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This piece is a summary of a paper that I presented at the Left Forum in a panel organised by Geminijen. If you want to see a copy of the longer paper (which is being edited for English and clarity), send me a personal message here with your email and I will send it to you. Fran Luck who is the producer of the radio series “Joy of Resistance: Largest Minority” on WBAI was in the audience and asked us to appear on her show. If you would like to listen to Geminijen, Diana Zevala (who has written for the ACM on education), Barbara Garson and me, please click here: http://archive.wbai.org/...).
While in no way denying the impact of the introduction of austerity upon the working class, the disabled and the poor as a whole, there is no question that the impact of austerity on women is far greater. This is due to the job losses in the state sector where women’s labour is predominant, our historically lower wages due to the undervaluation of traditional women’s labour in a capitalist labour market leading to greater dependence upon the social welfare state, and our overwhelming responsibility for reproduction of the working class and how that impacts on our working lives.  The failure of the state to provide completely for social reproduction especially in childcare and care for the infirm and disabled has resulted in women having: 1) discontinuous working lives; 2) and the predominance of our labour in part-time employment.
With incomes falling in the advanced capitalist world as part of general economic policy, women face greater threats than men due to our responsibility as primary caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly. Women are facing lower incomes, lower pensions, and an increasing reluctance for the state to support women in the workplace through provision of child-care and after-school programmes and shouldering carer responsibilities for the elderly and infirm. Given the transformations in general employment possibilities towards increasingly underemployed and part-time labour, we will begin to face competition from men for the jobs we have normally held while benefits are increasingly run down.
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We face increasing economic insecurity without sufficient state assistance to ensure that our children and families can have a decent standard of living provided through employment. Women can no longer depend upon the fact that our labour is of sufficient value to capitalists as men also face increasing precariousness in their employment, and in the absence of a strong labour movement or left-wing movements, can serve the same role of an easily intimidated low-paid work force.
The destruction of the public sector enabling the weakening of the last bastion of trade union organisation to force through even lower wages and a reduction in social subsistence levels of wages along with a further deterioration in working conditions on the basis of non-competition with emerging and peripheral economies is nothing less than a race to the bottom and women will be the first, but not the last, victims of neoliberal economics in the advanced capitalist world.
This piece will be divided into 3 parts. The first is composed of some general statements on austerity. The second part will discuss the women’s labour market in Britain and the impact of austerity. The third part addresses the attack on the universal social welfare state in Britain and its impact upon women.

Part I: What is “Austerity” and why is it being introduced?

What is called austerity is not a new series of economic policies; these policies were introduced by the World Bank in Latin America and Africa and are now being introduced in the advanced capitalist world either voluntarily by governments in (for example, in Britain) or forced through by the Troika of the EU, European Central Bank, and IMF in Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, for example.

The term austerity is misleading implying that across classes the whole country is facing cutbacks and lower levels of incomes. That is false. Overwhelmingly, the burden of austerity falls on the working class and the poor; and of these, women and those with disabilities are impacted the most.

Austerity is not shared equally by all classes.  A cursory look at Figure 1 below, demonstrates quite clearly that those that have been hit hardest are the two lowest incomes deciles which relate to those whose incomes derives completely from benefits (poorest) and the working poor (second lowest decile).
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(Source: http://www.ifs.org.uk/... P 52)
The formal excuse or justification for the introduction of austerity in Britain has been to cut the Deficit /GDP. While it is dubious economic policy to cut budget deficits in the middle of an economic crisis (as a grotesque understatement) and while there is no historical evidence that this is an effective way of stimulating the economy or economic growth, this is the neoliberal perspective that is justifying cutting the budget deficit. Instead of increasing government revenue through financial transaction taxes, increased taxation of corporations or higher personal incomes, this is done through cutting the state sector and by cutting expenditures. Increasing wealth and income differentials in a period of economic crisis is dubious and will definitely lead to increased financial and economic instability.

Its introduction is part of a longer term attempt to recover profitability in the advanced capitalist world. While the financial sector recovered very quickly from the crash due to the bail-outs and the resulting centralisation of capital eliminating redundant capital, the same cannot be said of other sectors in the economy.
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Its introduction is part of a longer term attempt to recover profitability in the advanced capitalist world. While the financial sector recovered very quickly from the crash due to the bail-outs and the resulting centralisation of capital eliminating redundant capital, the same cannot be said of other sectors in the economy.

Using the crisis as a justification for increasing income and wealth inequality, governments believe that it will enable economic growth; in other words, politicians and the IMF, EU and ECB are trapped in a delusional supply-side and monetarist economic policy mentality.

Essentially, the purpose of austerity is twofold and the reasons are interrelated:
1) Using the excuse of competition and economic stagnation, given low profitability outside of the financial sector, the economic crisis is being used to squeeze wage incomes to keep profits up.  This is part of a longer term attack on workers’ incomes that began in the late 1970s and its purpose is to undermine workers’ incomes and working conditions in the advanced capitalist world due to continuing profitability problems outside of the financial sector which is what led to the shift of industry and manufacturing to emerging and peripheral capitalist economies;
2) Secondly, the privatisation of potentially profitable areas of the public sector is being introduced. Its purpose is to open up new areas of profitability for capital and also to undermine the trade unions in the public sector in the last bastion of unionisation in the advanced capitalist world.
First, the shrinking of wage incomes over time (this has been happening in the advanced capitalist world since the late 1970s due to the destruction of industrial and manufacturing sectors and the commensurate destruction of the trade union movements) and in the absence of access to either easy, but expensive, credit or an universal social welfare state which maintains incomes means that the possibility of realisation crises have increased. I would argue that this is a major part of the current stagnation in the advanced capitalist world as in the absence of consumption, profits remain unrealisable and there is no reason to increase employment, production and investment.
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Add to this, the shift away from full-time work with benefits and decent working conditions towards increased part-time, temporary and sub-contracting work. Inevitably, these forms of labour (often not unionised) have lower wages due to their unskilled nature. While in the EU (unlike in the US), part-time workers will still get comparable wages to a full-time worker, they still get holidays and sick days, however, the type of work means that wages will be lower.  Rising levels of underemployment are clearly demonstrated from the period of April-June 2000-2012; as we can see the rate of underemployment (calculated by dividing the total number of underemployed workers by the total number of people in employment who have known underemployed status for a year) increases from 7.1% to 9.5% between the years of 2008-9 and has continued to rise to 10.5% in 2012. If we solely look at part-time workers, the rate of underemployment is obviously more evident going from 2000 at 18.4 downwards to 2012 to 24.0.

Two important points to make, of those that are underemployed, the vast majority would prefer to work additional hours in the same job rather than get an additional one; moreover, this is rising for both men and women and is essentially part of the new reality for working conditions in the advanced capitalist world. From 2008-2012, the percentage of men that are underemployed has risen from 24.8% to 34.6% and for women it has risen from 15.6% to 21%.
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Second, those lower incomes means that things that people formerly got for free at the point of contact with the social welfare state will not necessarily be demanded once formerly socialised sectors are privatised. That means that they may no longer be as profitable as anticipated. If you need to pay for health care, chances are you will ration using it; this is more relevant to Greece whose health care system is no longer free at the point of contact for those unemployed for over 1 year (and that number is rising due to the introduction of austerity) and in Spain where people are fighting healthcare privatisation measures.

Third, and most obvious, privatisation of these services means that they are subject to a profit criteria under capitalism; this will most assuredly affect access to services in terms of supply for the working class and poor.  All the so-called arguments about competition become laughable when something becomes privatised and inevitably monopolised due to the nature of provision and the demands of the system itself. In the case of child-care and caring for the sick and elderly, this work will inevitably fall on women as part of caring for extended families for which women are still predominately responsible.

Part II:  Austerity and the women’s labour market

Austerity is hitting women harder than men. This arises both in terms of their roles as workers where they are more heavily concentrated in the public sector and in the general economy where their pay is lower and their working lives are less continuous due to family responsibilities and as the main providers of social reproduction. Hence women are more dependent upon the social welfare state.

As workers, cutbacks to the public sector impact upon women more than men due to their employment being concentrated in the public sector. According to UNISON (a public sector workers union), 65% of public sector workers are women, and almost a quarter of working women are in public sector jobs in Britain. Specifically of the 6,798,000 who viewed themselves as public sector workers in the second quarter of 2012, 4,439,000 were women and 2,359,000 were men. This situation holds in general throughout Europe.

There is strong evidence of pay differentials (and pension provision) between public and private sector workers and it is clearest for women. In a study of countries in the Euro Area, it was shown that public sector wages are higher compared to private sector pay and this is especially the case for women in both supervisory and non-supervisory roles and especially for women in lower paid work (See Giordano, et al). It must be clarified that this derives from the weakness of unions in the private sector in areas in which employment opportunities exist. For women, it also relates to the fact that they are still trapped in low-paying service sector work in the private sector (e.g., retail and sales) and in traditional labour which is inevitably lower paid due to its undervaluation under capitalism. In commensurate employments in public and private sector (e.g., cleaning), wages and job protections are lower due to lack of union protections.  
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Women’s Labour is Predominantly Based in part-time work.

Given that part-time work provides lower incomes, this already places these workers at a severe disadvantage. In some cases, women do it voluntarily to cover child-care and other carer responsibilities, preferring the flexibility afforded by working part-time. However, what has also happened is that women are unable to work full-time formal work (due to lack of affordable child-care and carer availability); we are also seeing relegation to the part-time sector due to the fact that full-time employment possibilities are decreasing. That is, we are seeing a situation of involuntary underemployment. Disproportionate concentration of women in part-time work is not decreasing. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, this is predominately due to carer and household responsibilities.

If we look at economic inactivity (defined as those not in employment but who are not considered unemployed as they have not been seeking work in the last month and cannot begin work within 2 weeks) in January-March 2013: out of a total of 9,003,000 of people that are economically inactive in Britain, 2,282,000 people cite household and caring responsibilities for the reason for economic inactivity, of these 220,000 are men, while 2,063,000 are women. Of the 2,299,000 of the total that say that they want a job, 630,000 say that they are looking after home and family; of those 76,000 are men as compared to 556,000 women.
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Working in the informal sector again characterises women’s work. This is especially so for immigrant labour and that of the poorest members of society. Essentially precarious in nature; the fact that more and more people are resorting to them as the formal economy is failing to provide sufficient levels of income or employment is serious. These types of jobs also include domestic labour of various kinds (nannies, carers for the elderly and infirm, cleaners), door-to-door sales (think of the Avon lady for example) and are heavily dependent on incomes of those that are employing them. So, immigrant women are facing additional economic hardship and even more increased precariousness as the incomes of those that employ them fall.

Pensions

In Britain, increases in retirement age for women are being gradually phased in; instead of being able to retire earlier than men, the retirement age is being increased from 60 to 66 by 2020.  This, combined with pay freezes, increased contribution to pension schemes, and the re-pegging of pensions to a Consumer Price Index (CPI) (as opposed to the Retail Price Index or RPI which includes housing) to address inflation mean that public sector workers are working longer and harder (due to job cutbacks), for less pay, for a pension that is actually going to be lower. Women live longer than men and have had lower incomes (both in terms of pay for the same jobs and the fact that “women’s work” pays less). Their pension contributions and pensions will be lower. Women that are able to retire will be living longer on lower pensions (while women that are married may get their husband’s higher pensions upon their deaths; this does nothing for single women or single mothers). This means that more women will be living in poverty.

Part III:  Cuts in Social Services and the impact upon Women

The destruction of the universal social welfare state impacts far more on women who are inevitably more dependent upon benefits. Women are more heavily employed as part-time and temporary labour (both voluntarily and forced) due to carer responsibilities and that means a far lower income than someone doing the job full-time; this means they are more dependent upon benefits to cover living expenses. On average, one-fifth of women’s income is made up of welfare payments and tax credits compared to one-tenth for men. A total of £14.9 billion worth of cuts per year have been made to benefits, tax credits, pay and pensions, with 74% of this taken from women’s incomes. In the UK, lone parent households are predominately female (92%, compared to 8% of men leading lone parent households; Lone parents with dependent children represented 26% of all families with dependent children in 2011) and they are feeling the impacts of the cuts far harder (see, http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/... ).
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Benefits are being capped at £500/week for those households with couples and lone parent households (single adult household with no children benefits will be capped at £350/week).
Even the government acknowledges that the impact will fall primarily on women:

“[…] 60% of customers who are likely to have their benefit reduced by the cap to be single females, but only around 3% to be single men. Most of the single women affected are likely to be lone parents, […] we expect the vast majority of households affected by the policy (around 90%) to have children. Around 60% of those that are capped are single women. Single women form 40% of the overall benefit population. (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/... p. 8).”
One of the benefits included in the benefit cap is Housing Benefits. These are being capped as an attempt to clear the poorest from the centre of London. 50% of those receiving housing benefits are single women (couples 20%, single men 30%). There are insufficient amounts of public housing (both due to the sell-off under the Thatcher years and insufficient amounts built afterwards). Long waiting lists and insufficient public housing especially for large families are the rule. Lack of rent control in private housing (eliminated under Thatcher) and the rise of buy to let has meant that rents in London are skyrocketing. With housing benefits capped, there is a danger that people will take money from their other benefits to cover housing. Additionally, the bedroom tax (or over-occupancy charge) for “extra” bedrooms for those in social housing are hitting people with disabilities disproportionately and single mothers disproportionately (http://www.guardian.co.uk/...).

Of primary importance, there is the stealth cut of re-pegging of benefits and pensions to the CPI (as opposed to the RPI which covers housing costs); this means that increases in benefits and pensions will certainly be at a lower level as the CPI is lower than the RPI due to lack of inclusion of changes in housing costs primarily and these are rising.  This re-pegging of benefits accounted for the largest cut in government expenditure and the attempt in the US to change the index for social security from the CPI to a chained CPI is attempting to do the same. This is a real cut in future incomes and it would not be introduced if it was not a cut. A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that:
 

“Over the past five years:
A)    Childcare costs have risen more than twice as fast as inflation at 37%
B)    Rent in social housing has gone up by 26%
C)    Food costs have increased by 24%
D)    Energy costs are 39% more
E)    Public transport is up by 30%
Since 2008 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said real inflation had climbed by 25% rather than the 17% increase as judged by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the method used by government to measure inflation (http://www.jrf.org.uk/...).”
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To rub salt in the wounds, there has also been a benefit freeze of 1% introduced (benefits cannot increase by more than 1% for the next three years; far lower than the rate of inflation even calculated under the CPI of 2.4%). Laughingly the 1% freeze on benefits is being justified by the fall in real wages for the employed and that people on benefits should not get an increase in income greater than the employed. The social subsistence level of wages for working people in the economy is being undermined. The ideological argument essentially means that those on benefits are being forced to physical minimum. There is rising usage of food banks and reports that mothers are foregoing eating to feed their children indicates a serious erosion of standards of living.
According to the Trussell Trust:
 
“More than 350,000 people turned to food banks for help last year, almost triple the number who received food aid in the previous year and 100,000 more than anticipated, according to the UK's biggest food crisis charity (http://www.guardian.co.uk/...).”
Universal Social Welfare State?!

Unlike the US where the social welfare state is relegated to the poor and the disabled and sick, these cuts affect women across classes as the social welfare state is universal in Britain. Movement towards means testing of benefits is impacting upon middle class women as well as working class women. This is certainly the case with child benefits, working people’s tax credits (WTC) and child tax credits (CTC) which previously were universal and not means tested. For example, the 2010 budget froze the rate of child benefit for 3 years until April 2014; given inflation and rising living costs, the value of child benefit will have been cut by 10% until 2014. A family with1 child will be £130/yr worse off; those with 3 children will be £285/yr worse off (see, http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/... ). Needless to say those more dependent upon benefits (those with low incomes) will feel this far worse.
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While the government claims that it is helping people into work that clearly does not include women as they actually cut the childcare portion of working tax credits from 80-70% in the 2010 budget. This particularly affects single mother households as 60% of the recipients of the childcare element are single working mothers. To make it even worse they have increased the number of working hours needed to qualify from 16-24 hours per week; finding 8 additional hours in a period of high unemployment is not particularly easy. Invariably women will have to drop out of work as they cannot afford childcare and/or they cannot find the remaining 8 hours to even get the 70% covered by the government.

Disability benefits are being undercut:

The government has introduced assessments to determine eligibility for Disability payments both in terms of what used to be called Incapacity Benefits (now Employment Support Allowance) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA; now called Personal Independence Payments) which are used to cover the extra costs of living with disabilities.  Carer’s Allowance is tied into receipt of DLA; if you are deemed ineligible for DLA, you will lose access to Carer’s allowance. This is the case irrespective of whether or not you will need to continue to care for a disabled or infirm person. Finally, the Independent Living Fund (ILF; enabling people with disabilities to live on their own rather than in group homes or with their family) has been shifted to local governments with no additional funds provided to ensure that the ILF can be accessed. This will mean additional carer responsibilities for parents and carers as their disabled family members are no longer able to live independently. Moreover, cuts to disability benefits are being targeted at those that have what are called fluctuating conditions which women are more susceptible to like Fibromyalgia, arthritis, ME, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Finally, women will be affected due to local government forced cuts which affect after-school programmes, availability of outside carer assistance in homes, and protection against domestic violence as cuts are impacting upon these programmes.

Conclusion

It is extremely disheartening and infuriating to watch decades of struggle be undermined so quickly. But it is essential to keep fighting for these gains and to organise opposition to these policies. We may lose, but we cannot go down without a fight. We have always faced difficulties due to the use of divide and rule between men and women, between skilled and unskilled workers, between white and people of colour, between employed and unemployed. Governments are working very hard to foster disunity, but we know that unity is strength and this is a fight from which we simply cannot walk away and hope for the best!

References

Mike Brewer, James Brown and Robert Joyce (2011) “Child and Working-Age Poverty from 2010-20,” Institute for Fiscal Studies, http://www.ifs.org.uk/....

Department of Works and Pensions, Household Benefit Cap, Equality Impact Assessment, October 2011, http://www.dwp.gov.uk/....

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) “Women, men and part-time work - January 2013,” (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/...).

The Fawcett Society, February 2013, “The triple jeopardy: the impact of benefit cuts on women” http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/...

Raffaela Giordano, Domenico Depalo, Manuel Coutinho Pereira, Bruno Eugène, Evangelia Papapetrou, Javier J. Perez, Lukas Reiss, and Mojca Roter (2011) “The Public Sector Pay Gap in a Selection of Euro Area Countries,” European Central Bank, Working Paper Series, No 1406 / December (http://www.ecb.europa.eu/...)

Donald Hirsch, A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2013, Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report, 28 June 2013, http://www.jrf.org.uk/...

ONS, Underemployment rate1, 2 for part time workers by sex, July to September 2012, 2011 and 2008, UK , ONS, January 2013,Underemployment levels and rates for regions of Great Britain

ONS, Underemployment levels and rates for regions of Great Britain, October 2010-2012, 001024

Office of National Statistics (5/2013) Summary of Labour Market Statistics, http://www.ons.gov.uk/...

ONS, labour market statistics, May 2013, “INAC01: Economic inactivity by reason,” http://www.ons.gov.uk/...?
newquery=*&newoffset=25&pageSize=25&edition=tcm%3A77-263579

Unison, Women and Public Spending Cuts, Factsheet #21, June 2011, http://www.unison.org.uk/...

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Sexism and Patriarchy, Global Expats, Income Inequality Kos, In Support of Labor and Unions, Sluts, and Anti-Capitalist Chat.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:00:18 PM PDT

  •  tonight's ACM has been reposted to: (6+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:11:54 PM PDT

  •  ACM Schedule (6+ / 0-)

    July

    14: northsylvania
    21: BigJacBigJacBigJac
    28: Justina

    August

    4th: Geminijen
    11th:
    18th:
    25th:

    September

    1st:
    8th:
    15th:
    22nd:
    29th:
    Annieli

    So thanks to Justina we have the July schedule filled. We need comrades to write for the 2nd to the 4th weeks in August and the first  weeks  in September. Can anyone volunteer to write? To keep the series going, we need people to step forward to write pieces. If you can write or want to write but need an idea, please reply to this post or write to the AC meetup on dkos or write to NY Brit Expat or Northsylvania or send a message to our group email address: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:16:23 PM PDT

    •  I'd like to put up Diana Zavala's piece on her (5+ / 0-)

      experience as a single Mom and educator the first week in August (we have to get her signed up so she can comment) and move my piece on The New Era/Republic Windows coop to the second week. Also, would like to put Irene's piece on Workers Not Servants' (its short so maybe both Spanish and English) sometime in September. What do you think? Jaye Raye also wanted to move her piece to the beginning of August. So maybe, we can play with the first three weeks in August -- I can't do my piece after August 2nd. Me and my dog are going camping!

      •  Sounds great! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, BlueDragon, annieli

        So we can put up Diana's piece and Irene's piece. You want to move to the second week in August.

        JayRaye said august would be good, but didn't specify the week she preferred. So, let's get you scheduled, see when JayRaye wants to do her piece and then put Diana's piece and Irene's piece (in spanish and english) for the 4th week. You can send it to me and I can repost it, just give me her name and I will say she wrote it and I can post it.

        Ooh camping! does the dog know that you are planning on doing this to him? :D

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:59:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm so sorry to be late to Meet-up. (5+ / 0-)

          Just got home.

          This is a great piece expat. Actually started reading it yesterday.

          The only week that works for me is the 1st week of Aug. After that I'll be headed to my home state for 2 weeks of camping. Also taking the dogs!

          Say, this is  a good problem, right? Too many comrades wanting to post?

          Or I can post when I get back from MN in
          Sept.

          God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

          by JayRaye on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:34:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is ok ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geminijen, annieli, JayRaye

            Geminijen wants the second week in august, you can do the first week in august. I can repost both Diana's and Irene's pieces for the 3rd and 4th week of august if Geminijen gets them to me before she goes camping. Or she can put them in the queue for the ACM and I can edit them if she wants.

            I am not planning on taking holiday until September so I am around August. If there were no volunteers, I could take the 3rd weekend in August or just go to September so that is cool. :)

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:51:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cool! the 1st week in Aug it is then! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NY brit expat, annieli

              God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

              by JayRaye on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:26:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  wonderful!!! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                annieli

                August Schedule

                4th: JayRaye
                11th: Geminijen
                18th:
                25th:

                So should we schedule Diana on the 18th and Irene on the 25th or can someone else volunteer to post those weeks and we can do Diana or Irene on one of these weeks and the other in September? What do people think?

                "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:10:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautifully (6+ / 0-)

    written and documented version of your left forum presentation (having heard it orally presented twice). I especially appreciated the documentation, especially that simple little list from the Rowan Foundation that made women's reduced living conditions so clear:

    “Over the past five years:
     A)    Childcare costs have risen more than twice as fast as inflation at 37%
     B)    Rent in social housing has gone up by 26%
     C)    Food costs have increased by 24%
     D)    Energy costs are 39% more
     E)    Public transport is up by 30%
     Since 2008 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said real inflation had climbed by 25% rather than the 17% increase as judged by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the method used by government to measure inflation (http://www.jrf.org.uk/....

    and, of course, the cartoons (the goldfish and cat; the woman struggling under the weight of "the world" - the expression on her face!).

    Thanks for all the work you do and keeping workers' struggles real. "Women hold up half the sky."

    •  I had given up hope that anyone would (6+ / 0-)

      read this, thank you Geminijen for being here to read and comment. I was going to put those stats which came out last week in the radio show but Fran said that there were too many numbers already. Those make things so clear ... it is heartbreaking and I am beyond furious! sending hugs and solidarity!

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:49:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't worry. It's the sun and heat and vacations. (5+ / 0-)

        People should show up later. I'm just hanging out with Joe (my significant doggy other) in the living room for the airconditioning.

        •  wish we had some here ... it was (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psychodrew, JayRaye, BlueDragon, annieli

          boiling today and will be so for the rest of the week; the cats and I are miserable ... argh!!! send hugs to Joe from me! :)

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:14:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry to be late (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat

        to the dance. This is a magnificent piece, well researched, well written, and tragic.
        When I was in arts management classes in London, we had a wonderful Marxist prof who said that the precarious creative industries were serving as a model for all industries in Britain. The arts, especially the lower strata, seem to be entirely peopled by women, and they are paid very little, purportedly because of the "rewarding" nature of their work.

        Add to this, the shift away from full-time work with benefits and decent working conditions towards increased part-time, temporary and sub-contracting work. Inevitably, these forms of labour (often not unionised) have lower wages due to their unskilled nature. While in the EU (unlike in the US), part-time workers will still get comparable wages to a full-time worker, they still get holidays and sick days, however, the type of work means that wages will be lower.
        I would argue that it is not only unskilled workers, but workers in many jobs that are predominantly female (and even some for men if experiences in our family, and some earlier diaries on HR abuses and expendable employees are to be believed.
        The neoliberal model is hitting all the working class, and by that I mean those who are employed. As you have shown though, it is hitting women and the vulnerable particularly hard.

        Each person stands on a shadow. Bill Reynolds

        by northsylvania on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:20:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are always welcome whether (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northsylvania

          you are on time or late. I keep on thinking that people were busy and were suffering from the heat wave and that is why there were so few last night! I have scheduled a repost on ACC in case people want to comment but were away or hiding from heat yesterday! :)

          I have always defined working class as those that sell their labour power for incomes and that cuts across mental and physical labour divisions (which have been so exploited by the upper classes). I agree completely, the whole of the working class is being hammered, there are some of us (women, people of colour who are also disproportionately working for the public sector, the disabled) that have gotten especially hammered in the quest to destroy wages and undermine working conditions and our trade unions and all the victories we have fought for to help with social reproduction!

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:22:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Cutting childcare.... (5+ / 0-)

    ....how can they say with a straight face that they are helping women into work when they are making it harder for women to work?

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:33:58 PM PDT

    •  they do not even pretend anymore (5+ / 0-)

      they just sit there smirking. They also closed some more of the Remploy factories which provided employment for people with disabilities. Those that lost their jobs with the last series of closures have not been able to find work. Moreover, since they have worked, they are not eligible for disability so they are on the lowest level of benefit of job seekers alliance. Members of the gov't are lauding that disabled people are not being forced to work in segregated employments; actually they are not being allowed to work and they are losing all their benefits. It is sickening and now the Labour party has jumped on the austerity bandwagon and say they will not reverse the changes to child benefit and childcare benefit ... so tell me why should anyone vote Labour?

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:54:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This way women will once again be relegated to the (5+ / 0-)

      part=time, low paid reserve army of labor. They are already filling that function (even in the Mondragon Coops!)
      We're looking at a couple of thousand years of this pattern with maybe a 150 years of attempted tranformation.

  •  The condition of women, esp single mothers (4+ / 0-)

    breaks my heart.

    Getting worse instead of better.

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:41:50 PM PDT

    •  everything we fought for and the little bit we (4+ / 0-)

      won is being undermined; so few of the left want to talk about women "in order that their oppression is not prioritised" ... so who stands with women? only a few groups on the left, some unions ... no mainstream parties ...

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:57:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Second Income Plan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Geminijen, northsylvania

    While we need  to pay for increased social services for families with children qualifying under government poverty guidelines, this is not the solution we should be seeking long-term. Instead we need to implement policies that provide opportunities for these families and ALL other American families to acquire a viable ownership stake in the FUTURE economy by financing FUTURE productive capital asset formation using Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and Capital Homestead Accounts (CHAs).

    The reality of the economic state of affairs in the United States and Great Britain is that income inequality, unemployment, underemployment and anemic GDP growth is rooted in the tectonic shift in the technologies of production and its concentrated ownership, which, as a practical matter, is destroying jobs and devaluing the worth of labor, widening the income gap between the rich and poor and struggling (each resentful and suspicious of the other), and resulting in our inability to achieve double-digit GDP growth.

    The result is the consumer populous is not able to get the money to buy the products and services produced increasingly by the non-human factor––physical productive capital––as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption. 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.

    To solve this challenge, several policies must be implemented:

    1. Tax reform is needed to incentivize broadened individual ownership of corporations by their employees. As an incentive, provide a tax deduction to corporations for dividend payouts, which would tighten-up the right of each owner to his or her full share of profits, a basic and historic right of private property. It would eliminate double and triple taxes on corporate profits, shifting the burden of taxation to personal incomes after exempting initial incomes that would allow low and middle class citizens not to pay taxes on incomes needed to cover basic living expenses. It will also encourage corporations to finance their growth through the issuance of new full voting, full dividend payout shares for financing their productive capital growth needs through Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and Capital Homestead Accounts (CHAs). Politically we need to insist that politicians lift barriers to the democratization of future ownership opportunity based on sound principle, rather than redistributive taxation.

    2. As increasingly more workers acquire ownership stakes in FUTURE corporate productive capital assets using ESOP financing mechanisms, workers will build second incomes to support their living expenses, which in turn means they will be better "customers with money" to support demand for the products and services that the economy is capable of producing. By reason of the higher marginal spending rate on the part of workers second incomes, more of the additional income earned by the new capitalists (who have many unsatisfied consumer needs and wants) will be spent on consumption than if the income had been earned by those capitalists who now have concentrated the ownership of productive capital exclusively, and who have few, if any, consumer needs and wants. Such broadened incremental consumption will fuel a demand for more consumer products and services, which in turn will provide incentive for greater productive capital investment.

    3. For all Americans, the Federal Reverse needs to create an asset-backed currency that can 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. The CHA would process an equal allocation of productive credit to every citizen exclusively for purchasing full-dividend payout shares in companies needing funds for growing the economy and private sector jobs for local, national and global markets. The shares would be purchased using essentially interest-free credit wholly backed by projected "future savings" in the form of new productive capital assets as well as the future marketable products and services produced by the newly added technology, renewable energy systems, plant, rentable space and infrastructure added to the economy. Risk of default on each stock acquisition loan would be covered by private sector capital credit risk insurance and, if necessary, government reinsurance, but would not require citizens to reduce their funds for consumption to purchase shares.

    4. Reform the tax code such that the tax rate would be a single rate for all incomes from all sources above an established personal exemption level (for example, an exemption of $100,000 for a family of four to meet their ordinary living needs) so that the budget could be balanced automatically and even allow the government to pay off the growing unsustainable long-term debt. The poor would pay the first dollar over their exemption levels as would the stock fund operator and others now earning billions of dollars from capital gains, dividends, rents and other property incomes.

    5. As a substitute for inheritance and gift taxes, a transfer tax should be imposed on the recipients whose holdings exceeded $1 million, thus encouraging the super-rich to spread out their monopoly-sized estates to all members of their family, friends, servants and workers who helped create their fortunes, teachers, health workers, police, other public servants, military veterans, artists, the poor and the disabled.

    6. Eliminate all tax loopholes and subsidies.

    These polices would result in rapid and substantial economic growth with the GDP rate in double digits. As a result of the stimulus effect, more REAL, decent paying job opportunities and further technological advancement would be created while simultaneously broadening private, individual ownership of FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital assets, which would support second and primary incomes for ALL Americans.

    In this new FUTURE economy, a citizen would start to benefit financially at the time he or she enters the economic world as a labor worker, to become increasingly a capital owner, whose productive capital assets contribute as a non-human worker earning a second income, and at some point to retire as a labor worker and continue to participate in production and to earn income as a capital owner until the day you die.

    As we ALL contribute to the building of a FUTURE economy that can support general affluence for EVERY man, woman and child, at some point as the technologies of production further advance there will be far less need for human workers and productive capital asset ownership will become the primary income source for most people. As general affluence becomes more widespread people will be free and economically secure to pursue their creative desires and pleasures, further contributing to the cultural and societal development of the country.

    Support the Agenda of The Just Third Way Movement at http://foreconomicjustice.org/...

    Support Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/...

    Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/... and http://www.cesj.org/...

    •  your solution is that we all become capitalists (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geminijen, JayRaye, annieli, Odysseus

      in the context of a capitalist economic system? I believe that we need to get rid of private ownership of the means of production and distribution and socialise it. I want to get rid of the capitalist economic system.

      While I strongly agree that workers should be co-owners in the sense of cooperatives as a transitional formation towards socialism for me it is only a transitional form to get people to understand that there are other ways of working and interrelationships beyond that of competition fostered by the capitalist system.

      The reason there is such a high level of long-term persistent unemployment is because the techniques of production are already such that we do not need all that labour to produce what is needed to sustain a system based upon profitability as opposed to people's needs. We can work less, have more time for creative endeavour and do so without the profitability and continual growth requirements of a capitalist economic system.

      We also need to realise that continual growth that the capitalist system relies upon is not environmentally sustainable. We are destroying the planet that is sustaining us in the demand for continued growth and profitability.

      We need to move beyond capitalism and not provide any incentives to remain in a system that requires wealth and income inequality. If you are suggesting that we abandon capitalism, there are some interesting transitional demands in what you listed above, but they can and will be better achieved w/o capitalism dragging us and the planet under.

      I am hoping that Geminijen is still around as she has done some work on ESOPS and CHAs and my knowledge of them is minimal as an understatement.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, of all the forms of worker ownership, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, NY brit expat, annieli, Odysseus

        ESOPs are the least progressive as employers often use the idea of shares in the company (which can only be retrieved upon retirement) to try to break unions by offering this as an alternative choice. ESOPS do not guarantee democratic control of management's decisions (didn't Enron employees own stock shares? maybe not). While ESOPS can be a starting point in some cases of introducing democratic control and ownership of a workplace, unless it also includes the concept of one share, one worker, one vote and workers have the majority of the shares, it can be dangerous.

        •  Thanks Geminijen! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, JayRaye

          I knew that you would have knowledge about ESOPs. I remember that you wrote about them in your pieces, but I thought that you would be able to address what he said as you understand ESOPs very well and all my knowledge is derivative from what you wrote. So glad you are still here.

          I was very uncomfortable with what I read there and was able to express a general disquiet as the whole scheme seemed to be one in which the system would eliminate classes and quite honestly it seems even more utopian that anything that any Marxist, Socialist or Anarchist has written as it seeks to keep the capitalist system while not understanding that it is the existence of classes and wealth inequality that makes the system function. Thanks for your clarification!!

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:44:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Enron 401k had a company stock plan (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure if there were other ESOP style arrangements.

          My employer at the time also had a company stock plan in the 401k, but it was hard limited to 25% of your savings.

          My current employer ESOP buys at a discount, so it's a nice way to give yourself a raise regardless of any corporate government considerations.  I know other people who get larger discounts than my employer offers.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:33:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Like some of your ideas though I'm more for coops (4+ / 0-)

      100%individual  inheritance tax, transferring the wealth to real socialized services for reproducing the next generation.
      You're a little too capitalist for me, but it appears we agree on a number of things.

    •  I think that some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat

      of your ideas bear thinking about, and I will do so, but agree with NYBrit that bringing many of these changes about would be difficult and would cause even more resistance among the ruling classes than a switch to straight out socialism. There is a reason that the 1% hold onto their power and are impoverishing the rest of us through its use. They are playing a zero sum game where every advance of the general population is a loss for them. We would not be seeing the enforcement of austerity measures otherwise.

      Each person stands on a shadow. Bill Reynolds

      by northsylvania on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:10:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know what to say, other than (4+ / 0-)

    Bravo!

    "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 / Marx was skint - but he had sense / Engels lent him the necessary pence / What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

    by Le Gauchiste on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:04:35 PM PDT

    •  Thank you!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, annieli, northsylvania

      I do not know what to say ... glad that some people are around reading and appreciate this piece!

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:14:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  so excellent and useful! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, Geminijen

    been there doing this:

    With incomes falling in the advanced capitalist world as part of general economic policy, women face greater threats than men due to our responsibility as primary caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly. Women are facing lower incomes, lower pensions, and an increasing reluctance for the state to support women in the workplace through provision of child-care and after-school programmes and shouldering carer responsibilities for the elderly and infirm. Given the transformations in general employment possibilities towards increasingly underemployed and part-time labour, we will begin to face competition from men for the jobs we have normally held while benefits are increasingly run down.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:04:42 PM PDT

    •  thank you! This was one of the most (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, Geminijen, JayRaye, northsylvania

      depressing pieces I have ever written ... I tried to place the discussion in a general context to help understand what the hell is happening ... at least we know why the swine are doing this, the question is how do we fight and keep on fighting as they are cutting the ground out underneath us.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:16:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the solutions seem quite fleeting as the forces (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, NY brit expat, northsylvania

        of reaction gain strength. in the US, ACA will be one step to universal healthcare only to be co-opted by capitalist interests that may be multiple steps backward

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:18:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed completely ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, JayRaye, northsylvania

          that was exactly what I thought when I saw the system ... it seemed to me to be the biggest payoff to the insurance industry in history disguised as health care. My concern as well was that this would destroy any possibility for true health care reform and would also not ensure proper provision of health care; great deal for insurance industry and one more big loss of impetus and also access to health care for the people.

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:46:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Second Income Plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paradise50, northsylvania

    Unfortunately, ever since the 1946 passage of the Full Employment Act in the United States, economists and politicians formulating national economic policy have beguiled us into believing that economic power is democratically distributed if we have full employment––thus the political focus on job creation and redistribution of wealth rather than on full production and broader capital ownership accumulation. This is manifested in the belief that labor work is the ONLY way to participate in production and earn income. Long ago that was once true because labor provided 95 percent of the input into the production of products and services. But today that is not true. Capital provides not less than 90 to 95 percent of the input. Full employment as the means to distribute income is not achievable. When capital workers (productive capital owners) replace labor workers (non-capital owners) as the principal suppliers of products and services, labor employment alone becomes inadequate. Thus, we are left with government policies that redistribute income in one form or another.

    The government continues to discharge its responsibility for the health and prosperity of the economy through coerced trickle-down; in other words, through redistribution achieved by the rigging of labor prices, by taxation to support redistribution and job “creation,” or subsidization by inflation and by all kinds of welfare, open and concealed.

    The capitalism practiced today is what, for a long time, I have termed “Hoggism,” 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. Our scientists, engineers, and executive managers who are not owners themselves, except for those in the highest employed positions, are encouraged to work to destroy employment by making the capital worker more productive. How much employment can be destroyed by substituting machines for people is a measure of their success––always focused on producing at the lowest cost. Only the people who already own productive capital are the beneficiaries of their work, as they 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. 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.

    America has tried the Republican “cut spending, cut taxes, and cut ‘entitlements’” and the Democrat “protect ‘entitlements,’ provide tax-payer supported stimulus, lower middle and working class taxes, tax the rich and redistribute” 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 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 revolution.

    Universal productive capital ownership 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 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, 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.”

    Binary economics and the various credit mechanisms derived from its understanding are not “socialist” or “communist” solutions but are based on the principles and dynamics of a free market economy. When understood, the current system is exposed as a system rigged to continually concentrate the ownership of capital in the 1 to 5 percent of the population. Also exposed are the moral implications of the current system, which is presently propelled by greed in our society. Democratic capitalism 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.

    The resulting impact of our current approaches has been plutocratic government and concentration of capital ownership, which denies every citizen his or her pursuit of economic happiness (property). Market-sourced income (through concentrated capital ownership) has concentrated in individuals and families who will not recycle it back through the market as payment for consumer products and services. They already have most of what they want and need so they invest their excess in new productive power, making them richer and richer through greater capital ownership. This is the source of the distributional bottleneck that makes the private property, market economy ever more dysfunctional. The symptoms of dysfunction are capital ownership concentration and inadequate consumer demand, the effects of which translate into poverty and economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people who depend entirely on wages from their labor or welfare and cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. The production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result.

    While Americans believe in political democracy, political democracy will not work without a property-based free market system of economic democracy. The system is the problem, but it can and must be overhauled. The two prerequisites are political power, which is the power to make, interpret, administer, and enforce laws, and economic power, the power to produce products and services, whether through labor power or productive capital.

    Binary economist Louis 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 -undercapitalized, are flagrant violations of the constitutional rights of citizens in a democracy.”

    •  ...yup...if a person gets 1000% more... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, northsylvania, JayRaye

      ...income, they don't buy 1000% more cars are food or anything...

      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. 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.
      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

      by paradise50 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think these your comments (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, JayRaye, Odysseus

      would make an interesting stand alone diary, and would encourage you to reformat them as such.
      I would argue that ecological sustainability would have to be addressed at some point. If more people consume more things, those things will have to be produced, and how that is done would be critical. This is a problem in China, where they are manufacturing much of the world's goods and are also becoming more generally prosperous and consuming more themselves. As a result of this and lax enforcement of environmental regs, parts of the country are becoming hellholes, and even life in the capitol city is often miserably polluted.
      I would like to see what others on Kos think though, and look forward to reading what could be some interesting commentary.

      Each person stands on a shadow. Bill Reynolds

      by northsylvania on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:24:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree with Northsylvania completely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, northsylvania

        these comments would make an interesting stand-along diary and then discussions could be had on the proposals. Consider doing a diary on this and we can have a discussion on the proposals. Just let us know and I am certain that some members from the anti-capitalist meetup can come and participate.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:17:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so happy to have this as a written piece (4+ / 0-)

    now, so I can share it with people.

    Thank you for taking the time to put this here, with so much info!

    •  Thanks Una!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, UnaSpenser

      Appreciated as always! :)

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:18:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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