Archive for November, 2015

The Dark Days Of Christmas


The annual frenzy of materialistic, aspiritual, anti-social behavior has begun. The celebration of the days getting shorter and colder is in full swing, having kicked off for certain on Black Friday. Worse than the Black Death, this affliction destroys community, friendship, and self-esteem. We are being inundated with advertising, reminded of deadlines, overwhelmed with gaily lit shopping centers, and beaten to the ground by sales, sales, sales.

Darkness has driven back the light until it is dark when you go to work, and it is dark when you get off of work. Winter is lying across the land, as life retreats before the cold and dark. Yet we party and celebrate, buying and buying, lest we be late. Sleepovers at favorite stores, special events day after day, our schedules are packed with marketing opportunities.  It is the Christmas Shopping Season, when rational thought is discarded and greed controls thinking.



Inequality must stop!


There are several ways to address income inequality, from taxation to raising the minimum wage.  Some way must be found to share more wealth with the working people, so that they can consume luxury goods.  Otherwise, the economy is going to stagnate as all of the wealth ends up in the hands of a very few people.  Encouraging payment of higher wages, without raising the minimum wage, is the least inflationary method of redistributing wealth.  Workers have not been compensated for the incredible increases in productivity which have occurred over the last 20 to 30 years.

Another way of redistributing wealth is national health insurance.  If everyone were to pay in, depending on their level of income, there would be little difficulty in improving the health of the American people.  The problem lies in getting enough people into the health care field when compensation is very low for the amount of preparation required, and the demands of the job.  The shortage of doctors and nurses is becoming acute in many areas, resulting in a great deal of overtime.

No minimum wage, just higher wages.


Raising the minimum wage will not alleviate the misery that so many are experiencing.  What is needed is to change the payroll tax laws to persuade employers to pay higher wages. By putting a high tax on low wages, we might be able to get employers to pay decent wages. For instance, if you pay your employees 8.00 dollars an hour, you pay a 40 percent tax on payroll. If you pay them 12.00 dollars an hour, you pay 12 percent tax.  At 20.00 dollars per hour, there is no tax.  Viewing labor as an expendable resource is pure capitalism, which is destroying itself right now.  We are a community, which survives because everyone puts in what they can.

Some workers are not worth high wages; trainees receiving minimum wage is an acceptable practice.  But that wage should be used rarely, with average wages above that by a considerable margin.  We do not want to raise the minimum wage, we want to raise the average wage.  Average wages must be nearly twice minimum wage if there is to be a large consumer class.   Minimum wage has been raised again and again, and it never changes the poverty levels, because it makes it so that you can be broke with more money than ever before.

In order to consume, people need money, more money than basic survival requires.  When people can afford such things as spa treatments, premium beverages, luxury cars, gardeners, housekeepers, the economy will be roaring.  When people spend money on those kinds of things, the money goes through the economy over and over.  Minimum wages take money out of the system, and puts it in the hands of the one percent.  Raising average wages would increase economic activity, generating more wealth.  Don’t raise the minimum wage, raise the average wage.

Harvest time


Living in the United States, I am subjected to a constant barrage of advertising anytime a holiday approaches. Currently, it is Thanksgiving, the odd American holiday which has become their harvest festival/OctoberFest autumn celebration.

Thanksgiving was originally created to give thanks to the Christian deity (in the guise of Native Americans) for saving the Pilgrim forefathers of this great land from starving to death.  It was entirely separate from any harvest festival. Thanksgiving does not celebrate working together to bring in the harvest, nor the sharing of that harvest with each other.  Nor does this Thanksgiving celebration recognize Death the way that the old ones used to. Death is essential to life, which is recognized in most cultures somehow, but the Christian-Judean heritage of America has made death a thing of mystery and fear, and it is no longer celebrated at all in American culture.

This is the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when the LifeForce retreats from the land, ebbing away swiftly as the days grow short. A time of hibernation, of conserving for the long winter, a time when new life seems impossible, almost. The gaiety and festivities are out of sync with our past, and the juxtaposition of a holiday which is about Death, really, kicking off the celebration of a holiday about rebirth grates at my soul. Christmas, YuleTide used to be celebrated into January, and did not start until Christmas Eve, at the earliest. People did not party when the days were rapidly getting shorter.

Right now, early to mid-November, is when the pagans celebrate Death, with quiet remembrance of those who have gone before us, funny stories, the sharing of handwork done by the person.  Belief in a spirit realm was widespread, and people felt that this was a time when the veil between this world and the next was pulled back somewhat, easing communication between the two.  This is a time of great spirituality, of introspection, of prayer, of meditation.  I am convinced that there is a reason why so many people feel stressed out at this time of year, and that reason is that this holiday is unnatural, and contrary to our nature.

Market madness


The Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, the top level of the power structure in China, has called for greater transparency in the the Chinese stock market. The Chinese stock market is worrying the leaders of the Chinese Communist party!?!!  For some reason, that sounds impossible.  Capitalism IS taking over the world, in the rather clumsy guise of the United States.  We have exported our pollution, our consumerism, and our jobs to third world countries, and turned them into capitalistic regimes.  China is now the largest market for automobiles, not the U. S.

But the Chinese cannot seem to convert to consumerism fast enough, because their economy is slowing down rapidly.  Much of the development that is needed to sustain a consumerist society is missing in China, though, as Chinese people are still wary of spending all of their money.  I would have thought that the wisdom of centuries of existence would have guided the Chinese around the consumerism trap, where the economy begins to stagnate because nobody is making anything anymore, they are just buying it.  Japan has fallen into this trap, after developing the most powerful economy in the world.  Japan sent most of its jobs overseas, to Thailand, Korea, and even China, and now the people are afraid to spend.

Capitalism is a self-destructive process of continued concentration of money in the hands of a few.  The more money you have, the easier it is to make money.  Eventually, the economy comes to a shuddering halt, because the majority of the people have no money to spend.  Firing everyone and moving production overseas means that the people who used to be able to buy the product you make can now no longer afford it.  One function of government is to re-distribute some of the wealth, so that the economy keeps moving.  This is a form of socialism, but it is necessary if the greed cultivated by materialism and consumerism are to be kept in check.  An example of those forces was the failure to lower prices when production costs were slashed.  Building things in China from parts made in China from materials manufactured in China means that the end product costs much less than it did when it was made in the U.S.A.  But prices never came down, just the quality.

Communism is supposed to avoid this mess by putting the tools of production in the hands of everybody, so that, theoretically, at least, every one makes new wealth together, and everyone gains in wealth, because the wealth belongs to everyone.  Stock markets are totally anti-communist, pure capitalism at work, greed in flashing, speeding numbers.  Catering to the American way has brought China to its knees, so wrapped up in the capitalist struggle that the very leaders of the communist party are advocating for greater transparency and better protection of investors.  Graft, corruption, and insider trading have been rampant in China, symptoms of the same greed that is destroying America.  America is a world leader, but a leader into inequality, squalor, and repression.  I am proud to be an American, most of the time.