Monday, September 12, 2011


As those of us with jobs are about to hit the road on another Monday morning, this seems the right time to put a finer point on the earlier Plantation Economy post.  In other words, we offer a second go around to belabor a point about labor.

We in this country just no longer give a damn about work, at least not judging by our political system's response to the lack of it for so vast a number of us and the skimpy manner in which we reward it for those who are hired by the hour, as the few at the top of the economic pile get richer by the minute. 

If we gave a damn, considering the great productive capacity of the economy now shut down, we would take up the tools we know can be used to put some vigor in it and get us all back on our feet.  Why not go to a 4 day @ 8 hours per day normal work week, pay workers more to keep earnings at current levels, and draw our unemployed fellow citizens back into a productive role in the economy? And don't hand me that rubbish that we can't afford it.  You must be kidding, the rich are richer than ever, and have money they literally do not have any use for.  It sits idle, like too many of us, as this is being written.

This is not a structural problem; it is entirely political.  What's more, if it were structural, the appropriate response would not be to just take the pain and suffer.  No, it would be to change the structure.  For now, however, let's just remember this problem has occurred before and been addressed effectively, like it was in 1978 with the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act which pegged the acceptable unemployment level for people over 20 years of age at 3%, and directed the federal government to take all appropriate action to hit that target. 

For us to allow our political system to ignore this entirely solvable and brutally painful problem is simply immoral.  We could all do much, much better, finally seeing the benefits of modern technology and productive techniques in the workplace enjoyed by the broad range of our citizens.  Rich folks would still be very, very rich, doubtless even richer as economic growth would zoom in response to increased disposable income in the pockets of average Americans with increased liesure time to use it.  Poor babies, the rich it seems will just have to get along always being rich, there's not much we can do to help them with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment