Posted 9 years ago on March 3, 2012, 1:05 a.m. EST by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom
from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
YOU SHOULD HAVE A RIGHT TO A JOB AND A RIGHT TO KEEP 100% OF THE INCOME YOU PRODUCE
The root cause of nearly all the world's problems is that most people lack income, it's not lack of Wall Street regulation or inequality. The simple solution then is to give people jobs that pay well. This post shows how we can
- guarantee everyone a job
- raise the minimum wage to $130,000 per year
- for working 20 hours per week
Here's how to do that according to prominent economics professors Gar Alperovitz and Richard Wolff.
CREATE A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMIC SECTOR THAT COMPETES AGAINST THE PRIVATE SECTOR
This is because we allocate income based on how much market bargaining power you have not how much you produce. The greater your scarcity--the greater the demand is relative to supply--the more power you command to get the system to pay you more money.
It's why Kim Kardashian and athletes get paid a hundred times more than brain surgeons. They are more scarce than surgeons, so they have more power to take more income.
Our system allows a powerful few to use their power to take the vast majority of income that is produced. They have the power to take income that other people produce. That is wrong. Since most workers have little bargaining power in the market, they aren't paid for 75% of what they produce.
So the solution is simple: Give people the choice to work for an organization where income is allocated based on what you produce instead of your scarcity.
We can give workers that choice by getting the govt to simply pass a politically feasible "Jobs Bill" which creates an alternative "Democratic" economic sector. The Bill would authorize the Fed to provide whatever investment money is necessary to launch enough new companies in this sector to fully employ everyone who wants to work in one. These democratic companies would give each worker the right to equal ownership and to keep 100% of what they produce.
It is impossible to precisely determine how much any single worker produces, especially given the heterogeneous nature of goods and services. But we can determine which factors affect productivity when comparing workers producing identical goods, and what we learn is that effort, skill, and technology explain differences in output. We can also determine that it is unlikely someone can increase productivity by much more than four-times through effort and skill alone. (Read this comment for an explanation).
Given that working hard and being skilled enables you to produce as much as four-times more, a practical way of allocating income based on production would be to simply pay all income to workers, limit differences in income between workers to just what is necessary to get them to work physically or mentally difficult jobs and give their maximum performance in performance-based jobs, and not allow that difference to exceed 300%.
If the sector paid all income to workers and limited inequality to 4:1, the lowest paid worker would get paid $130,000 and the highest $520,000 as explained here.
And since half the jobs we do can be automated with existing tech, automating those jobs in the sector would enable us to pay those incomes for working just 20 hours per week as explained here.
Workers would be free to work as few hours as they want. If you want to earn just $32k, you would work just 5 hours per week.
This democratic sector would then compete against the private sector for workers and customers.
As economics professor Richard Wolff explains, doing this will give all workers the freedom to choose whether they want to work in the private sector where they lose most of their income or the democratic sector where they don't.
It could create what economics Professor Gar Alperovitz calls the second American Revolution because it would likely mark the end of capitalism. Nobody will want to continue working for a capitalist firm where they're broke when they have the freedom to work in a democratic firm where they're wealthy.
A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM WORKS
A democratic system of labor-owned firms works. Mondragon, the most notable example, is a collection of 250 companies with 100,000 workers that has out-competed capitalist firms for 50 years. Economics professors Gar Alperovitz and Richard Wolff are popular advocates of this system who study the success of thousands of labor-owned firms in the US and elsewhere.
Most don't know that Stanford University was founded to promote this kind of economic system, and they are required to generate research on it each year which shows labor-owned firms to be 6-14% more productive than capitalist firms (page 22.
Just like we replaced monarchies (and its private ownership of government) with democracy so the means of law making are equally owned by and accountable to everyone, we should replace capitalism (and its private ownership of the economy) with democracy so the means of production are equally owned by and accountable to everyone.
Capitalism doesn't exist because it is such a great deal for everyone. It's a terrible deal for most. It exists because there is no alternative. It has a monopoly over the economic system. If it had to compete against a democratic system, it would lose.
CAPITALISM DOES NOT WORK
With 50% of the US living in or near poverty, the govt releasing data on wage earners for the first time ever which shockingly shows 50% are making less than $26k, 18% of workers unable to find a full-time job, 55% of workers being wasted in pointless jobs that machines can already do, 1.6 MILLION kids who are homeless, nearly everyone (92%) dissatisfied with the economy, 70% hating their job and 70% having financial problems, it is clear that the economy does not work. Everyone's broke.
But people aren't broke because they aren't producing enough. They're broke because capitalism is a system that allows a few people at the top to take most of the income that workers produce. It's a system that exploits workers.
It's a system where the tiny few who have bargaining power live lavishly by exploiting the many without bargaining power who are left in poverty.
Everyone in the US in 2014 should be wealthy. We produce $17.4 trillion in goods and services every year. That is $54,000 per year for every man, woman and child. That is $218,000 per year for a family of 4.
And that is $73 per hour for each hour every worker works, $152,000 in yearly income per worker.
But because of the way capitalism allocates income, we have a world where most are in poverty instead of a world where everyone is wealthy.
CAPITALISM IS THE OPPOSITE OF DEMOCRACY
Capitalism is a system that uses exploitation to concentrate most of the wealth in the hands of the few. This doesn't just cause poverty, it also destroys democracy. Because these wealthy few naturally use their wealth to rule over society. So capitalism always ends in plutocracy, not democracy.
Democracy is a Greek word. But it is not a Greek word for "voting" or "mob rule" or "majority wins." It is Greek for "people power." A modern liberal democracy means political power and freedom rests with everyone equally.
Since everything you do in society requires money, your income determines how much political power you have and determines how much freedom you have.
A person with $1 billion has 50,000 times more power than a person with $20,000 to get someone elected to government or to lobby government to their cause or to use the media to lobby the public to their cause.
And they have 50,000 times more freedom to live how they want--to live in whatever house or neighborhood they want, to drive any car they want, to attend any school they want, to get any medical treatment they want, to pursue any hobby they want, to travel to any place they want or to work any job they want.
A society where some have 50,000 times more political power and freedom than others is not democratic.
Of course, the tiny minority at the top still only have a tiny minority of the vote. But since they use their income to own all the businesses, politicians, governments, and media, they have full control over the public discourse which they effectively use to not only convince the vast majority that the raw deal they are getting is fair, but to also make it taboo to actually question it! So nobody votes what's in their best interest.
And it's why most of you reading this will think this idea is impossible.