What do slaveholders think?

Resultado de imagem para Labourers in Vidharbha region in Maharashtra, India. Photo by Sanjit Das/Panos

Labourers in Vidharbha region in Maharashtra, India. Photo by Sanjit Das/Panos

 image edited by Web Investigator

It is everywhere illegal yet slavery persists in many corners of the global economy. How do its beneficiaries justify it?

by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is a professor of sociology at the University of San Diego. His latest book is What Slaveholders Think (2017).

I liked Aanan as soon as I met him. My field notes read: ‘What a nice guy, you can just see from his face.’ Open-faced and conversational, he was enthusiastic about the explosive growth in his quarry operations and excited to show me around. Together, we toured the open mines where his workers carve into the earth, producing boulders that are broken down into gravel by smaller labourers, often women and children. Together with his workers, Aanan laughed at my efforts to repeat the process for myself, the sledge held high over my head before arcing down, momentarily disappearing into shards and dust.

He showed me the crushing equipment that transformed gravel into silica powder, proudly explaining that the Indian multinational company, Tata, which makes generous donations to Harvard’s renowned business school, was the exclusive buyer of his materials. I had met Aanan through a friend of his, a reference that considerably eased his concerns about speaking with an outsider regarding his operations. The fact that I was most interested in challenging bonded labour – a contemporary form of slavery – didn’t matter.

Around half of the world’s slaves are held in debt bondage in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Debt bondage is a very old form of slavery in which radically marginalised members of society, often from India’s ‘untouchable’ caste, must trade all their labour for single small infusions of cash. Broader social and economic systems ensure that they do not understand the terms of such loans, and that the time required to repay them is interminable. Lack of other work, lack of credit, and the need to pay for schooling and marriages effectively guarantee that there is no single contractual debt between the landlord and labourer but rather a string of interconnected informal loans.

Workers are often promised that their debt will be repaid within a certain period of time, only to be told that they have somehow incurred new debts. Running debts are occasionally sold to other slaveholders, and in this way a worker can change hands several times. Local officials are more likely to turn a blind eye than to enforce a remote law. 

The days of owning people are over, yet slavery still persists in dark pockets of the global economy. All forms of slavery are now illegal in every country on Earth, yet the practice still festers in unreformed nests of feudalism, where threats and violence can suppress or eliminate pay for work. Where slavery is verboten, psychological control through deception and fear is the new coin of the realm. In the case of debt bondage, it is the caste system – with Brahmin at the head and ‘untouchable’ beneath – that does the delicate work of stitching debts together into a seamless, infinite coercive system that leaves labourers feeling trapped.

Despite the abuse, the caste-based worldview frames these exploitative labour relations in familial terms. ‘You have to understand the mentality of labourers, and you should know how to make them work,’ says Aanan, who views himself as the caring parent and his workers as children. ‘To manage a group of labourers is like managing a group of primary-school children. They have to be provided with food or clothes, and they are taught how to behave … sometimes they start drinking alcohol; sometimes they indulge in feasts. So we have to pay them with caution. We divide them into small groups because larger numbers of workers tend to form a union and sometimes engage in mass holidays or strikes.’

Aanan says the happiness of his worker is paramount, even though his business model depends on entrapping the vulnerable and working them to the bone as they crush rock from dusk to dawn. He couldn’t come out and say this to me or to his workers – or perhaps even to himself.

Withholding pay and limiting opportunities to mobilise are important strategies for controlling workers. But all of this is done for the workers’ own good, Aanan insists. Though landlords complain about alcohol, such indulgences are also tactics for increasing debt. Rowdy festivals allow workers to blow off steam, effectively directing frustration away from their abusers. These events also allow workers to spend what little money they have, increasing the likelihood that they will remain dependent on the landlord’s line of credit. 

To the erstwhile slaveholder, leisure activities – talking, idling, drinking – are vices, tangible manifestations of social decline

When asked if he needs the workers or the workers need him, Aanan explains that: ‘The worker is my cash machine, my fate.’ In this one statement, he has captured a central contradiction inherent in most human-rights violations worldwide: exploitation takes place at the intersection of culture and capital, in the overlap between relationship and extraction, at the moment where care and exploitation intersect…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/this-is-what-slavery-looks-like-today-in-the-eyes-of-slavers

 

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The Strange Blissfulness of Storms

Scoles_BR-art

Is there a biochemical reason that extreme weather makes us happy?

Ifelt pretty sure something was wrong when the deer began running toward me. I knew something was wrong when a pine branch flew by my head. The air went dark and a noise like a train barreled through the forest, the actual wind coming after the sound of itself. The trees all swayed in the same direction, and then came the slap of thunder.

I felt more than saw the huge shelf cloud, a wall of black striped with electricity, surge forward over the ridge of the Allegheny Mountains overlooking Green Bank, West Virginia. A sharp line against the blue sky, it looked less like weather and more like a Rothko. I lived in this remote town, and I was on my usual afternoon run, picking my way across the trails that led from my house to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where I worked. Adrenaline told me I needed to fly, faster.

I ran two miles in 12 minutes, a pace I’d never maintained before and never have since, hurdling downed trees and power lines. When I got back to my house, surprised to be safe, I dragged my dog down to the farmhouse basement. After a restless 30 seconds, though, I bolted back upstairs, threw the door open, and stood on the porch. A wall of wind hit me. Lightning struck like a strobe. I felt awakened, alive, engaged. As the edge of the front pushed forward, the force seemed to clear the air and charge the whole scene with yellow-lit significance.

Scoles_BR-storm
STORM INSIDE: Negative ions released in a thunderstorm, foreboded by a massive shelf cloud over a plain, might affect us in a way that explains the emotional rush we feel in extreme weather.NZP Chasers

I’m not the first to feel this way, or write about it. “It was his impression that not just he but other people too felt better in hurricanes,” wrote Walker Percy in his novel The Last Gentleman, published in 1966. Today, people crowd around Weather Channel broadcasts and cross their fingers that storms will strengthen. They get giddy over thundersnow. Percy, a philosopher as well as a novelist, was intrigued by the phenomenon. In one of his earliest essays, published in the 1950s, he asked, “Why do people often feel bad in good environments and good in bad environments?”

Why hurricanes elevate our mood—lift us out of a malaise we might not even know we’re sunk in—is a rich question for philosophers, novelists, and people who like philosophy and novels. It’s deepened by the fact that our giddiness often comes spiked with guilt, and a revulsion at ourselves for hoping for, and enjoying, something so destructive.

But the thrill of storms may not just be a psychological phenomenon. A branch of science called biometeorology attempts to explain the impact of atmospheric processes on organisms and ecosystems. Biometeorologists study, among other topics, how the seasons affect plant growth, how agriculture depends on climate, and how weather helps spread or curb human diseases. For decades now, a faction have looked at how charged particles in the air, called ions, might alter our psyches as they wing in on the wind.

Explanations of the environment’s impact on us sometimes crash at the intersection of science and pseudoscience. The idea that electrically charged molecules affect humans has led to dubious cures like negative air-ionizing therapy. But recent, rigorous studies have hinted at compelling links between ions, physiology, and psychology. The collision of that work with the science of storms could bear a message of connection for us all.

Scientists first attempted to unweave the web between air ions—whose composition changes with weather and environment—and human mood in the mid 20th century, when ion-generating machines and ion counters became more standardized and available. Ions, natural or ginned up inside a device, are electrically charged particles: Negative ions have an extra electron, and positive ions are missing an electron. Positive ions get their spark when some force—like the scrape of air over land or shear from water droplets splashing—strips an electron from them. That electron goes on the rebound and attaches itself to a nearby oxygen molecule, which then becomes a negative ion.

In the wild, people encounter the greatest densities of negative air ions in pleasant, hydrated places and during summer months. Breaking ocean waves and falling water—dropping from the sky or flowing over a rock ledge—release a rash of negatives into the air. So do bolts of lightning. Positive ions—often associated with pollutant particles like smoke, smog, and dust—are more prevalent indoors, in urban areas, and in the winter. The leading edges of storms and hot, dry winds like the Santa Anas in California also blow them in.

Lightning struck like a strobe. I felt awakened, alive, engaged.

Medical doctor Daniel Silverman of New Orleans and Igho Kornblueh of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia were first to test whether the shifting tides of ions do anything to the human body or mind. Is either polarity good or bad, or are they both neutral? In 1957, they gave subjects 30-minute treatments with air ions from ion-generating devices.

During the treatment, Silverman and Kornblueh watched patients’ electrical brain activity on electroencephalograms. Their long, slow, alpha waves looked calm and relaxed when they were surrounded by negative ions, positive ones, or both at once (not exactly conclusive). Another research group later confirmed chilled-out brain activity and sharper perception, when they treated patients with negative air ions. Their results weren’t definitive, but three other studies in the ’50s and ’60s looked at how ions changed self-reported perceptions of comfort and restlessness. According to this research, some subjects felt negative feelings with positive ions, and some reported positive feelings with negative ions…

more…

http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/the-strange-blissfulness-of-storms-rp

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Microwave Towers & Faster Downloads: The Hidden Health Impact of Wireless Communications

by Benjamin Nowland, New Dawn Waking Times

Imagine you arrive home after work to discover a new microwave antenna tower stationed at the edge of your backyard fence? How would you respond?

  1. If you’d had non-existent mobile phone reception for years prior (or if you were a techie ‘hooked on faster downloads’) then you might find reason to celebrate!
  2. You might respond as an ambivalent disempowered citizen, “I really wonder about those things but there isn’t much I can do about this anyway.”
  3. You may be in the growing group of empowered action-takers. You’ve either experienced microwave radiation sickness attributable to exposure or you’ve read books and articles on the topic which resonate with your own truth

Out of Sight Does Not Equal Out of Mind

Now forget the antennas in the backyard. Rather, that same day you arrived home from work telcos had erected a microwave antenna tower 300 metres from your residence. They paid someone rent to place it in a stealth location, a church steeple, behind a shop rooftop façade or on a water tower tucked out of public view behind parkland. Or it might have been located entirely visible, say next to a highway. We are already seeing so many of these towers that they no longer register. Our innate sensibility has often numbed to them in the same way we can numb to catastrophe or violence through a constant diet of Hollywood and TV news.

Telcos seeks to irradiate a large area (coverage) and increase data rate by:

  1. Multiple waveforms emitted (a variety of microwave frequencies generated and sent out through the ether via the antennas) – for instance the 700 MHz (0.7 GHz) band is highly penetrating (including through buildings) and is therefore especially effective used in conjunction with the 2600 MHz (2.6 GHz) band which has a high data rate (PENETRATION + HIGH DATA = HAPPY TELCO and customers). Keep in mind these frequencies are used to cook flesh. The microwave oven you dropped off at the recovery area of the rubbish tip the other week runs at 2.45 GHz.
  1. Turning up the ‘volume’ or microwave power density on the antenna array – in the same way we turn up the volume of our stereo. This is the same ‘invisible stuff’ emitted by your mobile device and WiFi. In the above example when the antenna tower was at the edge of your back fence (say 100 metres from your bedroom), you’d likely complain, “Not In My Back Yard!” When it is located 300 metres away and out of sight in council bushland there is no way for you to complain as you do not even know about it! Even if it is located on the side of a road you might not consider taking action, such is the distorted form of information passed on to the public (more on this later).

Distance is an important consideration per the Inverse Square Law for distance from source (of microwave radiation) – Intensity α 1/distance.2

If the antenna was at 100 metres distance then was moved to 300 metres, the intensity will be 1/9th that at 100 metres. However, what if the telco turned up the ‘volume’ of the antenna array at 300 metres to be 90 times higher than the antennas at 100 metres? Intensity would then = 1/9 x 90 = 10 times higher at 300 metres than at 100 metres. Most of us do not spend our evenings searching data on local antenna emission levels.

The Inverse Square Law applies similarly to devices. Many years ago I had a wireless emitting Telstra modem located underneath a couch I enjoyed lying on in the evening to read – not clever. I wondered why my sleep was so chaotic during that phase. I correlated to show the pre-bed ritual of a book on the couch was a contributor. I’ve since hardwired my Internet.

Transform your brain health by simply stretching out to arms-length and putting your phone on ‘speaker’ rather than pressing it to your ear and literally ‘cooking’ parts of your brain.

  1. Working with trajectory and strategic location – there is an overlay strategy to eliminate ‘black spots’. One element that can assist (and hinder) this strategy is trajectory. If in the above example the tower 100 metres from your bedroom is at 50 metres elevation per Figure 1 (note this is indicative software only) and you happen to live in a tenth floor apartment, then you could well be in the direct line of fire. If you were in a house on the ground floor the power density (or exposure levels) would not be as high. However, consider the ‘side lobes’ that are the diagonal high intensity lobes dependent on antenna design/type. There is a myth that you are ‘protected’ directly beneath an antenna array. Because of side lobes this is not the case, though you are less exposed than if you were directly in front of it.

Faster Data Rates PLEASE MR TELCO

The telcos suggest the market is requesting faster data rates and ‘eradication’ of mobile black spots. The suggestion is we want high-speed coverage everywhere.

Telcos tell us the public is demanding faster rates on their devices and that is why they need to build more towers and turn up the power density. Do you want to download ten videos simultaneously rather than just one? We are a misinformed public with minds etched by PR and advertising. We are told of the benefits of a wireless world such as convenient communications, improved work efficiency, and safety devices.

The law of polarity holds that wherever there are benefits we find shortcomings. We do not hear that in 2009 over 300,000 Swedes indicated they are detrimentally affected by electromagnetic radiation. We are not presented the stories of thousands of Australians experiencing anxiety, headaches, brain fog and even heart palpitations, lost in an unreceptive, outdated and often derisive medical system. We aren’t informed of the snake-oil industries that have sprung up to ‘service’ the desperate.

Presently ‘we’ as powerful individuals are not demanding faster downloads. There is a collective entity influencing and it can be difficult to create space to ‘see’. I switch on my phone for around 10-20 minutes per day. Not everyone can do this, and I may have a work-lifestyle that requires more connectivity in the future. Why not experiment? The act of experimenting is an act of questioning the status quo. How low can you go?

Am I Being Rattled by Microwaves?

For those who have been feeling ‘off’ for no apparent reason, with headaches, anxiety, a general ‘jitteriness’ and irritation, insomnia and perhaps more extreme symptoms such as tingling in the extremities, brain fog and palpitations, the answer may be YES. Microwave radiation exposure is not the only contributor, however it’s one of multiple environmental factors…

more…

About the Author

BENJAMIN NOWLAND (Honours Mechanical Engineer, Grad. Cert. Environmental Management, Cert. IV Training and Assessment, Certified Health Practitioner and Yoga Teacher) shares original perspectives on health and spirituality. Ben is the best-selling author of Playing GOD Biological and Spiritual Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation – a book created to stretch perceptions whilst easily digested by the householder. He has spent two decades exploring human potential, the infinite and eternal. Connect with Ben at: ben@dharamhouse.com.

Benjamin Nowland is the author of Playing GOD Biological and Spiritual Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation, a book for empowered action-takers in the community, health practitioners and for those experiencing symptoms. To obtain your copy, visit www.vividpublishing.com.au/playinggod/ or call Vivid Publishing on 08 9467 4143. For further information on Ben’s work, visit his website www.dharamhouse.com.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/21/microwave-towers-faster-downloads-hidden-health-impact-wireless-communications/

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In defence of hierarchy

Resultado de imagem para Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China.

Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China. Photo courtesy the National Palace Museum, Taipei/Wikipedia

As a society we have forgotten how to talk about the benefits of hierarchy, expertise and excellence. It’s time we remembered

BY Stephen C Angle is professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University. He has written and edited many books on Chinese philosophy, including Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Confucian Philosophy (2012). He lives in Middletown, CT.

The modern West has placed a high premium on the value of equality. Equal rights are enshrined in law while old hierarchies of nobility and social class have been challenged, if not completely dismantled. Few would doubt that global society is all the better for these changes. But hierarchies have not disappeared. Society is still stratified according to wealth and status in myriad ways.

On the other hand, the idea of a purely egalitarian world in which there are no hierarchies at all would appear to be both unrealistic and unattractive. Nobody, on reflection, would want to eliminate all hierarchies, for we all benefit from the recognition that some people are more qualified than others to perform certain roles in society. We prefer to be treated by senior surgeons not medical students, get financial advice from professionals not interns. Good and permissible hierarchies are everywhere around us.

Yet hierarchy is an unfashionable thing to defend or to praise. British government ministers denounce experts as out of tune with popular feeling; both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders built platforms on attacking Washington elites; economists are blamed for not predicting the 2008 crash; and even the best established practice of medical experts, such as childhood vaccinations, are treated with resistance and disbelief. We live in a time when no distinction is drawn between justified and useful hierarchies on the one hand, and self-interested, exploitative elites on the other.

As a group, we believe that clearer thinking about hierarchy and equality is important in business, politics and public life. We should lift the taboo on discussing what makes for a good hierarchy. To the extent that hierarchies are inevitable, it is important to create good ones and avoid those that are pernicious. It is also important to identify the ways in which useful and good hierarchies support and foster good forms of equality. When we talk about hierarchies here, we mean those distinctions and rankings that bring with them clear power differentials.

We are a diverse group of scholars and thinkers who take substantively different views on many political and ethical issues. Recently, we engaged in an intensive discussion of these issues under the aegis of the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center in Los Angeles, and we found ourselves agreeing on this: much can be said in defence of some kinds of hierarchy. The ideas we present here are at the very least worthy of more widespread and serious attention. All of this takes on a new urgency given the turn in world politics towards a populism that often attacks establishment hierarchies while paradoxically giving authoritarian power to individuals claiming to speak for ‘the people’.

What then, should be said in praise of hierarchy? 

First, bureaucratic hierarchies can serve democracy. Bureaucracy is even less popular these days than hierarchy. Yet bureaucratic hierarchies can instantiate crucial democratic values, such as the rule of law and equal treatment.

There are at least three ways in which usually hierarchical constitutional institutions can enhance democracy: by protecting minority rights, and thereby ensuring that the basic interests of minorities are not lightly discounted by self-interested or prejudiced majorities; by curbing the power of majority or minority factions to pass legislation favouring themselves at the expense of the public good; and by increasing the epistemic resources that are brought to bear on decision-making, making law and policy more reflective of high-quality deliberation. Hence democracies can embrace hierarchy because hierarchy can enhance democracy itself…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/hierarchies-have-a-place-even-in-societies-built-on-equality

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Three Ways to Practice Forgiveness

Three Ways to Practice Forgiveness

Photo by Rob Ireton | https://tricy.cl/2mn8wfH

Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg guides us through an exercise that helps us cultivate kindness toward those who have harmed us (including our own selves).

By Sharon Salzberg

The sense of psychological and spiritual well-being that comes from practicing forgiveness comes directly because this practice takes us to the edge of what we can accept. Being on the edge is challenging, wrenching, and transforming. The process of forgiveness demands courage and a continual remembering of where our deepest happiness lies. As Goethe said, “Our friends show us what we can do; our enemies show us what we must do.”

It is indeed a process, which means that as you do the reflections, many conflicted emotions may arise: shame, anger, a sense of betrayal, confusion, or doubt. Try to allow such states to arise without judging them. Recognize them as natural occurrences, and then gently return your attention to the forgiveness reflection.

The reflection is done in three parts: asking forgiveness from those you have harmed; offering forgiveness to those who have harmed you; and offering forgiveness to yourself. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and let your breath be natural and uncontrolled. Begin with the recitation (silent or not, as you prefer): “If I have hurt or harmed anyone, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask their forgiveness.” If different people, images, or scenarios come up, release the burden of guilt and ask for forgiveness: “I ask your forgiveness.”

After some time, you can offer forgiveness to those who have harmed you. Don’t worry if there is not a great rush of loving feeling; this is not meant to be an artificial exercise, but rather a way of honoring the powerful force of intention in our minds. We are paying respects to our ultimate ability to let go and begin again. We are asserting the human heart’s capacity to change and grow and love. “If anyone has hurt or harmed me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive them.” And, as different thoughts or images come up mind, continue the recitation, “I forgive you.”

In the end, we turn our attention to forgiveness of ourselves. If there are ways you have harmed yourself, or not loved yourself, or not lived up to your own expectations, this is the time to let go of unkindness toward yourself because of what you have done. You can include any inability to forgive others that you may have discovered on your part in the reflection immediately preceding—that is not a reason to be unkind to yourself. “For all of the ways I have hurt or harmed myself, knowingly or unknowingly, I offer forgiveness.”

Continue this practice as a part of your daily meditation, and allow the force of intention to work in its own way, in its own time.

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/three-ways-practice-forgiveness/

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How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff,Waking Times

Compassion is the humane side of suffering, which inspires the most beautiful acts of humanity. In man’s world, animals often bear the worst of our dark side, suffering under the stresses of cruelty and ruthlessness, however, being compassionate towards animals may actually be good for your health and well-being, perhaps even prolonging your life.

For so many of us, compassion appears to be an innate, instinctual part of the human experience, something so many of us do automatically, and decades of clinical psychological research into the problem of human suffering shows how our most evolved nature is to respond compassionately. A host of university studies share the conclusion that compassion is part of our higher nature, looking at the biological basis for compassion.

Dacher Keltner summarized the emerging findings from this new science of human goodness, proposing that compassion is “an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology.”” [Source]

Human well-being is multi-dimensional and the corollaries between how we behave and how that behavior in turn affects our overall wellness are more understood now than ever before. When we act from our higher nature, it benefits our health, which may explain the tendency for so many people to live altruistic lives in helping others and protecting animals.

“That suffering, as unpleasant as it is, often also has a bright side to which research has paid less attention: compassion. Human suffering is often accompanied by beautiful acts of compassion by others wishing to help relieve it. What led 26.5 percent of Americans to volunteer in 2012 (according to statistics from the US Department of Labor)? What propels someone to serve food at a homeless shelter, pull over on the highway in the rain to help someone with a broken down vehicle, or feed a stray cat?” [Source]

Taking this one step further, looking at the tendency of people to extend compassion beyond the human race, showing empathy towards the animal kingdom and the natural world, we find an infinite number of possibilities for improving our own lives by directing our energy toward ending the pain and suffering of many beings.

Being compassionate has even been shown to make us more attractive to the opposite sex in behavioral studies looking at societies with more altruistic tendencies.

“One more sign that suggests that compassion is an adaptively evolved trait is that it makes us more attractive to potential mates. A study examining the trait most highly valued in potential romantic partners suggests that both men and women agree that “kindness” is one of the most highly desirable traits.” [Source]

Furthermore, engaging in acts of compassion, when done for the right reasons, can increase one’s peace of mind and happiness:

“The cultivation of well-being has specifically shown that it is eudemonic, rather than hedonic wellbeing which is linked to a sense of connectedness with oneself, and others. Eudemonic wellbeing implies finding meaning and purpose in life, living in accordance with one’s values and developing a sense of long-term “spiritual” health (not necessarily religious).

In turn, eudemonic well-being may be cultivated through mindful practices such as mediation and compassion training.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

It’s not something that would surprise most people, as the expression of our best nature feels good and is uplifting for everyone involved, but the inverse of this must also be true, that people who neglect their own health would have a more difficult time being compassionate to animals, and even nature in general. Therefore, adding intentional kindness, compassion and empathy the ways in which we attain better health and wellness makes perfect sense.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/21/the-link-between-compassion-for-animals-and-good-health/

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If Your Partner Lies About Their Finances, Your Relationship is Doomed

Illustration by Dave van Patten

by John McDermott

The costliest kind of deceit

When Cary Carbonaro found out her husband had hidden $70,000 in student-loan debt from her, it was the beginning of the end for their young marriage. It wasn’t the only reason they got divorced — he was a verbally abusive cheater — but it was the first sign that something was seriously wrong. And as with many relationship missteps, the cover-up was worse than the crime.

Carbonaro was a victim of “financial infidelity,” her term for when a person lies about financial matters to their partner. It can mean racking up thousands of dollars in debt on a secret credit card, lying about the financial health of your small business or pilfering your joint retirement account to satisfy a gambling addiction.

Whichever the case, it always involves deceit, she says, and it’s almost always a relationship-killer.

“Money is a litmus test for your relationship,” says Carbonaro, managing director at the wealth management firm United Capital and author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. “If you have money issues, you’re gonna have relationships issues.”

Financial infidelity is shockingly common. A recent survey by CreditCards.com revealed that a staggering 12 million Americans have a secret bank or credit card account they keep concealed from their partner. That’s kind of a lot! Is it a shocking amount? That’s hard to say. But it certainly seems significant. A 2016 Harris Poll finds 42 percent (!!!) of people in couples commit some form of financial infidelity, up from 33 percent just two years prior.

Here’s also some anecdotal evidence: Carbonaro is currently working on her second book, which will be co-authored by a divorce attorney. And Carbonaro’s co-author tells her the most common causes of divorce among her clients are sexual/emotional infidelity, money issues or both.

Another interesting tidbit from the CreditCards.com study: Boomers are four times more likely to have a secret account than millennials, and twice as likely to make a purchase of $500 or more without consulting their partner. Turns out those entitled millennials lack the financial hang-ups of their parents’ generation.

You may know less about your partner than you realize. A 2015 study from Fidelity Investments reveals couples know less about their partner’s finances than they realize. The overwhelmingly majority of couples surveyed (72 percent) report they communicate well about financial matters, yet 43 percent of respondents couldn’t identify their partner’s income. Of that group, 10 percent couldn’t guess it within $25,000. And about half (48 percent) of all respondents disagree with their partner on how much they’ll need to save for retirement.

That is, even couples who think they’re being transparent with each other about their money situation are still ignorant to certain aspects of their partner’s finances. (If you think that applies to you and yours, you can take Fidelity’s free financial compatibility quiz and illuminate any disconnects between you and your partner.)

Hiding debt is the most common form of financial infidelity. As noted above, financial infidelity can manifest in many ways. That said, hiding a splurge purchase that you intend to pay off in the near future probably doesn’t qualify as full-blown infidelity, Carbonaro says. And degenerate gambling cases are rare.

People not divulging how much they owe in debt, however, is very common. They’re usually doing so because they’re worried their poor finances will upset or put off their partner. “A lot of people are embarrassed by their debt and spending,” says Carbonaro. “They don’t want to be judged.”…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/if-your-partner-lies-about-their-finances-your-relationship-is-doomed-f4e3660a8e80#.yry7a2x7j

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