Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pravda's Global Oversimplifications

The New York Pravda's magazine section today focuses on the great disparity between the rich and the poor.

It is amazingly disingenous. It feigns concern for the poor all over the world while advocating policies that will not only worsen the plight of most poor globally but provide more money to the rich and exaggerate the injustice all around us.

I don't think he trusts you. For good reason.

Take, for instance, Should We Globalize Labor Too?. It uses anectdotal evidence ("here's the story of a man who...") to advocate two positions: making debtors of poor individuals globally and importing poor labor globally for whatever tasks "...no one else wants to do".

Well, certainly not at slave wages and usurous interest charges.

Along with the article, this graph is depicted, to convince us that American workers view themselves as too good for all of the essential jobs of society, eschewing them for some hazy category of work known as "other". The Bu$h administration, of course, being the source of the data.

Try raising a family of four in a major city working at $15.00 an hour, owning a house and a good car, sending your kids to college. I assure you, you are barely above the poverty line. If above it all. "High paying"? Bullshit.

And here's an interesting piece of data that only emerges when you look at this chart carefully: While Union employees aren't what this graph calls among the lowest paying, they certainly aren't among the highest paid either. I guess that would be what's known as the middle class. You know, what treating the poor of the world as a global corporate slave pool governed by their debt would destroy.

There is an article on the Edwards campaign who's main goal seems to convince us the Edwards campaign is "joyless" now that he focussed on American poverty. Oh, and that:

If you’ve recently flipped to Lou Dobbs on CNN or opened the pages of a liberal political journal like The American Prospect, you might have the impression that America in the Bush years has slipped into a kind of Dickensian darkness, a period of unbridled greed and economic deprivation on a scale not seen in this country since the Great Depression. Like so many things in politics, this has some basis in truth, but only some. To compare Bush’s America with Herbert Hoover’s — or Lyndon Johnson’s, for that matter — is to engage in not very helpful hyperbole...

This is because the median family income in the Great Depression was $16,000 a year in todays dollars and we aren't there.

Yet. And we have ever so many more cool gizmos, which they didn't. Microwave ovens, you know, the height of self indugence. And levels of personal debt that dwarf anything in the gilded age or the Great Depression, which give us our distractions and toys and keep us all chained.

Another graphic:

That's also more than a little misleading. By current standards, making $100,000 a year does not make you an average worker. And the poorest 20% of America are that dark green line barely visible along the x-axis.

I like this graph better. Also shown here.

There's massive pearl-clutching angst at the thought of policies that might change this in any way. Policies that would make the robber barons less robbers are branded "redistribution" and smell like communism. They would destroy competititveness.

Never mind that smart, hard-working, inventive people are going to make more money and handle it better than others. The '90s showed that for all of us, for a short while. The differences between the rich and the poor lessened, and incidently, crime did too, under policies that enforced meritocracy: you get out of the system what you contribute to it.

The aristocratic families of people like Paris Hilton and George W. Bush just hate that, excelling more at devious schemes for manipulating and stealing money legally than actual productive work.

Robber barons, we are told, increase the availablity of money for everyone (with a taste for plunder anyway) and "the rich pay a disproportionate share of the federal income tax" which is presented without anything gauche like, you know, numbers and statistics and sources that can verify this assertion.

Any person really seeking to remedy the injustice of our economic system is going to have a hard time of it unless they can reach these people, the socially and economically conservative millions that are the backbone of the Republican party. But it's not that hard.

The policies that degrade labor and sap the strength of our country antagonize real grassroots among both Democrats and Republicans. If the real issues are presented clearly and honestly you can get almost universal agreement among people about what the problem is and how to address it. Fair is fair, after all, unless you're one of the plunderers.

Which is why both sets of grassroots are so disaffected with the political system we have. The real political system that controls the country is also extremely disingenuous. It's not a democracy, and not a republic either.

It's an oligarchy. Consciously or not, it's determined to ride the oil depletion curve down over the next 50 years to a point where our grand children are living in a mostly post-industrial world. The robber barons will have their piles of gold, the aristocracy their feudal rights, and most of the world won't be able to afford the gunpowder to argue about it.

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