A Blank Spot on the Map

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Response to Will Wilkinson Post

First I question the initial supposition that more college graduates is what we need. Where is the demand for them? Are they all going to work on Wall Street? Do we really have a need for 20 million more college graduates? Most of the job loss seems to have been from the manufacturing section. I'm not sure why people think we can continue to buy and buy more stuff from other countries without having to produce something to trade with in exchange for our purchases. More collage graduates with nothing to make doesn't solve that problem.

Second the idea that taking money from the wealthy and putting it into our educational system or our health care system wouldn't help improve our success seems baseless. The countries that are passing us up mostly provide free secondary education ( and healthcare) while more and more Americans are unable to provide themselves with health care OR tuition funding. I know of plenty of 3.8 GPA students planning to go to community college for lack of ability to pay for college. Our education system is NOT failing us we are failing our education system in thinking we need a Forbes 400 worth $1.5 trillion dollars mostly in off shore accounts.

The big picture is trade. Without a work force willing to work for no benefits and starvation wages and to compete with communist workers I am not sure how we are going to compete. The only way to improve the standard of living for our citizens is to figure out why the top 1% of the workers earn as much as the lower 50% and why they own 90% of all assets.

It's a fact that markets result in upward distribution of wealth and if government wants an efficient economy it needs to see to it that the productivity is shared more equitably. Of course that's blasphemy to the neoliberal but it’s the truth. 40 years ago we thought our ever increasing productivity would mean we would all lead lives of leisure working 20 hours a week but instead all the benefits went to the top leaving the middle class and the poor behind and those that do have jobs working even harder to just keep up.

Until we understand that unequal income distribution is an inherent property of markets that itself makes them inefficient we will continue to have mediocre economic results, massive inequality and concentrated economic and political power amongst a small wealthy elite.

If you don't believe the wealthy need to put back into the system to keep it going then we might as well just bring back the aristocracies of yesteryear.

What's happening to our country is the stuff of revolutions which in the recent past was settled via democracy. Now that they own the democratic process itself as well as all the power and wealth they better start thinking twice about how much more they need at the top or about re-enforcing their gates from impending attempts at crashing them.

"Utilitarian economists, skeletons of schoolmasters, Commissioners of Fact, genteel and used up infidels, gabblers of many little dog's eared creeds the poor you will have always with you. Cultivate in them while there is yet time the utmost graces of the fancies and affections to adorn their lives so much in need of ornament or in the day of your triumph when romance is utterly driven out of their souls and they and a bare existence stand face to face Reality will take a wolfish turn and make an end of you"

Charles Dickens , Hard Times


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