Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Apex Of Civilization

"I Feel I Have Died And Gone To Heaven"

(Discourtesy courtesy of the rootin' tootin' Financial Times)

England is flirting with giving The Proles a taste of money. As the Earl of Grantham reminds Robert Crawley in the first season of Downton Abbey, "We all have parts to play." Ours, presumably, is to touch our caps as a sign of deference and gratitude as the Guvnor's Bentley, with its smoked windows, glides past. High and Low their estates He hath ordered them.
“I feel as though I have died and gone to heaven,” said Britain’s skills minister in a recent speech, as he prepares to preside over the fastest rise in the minimum wage in the country’s history.

The new policy, which starts on Friday, will see the wages for low-paid workers rise four times faster than average earnings this year.

The world will be watching. Governments in many developed countries are turning to minimum wage policies as they try to deal with inequality and anaemic wage growth.

The stagnation in wages in recent years has been blamed on the rise of global competition, the decline in collective bargaining, a slowdown in productivity growth and the way in which technology has “hollowed out” some middle-skilled jobs.
The majority of income and wealth continues flowing to the upper 0.01%. Businesses have effectively frozen wages for 'individual contributors' while increasing managerial and (in particular) "executive" salaries and bonuses. The wages of hourly workers have likewise been kept low, to increase profits and (one would assume) those nice salary and bonus packages for the predators competitors in corporate life. 

Globalization curtailed the power of unions or nearly destroyed them in places (like 'Murrika) where the manufacturing base was gutted. Hourly wage workers lost effective representation. Prices for goods and services continue to rise (my experience tells me, much more than the "less than two per cent inflation" claimed by the Federal Reserve), and not only for costs of living -- but of social mobility: the cost of a college education. The ability to afford a home. The ability to afford technology our culture requires -- not only to navigate within it, but to compete in it.

Middle Class families have some disposable income (and more goods and services, and social mobility for their offspring), but it continues to shrink. Meanwhile, those working for hourly wages are effectively being locked into a cycle of poverty and revolving-credit debt. 

Someone determined that hourly employees should receive a higher minimum wage ... so they can afford to pay more to the businesses selling them goods and services.  So, governments present Minimum Wage "experiments", or increases in Minimum Wages they already allow -- but these increases are only Cost Of Living Adjustments. They don't allow more leisure time, saving for college, or any real changes in the basic standard of living.  Meanwhile, The Rich Get Rich / And The Poor Get Children...
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Per the Financial Times' graphic, it would appear that New Zealand (member of the Commonwealth, mind) is the Bestest Place On Earth For The Peasantry™ , as it takes a workingman only eighteen minutes to 'earn' his reward. My god, man -- at that rate, he (or she; let us be fair) may receive -- rounding up -- 27 Big Macs per day if they wish!

While in the failing empire of 'Murrika, a working person may receive, by comparison, only 12 of these precious treats each day. Well, better luck in the next go; what?

And is there any more fair measure of the Good which wage-earning chaps might aspire to than the "Big Mac"? Only in a Golden-Age, From-The-Manor-House view would the merits of modern civilization be measured in the number of minutes one must labor in order to "earn" a mass-produced sandwich with questionable nutritional value.  You Proles live well, we are told, because you may feast upon theseAnd taste the irony, one would assume.

And people wonder why there is an excess of Bad Bad Crazy in the world.  Yes they do.
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MEHR, MIT LINK:  In the same vein, this should have it's own post -- but if you've ever wanted to take a short peek behind the curtain and see the machinery back there, read this carefully.
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Please feel free to thrill all humankind with the brilliance and importance of You. And forgo all civility (especially the passive-aggressive sort, aggression masquerading as mildness) . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

But, consider: Dogs have short attention spans, don't tolerate bullies, and we're notoriously thin-skinned -- so make sense, be brief, and play nice, or I'll bite you and pee on your leg. Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark.