The Myth Of The Prosperity Generating Free Market Has Been Dispelled. It’s Time For A New New Deal.

May 28, 2017, Thomas Fricke writes on Economics:

A visionary concept that provides guidance and direction is required now.

The spell worked its magic for three decades. For three decades humanity believed in the blessings that globalization would bring in its wake. It was assumed that in the end everyone involved will benefit when we remove regulations, when corporations become ubiquitous throughout the world, when the banks have lots of money, when tax havens exist, and of course when government stays out of our hair. What prevailed was the primacy of the economy, whether in Herne, New York or Shenyang. It was as simple as that.

But times have changed. Once considered to be the High Temple of market dogma, the mighty financial world was about to collapse ten years ago, before it had to be rescued by – surprise – the rest of us.

What also collapsed was the myth that markets can regulate themselves. Simmering unrest emerged, borne by diffuse fears, half-knowledge and justifiable rejection of what has gone wrong with globalization. It became an opportune time for con men and authoritarians.

We now see a void that cannot be remedied by trying to fix details. What the world needs instead is a new leitmotif, a new guiding concept. We indeed need it before populists of all stripes fill this void by inciting people against each other. Time is of the essence.

The tremendous power and impact inherent in such a myth was exemplified when Ronald Reagan relaxed banking regulations in 1982. All of a sudden, the Chicago Boys were considered hip. Supply and demand, so they believed, was the key to resolving anything and everything – whether it concerned a shortage of screws, demand for loans, or the desire to get married. Soon the apostles of the free market ruled everywhere, even in France. Mighty authorities such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) preached the Washington Consensus; i.e. strict market orientation as a new world religion.

For more than a quarter of a century there was no doubt about what is right: The market trumps the state [no pun intended]. What to do with State-owned enterprises? Privatize them. Your pension? Self-provision through the free market. Unemployment benefits? Curtailments. Opening borders for Eastern Europeans? Certainly. And the next free trade round? Of course. And so forth. In the end, even Social Democrats contributed to lowering top tax rates and making hedge funds happy.

In these times a lot of prosperity was generated throughout the world. The Asians were able to sell off their cheap goods everywhere. And the West benefited from cheap clothing from Vietnam and toys from China. Germany enjoyed an export miracle because everyone needed machines made in Germany.

And yet something seems to have gone awry. There is this unease. There is this resentment. There are these downsides.

The reason why world inequality has fallen is due mainly to the fact that so many Chinese and Indians have experienced a rise in income, as was demonstrated by the former World Bank economist Branko Milanović.

The results elsewhere are less evident. Neither have Americans, Britons and Germans experienced faster growth in their economies compared to the decades prior to 1982. Nor were there fewer crises. On the contrary, the IMF has identified more than 120 banking crises and 200 currency crises since then – a dramatic increase.

True, companies make more profits today, but they invest a lower proportion in machinery and jobs than before. This is in part because in a financialized global economy it is more lucrative to speculate. In part because it is more chic to make a quick buck than to think long-term. To sum this up we see $200 trillion in debt generated in the old system.

More importantly, however, the greatest promise has remained unfulfilled: Half of the Americans today have seen stagnating or even significantly lower real incomes since 1989. In Germany, there are 40 percent who are less well-off in real terms, and half of Germans possess practically no wealth. And nearly one in four Germans works for little pay. Such enormous wealth gaps between the rich and the poor existed in the nineteenth century as well.

Depending on the calculation, progress has thus by-passed a third to half of the population. The Americans and Britons were the first to be jolted by this development through the election victories of Trump and Brexit. Ironically it is those very countries who most eagerly followed the mantra of the free markets that are now confronted with Industry 0.0 and social division. Meanwhile, IMF experts are having to concede that capital markets are probably not so efficient after all. And the once orthodox-liberal OECD is only defining growth these days as good growth if it benefits the poor.

The myth of the past has become passé. What is missing is the new, powerful concept.

Economists have begun to understand what went wrong in recent years. Kenneth Rogoff and Thomas Piketty evaluated enormous sets of data pertaining to financial crises and assets. Nobel laureate Angus Deaton reveals in a new study that in the US, the life expectancy of white men is on the decline in precisely those areas where local companies have been displaced. Robert Shiller and George Akerlof have found main reasons that explain why financial bubbles come about systematically in markets.

There is a growing suspicion that it was perilous to allow the economies to be determined by financial wizards who are incapable of foreseeing their own debacles, who follow every fad, who then in times of crises drive governments on before them.

Could this become the core of a new mantra – one that refrains from turning to financial magic for solutions? Possibly. Bonus calculations for managers should no longer be based on share prices, says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Investors should be rewarded when they invest in the long term, says Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England. And managers should have to pay back bonuses when it turns out that they made a mess of things. In other words, all incentives investing in human resources and machinery.

Many reasons point to the assumption that we would face fewer debts if, for instance, banks were required to provide more funds – especially when it comes to pure financial transactions as well as in times of distorted lending. The Bonn-based economic historian Moritz Schularick found that in the run-up to nearly all financial crises too many loans had been taken out on real estate. This problem could be solved if the loan portion for the purchase of a house was limited to around, let’s say, 50 percent.

And what about the pitfalls of free trade? According to Harvard professor Dani Rodrik, trade agreements in the future will have to be equipped with explicit clauses to enable import restrictions, if necessary. This would be the case, for example, when cost benefits are attributable solely to disregard for human rights in the countries of origin, however, not when the productivity is lower. When it is foreseeable that low-cost competition threatens to devastate entire industries. Thus, far more free trade could be rescued than through Trumpian protectionism, which comes with a high risk of escalation.

Moreover, it would be advisable to clarify what issues in a better world actually demand regulations on a global scale – climate protection would be an example. And in which cases, beyond the crude good vs. evil dichotomy, state government is actually useful. Experts today can determine with much more clarity which investments are worthwhile and which are not. And which expenditures on railroads, schools or research will ultimately bring the finance minister greater return on initial investment because they initiate growth and generate more tax revenues. Such projects could, under strict supervision, be exempted from rules limiting fiscal deficits. This would be a more farsighted approach than formally striving to balanced budgets every year. The innovation researcher, Mariana Mazzucato, has demonstrated how strongly government agencies have enhanced the development of technologies without which devices like the iPhone would not exist: A good reason to start making those dull authorities more attractive to top researchers.

Some of these ideas have already matured, others are still in their inception stage. What we need to find is a unifying formula to define the new paradigm: the leitmotif.

Finding it is a tremendous challenge. It cannot be as simple as the market-works-wonders formula. Yet it must be simple enough to make it plausible to everyone. The solution probably lies somewhere in the middle: in a better controlled, enlightened globalization that can do without the compulsion to standardize everything throughout the world. What is needed is a new balance of liberties with built-in safeguards against excesses. And an environment in which politicians can again shape and decide on policies instead of rescuing banks or states without having much choice in the matter.

This requires an economy that is more dynamic and innovative than in the imposter years – for the very reason that more money will flow into real projects and that higher incomes will increase sales. A good 80 years ago one myth already had to be replaced in the wake of a crash and a failed attempt at globalization. This brought populists to power, nourished nationalism and ended in a trade war and ultimately a world war.

At those times it was US President Franklin Roosevelt who coined a new slogan: the phenomenal New Deal, which embraced the losers of the economic crisis, placed bounds on the financial world, ensured investments in the future, and demonstrated political control: A model for the post-war world, during which almost everyone benefited for decades.

High time to draw our lessons from this.

The Myth of the Prosperity Generating Free Market Has Been Dispelled. It’s Time for a New New Deal.

The author states that it is time to draw our lessons from history and calls for a “visionary concept that provides guidance and direction” but then provides no visionary concept or an agenda of solutions to fundamental economic inequality.

Repeatedly, I have provided the visionary concept on my blog site (www.foreconomicjustice.org) and as commentary on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/editorgary and https://www.facebook.com/For-Economic-Justice-347893098576250/), as well as The Huffington Post, that is needed and the solutions to put our nation on a path to inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice. Yet the same old calls for a destruction of private property principles and income redistribution policies is the prominent message pushed by the authors who are published by Evonomics, rather than explore means in which EVERY citizen can be a productive contributor to the economy and society through their OWNERSHIP of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets, as well as work contributions.

The visionary concept that achieves inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice are explored in the following works:

The Agenda of The JUST Third Way Movement at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=5797, http://www.cesj.org/resources/articles-index/the-just-third-way-basic-principles-of-economic-and-social-justice-by-norman-g-kurland/, http://www.cesj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/jtw-graphicoverview-2013.pdf and http://www.cesj.org/resources/articles-index/the-just-third-way-a-new-vision-for-providing-hope-justice-and-economic-empowerment/.

Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/page/monetary-justice.

The Capital Homestead Act (aka Economic Democracy Act) at http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for-getting-ownership-income-and-power-to-every-citizen/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-summary/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/ch-vehicles/.

Nobel Prize Economist On Trump’s Budget: ‘You Could Say It’s A Collection Of Lies Put Together’

On May 24, 2017, Walter Einenkel writes on the Daily Koz:

Nobel Prizer winning economist and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has studied market inequalities more intensely than Donald Trump has studied his hair follicles, was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Asked about what he thought of the newly released White House budget, he had this to say.

“It’s like everything else: It’s made up. You could say it’s a collection of lies put together. It doesn’t make any economic sense. I don’t think anybody who’s looked at it has—can fathom the economics. I mean, you mentioned one thing, the 3 percent growth rate, which is the largest deviation in estimate relative to the CBO on record. You know, when I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, we wanted to be responsible, and we always were conservative and were very careful, getting the views of everybody, wanted to make sure that our numbers were reasonable. He’s made no pretense to be reasonable.

“In fact, what’s striking is, while he assumes that there’s going to be more growth, if you look at the budget, it’s designed to reduce growth. He cuts out support for science, for R&D, which is the basis of productivity growth. He cuts out support for job retraining, so when people leave one job, they can be trained for the next job. He cuts out support for Pell grants, so those who have low income can get the education so they can live up to their potential. All these are things that actually lower economic growth. So I would say this is not a growth budget, this is a no-growth budget.”

Stiglitz, never short on words, continues to explain how the “numbers” in the budget are “mind-bending,” and clearly bullshit. To top it off, Stiglitz explains that every single thing Trump and Mulvaney says they’re going to do with this budget is contradicted by what this proposed budget wants to enact.

The interview begins around the 4 minute mark.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/24/1665670/-Nobel-Prize-economist-on-Trump-s-budget-You-could-say-it-s-a-collection-of-lies-put-together

The path to significant economic growth is to adopt the proposed Capital Homestead Act (aka Economic Democracy Act), which would create broad capital ownership simultaneously with the growth while at the same time job opportunities would significantly expand. Productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all.
 
In a democratic growth economy, the ownership of productive capital assets would be spread more broadly as the economy grows, without taking anything away from the 1 to 10 percent who now own 50 to 90 percent of the corporate wealth. Instead, the ownership pie would desirably get much bigger and their percentage of the total ownership would decrease, as ownership gets broader and broader, benefiting EVERY citizen (children, women and men), including the traditionally disenfranchised poor and working and middle class. Thus, productive capital income, from full earnings dividend payouts, would be distributed more broadly and the demand for products and services would be distributed more broadly from the earnings of capital and result in the sustentation of consumer demand, which will promote economic growth and more profitable enterprise. That also means that society can profitably employ unused productive capacity and invest in more productive capacity to service the demands of a growth economy. As a result, our business corporations would be enabled to operate more efficiency and competitively, while broadening wealth-creating ownership participation, creating new capitalists and “customers with money” to support the products and services being produced.

America Is Getting a Raise, and Goldman Sachs Is Freaking Out About It

“Goldman Sachs: Sobriety scares us.”

On May 26, 2017, Paul Constant writes on Civic Skunk Works:

In a private newsletter to wealthy investors, Goldman Sachs analysts warn that “rising wages are a threat to corporate profit margins.”

On Tuesday May 23rd, investment firm Goldman Sachs sent an edition of their Global Markets Daily e-newsletter to customers. It’s the kind of email that goes out to high-rollers and high-stakes investors—the big shots who will gladly chase profits across international boundaries. The newsletter contains a combination of investment news — in this case a couple of bullet points about Chinese industrial production and OPEC’s quest for stability — and analysis for investors in the global marketplace.

Global Markets Daily is apparently not available online unless you’re a Goldman Sachs customer, but Civic Ventures obtained a copy after Luke Kawa published a piece of it in Bloomberg. Specifically, we’re interested in the second item in the newsletter, which is written by Goldman strategists Charles P. Himmelberg and James Weldon. It’s titled “What Happens to Profits if Wages Catch up with Productivity?” and it begins with some unequivocally good news.

“Wages are rising. The ‘wage tracker’ maintained by our US economics team — a composite measure of wage growth based on the four main wage indicators — hit 3.0% year-on-year in the first quarter for the first time in this expansion.”

Fantastic! Worker wages have been flat in the United States for almost the entire 21st century. If more workers have more money, surely they’ll spend it, thereby supercharging the economy with their increased demand. Good news for Goldman Sachs investors, right?

Apparently not. Here’s the very next sentence, with emphasis added:

“And as our colleagues in equity strategy have recently pointed out, rising wages are a threat to corporate profit margins (“Labor Costs and US Equities: Stocks Confront Rising Wages with Economy at Full Employment”, Portfolio Strategy Research, May 9, 2017).”

A “threat?” How can that be? Weldon and Himmelberg explain that worker productivity is growing, too, but it’s not likely to grow at pace with wages. “More importantly for profits,” they write…

“…it seems highly unlikely that labor productivity will keep pace with wage growth. On the contrary, with labor markets already tight and likely to tighten further, and wages already growing at 3%yoy, odds are strong that wage growth will continue, while the outlook for productivity growth remains far less certain.

“With this backdrop in mind, we ask: What would happen to US corporate profits if real wages were to catch up with average labor productivity?”

The most important words in that last paragraph are “catch up.” See, labor productivity in the United States has long been divorced from wage growth. The Economic Policy Institute says the gap erupted in 1973 and has been widening ever since, as shown in this graph:

 

Put simply, this means that for the last 40 years, when you’ve been working harder, you’ve been paid less. (And make no mistake: we do work harder and longer than anyone in the world, putting in “137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”) In the note, Weldon and Himmelberg even refer to this “opening of the gap” between wages and productivity as “extreme” and “unprecedented.”

Recently — thanks in part to the $15 minimum-wage movement — wages and productivity have started to converge again. Your paycheck has finally started to represent the real value of your work.

Seems like a good thing, right? Not for Goldman Sachs. In their newsletter, Himmelberg and Weldon played out what might happen if American workers started to get paid what they’re worth again—specifically, “a decline in the annualized 5-year growth rate of corporate profit margins of roughly 10% by 2020.”

Please bear in mind that Weldon and Himmelberg aren’t calling your wages “a threat” to the survival of corporations. They’re not even “a threat” to corporate revenue. No, the “threat” that they’re predicting is a ten percent decrease in corporate profits.

For reference, here’s a chart showing US corporate profits since 1950:

Click the link below to view this chart on its home page at tradingeconomics.com.

So corporate profit has been spiking for forty years while the schism between productivity and wages has widened into a Grand Canyon. Anyone who can read a chart can see that these trends are unsustainable.

What do Goldman’s experts think the cause of the worker wage-productivity gap could be? Why haven’t workers been paid what they’re worth? Well, Himmelberg and Weldon don’t have the faintest clue:

“Our scenario analysis declines to address the economics of the question, namely, why aren’t markets equating real wages with average labor productivity? We suspect the answer has much to do with changes in market power over time (which may or may not be reversing).”

Dig those weasel words: “suspect,” “may or may not be,” “declines to address.” Could it be that worker wages became so divorced from productivity not because of some mysterious market forces, but because corporate bosses just declined to give their workers raises and kept the money for themselves?

Could it be that the outrageous profits enjoyed by Goldman Sachs investors are way too high, and that investors and CEOs have over time transferred a larger and larger share of worker pay to their own bottom line?

Could your wages possibly be so low because those in power prioritize shareholder profit maximization above all else? Can we truly say we live in an advanced economy when the moneyed few who subscribe to a Goldman Sachs e-newsletter profit on the relentless exploitation of millions of American workers?

Does Goldman Sachs value a small sliver of profit over the opportunity to create a sustainable economy that works for everyone?

Seems pretty likely to me. Especially since Weldon and Himmelberg spend the first half of the note bellyaching over a possible ten percent decline in corporate profits if wages and productivity begin to match up again.

The final sentence of their note, to me, is when the whole damn thing tips over into being flat-out bonkers:

“In the meantime, we find the prospect of what a normalization would look like to be sobering.”

Himmelberg and Weldon admit that increased wages for American workers represents “normalization.” It’s how things should be. But they call the very idea of a normalization “sobering.”

That phrasing is so telling. Think about this for a moment. Who needs sobering? Someone who’s really drunk. Someone who maybe ate a little bit too much of that pot brownie. Someone who’s out of control.

And what Goldman Sachs analysts find “sobering” is the idea of a job market doing what it should do. The very thought of losing ten percent of their outsized annual profits to what they admit would be a properly functioning job market is “sobering.”

And that’s not even the dumbest part of all this! Himmelberg and Weldon are forgetting a very important part of this model. They’re treating this trade between profits and wages like it’s a zer0-sum game—that investors have to lose when workers win. That’s not the case at all.

What Weldon and Himmelberg fail to understand, of course, is that when workers get paid, that money doesn’t disappear. Workers are much more likely to spend their money than, say, CEOs (who, according to the Economic Policy Institute, on average “make over 300 times what typical workers earn”) or corporations. By raising worker wages,we are investing in the economy — increasing consumer spending and creating more jobs with that demand.

Goldman Sachs employees seem to have come to believe the hype perpetuated by the Republican Party communications apparatus—the flatly false claim that it is Wall Street and investors who are the true job creators. In fact, it is and has always been the American middle class who create the demand. Their spending, and not corporate profits, is what grows the economy.

Goldman Sachs is wrong to believe that a raise for the working class is a “threat.” In fact, the real threat to America’s economy comes from the indefensibly enormous corporate profits that Goldman Sachs analysts are so eager to protect.

https://civicskunk.works/america-is-getting-a-raise-and-goldman-sachs-is-freaking-out-about-it-6479cb86c59

This article is written from a one-factor labor worker point of view.

Binary economist Louis Kelso stated: “The myth of the ‘rising productivity’ of labor is used to conceal the increasing productiveness of capital and the decreasing productiveness of labor, and to disguise income redistribution by making it seem morally acceptable.”

Kelso argued that unions “must adopt a sound strategy that conforms to the economic facts of life. If under free-market conditions, 90 percent of the goods and services are produced by capital input, then 90 percent of the earnings of working people must flow to them as wages of their capital and the remainder as wages of their labor work… If there are in reality two ways for people to participate in production and earn income, then tomorrow’s producers’ union must take cognizance of both… The question is only whether the labor union will help lead this movement or, refusing to learn, to change, and to innovate, become irrelevant.”

To comprehend what Kelso was referring to one must recognize that there are two independent factors of production: humans (labor workers who contribute manual, intellectual, creative and entrepreneurial work) and non-human capital (land; structures; infrastructure; tools; machines; robotics; computer processing; certain intangibles that have the characteristics of property, such as patents and trade or firm names; and the like which are owned by people individually or in association with others). Fundamentally, economic value is created through human and non-human contributions.

The role of physical productive capital is to do ever more of the work, which produces wealth and thus income to those who own productive capital assets. Full employment is not an objective of businesses. Companies strive to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum in order to maximize profits for the owners. They strive to minimize marginal costs, the cost of producing an additional unit of a good, product or service once a business has its fixed costs in place, in order to stay competitive with other companies racing to stay competitive through technological innovation. Reducing marginal costs enables businesses to increase profits, offer goods, products and services at a lower price (which people as consumers seek), or both. Increasingly, new technologies are enabling companies to achieve near-zero cost growth without having to hire people. Thus, private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital’s ever increasing role.

The result is that the price of products and services are extremely competitive as consumers will always seek the lowest cost/quality/performance alternative, and thus for-profit companies are constantly competing with each other (on a local, national and global scale) for attracting “customers with money” to purchase their products or services in order to generate profits and thus return on investment (ROI).

Over the past century there has been an ever-accelerating shift to productive capital — which reflects tectonic shifts in the technologies of production. The mixture of labor worker input and capital worker input has been rapidly changing at an exponential rate of increase for over 239 years in step with the Industrial Revolution (starting in 1776) and had even been changing long before that with man’s discovery of the first tools, but at a much slower rate. Up until the close of the nineteenth century, the United States remained a working democracy, with the production of products and services dependent on labor worker input. When the American Industrial Revolution began and subsequent technological advances amplified the productive power of non-human capital, plutocratic finance channeled its ownership into fewer and fewer hands, as we continue to witness today with government by the wealthy evidenced at all levels.

People invented “tools” to reduce toil, enable otherwise impossible production, create new highly automated industries, and significantly change the way in which products and services are produced from labor intensive to capital intensive — the core function of technological invention and innovation. Kelso attributed most changes in the productive capacity of the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to technological improvements in our capital assets, and a relatively diminishing proportion to human labor. Capital, in Kelso’s terms, does not “enhance” labor productivity (labor’s ability to produce economic goods). In fact, the opposite is true. It makes many forms of labor unnecessary. Because of this undeniable fact, Kelso asserted that, “free-market forces no longer establish the ‘value’ of labor. Instead, the price of labor is artificially elevated by government through minimum wage legislation, overtime laws, and collective bargaining legislation or by government employment and government subsidization of private employment solely to increase consumer income.”

Furthermore, according to Kelso, productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. Kelso postulated that if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all. Yet, sadly, the American people and its leaders still pretend to believe that labor is becoming more productive, and ignore the necessity to broaden personal ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy.

It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

Kelso postulated: “When consumer earning power is systematically acquired in the course of the normal operations of the economy by people who need and want more consumer goods and services, the production of goods and services should rise to unprecedented levels; the quality and craftsmanship of goods and services, freed of the corner-cutting imposed by the chronic shortage of consumer purchasing power, should return to their former high levels; competition should be brisk; and the purchasing power of money should remain stable year after year.”

Without this necessary balance hopeless poverty, social alienation, and economic breakdown will persist, even though the American economy is ripe with the physical, technical, managerial, and engineering prerequisites for improving the lives of the 99 percent majority. Why? Because there is a crippling organizational malfunction that prevents making full use of the technological prowess that we have developed. The system does not fully facilitate connecting the majority of citizens, who have unsatisfied needs and wants, to the productive capital assets enabling productive efficiency and economic growth.

Kelso said, “We are a nation of industrial sharecroppers who work for somebody else and have no other source of income. If a man owns something that will produce a second income, he’ll be a better customer for the things that American industry produces. But the problem is how to get the working man [and woman] that second income.”

The Blinding Effects Of Being Really, Really Rich

On May 25, 2017, Annie Fadely writes on Civic Skunk Works:

Why do wealthy people spend so much time shaming the rest of us?

The 90% of us who haven’t managed to hoard 76% of the wealth in Americaare often written off, especially by Republicans, as having character flaws that prevent us from making choices that would lead us to being a Rich Person. In response to the GOP’s savage proposed cuts to health care, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), gifted us with this insight:

“Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. So maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest that in health care.”

The working class is constantly being informed of their supposed deficiencies in a way loosely packaged as mentorship.

Wealthy men and women alike tell less wealthy women to forcefully negotiate their salaries. Rich people with degrees tell poor people to get degrees (and then more advanced/more prestigious/STEM degrees). Of course you’re not building wealth, they say. You’re not even investing. And if young people do manage to save a few bucks but still find the price of housing insurmountable, they’re told to buy fewer avocados (which many of my peers can’t afford to even lust after in the grocery store).

What they’re really saying is to be born luckier. To make yourself whiter. To be more like them. And if you can’t, you’re probably just lazy.

But we know that climbing the next rung on the economic ladder isn’t simply a matter of hard work and tenacity. The unwillingness of the working class to take chances on the stock market and flit around between tech startups isn’t a collective defect — it’s an attempt at self-preservation. We can’t afford to take risks that might reap grand returns. When 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, the stakes are just too high.

The allure of building wealth isn’t to satisfy our material desires. What we’re lusting after is the peace of mind that we suspect comes along with knowing that our current and future well-being isn’t dependent on things going right all the time. And rich people? They don’t have to worry about that. As a result, their perceptions of risk-taking are seriously askew.

Our friends who make it to college and land jobs at Microsoft won’t have to watch their parents decay in a dismal Medicaid-funded nursing home (or on the street, if Trump’s budget gets its way). Barron Trump won’t join the masses who are tweeting at Nicki Minaj for the chance to get a fraction of his school bills paid. And he won’t have to set up a GoFundMe campaign to finance treatment for a pre-existing condition, because dying of something curable is for suckers — poor suckers.

Most people who have experienced wild financial success just don’t understand this reality. Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (a Christian conservative who has served in the last three Republican administrations) thinks that the inability (or unwillingness) to acknowledge objective truths like these has spread from academia into politics and society at large. He calls it moral confusion.

The comfortably wealthy don’t know what it’s like to be perpetually confined in a terrifyingly low economic bracket, because the one thing they all have in common is that they escaped — sometimes by birth. And they can’t accept that they might not have done so by way of their own brilliance or the merits of their ancestors.

For the rest, the American dream eludes us over and over again. Because social and economic suppression share overlapping root causes. And it’s really simple for the powerful to keep it that way.

Here’s an example:

Seattle used to have a method of housing segregation called redlining. The whole city was drawn up with racial borders that were written into neighborhood housing deeds. Redlining dictated what kinds of people banks would approve for home mortgages in certain areas, and it worked very well at keeping undesirables out of Seattle neighborhoods (except for Central Seattle, where white people didn’t want to live).

Housing deeds in my neighborhood, Ravenna, used to contain this phrase:

“No person other than one of the white race shall be permitted to occupy any portion of any lot in said plat or of any building thereon, except a domestic servant actually employed by a white occupant of such building.”

The definition of an undesirable varied by neighborhood. People cut off from any real estate worth having included “Hebrews” (Jews), “Ethiopians” (Africans), “Malays” (Filipinos), and “the Asiatic race”. Clyde Hill was restricted to “Aryans only”.

Redlining isn’t just some backwards practice that we left behind in the last century. Homeowners associations couldn’t change the discriminatory language in their deeds until 2006, when Senate Bill 6169 was passed to allow it. And even though the words were changed, the segregation of neighborhoods in Seattle is still in full force — just harder to name now. It takes funding to run studies that identify the housing discrimination based on race, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity that so many people can tell you is definitely a thing. And money isn’t exactly pouring in to find out such non-sexy things.

But the way our society is set up means that the wealth of your neighbors defines your trajectory. Because our state funds schools through local property taxes, where you buy or rent a house dictates exactly what quality of education your kids will receive. And later, the value of your estate that will be passed on to them. Your assets are exactly the size of your safety net.

It’s hard to know if policies meant to mitigate social discrimination are working. A trailblazing study by my badass professor Marieka Klawitter, the guest on our podcast this week (link below!), suggested that the first thirty-ish years of workplace anti-discrimination LGBT policies (no Q or I or A yet) did diddly-squat for lesbians. The strongest effects were found for gay white men in the private sector who already placed in the upper half of the earnings distribution — individuals with lots of other social bargaining power to draw from.

We can’t solve economic insecurity if we don’t talk about it with brutal honesty. Commiserating over dream houses and vacations is an easy and acceptable form of envy to share with our fellow Poor People. It’s much harder to admit to ourselves and others that what we’re actually scared of is remaining vulnerable.

So let’s all call it exactly like it is, really loudly: the objective truth is that our economy and society are working in tandem to keep the suppressed exactly where they are. The attainability of moving up a couple rungs on our sections of the economic ladder keeps the subtler suppressions under pretty good wraps, and it’s working really well for the rich and powerful. More for them.

https://civicskunk.works/the-blinding-effects-of-being-really-really-rich-8f76af74ddec

This is an excellent article about the economic reality that is the result of economic inequality.

Sadly, whether consciously or unconsciously, multi-millionaires and billionaires are “hoggist” capital owners propelled by greed and the sheer love of power over others. “Hoggism” institutionalizes greed (creating concentrated capital ownership, monopolies, and special privileges). “Hoggism” is about the ability of greedy rich people to manipulate the lives of people who struggle with declining labor worker earnings and job opportunities, and then accumulate the bulk of the money through monopolized productive capital ownership.

All wealthy people part of the problem. The exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won’t use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor — the equivalency of mass murder — the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

People tend to delude themselves when they think that multi-millionaires and billionairers are on the side of reforming the system and broadening capital ownership simultaneously with the growth of the economy. If they were for inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity and inclusive economic justice they would have acted long ago. They continue to remain silent, yet knowing they are rich because they OWN wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets, and the 99 percent do not, whether through luck, inheritance or hard work and good decision-making.

If the wealthy class truly wants to for an economic just society they would become an advocate for reforming the system so that future capital formation is financed with insured, pure interest-free capital credit, repayable out of the earnings of the investments.

The rick know why they are rich, yet they do not put their minds to reforming the system to implement financial mechanisms that do not require past savings as capital credit loan security or collateral. They perfectly understand the logic of corporate finance that investments must pay for themselves. They have the influence and political power to completely reform the system to provide equal opportunity for EVERY child, woman and man to acquire ownership stakes in future capital formation growth, without the requirement of past savings or taking anything from those who already own.

The wealthy capital ownership class needs to understand that the purpose of production is consumption. So how do you increase consumption? The obvious answer is if you want to increase consumption, you must increase production.

Consumption drives everything in economics, and if people don’t have the means to consume, they have no means of participating in economic life. When people hoard the ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets they cause production and consumption to be out of balance.

The challenge is to empower people to gain the ability to consume by being productive. As the logic of Say’s Law of Markets has it, if you want to consume something, you must either produce it yourself, or produce something to trade to someone who produced what you want to consume.

How you produce something is, ultimately, irrelevant. Human labor and non-human capital are all productive in the same sense. The only problem in the modern world is that while everyone owns labor naturally, most people don’t own enough capital to produce enough for them to consume, and capital is vastly more productive than human labor — and, just as what human labor produces goes to the owner of human labor, what capital produces goes to the owner of capital assets.

Binary economist Louis Kelso, however, made what seems the obvious observation, that if owners of labor alone don’t have enough, and owners of capital have enough, such as a Warren Buffet and other multi-millionaires and billionaires, why not figure out some way that owners of labor can also be owners of productive capital . . . without taking anything from current owners of capital?

Kelso figured out a way to do so: using the techniques of “modern” finance it is possible to purchase newly formed capital that pays for itself out of its own future production, and thereafter yields enough production either for the owner to consume directly, or trade for what he or she wants to consume that is produced by others.

The wealthy capital ownership class should understand this basic concept, but instead choose to hoard more and more capital wealth. The so-called 1 percent rulers of corporations have rigged the financial system to enable this already rich ownership class to systematically further enrich themselves as capital formation occurs and technological industrialization spreads throughout the world, leaving behind the 99 percent to depend on income redistribution, with their jobs being destroyed and thew labor’s worth being devalued as a result of tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and globalization (seeking lower cost production).

Multi-millionaires and billionaires, who already own productive capital, systematically concentrate more and more capital ownership in their stationary 1 percent ranks. Yet the 1 percent are not the people who do the overwhelming consuming. The result is the consumer populous is not able to get the money to buy the products and services produced as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption made possible by “customers with money.” It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

The wealthy capital ownership class should understand that as long as working people are limited by earning income solely through their labor worker wages, they will be left behind by the continued gravitation of economic bounty toward the top 1 percent of the people that the system is rigged to benefit. Working people and the middle class will continue to stagnate, resulting in a stagnated consumer economy. More troubling is that this continued stagnation will further dim the economic hopes of America’s youth, no matter what their education level. The result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution.

Multi-millionaires and billionaires should be committed to a just and economically classless market economy, true equality of opportunity, and a level playing field in the future for 100 percent of Americans. By adopting economic policies and programs that acknowledge every citizen’s right to contribute productively to the economy as a capital owner as well as a labor worker, the result will be an end to perpetual labor servitude and the liberation of people from progressive increments of subsistence toil and compulsive poverty as the 99 percent benefits from the rewards of productive capital-sourced income.

 

STUDY BY MIT ECONOMIST: U.S. HAS REGRESSED TO A THIRD-WORLD NATION FOR MOST OF ITS CITIZENS

On April 2, 2017, The Intelectualist writes:

America divided – this concept increasingly graces political discourse in the U.S., pitting left against right, conservative thought against the liberal agenda. But for decades, Americans have been rearranging along another divide, one just as stark if not far more significant – a chasm once bridged by a flourishing middle class.

“Collapse” by Erica Woodson

Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, believes the ongoing death of “middle America” has sparked the emergence of two countries within one, the hallmark of developing nations. In his new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Temin paints a bleak picture where one country has a bounty of resources and power, and the other toils day after day with minimal access to the long-coveted American dream.

In his view, the United States is shifting toward an economic and political makeup more similar to developing nations than the wealthy, economically stable nation it has long been. Temin applied W. Arthur Lewis’s economic model – designed to understand the workings of developing countries – to the United States in an effort to document how inequality has grown in America.

The parallels are unsettling. As noted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking:

In the Lewis model of a dual economy, much of the low-wage sector has little influence over public policy. Check. The high-income sector will keep wages down in the other sector to provide cheap labor for its businesses. Check. Social control is used to keep the low-wage sector from challenging the policies favored by the high-income sector. Mass incarceration – check. The primary goal of the richest members of the high-income sector is to lower taxes. Check. Social and economic mobility is low. Check.

Temin describes multiple contributing factors in the nation’s arrival at this place, from exchanging the War on Poverty for the War on Drugs to money in politics and systemic racism. He outlines the ways in which racial prejudice continues to lurk below the surface, allowing politicians to appeal to the age old “desire to preserve the inferior status of blacks”, encouraging white low-wage workers to accept their lesser place in society.

“We have a structure that predetermines winners and losers. We are not getting the benefits of all the people who could contribute to the growth of the economy, to advances in medicine or science which could improve the quality of life for everyone – including some of the rich people,” he laments.

The antidote, as prescribed by Temin, is likely a tough sell in today’s political climate. Expanding education, updating infrastructure, forgiving mortgage and student loan debt, and overall working to boost social mobility for all Americans are bound to be seen as too liberal by many policy makers.

Until the course is changed, he warns, the middle class will continue to fade and America will remain unsustainably divided.

Study By MIT Economist: U.S. Has Regressed To A Third-World Nation For Most Of Its Citizens

There is no question that economic inequality is expanding and dividing our nation. Why?

Fundamentally, the problem boils down to concentrated capital ownership.

America has tried the Republican “cut spending, cut taxes, and cut ‘entitlements,’ eliminate government dependency and shift to private individual responsibility” and the Democrat “protect ‘entitlements,’ provide tax-payer supported stimulus, lower middle and working class taxes, tax the rich and redistribute” through government brands of economic policy, as well as a mixture of both. Republican ideology aims to revive hard-nosed laissez-faire appeals to hard-core conservatives but ignores the relevancy of healing the economy and halting the steady disintegration of the middle class and working poor.

Some conservative thinkers have acknowledged the damaging results of a laissez-faire ideology, which furthers the concentration of productive capital ownership. They are floundering in search of alternative thinking as they acknowledge the negative economic and social realities resulting from greed capitalism. This acknowledgment encompasses the realization that the troubling economic and social trends (global capitalism, free-trade doctrine, tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and the steady off-loading of American manufacturing and jobs) caused by continued concentrated ownership of productive capital will threaten the stability of contemporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood.

Without a policy shift to broaden productive capital ownership simultaneously with economic growth, further development of technology and globalization will undermine the American middle class and make it impossible for more than a minority of citizens to achieve middle-class status.

President Obama once stated: “What’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.” As long as working people are limited by earning income solely through their labor worker wages, they will be left behind by the continued gravitation of economic bounty toward the top 1 percent of the people that the system is rigged to benefit. Working people and the middle class will continue to stagnate, resulting in a stagnated consumer economy. More troubling is that this continued stagnation will further dim the economic hopes of America’s youth, no matter what their education level. The result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution.

The fact is that political democracy is impossible without economic democracy. Those who control money control the laws that foster wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery. These laws can and should be changed by the 99 percent and those among the 1 percent who are committed to a just and economically classless market economy, true equality of opportunity, and a level playing field in the future for 100 percent of Americans. By adopting economic policies and programs that acknowledge every citizen’s right to contribute productively to the economy as a capital owner as well as a labor worker, the result will be an end to perpetual labor servitude and the liberation of people from progressive increments of subsistence toil and compulsive poverty as the 99 percent benefits from the rewards of productive capital-sourced income.

Economic democracy has yet to be tried. We are absent a national discussion of where consumers earn the money to buy products and services and the nature of capital ownership, and instead argue about policies (such as a universal basic income) to redistribute income or not to redistribute income. If Americans do not demand that the contenders for the office of the presidency of the United States, the Senate, and the Congress address these issues, we will have wasted the opportunity to steer the American economy in a direction that will broaden affluence. We have adequate resources, adequate knowhow, and adequate manpower to produce general affluence for EVERY citizen, but we need as a society to properly and efficiently manage these resources while protecting and enhancing the environment so that our productive capital capability is sustainable and renewable. Such issues are the proper concern of government because of the human damage inflicted on our social fabric as well as to economic growth in which every citizen is fairly included in the American dream.

The majority of Americans, dependent on labor worker wages, no longer think that jobs and labor wages will return suddenly — if at all — and at a livable earnings level, that the value of their homes will re­bound, or that their limited retirement funds will soon be fully restored. Americans are scared but attribute their worsening finances to job losses, reduced hours, wage givebacks, and overall reduced earnings. They do not understand the role of productive capital driven by technological innovation and science and the requirement for them to become capital workers, as well as labor workers, to earn a viable economic future. And until we, as a society, understand how wealth is produced, how consumers earn the money to buy products and services and the nature of capital ownership, we will not be able to set a course to obtain an affluent quality of life for middle and working class citizens, where everyone “can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.” The REAL solution is to build an economy of universally productive individuals and households through broadened wealth-creating, income-producing capital ownership.

Support Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/page/monetary-justice.

Support the Capital Homestead Act (aka Economic Democracy Act) at http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for-getting-ownership-income-and-power-to-every-citizen/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-summary/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/ch-vehicles/.

Warren Buffett Pens A Dangerously Misleading Letter To Americans

Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

On February 27, 2017, Pam Martens and Russ Martens write on Wall Street On Parade:

Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, authors an annual letter to shareholders that receives wide media coverage for the nuggets of wisdom dispersed to the masses. His latest letter, released on Saturday, trumpets American exceptionalism, the miraculous market system Americans have created, while it blithely dismisses the greatest wealth and income inequality in America since the 1920s. Buffett preposterously observes that “Babies born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

Let’s start with that last statement. According to our own Central Intelligence Agency, there are 55 countries that have a lower infant mortality rate than the United States. Even debt-strapped Greece beats the United States.

Much of what Buffett has to say in this letter sounds like unadulterated propaganda to reassure the 99 percent that his amassing of a net worth of $76.3 billion was a result of America’s great economic system which is percolating along just fine. Buffett writes:

“Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers…You need not be an economist to understand how well our system has worked. Just look around you. See the 75 million owner-occupied homes, the bountiful farmland, the 260 million vehicles, the hyper-productive factories, the great medical centers, the talent-filled universities, you name it – they all represent a net gain for Americans from the barren lands, primitive structures and meager output of 1776. Starting from scratch, America has amassed wealth totaling $90 trillion…”

Mentioning the rule of law in the same breath with our market system shows Buffett’s hypocrisy in the worst light. Millions of Americans are still seething over the fact that not one top executive on Wall Street has gone to jail for their role in issuing fraudulent securities with triple-A ratings that brought on the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans are still waiting for the U.S. Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission to address the well documented market rigging charges that Michael Lewis made in his book, Flash Boys and on 60 Minutes. Millions of Americans have lost trust in their Congress, now with an approval rating of just 19 percent, to impose legislation to stop the serial crimes that continue to spew from Wall Street. Tens of millions of Americans believe that Wall Street’s financing of political campaigns has so completely corrupted the U.S. market system that it has become an institutionalized wealth transfer system from the pockets of the 99 percent to the 1 percent. As the ever-expanding raps sheets of JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup make clear, there is strong evidentiary support for this view.

Buffett’s reference to America’s “bountiful farmland” fails to mention the gut-wrenching poverty of migrant farmworkers that Jim Hightower captured just last week at Truthout, writing: “Allowing such abject poverty in our fields of abundance is more than shameful — it’s an oozing sore on our national soul, made even more immoral by the fact that our society throws 40 percent of our food into the garbage.”

After Buffett lauds that “America has amassed wealth totaling $90 trillion” he breezes past one of the most important debates of this century — the unprecedented wealth and income inequality in the U.S. — with this: “However our wealth may be divided, the mind-boggling amounts you see around you belong almost exclusively to Americans.” Buffett seems to be suggesting that the thousands of families who were illegally foreclosed on by Wall Street banks during the financial collapse (including active duty military members) should be comforted that the beneficiary of the rip offs were fellow Americans – not foreigners. Buffett writes:

“It’s true, of course, that American owners of homes, autos and other assets have often borrowed heavily to finance their purchases. If an owner defaults, however, his or her asset does not disappear or lose its usefulness. Rather, ownership customarily passes to an American lending institution that then disposes of it to an American buyer. Our nation’s wealth remains intact. As Gertrude Stein put it, ‘Money is always there, but the pockets change.’ ”

Millions of Americans clearly understand that those pockets, increasingly, belong to the 1 percent billionaire class who are gaming the system with a wink from our Congress.

Buffett also rolls out the threadbare, thoroughly discredited myth that Wall Street is an efficient allocator of capital. He writes:

“Above all, it’s our market system – an economic traffic cop ably directing capital, brains and labor – that has created America’s abundance. This system has also been the primary factor in allocating rewards.”

Since at least the 1990s, Wall Street’s radar in directing capital has been landing crashed heaps of jumbo jets on the financial runways of America. As dozens of lawsuits and Justice Department settlements have spelled out, in the lead up to the 2008 crash, Wall Street was paying rating agencies to deliver triple-A ratings to hundreds of billions of dollars of pools of subprime mortgages that they knew were destined to fail from their own in-house reviews.

Less than a decade earlier, Ron Chernow described for New York Times’ readers how Wall Street’s broken capital allocation system had brought on the dot.com bust. Chernow wrote: “Let us be clear about the magnitude of the Nasdaq collapse. The tumble has been so steep and so bloody — close to $4 trillion in market value erased in one year —  that it amounts to nearly four times the carnage recorded in the October 1987 crash.” Chernow compared the Nasdaq stock market to a “lunatic control tower that directed most incoming planes to a bustling, congested airport known as the New Economy while another, depressed airport, the Old Economy, stagnated with empty runways. The market functioned as a vast, erratic mechanism for misallocating capital across America,” Chernow correctly observed.

Buffett has a built-in conflict that apparently prevents him taking off his rose-colored glasses when it comes to Wall Street. The company where the bulk of his wealth is invested, Berkshire Hathaway, owns $2.7 billion of Goldman Sachs stock; $27.5 billion of Wells Fargo; and $5 billion of Bank of America preferred stock.

Denying that America is headed in the wrong direction; denying that Wall Street has become hopelessly corrupted won’t get the problems fixed. It will ensure that today’s young generation will become debt slaves to Wall Street and the one percent. Don’t allow Buffett’s facade of homespun folksiness to distract you from the hard facts.

http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/02/warren-buffett-pens-a-dangerously-misleading-letter-to-americans/

Warren Buffet is a “hoggist” capital owner propelled by greed and the sheer love of power over others. “Hoggism” institutionalizes greed (creating concentrated capital ownership, monopolies, and special privileges). “Hoggism” is about the ability of greedy rich people to manipulate the lives of people who struggle with declining labor worker earnings and job opportunities, and then accumulate the bulk of the money through monopolized productive capital ownership.
 
Buffett is part of the problem. The exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.
 
Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won’t use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor — the equivalency of mass murder — the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

Comments

Charles Consaul Funny, he is the first to come out and say that he would be glad to pay more taxes. He gives his excess money away through the Gates Foundation, which gives him zero influence except among other billionaires who are encouraged to join in. You would have been much better off using Bill Gates as your subject, especially in light of the complaints he received from third world countries. He also had to change his own investment strategy when he was accused of magnifying his own wealth on the backs of burgerflippers. Buffet though? He may love the game, but he would be the first to admit that the playing field needs leveling!

Gary Reber All billionariers are :hoggists!” The system is rigged to enrich the wealthy capital ownership class.

Charles Consaul Some people have a talent for making money. Calling them names will not diminish their talent. It just makes you look jealous. There are plenty of genuinely evil people out there. Attacking someone who is actually, in many substantive ways, on your side, merely leaves you with one less – very powerful – ally!

Gary Reber I believe you are deluding yourself if you think that Warren Buffet and other billionairers are on the side of reforming the system and broadening capital ownership simultaneously with the growth of the economy. If they were for inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity and inclusive economic justice they would have acted long ago. They continue to remain silent, yet knowing they are rich because they OWN wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets, and the 99 percent do not.

Charles Consaul I guess you don’t read as much as you think you do. Do a deep dive on Buffet and get back to me. I could post it for you, but you seem like a big boy who knows how to do his own research.

Edward Tedesco Charles ..so he has made a few statements that he should be taxed more ! What exactly has he done to ensure that happening ! While it could be argued there are many other greedy pigs in the market who deserve to become bacon you cant dismiss out of hand buffet is a member of that group !

Charles Consaul Sure I can. This is America, and I just did! The best way for something to happen in America is actually to say “you can’t do that!” So, there!

Jessie Taylor Until capitalist admit capitalism is a scam hiding behind the lie a job is equality and money is freedom; capitalist are criminals. Can a scam get any better than 1% vs 99%?

Charles Consaul Worrying about individual venture capitalists while multinational corporations are corrupting our political process, is like scratching a misquito bite while leeches suck you dry. You are being distracted by the wrong itch!

Gary Reber Who do you think OWNS the mutinational corporations?

Charles Consaul I think that by the term, multinational, it would imply that they are owned by stockholders all over the world! Do you seriously believe that Warren Buffet is the wizard behind Siemans or Haliburton? Do you honestly believe that it is Warren Buffet manipulating databases and hacking voting machines? Look back to the last bill Warren Buffet was interested in. Was that BAD for America?

Gary Reber Major corporations are owned by the so-called 1 percent. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the “stock market exchanges,” purchased with their earnings as labor workers, their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Statistically, stock market wealth is held by a relatively small number of the most affluent. In reality, most Americans don’t have any stocks to their name. In fact, many Americans don’t even have any savings to their name. A Pew Research survey found that 53 percent of Americans say they have no money at all invested in the stock market, including retirement accounts.

Jessie Taylor I hope Charles don t believe in the lesser evil in a evil system?

Charles Consaul Nope, but I know the difference between a misquito bite and a bucket full of leeches. How much Corporate Welfare did Buffet receive last year?

Charles Consaul Here’s your bad guy

http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/buffett.asp

How Warren Buffett Could Fix the Budget Deficit

Warren Buffett quipped about passing a law…

SNOPES.COM

Charles Consaulhttp://money.cnn.com/…/warren-buffett-gop-health-care…/

Warren Buffett on GOP health care bill: ‘A huge tax cut for guys like me’

Warren Buffett knows health care costs are…

MONEY.CNN.COM

Charles Consaulhttp://www.cbsnews.com/…/warren-buffett-wants-to-pay…/

Warren Buffett wants to pay higher taxes

Oracle of Omaha urges new super committee…

CBSNEWS.COM

Charles Consaul Warren Buffet sounds more like you than you do!

http://www.nytimes.com/…/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

Opinion | Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

We mega-rich should not continue to get…

NYTIMES.COM

Charles Consaul Obama even named a tax proposal after him!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffett_Rule

Buffett Rule – Wikipedia

The Buffett Rule is part of a tax plan proposed by President Barack Obama in 2011.[1] The tax…

EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG

Charles Consaulhttps://www.forbes.com/…/solving-the-buffett…/…

Solving the Buffett Problem: Except There Isn’t A Buffett Problem

One of the standard tropes about taxation at…

FORBES.COM

Charles Consaul Everyone admits that Warren Buffet isn’t perfect, especially Warren Buffet! But what you are missing is that Warren Buffet is not inherently evil! This isn’t a lesser of two evils, this is a huge crippling crisis against a pretty good guy who would actually like to help us with it! There is more than enough genuine evil in the world. Stop trying to create more. If you piss off Warren Buffet, he could simply decide to shift his considerable weight in another direction and work against us. This is how mad scientists and evil dictators are made. If you have a genuine concern about Warren Buffet’s leadership style, write to him about it. If it has merit, he has been known to be open to discussion. Hope this helps!

Gary ReberCharles Consaul Oh, and how does that abate concentrated capital ownership?

Charles Consaul Warren Buffet is an individual with a highly specialized skill set and ethical standards that affect his decision making process. Most multinational corporations leave the ethics part of the equation out, or mutate it to use against the consumer. Sorry you can’t see the difference, but it exists!

Charles Consaul Imagine that an elderly lady passes, and her dog runs away at the wake because it is not used to so much company. The dog tries to adopt you but you kick it away because you are jealous of it’s collar! Next time the dog meets up with somebody, it gets frightened and defensive and the dog is captured and put to sleep. Six months later, the will comes out of probate, and it is revealed that whoever the dog takes to becomes it’s guardian and inherits the entire estate after it passes. The dog is never found however, so a codicil is invoked and all of the money goes to a big box preacher who uses it to buy another jet and build a summer mansion. You my friend, are kicking the wrong dog!

Gary Reber If Warren Buffet truly wants to “help us” he would become an advocate for reforming the system so that future capital formation is financed with insured, pure interest-free capital credit, repayable out of the earnings of the investments. Oh, we should be afraid to directly challenge the Buffet wizard. Sometimes people need to be challenged. Good luck with a response to writing to him. Been there.

Buffet knows why he is rich, yet he does not put his mind to reform the system to implement financial mechanisms that do not require past savings as capital credit loan security or collateral. He perfectly understands the logic of corporate finance that investments must pay for themselves. He has the influence to completely reform the system to provide equal opportunity for EVERY child, woman and man to acquire ownership stakes in future capital formation growth, without the requirement of past savings or taking anything from those who already own.

Buffet needs to understand that the purpose of production is consumption. So how do you increase consumption? The obvious answer is if you want to increase consumption, you must increase production.

Consumption drives everything in economics, and if people don’t have the means to consume, they have no means of participating in economic life. When people such as Buffet hoard the ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets they cause production and consumption to be out of balance.

The challenge is to empower people to gain the ability to consume by being productive. As the logic of Say’s Law of Markets has it, if you want to consume something, you must either produce it yourself, or produce something to trade to someone who produced what you want to consume.

How you produce something is, ultimately, irrelevant. Human labor and non-human capital are all productive in the same sense. The only problem in the modern world is that while everyone owns labor naturally, most people don’t own enough capital to produce enough for them to consume, and capital is vastly more productive than human labor — and, just as what human labor produces goes to the owner of human labor, what capital produces goes to the owner of capital assets.

Binary economist Louis Kelso, however, made what seems the obvious observation, that if owners of labor alone don’t have enough, and owners of capital have enough, such as a Warren Buffet and other multi-millionaires and billionaires, why not figure out some way that owners of labor can also be owners of productive capital . . . without taking anything from current owners of capital?

Kelso figured out a way to do so: using the techniques of “modern” finance it is possible to purchase newly formed capital that pays for itself out of its own future production, and thereafter yields enough production either for the owner to consume directly, or trade for what he or she wants to consume that is produced by others.

Buffet should understand this basic concept, but instead choose to hoard more and more capital wealth. The so-called 1 percent rulers of corporations have rigged the financial system to enable this already rich ownership class to systematically further enrich themselves as capital formation occurs and technological industrialization spreads throughout the world, leaving behind the 99 percent to depend on income redistribution, with their jobs being destroyed and thew labor’s worth being devalued as a result of tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and globalization (seeking lower cost production).

People, such as Warren Buffet, who already own productive capital systematically concentrate more and more capital ownership in their stationary 1 percent ranks. Yet the 1 percent are not the people who do the overwhelming consuming. The result is the consumer populous is not able to get the money to buy the products and services produced as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption made possible by “customers with money.” It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

Buffet should understand that as long as working people are limited by earning income solely through their labor worker wages, they will be left behind by the continued gravitation of economic bounty toward the top 1 percent of the people that the system is rigged to benefit. Working people and the middle class will continue to stagnate, resulting in a stagnated consumer economy. More troubling is that this continued stagnation will further dim the economic hopes of America’s youth, no matter what their education level. The result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution.

Buffet and all other multi-millionaires and billionaires should be committed to a just and economically classless market economy, true equality of opportunity, and a level playing field in the future for 100 percent of Americans. By adopting economic policies and programs that acknowledge every citizen’s right to contribute productively to the economy as a capital owner as well as a labor worker, the result will be an end to perpetual labor servitude and the liberation of people from progressive increments of subsistence toil and compulsive poverty as the 99 percent benefits from the rewards of productive capital-sourced income.

Charles Consaul So if you figure out a system to win the lottery, you should become the champion of all of the victims of the lottery rather than winning the lottery and doing as much could with the proceeds? Kind of a self defeating argument Gary. Like telling a fish that it should go into mountain climbing!

Gary Reber What? Please note that I said we can finance future capital formation with EVERY citizen becoming an owner and contributing productivity to the economy’s growth, without taking from those who already own. My challenge to Warren Buffet is to join the movement for this advocacy.

Charles Consaul Yeah but no – not every citizen has the drive, the intelligence, or the desire to become part of that system. Others want to dominate and hoard it. Warren Buffet wants to play with it for awhile and give it away – and he’s the guy you’re picking on!

Gary Reber Charles, you are missing the point of reforming the system to provide equal opportunity to become a capital owner and abate further capital ownership concentration.

William Symons Anyone can save capital from earning, I see and help people do it every day. Is it easy? No. But you can do it. The reason it is not easy is you have to live below your means. That is not an easy thing to do for most people. So currently people do have opportunity to form capital through their labor.

Jessie Taylor I don t look at the numbers; the numbers are the evil base. When humans put nature gifts into money; they make themselves false gods. We the only life on earth that use money; we the only life that play god. We haven t learn there is only one God and his children don t need money. The lesser evil in numbers will not free humanity to be united with Nature/God. Can we trust each other without money? Do we have a choice with a sinking ship name Earth?

Charles Consaul As opposed to the alternative?

Jessie Taylor Make fake democracy “real”; our DNA is cooperation. Money DNA is competition, it has divided humanity from day one at the enrichment of false gods.

Charles Consaul Depends, if you sent your DNA to Ancestry dot com, they now have the patent on it. (LOL)

Charles Consaul We have always reached for Democracy, we have never achieved it. The closest we have come is a Republic and we currently festering away in an oligarchy. When we made corporations into people, they kinged themselves and became nations without borders. Weren’t you invited to the coronations?

Charles Consaul The Queen says so, and so does Jimmy Carter, and they never lie!

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy – BBC News

BBC.COM|BY BBC NEWS

Charles Consaulhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/jimmy-carter-is-correct…

Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy

On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed…

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

Charles Consaul Have you been introduced to your corporate Overlord yet?

Gary ReberWilliam Symons William is am not referring to financial capital (money) but to real physical productive capital which is really producing power and earning power through ownership of the non-human factor of production. Financial capital, such as stocks and bonds, is just an ownership claim on the productive power of real capital. In the law, property is the bundle of rights that determines one’s relationship to things. As binary economists Louis Kelso and Patricia Hetter put it, “Money is not a part of the visible sector of the economy; people do not consume money. Money is not a physical factor of production, but rather a yardstick for measuring economic input, economic outtake and the relative values of the real goods and services of the economic world. Money provides a method of measuring obligations, rights, powers and privileges. It provides a means whereby certain individuals can accumulate claims against others, or against the economy as a whole, or against many economies. It is a system of symbols that many economists substitute for the visible sector and its productive enterprises, goods and services, thereby losing sight of the fact that a monetary system is a part only of the invisible sector of the economy, and that its adequacy can only be measured by its effect upon the visible sector.”

Saving earnings from a job is denying consumption, and relatively few people can afford to save – having to spend every dollar earned on week-to-week and month-to-month survival. Yes, your clients are able to save because they earn enough to save and to invest in financial securities. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the “stock market exchanges,” purchased with their earnings as labor workers, their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Statistically, stock market wealth is held by a relatively small number of the most affluent. In reality, most Americans don’t have any stocks to their name. In fact, many Americans don’t even have any savings to their name. A Pew Research survey found that 53 percent of Americans say they have no money at all invested in the stock market, including retirement accounts.

What is needed to not depend on past savings to finance economic growth. In other words, we need to free economic growth from the slavery of past savings.

Capital acquisition takes place on the logic of self-financing and asset-backed credit for productive uses. People invest in capital ownership on the basis that the investment will pay for itself. Because of the fact, we can design financial mechanisms that empower EVERY citizen to acquire ownership stakes in future capital formation using insured, pure capital credit, repayable out of the future earnings of the investments, without the requirement of past savings.

Charles Consaul I’ve tried investing on future savings – it was a disastor!

Gary ReberCharles Consaul That is where capital credit insurance comes into play in the solution. The basis for the commitment of loan guarantees is the fact that nobody who knows what he or she is doing buys a physical capital asset or an interest in one unless he or she is first assured, on the basis of the best advice one can get, that the asset in operation will pay for itself within a reasonable period of time — 5 to 7 or, in a worst case scenario, 10 years (given the current depressive state of the economy). And after it pays for itself within a reasonable capital cost recovery period, it is expected to go on producing income indefinitely with proper maintenance and with restoration in the technical sense through research and development.

Still, there is at least a theoretical chance, and sometimes a very real chance, that the investment might not pay for itself, or it might not pay for itself in the projected time period. So, there is a business risk. This is why the lender has no reason to loan unless it has two sources of repayment. In addition to determining that the investment is viable and that the business corporation is credit worthy and reliably expected to make loan repayments, there needs to be security against default. Thus, for the lender to make the loan the security must be provided. Rather than past savings, the security can be commercial capital credit insurance and reinsurance.

See Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/page/monetary-justice.

Also see the Capital Homestead Act (aka Economic Democracy Act) at http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/, http://www.cesj.org/…/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for…/, http://www.cesj.org/…/capital-homestead-act-summary/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/ch-vehicles/.

DECLARATION OF MONETARY JUSTICE

Whereas, the United States economy is today plagued by a growing gap between the rich and the non-rich; by a global recession and credit crisis; by debilitatin…

CAPITALHOMESTEAD.ORG

Charles Consaul And you have just hit on the basic insanity of economics! We have already pushed the national debt off on our great grandchildren and eliminated their chances of getting an education to earn enough moey to pay for it. Now you want to start another lottery based on our future earnings? I am SO thankful that I am retired – well, at least until #45 figures out a way to steal my pensions from me!

Jessie Taylor A sense of humor can help facing extinction with no real solutions; either we survive together or die together; no DNA tests.

Charles Consaul Well, that would require working together rather than standing our ground, and according to this thread so far, that is contrary to human nature! (LOL)

Charles Consaul Personally, I’m gonna ask Warren Buffet to adopt me, or at least his cousin Jimmy!

Jessie Taylor Rome wasn t build in a day; trusting without money will take more than a day. I wish to be adopted by nature.

Gary ReberCharles Consaul On a larger scale, there is another path to solve the security issue, that is, the risk can be absorbed by capital credit insurance or commercial risk insurance. Thus, in order to achieve national economic democracy, we need a way to handle risk management in finance by broadly insuring the risks. Such capital credit insurance would substitute for the security demanded by lenders to cover the risk of non-payment, thus enabling the poor and others with no or few assets (the 99 percenters) to overcome the collateralization barrier that excludes the non-halves from access to wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital.

One feasible way is to lift ownership-concentrating Federal Reserve System credit barriers and other institutional barriers that have historically separated owners from non-owners and link tax and monetary reforms to the goal of expanded capital ownership. Removing barriers that inhibit or prevent ordinary people from purchasing capital that pays for itself out of its own future earnings is paramount as an actionable policy. This can be done under the existing legal powers of each of the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, and will not add to the already unsustainable debt of the Federal Government or raise taxes on ordinary taxpayers. We need to free the system of dependency on Wall Street and the accumulated savings and money power of the rich and super-rich who control Wall Street. The Federal Reserve System has stifled the growth of America’s productive capacity through its monetary policy by monetizing public-sector growth and mounting Federal deficits and “Wall Street” bailouts; by favoring speculation over investment; by shortchanging the capital credit needs of entrepreneurs, inventors, farmers, and workers; by increasing the dependency with usurious consumer credit; and by perpetuating unjust capital credit and ownership barriers between rich Americans and those without savings. The Federal Reserve Bank should be used to provide interest-free capital credit (including only transaction and risk premiums) and monetize each capital formation transaction, determined by the same expertise that determines it today — management and banks — that each transaction is viably feasible so that there is virtually no risk in the Federal Reserve. The first layer of risk would be taken by the commercial credit insurers, backed by a new government corporation, the Capital Diffusion Reinsurance Corporation, through which the loans could be guaranteed. This entity would fulfill the government’s responsibility for the health and prosperity of the American economy.

The fact is money power rules. When money power is broadly distributed in the hands of the citizens, not the politicians or bankers, the people shall rule.

The Federal Reserve Board is already empowered under Section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act to reform monetary policy to discourage non-productive uses of credit, to encourage accelerated rates of private sector growth, and to promote widespread individual access to productive credit as a fundamental right of citizenship. The Federal Reserve Board needs to re-activate its discount mechanism to encourage private sector growth linked to expanded capital ownership opportunities for all Americans.

Charles Consaulhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/jimmy-carter-is-correct…

Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

Charles Consaul Insurance is a lottery against perceived risk and the house always wins. Are you a blackjack dealer Gary?

Charles ConsaulJessie Taylor – Nature has weird priorities and I could never find a leaf that was just the right fit!

Gary ReberCharles Consaul You know the Federal Housing Administration mortgage concept has worked well, and housing is a consumption that requires a separate income source to pay the mortgage, not a capital investment that generates it own repayment.

William Symons I was not taking about only stock and bonds but also small business with real physical productive capital equipment.

Charles Consaul I live in a Carelessly Built Home and do not trust the housing market any more than I do the health lottery

Charles Consaul If you want to throw your money away, send it to me! I will send you a nice thank you note. The insurance companies will just send you a bill for more money!

Patrick Case If this individual would “Force” other Wealthy Individual’s to renounce their Wealth and bring the U.S. into compliance with the Human rights to have equality in wealth, a Debt Free existence and guaranteed Health Benefits without excessive cost and loss of freedom to chose what is best for ourselves ! Currently, there is a Struggle between 2 Wolves ! One is Greedy and Dangerous. The other is generous and benevolent ! The Economy’s condition is based on Which Wolf we feed ! I honestly believe that today, we are feeding the wrong Wolf!

Charles Consaul That’s communism silly!

Patrick Case Actually, Communism is the Society that all citizens contribute it’s resources to the betterment of society as a whole ! Capitalism is the concentration of wealth to the top of society who controls it for the few and creates the LABOR CLASS TO BENEFIT THE WEALTHY: “Shareholders”. Employee ownership is better for all because it eliminates Sole ownership and spreads the Wealth among the “Stakeholders “. Costco, Winco, Woodmans (Wisconsin based grocery chain). There are many companies that have created “Employee Ownership” Corp.’s and the Wealth is Shared and everyone benefits without the “Communist” label ! Communism Does Not work because it has created a Libertarian Government !

Charles Consaul Libertarianism is anarchy with roads and defended borders

Charles Consaul Our economy is no longer based on wolves at all. It’s a pyramid scheme and the first group already took the money and ran. We’re just waiting for the latest house of cards to fall so the automatons who run the system will know to start rebuilding!

Charles Consaul http://www.econmatters.com/…/the-stock-market-is-giant…

The Stock Market is a Giant Ponzi Scheme

Welcom To EconMatters, home to the In depth analysis of global economic, stock, energy and commodity…

ECONMATTERS.COM

Charles Consaulhttps://moneymappress.com/pro/HPyramid0712MMRClick.php…

Your Future: The Ultimate Pyramid Scheme

MONEYMAPPRESS.COM

The Science Is In: Greater Equality Makes Societies Healthier

On January 26 , 2017, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett write on Economics:

Let’s consider the health of two babies born into two different societies. Baby A is born in one of the richest countries in the world, the United States, home to more than half of the world’s billionaires. It is a country that spends somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the world’s total spending on health care, although it contains less than 5 percent of the world’s population. Spending on drug treatments and hightech scanning equipment is particularly high. Doctors in this country earn almost twice as much as doctors elsewhere and medical care is often described as the best in the world.

Baby B is born in one of the poorer of the western democracies, Greece, where average income is not much more than half that of the United States. Whereas America spends about $6,000 per person per year on health care, Greece spends less than $3,000. This is in real terms, after taking into account the different costs of medical care. And Greece has six times fewer high-tech scanners per person than the United States.

Surely Baby B’s chances of a long and healthy life are worse than Baby A’s?

In fact, Baby A, born in the United States, has a life expectancy of 1.2 years less than Baby B, born in Greece. And Baby A has a 40 percent higher risk of dying in the first year after birth than Baby B. Had Baby B been born in Japan, the contrast would be even bigger: babies born in the United States are twice as likely to die in their first year as babies born in Japan. As in Greece, in Japan average income and average spending on health care are much lower than in the United States.

If average levels of income don’t matter (at least in relatively rich, developed countries), and spending on high-tech health care doesn’t make so much difference, what does? We can’t say with certainty, but inequality appears to be a driving force. Greece is not as wealthy as the United States, but in terms of income, it is much more equal—so is Japan. There are now many studies of income inequality and health that compare countries, American states, or other large regions, and the majority of these studies show that more egalitarian societies tend to be healthier.1 This vast literature was given impetus by a study by one of us, on inequality and death rates, published in the British Medical Journal in 1992. In 1996, the editor of that journal, commenting on further studies confirming the link between income inequality and health, wrote:

“The big idea is that what matters in determining mortality and health in a society is less the overall wealth of that society and more how evenly wealth is distributed. The more equally wealth is distributed the better the health of that society.”

Inequality is associated with lower life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, shorter height, poor self-reported health, low birth weight, AIDS, and depression. Knowing this, we wondered what else inequality might affect. To see whether a host of other problems were more common in more unequal countries, we collected internationally comparable data from dozens of rich countries on health and as many social problems as we could find reliable figures for.* The list we ended up with included:

  • level of trust
  • mental illness (including drug and alcohol addiction)
  • life expectancy and infant mortality
  • obesity
  • children’s educational performance
  • teenage births
  • homicides
  • imprisonment rates
  • social mobility

Occasionally, what appear to be relationships may arise spuriously or by chance. In order to be confident that our findings were sound, we also collected data for the same health and social problems—or as near as we could get to the same—for each of the 50 states of the United States. This allowed us to check whether or not problems were consistently related to inequality in these two independent settings. In short, they were— and strongly so.

To present the overall picture, we have combined all the health and social-problem data for each country, and separately for each U.S. state, to form an Index of Health and Social Problems for each country and U.S. state. Each item carries the same weight—so, for example, the score for mental health has as much influence on a society’s overall score as the homicide rate or the teenage birth rate. The result is an index showing how common all these health and social problems are in each country and each U.S. state. The higher the score on the Index of Health and Social Problems, the worse things are. (Some items, such as life expectancy, were reverse scored, so that on every measure, higher scores reflect worse outcomes.)

We start by showing, in Figure 1, that there is a very strong tendency for ill health and social problems to occur less frequently in the more equal countries. With increasing inequality (to the right on the horizontal axis), the score on our Index of Health and Social Problems also increases. Health and social problems are indeed more common in countries with bigger income inequalities. The two are extraordinarily closely related—chance alone would almost never produce a scatter in which countries lined up like this.

To emphasize that the prevalence of poor health and social problems in rich countries really is related to inequality rather than to average living standards, we show in Figure 2 the same Index of Health and Social Problems, but this time in relation to average incomes (national income per person). It shows that there is no clear trend toward better outcomes in richer countries.

The evidence from the United States confirms the international picture. Across states, health and social problems are related to income inequality, but not to average income levels.

It is remarkable that these measures of health and social problems in the two different settings tell so much the same story. The problems in rich countries are not caused by the society not being rich enough (or even being too rich), but by the material differences between people within each society being too big. What matters is where we stand in relation to others in our own society.

Inequality, not surprisingly, is a powerful social divider, perhaps because we all tend to use differences in living standards as markers of status differences. We tend to choose our friends from among our near equals and have little to do with those much richer or much poorer. Our position in the social hierarchy affects who we see as part of the ingroup and part of the out-group—us and them—thus affecting our ability to identify and empathize with other people.

The importance of community, social cohesion, and solidarity to human well-being has been demonstrated repeatedly in research showing how beneficial friendship and involvement in community life are to health. Equality comes into the picture as a precondition for getting the other two right. Not only do large inequalities produce problems associated with social differences and the divisive class prejudices that go with them, but they also weaken community life, reduce trust, and increase violence.

It may seem obvious that problems associated with relative deprivation should be more common in more unequal societies. However, if you ask people why greater equality reduces these problems, the most common assumption is that greater equality helps those at the bottom. The truth is that the vast majority of the population is harmed by greater inequality.

Across whole populations, rates of mental illness are three times as high in the most unequal societies compared with the least unequal societies. Similarly, in more unequal societies, people are almost ten times as likely to be imprisoned and two or three times as likely to be clinically obese, and murder rates may be many times higher. The reason why these differences are so big is, quite simply, because the effects of inequality are not confined just to the least well-off: instead, they affect the vast majority of the population. For example, as epidemiologist Michael Marmot frequently points out, if you took away all the health problems of the poor, most of the problem of health inequalities would still be untouched. For a more detailed example, let’s take a look at the relationship between inequality and literacy.

It is often assumed that the desire to raise national standards of performance in fields such as education is quite separate from the desire to reduce educational inequalities within a society. But the truth may be almost the opposite of this. It looks as if the achievement of higher national standards of educational performance may actually depend on reducing the social gradient in educational achievement in each country. Douglas Willms, professor of education at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, has provided striking illustrations of this. In Figure 3 (below), we show the relation between adult literacy scores from the International Adult Literacy Survey and their parents’ level of education—in Finland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This figure suggests that even if your parents are well educated—and so, presumably, of high social status—the country you live in makes some difference to your educational success. But for those lower down the social scale with less well-educated parents, it makes a much larger difference. An important point to note, looking at these four countries, is the steepness of the social gradient—steepest in the United States and the United Kingdom, where inequality is high; flatter in Finland and Belgium, which are more equal. It is also clear that an important influence on the average literacy scores in each of these countries is the steepness of the social gradient. The United States and the United Kingdom have low average scores, pulled down across the social gradient. In contrast, Finland and Belgium have high average scores, pulled up across the social gradient.

Willms has demonstrated that the pattern shown in Figure 3 holds more widely—internationally among 12 developed countries, as well as among Canadian provinces and U.S. states. The tendency toward divergence also holds; Willms consistently finds larger differences at the bottom of the social gradient than at the top.

What is most exciting about our research is that it shows that reducing inequality would increase the well-being and quality of life for all of us. Far from being inevitable and unstoppable, the deterioration in social well-being and the quality of social relations in society is reversible. Understanding the effects of inequality means that we suddenly have a policy handle on the well-being of whole societies.

Politics was once seen as a way of improving people’s social and emotional well-being by changing their economic circumstances. But over the last few decades, the bigger picture seems to have been lost, at least in the United States, the United Kingdom, and several other rich countries in which inequality has increased dramatically. People are now more likely to see psychosocial well-being as dependent on what can be done at the individual level, using cognitive behavioral therapy—one person at a time—or on providing support in early childhood, or on the reassertion of religious or family values. Every problem is seen as needing its own solution—unrelated to others. People are encouraged to exercise, not to have unprotected sex, to say no to drugs, to try to relax, to sort out their work-life balance, and to give their children “quality” time. The only thing that many of these policies do have in common is that they often seem to be based on the belief that the poor need to be taught to be more sensible. The glaringly obvious fact that these problems have common roots in inequality and relative deprivation disappears from view. However, it is now clear that income distribution provides policymakers with a way of improving the psychosocial well-being of whole populations. Politicians have an opportunity to do genuine good.

Rather than suggesting a particular route or set of policies to narrow income differences, it is probably better to point out that there are many different ways of reaching the same destination. Although the more equal countries often get their greater equality through redistributive taxes and benefits and through a large welfare state, countries like Japan manage to achieve low levels of inequality before taxes and benefits. Japanese differences in gross earnings (before taxes and benefits) are smaller, so there is less need for large-scale redistribution.

What matters is the level of inequality you finish up with, not how you get it. However, in the data there is also a clear warning for those who want low public expenditure and taxation: if you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police. You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse, and every other kind of problem. If keeping taxes and benefits down leads to wider income differences, the ensuing social ills may force you to raise public expenditure to cope.

There may be a choice between using public expenditure to keep inequality low, or to cope with social harm where inequality is high. An example of this balance shifting in the wrong direction can be seen in the United States during the period since 1980, when income inequality increased particularly rapidly. During that period, public expenditure on prisons increased six times as fast as public expenditure on higher education, and a number of states have now reached a point where they are spending as much public money on prisons as on higher education.

Not only would it be preferable to live in societies where money can be spent on education rather than on prisons, but policies to support families—such as providing high-quality, publicly funded preschool—would have meant that many of those in prison would have been working and paying taxes instead of being a burden on public funds.

Modern societies will depend increasingly on being creative, adaptable, inventive, well-informed, and flexible, able to respond generously to each other and to needs wherever they arise. Those are characteristics not of societies in hock to the rich, in which people are driven by status insecurities, but of populations used to working together and respecting each other as equals.

This article is excerpted, from The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, published in 2009 by Bloomsbury Press.

The Science Is In: Greater Equality Makes Societies Healthier

This is an interesting analysis, which appears logical and thus, the article supports the idea that the more equally wealth is distributed the better the affluence of that society. We can achieve general affluence for EVERY citizen, but to do so requires the reform of the system, which as presently structured perpetuates economic inequality.

The fundamental problem is that productive capital, the non-human factor contributing to the production of products and services, is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. Essentially, if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all. This is the path to addressing economic inequality and achieving inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

If we fail to reform the system, the result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution.

Binary economist Louis Kelso put it this way: “The essence of economic democracy lies in the elimination of differences of earning power resulting from denial of equality of economic opportunity, particularly equal access to capital credit. Differences of economic status resulting from differences in advantages taken and uses made of differences based on inequality of economic opportunity, particularly those that give access to capital credit to the already capitalized and deny it to the non- or under-capitalized, are flagrant violations of the constitutional rights of citizens in a democracy.”

The fact is that political democracy is impossible without economic democracy. Those who control money control the laws that foster wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery. These laws can and should be changed by the 99 percent and those among the 1 percent who are committed to a just and economically classless market economy, true equality of opportunity, and a level playing field in the future for 100 percent of Americans. By adopting economic policies and programs that acknowledge every citizen’s right to contribute productively to the economy as a capital owner as well as a labor worker, the result will be an end to perpetual labor servitude and the liberation of people from progressive increments of subsistence toil and compulsive poverty as the 99 percent benefits from the rewards of productive capital-sourced income.

Economic inequality has come about because we have severely mismatched the power to produce with the possession of unsatisfied needs and wants. Those capital owners who have unsatisfied needs and wants have ready access through conventional finance to get as much or more productive capital as they want. Our tax laws are designed to further benefit the 1 percent by providing enormous write offs and credits to producers (corporations) who are owned by the few, who already produce more than they can consume. Those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

But if we change direction and systematically build earning power into consumers, we have the opportunity to reverse the depression perpetrated by systematically limiting the 99 percent to labor wages alone and through technology eliminating their jobs. We need solutions to grow the economy in ways that create productive jobs and widespread equity sharing. We need to systematically make insured, interest-free capital credit to purchase capital accessible to economically underpowered people (the 99 percent) in which the income from the capital investment is isolated until it pays for itself, and then begins to produce a stream of dividend income to the new capital owners. This can only be accomplished by enabling every person to have access to capital ownership and purchase the capital, and pay for it out of what the capital produces. It’s time good and well-intentioned people woke up and adopted a JUST Third Way paradigm (http://cesj.org/learn/just-third-way/) beyond the greed model of monopoly, “hoggist” capitalism and the envy model of the traditional welfare state. This will promote peace, prosperity, and freedom through harmonious justice.

It’s Time For The Government To Give Everyone A Job

Flint Water Pipeline

A construction worker stands atop a portion of the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline in Lapeer County, Michigan, on March 30, 2016. (Jake May / The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

On May 19, 2017, David Dayen writes on The Nation:

 The Center for American Progress has been a White House in waiting for mainstream Democratic candidates for over a decade now. When it places something on the agenda, that becomes part of mainstream discussion on the center left. And at its Ideas Conference this week, it embraced one idea that has been kicking around the left for a long time: guaranteed employment for anyone who wants a job.

In “Toward a Marshall Plan for America,” CAP frames this as an answer to growing despair and acute economic pain bred by stagnant wages and lack of opportunity. But few advocates who have been pushing a federal-job guarantee for so long were consulted or even cited in the proposal. And while they’re generally thrilled that their life’s work has entered a broader conversation, they’re concerned that something is getting lost in translation.

The federal-job-guarantee concept goes back to Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth plan in the 1930s. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed “employment for everyone in need of a job” in the civil-rights era. Under this framework, the government would fund jobs with a living wage and benefits similar to public-sector workers’. The open-ended program would be funded as needed, expandable in recession, and contractable when the economy recovers. Government would become the employer of last resort.

CAP’s version is somewhat targeted. Its focus is on non–college graduates specifically, which it says have been disproportionately left behind economically. Real income fell for workers without a college degree from 2000 to 2016, and mortality rates for this subset have grown. So CAP proposes a commission for a “national Marshall plan” to fund living-wage jobs at $15 an hour. “An expanded public employment program could, for example, have a target of maintaining the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor’s degree at the 2000 level of 79 percent,” according to the policy brief. Right now, that would mean 4.4 million jobs at a cost of about one-quarter of Donald Trump’s tax cut.

What kinds of jobs would be created? CAP suggests that home health care, child care, and teaching aides are all urgently needed. It also cites infrastructure investment for job creation–roads and bridges, but also schools and hospitals. Interestingly, CAP also brings up the concept of public apprenticeships: paying people to engage in full-time training for high-growth occupations, with the idea of spinning out skilled workers to the private sector.

I talked to several supporters of public jobs and the federal-jobs-guarantee concept. All of them welcomed CAP to the discussion. “They’re invoking the language of a job guarantee which is a permanent program, that’s great,” said Pavlina Tcherneva of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. But while the adoption shows the momentum for public job creation as a political force, job-guarantee supporters had several concerns about CAP’s formulation.

“Their discussion was heavily focused on the provision of employment for those with a high-school diploma or less,” said Sandy Darity of Duke University, one of the job guarantee’s greatest champions. To him, this leaves behind large segments of the population who might need jobs. For example, Darity points out, the unemployment rate for African Americans with some college education is higher than for whites who have never finished high school. (Racial issues are “really repressed in their analysis,” Darity noted.) The recently incarcerated and recent veterans also have high unemployment rates. “We think anybody who cannot find work in the private sector should have the option,” Darity concluded.

Solely targeting non–college graduates, a measure clearly designed to serve a political goal (much of the CAP paper details the shift of the working-class vote in the Midwest from Barack Obama to Donald Trump), necessarily limits the reach of the program. “How would this plan have helped after the Great Recession, when 800,000 people a month were losing jobs, including skilled workers with college degrees?” asked Stephanie Kelton, economics professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and former budget aide to Bernie Sanders. “If we’re genuinely trying to achieve full employment, we shouldn’t be targeting 79 percent labor-force participation. We should eliminate involuntary unemployment.”

Darity estimated that the 4.4 million job target was about two or three times less than what’s needed for a real job guarantee, and Tcherneva put it closer to four or five times less. For their part, Ross Eisenbrey and Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute were more comfortable with CAP’s scope, but questioned the political overlay. “I’m not sure this responds to Trump voters, who are looking for middle-class jobs,” said Eisenbrey. “They’re not desperate for $15/hour.”

One familiar complaint with the job-guarantee concept in general is that making essential services like health care and education reliant on available dislocated workers is dangerous, because the availability of those services would expand and contract based on the state of the labor market. “We think we need universal child care, we don’t want child-care work subject to this accordion,” said Mishel.

But job-guarantee advocates say this misses the crux of the debate. “The goal in and of itself is job creation.  You create the job to fit the person,” said Pavlina Tcherneva, who cited a number of possible avenues for the program. For example, jobs in health care and education and environmental protection have been perpetually underfunded, and could be boosted by a permanent public workforce.

Apprenticeships would be eminently expandable in rougher times (more trainees paid to learn on the job) and could be built into a public-job pipeline with opportunity for promotions and raises, what Darity calls “an occupational ladder.” Plus, a job guarantee can eliminate how we perpetually defer community investments, whether they be in alternative energy or broadband deployment, basic maintenance and upkeep, or “human infrastructure” where there are local deficiencies. The Golden Gate Bridge gets painted once a year and it takes 365 days. Habitat for Humanity has an endless supply of requests to build homes. Lead pipes in Flint could use replacement. Preparing our inadequate roads for self-driving cars, if the promise is real, will literally demand the largest infrastructure project in American history. This doesn’t have to be paying people to dig holes–there’s plenty of ongoing work to be done for all types of job seekers.

Finally, Tcherneva said that a job guarantee would realize the promise of full employment and limit the force of recessions through its “automatic stabilizer” effect. “Right now an unemployed worker’s spending pattern is different if they don’t know what’s going to happen to them,” she said. “With a job guarantee, this is completely transformed.”

The job guarantee is sometimes placed in opposition to a universal basic income for all Americans, but both address the same problem and can coexist. There are “participation income” proposals, for example, that tie a basic payment to making a contribution to society. But a job guarantee combines the baseline benefit to the dignity of work and self-reliance with tangible benefits to productivity and the economy. It also can set labor force benchmarks, on wages and benefits, that a UBI, normally pegged at a sub-poverty level of $10,000–$12,000 a year, just cannot provide. Companies will have to adapt if a federal-job guarantee offers health care, sick leave, and a pension, or else risk losing workers. “One of the purposes is to eliminate low-wage labor,” said Darity.

There are lots of versions of the job guarantee. Eisenbrey has worked on proposals using block grants to high-unemployment areas in times of stress, for example. It’s a good debate to have, and something leaders across the center-left spectrum should engage in. CAP is proposing a commission to tackle this idea. The group should draw on what’s already been done, and invite those who have toiled on this for years to the table.

It’s Time for the Government to Give Everyone a Job

 

 

IS THE GIG ECONOMY WORKING?

On Mat 15, 2017, Nathan Heller writes in The New Yorker:

Not long ago, I moved apartments, and beneath the weight of work and lethargy a number of small, nagging tasks remained undone. Some art work had to be hung from wall moldings, using wire. In the bedroom, a round mirror needed mounting beside the door. Just about anything that called for careful measuring or stud-hammering I had failed to get around to—which was why my office walls were bare, no pots yet dangled from the dangly-pot thing in the kitchen, and my bedside shelf was still a doorstop. There are surely reasons that some of us resist being wholly settled, but when the ballast of incompletion grew too much for me I logged on to TaskRabbit to finish what I had failed to start.

On its Web site, I described the tasks I needed done, and clicked ahead. A list of fourteen TaskRabbits appeared, each with a description of skills and a photograph. Many of them wore ties. I examined one called Seth F., who had done almost a thousand tasks. He wore no tie, but he had a ninety-nine-per-cent approval rating. “I’m a smart guy with tools. What more can you want?” he’d written in his profile. He was listed as an Elite Tasker, and charged fifty-five dollars an hour. I booked him for a Wednesday afternoon.

TaskRabbit, which was founded in 2008, is one of several companies that, in the past few years, have collectively helped create a novel form of business. The model goes by many names—the sharing economy; the gig economy; the on-demand, peer, or platform economy—but the companies share certain premises. They typically have ratings-based marketplaces and in-app payment systems. They give workers the chance to earn money on their own schedules, rather than through professional accession. And they find toeholds in sclerotic industries. Beyond TaskRabbit, service platforms include Thumbtack, for professional projects; Postmates, for delivery; Handy, for housework; Dogvacay, for pets; and countless others. Home-sharing services, such as Airbnb and its upmarket cousin onefinestay, supplant hotels and agencies. Ride-hailing apps—Uber, Lyft, Juno—replace taxis. Some on-demand workers are part-timers seeking survival work, akin to the comedian who waits tables on the side. For growing numbers, though, gigging is not only a living but a life. Many observers see it as something more: the future of American work.

Seth F.—the “F” stood for Flicker— showed up at my apartment that Wednesday bearing a big backpack full of tools. He was in his mid-forties, with a broad mouth, brown hair, and ears that stuck out like a terrier’s beneath a charcoal stocking cap. I poured him coffee and showed him around.

“I have molding hooks and wire,” I said, gesturing with unfelt confidence at some coils of translucent cord. “I was thinking they could maybe hang . . .” It struck me that I lacked a vocabulary to address even the basics of the job; I swirled my hands around the middle of the wall, as if blindfolded and turned loose in a strange room.

Seth F. seemed to gather that he was dealing with a fool. He offered a decision tree pruned to its stump. “Do you want them at eye level?” he asked.

“Eye level sounds great,” I said.

Seth F. had worked for TaskRabbit for three years, he told me as he climbed onto my kitchen stool—“like twenty-one years in normal job time.” In college, he had sold a screenplay to Columbia Pictures, and the film, though never made, launched his career. He wrote movies for nine years, and was well paid and sought after, but none of his credited work made it to the big screen, so he took a job as a senior editor at Genre, a now defunct gay magazine, where he covered the entertainment industry. He liked magazine work, but was not a true believer. “I’m one of those people, I think, who has to change jobs frequently,” he told me. He got a master’s degree in education, and taught fourth grade at Spence and at Brooklyn Friends. Fourteen years in, a health condition flared up, leaving his calendar checkered with days when it was hard to work. He’d aways found peculiar joy in putting together ikea furniture, so he hired himself out as an assembly wiz: easy labor that paid the bills while he got better. He landed on TaskRabbit.

“There are so many clients, I rarely get bored,” he told me. He was feeding cord through the molding hooks to level my pictures. At first, he said, hourly rates at TaskRabbit were set through bidding, but taskers now set their own rates, with the company claiming thirty per cent. A constellation of data points—how quickly he answers messages, how many jobs he declines—affect his ranking when users search the site. He took as many jobs as he could, generating about eighty paid hours each month. “The hardest part is not knowing what your next paycheck is from,” he told me.

Seth F. worked quickly. Within an hour, he had hung six frames from the molding over my couches. Sometimes, he confessed, his jobs seem silly: he was once booked to screw in a light bulb. Other work is harder, and strange. Seth F. has been hired to assemble five jigsaw puzzles for a movie set, to write articles for a newspaper in Alaska, and to compose a best-man speech to be delivered by the brother of the groom, whom he had never met. (“The whole thing was about, ‘In the future, we’re going to get to know each other better,’ ” he explained.) Casper, the mattress company, booked him to put sheets on beds; Oscar, the health-insurance startup, had him decorate its offices for Christmas.

As we talked, his tone warmed. I realized that he probably visited strangers several times a day, meting out bits of himself, then moving on, often forever, and I considered what an odd path through professional experience that must be. He told me that he approached the work with gratitude but little hope.

“These are jobs that don’t lead to anything,” he said, without looking up from his work. “It doesn’t feel”—he weighed the word—“sustainable to me.”

The American workplace is both a seat of national identity and a site of chronic upheaval and shame. The industry that drove America’s rise in the nineteenth century was often inhumane. The twentieth-century corrective—a corporate workplace of rules, hierarchies, collective bargaining, triplicate forms—brought its own unfairnesses. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain.

Support for the new work model has come together swiftly, though, in surprising quarters. On the second day of the most recent Democratic National Convention, in July, members of a four-person panel suggested that gigging life was not only sustainable but the embodiment of today’s progressive values. “It’s all about democratizing capitalism,” Chris Lehane, a strategist in the Clinton Administration and now Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, said during the proceedings, in Philadelphia. David Plouffe, who had managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign before he joined Uber, explained, “Politically, you’re seeing a large contingent of the Obama coalition demanding the sharing economy.” Instead of being pawns in the games of industry, the panelists thought, working Americans could thrive by hiring out skills as they wanted, and putting money in the pockets of peers who had done the same. The power to control one’s working life would return, grassroots style, to the people.

The basis for such confidence was largely demographic. Though statistics about gigging work are few, and general at best, a Pew study last year found that seventy-two per cent of American adults had used one of eleven sharing or on-demand services, and that a third of people under forty-five had used four or more. “To ‘speak millennial,’ you ought to be talking about the sharing economy, because it is core and central to their economic future,” Lehane declared, and many of his political kin have agreed. No other commercial field has lately drawn as deeply from the Democratic brain trust. Yet what does democratized capitalism actually promise a politically unsettled generation? Who are its beneficiaries? At a moment when the nation’s electoral future seems tied to the fate of its jobs, much more than next month’s paycheck depends on the answers.

One Thursday evening in February, Caitlin Connors texted me and said to meet her at a bar in Williamsburg called Donna. The place was large and crowded; I found her in the middle of a big group, in a corner bathed in light the color of Darjeeling. Connors is small and outgoing, with a brown Jackie O. bob that looks windswept even indoors. She had come to New York five years earlier, from Colorado, “to learn about the Internet,” she said, and she worked in marketing awhile. Agency life had not been her thing—“a lot of crazy bitches”—so she started her own branding firm, the Fox Theory, which does marketing for entrepreneurs, artists, authors, and a sleight-of-hand magician. She led me to the bar to sit. She wore a black floral blouse and skinny navy pants. “I think we’re just coming into the next wave of human civilization,” she told me, and drained her cocktail with a straw. “Humans can operate on a person-to-person basis, sharing ideas and sharing business without intermediaries.”

When Connors first came to New York, she lived with several roommates in a huge, run-down place in Chelsea she dubbed the Fox Den. When her sister came to stay with her, they moved to a newer building, the Fox Den 2.0, and that was where she discovered Airbnb. She started to rent out an extra room, and the income made them “less pinched.” When she moved again, with another roommate (she has had thirty-six roommates in total), they searched for an optimally Airbnb-able place. They ended up in Williamsburg, a neighborhood that seemed “trendy” to tourists. The Fox Den 3.0, as the new digs were christened, was a three-bedroom duplex by the Bedford Avenue subway station. It had sleek new appliances and a lovely yard; through an ingenious configuration of beds and couches, it could sleep up to twelve people.

Connors tried to rent it out one week a month. Some swapping was often required. If she and her roommate were in town during a rental, they decamped to make room for the guests. Sometimes they used an acquaintance’s pad in Manhattan, also on Airbnb. Sometimes Connors stayed at the home of an old friend. “It’s the time we have to hang out and chill and catch up,” she said. “He loves it. I love it.” The financial upsides were considerable. By Airbnb-ing out their apartment one week a month, Connors and her roommate could clear their four-thousand-dollar rent. Sometimes they were gone for longer. One golden month, Airbnb-ing brought in five figures. “That’s more than most people, smart people, make in their job,” Connors observed.

For Connors, though, the real benefit of Airbnb was that it allowed her to travel, which she still loves to do. She spent part of November in Mexico, and part of December in Jordan. She saw the Fox Den as a tool for living a worldly life without committing to a worldly career. (“Otherwise, you’d have to be another level of rich to make this work.”) She spent all of January in Cuba, which gave her a new business concept.

“In Cuba—random little town—half the town wanted me to start their Airbnb accounts for them,” she said. Connors found a population that desperately needed help with the marketing of personal brands. Now she got out her iPhone and started swiping rapidly through photos, many of which centered on azure shorelines and shirtless men. “Cuba is preserved like a time capsule,” she said. She stopped at a street scene. “Everyone drives old cars.” She swiped. “These are their farms. They plow their fields with oxen.” On her next trip, she planned to help Cuban artists market themselves as American millennials do: “I want to help the Cubans learn to make money off of their art.”

A friend of hers, Prescott Perez-Fox, passed by us, on his way out. Connors snagged him. “I don’t know what you do anymore!” she said.

Perez-Fox fished some business cards from his pocket. “I’m a graphic designer and brand strategist, and I also run a podcast, and a podcast meet-up. You should come to our meet-up,” he said, handing her a card. The card said, “new york city podcast meetup.” “That’s the group,” he said. “My show is on the back side.” The back of the card said, “the busy creator podcast.” “It’s about workflow and creative productivity and culture and habits for creative pros.”

“Why have I not been”—Connors blinked hard—“learning from you more often?”

“Girl, get after it!” Perez-Fox exclaimed. In addition to hosting his own podcast, he had been a guest on nine other podcasts, including “Freelance Transformation” and “Life in the Woods: Hope for Independent Creatives.” “I’m finishing a project tomorrow,” he told her. “Then I’ll be more free.”

Connors said that she was in New York at least through next week, probably, and then she was going back to Cuba. “Want to come down?” she asked.

“Ah,” Perez-Fox said. “A little bit hasty.”

One of the best things about Cuba, Connors explained when Perez-Fox had darted out into the night, was that she greeted each day there without anxiety. “Not waking up stressed every day, doing something super-rewarding, and having time to write and make art and all that stuff—that’s what I want,” she told me. Soon after we went our separate ways, she left town, to fly south.

In 1970, Charles A. Reich, a law professor who’d experienced a countercultural conversion after hanging with young people out West, published “The Greening of America,” a cotton-candy cone that wound together wispy revelations from the sixties. Casting an eye across modern history, he traced a turn from a world view that he called Consciousness I (the outlook of local farmers, self-directed workers, and small-business people, reaching a crisis in the exploitations of the Gilded Age) to what he called Consciousness II (the outlook of a society of systems, hierarchies, corporations, and gray flannel suits). He thought that Consciousness II was giving way to Consciousness III, the outlook of a rising generation whose virtues included direct action, community power, and self-definition. “For most Americans, work is mindless, exhausting, boring, servile, and hateful, something to be endured while ‘life’ is confined to ‘time off,’ ” Reich wrote. “Consciousness III people simply do not imagine a career along the old vertical lines.” His accessible theory of the baffling sixties carried the imprimatur of William Shawn’s New Yorker, which published an excerpt of the book that stretched over nearly seventy pages. “The Greening of America” spent months on the Times best-seller list.

Exponents of the futuristic tech economy frequently adopt this fifty-year-old perspective. Like Reich, they eschew the hedgehog grind of the forty-hour week; they seek a freer way to work. This productivity-minded spirit of defiance holds appeal for many children of the Consciousness III generation: the so-called millennials.

“People are now, more than ever before, aware of the careers that they’re not pursuing,” says Kathryn Minshew, the C.E.O. of the Muse, a job-search and career-advice site, and a co-author of “The New Rules of Work.” Minshew co-founded the Muse in her mid-twenties, after working at the consulting firm McKinsey and yearning for a job that felt more distinctive. She didn’t know what that was, and her peers seemed similarly stuck. Jennifer Fonstad, a venture capitalist whose firm, Aspect Ventures, backed Minshew’s company, told me that “the future of work” is now a promising investment field.

Many dreamy young people, like Caitlin Connors, see unrealized opportunity wherever they go. Some, in their careers, end up as what might be called hedgers. These are programmers also known as d.j.s, sculptors who excel as corporate consultants; they are Instagram-backed fashion mavens, with a TV pilot on the middle burner. They are doing it for the money, and the love, and, like the overladen students they probably once were, because they are accustomed to a counterpoint of self. The hedged career is a kind of gigging career—custom-assembled, financially diffuse, defiant of organizational constraint—and its modishness is why part-time Lyft driving or weekend TaskRabbit-ing has found easy cultural acceptance. But hedging is a luxury, available to those who have too many appealing options in life. It gestures toward the awkward question of whom, in the long run, the revolution-minded spirit of the nineteen-sixties really let off the leash.

As Caitlin Connors’s apartment became more popular, she faced unforeseen challenges. Cleaning had to be done rapidly, in between stays. Questions from guests required prompt responses, even when she was abroad, and had no Internet access. When Airbnb logistics started to approach “a full-time job,” she hired a management company, called Happy Host, to handle bookings, cleanings, and related chores. Happy Host normally charges twenty-five per cent of earnings, but Connors found the cost worthwhile. “I’m, like, They do everything for you?” she said. “Sign me the fuck up!”

One day, I went to visit Happy Host’s founder, Blake Hinckley, at his loft apartment on Broadway, a block from the Strand bookstore. The elevator opened into the living room, which was sparsely but stylishly furnished with caramel-colored leather couches and bright, extroverted art work. Hinckley, who is twenty-nine, had a blond cascade of hair, round glasses, and a short, raffish beard. He had studied English and economics at Middlebury College, and worked for the Boston Consulting Group, doing efficiency assessments for big companies. While travelling three hundred days a year, he was also renting an apartment, in Boston. He did the math and found that, if he’d put the place on Airbnb, he could have made tens of thousands of dollars. Around that time, consulting in New York, he met his girlfriend. “The idea of being staffed in Cleveland and doing another ‘delayering’—B.C.G.’s polite euphemism for layoffs—just seemed catastrophic,” he said. Love, freedom, and a dream of fleeing corporate America won out.

Hinckley and three roommates have Airbnb-ed their apartment (“Glam Greenwich Village 4BR Loft”). As part of its service, Happy Host arranges professional photography, and the loft, a former hat factory with Eamesian kitchen stools and a fig tree by the window, stood ready for an appraising gaze. In addition to taking photos, Happy Host writes text for Airbnb listings, screens reservation requests, coördinates check-ins, greets guests, answers e-mails, and supplies soaps, towels, and wine. Hinckley’s people remain on call for emergencies, which can arise under improbable conditions. The company once had a client who, in the space-saving fashion of New Yorkers, used the drawer under her oven as a storage area for documents and mail. She nearly lost the kitchen to a fire when a Bavarian guest attempted to bake.

The afternoon was waning, and the “unrivaled natural light” in the apartment’s “West facing windows” had turned tawny. Twin arrays of seven large, gonglike bells, each mounted on a facing wall, shot off a pong. “The gamelatron!” Hinckley explained. “My roommate was at sea, and saw a gamelatron, and had a religious experience.”

Hinckley told me that creative, affluent professionals are the company’s typical customers. “Startup founders, consultants, people in private equity have been really drawn to this, because they’re so busy, they don’t have time to respond to a guest inquiry within the hour, or the inclination to wake up at one in the morning because the guest has had a couple of cocktails and is having trouble opening the door,” he said. “Also, intellectually, the concept of pricing really resonates.” If a property is constantly booked, its prices are too low; frequent fallow periods mean the rate is high. Long stays are favored, because cleaning and coördinating make turnovers costly. Happy Host sets future rates using a proprietary algorithm.

When deciding whether to work with a host, Hinckley assesses the apartment’s appearance (enlisting a designer if necessary), amenities, and location. Opening a laptop, he asked for my Zip Code and entered it into AirDNA, a third-party subscription database that gathers Airbnb market information nationwide.

“Forty-seven rentals in your neighborhood,” he said, peering at the laptop screen. “Seventy-one per cent are occupied at any time. Your median person is making 31K there on a 22.8K two-bedroom cost.” He frowned: weak margin. “The neighborhoods we like are the ones that are really high on this trend line.” He clicked to a new data set. “SoHo, Greenwich Village. There, you have people making over fifty-five thousand dollars on their apartment, if it’s a full-time rental.” He looked at me and opened up his eyes wide. “Which is wild.”

In promotional material, Airbnb refers to itself as “an economic lifeline for the middle class.”A company-sponsored analysis released in December overlaid maps of Airbnb listings and traditional hotels on maps of neighborhoods where a majority of residents were ethnic minorities. In seven cities, including New York, the percentage of Airbnb listings that fall in minority neighborhoods exceeds the percentage of hotel rooms that do. (Another study, of user photos in seventy-two majority-black neighborhoods, suggested that most Airbnb hosts there were white, complicating the picture.) Seniors were found to earn, on average, nearly six thousand dollars a year from Airbnb listings. “Ultimately, what we’re doing is driving wealth down to the people,” Chris Lehane, the strategist at Airbnb, says.

It is, of course, driving wealth down unevenly. A study conducted by the New York attorney general in 2014 found that nearly half of all money made by Airbnb hosts in the state was coming from three Manhattan neighborhoods: the Village-SoHo corridor, the Lower East Side, and Chelsea. It is undeniably good to be earning fifty-five hundred dollars a year by Airbnb-ing your home in deep Queens—so good, it may not bother you to learn that your banker cousin earns ten times that from his swank West Village pad, or that he hires Happy Host to make his lucrative Airbnb property even more lucrative. But now imagine that the guy who lives two doors down from you gets ideas. His finances aren’t as tight as yours, and he decides to reinvest part of his Airbnb income in new furniture and a greeting service. His ratings go up. Perhaps he nudges up his prices in response, or maybe he keeps them low, to get a high volume of patronage. Now your listing is no longer competitive in your neighborhood. How long before the market leaves you behind?

I put a version of this question to Lehane on the phone one morning. In the White House, he was known as a “master of disaster” for his strategic crisis management. As Al Gore’s press secretary, in 2000, he led the double-black-diamond effort of making the Vice-President seem loose and easygoing on the campaign trail. He told me that even an arms race to the top of the market would benefit overlooked neighborhoods. “It has a ripple effect on the local economy,” he explained.

A competitive Airbnb host who hires a cleaner and a decorator in Queens creates work for locals. Guests—some of whom, Lehane insisted, prefer to be in remote neighborhoods—might patronize businesses in the area. “What we do represents a different model of capitalism,” he told me. After hanging up, he sent a six-hundred-word e-mail of elaboration, and another after that.

He pointed out that, traditionally, affluent people have accrued further wealth passively—from real estate, investments, inheritances, and the like. Those with less charmed lives have had to resort to work in exchange for money. Airbnb makes passive earning available to anyone with a spare room.

In a competitive market, though, advantaged people still end up leveraging their advantages: that is why Happy Host exists. Today, every major Airbnb city (among them London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans) has multiple Happy Host equivalents to help meet rising market expectations. A two-year-old New York competitor, MetroButler, has twenty-two contractors and two cleaners, and last year bought the clientele of another competitor, Proprly. MetroButler’s co-founder Brandon McKenzie had been using Airbnb to pay down law-school debts when he realized that short-term rentals could support an entire service industry. “We’re sort of in the business of pickaxes during the Gold Rush,” he said.

Others harbor similar ambitions. “Our goal is to become a mega-behemoth,” said Amiad Soto, who, with his twin brother, co-founded Guesty, a Tel Aviv-based company that helps hosts manage bookings (or arranges for a remote operator to do so under their names). Guesty has seventy-five employees, and Soto spends much of his time hiring more. For physical work, most such companies rely on other apps—Handy, Postmates—or hire part-time workers themselves. Sharing is not only challenging an existing model; it is generating its own labor force.

One drizzly spring afternoon, I met a MetroButler worker named Bobby Allan while he prepared an apartment for guests. Allan is a conservatory-trained actor and singer in his mid-twenties. He came to MetroButler last summer, from a gig at Proprly; he also works as a cater-waiter and as a hype man at children’s parties. At MetroButler, he is a part-time contractor, without benefits, but he doesn’t mind: gig work makes it possible to take time off for more exciting endeavors (for instance, an appearance in Syfy’s “The Internet Ruined My Life”). MetroButler pays him fifty dollars for each two-hour cleaning—sixty if he greets the guests, too. “You meet so many crazy people,” he told me. The place he was cleaning, a small garden apartment with a child’s room at the back, was a regular for him. He had put fresh company linens on the queen-size bed, and had left hotel-size shampoo and conditioner bottles, with the MetroButler logo, on the nightstand. He discovered that the bulb in the desk lamp had burned out, so he made a note to buy a replacement.

In the child’s room, Allan dressed the twin bed in crisp white sheets, pulled the duvet cover over the duvet with impressive speed, and rolled a bath towel and a hand towel into little logs, to be arranged in the center of the bed. His first tax return as an independent worker had been a shock, he said. But the work had been instructive in many other ways, too. He consulted his phone. Every task was annotated on a photo of the space in an app that let MetroButler watch his progress in real time; he checked off each detail and took a photo of the room when he was done. He hummed the finale to “The Firebird” while he swept the floor.

Normally, every efficiency has a winner and a loser. A service like Uber benefits the rider, who’s saving on the taxi fare she might otherwise pay, but makes drivers’ earnings less stable. Airbnb has made travel more affordable for people who wince at the bill of a decent hotel, yet it also means that tourism spending doesn’t make its way directly to the usual armies of full-time employees: housekeepers, bellhops, cooks.

To advocates such as Lehane, that labor-market swap is good. Instead of scrubbing bathrooms at the Hilton, you can earn directly, how and when you want. Such thinking, though, presumes that gigging people and the old working and service classes are the same, and this does not appear to be the case. A few years ago, Juliet B. Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College, interviewed forty-three mostly young people who were earning money from Airbnb, Turo (like Airbnb for car rentals), and TaskRabbit. She found that they were disproportionately white-collar and highly educated, like Seth F. A second, expanded study showed that those who relied on gigging to make a living were less satisfied than those who had other jobs and benefits and gigged for pocket money: another sign that the system was not helping those who most needed the work.

Instead of simply driving wealth down, it seemed, the gigging model was helping divert traditional service-worker earnings into more privileged pockets—causing what Schor calls a “crowding out” of people dependent on such work. That distillation-coil effect, drawing wealth slowly upward, is largely invisible. On the ground, the atmosphere grows so steamy with transaction that it often seems to rain much needed cash.

“Airbnb enabled me to go back to school and become a full-time student and work as a part-time photographer.”

“Airbnb is necessary while my cousin is out of town to work.”

“I am here as an individual, not representing some radical, self-serving organization. I am speaking to my own experience.”

The streets near New York’s City Hall were ear-stinging and windy on the morning of a big Airbnb hearing, but attendees clogged the doorway, and the air inside was thick with sour human concern. A new law had made it illegal for many New Yorkers to advertise short-term rentals. The law ostensibly targeted unregulated hoteliers, who snatch up multiple apartments and Airbnb them year-round, but it served the broader interests of major hotel trade groups, such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, which lobbied against Airbnb. At the hearing, hosts protested the rule’s breadth: why not limit each member’s listings, rather than banning them all?

Christian Klossner, the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, sat behind a desk microphone, wearing a patient expression as speakers gave testimony. Suzette Sundae, a musician wearing a fifties-style swing dress and a white cardigan over her tattoos, said that she ran a vintage-clothing store in Park Slope. When the store’s traffic fell off, she had Airbnb-ed her home. “It saved me from having to declare bankruptcy, and it allowed me to close my store without owing a dime,” she said. An East New York resident named Heather-Sky McField recalled having to travel to Baltimore each week to care for her mother, who had breast cancer. She had been unable to evict her tenants, who’d stopped paying rent. “Had it not been for Airbnb, I would have been foreclosed by now,” she told Klossner.

Given such testimony, it was easy to see how the sharing economy became a liberal beacon—and easy to see the attendant paradoxes. A century ago, liberalism was a systems-building philosophy. Its revelation was that society, left alone, tended toward entropy and extremes, not because people were inherently awful but because they thought locally. You wanted a decent life for your family and the families that you knew. You did not—could not—make every personal choice with an eye to the fates of people in some unknown factory. But, even if individuals couldn’t deal with the big picture, early-twentieth-century liberals saw, a larger entity such as government could. This way of thinking brought us the New Deal and “Ask not what your country can do for you.” Its ultimate rejection brought us customized life paths, heroic entrepreneurship, and maybe even Instagram performance. We are now back to the politics of the particular.

For gigging companies, that shift means a constant struggle against a legacy of systemic control, with legal squabbles like the one in New York. Regulation is government’s usual tool for blunting adverse consequences, but most sharing platforms gain their competitive edge by skirting its requirements. Uber and Lyft avoid taxi rules that fix rates and cap the supply on the road. Handy saves on overtime and benefits by categorizing workers as contractors. Some gigging advocates suggest that this less regulated environment is fair, because traditional industry gets advantages elsewhere. (President Trump, it has been pointed out, could not have built his company without hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies.)

Still, since their inception, and increasingly during the past year, gigging companies have become the targets of a journalistic genre that used to be called muckraking: admirable and assiduous investigative work that digs up hypocrisies, deceptions, and malpractices in an effort to cast doubt on a broader project. Some companies, such as Uber, seem to invite this kind of attention with layered wrongdoing and years of secrecy. But they also invite it by their high-minded positioning. Like traditional companies, gigging companies maintain regiments of highly paid lawyers and lobbyists. What sets them apart is a second lobbying effort, turned toward the public.

“We’re borrowing very heavily from traditional community-organizing models, and looking at the grass roots in each city,” Emily Castor, Lyft’s leader in the campaign against regulatory constraint, told me a while back, when we spoke in the company’s San Francisco headquarters. “Who are the leaders? Who are people who distinguish themselves as passionate, who want to get more involved? We have a team that includes field organizers who are responsible for different parts of the country.”

If Uber has come to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West, dark-logoed, ubiquitous, and dragging a flaming broom of opportunism, Lyft has sought to be the Glinda, upbeat, pink, and conciliatory, and its organizing outreach has been key to this reputation. Castor’s work was not accosting government but assembling users, building a network of ordinary people who wanted Lyft in their lives.

“They’ll have dinners and other opportunities for people to learn more about what policy activities are happening in their area,” she said. This often means turning out for community-style lobbying—like the hosts at the Airbnb hearing in New York. “We get to know who has a powerful voice that would be helpful if shared with elected officials,” she explained.

Castor is a friendly woman with tidy blond hair who also started out in Democratic politics. After college, she worked in Washington as a legislative aide for the California representative Susan Davis. In 2008, before returning to school to get a degree in public administration, she worked on an unsuccessful congressional campaign. She moved to San Francisco, and in 2011 worked as a municipal finance consultant. It was an exciting time to be in the Bay Area. In the wake of economic collapse, young people with big ideas and an understanding of mobile technology were thinking about how work could be made cheaper, lighter, and more accessible. Castor started renting out her car on Getaround, an early sharing-economy company, and then tried Zimride, Airbnb—any service she could get her hands on. Their premise of sharing moved her. “It was like falling in love,” she told me. “You ask yourself, Is this love? Is this love? And, when you find the thing that’s right, you don’t have to ask.” Early in 2012, she started an event series, Collaborative Chats, devoted to the sharing economy. When Lyft launched, in June, 2012, the founders hired her to be the company’s first “community manager.” She found that she could draw on her political training. “Collective identity is one of those aspects that, in the theory of social movements, is so important,” she told me. “You’re not just ‘taking rides.’ ”

A key architect of that organizing strategy is Marshall Ganz. From the sixties through the early eighties, he worked under Cesar Chavez, leading the organizing efforts of the United Farm Workers. Now, at the Harvard Kennedy School, he teaches what he calls “a story of self, a story of us, a story of now”: the collective-identity movement-building method that Castor invoked. In July, 2007, he led a boot camp to train Obama’s first battalion of organizers for Iowa and South Carolina’s primary contests. He told me that he found the sharing companies’ use of grassroots methods “problematic.”

“There’s a difference between exchange, which is what markets are all about, and discernment of common purpose, which is what politics is about,” he said. Ganz told me that he had been distraught after Obama’s victory in 2008 when the Democratic National Committee seemed to abandon the President’s grassroots network. What he had hoped would be a movement had been cast aside as an electoral tool that had served its purpose.

Castor, who is nearly four decades younger than Ganz, had a different heroic ideal for social change. “When I worked on the Hill,” she recalled, “my chief of staff used to say, ‘A political campaign is a startup that is designed to go out of business.’ ”

Questions have emerged lately about the future of institutional liberalism. A Washington Post /ABC News poll last month found that two-thirds of Americans believe the Democratic Party is “out of touch,” more than think the same of the Republican Party or the current President. The gig economy has helped show how a shared political methodology—and a shared language of virtue—can stand in for a unified program; contemporary liberalism sometimes seems a backpack of tools distributed among people who, beyond their current stance of opposition, lack an agreed-upon blueprint. Unsurprisingly, the commonweal projects that used to be the pride of progressivism are unravelling. Leaders have quietly let them go. At one point, I asked Chris Lehane why he had thrown his support behind the sharing model instead of working on traditional policy solutions. He told me that, during the recession, he had suffered a crisis of faith. “The social safety net wasn’t providing the support that it had been,” he said. “I do think we’re in a time period when liberal democracy is sick.”

In “The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream” (2006), Jacob Hacker, a political-science professor at Yale, described a decades-long off-loading of risk from insurance-type structures—governments, corporations—to individuals. Economic insecurity has risen in the course of the past generation, even as American wealth climbed. Hacker attributed this shift to what he called “the personal-responsibility crusade,” which grew out of a post-sixties fixation on moral hazard: the idea that you do riskier things if you’re insulated from the consequences. The conservative version of the crusade is a commonplace: the poor should try harder next time. But, although Hacker doesn’t note it explicitly, there’s a liberal version, too, having to do with doffing corporate structures, eschewing inhibiting social norms, and refusing a career in plastics. Reich called it Consciousness III.

The slow passage from love beads to Lyft through the performative assertion of self may be the least claimed legacy of the baby-boomer revolution—certainly, it’s the least celebrated. Yet the place we find ourselves today is not unique. In “Drift and Mastery,” a young Walter Lippmann, one of the founders of modern progressivism, described the strange circumstances of public discussion in 1914, a similar time. “The little business men cried: We’re the natural men, so let us alone,” he wrote. “And the public cried: We’re the most natural of all, so please do stop interfering with us. Muckraking gave an utterance to the small business men and to the larger public, who dominated reform politics. What did they do? They tried by all the machinery and power they could muster to restore a business world in which each man could again be left to his own will—a world that needed no coöperative intelligence.” Coming off a period of liberalization and free enterprise, Lippmann’s America struggled with growing inequality, a frantic news cycle, a rising awareness of structural injustice, and a cacophonous global society—in other words, with an intensifying sense of fragmentation. His idea, the big idea of progressivism, was that national self-government was a coöperative project of putting the pieces together. “The battle for us, in short, does not lie against crusted prejudice,” he wrote, “but against the chaos of a new freedom.”

Revolution or disruption is easy. Spreading long-term social benefit is hard. If one accepts Lehane’s premise that the safety net is tattered and that gigging platforms are necessary to keep people in cash, the model’s social erosions have to be curbed. How can the gig economy be made sustainable at last?

During the final days of the Obama Administration, I went to see Tom Perez, at that time the Secretary of Labor and now—after a candidacy fraught with inner-party conflict—the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Perez, tieless in a white shirt, greeted me from a couch. Beyond the stresses of leaving the Cabinet, he had just experienced a bad nosebleed and looked drained.

“If you’re looking for the five-point blueprint, I don’t have it,” he said, when I asked about his vision for the gigging labor market. Last year, he pushed the Census Bureau to reinstate the Contingent Worker Supplement to gather data. (The government currently has no information on a gigging sphere as such.) He believed that any long-term labor model should include input from workers, but wasn’t sure what that should look like. “Voice can take a lot of forms,” Perez said. “I’m a big fan of collective bargaining and the labor movement, but I recognize that there are other ways.”

Perez champions what he calls “conscious capitalism”—free-market liberalism, with an eye to workers’ rights—and he insisted to me that profit-seeking and benefits-giving are not at odds. “Shareholders are best served when all stakeholders are well served!” he explained. The mind-set was mainstream during the nineteen-nineties, and still runs strong in the tech community, with its doing-well-by-doing-good ethos. One popular idea is that app markets regulate themselves with online ratings by and of everyone involved in a transaction.

The record here is mixed. Some earners complain about the way rating systems favor the judgment of customers (Seth F. told me that it is hard to challenge a poor rating) and can be leveraged for haggling purposes. (Some Airbnb customers, Blake Hinckley, of Happy Host, said, use trivial problems to seek a refund.) And reputation governance can’t pick up patterns of unjust exclusion. Research on Airbnb found that identical profiles given different ethnic names were treated differently by hosts, and that pricing on equivalent apartments ran lower for black hosts than for everybody else. (A couple of weeks ago, Airbnb agreed to let a regulatory body, in California, test for discrimination; the company itself has instituted an aggressive program to try to curb such behavior.) Still, you cannot regulate somebody’s house or car the way you regulate a hotel or a taxi.

“Someone who’s hosting on Airbnb might say, ‘Well, this is my space. I only want a certain kind of guest in my spare bedroom,’ ” Arun Sundararajan, an N.Y.U. business professor, says. Is that unreasonably discriminatory? In a new book, “The Sharing Economy,” he proposes a halfway measure like Airbnb’s: self-regulation in collaboration with government. Many elected politicians like a long-leash approach, too. In November, 2014, after an Uber employee described tracking a journalist’s movements, Senator Al Franken sent a list of privacy-policy queries to Uber’s C.E.O.; last fall, Franken pressed Uber and Lyft about apparent race-based discrepancies in wait times. “What I’m trying to do is help customers understand what these companies are doing, and encourage these companies to put in place voluntary measures,” Franken told me soon after dispatching the first letter. Some companies have taken preëmptive measures. Laura Copeland, the head of community at Lyft, describes having created an “advisory council” of seven drivers to make sure that the people on the street have a voice in the company.

Other assessments suggest that employees, too, should get their houses in order. “To succeed in the Gig Economy, we need to create a financially flexible life of lower fixed costs, higher savings, and much less debt,” Diane Mulcahy, a senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation and a lecturer at Babson College, writes in her book “The Gig Economy,” which is part economic argument and part how-to guide. Ideally, gig workers should plan not to retire. (Beyond Airbnb hosting, Mulcahy sees prospects for aging millennials in app-based dog-sitting.) If they must retire, they should prepare. Mulcahy suggests bingeing on benefits when they come. Fill your dance card with doctors while you’re on employee insurance. Go wild with 401(k) matching—it will come in handy.

This ketchup-packet-hoarding approach sounds sensible, given the current lack of systemic support. Yet, as Mulcahy acknowledges, it’s a survival mechanism, not a solution. Turning to deeper reform, she argues for eliminating the current distinction between employees (people who receive a W-2 tax form and benefits such as insurance and sick days) and contract workers (who get a 1099-MISC and no benefits). It’s a “kink” in the labor market, she says, and it invites abuse by efficiency-seeking companies.

Calls for structural change have grown loud lately, in part because the problem goes far beyond gigging apps. The precariat is everywhere. Companies such as Nissan have begun manning factories with temps; even the U.S. Postal Service has turned to them. Academic jobs are increasingly filled with relatively cheap, short-term teaching appointments. Historically, there is usually an uptick in 1099 work during tough economic times, and then W-2s resurge as jobs are added in recovery. But W-2 jobs did not resurge as usual during our recovery from the last recession; instead, the growth has happened in the 1099 column. That shift raises problems because the United States’ benefits structure has traditionally been attached to the corporation rather than to the state: the expectation was that every employed person would have a W-2 job.

“We should design the labor-market regulations around a more flexible model,” Jacob Hacker told me. He favors some form of worker participation, and, like Mulcahy, advocates creating a single category of employment. “I think if you work for someone else, you’re an employee,” he said. “Employees get certain protections. Benefits must be separate from work.”

In a much cited article in Democracy, from 2015, Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist, and David Rolf, a union president, proposed that workplace benefits be prorated (someone who works a twenty-hour week gets half of the full-time benefits) and portable (insurance or unused vacation days would carry from one job to the next, because employers would pay into a worker’s lifelong benefits account). Other people regard the gig economy as a case for universal basic income: a plan to give every citizen a modest flat annuity from the government, as a replacement for all current welfare and unemployment programs. Alternatively, there’s the proposal made by the economists Seth D. Harris and Alan B. Krueger: the creation of an “independent worker” status that awards some of the structural benefits of W-2 employment (including collective bargaining, discrimination protection, tax withholding, insurance pools) but not others (overtime and the minimum wage).

I put these possibilities to Tom Perez. He told me that he didn’t like the idea of eliminating work categories, or of adding a new one, as Harris and Krueger suggest: you’d lose many of the hard-won benefits included with W-2 employment, he said, either in the compromise to a single category or because current W-2 companies would find ways to slide into the new classification. He wanted to move slowly, to take time. “The heart and soul of the twentieth-century social compact that emerged after the Great Depression was forty years in the making,” he said. “How do we build the twenty-first-century social compact?”

Perez’s new perch, at the D.N.C., has given him a broader platform, and a couple of hours after the House passed the American Health Care Act last week, he championed the old safety net in forceful language. “Scapegoating worker protections is often a lazy cop-out for some who want to change the rules to benefit themselves at the expense of working people,” he told me. “We shouldn’t have to choose between innovation and the most basic employee protections; it’s a false dichotomy.” The entanglement of the sharing economy and Democratic politics has continued—Perez’s press secretary at the Department of Labor now works for Airbnb—but his approach had circumspection. “Any changes you make to policies or regulations have to be very careful and take all potential ripple effects into account and keep the best interest of the worker in mind.”

His own effort to do that led him one day to New York, where he stopped by a company called Hello Alfred. “I just wanted to introduce us a little bit, explaining why we’re here,” Marcela Sapone, the company’s C.E.O. and co-founder, said. “I think the best way to do that is to show you what we do. I heard that you like Coke heavy”—that is, the opposite of Coca-Cola light—“so we went ahead . . . ” She handed him a miniature bottle.

“The perfect size!” Perez exclaimed. He looked delighted and confused.

“At Alfred,” Sapone went on, “we think that help should be built into your life.” Sapone and her co-founder, Jess Beck, had met at Harvard Business School after leaving McKinsey. “We were thinking about how we were going to balance a career, building a family, building a social life in the community—you’d have to be a superhero. So we asked for some help to become that superhero,” Sapone said.

Unlike TaskRabbit, Hello Alfred is based on recurring service. When customers download the app and sign up, they’re assigned a single tasker, called a home manager, who comes once or twice a week, on a schedule. Alfred taskers often have keys and let themselves in; the idea is that, like traditional home help, they get to know their clients’ preferences and quirks. “It’s sort of a weird relationship you build with this person,” Leah Silver, a client who is an elementary-school teacher on the Upper West Side, told me. “They know so much about you.”

The reason for Perez’s visit was an unusual feature of Hello Alfred’s model: although the taskers can work part time, on a schedule they determine, all are full W-2 employees. Perez considered the company to be a model—creative, well-intentioned, and kind toward its employees—and praised it between pulls on his Coke heavy. “I appreciate that you’re understanding the high road is the smart road,” he said. “This is not an act of charity! This is an act of enlightened self-interest.”

He would have been more correct to call it self-interest tamed. Sapone told me later that it’s expensive to carry a staff of W-2 workers on a gigging schedule. The tax burden is greater for Hello Alfred than it would be on a 1099 model, the hourly rate is high, and the required human-resources infrastructure drives up the cost. Attrition is low, but W-2 companies are also vulnerable to various employee lawsuits from which 1099 employers are insulated.

For now, however, companies such as Hello Alfred, going above and beyond market demands out of principle, may be the gig economy’s best hope. And, occasionally, the principles travel. Blake Hinckley has already moved the most senior three of his six Happy Host staff cleaners onto W-2 status. The reason, he told me, is Sapone: they knew each other in Boston, and she convinced him that any honorable company owed its workers employment benefits.

One afternoon, I accompanied a Hello Alfred tasker named Phillip Pineno as he went to service apartments in Kips Bay. A placid guy with tiny silver hoops in his ears and a hipster’s dusky beard, Pineno does tasking four days a week and, like Bobby Allan, works in his remaining time as an actor. In the lobby of a building facing Bellevue South Park, he gathered packages and ascended to a client’s apartment—one of eleven he’d visit that day. A bag of Trader Joe’s Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips went in a cupboard. A box of cereal was tucked into position on the counter. Pineno used to be a caterer, doing events at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Natural History. The work was fine, he said, but unpredictable, different from Hello Alfred. “You get to feel more like a human,” he told me. He could take time every week to work toward his dream without gambling his future on it. He had found some sense of workplace comfort—of being valued and known.

For many gig workers, as for Seth F., that dream remains elusive. When Seth F. had finished hanging art work in my living room, I led him to the dining room. He took a small electric drill and some screws out of his backpack, and started driving them into the plaster. We were hanging a small print of a Sol LeWitt drawing, squares in squares in squares. He extracted a laser level, and projected it across the wall. “This is my favorite tool,” he told me, with a moving tenderness. He rarely met other taskers, he said; there were no colleagues in his life with whom he could share experiences and struggles. The flexibility was great, if you had something to be flexible for.

“The gig economy is such a lonely economy,” he told me. He left his drill behind after he finished the work, but I was out when he returned the next day to get it. I never saw him again.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/15/is-the-gig-economy-working

There Is a Solution to Our Broken Economy Besides Universal Basic Income

On May 10, 2017, Tom Ward writes on Futurism:

IN BRIEF
Universal Basic Assets (UBA) is a system in which each citizen receives an equal amount of baseline assets, in contrast to Universal Basic Income, which deals only with money. But could UBA produce a more equal society?

WHAT IS UBA?

Universal Basic Assets (UBA) have been suggested by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) as a more progressive and fair way to challenging inequality — which, at this point, is staggering. Currently, according to Oxfam, eight people own as much wealth as half of the world’s population.

This inequality will become more severe with the exponential increase of two factors: The first is climate change, which creates “climate refugees” due to water and food shortages as well as the wars that start as a result. The second is advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and  automation technology, which will displace many workers. Stephen Hawking has recently added his name to the growing list of scientists worried about the impact of AI on middle class jobs.

UBA has been proposed as a way of averting economic disaster by properly assessing and distributing our resources to meet the needs of every person. It can be seen as an evolution of the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which gives every citizen, regardless of how much they earn, a set amount of guaranteed money. The biggest criticisms of this concept are that it is hugely expensive, not all individuals have equal skills in managing money, and that — as Lenny Mendonca of NewCo Shift wrote in an opinion piece — “it is giving crumbs to pacify rather than means to participate.”

The IFTF defines UBA as “a core, basic set of resources that every person is entitled to, from housing and healthcare to education and financial security.” Rather than just focusing on money, the IFTF divides assets into three categories: First, private assets owned personally, such as housing, land, and money. Second, public assets owned collectively and usually managed by a government, which can include anything from the police force to public art galleries to national parks.

And third, open assets owned by neither an individual nor the government, but by a defined group. Resources in this category are epitomized by how open-source software operates today. John Clippinger, founder of the Institute for Data-Driven Design, said this category usually evolves with society, giving the example of British Common Law in an interview with Forbes, “It was constantly reinventing itself around the circumstances, and there was no single point of control.”

BETTER THAN UBI?

The IFTF is still early in its planning stage, so its members are vague about exactly how they propose to implement UBA. Their model going forward is to:

  • Catalyze a community to create a “new economic operating system built on universal basic assets.”
  • Conduct research, particularly on open assets.
  • Launch experiments from which they can forecast the kind of society we can create.

However, there are some key issues that will have to be faced in order to change the economic operating system:

Firstly, there is the issue of quantification. In order to distribute something equally, there must be a way of measuring it in order to assign the same amount to each individual. While this is fairly simple with private assets (money can be counted, land measured in feet etc.), it becomes murkier when applied to the IFTF’s categorization of open assets.

Secondly — and linked to the above point — while private and public assets lie within a country’s borders, open assets do not. An example of this could be the air we breathe. So even if we can find a way to quantify open assets, how will we be able to distribute resources that we do not own, and cannot be owned?

Finally, if a problem with UBI is that not everyone has equal financial management skills, then the same criticism can be applied to asset management.

Douglas Rushkoff states in Economics Is Not a Natural Science that “The marketplace in which most commerce takes place today is not a pre-existing condition of the universe.” UBA is a promising means of making the economy a more equal space. However — like any new idea — there are some problems it has to overcome first.

There Is a Solution to Our Broken Economy Besides Universal Basic Income

The singular problem that Universal Basic Assets (UBA) and Universal Basic Income (UBI) present is the destruction of private property principles as a direct result of redistribution of the earnings or capital assets of those in our society who contribute to the economy via their human labor and/or their non-human productive capital assets, which they own as individuals. These solutions are in direct conflict with the private property principles our nation was founded upon.

The “pursuit of happiness” phrase in the Declaration of Independence was interchangeable in those times with the word “property.” The original phrasing was “the right to life, liberty and property.” “The pursuit of happiness” phrase was a substitute for the “property” phrase. In the forerunner of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights declared that securing “Life, Liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing Property” is the highest purpose for which any just government is formed. Thus, democratizing economic power and empowering EVERY citizen to contribute productivity to the economy, not redistributing earnings and capital assets, will return us to the innocence and economic power diffusion we had in a pre-industrial society where labor was the principal factor in the creation of wealth.

As Lenny Mendonca of NewCo Shift wrote in an opinion piece — “[Universal Basic Income] is giving crumbs to pacify rather than means to participate.”

Along with Universal Basic Income and Universal Basis Assets proposals, the key means of redistribution is taxation — taking from the legitimate producers and giving to the non- or under-producers — to make up the economy’s ever-wider income and purchasing power shortfalls.

Unlike the pre-industrial society, today and in the future productive capital is (and will) increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. Binary economist Louis Kelso postulated that if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all. Yet, sadly, the American people and its leaders still pretend to believe that labor is becoming more productive, and ignore the necessity to broaden personal ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy.

Another aspect of the Universal Basic Assets proposal is that everyone should be equal. This is a belief system fallacy. This will never be in a free society. What does need to be equal is opportunity to the means of acquiring and possessing property for EVERY citizen.

Thus, rather than focus studies on how to redistribute earnings and capital assets, our focus should be on empowering EVERY child, woman and man to become a productive contributor to the economy via universal equal access to financial mechanism that create wealth and produce income from OWNERSHIP of newly formed productive capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy, without taking anything away from those who already own capital assets.

Kelso said, “We are a nation of industrial sharecroppers who work for somebody else and have no other source of income. If a man owns something that will produce a second income, he’ll be a better customer for the things that American industry produces. But the problem is how to get the working man [and woman] that second income.”

There’s nothing new about the non-human factor (productive land; structures; tools; machines; robotics; computer processing; etc., which are owned by people individually or in association with others) replacing people, but the rate of replacement is exponential and the result is that productivity gains lead to more wealth for the OWNERS of the non-human factor of production, while for others who have always been dependent on jobs as their source of income, there has been a steady decline to poverty-level labor incomes as private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital’s ever increasing role.

Thus, we can no longer ignore the necessity to broaden personal ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy.

What must be understood is that fundamentally, economic value is created through human and non-human contributions.

Also what needs to be understood is that human productivity has not advanced (our human abilities are limited by physical strength and brain power — and relatively constant), but that the productiveness of the non-human factor of production — productive capital — is the reason that private sector corporations, majority owned by the “1 percent,” are utilizing the non-human factor of production increasingly to create efficiencies and save labor costs. It is the function of technology to save labor from toil and to enable us to do things that otherwise is humanly impossible without non-human input. The critical question becomes who should own productive capital? The issue of OWNERSHIP is unbelievably overlooked by those in academia and politics. Yet we live in country founded upon private property rights.

Today, large streams of data, coupled with statistical analysis and sophisticated algorithms, are rapidly gaining importance in almost every field of science, politics, journalism, and as well as digitalization of the manufacturing and service industries. What does this mean for the future of work?

“The era we’re in is one in which the scope of tasks that can be automated is increasing rapidly, and in areas where we used to think those were our best skills, things that require thinking,” says David Autor, a labor economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Businesses are spending more on technology now because they spent so little during the recession. Yet total capital expenditures are still barely running ahead of replacement costs. “Most of the investment we’re seeing is simply replacing worn-out stuff,” says economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics.

Yet, while the problem is one that no one can no longer ignore, the solution also is one starring them in the face but they just can’t see the simplicity of it. Instead, they pursue redistributive solutions such as UBI and UBA to equalize economic inequality. Thus, the political focus on job creation and redistribution of wealth rather than on equal opportunity to produce, full production and broader capital ownership accumulation.

We need to reevaluate our tax, monetary and central banking institutions, as well as, labor and welfare laws. We need to innovate in such ways that we lower the barriers to equal economic opportunity and create a level playing field based on anti-monopoly and anti-greed fairness and balance between production and consumption. In so doing, every citizen can begin to accumulate a viable wealth-creating, income-producing capital estate without having to take away from those who now own by using the tax system to redistribute the income of capital owners. What the “haves” do lose is the productive capital ownership monopoly they enjoy under the present unjust system. A key descriptor of such innovation is to find the ways in which “have nots” can become “haves” without taking from the “haves.” Thus, the reform of the “system,” as Kelso postulated, “must be structured so that eventually all citizens produce an expanding proportion of their income through their privately owned productive capital and simultaneously generate enough purchasing power to consume the economy’s output.”

Failing to abate the monopoly ownership of productive capital assets is being an accomplice to murder. And anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won’t use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor — the equivalency of mass murder — the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

As long as working people are limited by earning income solely through their labor worker wages, they will be left behind by the continued gravitation of economic bounty toward the top 10 percent capital ownership class of the people that the system is rigged to benefit. Working people and the middle class will continue to stagnate, resulting in a stagnated consumer economy. More troubling is that this continued stagnation will further dim the economic hopes of America’s youth, no matter what their education level. The result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution.

A new system that would ensure equal opportunity for every child, woman, and man to acquire productive capital with the earnings of capital and broaden its ownership universally does not require people to be any better than they presently are, but it does enable our society to leverage both greed and generosity in a way that honestly recognizes and harnesses productive capital as the factor that exponentially produces the wealth in a technologically advanced society.

Kelso wrote: “In the distribution of social power, whether it be political power or economic power, all things are relative. The essence of economic democracy lies in the elimination of differences of earning power resulting from denial of equality of economic opportunity, particularly equal access to capital credit. Differences of economic status resulting from differences in advantages taken and uses made of differences based on inequality of economic opportunity, particularly those that give access to capital credit to the already capitalized and deny it to the non- or under-capitalized, are flagrant violations of the constitutional rights of citizens in a democracy.”

What needs to be our focus is to adjust the opportunity to produce, not the redistribution of income after it is produced. It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

The fundamental challenge to be solved is how do we reinvent and redesign our economic institutions to keep pace with job destroying and labor worth devaluing technological innovation and invention so not all of the benefits of owning FUTURE productive capacity accrues to today’s wealthy 10 percent ownership class, and ownership is broadened so that EVERY American earns income through full-earning stock ownership dividends so they can afford to purchase the products and services produced by the economy.

None of this is new from a macro-economic viewpoint as productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth. The role of physical productive capital is to do ever more of the work of producing more products and services, which produces income to its owners. Full employment is not an objective of businesses. Companies strive to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum. Private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital’s ever increasing role. Over the past century there has been an ever-accelerating shift to productive capital — which reflects tectonic shifts in the technologies of production. The mixture of labor worker input and capital worker input has been rapidly changing at an exponential rate of increase for over 235 years in step with the Industrial Revolution (starting in 1776) and had even been changing long before that with man’s discovery of the first tools, but at a much slower rate. Up until the close of the nineteenth century, the United States remained a working democracy, with the production of products and services dependent on labor worker input. When the American Industrial Revolution began and subsequent technological advance amplified the productive power of non-human capital, plutocratic finance channeled its ownership into fewer and fewer hands, as we continue to witness today with government by the wealthy evidenced at all levels.

People invented tools to reduce toil, enable otherwise impossible production, create new highly automated industries, and significantly change the way in which products and services are produced from labor intensive to capital intensive — the core function of technological invention. Kelso attributed most changes in the productive capacity of the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to technological improvements in our capital assets, and a relatively diminishing proportion to human labor. Capital, in Kelso’s terms, does not “enhance” labor productivity (labor’s ability to produce economic goods). In fact, the opposite is true. It makes many forms of labor unnecessary. Because of this undeniable fact, Kelso asserted that, “free-market forces no longer establish the ‘value’ of labor. Instead, the price of labor is artificially elevated by government through minimum wage legislation, overtime laws, and collective bargaining legislation or by government employment and government subsidization of private employment solely to increase consumer income.”

A National Right To Capital Ownership Bill that restores the American dream should be advocated by the progressive movement, which addresses the reality of Americans facing job opportunity deterioration and labor worth devaluation due to tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and competitive globalization of production.

There is a solution, which will result in double-digit economic growth and simultaneously broaden private, individual ownership so that EVERY American’s income significantly grows, providing the means to support themselves and their families with an affluent lifestyle. The Just Third Way Master Plan for America’s future is published at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=5797.

The solution is obvious but our leaders, academia, conventional economist and the media are oblivious to the necessity to broaden ownership in the new capital formation of the future simultaneously with the growth of the economy, which then becomes self-propelled as increasingly more Americans accumulate ownership shares and earn a new source of dividend income derived from their capital ownership in the “machines” that are replacing them or devaluing their labor value.

The solution will require the reform of the Federal Reserve Bank to create new owners of future productive capital investment in viable businesses simultaneously with the growth of the economy. The solution to broadening private, individual ownership of America’s future capital wealth requires that the Federal Reserve stop monetizing unproductive debt, including bailouts of banks “too big to fail” and Wall Street derivatives speculators, and begin creating an asset-backed currency that could enable every man, woman and child to establish a Capital Homestead Account or “CHA” (a super-IRA or asset tax-shelter for citizens) at their local bank to acquire a growing dividend-bearing stock portfolio to supplement their incomes from work and all other sources of income using insured, “pure” interest-free capital credit, repayable out of the future earnings of the investments. Essentially, we need to implement financial mechanisms that empower EVERY American to acquire productive capital with the self-financing earnings of capital, instead of leaving them to acquire, as best as they can, with their earnings as labor workers and the pledge of past savings as security collateral to protect against investment failure.

Policies need to insert American citizens into the low or no-interest investment money loop to enable non- and under-capitalized Americans, including the working class and poor, to build wealth and become “customers with money.” The proposed Capital Homestead Act would produce this result.

As for addressing the problem that not everyone has equal financial management skills and a knowledgable basis to choose what viable business capital expansion projects to invest in and subsequently manage their growing wealth-creating, income-producing capital asset portfolio, solutions should include education, professional asset management services as well as producers ownership unions to manage asset accounts for their members. But this is a subject for another article.

Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/homestead/index.htm and http://www.cesj.org/homestead/summary-cha.htm.

Support Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/page/monetary-justice.

See the article “Economic Democracy And Binary Economics: Solutions For A Troubled Nation and Economy” at http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/?p=11.

See the article “The Absent Conversation: Who Should Own America?” published by The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/who-should-own-america_b_2040592.html and by OpEd News at http://www.opednews.com/articles/THE-Absent-Conversation–by-Gary-Reber-130429-498.html

Also see “The Path To Eradicating Poverty In America” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/the-path-to-eradicating-p_b_3017072.html and “The Path To Sustainable Economic Growth” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/sustainable-economic-growth_b_3141721.html. And also “Second Income Plan” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/second-income-plan_b_3625319.html

Also see the article entitled “The Solution To America’s Economic Decline” at http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/9206/financing-future…economic-decline and “Education Is Critical To Our Future Societal Development” at http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/?p=9058. And also “Achieving The Green Economy” at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=9082.

Also see “Financing Economic Growth With ‘FUTURE SAVINGS’: Solutions To Protect America From Economic Decline” at http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/9206/financing-future…economic-decline and “The Income Solution To Slow Private Sector Job Growth” at http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/9872/the-income-solut…ector-job-growth.