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Wed Apr 24, 2019, 09:33 PM

Capitalism Is Failing, People Want A Job & A Decent Wage: Guardian, "Broken Capitalism Series"

*Broken Capitalism* is an ongoing series guest-edited by Richard Reeves, author of Dream Hoarders and Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution. It will query why discontent with capitalism is rising and ask if it can it be repaired. (~ Lengthy articles worth the read, stick with it).

-> "Capitalism is failing. People want a job with a decent wage – why is that so hard?," Richard Reeves, April 24, 2019. The workings of capitalism have been challenged both from the populist right and the socialist left. At the heart of the discontent in the US is faltering wages. EXCERPTS: Before capitalism, there was work. Before markets, before even money, there was work. Our remotest ancestors, hunting and gathering, almost certainly did not see work as a separate, compartmentalized part of life in the way we do today. But we have always had to work to live. Even in the 21st century, we strive through work for the means to live, hence the campaign for a “living wage”.

As a species, we like to define ourselves through our thoughts and wisdom, as 'Homo sapiens.' But we could as easily do so through the way we consciously apply effort towards certain goals, by our work – as 'Homo laborans.' It nonetheless took two revolutions, one agricultural, one industrial, to turn “work” into its own category. Industrial capitalism sliced and diced human time into clearly demarcated chunks, of “work” and “leisure”. Work was then bundled and packaged into one of the most important inventions of the modern era: a job. Workers’ fight became a job that delivered maximum benefits, especially in terms of wages, in return for minimum costs imposed on the worker, especially in terms of time.



For Karl Marx, the whole capitalist system was ineluctably rigged against workers. Whatever the short-run victories of the trade unions, the capitalist retained the power; the ultimate control, over workers’ time. The goal was to assert sovereignty over our own time. There are many variants of capitalism, of course, from welfarist Scandinavia through Anglo-Saxon laissez-faire to Chinese market statism. Over the last decade, the logic of markets and the workings of capitalism have been intensely questioned and challenged, both from the populist right and the socialist left. Young Americans and supporters of the Democratic party are now more enthusiastic about socialism than capitalism (by 6% and 10% margins, respectively)…

The Great Recession was a massive economic shock. Nine million jobs were lost and 4m homes foreclosed on. Average household income dropped by 7%. Black families saw their already limited wealth stock cut almost in half. But the Great Recession also shone a light on trends long predating the downturn, not least in terms of stagnant wage growth for so many workers. By comparison with the postwar years, economic growth has been slow for the last few decades. The share of income going to workers has dropped sharply, from 65% in 1974 to 57% in 2017. In the last few years household incomes and wages have begun to nudge upwards – but families are still having to work more hours to get the income they need. Women are working more, and earning more (though the pay gap remains).

As men work less, and earn less, many families are simply standing still economically. Since 1979, the median male wage in the US has dropped by 9% and 8% for black and Hispanic men. Workers at the top have seen their paychecks continue to fatten: not so on the middle and bottom rungs. Volatility of incomes at the bottom has grown, partly from the new “gig economy” with episodic, unpredictable schedules. Most American workers are still paid by the hour, and half have no formal control over their schedules. Two in five hourly-paid workers aged 26- 32 know their schedules less than a week in advance.- Hard to arrange childcare on that notice. Many workers are fighting, like unions of old, on two fronts: for money, and for time....

Read More, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/series/broken-capitalism

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Reply Capitalism Is Failing, People Want A Job & A Decent Wage: Guardian, "Broken Capitalism Series" (Original post)
appalachiablue Apr 2019 OP
BigmanPigman Apr 2019 #1
appalachiablue Apr 2019 #2
BigmanPigman Apr 2019 #3
riverine Apr 2019 #4
PETRUS Apr 2019 #5

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2019, 10:00 PM

1. Warren was at the She The People forum today and said,

"When I was growing up you could support a family of three with one working adult earning a minimum wage". Seems like a long, long time ago and certainly before I became a wage earner in the Reagun-rich 80s. My wage has basically stayed the same thanks to the greedy hypocrites in the GOP!

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 24, 2019, 10:39 PM

2. The one income 'provider' certainly was the standard, for decades..

until the later 1970s and Roaring 1980s as I remember. Long gone are 'one income' households. That's also when the tuition costs for students began exploding, later 1980s to reverse the previous 80-20% cost ratio (80% state tax support and 20% family cost).

Since I majored in art and history I know the 'pay situation' in those fields...

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 24, 2019, 11:00 PM

3. I was an illustrator and about a zillion

other min wage jobs at the same time and couldn't even afford my own rent and costs and I was living alone (no family, etc to take care of). I switched to education as a career but as you know teachers don't make much either...my whole life I have been working hard and saving pennies and paying taxes. Now my healthcare bills are killing me faster than my diseases are.

I listen to Robert Reich and wish we could get him back on the next POTUS's cabinet. He has good ideas as well as Warren.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2019, 08:54 PM

4. yet the poverty rate has declined substantially since 1959 (and much more since the Great Depression

 




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Response to riverine (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 05:20 PM

5. That graph makes a pretty damning statement about capitalism.

The reductions in poverty rates occurred between mid-century and 1972, when democratic institutions were a more significant factor in questions of production and distribution (i.e., when capitalism per se had a smaller role than it did before or since). A return to market fundamentalism and the erosion of democracy's role in the economy was underway by the early '70s. Since then there haven't been meaningful reductions in the poverty rate (poverty has gotten worse for people under 64), in spite of real GDP per capita doubling.

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