Sunday, June 29, 2014

A comment on Nick Hanauer's "The Pitchforks are coming for us Plutocrats."

Today I read an impassioned, yet reasonable article in Politico Magazine by Seattle billionaire Nick Hanauer entitled The Pitchforks are coming for us Plutocrats. Hanauer calls it "a memo to my fellow zillionaires." Hanauer argues that American income inequality will be the cause of the coming revolution, in much the same way as it is in every uprising, thus the pitchforks. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the middle class shrinks, the statistics are all there. We, having now grown accustomed to the phenomenon, continue to eek out our existence, cursing the government and corporations under our breath. Then one day, someone sets something on fire and we have a revolution on our hands. 
Surprisingly, Hanauer has a reasonable solution, simply pay everybody more. Leave the government out of it, they will win by being able to reduce social assistance because everyone will be able to fend for themselves. With the American workforce requiring less help, government can shrink. When Walmart employees make twice what they do now, (Hanauer's minimum wage is $15, which is being instituted in Seattle,) they will have more disposable income, thus spend more money, thus sell more crap, thus help the corporations make more money, so they can hire more employees and on it goes. People who barely get by don't go out for dinner, or buy new clothes, or flowers for their mom. 
Corporations can afford to pay their employees more. Simply look at the profits reported by the companies. Walmart profited 25 billion last year. What do you do with 25 billion dollars a year? You trickle it down, but it doesn't trickle very far with nearly 500 billionaires in America. Hanauer's "Middle-Out" economics take some of that wasted money and flush it back into the system through the working class. It's worked in the past, Henry Ford did it, Eisenhower did it. The problem, argues Hanauer, is that corporations like to "keep their customers rich and their employees poor." This is backwards thinking, yet Hanauer is mocked in his own community for admitting it. Corporations, really the folks at the top of them, aren't interested in making less money. Historically, they've balked at the idea every time, "We'll go bankrupt." Of course, they don't, quite the opposite really...

Hanauer's piece is not without its faults, for instance, it is short on detail and makes use of some fuzzy math. However, its philosophy isn't wrong: Everyone wins in a system that shares the wealth. It's a real shame that I think someone is going to have to burn something down in order to build it back up. Capitalism can work, if it's made to be just. Capitalism has been highjacked by the greedy elite and governments have been made complicit. It's not a distinctly American phenomenon. There could be a distinctly American solution, but it will require either a changing of minds or a changing of hidden hands.

To read relevant essays of mine.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Solution Sentences

Humanity inevitably has to lie to itself about the achievable realities of its allegiances to the plans societies make, in order to find them desirable.

If we each undertook a personal responsibility to ensure the reasonable right for every human to live a happy, comfortable life, in spite of any allegiances, we would simultaneously prove our power as society and transform our plans into something truly desirable.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ignoring self evident truths is commonly stupid

I'm often surprised by the number of people I meet in everyday life who exercise willful ignorance.
By this I mean, not only do they wish to not learn new things, but they purposefully expend energy to avoid doing so. They might even say something like, "I don't want to learn new things." They might even be insulted, "Don't teach me!"

I know the psychological and social reasons people have for adopting these or any paradigm, some of them have weight and can be problematic, require addressing, however most of them stem from laziness and that makes the phenomenon commonly stupid.

The surprise I feel when someone is willfully ignorant turns to anger because I feel that person is not living up to the potential he or she has as a human being and therefore is hindering the species in its entirety. This then becomes a question of responsibility.

We are all in this together.

If you find yourself ever rejecting new information, or worse yet, refuting established truth, or still worse yet, denying common knowledge backed by evidence, for any reason, please consider why it is you do so. Then try to establish if that paradigm has real value.

I'd hate to see the world go to shit simply because of incorrect assumptions.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

MH370 & the Uighurs: A fine example of spin.

the Uighurs are Chinese muslims

this link will take you to a comment I made upon a piece by Thompson/Reuters for

Friday, February 21, 2014

Plunder until death...

Let's go to mars, maybe there's something there we need.
Minerals we can turn into weapons for killing each other.
A few more drops of clean water.

Let's change the monetary system into something real.
So a big mac in India is the same debit as it is in Antarctica.
Let's start eating each other.
Make our madness complete.

Let's only look back, let's presume we're right let's plan for more of the same.
Let's consolidate all our marketables into a great bland box.
Organise ourselves to run in circles.
Placate ourselves with imaginary internal battles.
Let's plunder until death...