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Are Economic Rules Made to Be Broken?

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Friday, May 03, 2013

“You’ve heard of the golden rule, haven’t you?” a disguised Jafar asks in the popular Disney film Aladdin. “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.”

This weekend, participants at the “Rules Change: Resetting the Playing Field for Corporations, People and Democracy” Conference at UMass-Amherst will challenge Jafar’s notion, and the manner in which it plays out in both our politics and our society.

“Rules Change is for people concerned about inadequate oversight of large public corporations and financial institutions, and big-money domination of Washington politics,” the conference website reads.

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester), who is scheduled as a special guest speaker and will welcome participants, organized the conference in collaboration with the UMass Donahue Institute, the Institute for Policy Studies, United for a Fair Economy/Responsible Wealth, New Economy Coalition and UnitedRepublic.org. “I’m honored to have been asked to play a small role in this grassroots effort to start a conversation about the role of corporations in our society,” Rep McGovern told the Advocate. “Clearly, many people believe that we as a country need to take a step back, look at the balance of power, and examine how we can make the game more fair for everyone—shareholders, employees, customers, consumers and the environment.”

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Who Stole the American Dream?, will speak, and Senator Elizabeth Warren will deliver a pre-recorded video message at the free opening event at the Bowker Auditorium on Friday, May 3. The conference will run through Sunday, May 5. See RulesChange.org for information about registration, pricing, and scheduled events.•

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