America has a serious problem with inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor is one of the widest among developed nations and has reached levels last seen in the Roaring Twenties before the Great Crash. Although the productivity and wealth of the nation have grown rapidly, the wages of ordinary workers have stagnated. Average wages have remained more or less the same for forty years. While wealth becomes increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, more and more people fall into poverty. Unions have had their strength drained from them and adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is lower than it was fifty years ago. To be successful in America nowadays has less to do with your skill and abilities and more to do with where you were born and how rich your parents were. Continue reading “Why I Will Vote For Bernie Sanders”
Many economists like to think of the markets as a place where equals negotiate and bargain to find mutually beneficial deals. Employers and workers need each other and so come to a deal that benefits them both. As these agreements are reached voluntarily, there can be no injustice in the system, as otherwise why would they have agreed to it? There is therefore no need for government intervention as people are well able to look after themselves. Unfortunately, in the real world, things are very different. In the real world, employers have market power over workers that prevent the market reaching a fair balance. It is for this reason that strong unions and government intervention is needed. Continue reading “The Power Of Employers”
On the weekend I saw the new film “Elysium” starring Matt Damon. I was blown away by it and its social commentary. Although at times it resembles an action film, it is in reality an allegory for our present times. It is a warning of what our future could be. Set in the year 2154, the world looks like Republicans and libertarians won the fight to dismantle the government. The inequality between the 1% and the rest has been driven to its extreme and all the rich people have evacuated Earth and are now living in a space shuttle named Elysium. Meanwhile Earth has descended to the level of an abandoned Third World ghetto.
Riots are shocking events where the ordinary rules of society break down. London 2011 was gripped by the sight of burning cars and hooded youths looting shops. But why do riots happen? What reason could there be for such destruction? Is it poverty and unemployment? Are people alienated from society? Or was it simple opportunism by criminals? Are they provoked by police brutality? Or did the police do too little to stop them? Are they the sign of a breakdown in morality? Are they a product of a “culture of dependency”? Or do some people just want to see the world burn?
Continue reading “What Causes Riots?”
Most people think there is only one way of running a business, that is, with a boss in charge telling everyone what to do. The boss makes all the decisions and keeps all the profit. This is the way it always has been and the way it always will be. But then again there was a time when people thought the unrestrained rule of Kings was the natural way of running a country. What if there was an alternative? What if the workers made the decisions themselves? What if they took ownership of their place of work rather than simply having it as a means to make a living? What if the makers of the money got to keep it? What if the divide between employer and employee was removed? What if the workers ran the business? Continue reading “What If The Workers Ran The Business?”
Unions have a pretty bad reputation. They are often stereotyped as protecting lazy and bad workers, as well as causing unemployment other inefficiencies. However the many benefits of unions are often ignored. These include increased morale, productivity and equality. Continue reading “The Benefits Of Unions”
It is often claimed that this recession is hitting all of us. It is said that the rich suffer just as much as anyone else, if not more. It is argued that we all must make a sacrifice as we are all in this together. However this simply isn’t true. In fact this crisis is resulting in even further increases in the gap between rich and poor. Inequality and poverty are rising to even higher heights. Austerity is making the poor suffer the most while leaving the rich untouched. Quite simply the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Continue reading “Rich Get Richer – Poor Get Poorer”