Joined Nov 11, 2007
31,929 Blog Posts

On the Matter of Income Inequality, Classism, and the Future of the Global Economy

It has been a great while since i have written a post. I figured most of you have categorized me into your little mental boxes, and for the most part written me off as that “type” of person with those “type” of views. That’s okay as we are all entitled to our opinions, but remember this; a tree that bends in the wind will survive for a very long time. In other words, being inflexible and unable to accept any notion from someone who’s views are opposed to your own belief structure will only allow for no synthesis in the discussion process. Therefore, no change in the real world.

At any rate, i wanted to touch on the subject matter of income inequality and the “demagoguery” of the 1%. To be fair i did just slap the 1% in the face with Immortal Technique, and it is important to state that i do not condone generalization in any way. Poking fun is a way to lighten up the subject matter.

I was watching CNN the other day, while enjoying a cup of joe. The discussion of $FB buying WhatsApp for $19 billion was touted as the benefit of the American dream where a foreigner could go from food stamps in his teenage years to being a gazillionaire in a very short period of time. The deal was used as an excuse to escape the negative connotations  of people becoming incredibly wealthy and subconsciously implying that  being wealthy is all copacetic.

Being and becoming wealthy is in its own right not the issue at hand. What is important is how that wealth is attained. We should never discard ingenuity and business acumen to attain insane amounts of wealth. What we should focus on is the unspoken path to attaining wealth for some people.

You would agree, that attaining wealth through theft, fraud, and or price gouging is unacceptable. But this is precisely what we have in many, not all, but many cases in our society. Lately, i have wondered why something that cost pennies to make is sold for many if not ten’s of dollars. Most will point to a “free market” system and say that the price is based upon supply, demand, and what the market will bear. But is that really the case? I think not when we exploit and pay people a quarter a day to make sneakers. The world is mostly 3rd World born and they are taking notes.

We seem to live in a world where monopolies are all the rage and those monopolies on top of the market place use their wealth to lobby for favorable tax, business, and regulatory conditions. These conditions only serve the few, they actually do away with competition in some instances, and insure that the fraud, theft, and price gouging stays constant. Constant at least for a while.

As an example, during war time as we have witnessed, over the past ten years  we are all too familiar with no bid contracts and watching the military waste oodles of money. Example here , and here. For the record, leasing a vehicle for $40k per year, in some cases $40k per year for 4-7 year minimum contracts, is asinine as they could be bought for that amount of money.

As the saying goes, “the apple does not fall far from the tree,” it is no wonder that when some business leaders and some government officials and or agencies act in a certain way we have individuals running a muck destroying the once respected American reputation.  Yet i digress from the main topic.

I recently posted some videos / articles that display some corporate attitudes and the viability of our economic model. This type of behavior is truly disgusting. More importantly, the issue at hand is that corporations are only beholden to shareholders and maximizing profits. In some cases these attitudes have no regard for humanity, ethics, and what made our country the envy of the world. Given this reality how can we say a corporation is a person? Most persons or citizens are kind, thoughtful, and generous to their fellow citizen. We the people are what makes this country great, but in some cases we the corporation defiles any resemblance to what it means to be human.

It needs to be mentioned that a world fashioned out of a myopic view by the “Bernays effect” and the idea that Darwin’s theories  are a perfect model for our economy is…well a sad result of the dark side of man. Darwin mentions competition and survival of the fittest a few times while he mentions love and community nearly 100 times.

Getting back to the subject one again, the intrinsic value of Gekko’s famous quote “that greed is good” is not inherently bad in and of itself. What becomes unacceptable, is the lengths to which some will go to attain profits through their justified statement.  The problem lies with our fearless leaders both in government and corporate America.

If you want the demagoguery and hatred to disappear then you need to promote a healthy model of business and governing that considers the entire world as your community and brethren. Until then, we will forever remain in a state of “Us and Them” and we will suffer the fate of our disgusting, inhumane, and criminal way of life. This continuance IMO can not and will not end well. If you want to change the future then we must leave the past behind!

On a closing note, i would hate to think that George Carlin could be right. Hopefully, time will prove us not to be a surface annoyance to the planet. I would hope that we survive the wrath of Gaia and ourselves for that matter. Respecting the ideas of the Yin and Yang principle i hope that this article describing the seed of dark blackness is a necessary process to living in the white light.

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLXnuMjx-A8 450 300]



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  1. budh

    To say a product that costs ‘pennies’ to produce in a 3rd world country but sells for ten’s of dollars in the US is exploitation seems obvious on it’s face, but maybe not. The production cost ignores design and engineering, transportation, warehousing, distribution, packaging, promotion, taxation and retailing. If someone can do a better job of getting that product to market they should be free to do so.

    Situations in 3rd world countries may be beyond our control. Look a Mexico, a beautiful country; rich in natural resources; with a hard working people. Yet millions come to the US at tremendous personal cost.

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    Your focusing on the wrong issue.
    the end price covers all the other costs involved.
    Typical cost of the sneaker is $5

    If they are sold directly to you then you get a discount at $60-$80. Purchase them from a middle man you pay $99-$150

    If you travel to say Eastern Europe you’ll buy the same sneakers for $40-$60.
    Lucky enough to find and purchase them in a emergign emerging economy then you will pay $20-$30.

    No matter where you buy the profits are had including your extras.

    As of late, the last 10-15 years , companies strike no tax haven deals within the country of manufacturing. Then the corporation is domiciled a few times and they escape income taxes.

    The point is some companies engage in unethical behavior ripping everyone off in the process.

    There is nothing wrong with profits, but how you make them is important.

    Situations are never beyond our control when we sit atop the G8.
    As a superpower we should be teaching the world that there is room for humanity in business.

    Unfortunately, being beholden to shareholders and ever increasing profits does not appear to allow for that. And when that light does shine many times it is to boost appearance.

    Read Confessions of an Economic Hitman and the Shock Doctrine and you will get the picture.
    You can also watch John Pilger’s doc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3WbztsqScw

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    • budh

      I can agree that the cost of making a shoe in a 3rd world country is $5; or even much less. But the end cost of selling the Nike shoe in a mall store like Footlocker is much higher. The Nike haters have an agenda.

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      • CRONKITE


        In most cases there are middle men. I’ll agree the middle men themselves must make a profit. But the profit margins are high for everyone.

        For instance, i bot a 12 foot sea pole for stripe bass fishing. I found 4 or 5 different prices. Essentially i got a $1000 pole for about $675. Good deal i thought.

        When i arrived to Montauk to go fishing i found a little tackle shop off the beating path. They had the same pole for $299. I asked the owner of the shop why so cheap.

        He replied that the suggested manufacturers retail price was $900-$1000. Since he had owned the building he could afford to charge much less than any competitor. The point is he had no website or outreach for sales other than walking into his shop.

        He said he made about $100 on that pole and he was more than happy since he sold close to 200 of them that year in addition to other makes and models.

        Most things are not sold this way. Everyone in the chain of sales to the manufacture makes a killing. Manufacturers rarely get in the business of retail space, although today with the interwebs some do.

        So this is not about bashing a particular company, but more about what the real costs are involved to make something and profit from it.

        So if say $NKE can be a multi billion dollar company selling those sneakers for X to the middle men, then they are profiting off the exploitation of their fellow human beings. If $NKE was a successful profitable company manufacturing here in the U.S. then why move manufacturing over seas? The answer is obvious, but now comapanies are jumpimg from one third world country to the next as leaders of those countries try to attract investment and growth with tax haven centers within their borders.

        It costs hardly anything to build infrastructure and the companies reap all the rewards, while slave labor continues in our world and countries get ripped off.
        As an another example i read about large metals company. They made an investment of roughly $1 billion to build a town, roads, and a processing plant. Within a few years of completetion they pulled in $7 billion in profits. When it was time to start paying taxes on their revenues, they promtply destroyed the plant and left the country.

        Now in reality, one might say they made an investment. But the reality is a loan was arranged by the IMF to that country for $1 billion and they never received the money. It was essentially paid to the mining company to distribute to other multi nationals who would build the town, road, and processing plant.

        This is colonialism, rape of people, and resources in the form of economics.

        Now you tell me who has profited and who will clean up all the waste dump[ed into their rivers and estuaries ?

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        • budh

          Nike profit margin is 10.85%, healthy but not excessive in my opinion. Nike sells billions of shoes, comparing it to a marina selling a boat pole is meaningless. I’m not a great fan of Nike, I buy New Balance shoes (they seem to fit my feet better) and only owned the stock once for a few months years ago. I don’t buy the ‘slave labor’ narrative. Comparing development in 3rd world countries to first world societies is misleading. The employees of companies making shoes for Nike are providing jobs for dirt poor people with no other options except subsistence labor or farm labor if they can find that. It’s a step up in most instances. Nike has made efforts to inspect and upgrade factory conditions in those poor countries. There certainly are abuses but they are down the food chain from Nike. In any event, I think creating manufacturing jobs in poor areas of the world is a positive thing for those people. It gets some capital into dirt poor areas, food in children’s bellies, the first steps to building a more modern society and elevating the lives of the folks involved.

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  3. drummerboy

    i think what budh really means,:why should we pay retail priced goods,at prices like what were made by a union worker. and the answer is, we were already paying retail prices of union made goods,and were used to it,so when companies like nike only paid a fraction for manufacturing their goods,out of country,then those companies could still charge the same.because we were already used to paying those prices in the first place.hence the margins grew exponentially. and that goes for almost every thing purchased.just stop buying shit,and you’ll see how it changes. be pretty damn quick.it’s called demand destruction. when the shit stays on the shelves,you’ll see just how fast the price comes down.ie: just bought a pair of jeans.back in the day when the dollar was worth more,those same jeans would have been 60-80 bucks. now,even though the buck has lost value,these jeans cost me eleven bucks.i don’t think confessions would have come up with the same outcome. never read it,but i’m sure demand destruction wasn’t in it.

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