Friday, November 11, 2016


This is not a political blog, but I am having trouble focussing on anything else but our recent election, so let me write down a few thoughts about it so I can clear my mind to get back to other things.

Why were we all shocked that Donald Trump was elected?  Because we did not understand the level of despair and anger that so many people, particularly in small towns and rural areas are feeling.  Donald spoke to those feelings and promised to alleviate them, but his promises were vague and, I believe, he will not be able to fulfill them.  Not that the Democrats would have done any better.  These people are furious at establishment politics because it has done nothing for them.  The problem is that it cannot, and that is because government is now funded, is completely dependent, on the huge multinational corporations that are the real source of the problem.

There is no government, no nation, no international body, that is powerful enough, or even has the political will at the moment,  to regulate multinational corporations.  Their whole set up, where they are owned and ultimately controlled by faceless investors who make decisions with no regard to the actual people that do the work of these corporations, is something that we have gotten so used to that we take it as an inevitable fact of life; but why should it be that way?  Why are there multinational corporations?  If corporations have the same rights and freedom of speech and power and political participation as citizens, then they should be citizens, too.  Citizens of a particular country, which is the country of citizenship of their owners.  This means that if they are engaged in manufacture, that manufacturing must take place in their native country.  They can import raw materials that are not available in their native country, if they really are not available, but any manufacture, any assemblage must be done in their native country.  They cannot play one labor market off another.  They cannot discard workers who have give decades of service to these corporation, like old shoes, and move on in search of increasingly more desperate pools of labor.  They cannot play this game of switching locations with no allegiances, so that states and countries and workers are so desperate for them that they will bend over backwards and offer these corporations such absurd tax deals and be willing to work for slave wages just for a chance to survive, and so that faceless stock holders can reap huge profits and executives making decisions in offices many thousands of miles away from where the work is actually done, reap obscene salaries and benefits.

All of this is done under the guise of the insidious misnomer 'free market capitalism.'  What is free about it?  My understanding of a market is that it is made up of capital, the owners of the means of production, labor, the people that actually do the work, and consumers, the people that use and purchase the products of this work and machinery.  What is actually meant by 'free markets' is the total domination of labor and consumers by capital.  Consumers must be able to have some control of the price, quality and safety of products.  The 'invisible hand' of a free market will not help consumers if the only choices they have are similarly over priced and flawed.  

Representative government is nothing more complicated than a group of people that are elected to represent the interests of the people that elected them.  People are furious at government because they are not representing their interests, but the interests of their big money supporters.  And it is only government, only the people organized into a large enough and powerful enough group, that is capable of controlling these multi-national corporations.

There should be a limit set on the percentage of profit over costs.  Any one working for a corporation for two years should then, on top of their salary, start to build up some ownership of the business.  The percentage of a company owned by outside investors should never exceed the percentage of the company owned by its employees.  And a formula must be worked out so that the more employees a company hires, the smaller the percentage of ownership is allowed by the original owners.  These situations where huge companies are employing many thousands of workers who cannot support their families on full time jobs, while the owners are making more money than they can possibly spend, is simply obscene.  What is the appeal for a billionaire to become an even richer billionaire?  How much material indulgence can you possibly enjoy?  Or is it the extent of the kow towing and subservience from other people that are in desperate need of a tiny piece of your fortune to support their artistic endeavors, to be donated to their charities, to be celebrated and feted at charity balls, to convince yourself of your utter goodness and generosity, as you exploit by the tens of thousands your own workers; is this what appeals to you?

Whether our trade deals have increased or diminished our employment is hard to say.  What it has definitely done is shifted and then reshifted employment, so we are no longer secure in our jobs.  How many of us are working for employers who we feel have a personal interest in our welfare and security?  Why is that something that we no longer feel that we are entitled to or that is even possible?  It is because of these endless, faceless deals: trade deals and mergers and acquisitions and relocations.

The whole economy is so pumped up, all this wheeling and dealing and hyped up advertising campaigns, with new winners and new losers every day and constant insecurity.  And every thing is growth! growth! growth!  Wouldn't everyone be a lot happier if the emphasis was on stability and more equitable distribution?  Do we really need to live in a society where fashion demands a new wardrobe, new furnishings, new gadgets and new cars every year?  If we really knew each other we would make 'relating' more important than 'impressing' and these endless frivolous products would lose their appeal.

The real slow down in unemployment is due to automation.  These jobs are not coming back, regardless of anything that Trump says.  In fact, there is no holding back technology, so automation will be increasing.  But why should automation screw the worker?  Wasn't the original idea of automation, of technology, to make people's lives easier, not harder?  Why shouldn't that benefit extend to the worker as well as the consumer.  If one worker is creating, because of automation,  four times the product, which is creating four times the profit, than he was thirty years ago, then that worker should be making four times as much.  In fact, he is making less in actual dollar value, because as the number of manufacturing jobs has decreased, because of automation, worker's desperation for those few remaining jobs have increased.  Workers are now willing to accept much lower salaries, in terms of real wages, even though their labor is contributing much more to the profits of their company.  

Here is my suggestion:  We create two jobs where there was one.  Now we have two workers working twenty hours a week, each one making twice as much as his counterpart from thirty years earlier and working half as much.  Why can't we do this?  Why does this seem absurd?  If having rampant unemployment and barely liveable wages while a select few are drowning in obscene, frivolous wealth; if that insanity is accepted as normal, why can't a twenty hour work week with a comfortable wage, comfortable enough to support a family that has enough time and enough security to have a happy life, why can't that be the norm?  Why isn't that the result of automation and technological advances instead of this pathetically skewed distribution of wealth?

Will this destroy corporations?  Of course not.  Do the math.  The corporation is still making more profit per worker than it was before and they now have a labor force that has the economic wherewithall and the leisure time to buy the goods and enjoy the services that the corporation produces.  Even crazy old Henry Ford tripled the wages of his factory workers when he realized how much better he would do when everyone could afford a Ford.

All of this can be done.  All of this is a rational way of doing things, but it will not get done, until we realize that this is what we need; until we stop blaming our unhappiness on people that are different in some way than we are, and focus on the real source of our unhappiness, which is the stranglehold that multi-national corporations and corporate structure and power are exerting on our lives, our freedom, our opportunities and our governments.

This is not a right or left issue.  This is a common sense issue.  This should be a priority for everyone who is not in that top 1% and for decent minded people who are in that top 1%.  When we have a political party that fights for that interest  then we will be able to effect real change without the necessity of bullying or race baiting, or religion baiting, or gender or sexual preference baiting.

Donald Trump says he is an outsider, that his only interest is in making America great again.  He and the Republicans might be able to lure a few corporations back to the U.S. with ridiculous tax cuts so that all the tax burden will be borne by people that are least able to afford it.  And that, I believe, more than the racism, the sexism, the homophobia and Moslemphobia, is why he got elected; people are so desperate for the return of manufacturing work that they are willing to  follow the Republicans and offer the coporations anything they want to get them back and, conversely,  they fear that the Democratic attempts to raise taxes on the wealthiest and most successful corporate profits will drive more job sources away.  

What we really need to do is level the playing field, so that we don't have to be that desperate for work.  Let's end multinational corporations.  Let's have a unified tax deal for all American corporations in all states so they cannot play one against the other, and let's all share in the fruits of technology so that we not only have more convenient gadgets, but that we all have to work less for more pay, and not be divided into a labor market that is either overworked and underpaid, or not able to find work at all.


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