How many bushels of wheat do you make a year? While this is not the most relevant question to be asking about wages today, some of the discussion around the minimum wage is taking inspiration from a very old economic idea according to which questions like this would be right at home. The idea is that of a “wage fund”: a fixed amount of total wages available to an economy for a given period that dictates the average wage. If such a fund exists, then any aim to raise wages within the period for which the fund is fixed will (Read more…)
The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – NYTimes.com.
In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.
Filed under: Capitalism, Class, Class Formation, inequality Tagged: Capitalism, class, inequality, middle class
So apparently the rich are an oppressed minority now.
Last month, in what is thought to have become the most widely read letter to the editor ever published by The Wall Street Journal, venture capitalist and former News Corp board member Tom Perkins writes, “I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’” He concludes, “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
In other words, mild resentment of (Read more…)
Check out @rosaluxnyc’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/rosaluxnyc/status/417378382330884096
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: class, Labour
I know I promised to not post until the New Year. Clearly the holidays have gotten the better of me. This, however, will be a short reflection and at once a New Year’s resolution.
Christmas is a time of large get-togethers for my family and this year was no different. We feasted late into the night on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. Both nights the talk at the table inevitably turned to politics.
The range of economic, social and political problems identified during our meals would make any left-wing activist squirm in her seat with glee. A dearth (Read more…)
Twenty years since its passage, NAFTA has displaced workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, depressed wages, weakened unions, and set the terms of the neoliberal global economy.
By Jeff Faux, December 13, 2013.
Foreign Policy In Focus is partnering with Mexico’s La Jornada del campo magazine, where an earlier version of this commentary appeared, to publish a series of pieces examining the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 20 years since its implementation. This is the first in the series.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was the door through (Read more…)
The following article was written on October 25. I wanted to read it over once more before publishing it, then got busy with other things and forgot about it. In the roughly six weeks that have passed since the writing of this article, the Bitcoin prices have gone from roughly $200 to over $700. There […]
Karl Marx’s Revenge: Class Struggle Grows Around the World | TIME.com.
Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, (Read more…)
“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those […]
Chris Hedges: Let’s Get This Class War Started – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.
By Chris Hedges
“The rich are different from us,” F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked to Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes, they have more money.”
The exchange, although it never actually took place, sums up a wisdom Fitzgerald had that eluded Hemingway. The rich are different. The cocoon of wealth and privilege permits the rich to turn those around them into compliant workers, hangers-on, servants, flatterers and sycophants. Wealth breeds, as Fitzgerald illustrated in “The Great Gatsby” and his short story (Read more…)
Austerity pushing Europe into social and economic decline, says Red Cross | World news | The Guardian.
Europe is sinking into a protracted period of deepening poverty, mass unemployment, social exclusion, greater inequality, and collective despair as a result of austerity policies adopted in response to the debt and currency crisis of the past four years, according to an extensive study being published on Thursday.
“Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it,” says the 68-page report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. (Read more…)
Dispatches from the class struggle in County Durham:
What the colliers’ dependence on the exploiters for their homes means in practice can be seen in any strike. For example, the strike in Durham in November 1863. The people were evicted, wives and children included, in the harshest weather; and their furniture was put into the street. Their first problem then was to find shelter from the cold nights. A large number slept in the open; some broke into their evacuated dwellings and occupied them during the night. The next day the mine-owners had the doors and windows barred and nailed (Read more…)
There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going. Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky […]
In a previous post, I presented a criticism of republicanism’s inability to adequately address the problems of power exerted in the modern capitalist economy. This should come as no surprise really, given that the republican notion of liberty as ‘non-domination’ was articulated within the context of pre-capitalist economies characterized by the employment of dependent forms of labour, ranging from slavery, serfdom and paternalistic forms of apprenticeship. If wage labour did exist in these societies, it was either considered to be a transitionary condition, and therefore temporary, or it was considered to be the most demeaning form of livelihood – at (Read more…)
If I were asked what I felt were the top priorities facing human beings today, in the 21st century, I would have to say there are four that top the list, in my mind. 1. Halt the global corporate coup. Defeat the corporate war on democracy, which is now escalating daily, and take democracy back. […]
How the hell would I know? I don’t even know what kind of class you’re taking! I do have a couple of ideas, though, if you should be worried about the class you missed yesterday, which I think is what … Continue reading →
Capitalism Reaches its Ugly Claw into Recess
This is appalling: capitalist invasion by way of neoliberal privatising of playtime at recess and noon. Isn’t it bad enough that we have a class division for families outside the school yard between the haves and the have-nots? Do we have to commodify and commoditize our children and their playtime so intrusively in the name of capitalist enterprise too, thereby creating – because of their young age – a powerful ideologically conditioned class system at the childhood level? Class is already everywhere for a child in our neoliberal world. Why enhance it. (Read more…)
Jenna hated physical education. All the girls stared at her in the change-room (she was one of the first to develop), and her hand-eye coordination was rotten. Reaping class, on the other hand, was her favorite. She especially liked the … Continue reading →
On the plane to Peru, cut off from my usually endless sources of news which perennially gives me causes to vent frustration at, I am reduced to unleashing my criticism upon smaller and more benign foes. In this case, the rather nauseating, if largely unimportant, nomenclature of “Executive First Class” airplane seats.
Among the intellectual debts our society owes to the brief and distorted rise of communism, is an increased consciousness and language to describe issues of class tensions. Much of the descriptive aspects that saw the tides of history through the lens of class struggle is broadly correct and
. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Executive First Class
Michael Hudson asks: “In light of the enormous productivity gains since the end of World War II – and especially since 1980 – why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised?”
The answer (per Hudson) is painfully obvious, but bears repeating (ad infinitum):
What was applauded as a post-industrial economy has turned into a financialized economy. The reason you have to work so much harder than before, even when wages rise, is to carry your debt overhead. You’re unable to buy the goods you produce because you need to pay your bankers.
. . . → Read More: bastard.logic: Breaking it Down: Industrial Capitalism vs. Financial Capitalism (or, Why We’re F*cked)
Via Ryan Grim (ICYMI):
Apparently Ann Romney forgot to mention to Willard that moms who don’t work outside the home do THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD!!!1 and already have ample dignity, thankyouverymuchyousupersexistsoand…
oh, wait — Mittens meant those moms — y’know, the ones who can’t afford dignity.
Sorry. They gotsta earn their Caddies (if not teh car elevators).
Related: Pay no attention to the ongoing war on women voting.
. . . → Read More: bastard.logic: Etch-A-Mitt Shakes Things Up Again: Welfare Moms Better Off With “The Dignity of Work”