The American Dual Economy

For decades there has been a growing inequality here in the US…..the old saying….”the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”…..is not just a cute slogan but a grown situation….

There has been some good research on this phenom…….

I describe the American economy in the twenty-first century as a dual economy in the spirit of W. Arthur Lewis. Similar to the subsistence and capitalist economies characterized by Lewis, I distinguish a low-wage sector and a FTE (Finance, Technology, and Electronics) sector. The transition from the low-wage to the FTE sector is through education, which is becoming increasingly difficult for members of the low-wage sector because the FTE sector has largely abandoned the American tradition of quality public schools and universities. Policy debates about public education and other policies that serve the low-wage sector often characterize members of the low-wage sector as black even though the low-wage sector is largely white. This model of a modern dual economy explains difficulties in many current policy debates, including education, healthcare, criminal justice, infrastructure and household debts.

If you would like to see where this research has gone then open the pdf and read the rest of the study…..

Source: Microsoft Word – Temin paper final.docx – delivery.php

More on the author of this paper……

In the America of haves and have-nots, fewer folks are “movin’ on up” like George Jefferson of the classic sitcom. In a new paper for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Peter Temin, MIT economist and economic historian, breaks down how it happened and where we’re headed with a powerful model first used by West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. Dual economies are common in less developed countries, but Temin argues that America has now diverged into a top thirty percent, where children receive excellent educations and grow up to work in sectors like finance, technology and electronics industries (FTE)— and then there’s the rest, the low-wage folks who live paycheck to paycheck and whose kids have little hope of joining the lucky ones at the top. Temin explains what drives the dual economy, what race has to do with it, how children are hurt, and why our political system can’t seem to fix anything. *This post originally appeared on the blog for the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Source: There are two Americas entirely: How the U.S. became a “dual economy” — and what can be done to reverse it – Salon.com

Read the research and then tell me what you think needs to be done to find an equilibrium…..

My thought is that the “People’s Budget” would be that equilibrium…..as long as we will have yet another budget debate then why not look for a better answer to the growing problems of this country?

Source: FINAL FY16 Peoples Budget.pdf

I am sure there will those that dismiss this out of hand simply because in comes from progressives….that is moronic…..if it helps the people of this country it is worth a look and a debate…..

 

Closing Thought–01May17

Happy May Day…..celebrate the International Day of the Worker…..

The world over the worker is celebrated on May 01….that is except in the US we could not celebrate it with everyone else we had to have a separate day for labor…..1st Monday of September.

Around the early days of the 20th century the world was seeing the workers demanding some rights that have been denied them for so long.  There were riots, protests, and movements popping up all over the world.

This is when the trade unions starting showing their strength…back in those days it was the IWW, the Wobblies…..and it grew from there….

So today I thought that some tunes from those days of struggle would be a good way to end the day for me….people like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie,Paul Robeson, etc……..

Enjoy some musical history…..

I will see you guys tomorrow…..have a good day and evening…..be well, be safe….chuq

Towards a New Trade Policy

I have been looking at our trade policies recently……most are horrible for the worker and there is a consensus that we need to find a new and improved trade policy….

I have found a pretty good piece that covers this situation…..

International trade deals have lost their consensus support as more workers view them as anathema to good-paying jobs, requiring the U.S. politicians to rethink these strategies

On Jan. 23, President Donald Trump signed an order directing the U.S. Trade Representative to withdraw the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade deal that the previous administration had spent years negotiating with eleven other nations around the Pacific Rim. This executive action represents a first step towards a controversial new direction in trade policy.

The TPP was already on life support, as the 2016 election campaign made it toxic with the majority of American voters. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump all focused great energy on the trade pact as an example of the failed economic policies of recent decades. Even Hillary Clinton, despite her previous public support for the TPP and other trade agreements, was forced to come out against it, to fight off criticism from Sanders in the primaries, and Trump in the general election.

Source: Towards a New Trade Policy – Consortiumnews

I understand the need for economic growth….but I do not think it should come at the expense of the workers and the Middle Class.

Losing My Respect

We all have heard about the raid in Yemen just after Mr. Trump took the reins of power….some say it was botched…others claim it was a success….but that does not matter who is right…what matters is the one SEAL was killed and 8 others were wounded in this raid….

I understand that these types to raids are dangerous and the outcome is seldom a given…..but some news has come out and if true is very disturbing……

President Trump’s Twitter trail has raised questions about his precise whereabouts inside the White House while the U.S. raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL was underway.

On the night of the raid, which targeted a top Al Qaeda leader in the Arabian Peninsula leader in Yemen, Trump sent out a tweet about an upcoming media appearance.

‘I will be interviewed by @TheBrodyFile on tonight at 11pm. Enjoy!’ Trump wrote on January 28. The tweet got taken down about 20 minutes later.

The tweet went out as the Yemen operation – the first military strike Trump ordered as president – was underway the Huffington Post reported.

Some say that it was a member of his staff that Tweeted…I hope so……

Trump was on the White House grounds that night, inside the residence – which would place him away from the Situation Room.

‘He was obviously aware of the strike occurring,’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer following the raid. ‘He was kept in constant contact Saturday night of the status of the mission, both of the success that it had and the tragic loss of life that occurred to that member.’

If true, please notice that I typed “IF”) then why was he NOT in the Situation Room…..that is the least he could do when sending troops to do our dirty work.

Please, Take My Job!

Just last week I wrote a closing thought about robots and the jobs that are lost because of their use…..you may check out the post here…..

I, Robot I recall many years ago when the news of the first robots being used by the auto industry was all the talk…..of course the pro side was that they would do hazardous work and thus wou…

Source: Closing Thought–14Feb17 – In Saner Thought

To be truthful it was a negative post on the loss of jobs…so when I read this article to the contrary I felt I needed to post it also……there is always 2 sides to every report, right?

Over the next 15 years, 2 to 3 million Americans who drive for a living – truckers, bus drivers and cabbies – will be replaced by self-driving vehicles, according to a December 2016 White House report on the ascent of artificial intelligence (AI). An estimate by the University of Oxford and Citi, a bank, predicts that 77 percent of Chinese jobs are at risk of automation over roughly the same period.

Millions of people around the world would lose their jobs under these scenarios, potentially sparking mass social unrest and upheaval.

Source: Robots are taking jobs, but also creating them: Research review – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

While I was writing this update I found yet another  piece about robotics and jobs…..this time it is something that Bill Gates had to say……

Job-stealing robots should be taxed the same as humans, Bill Gates says. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level,” the Microsoft founder tells Quartz. He says governments should tax companies that replace workers with machines and use that money to fund jobs that can only be performed by humans, such as caring for children and the elderly. In what is perhaps a surprising declaration for a man who built his fortune through innovation, the billionaire philanthropist contends the pace of automation in job-killing industries ought to be slowed, and taxes can help do that. “It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm,” he says.

While the European Parliament last week nixed a robot tax for now, notes the Telegraph, such a levy is being pushed by the French socialist candidate for president. But the idea of taxing machines is picking up steam even in the unlikely climes of Silicon Valley, which seems to favor the customers, not the industry, footing the bill, per the Financial Times. But the world’s richest man doesn’t think manufacturers would mind paying up. “I don’t think the robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax,” he says. “It’s OK.” Skeptics took to Twitter, blaming Microsoft’s own technology for lost human jobs. (Read the full interview here.)

This is a fascinating debate….I can see both sides of this issue….but then there are the workers….many promises are made and seldom followed through….how will this situation be resolved?

A good question for a rainy day.

Closing Thought–14Feb17

I, Robot

I recall many years ago when the news of the first robots being used by the auto industry was all the talk…..of course the pro side was that they would do hazardous work and thus would cut down on injuries and days lost…the co side pointed out that these machines were replacing good paying jobs for workers….

Since those early days the debate has continued to rage on and on….who benefits from all the automation?

We are at a crossroads that will determine our economic future. There is hope, but also the possibility of a turn into a state of oligarchical barbarism, Frase postulates. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Four Futures.

Why, the reader might ask, is it even necessary to write another book about automation and the postwork future? The topic has become an entire subgenre in recent years; Brynjolfsson and McAfee are just one example. Others include Ford’s Rise of the Robots and articles from the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, and Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum. Each insists that technology is rapidly making work obsolete, but they flail vainly at an answer to the problem of making sure that technology leads to shared prosperity rather than increasing inequality. At best, like Brynjolfsson and McAfee, they fall back on familiar liberal bromides: entrepreneurship and education will allow us all to thrive even if all of our current work is automated away.

Source: Will Automation Benefit Humanity and the Planet, or a Tiny Elite?

And the debate will continue……..

My day is done……I pass on to a more restful stage…..be well, be safe….I shall see everyone tomorrow.

The New, New Dictatorship of the Proletariat

This is a fun post for me….for too long those slobbering idiots on the Right have thrown around the terms Marxist….Communist….socialist…ad nauseum and I would wager that the way that any of them knew the term was from the use of the Google button or listen to another babbling buffoon.

So about here the reader is thinking that I will go off on some rant about this thing about the workers being in charge….oh wait!  Maybe I should explain the term “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”……

  1. In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, has control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the 19th century. The use of the term “dictatorship” does not refer to the Classical Roman concept of the dictatura, but instead to the Marxist concept of dictatorship. Following on from the theories of Marx and Engels, Marxists believe that such a socialist state is an inevitable step in the evolution of human society. They argue that it is a transitional phase that emerges out of the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”, or capitalist society, in which the private ownership of industry and resources leads to a monopoly of economic power by the capitalist class. With an economy under democratic control, Marxists expect political power to be held by the majority working class. Whether or not capitalists are disenfranchised would depend upon the particular circumstances of a nation. In a period immediately after the Russian Revolution, the mode in which democracy was organised automatically disenfranchised capitalists; however, Marxists such as Lenin argued that other forms of a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in more developed countries would include capitalists among the electorate. However, as large-scale capitalism is phased out, future generations would not become capitalist owners, and class divisions would no longer exist within the electorate. As a result, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ would wither away, resulting in an entirely classless, stateless form of society known as pure communism.

If that one is too much to handle then maybe a short more simplistic definition…..The temporary period following the fall of capitalism characterized by a struggle to achieve a classless, stateless and moneyless communist society.

Could there be a new way of looking at an old term?

2016 has shown us that the worker is looking for any option to make his/her life better….even to the point of looking to those in the ivory towers for answers………..

So, I’m watching CNN or MSNBC, one of those, and I see a guy being interviewed, identified as the head of the union that represents the workers at that factory down the road from Carrier. Carrier, you’ll recall, was the outfit that got over three-quarters of a billion in tax breaks in exchange for a temporary hold on sending an additional 800 American jobs to Mexico, instead of the larger number of jobs that Carrier had planned to ship south of the border, down Mexico way. In exchange for that big tax break, Donald Trump dominated another couple of news cycles and became, momentarily, the champion of the working man, the indefatigable foe of predatory capitalism, and the best damn friend the working man ever had, a veritable Joe Hill for our times.  Remember his famous last words: “Don’t mourn. Organize”? That Joe Hill.

Anyhoo, this guy on CNN or MSNBC, one of those, was being asked if he wasn’t a little peeved to find that Trump hadn’t saved a single job at his plant, hadn’t cared about the workers at Rexnord the way he did about those workers at Carrier. As it turned out, this union spokesman had voted for Trump, and though he was sorry Trump hadn’t lifted a finger to protect workers at his plant, he seemed unrepentant about having cast a union officer’s vote for a man who was notorious for stiffing workers. In fact, this union rep even went so far as to make excuses for Trump, and to explain to viewers how there were just lots of jobs that would never be saved, no matter what, because of things like automation. even though that plant closure wasn’t going to result in Mexican robots getting those jobs that were going south. No, it was real flesh-and-blood Mexican workers who were going to be doing what those men and women in Indiana had been doing. Or so it seemed to this viewer.

Source: The New, New Dictatorship of the Proletariat – LA Progressive