos on YouTube, merely 50 of them would require additional human review. That means 50 harmless videos that, without additional human review, would be falsely flagged as potentially criminal.

But Facebook produces much more than 1 million pieces of content every day. Facebook users make more than 350 million photos per day. At a false positive rate of 0.005 percentage, that’s 15,000 falsely flagged pieces of content every day. This equation merely looks at photos on one social media platform–only showing us part of the massive problem.

These misidentifications could result in users being wrongfully removed from platforms without transparency or a right of appeal before the platform takes action. Left to run on its own, AI in this context does indeed seem like it creates more problems than it solves. But what if AI wasn’t tasked with solving this problem alone? Platforms cannot tackle the detest speech challenge until they understand what hate speech means to their users and how it functions in online environments. AI is an excellent style to study how hate speech functions and evolves in online spaces.

LEARN MORE

The WIRED Guide to Artificial Intelligence

The Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society, in partnership with UC Berkeley’s D-Lab, created the Online Hate Index. This system uses artificial intelligence to identify loathe speech based on whether an objective of that speech would consider it loathe speech. This is not designed to filter out content, but rather to assist us understand how loathe speech operates on social media. The Online Hate Index relies on hand-coding of hateful speech from humans, laying the foundation to help solve a problem that has been inadequately addressed through reliance on platform users to report instances of abuse and violations of words of service agreements.

As a society, we don’t want social media platforms unilaterally deciding what is, or is not loathe speech. But user voices matter, and consumers want tech companies to be responsive to their concerns. By utilizing AI to identify patterns in what users consider to be hateful speech, outside of the content of the speech, mechanisms like the OHI can help platforms enhance their ability to find hate speech the style their users see it. This won’t has become a silver bullet–taking action may still necessitate nuanced analysis by human reviewers–but that combining of human and machine is to be able to help social media platforms operate at scale, and help it get onto right.

In other words, even if AI isn’t the answer on its own, executives like Zuckerberg shouldn’t be so quick to discount it at present. The best technology to combat hate speech should help human reviewers , not displace them.

Finally, if Facebook is serious about its commitment to being more transparent, it needs to share more data with outside researchers who examine hate speech, as Twitter has now been done.

Hate speech is one of the most complicated problems faced by internet platforms today. At the same time, it is a phenomenon that must be addressed with a comprehensive approach if we want to truly build online communities safer and more inclusive for all people. By pairing artificial intelligence with human understanding, social media companies can foster an environment that is less prone to host abhor speech and more welcoming to all people.

WIRED Opinion publishes pieces written by outside contributors and represents a wide range of viewpoints. Read more sentiments here.

More on Artificial Intelligence

Google cofounder Sergey Brin warns about AI’s dark side Photo algorithms identify white humen just fine. Black women? Not so much Why artificial intelligence researchers should be more paranoid

Trump’s rise and Brexit vote are more an outcome of culture than economics

1 month, 3 days ago

Populists are tapping into the outrage of those who have been losing the cultural battles over race, gender and social identity in a globalised world

If Donald Trump loses the US election, will the tide of populism that threatened to overwhelm the world after the Brexit vote in June begin to wane? Or will the revolt against globalisation and immigration simply take another form?

The rise of protectionism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain, America, and Europe is widely believed to reflect stagnant incomes, widening inequality, structural unemployment, and even excessive monetary easing. But there are several reasons to question the link between populist politics and economic distress.

Most populist voters are neither poor nor unemployed; they are not victims of globalisation, immigration, and free trade. The main demographic groups behind the anti-establishment upsurge have been people outside the workforce: pensioners, middle-aged homemakers, and men with low educational qualifications receiving disability payments.

In Britain, where detailed analyses of the votes actually cast in the Brexit referendum are now available, the group most directly affected by low-wage competition from immigrants and Chinese imports people under 35 voted against Brexit by a wide margin, 65% to 35%. Meanwhile, 60% of pensioners who voted backed the leave campaign, as did 59% of voters with disabilities. By contrast, 53% of full-time workers who participated wanted Britain to remain in Europe, as did 51% of part-time workers.

The British data suggest that cultural and ethnic attitudes, not direct economic motivations, are the real distinguishing features of anti-globalisation voting. Asked whether social liberalism is a force for good or a force for ill, 87% of remain voters said it was a force for good, while 53% of Leave voters called liberalism a force for ill. On multiculturalism, the difference was even starker 65% of leave voters were against it, while 86% of remainers approved. Another analysis published by the BBC after the referendum found one of the strongest predictors of a leave vote to be support for capital punishment.

In America, polls suggest that gender is an even more important indicator of support for Trump than age or education. Early this month, when Trump was only a few points behind Clinton in overall support, a Washington Post/ABC poll compared voting intentions with the 2012 election. It found not only that white men backed Trump by a margin of 40 percentage points, but also that their support for Trump was 13 points higher that it was for Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.

White women, by contrast, marginally supported Clinton and had swung by 15 percentage points against the Republicans. Among voters without a college education, the gender difference was even starker: less-educated white men favored Trump by a 60% margin and had swung in favor of the Republicans by 28 percentage points, while women had swung by 10 percentage points in the opposite direction and only marginally supported Trump.

It seems, therefore, that the conflicts generally ascribed to economic grievances and globalisation are actually the latest battles in the culture wars that have split western societies since the late 1960s. The main relevance of economics is that the 2008 financial crisis created conditions for a political backlash by older, more conservative voters, who have been losing the cultural battles over race, gender, and social identity.

The dominance of free-market ideology before the crisis allowed many controversial social changes, ranging from income inequality and intensified wage competition to greater gender equality and affirmative action, to go almost unchallenged. Progressive social liberalism and conservative free-market economics seemed to be two sides of the same coin. But when free-market economic liberalism failed in the 2008 crisis, political challenges to social liberalism could no longer be deflected by invoking impersonal economic laws.

But if social change can no longer be legitimised as the necessary condition for economic progress, it seems unlikely that democracies will now vote to reinstate the social conditions before the ascendancy of economic liberalism and globalisation. Racial and gender equality are now backed by clear majorities in the US, Britain, and most European countries, and even apparently popular policies such as trade protectionism and strict immigration controls rarely muster more than 30-40% support in opinion surveys. Why, then, did Brexit win, and why is it still possible that Donald Trump will be the next US President?

Both Brexit and Trump were powered by an unstable alliance between two very different, even contradictory, movements. The bulk of their supporters were indeed social conservatives and protectionists who wanted to undo the social changes that began in the late 1960s.

Two of the most effective slogans of the Brexit and Trump campaigns have been Take back control and I want my country back. But the social conservatives inspired by such atavistic and authoritarian sentiments do not make up majorities in any western country. On its own, social conservatism could never mobilise more than 30-40% of voters. To achieve majorities, the socially conservative protectionists had to unite with the remnants of the Thatcher-Reagan laissez faire movement, who resent the interventionist economic management of the post-2008 period and want to intensify the competition, deregulation, and globalisation that social conservatives resent.

This unstable political compound is now dissolving in the US, and also in Britain, where prime minister Theresa Mays government is divided between ideological nationalists and economic liberals. If the US election on 8 November confirms Trumps failure to bind social conservatives and economic liberals into a winning coalition, similar disintegration is likely among European populists, too.

In that case, the Brexit vote will begin to look like an aberration not the start of a powerful new trend toward nationalism, protectionism, and de-globalisation, but the end of a backlash against modernity by an unstable alliance of social authoritarians and laissez faire market liberals. It will be the last gasp of an ageing generation that tried to impose its nostalgic parochialism on an increasingly cosmopolitan younger generation, but succeeded in only one unfortunate country.

  • Anatole Kaletsky is chief economist and co-chair of Gavekal Dragonomics. A former columnist at the Times, the International New York Times and the Financial Times, he is the author of Capitalism 4.0, The Birth of a New Economy.

Project Syndicate

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Truth About Amazon, Food Stamps, and Tax Breaks

1 month, 4 days ago

Since the early 2 000 s, Amazon has quietly received more than $1.5 billion in government subsidies, in exchange for bringing new jobs to cities and nations across the country. At the same period, low-wage employees at Amazon’s grueling warehouses have sometimes had to rely on a different kind of government benefit, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, to make ends meet.

Now Senator Bernie Sanders is bringing renewed scrutiny to Amazon’s reliance on taxpayer dollars to supplement wages. On Wednesday, the Vermont independent introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, which makes companies that have more than 500 employees with a 100 percent taxation on some government benefits its workers receive, like public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For example: If the Stop BEZOS Act were to pass, McDonald’s would be taxed $100 every time one of its cashiers collected $100 in food stamps. The bill is designed to force big corporations to increase wages, and to raise awareness about how companies benefit from public welfare, even in a healthy economy.

The legislation would likely affect many big low-paying retailers, like Walmart and Home Depot, and also Amazon, which says it utilizes more than 125,000 full-time employees in its US fulfillment centres. The retail giant, which stayed silent amid President Trump’s repeated criticisms of the company, has mounted a public relations offensive for responding to Sanders. Amazon even recently began instructing full-time “ambassadors” to promote positive narratives about working in its fulfillment centers via a fleet of nearly identical Twitter accounts.

While Sanders is right to point out that many Amazon employees likely use public assistance to make ends meet, his new legislation doesn’t address the other kind of lucrative government benefits the retail giant often receives. In negotiating to open a new warehouse or other outpost, Amazon often procures hefty tax breaks and other economic incentives from local legislators, the details of which aren’t always disclosed to taxpayers.

The Food Stamp Mystery

In the lead-up to the introduction of the Bezos bill, Sanders repeatedly singled out Amazon, now valued close to$ 1 trillion, for paying “employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer-funded programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing to survive.” He also invited Amazon warehouse employees to share their experiences with its term of office, some of which he subsequently made public.

The initiative provoked a rare response from the retail giant, which in a blog post accused the senator of constructing “inaccurate and misleading accusations against Amazon.” In its response, Amazon took issue with Sanders’ claim that thousands of its workers rely on food stamps, arguing there’s no way to know if they’re employees who deliberately chose to work part-time or were seasonally hired. The company declined further comment on the legislation.

Amazon has a point. It’s impossible to know exactly how many employees at companies like Amazon use public benefits like SNAP, because many states don’t keep track, according to an investigation from news site The New Food Economy conducted by reporter Claire Brown.

She found that in five states, Amazon ranked among the top 20 companies with the most employees living in households that receive food stamps, even in places where it’s not a top employer. But she was unable to obtain data from 25 additional countries where she attempted public records, in part because they don’t exist, at the least not in a uniform manner.

There’s also no way to know how much the corporations that Sanders’ legislation targets, like Walmart, benefit from SNAP recipients buying food at their stores. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture and food retailers have specifically fought to conceal data about which companies benefit the most from the estimated $70 billion doled out in SNAP benefits each year. A South Dakota newspaper has been suing the Department of Agriculture to induce the information populace since 2010, and the instance may now go to the Supreme Court.

“Not only can we not demonstrate the first side of the equation, which is how many employees use SNAP, but also how much companies make off of it, ” says Brown, the New Food Economy reporter. “We can prove neither side of the coin.”

Amazon’s Other Public Handout

Sanders’ legislation focuses on public welfare programs, dismissing how and why local governments dole out so much corporate welfare to companies like Amazon, Tesla, Apple, and Foxconn, long before a single employee is hired. Professional sports squads and automobile manufacturers also have received enormous incentives from local government, but experts say Amazon is unique in the amount and scope of public assistance it has sought.

“Amazon is especially adept at receiving incentives, including for their distribution centers, ” says Nathan Jensen, a government professor at the University of Texas Austin and coauthor of Incentives to Pander: How Legislator Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain. He says some states, like Maryland, have allowed Amazon to collect some taxes that workers would otherwise pay to the state.

In a rare move last year, Amazon publicly invited cities to submit proposals to be the site for a second headquarters , noting that “special incentive legislation” may be required.

Meanwhile, taxpayers, and even some local legislators, aren’t informed about the details of what companies like Amazon will get in exchange for coming to township. Unlike, say, a proposed taxation increase to pay for a new school, few public hearings usually take place over how much a newly arrived employer should be allowed to forgo paying in taxes.

Some municipalities submitted bids for HQ2, as the project is known, through their local chambers of commerce, shielding the proposed incentive packages from open-records statutes. The final 20 cities, cut down from over 200, were also reportedly required to sign nondisclosure agreements with Amazon. In some examples, the retail giant has also argued that the discounts it receives on public utility amount to a trade secret.

Jensen said today economic incentives can come at the expense of public service like schools, and that evidence suggests firms will still bring undertakings to new areas without them. “School districts are especially hit by many of the property tax abatements where they often struggle to finance schools or there have to be property tax increases to maintain the same level of services, ” he explains. “Most of the evidence suggests that incentives are rarely pivotal in attracting investment … Many of the things that really matter to firms, freeways and workforce quality, are paid for through taxes.”

Despite its full potential downsides, Greg LeRoy, the executive director of Good Jobs First, says companies often succeed in securing sweetheart deals because of the intense competition among cities, towns, and states to secure new jobs and foster economic growth. It makes a race to provide the biggest tax breaks for all sorts of companies, beyond Amazon.

In the wake of the 2008 recession, “politicians are desperate to seems aggressive on jobs and they have a lot fewer bargains to compete for, ” says LeRoy, whose group compiled the total of Amazon’s subsidies. “Amazon has completely played information systems that it inherited like a fiddle.”

In 2006, the Supreme Court had the chance to decide whether such taxation incentives are constitutional under the Commerce Clause, but the justices ultimately avoided immediately confronting the issue.

Economic incentive deals often last longer than the conditions for its politicians who broker them. But in the moment, the chance to stand next to a figure like Jeff Bezos at the unveiling of a new warehouse is oftens too valuable a political moment to pass up.

“What governor doesn’t want to stand next to Tim Cook and announce a new data center, even if it’s only going to employ 50 people? ” asks LeRoy. “The political power, the political’ juice’ of associating yourself with a famous company is enormous.”

President Trump has sought to politically benefit from the same type of incentive package that Amazon has received, when he reportedly personally helped coordinate the eye-popping $4.8 billion Foxconn bargain arranged to entice the iPhone manufacturer to Wisconsin. As a businessman, Trump also secured similar deals for his own properties.

The Stop BEZOS Act ultimately only addresses one kind of public assistance that companies like Amazon stand to benefit from: welfare programs like food stamps. The legislation, were it to pass, would do little to stop local government from vying in secret to attract companies, and employment, to their cities. Implementing the legislation would also demonstrate onerous, since information like what companies hire food stamp recipients isn’t readily available.

But Sanders may still succeed in putting pressure on local politicians to examine whether the bargains they’ve constructed with the world’s most wealthy firms are fair. The stakes are high: Amazon is set to soon announce the final location of its second headquarters, and Apple is currently shopping for the site of another campus as well.


More Great WIRED Stories

The diplomatic couriers who deliver America’s secret mail Y Combinator learns basic income is not so basic after all PHOTO ESSAY: An surrounding under siege Phone numbers weren’t meant as ID. Now we’re all at risk Inside Puerto Rico’s year of fighting for power Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter

Puerto Ricos Governor: The Island Is Ready to Welcome Tech

1 month, 8 days ago

In the difficult days after hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was hard for many Puerto Ricans to think about the future amid the rubble and ruin left by these devastating storms. Now, as we approach the first anniversary of those storms and enter a new chapter of the rebuilding process, I am optimistic and excited about what the future holds.

WIRED OPINION

ABOUT

Ricardo Rosselló (RicardoRossello) is the governor of Puerto Rico.

The storms ravaged Puerto Rico's infrastructure and economy, but we are rebuilding both to be stronger than ever. And while the work is hard, the opportunities are endless. Puerto Rico is a blank canvas, making it a unique platform for investment and innovation. That is why we are actively courting technology companies and investors to establish or expand operations on the island.

Puerto Rico has a well-educated, bilingual workforce. Roughly 30 percent of the population considers themselves fluently bilingual—far higher than Americans' national average. Aside from South Korea, Puerto Rico has one of the strongest records of educational development in recent history. Between 1960 and 2000, the average education of Puerto Rican workers doubled from 6.2 to 12.2 years, a record that no other country has attained.

Puerto Rico connects North, South, and Central America, making it the ideal location for businesses with operations and sales throughout the hemisphere. We also have a number of incentives that make our island an ideal place for investors to set up shop and for tech companies to sell products to the rest of the US market. I would like to see Puerto Rico become a place where businesses serve customers and coordinate operations throughout the Americas, what I like to think of as a “human cloud,” where workers spread across the island handle tasks remotely for businesses around the world.

This idea was on my mind during a recent trip to San Francisco, the beacon for global technology innovation. I met with senior executives from Airbnb, Tesla, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gap, and Uber to discuss opportunities for each to invest and grow in Puerto Rico. We also met with Silicon Valley private equity funds to present the opportunities that Puerto Rico offers.

We have created an ecosystem to attract new technology investments. We continue to modernize our tax code, but we already have incentives in place for businesses that export services to people outside Puerto Rico. These include tax incentives for research and development, consulting, investment banking, telemedicine, law firms, accounting, engineering, advertising, and even hospital services. These reforms are ideal for the technology sector as those businesses increasingly focus on services and less on hardware or software. We also have special tax credits for intellectual property developed in Puerto Rico, as long as the company or individual who created the technology spends at least half the year here.

Puerto Rico's biggest draw for technology companies will be the opportunity to experiment with cutting-edge technology as we rebuild our island. And our government will be an eager partner to facilitate those investments. Since the storms, Puerto Rico has partnered with Tesla and SunRun to modernize our energy grid, Google and Facebook to re-establish communications and internet access, and Airbnb to reinvigorate the island’s tourism industry. We are also working with AT&T, T-Mobile, and other telecommunication companies to build a 5G cellular network. We're giving businesses a chance to test new technologies on a once-unimaginable scale. The rebuilt energy and telecommunications system will be one of the most modern in the world.

In May, Airbnb announced an Experiences platform for the island, which will allow travelers to explore authentic Puerto Rican activities selected by local hosts; this will allow tourists to enjoy all the cultural and natural splendor Puerto Rico has to offer. For the first three months, Airbnb will donate all the fees to organizations helping with the relief effort. In the weeks and months ahead, the government will be announcing other agreements with companies in the tourism and tech sectors.

Today's workforce is more geographically independent than it was a decade ago. People can work anywhere, and who wouldn’t want to live and work in Puerto Rico? It’s physically beautiful, and you can’t beat our tropical climate. Those intangibles will continue to make Puerto Rico an attractive place for tech and multinational companies to set up shop. We are already a proud outpost of a number of globally recognized brands, including a number of global pharmaceutical giants, GE, Honeywell, and Microsoft. We have a thriving biopharmaceutical market, and we have worked hard to attract manufacturers, software developers, and telecommunication companies.

Puerto Rico already ranks third globally in the availability of scientists and engineers, according to a Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum, and we have established a number of incentives for technology companies to open or expand operations here. For example, we have established a public-private partnership, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, to lure tech talent to the island and keep it here.

Ever since I was a student, I have been fascinated by science and technology. That obsession led me to earn a degree in biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and PhD at the University of Michigan. As a former professor, I believe that these science and technology jobs represent the future of Puerto Rico’s economy. My administration is focused on growing Puerto Rico's technology sector by attracting and retaining top tech talent and building a robust network of teleworkers to service these companies an ever-growing number of customers.

Last year’s storms destroyed so much of our island, but the rebuilding process gives us endless opportunities to improve every part of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. How many other developed economies represent a blank canvas to experiment and grow? While these disasters have deeply damaged our island, Puerto Ricans are resilient, and I’m certain we will rise better and stronger than before.

WIRED Opinion publishes pieces written by outside contributors and represents a wide range of viewpoints. Read more opinions here.


More Great WIRED Stories

Read more:

Why the Tech Elite Love New Zealand

2 months, 5 days ago

This year, Rocket Lab plans to explosion a 56 -foot vehicle into orbit on a mission to revolutionize access to space. The aerospace startup’s affordable launchers are among the first to be tailored to commercial satellite customers. But the rocket won’t taken away from from Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg Air Force Base–it was manufactured in Auckland and will launch from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. “Tech entrepreneurs are doing all kinds of edgy stuff here that hasn’t been tried before, ” says Berkeley grad and software developer turned Wellington-based angel investor Dave Moskovitz. “Stuff that’s like, whoa , why would you go to New Zealand for that? ”

It’s a question that’s been whispered about Silicon Valley upper-class for the past few years, ever since Peter Thiel quietly became a Kiwi citizen; since LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman informed The New Yorker that New Zealand is the tech crowd’s favored end-of-days refuge; since Ellen Pao mocked her former Kleiner Perkins colleagues for coveting “private-jet escape roads to New Zealand.” Indeed, as of October the number of run visas granted under American techies was up 78 percentage over the same period in 2012. What dedicates? Beyond Wellington’s obsessive coffee culture and Queenstown’s unspoiled scenery( a country approximately the size of the UK with just 7 percent of its population ), New Zealand has established itself as an unlikely bolt-hole for the impending apocalypse.

“Thirty years ago New Zealand’s biggest impediment was the totalitarianism of distance, ” says David Cooper of Malcolm Pacific Immigration, who advises high-net-worth someones looking to relocate there. But as our chairperson subtweets Kim Jong-un and we brace for the next hurri-quake, that 13 -hour direct flight from San Francisco to Auckland starts to look inviting. “If I’m someone with a lot of money who wants to survive the end of the world, New Zealand is far away from any place I could conceivably assure a atomic weapon hitting, ” says James McKeon, policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

It’s also surrounded by vast plains of ocean, which has a dampening consequence on extreme climate, says James Renwick, a climate scientist at Victoria University of Wellington. “New Zealand is affected more slowly by warming tendencies than other countries, so we have more lead time, ” he says. “It will be fairly pleasant here for quite a while.”

And New Zealand is eager to attract Valley upper-class: Recruitment endeavours are seducing tech employees to local startup scenes; LookSee Wellington, which last year flew in techies to attend career info conferences and interviews, received 48,000 applications. Of course, most moneyed Kiwi-wannabes opt for the surer thing, an Investor visa–nearly guaranteed if you meet basic immigration criteria and expend NZ$ 3 million( about US $2.1 million) for four years or NZ $10 million over three years. Cooper estimates that more than a one-quarter of his US Investor visa clients hail from California.

Once your abode( or bunker) is under way, integrating is easy, say American escapists. “You can start a business in 20 seconds, ” says Moskovitz, who has invested in over a dozen New Zealand startups and renounced his US citizenship in 2015. “You just go on the Companies Office website and plonk down NZ $105. ”

Texas native Shawn O’Keefe , now a program director for Wellington-based accelerator Creative HQ, concur: “Being small and nimble, we don’t have the same level of bureaucracy and bullshit as in the States.” New Zealand recently topped the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business rankings as the nation most conducive to starting a business, registering property, and securing credit.

That same no-BS position were applied to invention, O’Keefe says: “New Zealand entrepreneurs aren’t working on an app to detect a better sandwich or whatever–they take real-world problems much more seriously.” While that may sound like some Silicon Kiwi spin, the country did introduce a Global Impact visa last year, targeting civic-minded founders tackling society’s biggest challenges. Meanwhile, US app peddlers and hedge funders are quietly burrowing into New Zealand’s epic mounds, plotting their real-world escape.


This article appears in the February issue. Subscribe now .

Read more:

10 companies that have successfully transformed something old to make it new again

4 months, 3 days ago

A thermostat from ‘Nest’ at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 08 January 2015. The trade show takes place from 06 to 09 January 2015.
Image: Britta Pedersen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Some of the most striking business success stories of the last few years aren’t about a new product or idea so much as they are about revamping something well-loved (or at least, well-used) and making it feel exciting again. Pokemon Go might be the most obvious example, but there are many others worth noting.

How do the best brands take nostalgia and familiarity and fuse them with modern technology to create a winning product or service?To find out, I asked 10 entrepreneurs fromYoung Entrepreneur Council (YEC)what one brand they think has successfully turned something old into something new again, and why it worked so well. Their best answers are below.

1. Nest

Nest successfully revolutionized a stagnant thermostat industry because they took something we all use and asked, “How can we make this (much) better?” They listened to people’s complaints (ex: energy use, comfort levels) and went about applying answers to these problems. When you’re in tune with public demands and you can create the appropriate solutions, you’ll be successful. Nicolas Gremion,Free-eBooks.net

2. Nintendo

Pokemon Go is a world-class example of how Nintendo became relevant again by simply reinventing itself through a modern game that activated gamers of all ages and genders. Pokemon Go incorporates virtual reality elements, gamification, and commerce at scale in a way that has never been done with such precision. I believe the reason for the success was well-executed timing. Kristopher Jones,LSEO.com

3. Snapchat

Snapchat brought photo sharing forward into the modern age and brought back a real interest in photos and communicating through photos. They were successful because they incorporated the social element and added ways to edit the pictures and add things to them that made it even more fun for their audience. They also brought the photo-sharing concept into the digital online age and made it interactive. John Rampton,Due

4. Slack

Chat rooms on the internet have always been around, and in the old days,asking someone for their age/sex/location was just what you did on them. Slack brought chat roomsback and made them more productive by highlighting their usefulnessforteams. Today you would be hard-pressed tofind a company not using Slack, or at least someone from the company not activeinaSlack community. Robert De Los Santos,Sky High Party Rentals

5. Polaroid

Polaroid cameras used to be these ugly, old looking things that resembled View-Masters, and with everything going digital, Polaroid’s future didn’t seem very promising. But, they’ve found a way to make their cameras kitschy, cool and popular through unique branding and an engaging aesthetic. I doubt they’ll ever be seen as dated again. Kelsey Meyer,Influence & Co.

6. Unwelcome Greetings

The team behind Unwelcome Greetings knew that traditional Hallmark cards were boring. At least, among Millennials, they felt that there was a better way to congratulate a friend or share a funny meme. And so far their outrageous greeting cards have been a hit among consumers who prefer to communicate in memes,emojisand pranks. Firas Kittaneh,Amerisleep

7. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club made it easier and cheaper to buy razors, and they did it with style. They were successful, in part, because of their innovative approach to advertising. But the real key was taking on an established industry that had been overcharging for generations, and making the product cheaper and more convenient. Companies like Casper are doing the same for mattresses. Vik Patel,Future Hosting

8. GoPro

GoPro effectively took an old product that everyone has, re-purposed it, and made a fortune. GoPro is nothing but a good-quality camera. However, they managed to make it attractive, target a large niche of passionate customers and create a new category for themselves. The beauty behind this brand istargeting a group of people who are tight-knit andlarge enough to build a sizable business. Diego Orjuela,Cables & Sensors, LLC

9. Netflix

As one of the cornerstones of the home entertainment industry, brick-and-mortar DVD rental stores seemed like theyd be around forever. Then along came Netflix. Not only did the brand reinvent the delivery of DVDs, they transformed movie rental altogether with streaming service. The brands success has come from not just embracing change, but seeing it as an opportunity for innovation. BrianLischer,Ignyte

10. Adidas

Adidasbenefited from people’s increased interest in sports gear that became athleisure wear. RapperKanye West, NHL Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, and NFL Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers helped put Adidas back on top. As Adidas says,Americans like winners. We needed to not just have athletes but the best athletes. Daisy Jing,Beauty Social

Scott Gerber is CEO of CommunityCo, an organization that builds and manages membership communities for elite professionals. He is the founder of YEC, an invitation-only organization comprised of the worlds most successful young entrepreneurs, and Forbes Councils, a collective of invitation-only organizations for elite executives.

Read more:

The Key to the Perfect March Madness Bracket: Evolution

4 months, 7 days ago

Predicting the wins and losers of March Madness is such a daunting challenge that it attracts math nerds like Starfleet voyagers lining up at Comic-Con. Statisticians, economists, Silicon Valley coders, the PhD quants at hedge funds and gambling syndicates: They’ve all tried to “solve” the outcome of the annual college basketball tournament’s 63 matchups.

“Every kid who takes a mathematical modeling class and who’s a college basketball fan, the first thing they want to do is predict the NCAA tournament, ” says Ken Pomeroy, a former meteorologist who has become arguably the foremost college basketball numbers guru. His famous KenPom ratings measure the strength of all 351 NCAA Division 1 basketball teams utilizing an old-school regression technique known as “least squares, ” which analyzes statistical variances in teams’ past performances and helps predict the winners in two-team matchups.

But to generate entire brackets is to tangle not only with the randomness of video games itself, but with the randomness of your betting pool–the luck guess made by all the people you’re competing against to predict the greatest number of winners. Microsoft researchers have unleashed their machine-learning engine Bing Predicts on March Madness forecasts, and several independent researchers, such as the chief data scientist of a big defense consultant, have employed neural networks to entwine discrete predictive models into “ensembles” that spit up probabilities. But some of the most intense March Madness research is being done by David Hess. He’s a 36 -year-old with degrees in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins and NYU who’s also from Kansas, and is thus “a huge college basketball fan.” In 2011 he went to work at a sports prediction site called Team Rankings, where he set out to build a tool to produce optimized NCAA tournament brackets for paying customers.

LEARN MORE

The WIRED Guide to Artificial Intelligence

After experimenting with different statistical models, including a so-called upset algorithm that somehow augurs underdog victories, Hess settled on what’s known as an evolutionary algorithm that relies on machine learning. Hess begins by rating the relative strength of all the competitors. Once the NCAA on Sunday announces the seedings–a ranking of the teams in the tournament–the model uses that data, along with probabilistic information from betting markets, to spit out a batch of probable results. That, however, isn’t enough. A second model scrapings data from ESPN and Yahoo, where millions of people submit their pickings for public consumption, and makes a simulated pond of opponents’ brackets.

At this phase, the evolutionary algorithm takes over. It obtains a semirandom sample of brackets from the 9.2 quintillion( that’s 9 million trillion !) possible permutations, and pits them against a series of simulated tournament results and a series of simulated pools. It runs, in essence, a simulation based on two other simulations. The algorithm plucks out the brackets that achieve the highest winning percentages and then does what makes it evolutionary: It “mutates” or “mates” the brackets to produce “offspring” outcomes. The software recurs this process through 300 or so generations and halts the evolution when it sees no room for improvement.

Starting Sunday night, 18 Amazon servers used by Team Rankings will spin for more than 24 hours, and Hess’ crew will pull a few all-nighters. “I think we find the global optimum solution the majority of the time, ” he tells, and recent results bear that out: A Team Rankings analysis shows that people who paid $39 for its optimized bracket last year won a prize in their pools at 7 hours the rate of those without an algorithmic edge. However, he’s quick to caution that no machine will ever be able to predict upsets. “Even if only we omniscient and could know the true odds of a thing happening, ” Hess says , no bracket based on those true odds would win any dedicated March Madness pool. In betting and basketball, there are no sure things.

Correction, March 13, 2018: Such articles was updated to clarify the rate at which Team Rankings customers won a award in 2017.


Read More

How tech took over the NBA Football coaches are turning to AI for help calling plays Basketball isn’t a sport. It’s a statistical network

Sexist attitudes make it very hard to stop sexual harassment

4 months, 21 days ago

Image: Getty Images/ iStockphoto

This week, the most famous members of the Trump family took turns discussing sexual harassment. At the heart of the most outrageous remarks were assumptions about the victim’s role and responsibility in preventing and responding to such harassment sentiments that provoked considerable outrage.

Those statements reflect an important and fundamental misunderstanding of why sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. Though it might be a onetime showing of poor judgment or a misunderstanding between co-workers in some cases, sexual harassment is ultimately a symptom of much bigger problem: sexism.

Sexism can be subtle, personified for instance by a male supervisor who considers himself progressive but addresses merely men in meetings. It can be outright, like a Ceo who crudely comments on the physical appearance of women.( This might voice familiar to Donald J. Trump .)

“For my entire life, Ive heard men talk about girls … Ive listened to humen dissect women around body parts.”

Either way, the faith that females are lesser than humen, or should be viewed mainly as sex objects, generates the conditions for sexual harassment to thrive in any workplace even those with so-called zero-tolerance policies.

Last month in a New York Times op-ed, former hedge fund trader Sam Polk induced the bleak connection between the thoughtless dehumanization of women and workplace culture that curbs their potential and subjects them to humiliation.

Polk recalls male colleagues telling, “I’d like to get behind that, ” about their fellow female coworkers. One senior executive asked Polk if he’d “gotten laid” and then lamented when Polk responded that he hadn’t. Too bad. When I was your age, it was like shooting fish in a barrel, ” the executive said.

This might seem like harmless chatter to some, but Polk watches something better malicious afoot 😛 TAGEND

For my entire life, Ive heard men talking here girls. On baseball field, in wrestling locker rooms, at frat parties and in private conversations, Ive listened to men dissect women into body parts …[ M] ost of the sexism on Wall Street occurs when women arent in the room. ‘Bro talk’ renders a force field of disrespect and exclusion that constructs it incredibly difficult for women to ascend the Wall Street ladder. When you create a culture where women are casually torn apart in dialogue, how can you ever stomach promoting them, or working for them?

This dynamic is what attains sexual harassment so difficult to combat. Even if a victim reports her harasser’s behaviour, there’s no ensure an intervention by human resources will result in an investigation and punishment, much less address the root of the problem: insidious, deeply held belief about a woman’s worth.

Polk’s disturbing confession which many girls have long known to be true is a far cry from the manner in which the Trump family discussed sexual harassment this week. Instead of talking candidly about why sexual harassment happens, both Donald Trump and his son initially suggested that the main victims is both responsible for the behavior and its consequences.

I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.

First the Republican presidential nominee used to say if his daughter Ivanka experienced the kind of sexual harassment that Roger Ailes, former Fox News CEO, is accused of commit, he would expect her hanging in there( never mind how that’s impossible for the non-wealthy or that she might encounter similar or even worse behavior elsewhere ).

I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the occurrence, he told Kirsten Powers, a paid political contributor to Fox News and contributor to USA Today . He soon rewrote his out-of-touch stance by telling the Washington Post that it’s up to the individual, and a victim might stay or leave depending on her alternatives.

The outrage, however, only intensified when Trump’s son Eric indicated in an interview with CBS that some females could avoid sexual harassment with the right personality traits.

“I think what he’s saying is, Ivanka is a strong, powerful female, she wouldn’t let herself to be objected to it, ” Eric Trump said of his father’s original comments, “and by the way, you should take it up with human resources, and I suppose she would as a strong person, at the same time, I don’t guess she would allow herself to be subjected to that.”( In fact, Ivanka Trump wrote about experiencing sexual harassment at work, including at her father’s construction sites .)

Megyn Kelly, a Fox News anchor who reportedly told researchers that she’d been harassed by Ailes, could muster only a “sigh” in a Twitter response. Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes ultimately led to his resignation, tweeted, “Trust me I’m strong.”

Surveys indicate that many females experience sexual harassment; depending on the type of questionnaire and sample, the incidence rate may be between 40% and 75% of female workers, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

And yet few women report such abuse. The EEOC’s research found that the least common response to sexual harassment is filing a formal complaint because victims may fear retaliation, shame, skepticism, inactivity and ostracism. Reporting an allegation to human resources, as many women have painfully detected, is rarely a cure-all.

“Having a policy is good, but its not sufficient, ” says Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality at the National Womens Law Center. “Its simply a piece of paper living in a binder or on a companys website unless its devoted teeth.”

“[ A policy] is just a piece of paper living in a binder or on a companys website unless its devoted teeth.”

Raghu says that preventing sexual harassment means changing social norms and workplace culture. Top leadership, for example, must champion respectful policies and behaviours. Human resources departments must have the time and financial resources to not only develop educates relevant to their employees’ requires, but also to prioritize investigating accusations and delivering prompt results. If person transgresses the policy, there must be consequences.

Ivanka Trump was the only is part of their own families who acknowledged that organizational culture is paramount in preventing sexual harassment.

In an interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, she described harassment as “inexcusable” and focused on a company’s role in addressing the problem. “We have a very strong HR team at the Trump Organization, who is equipped to deal with these issues if they originate … and you hope you have a culture in which they dont arise, ” she told. “But when they do, it needs to be dealt with swiftly.”

Ivanka Trump’s answer would be heartening if it didn’t reveal considerable differences in opinion between top executives at the Trump Organization. It’s worth asking why Ivanka’s brother and father constructed such tone-deaf remarks if her portrait of their company culture is accurate. Such differences are a prime example of the challenges that remain as workplaces try to eradicate sexual harassment.

Last year, the EEOC was so “deeply troubled” by the slow progress, and the number of sexual harassment grievances it continued to receive, that it assembled a task force to “reboot workplace harassment prevention efforts.”

In its recent report, which covers all types of harassment, the task force members laid out a comprehensive prevention strategy and argued that it’s not sufficient for companies to focus on legal liability. Instead, they must conduct trainings that describe unacceptable behaviour that could eventually rise to the level of illegal harassment. The report also proposed their own nationals workplace campaign similar to the It’s On Us initiative to prevent sexual assault on high school and college campuses.

Such measures are essential if we want to change the culture that permits sexual harassment. If this week’s debate can teach us anything, it’s that people still don’t understand why that behavior occurs in the workplace, and that well-intentioned policies aren’t enough.

We must expect and demand that females are implicitly and explicitly treated with dignity at work anything less sustains the sexism that dedicates way, with often tragic outcomes, to sexual harassment.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments .

Read more:

Powered by WP Robot