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Forum Post: Killer Concentration

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 13, 2012, 11:26 a.m. EST by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Alternet, October 13, 2012

http://www.alternet.org/books/10-steps-break-wealth-super-rich

October 10, 2012 The following is an excerpt from  99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It , by Chuck Collins (Berrett-Koehler, 2012).

“Starting in the mid-1970s, the rules were changed to reorient the economy toward the short-term interests of the 1 percent. ”

agk

The rules did change in the mid seventies. While I don't know when the re-concentration of wealth started, I do know that the 'Right to Work” laws sprang up in the mid fifties in the South and piggybacked onto the racist backlash to Brown v Board. That's when many in the working class were made dupes, who worked against their own self interest, by the Republican far right simulacrum of the Ku Klux Klan. The acolytes of Ayn Rand were co-opted by the right at the same time and still haven't figured out that they've been subsumed by a fascist resurgence reaction to the New Deal.

The cons have never forgiven FDR for allowing the unions to have a little power in America or the general prosperity it promoted. That's why it's impossible to compromise with the right wing. They want it all for themselves and don't have enough sense to know that only one in a hundred of them actually can be part of the one percent. If we allow them to have half of what they want today they'll demand the rest tomorrow. In the end there won't be enough left for us to survive.

44 Comments

44 Comments


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[-] 5 points by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

“. . . Concentration of wealth is harmful to Human culture and a threat to our survival. It's perhaps the greatest threat that civilization has always faced.” With that unambiguous introduction, Dr. Economicus begins to reveal the destructive nature of abstract economy. “Consider this analogy: In a hypothetical casino card game the house takes 5% of every pot. If 10% of the money at the table is on average played on each hand, then the house takes 0.5% of the money in the game on each rake. After 200 hands, 100% of the money that is on average at the table has been taken by the house. The only way the game may continue is to have new money come to it. The winners, of course, smell the new blood and even anticipate it greedily. And the biggest winner over a time is always the house. Until the free market ideologues took over, the biggest difference between a casino bank and finance was that the gaming house took a bigger cut of the handle. . . .”

Excerpt from: How Does That Work? https://www.createspace.com/3852916

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

Better to nationalize FIRE and provide all financial services of, by and for the people on a non-profit [lowest cost therefore least destructive to real economy] basis.

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Yes. Right-to-Work laws were definitely backed by the power-elite as a way to severely limit whatever meager power the little guy/gal might be able to have as an organized collective. Until all RTW laws are removed, there is zero chance for the average person to force change in the desired direction. Even if they were all removed, the power-elite would still retain enormous control of government and would manipulate the legal/economic landscape to their advantage, so it would still be an uphill battle. But just to contrast, in Sweden for example, organized labor is extremely strong, and they have one of the highest standards-of-living in the world. Income distribution is also reasonable, unlike our very unequal distribution of $ at the top. So, there is definitely a correlation there.

Thomas Jefferson said:

"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise, depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, ...Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all."

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

DEomcrats plan allow for about 1 in 100 to make it to 1% also.

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

The Republicans are for the 1%. The democrats are maybe for the 5%.

But both are for a capitalist system that pays most of the income workers produce to a small group of owners.

Both are for a capitalist system that will leave most workers in or near poverty because of exploitation.

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

does not change the economy for the rest of us

[-] -1 points by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

What % is 0.01? What is one in one hundred? Were you so smart you skipped the fourth grade?

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

"They want it all for themselves and don't have enough sense to know that only one in a hundred of them actually can be part of the one percent."

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Capitalism is a system where workers do all the work and wealthy owners take nearly all the income.

Socialism is a system where workers do all the work and so they get paid all the income.

As long as you have capitalism, you will have concentration of income, exploitation of workers, and all the poverty and financial struggle that comes with it.

Workers need to unite to replace capitalism with socialism so that they can get paid fairly and not have their income taken.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

What happens to the guy who works for himself?

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

The guy who works for himself will get paid for the work he does, just like every other worker. And you will be able to do that without investing any of your own money.

What he won't get paid is any unearned income like profit or rent or interest for investing his own money.

This will enable us to pay 100% of the income to workers instead of half to workers and half to investors.

And this will enable us to allocate that income based on how hard you work instead of how lucky or unique you are.

For most workers, this will add up to a significant pay increase as explained here.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

So if he doesnt make profit, then he only gets his raw basics paid for?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

He gets paid as a worker according to whatever the national worker compensation plan is regardless of whether what he is doing is profitable.

However, if what he is doing is not profitable, he cannot continue to get paid for doing the work he is doing. So he will be offered another job doing something that is profitable.

You are guaranteed a job at full pay according to what the national worker compensation plan is.

The national worker compensation plan allocates income by paying 100% of income to workers and limiting differences in income between workers to only what is necessary to get people to do mentally or physically difficult jobs and to give their max performance in performance based jobs which I explain in further detail here.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

"Offered" another job? By who, the political overlords? Who is making these decisions?

This is where the anarchist views are very appropriate, because people value freedom and choices.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I bet the 18% who are currently underemployed wish they had "political overlords" that guaranteed them a job that pays at least $55 per hour.

The 18% who are underemployed currently do not have the freedom or choice to get a job. The 50% living in or near poverty don't have the freedom or choice to live a decent life.

Your freedom and choice depends on how much income you have. A government that guarantees you a job at full pay guarantees you freedom and choice. The people who are telling you the opposite are people who want your money.

[-] -1 points by nebsdad (-2) from Newark, NJ 2 years ago

A gubment powerful enough to guarantee you anything is powerful enough to take it away.

If everyone is guaranteed full pay, then money is worth nothing because it's guaranteed.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Socialism is a system where govt power is used to give you a job, not take it away.

Your money does not become worthless because you are guaranteed a job. That makes no sense.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

you've got the right idea

[-] 0 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

What's this "us" stuff? What if I want to do the allocating?

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

You can try to convince Americans to replace our democracy with a dictatorship and you as the dictator. However, they are unlikely to go for it.

The allocation of income in a socialist system will be determined by law and the democratic process as explained here.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

The question I have about all this is this: Under such a system I would start a business that employs one thousand people. Because it's a number that pleases me. We would all draw from the pool to collect 115 thousand, correct? However, being the generally non productive individuals that we are, the business is not likely to ever produce anything. So... I guess it's a score, right?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

You would unlikely get approved when you applied for funding.

But let's say you managed to get funded. If you are employing too many workers who are working too slow, whatever you are producing is going to be way over priced. So you are not going to get enough customers to cover your costs. You will then be shut down as unprofitable.

But let's say that you were the only company producing your widgets and customer were willing to pay the super high price. An entrepreneur, who gets paid based on how well their company performs, will realize he can do what you do for a fraction of the cost.

So he competes against you, sells at a fraction of the price, gets paid a huge bonus for out-competing you and you are forced to become more efficient or go under.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

The resources required for my business will be funded by self; no state funding is required.

I am going to hire one thousand painters; I'm going to create one hundred crews of ten, and each of these crews will paint one house a week; these one hundred crews will therefore paint 5200 houses a year. The annual salary for one thousand painters at 115k per year is 115 million; if we divide 115 million by 5200 houses we have a break-even of $22, 115. per house.

If we have to pay $22,000 to get our houses painted, how far do you really expect this 115k to go?

This is as basic as it gets; from this point on everything about business gets far more complicated. Because there are a million ways to profit, and a million ways to beat the system, and human beings will explore all of them. Because that's what business is - it's not an exploration in labor, or an exploration in creation, it's an exploration in beating the system, to profit.

[-] -2 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

That's exactly what I intend to do; incidentally, it is not law unless it is "my" law.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

As long as he works, he gets paid. But in Socialism capitalists like Romney and the other wealthy elite can't sit back and make money with money via capital gains. Socialism does away with capitalists. Everyone must work.

[-] 1 points by conservatroll (161) 2 years ago

Perhaps, but who decides the level of "needs" in the 'to each' clause?

[-] 1 points by trollneg (27) from Zebulon, NC 2 years ago

Who determines merit, in today's meritocracy? Don't strain your brain. It's your Tory lords and masters. They're the traitors who put the con in conservative that cripples the minds of the base.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Socialism is not summed up in the slogan, "To each according to their needs."

That is communism. Communism comes after socialism. Communism happens only after technology has eliminated scarcity and automated every undesirable job.

Socialism is summed up in the slogan, "To each according to their contribution."

That means everyone gets paid according to how much labor they contributed to production. That is the only fair economic system.

[-] 0 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

No one is deciding that now under USA capitalism, because there are many, many people in need who are not having their needs met, despite obscene abundance at the top. In my opinion, need is defined as making it possible for everyone (as one class) to have a comfortable middle-class income.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

That is a good summation of socialism. I would add that the money that used to go to capitalists (which amounts to just under $6 trillion per year which you can see here) will now be paid to workers.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

What about organizing, planning, and leading? Are those considered work?

[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Managers do that today. Middle-management organizes the rank-and-file and gets most of the work done in large corps today, not CEOs.

But I presume you are talking about small business, not big business, correct?

The preferred business model in Socialism is the worker-owned cooperative. Capitalistic business entities like corporations are not normally associated with Socialism.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

That is managing and they are workers. So people will be paid to manage.

Socialism makes 2 changes:

1) You no longer get paid for investing. If you want to get paid an income, you have to work.

2) Since the purpose of income is to motivate people to work and work hard, income will now be allocated based on how hard you work, instead of based on how lucky or unique you are, which you do by limiting differences in income between workers to only what is necessary to get people to do mentally or physically difficult jobs and to give their max performance in performance based jobs which I explain in further detail here.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

What if your uniqueness allows you to get twice as much done in half the time it takes the average person?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

If you work in a performance based job, then you will get paid more for performing better than your peers.

The reason why Kim Kardashian gets paid hundreds of times more than a brain surgeon is not because she works hundreds of times the hours or hundreds of times harder or produces hundreds of times more. It is because she is more unique than a brain surgeon.

Socialism pays you based on how hard you work, not based on how unique you are.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

What if society values that uniqueness more though?

Do you see where I am going with this? I understand what your gripes with capitalism are, and I agree with some of them. But your system seems to leave the definition of value to the state, which is very very dangerous, especially with a population like ours.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

If you value something, you will buy it. If you don't, you won't. Consumers decide what they value, not the state. The government only enforces the national compensation plan which guarantees you a job and requires companies to pay you full price when they hire you. Exploiting workers will come to an end.

If workers want to get exploited, they can choose to continue with capitalism.

A small group of owners rule our society and live off the backs of labor. They don't want to give that up. And since they own all of the media, they will use that to convince labor to continue to get exploited with claims like the government will take away your freedom if they put an end to their exploitation.

All of it is complete nonsense.

Socialism is a system designed to benefit labor. Capitalism is a system designed to benefit owners.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 2 years ago

What if someone doesn't want to work? Or is too lazy to work? They don't get paid. Right....so they starve and die. Fine.

So who takes care of their children? Or the infirm? The state. And where does the STATE get the money to care for these children and the infirm if "100% of the income" goes to WORKERS???

And what if the people decide that those doing "mentally or physically difficult jobs" and giving "their max performance" deserve REALLY HIGH wages as opposed to those doing "mentally or physically easy jobs" and giving "less than their max performance"??

And what if the people who make MORE money based on the difficulty of their jobs, decide to SAVE up some of that money over time? They would then become WEALTHIER than people making less money, and people who choose NOT to save up any of their money. After a while, they might save up enough money that they become known as WEALTHY. And then people who aren't wealthy will start whining and complaining about how unfair it all is.....again.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

"And where does the STATE get the money to care for these children and the infirm if "100% of the income" goes to WORKERS???"

100% of the pre-tax income goes to workers.

You will still pay a tax for disability, pension, school, govt services and non-market goods and services like police, fire and healthcare.

.

"And what if the people decide that those doing "mentally or physically difficult jobs" and giving "their max performance" deserve REALLY HIGH wages as opposed to those doing "mentally or physically easy jobs" and giving "less than their max performance"?? "

As explained here, the law limits differences in income to only what is necessary. So if you think it is unnecessary to, for example, pay some job 100 times more income, you can sue. That 100 times would then have to be supported by genuine evidence in a court. The compensation plan also gets voted on, so the democratic process is another check on income allocation.

.

"And what if the people who make MORE money based on the difficulty of their jobs, decide to SAVE up some of that money over time? They would then become WEALTHIER"

Saving your money does not make you wealthier, it just means you are spending your money at different times.

If we are both paid $100k but I spend it today and you spend it in 10 years, we both are still consuming $100k.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 2 years ago

"Saving your money does not make you wealthier, it just means you are spending your money at different times."

"If we are both paid $100k but I spend it today and you spend it in 10 years, we both are still consuming $100k."

If we both make $100K a year, and you spend $100k a year and I only spend $75K a year, in ten years you will still be breaking even and I will have $250,000 saved.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

The 1%, infinite greed married to infinite criminality.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4784) 2 years ago

Good Post

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21426) 2 years ago

This is why we need to push back hard. Good post.