In Economics textbooks, wherein students must learn a theory of free enterprise capitalism that bears absolutely no relationship to reality, we are taught that workers work harder because productivity gains result in higher wages. Except they don’t. Productivity by means of automation or outsourcing are but two obvious problems.
The deeper problem no one dares name is the structure of corporate capitalism itself. When profits are made, decisions about where to invest those profits are made by management (acquisitions? dividends to shareholders? moving work overseas? investments? wage increases?). Workers are not in the room. The company’s board of directors in theory has oversight over governance on behalf of the entire corporation, but boards are management-friendly in more ways than one. Workers are a cost of production, not people who contribute to the company’s success.
Workers or their union representatives are absent from the process of making fundamental strategic decisions about the company’s future. They can only live with the decisions made by others about what to do with the profits their labor has generated. From the above chart, you can see how the class of management decision-makers (the subjects) has treated the class of workers (the objects) below them.
Germany, which by numerous metrics is doing better than we are socially and economically, has a capitalist system wherein workers sit on boards and share decision-making with management. We can’t do that here in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” because that would be socialism.
Media voices (FOX, NBC and CNN alike) accuse Democrats of waging “class warfare” every time they bring up the modest idea that the rich might pay higher taxes, i.e., the same tax rates they paid under Clinton. It’s all smoke and mirrors. The class war started years ago and as the chart above shows, it was won long ago as well.
When Republicans recently charged the President with promoting ‘class warfare,’ he answered it was ‘just math.’ But it’s more than math. It’s a matter of morality.
Republicans have posed the deepest moral question of any society: whether we’re all in it together. Their answer is we’re not.
One thing I really, genuinely enjoy about the Occupy Wall Street campaign (and this is also why I think that it will be successful in bringing about change) is the whole premise of the 99%. This is an extremely powerful message. By calling out the 99%, we’re bringing into light the reality of classical/trickle-down economics/capitalism.
See, I believe that most of the people who believe that deregulated business leads to a better economy are people who are either benefiting from it greatly (corporate execs.), and also anyone who believes in the “rags to riches” type of story. That in America, you either spend your whole life trying to make it, or you don’t. However, I believe that people put too much faith in that type of mindset to the point that they believe it’s common for poor people to become rich or at least financially comfortable.
But because of this great campaign, we’re bringing into the light the real reality of our economic system. People that have massive amounts of debt and are struggling to pay for the necessities are what’s common. This idea that anyone can become rich if they try hard, or have the proper credentials, or try and pursue a career will be successful is just not true. And this Occupy Wall Street campaign shows that. With more people like this coming forward, people will begin to learn and realize that this economic system does not work, and it needs to be fixed.
Sounds like someone works for Alan Greenspan.
“In the United States, we are in the process of seeing the baby boomers — the most productive, highly skilled, educated part of our labor force — retire. They are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly in international educational match-ups over the last two decades. … Most disturbing is that the average income of U.S. households headed by 25-year-olds and younger has been declining relative to the average income of the baby boomer population. This is a reasonably good indication that the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to the level of productivity achieved by the retiring baby boomers. This raises some major concerns about the productive skills of our future U.S. labor force.”
Mm. Or maybe it’s a reasonably good indication that old white lawyers are still partners at firms making big buck and giving specious advice to younger law students about what they do should with their law education and how to translate their experience into a job, when they’ve never been faced with the realities of today’s market.
I mean, I’m just sayin’. As a young law student. In this economy.
Or maybe it’s because the Boomers are a pack of fucking greedy assholes who are more than happy to pocket the profit gains that have resulted from steadily increasing productivity, instead of rewarding their employees for their hard work. Just a thought.