Posts Tagged ‘socialization’

What kind of person are you?

2011/10/27

Do you think of labor in a factory to be a resource, or an asset?  Do you believe that it should be ‘every man for himself!’ or do you believe in community being worth investing in?  A pure capitalist would view labor as a resource, to be exploited to the utmost.  A civic minded person believes that the community is valuable, and well worth investing in.  Pure capitalism is self-destructive, as we have witnessed, because all of the wealth ends up in the hands of a few, and the economy comes to a halt, because no one can buy anything.

Part of the reason that the government has grown so large is because the community has had to band together to deal with the consequences of our capitalist society, which aims to use people up and throw them away.  If employers took care of their employees as if they were an asset, an investment in training, experience, and knowledge accumulated over time on the job, than government would not be needed to redistribute the wealth through taxation.  Health care, retirement, housing, all would be affordable, and available to all.

Every one wants a bigger slice of the pie.  Even though the pie is not getting larger, and there are more people wanting a slice.  Taking some from somebody else to have more for yourself is called greed.  Greed has betrayed capitalism in the United States, pushed rational thinking aside, and driven us right over the edge.  Instead of investing in the future, to assure that the future is the one that we desire, we have been enticed to spend everything, and more, right now.  In return, our jobs have been outsourced overseas, our taxes are buying less and less services, and everything is horribly expensive.

Only huge, economy-wide growth, on a scale never seen before, can pull us out of an economic implosion.  Asset deflation is likely to set in, as prices drop, values decrease, and people have no money to spend.  Deflation scares the wealthy more than anything else, because it steals away their wealth even through locked vault doors.   To avoid another Great Depression, a new set of rules are needed.

Investment has got to be with the intent of value increasing over the long term, not in order to pay today’s bills.  Cash dividends to stock holders is the single most damaging policy of all modern business practices.  It robs the future to allow luxury for a time, and corrupts the process of management.  Stock should increase in value, and be split, to reward its owners, as the company becomes more and more valuable.  But that can’t happen when the profits are being funneled into cash to pay to stockholders.

 

When did the bubble start? In the 1960’s?!

2010/04/07

There is a lot of loose talk going around right now about ‘bubbles’, the housing bubble, the bubble economy, the credit bubble, I almost feel like I am watching the Lawrence Welk show.  Contrary to popular belief, the economy was deeply into bubbles long before anyone had even coined the term.  It really started in the 1960’s, when consumer spending began to fall of, due to the fact that the consumers had spent all of their savings, and now were cutting back on purchasing stuff that they really didn’t need.

This was a crisis for the money barons of America, because they were dependent upon a certain level of consumption in order to go on accumulating wealth at the rate they believed was essential, as well as their right.  Instead of reshaping the economy to depend on production of advanced goods, or space exploration equipment, or high speed trains, the powers that be decided to maintain the economy in the form it was in, and encourage spending by making credit more easily available.

Through judicious advertising, the American people were gradually brainwashed from their old belief that credit was a tool of the devil into thinking of credit as wonderful thing, which they would have to pay for some day.  Credit cards appeared, only they were the mark of high society, because those folks couldn’t be bothered to carry cash, don’t you know.  Of course, everyone wanted one, and, within about 10 years, just about everyone had one.  Or two. Or three.

Consumer spending actually rose, as people were more than happy to spend what they had not yet earned on something which they almost certainly could live without.  Our lifestyles were profoundly influenced by television, which carefully showed us the kind of world that we thought we wanted to live in.  But what we were being taught was that we needed to consume in order for us to be valid persons.  Spending was our way of assuaging our anxiety over our popularity, which we just knew was based upon what kind of car we drove, where we lived, and our income.

A historic change in attitudes was orchestrated by the makers of water heaters, shampoo, and personal hygiene products to convince people that bathing every single day was not only normal, but essential.  The single greatest luxury in the world, bar none, which many, many people have never even experienced, much less enjoyed very often, and Americans zip right through one every morning.  If you don’t smell like something that comes out of a bottle, or some kind of soap, you are a heathen, a barbarian, an uncouth lout, who will never get laid, promoted, or married.

So what if we are forcing our bodies to manufacture immense quantities of oil, we are consuming!  So what if our truck only gets 12 miles to the gallon on the highway, we are consuming!  The solutions to many of our problems do not require whole new technologies, like wind, and solar.  They are desirable in and of themselves, but we could slash our consumption of energy by nearly half, if we were to change our lifestyles, suffer some minor costs to our business, and accept that it is not our god-given right to be able to go anywhere we choose at the drop of a hat.

But the ones in control of things want us to go on believing that deserve all of these luxuries, and that we can pay for them somehow.  Even as they watch the tidal wave of payments coming due beginning in 2012, they ignore any thought of changing the basic tenants of our economy, our financial system.  There is no ‘tomorrow’ in most people’s way of accounting, just today.  Other cultures may have 5 year plans, we have 5 minute plans, subject to change if some kind of profit is to be made.

Well, here is something that you can plan on;  economic upheaval, turmoil, rapid, uncontrolled change, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and bankruptcy.  The bubble is just about to burst, the shell game is finally going to end, and America will crash, because we are so greedy we cannot cope with any change which threatens our way of life.  Instead of allowing some change, a gradual turning away from dependence on consumer spending towards some other engine for the economy, our leaders have dutifully avoided dealing with the fundamental rot in the financial system.  They even agreed to remove the very regulations which were written to prevent the kind of situation we are in.

But nature always seeks a balance, even in unnatural systems, such as our method of compensating people for their work.  The lopsided distribution of wealth is a result not of  value honestly created by hard work, but by the manipulation of numbers in machines.  The people who know how to create real value by working with their hands, applying their craft, will still be comfortable.  Those who know nothing except trading, wealth management, and investment banking will be panhandling, because the wealth will be gone.

We have managed to spend everything that we are going to make for the next several years, if we don’t lose our jobs, which means that we are not going to be able to spend money on things that we can live without, like transportation in our own car, new clothes, and food.  Backyard lawns are likely to be turned into gardens, and community plots may become common.  All bubbles burst, and this one is absolutely huge, because it was planned this way.  Kind of.  Almost.  Would you believe, ‘allowed  to happen with foreknowledge of the consequences’?  Some people have made an awful lot of money in the last 50 years.  But most of us have just been going further and further into the hole, digging merrily.

How we got here.

2009/11/20

Amazingly, we tend to ignore the bulk of human history when considering what is ‘natural.’  How humans lived for tens of thousands of years has imprinted itself in our genes, yet we ignore that programming, instead trying to live by what our culture says is ‘right.’  There are reasons for why we act the way that we do, feel the way that we feel, and they are not the result of the rise of patriarchal religions, or the Industrial Revolutions.  The conflicts that we experience are all too often the result of our genetic programming being at odds with our expectations.

Because humans did not have writing until very recently, little is known for sure about what life was like 20,000 years ago.  Anthropology is making great strides in uncovering the past, but its findings are still colored by modern cultural bias.  Case in point:  Hunter-gatherer societies.  When the European world discovered that there were societies in undeveloped parts of the world which survived by gathering and hunting, the male dominated society of the modern world automatically assumed that the males in those societies were the primary food providers, thus the label ‘hunter-gatherer.’  By studying the garbage of prehistoric peoples, we have discovered that they should have been called ‘gatherer-hunter societies.’  Hunting was not the primary means of getting food, but instead gathering was.

This has tremendous implications on our perceptions of ancient lifestyles.  Women were the ones who primarily did the gathering, from what we have been able to discern.  If women were the primary food providers, they would have been very important in the everyday life of a group.  It was not until the advent of agriculture that men became the primary food providers, which also was the time when male-dominated religions appeared, and the status of women diminished to that of domestic animals.

If a group of people depended on the able-bodied individuals to perform the necessary tasks of survival, that means that people of child-bearing years could not have been the primary caregivers of their children.  Spending time with your children was not a survival trait, because that would have kept you from carrying water, collecting fuel, gathering food, preparing it, and all the other things needed to keep the group going.  Perhaps this explains the affinity of very young children for the very elderly, because we are genetically wired to respond to those who would have been our primary caregivers for thousands and thousands of years.

Certainly, there are many other ways of explaining why parents and their children have so many difficulties, while those same children seem to respond to their grandparents and great-grandparents so much better.  We can attribute the desire of very young children to please the elderly to many things, but isn’t it easier to look at how humans lived for most of our existence?  Of course, this throws the concept of the ‘nuclear family’ as being the natural family unit out the window, which is not going to sit well today.  But the nuclear family is already endangered, as more and more people are raising children by themselves, or with their parents.

Looking at our behaviors in the context of what were survival traits for most of human evolution is, to me, the most logical way of determining what is ‘natural’ and ‘right’, not by using our cultures definitions.  The idea of ‘three square meals a day’ is no more natural than beating oneself with a stick every day.  It arose during the first industrial revolution, when people were only given one meal break during the work period.  Our bodies have evolved to eat small amounts of food all day long, not to process huge amounts all at once.  That is a biological fact, which cannot be changed no matter how much we want to believe otherwise.  I think that there are many more of them, which we have not discovered yet.

Can’t you feel the rage?

2009/10/20

Seems like these days, when someone gets upset, they completely fly off of the handle.  Minor annoyances become life-threatening catastrophes, and driving is an exercise in combat avoidance.  People blow up for no apparent reason, then become distraught because they have over-reacted.  Polite conversation hovers on the edge of the abyss, threatening to fall into discord and conflict at any moment.  The intensity of people’s emotions can be physically difficult to tolerate when they lose themselves again in their anger.

Far too many people have bottled up their depression, frustration, jealousy, and anger, so that they can appear calm and reasonable.  But they lose control over their feelings when they repress them, and are easily overwhelmed when something triggers them.  It is almost like they willingly cast away any control over themselves for a few moments, seeking the single-mindedness of rage.

All too often, I encounter people who cannot even recognize their own anger and frustration, who are at a loss to explain their outbursts.  Watching them go from relaxed and smiling to screaming and thrusting their fists in the air in a matter of seconds truly frightens me, because I have so little control over myself when I get that mad.  I am afraid for these people, that they might do something that they have never done before, and so end up in trouble.

We are constantly under pressure through the media to live lives that are productive and happy, by buying things, spending money, pushing the economy along.  Yet, most of us have little extra money to spend, and we often are putting off purchases that we really want.  On the one hand, we are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, and, on the other hand, we are reluctant to part with one more dollar, because we have already spent more than we should have.

Tuning out the programming, avoiding the stress, requires staying away from electronic media.  Evaluating our goals and aspirations in light of what we have experienced is a hard come-down from the euphoria of youth, but we only set ourselves up for a fall when we continue to expect life to be filled with pleasure and distractions.  We have to understand that there are people who want us to chase those pleasures and distractions, irregardless of whether we can afford it.  Their affluence depends greatly on our pretending to be affluent, so they use every trick there is to get us to spend, including making us feel inferior if we can not.

The years ahead are going to be filled with unmet expectations and shattered dreams.  We came to believe that we were entitled to luxury and instant gratification, when we are not.  Much hard work will have to be done before the average American is going to spend freely on non-essential items, but the whole time people will be angry over what they think they are being denied.  Accepting ourselves as we are, right now, is essential to getting away from the rage.  We will always feel unhappy and angry if we don’t like who we are.

Is health care socialism?

2009/09/21

Many people are upset because they think of national health care as socialism.  They can’t understand why everyone should be able to receive care when they need it, from a regular provider, instead of the Emergency Room.  To them, capitalism means treating the workers as a resource, to be exploited as much as possible.  The fact that the workers make it possible to create wealth seems irrelevant, not part of the equation.

These same people can understand spending money to keep plant and equipment in operating condition, investing in repairing something so that it will keep working.  When the line breaks down, getting it fixed as soon as possible is worth whatever it costs, because until it is fixed, no one can work.  But if the workers are sick, or injured so that they cannot work, taking care of them is different somehow.  It used to be that people who were injured on the job and could no longer work were fired, without any benefits or pay, to fend for themselves.  There were always more workers to replace them.

But today, most workers must be trained, sometimes for months, as well as being educated by the school system.  So there is an investment needed to bring new workers into the production system.  Keeping the workers who have been trained healthy is a worthwhile investment, which makes sense in terms of the capitalist viewpoint.  This is one of the reasons that health care packages were included as benefits of employment with many companies.

But the cost of providing those health care packages is rising rapidly, and health care benefits are one of the biggest cuts that employers seek when bargaining with unions, and new hires are often receiving less health care benefits than those of senior workers.  But companies in the United States are competing with companies in countries that provide national health insurance, so they have costs that those foreign companies do not.

Until we can view the population of the US as part and parcel to the production of wealth, we are likely to be less and less competitive, as health care costs hobble the profitability of American corporations.  We have to view taking care of the workers as keeping the methods of wealth production in good order, not as giving away wealth.  What we are doing right now is tantamount to letting our production lines crumble, our warehouses fall down.

Health care, or wealth care? (Part two)

2009/08/14

Let us say that the unthinkable happens, and the United States adopts nationalized health insurance.  What will this mean?  For one thing, everyone will have to see a doctor at least once a year, and probably more often.  Regular check ups are the single best way of reducing health care costs, by catching problems early.  If a person is injured in an accident, at work, at home, commuting, or out partying, all of their expenses will be covered, including physical therapy.  Bankruptcies as a result of medical costs will cease, and case loads in Emergency Rooms will likely decline significantly.

Who needs the most health care?  The elderly.  As the emphasis in medicine shifts to preventative care from catastrophe care, the elderly will receive more care in terms of check-ups, tests, and evaluations.  Exercise and diet, along with social activities, will become medically directed, instead of individually initiated.  Health care will be about health instead of care.  The elderly are likely to gain in importance to the rest of us, because so many activities will be oriented around the them, because it is much easier to keep an elderly person healthy than it is to get them to recover after being seriously ill.

Extreme procedures, which can prolong life for a short time in an elderly person, or for many years in a younger person, will become rare, because few young people need extreme procedures, and we simply cannot afford to provide them to large numbers of people.  Quality of life will become more important than simply keeping a person alive a little longer, when they are unlikely to ever leave the hospital.  The elderly will be less likely to suffer from cross drug reactions, when a doctor monitors all of their care, instead of people being seen only be specialists.  Tests will become less common, as doctors opinions are not contradicted because of costs to an insurance company which threaten its profits.

Because the emphasis will be on preventing catastrophic illness, specialists will be in less demand.  Instead of expending huge amounts of resources to repair damage caused by lifestyle, huge amounts of resources will be spent changing lifestyles.  Most people have accepted that it is cheaper to wear a bicycle helmet than it is to hire a brain surgeon to repair the effects of a head injury.  Regular exercise is much cheaper than open heart surgery.  Preventing diabetes is much cheaper than treating it.

That isn’t the way things are right now because it is more profitable to deal with catastrophe than it is to prevent one.  Great strides are being made in the treatment of various disorders, but little progress has been made in learning how to get people to change their behavior to prevent the disorders in the first place.  If diabetes is becoming a national epidemic, shouldn’t we be focused on changing behaviors rather than accepting  higher disease rates?

Health care, or wealth care?

2009/08/10

As the debate intensifies regarding health care reform, keep in mind a few things.  Such as; a reasonable profit on the part of health care providers is to be expected.  Hospitals, clinics, and doctors have to be able to cover their expenses, and make a little profit.  Also, insurance companies have absolutely no part in providing health care.  And, insurance companies are involved in health care strictly to make a profit.  It is the insurance company profits which are at the bottom of the health care crisis, because the insurance companies make more profit the higher the costs of care go.  They operate on a percentage basis, charging a certain percentage of total costs.  The higher the costs, the higher their profit margin.  (Ten percent of 100 is 10,  ten percent of 1,000 is 100)

These profits are what many people are trying to protect, irregardless of the costs of care.  Nationalizing health care would eliminate the insurance industry’s involvement in the health care system, meaning no more profits for shareholders.  This is what the wealthy want to avoid at any cost.  They are not concerned with the availability of health care, its affordability, or its quality, because they can always afford whatever health care that they desire.  Their only concern is maintaining their dividend checks, the cash payment they receive from companies that they own stock in.

Health care providers have watched their profits shrink even as the costs of health care have skyrocketed.  How can this be so?  Because the insurance companies have been driving the increase in costs, not the providers.  Every insurance company employees its own claims adjusters, its own billing department, its own management staff.  Each and every one of these insurance companies must cover all of these costs, as well as making a profit.

There is going to be a lot of mumbo-jumbo, a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of misdirection in this debate.  Patients are not trying to change the way that they receive their health care, and health care providers are not trying to change the methods that said care is provided, but everyone is trying to cut health care costs.  Who is going to be on the defensive?  The insurance companies.

Learning old lessons again

2009/02/22

There is an ancient rule that any individual who becomes wealthy at the expense of the group is threatening the survival of the group, and must be isolated from the rest of the group, irregardless of the individuals eventual survival.  This law was enforced by evolution, natural selection, survival of the fittest.  It appears that civilization has caused us to forget this ancient law, because society has so much inertia that it can survive individuals who make themselves wealthy at the expense of the group.

But that condition is changing, the result of a small number of individuals who have enriched themselves enormously at the expense of the rest of us.  The brakes could have been put on the financial bubble long ago, preventing the carnage that surrounds us today.  But Greed motivated very wealthy, powerful individuals to intervene in the attempts to reign in the explosive growth.  Regulatory bodies were discouraged from investigating suspicious activity, Congress was lobbied not to enact certain laws, and a few overseas governments were manipulated into providing shelters for the wealth.

We all were encouraged to borrow, cash out equity, and to shop until we dropped.  Insanity began to take over, as the stock market kept growing beyond any reasonable limits, prices for homes doubled, and doubled again and again, and we succeeded in exporting our materialistic culture to even much older nations, under the guise of ‘globalization’.  Why should someone in Thailand make shoes for people in America if all they are going to get is material compensation.  The old ways may not have been prosperous, but the people were happy.

Greed manipulated us through the media into believing that owning things could make us happy, and accepting that our self-worth was dependent upon the things that we could by.  We became so desperate to prove our worth that we would buy cars that cost so much we had to get a 5 year contract to buy them.  Tho contract would last longer than the car would.  The same thing happened with houses, where the 30 year mortgage became the standard.  Very few people in this country actually own their home, most are paying a bank for the ability to live in the place.  By the time that you get it paid off, you are too old to take care of it, and often have to sell it for far less than what you have put into it.

All of these things made a lot of people rich, but they made a few people much, much wealthier.  I don’t know their names, and don’t want to know their names, because they are evil people.  They have been willing to run the world economy into the ground to satisfy their insatiable desire for MORE!  It would not be nearly as bad as it is if they had only played with their money, but they had to go and use ours, too.  Basically, we have all been broke for about 20 years, but we have been part of a shell game, a con, to convince us that really could spend more than we make.  It was inevitable that the powers behind this con would eventually lose track of where everything was.  When other nations with more wealth than us began to compete with us for resources, the sham collapsed, victim of gasoline prices which Americans simply could not afford.  It is one thing to put a big screen TV on your credit card, but entirely another to put a tank of gas on it.

Now, we are seeing values return to the levels they would have been at if the ‘irrational exuberance’ had been discouraged with higher interest levels, restrictions on leverage, mark to market rules, and other arcane things which are extremely boring to talk about, but which have such incredible impact on our lives when they are ignored.  Unfortunately, because so many of us have been sucked into jobs that catered to the Greed, such as selling people things that they didn’t really need, values are likely to keep on dropping.  Deflation could become a black hole, sucking the wealth out of the entire system.

Unless we begin using the material wealth that we have amassed to begin creating wealth that belongs to the community, such as a nationwide fiber optic system.  Rebuilding roads and bridges is important, but so is making those same roads and bridges far less vital, by replacing them with the means to move information, to the point that we can almost believe that we are somewhere else entirely.  Virtual reality would allow us to perform tasks half a world away, to take part in events without having to leave our homes, to shop for things without having to go to a store.

Insulating our homes, business facilities, upgrading equipment, these are the investments that we will have to make to keep energy costs low enough that we can afford them in an economy which is sustainable.  Educating our populace to the highest levels that they are capable of is another survival strategy, because the solutions to our problems are not going to come from ignorance.  Who us going to pay for all of this?  We are, the average Americans, who have been duped into spending everything that we were going make for the next few years.  Instead of paying off our credit card debts and hyper-inflated mortgages, we are going to end up working our butts off just to eat and keep a roof over our heads.

The 40 hour work week may become victim to the need to pay a whole bunch of taxes, so that this program of self-improvement is not entirely at the expense of other countries.  Probably, we are going to have to get by with what TVs, stereos, and computers that we have, because importing them would mean paying somebody else real money.  But we have so much incredible potential, so much accumulated wealth, that we could turn this thing around in a matter of a decade.  If we all agreed to work together, to sacrifice together, and to believe in each other.  There is hope, but it is mighty slim.

The dance changes tempo

2009/02/15

So far, I am not aware of anyone acknowledging the fundamental problem behind our current economic woes;  We can no longer sustain the level of consumption that we have become used to.   Between the price of many commodities going up, and home values declining, we have to spend more than we earn to live in great luxury.  Yes, luxury.

We drive ourselves around in our own cars, so that we don’t have to be close to strangers.  Many of us stand under a shower of warm water for several minutes every day.  The lights always will come on when we flick the switch, there are no open sewers running near our schools, and the water coming out of the tap is fairly safe to drink, even though it became fashionable during the Age Of Excess to only drink bottled water.  The telephones almost always work, and most people fly on airplanes when they have to go somewhere.

By the standards of most of the world, these things are great luxuries, which even the wealthy cannot always afford, because they simply don’t exist in some places.  Yet we often consider them to be ‘rights’, which cannot be infringed upon.  We have the ‘right’ to drive our own car somewhere if we want to.  But there is nothing that says that we have the ‘right’ to gasoline whenever we want to go somewhere.  If we can pay for the fuel, fine.  But what if we can’t?

The costs of energy are rising, and not simply because of demand.  Generating plants are becoming harder and harder to get permits for, the grid that transmits the energy that is generated to where it is needed is on the verge of overload, and we need a whole bunch of new lines to move wind power to where it can be used.  Crude oil is no longer found by drilling a few thousand feet in sandy soil.  Extracting it can mean working in thousands of feet of water, and penetrating the Earth’s crust with holes several miles deep is becoming common as we search for new supplies of oil.

For our society to become economically sustainable, consumption of energy has got to be reduced considerably, possibly 50 percent.  That sounds like a huge undertaking, but we are so inefficient in how we use energy that it would be fairly straight forward.  The majority of structures in this country are poorly, if at all, insulated.  Simply bringing every building up to the highest possible level of insulation would result in huge savings,  as would putting solar panels on every roof.

But the automobile is the biggest culprit, and there is simply no way to make it cheap to push around a whole bunch of metal and plastic so that one person can risk their life to get where they want to go by themselves.  We will always have cars, but we will no longer use them all the time.  Instead, we are going to have to get used to riding public transportation when we are commuting to work or school.  But we will still be able to go where we want, when we want, when we can afford it.

If we can make what we already own more valuable by making it more energy efficient, we have invested our money into something that will create wealth, or money, as long as it is used.  But this wealth will be diffused through the economy, instead of being concentrated in the hands of a few, which might be why there is such resistance to changing the consumption of energy dramatically.  The oil companies will not make huge profits if we all start riding transit to work or school.

This will be a drastic change in the American lifestyle, but we are facing something worse than War.  We are dealing with the consequences of unbridled Greed getting its way for too long.  A lot of money was made, but the value of money is coming into question, because so much has been ‘made’ that just disappeared all of a sudden.  Real wealth is the kind that everyone benefits from, and which won’t just go away.  A bridge, a rapid transit system, a fiber optic network, insulation in every building, these are things that make all of us wealthier.

A slice of the pie

2008/12/11

Everyone wants a slice of the pie, but some people want the whole pie.  Well, they have gotten it.  They have all of the money, and we have none.  This is the drawback to the way that capitalism is practiced in the United States.  The money ends up in the hands of a few, the mass has nothing, and commerce comes to a stop. Pop!  The bubble bursts.  Deflation sets in, and markets crash.  What is anything worth, if no one has the money to buy it?  They can’t borrow the money anymore, because the bankers don’t know how much the money is worth.

We are all so far in debt that there is no possibility that we can pay it off.  We are in default on too many things, because there are not enough of us actually creating anything of value to exchange for what we need.  A service is only as good as the ability to pay for it.  When everyone has to do their own cooking, restuarants are not going to do well.  And the list goes down the line.

We are now in the Post-Industrial, Post Everything, Service economy.  And we are all broke.  We can not afford to consume Service anymore. EOF

End Of File

There is a different way to look at Capitalism.  Do not look at people as a resource, look at them as owners.  They own the means of production.  The buildings, assembly lines, and whatnot are only there to create a place for people to work.  Supposedly, productivity has increased by several percent every year for years and years.  Has compensation for labor?

Labor is not just a resource to be exploited for the lowest possible cost.  Labor is provided by people, the members of your community.  Your community is this country, what you call yourself.  If you are an American, your community is broke.  Maybe you aren’t, but so many of us are that your money is not going to be much compensation for the loss that cannot be measured in dollars.  Our culture, our pride, our energy.

The only way out of this situation is to put everyone to work working for each other.  Creating wealth that all of us benefit from, because it makes each of us worth more.  Rapid transit systems, fiber optic networks, high speed rail systems, space exploration.  We are going to have to get used to work a lot without being able to spend very much, because all of our money is going to be used by the government to pay for creating this wealth.  But this will be real wealth, not shopping centers, office towers, and parking lots.  This will be wealth that will be used for years and years, and create more wealth every time it is used.

This is capitalism as practiced where the people are the owners, even though they do not own the companies that do the work.  I have a saying that I came up with.  “If I work to make things better for everyone, things will get better for me, too.”  Whether or not we end along with the ending of the old ways is up to us.