Tag Archives: Poverty

The Lottery Is A Microcosm Of America

Sudden Clarity Clarence meme with the caption, "The lottery isn't a tax on stupidity. It's a tax on hopelessness."

 

44 states in the U.S.A. have government-run lotteries. Nevada doesn’t, but that’s only because the owners of the casinos in Las Vegas lobbied/bribed their politicians not to host a lottery so they wouldn’t have to compete with it. Across the nation, government-run lotteries are raking in $70 billion per year.

On average, America’s lotteries pay out about 50% of their earnings directly to lottery winners. Of the remaining amount, they spend about 5% on advertising and administrative costs (including lavish executive salaries). The rest goes to funding the state’s budget. Exactly how that money is allocated differs from state to state. Most say it “supports education,” but that claim is often misleading. States have been criticized for not spending enough of education, but even when the money is put in the general state fund, it still ends up trickling down into programs people rely on. If the lottery were eliminated, the general population would feel the hurt as thousands of social services disappear.

State governments have come to rely on lottery winnings to fund significant portions of their budgets. This makes it imperative that people keep buying tickets. Many Americans are fine with this, because they view the lottery as a tax on stupid people who are probably lazy ghetto bums who are leeching off the system and not paying their fair share of taxes anyway. But the Lottery Commissions’ marketing departments know exactly who their target audience is. 70%-80% of tickets are purchased by 10% of the buyers. So the lottery isn’t a tax on stupid people, so much as it’s a tax on the mentally ill.

Granted, there are millions of non-addicts who live below the poverty line and spend way too much money on lottery tickets, which is blatantly irresponsible. It’s such an obviously illogical thing to do, it fits the definition of stupid, but if you’re disgusted by the stupidity of compulsive lottery ticket buyers, you should be more disgusted by government officials who decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercials and flashy lottery tickets to convince impressionable fools into cutting their own throat and then selling them the knife.

The situation is grimmer than that though because lottery officials aren’t preying on people’s stupidity as much as they’re preying on their fear. Poor people don’t buy lottery tickets because they’re completely oblivious to how it’s negatively affecting their lives. They know better than anyone, and yet they keep spending their potential retirement savings, and even their grocery money, on lottery tickets. The reason the cost/benefit analysis adds up in poor people’s heads isn’t because they’re stupid and can’t do the math. They’ve done the math, and they’ve correctly deduced that they’re never going to earn more than $50,000 per year in their life, which isn’t enough to retire on. Even if they did cut costs and save every penny, medical bills will wipe out their retirement eventually anyway.

And poor people know they have a lot of medical bills in store for them because they spent their entire lives working demeaning, grueling low-wage jobs, and the only food they’ve ever eaten is cheap, processed gunk. They haven’t been able to afford to see a doctor most of their life. So they haven’t had any preventative screenings or treatments, which is just as well, because the sooner they die, the sooner they can finally quit working at the jobs that ground their bodies and souls into dust. Their lives are shit, and their retirement plan is death. When your retirement plan is death, the cost/benefit analysis of risking your retirement money on a one in a billion bet adds up. To poor people trapped in a lifetime of wage slavery, the lottery is a tax on hopelessness, and lottery executives know this.

 

Bill Murrary meme with the caption, ""ll never be able to escape wage slavery, and my retirement plan is death, but I got a 1-in-20 million chance of winning the lottery. So I got that going for me, which is nice."

 

State-run lotteries are a microcosm of the American government at large. The government determines how the economy works. The economy is designed to take all the poor, unskilled workers’ money while also making it absurdly difficult for small businesses to grow, hire more workers and pay better wages. So everyone has to work overtime just to keep their head above water. Then, the government spends tax payer’s money convincing Americans their dreams are right around the corner, and all they have to do to win is play a game they’re set up to lose. Then the spotlight is put on the minority who do win, and all the losers are told they’re stupid for failing.

The most absurd part of this whole situation is how easy it would be to solve all these problems. America could build apartment units for every homeless person in America or feed the entire population twice over with the $70 billion they make off lottery sales. If America diverted half the money it spent on either The War on Terror or The War on Drugs, every citizen could have all the necessities of life guaranteed without having to raise anyone’s taxes or adopting Communism.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Why Do Poor People Play The Lottery?

 

 

The odds of winning the lottery are so low that buying a lottery ticket is arguably pointless. Therefore, many people believe that buying a lottery ticket is tantamount to paying an “idiot tax.” There’s a lot of truth to that point of view, but the cynicism of that point of view overlooks a very profound and very real truth about life in predatory capitalist economies such as the United States of America.

This truth stems from the fact that, in America, if you can’t afford a $30,00+ university degree or you’re not smart enough to pass all the exams or write all the essays required to earn a university degree then the glass ceiling of higher education prevents you from making a living wage…ever. Granted, there are still some options available to people who aren’t wealthy or smart enough to go to college. You can still join the military or go to trade schools, but the reality of the world we live in is that there are still some people who aren’t cut out for even that. Even if they were able to jump through the hoops it takes to get a decent paying job, our economy stills pays workers as little as possible while charging customers as much as possible while marketers do everything they can to convince everyone to buy as much as possible whether they need those advertised goods/services or not or whether they can afford those goods/services or not. Between the oppression of low wages and high prices, the reality of our economy is that millions of people will never be able to make a living wage.

Here’s the thing about that. If you’re a middle-class citizen who was able to buy your way up through the glass ceiling of higher education, then buying lottery tickets is objectively a dumb idea. You make enough money to be able to save for a comfortable retirement or to be able to start your own business despite America’s restrictive small business laws. This means the cost/benefit analysis of spending money on the lottery doesn’t add up for you.

However, the cost/benefit analysis of buying lottery tickets is not the same for an upward mobile middle-class citizen as it is for a lower class wage slave. People who have to work their entire lives for barely enough money to survive and/or don’t have the intellectual intelligence to navigate the oppressive bureaucratic obstacles to starting their own business have little to no chance of ever fighting their way out of poverty. For these people, there is no hope of saving their money and making a better life for themselves. Even if they do save all of their money and deny themselves any of the frivolous joys that the rich enjoy every day, they still won’t be able to save enough money to enjoy the good life of the rich and famous. The best they can hope for is to save enough money to cover a tenth of the medical bills they’ll inevitably rack up in old age. Even after a lifetime of back-breaking hard work they won’t be able to save enough money to cover the cost of a decent retirement home. In other words, they have no hope in life… period.

 

 

The lowest class workers may not be smart enough to earn a college degree, but they’re smart enough to see that no matter how hard they work and no matter how much of their minimum wage paycheck they save they’ll never be able to live a life of full human dignity. So, given the hopelessness of their prospects in life, the cost/benefit analysis of buying lottery tickets actually does truly add up.

The poorest of the poor never had any chance of having a good life no matter how much they saved because they were never going to make a living wage to begin with, and all the money they do make is inevitably going to be stolen by insurance companies, banks, utilities, taxes, cell phone bills, rent and all the other expenses that come from living in a predatory capitalist economy. So, given that the poorest of the poor never had a chance of saving enough money to make a good life for themselves, the 1-in-a-billion chance of having a good life from winning the lottery is higher than the 1-in-0 chance of having a good life from working hard and saving their money.

That’s why poor people spend their money on the lottery. it’s less because they’re stupid and more because the predatory economy that they live and toil under is stupid.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Why Does It Have To Be So Hard To Retire?

There’s no one right way to success, but if you follow the steps below you should be able to retire happily and peacefully.

 

1. Be born in whatever country is currently the world superpower.

2. Be born a male and a member of the ethnic majority in that country.

3. Be born to well-educated, upper-class parents who have achieved a significant level of personal self-actualization

4. Have a healthy infancy. Be well nourished,  vaccinated and monitored. Have lots of positive interaction with both your parents.

5. During the first few years of your life, receive lots of positive conditioning training that teaches you to build confidence. Also, make sure your environment is tailored to your sensory input tolerance level.

6. Go to a solid elementary school that has minimal disciplinary problems and bases its curriculum and policies around best practices designed by a truly professional psychological organization that specializes in education.

7. Receive lots of emotional support during your puberty years. Be able to talk openly with a wide support network that will help you work through all your problems in a healthy, productive way.

8. Go to a well-funded high school with minimal disciplinary problems, a high-quality staff and a wide range of extracurricular activities with well-funded labs. Focus on your school work. Don’t let friends, fun, and dating distract you from your responsibilities.

9. Make time in your high school schedule to find meaningful entry-level work in the field you’re going to spend the rest of your life working in. Volunteer as an intern if you have to.

10. Graduate high school at the top of your class having won multiple prestigious awards in various extracurricular activities. Go to university for the next 8 years and have someone else pay for it all. Get a generous allowance, but keep doing low-level work in the field you’re studying. Let your supervisors know from the beginning that you are focusing like a laser on moving up the ladder in your industry.

11. Graduate with a doctorate degree and move straight into upper management if you’re not there already. Put yourself in a position in the industry where upper-class people would want to do you favors.

12. Employ the crash savings technique. Spend as little as possible to live healthily and save as much as possible. Don’t get in a relationship with anyone who makes less money than you, is crazy or unhealthy.

13. Invest in an IRA from the youngest age possible. Work for a company that has a secure 401k option that matches your contributions, and invest in it. Keep your spending money in a secure, high yield money market account instead of a regular checking/savings account.

14. Buy the smallest cheapest house you can as soon as you can afford to pay it off in 5 years. Stick to that schedule. Get a professional roommate immediately and start charging her rent.

15. Kiss up, back-stab, lie, cheat and grind your way up in the industry you work in for the next 60 years.

16. As you get closer to retirement, steadily transition your investments from high risk to low risk. Consider becoming a slum lord and hire a property management company to oversee your properties.

17. Equip your house with the latest self-sustainability technology and stop relying on or paying for utilities.

18. Keep a strong support network around you your entire life. Have regular meaningful contact with other people after retirement. Keep at least a semi-regular schedule. Mediate and do yoga. Play lots of video games, laugh often and get the best medical care money can buy.

 

 

Follow these simple steps and your life will turn out great. If you get knocked off track anywhere along the line, don’t expect to get any sympathy from the world around you. You’ve got a roadmap to success right here. If you don’t follow it to the letter, then any consequences you suffer as a result are nobody else’s fault but your own. Anyway, that’s the belief that gets pounded into the heads of billions of people who were born into unhealthy environments with little to no resources.

 

 All I’m saying is, imagine if you lived in a world where the retirement flow chart looked like this:

1: Be born in a country that doesn’t have an inhumane, predatory housing market.

2: Be born in a country that has free, equal access to all levels of education for everyone.

3: Have an automatic allotment set up at birth that covers all your taxes and investments so you never have to think about taxes or investments in your life ever.

4: Get a job working for a company that provides on-site housing and mandates a majority share of excess profits be divided among all the employees in the company.

5: Get a condo as part of your retirement package that you don’t have to pay any property taxes or fees on.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

How To Escape Poverty

Photo of a line of poor African-Americans standing in a soup line in front of a billboard showing happy white people in a car, with the words, "WORLD'S HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING: There's no way like the American way"

1: Never spend any money.

The fundamental cause of poverty is that businesses pay their uncredentialed employees as little as possible while charging their customers as much as possible. This puts the lowest paid workers between a rock and a hard place. It’s going to cost money to buy the credentials that will let you through the glass ceiling. So if you can’t get a better paying job with your current credentials, you’re going to have to save money by not spending any. Here are a few tips for not spending money:

Never do anything fun that costs money. Never go to restaurants, movie theaters, concerts, nightclubs or take vacations.

Don’t buy household goods you don’t absolutely need.

Don’t have children.

Don’t date someone who expects you to spend money on them.

Don’t buy designer status symbols to impress other people.

Spend enough money on a vehicle that is reliable, but don’t buy a fancy car that will impress other people.

Take a motorcycle safety course. Even if you never ride a motorcycle you could save 15% on your car insurance if you show your insurance company that you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course.

Eat healthily, exercise and brush your teeth twice a day. The leading cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. You can do a lot to prevent them by living a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. These are expensive and unnecessary, and being inebriated will make you not notice how much your life really sucks, making it harder to escape poverty.

Spend as little on rent as possible. Rent a room instead of a house, or live out of a van.

 

2: Get a piece of paper.

It’s nearly impossible to earn a living wage without paper credentials. Even if you work at a business for 20 years you probably won’t get promoted without having a piece of paper that says you’re worthy of a promotion. If you’re not academically inclined enough to get a college degree, then get a trade certificate. There are a lot of certificates that cost less than $10,000 and take a year or less to get that will allow you to make $30+ per hour. If you can get a certificate that allows you to work at sea, you can make even more money by not having to pay rent. Every piece of paper helps even if it’s just a forklift operator’s license. You can also increase your pay by learning a second language.

 

3: Start your own business.

The most lucrative way to make money is to start your own business. It requires intelligence to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops and hurdles governments put in the way of entrepreneurs, but you don’t need a college degree to successfully open a small business. You just need a little intelligence and a lot of tenacity.

If you’re poor, you won’t be able to open your own car dealership or some other business that requires a lot of startup capital, but there are plenty of opportunities for starting businesses providing goods and services that don’t require tens of thousands of dollars to get off the ground. Look around you and find a need that’s not being met and find a way to fill it that requires as little money as possible to produce and deliver.

 

4: Join the military.

If you’re young and don’t have a criminal record or any disabilities, you might consider joining the military. There are a lot of jobs in the military that will never put you in the line of fire. Plus, you’ll get free healthcare, free dental care, free life insurance, free housing, free tuition assistance, free gyms, free job training, free food, free legal representation and lucrative enlistment/reenlistment bonuses. And you can enjoy all these benefits while congratulating yourself for sacrificing more than the civilian wage slaves who pay your salary. Granted, you’ll help defend the economic and political systems that are taking away civilians’ freedoms and privacy while causing apocalyptic economic inequality, but the indoctrination process you’ll go through in basic training will brainwash you into believing the opposite. Once you stop questioning your leaders and their propaganda, the contradiction of your role won’t bother you anymore.

 

5: Demand poverty reform.

Politicians could put caps on the profits companies make and the amount of money individuals are allowed to hoard, which will eliminate the motivation CEOs have to underpay and overcharge their workers. Politicians could nationalize the banks, which will allow them to set interests rates at reasonable levels and use the profits banks do make on improving the lives of the working poor. Politicians could make higher education free, which will shatter the glass ceiling that keeps the poor from getting the credentials to earn a living wage. Politicians could raise the minimum wage to above poverty levels, but politicians are ultimately answerable to the ultra-wealthy individuals who fund their (and their competitors’) campaigns. So they have more motivation to help their benefactors get richer at the expense of the poor than they do to save the poor from their financial oppressors, but the more the poor speak up, the more their supposed representatives in government will have to listen to them. If you’re not making any noise, then you’re a part of the problem.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

How Predatory Capitalism Warps The Way We Define Maturity

Dictionary.com defines “capitalism” as:

  1. “an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.”

 

In and of itself, there’s nothing sinister about individuals or groups being able to own means of production. It becomes deathly sinister for workers and customers though when business owners underpay their workers and overcharge their customers… because that’s how poverty is created.

When a Capitalist economy goes full predatory, it hurts people in ways that can be measured by empirical quality of life statistics, but it also hurts people in more subtle, psychological ways, such as warping their perception of maturity.

 

Dictionary.com defines “maturity” as:

  1. complete in natural growth or development, as plant and animal forms: a mature rose bush.
  2. ripe, as fruit, or fully aged, as cheese or wine.
  3. fully developed in body or mind, as a person: a mature woman.
  4. pertaining to or characteristic of full development: a mature appearance; fruit with a mature softness.
  5. completed, perfected, or elaborated in full by the mind: mature plans.

 

We know when a piece of fruit is mature, and we know when a human body is mature, but when is a human mind mature? That’s a philosophical question that humans have been arguing about since the dawn of civilization, and every culture has institutionalized their own opinions about what knowledge and ideas a mature person should have in their head. But there’s one prerequisite to maturity that all cultures hold: the ability to survive and thrive in the local environment.

The skills it takes to survive change depending on the challenges of your local environment. For example, it would take different skills to survive and thrive in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, Vietnam or New York City. If a “responsible” person moved from one environment to a place where their skills are inapplicable, the locals would watch that person struggle with the smallest responsibilities, and would likely view that person as immature. The locals would certainly look down on members of their own community who couldn’t master the environment they were raised in.

This concept is easy to observe when looking at primitive hunter/gatherer societies living in harsh natural environments. It becomes murkier when the environment is a modern, service-based economy that you grew up in and have taken for granted your entire life.

In the modern world, the average worker doesn’t need to know how to build their own shelter or live off the land. Most people work at jobs in buildings where they make and sell goods or services. They get paid for their work with money, which can be used to buy anything, and in fact, is the only medium of exchange most businesses accept. In order to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back or food in your belly, you need money. Money is survival, comfort, security, freedom, and power. Since one’s ability to survive and thrive in a capitalist economy depends on having money, that means for people living in that environment, responsibility is inextricably tied to making and keeping money. The more predatory the economy is, the truer this is.

Growing up in an economy where surviving and thriving depends on making money, it’s natural for children to view people who have money as responsible and people who don’t as irresponsible. Children who never learn the causes of economic inequality tend to grow up into adults who worship the rich and despise the poor.

 

 

This is a warped perception of reality, because the way most millionaires and all billionaires get rich, is by paying their workers the lowest wage that supply and demand and the law will allow while selling the cheapest goods and services at the highest price supply and demand and the law will allow. Then they pocket the difference. The poorest of the poor may have made bad decisions in their lives, but when the cost of living is higher than (or even slightly below) your income, you’re stuck struggling to keep your head above water most of your life or until the inevitable hospital bill finally robs you of everything you’ve saved.

There are those who would argue that there are ample options available to the poor to help them lift themselves out of poverty, and therefore anyone who doesn’t take those opportunities, are just irresponsible. While it’s true some poor people pass up on opportunities, the fact of the matter is most high paying jobs require a college degree. More often than not, employers care more about their applicants’ degrees and certificates than their actual job skills or work experience. Since a college degree costs as much as possible, the only way to get a college degree is to be born to rich parents or go into half a lifetime of debt. Since the poorest, unskilled workers can’t afford to live a decent life, let alone a college degree, they’re shut out of most of the jobs that pay a living wage. To add insult to injury, uncredentialed employees who work 60 hours a week to provide for their family have to live with the stigma of not being mature or responsible enough to graduate college, while the children of rich parents can party their way through four years of college, barely pass and still be viewed as more responsible and have more doors open to them.

The glass ceiling of the college degree cleanly separates society into two castes of people, and the easier it is to divide society into deserving and undeserving classes, the easier it is to justify and accept exploiting the underclass. When a caste system becomes so ingrained in a culture, the under-class will even celebrate and defend it themselves. You can see this happening in almost any office building in America every day, and it’s not entirely illogical, just short-sighted.

Since survival depends on making money and making money depends on getting a job, the people who are the best at keeping jobs have an evolutionary advantage over people who can’t hold down a job. Therefore, the ability to keep a job is a hallmark of responsibility and maturity. And the best way to keep a job is to do your tasks correctly, go above and beyond the call of duty, follow all of your employer’s rules flawlessly and treat your employers with gracious respect. Since these are the skills employees need in order to survive, they’re responsible and mature behaviors.

 

 

These rules would be completely reasonable, but in a predatory capitalist economy, employees are already worked as hard, as fast and as long as possible with as few breaks and as little mercy as the law allows. That’s how hard poor people have to work to prove to their peers and bosses that they’re responsible, and they’re held to that level of accountability every single day. When that becomes the norm, and workers start holding their peers accountable to slave standards, they effectively police their own slavery. If those are the values they live by all day at work, those are the values they pass down to children.

Predatory businesses don’t just ask employees for their time and energy. They often take their employees dignity. Employees are often expected to wear humiliating uniforms, endure offensive treatment by customers and bosses, perform degrading tasks and address higher paid employees with higher titles and signs of respect. They’re expected to erase their personality while at work and act like soulless robots who love their job. Since these are the behaviors necessary to keeping a job and thus keeping an income, these behaviors are responsible and mature.

This means that being yourself and standing up for yourself is irresponsible. Quitting your job and pursuing your passion is seen as childish and naïve, and choosing not to have a full-time job is looked down on as absolutely crazy. Many young people have a hard time adapting to this dignity-less environment when they enter the workforce, but if they live in it long enough, they often come to accept and even embrace it.

 

 

Cultures always reflect their environment, and oppressive economic environments tend to create oppressive cultures with oppressive values. That’s exactly what’s happening in most of the world right now. While it may technically be responsible to beg, bow, scrape, fight and play the game to survive, that’s only because the economic environment was shaped by people who profit from exploitation. If our environment wasn’t designed to make life so hard and hopeless, responsibility would be defined by higher standards. We all have a responsibility to survive, but we also have a responsibility to our children and humanity in general. We’re not fulfilling our responsibility to our children by passing down instructions on how to be the ideal slave. We owe them a more humane economic environment, and until we deliver that, none of us are mature.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Stop Talking About Guns, And Start Talking About Poverty

Gun control is always a big topic in America, and it flares back up every time there’s a mass shooting.  When that happens, gun rights advocates say there to be more guns more places in America, and these people are outraged by real or imagined prospects of stricter gun control laws.

 

 

While the Christian, conservative, patriotic base is calling for secession and revolt if they lose the freedom to shoot people, there are billions of people in the world and millions of people in America who are trapped beneath an economic glass ceiling and forced to spend their short, irreplaceable, invaluable lives working themselves to death doing undignified, inhumane work for barely enough money to survive, let alone enjoy the luxuries of the 21st century.

Ending poverty is more important than ending gun control. Every day spent talking about guns is another day the oppression of the working class continues. Everyone talking about guns right now is distracting the national dialogue from the actual biggest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: poverty.

 

 

Anyone who truly believes that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” should want the gun debate dropped in favor of the poverty debate, because desperate, uneducated, stressed out people are the ones who use guns for evil. Desperation, ignorance, and anxiety need to be removed from American culture before gun violence is going to end, and American culture isn’t going to change until the oppression of the poor ends. The oppression of the poor isn’t going to end until it dominates the national dialogue. So talk about that.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

The Fundamental Problem With The Economy

The problem with the economy is simple. Workers are paid minimum wage to work as long and as hard as possible. At the same time, goods and services are priced as high, and are made as cheaply, as possible. This simple formula creates two outcomes that are very easy to calculate.

One: It costs more to live than most employees can earn working forty hours per week.

Two: Most of society’s money flows up to business owners’ bank accounts.

The upward flowing money doesn’t trickle back down to the poor because the rich hoard it and/or spend it on expensive possessions. What little money does trickle down to low-wage employees, gets spent immediately on extortion-priced food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, and repairs.

The more money the rich exploit from the poor, the less money the majority of consumers have to spend. The less shoppers spend, the fewer jobs are needed to fill the customers’ demands. The higher the unemployment rate, the greater demand for jobs there is. The higher the competition for jobs is, the less pay, fewer benefits and longer hours applicants will agree to, in exchange for a job. The more businesses exploit their employees’ desperation, the more profit the owner can keep, and thus, the better the economy looks on paper.

When CEOs are getting rich, it looks like the economy is doing great, but ultimately, it means life sucks as much as possible for as many people as possible. That’s the fundamental problem with the economy.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

The Cost/Benefit Analysis Of Economic Oppression

The benefits of economic oppression are obvious, and they can be summed up in three words: comfort, freedom, and legacy. The wealthiest people in the world can enjoy whatever comforts they can imagine. At the snap of a finger, they can have things poorer people would have to work their entire lives for.

The rich are the only people who are truly free. Nobody has the leverage to tell them what to do for nine hours per day. So they’re free to work however, whenever, and wherever they want. They’re free to travel wherever, whenever and however they want. Barring going on a shooting spree in a shopping mall, they’re free to break most laws. Even if they get arrested, they can hire a team of attorneys to bend the law so they’ll either be found innocent or charged a fee that represents such a tiny percentage of their wealth, the legal consequences are inconsequential to them.

 

 

The 1% have more money than they could spend in their lives, and most of that money is sitting in investment vehicles that will continue to make money after they’re dead. So as long as their descendants aren’t completely irresponsible, they can live comfortable, free lives indefinitely. If all you have to do to have that kind of life and legacy is sign a piece of paper approving the exploitation of workers you’ll never meet, I doubt many people would pass up the opportunity. Getting rich through extortion looks temptingly consequence-free, but it has hidden costs.

 

 

Consider the kings and serfs from the Middle Ages. Royalty squandered their wealth and lived more comfortably than their serfs could ever imagine, and yet the serfs of today live more comfortably than the kings of antiquity could have imagined. The reason we live so much more comfortably is because of technological progress, which is the result of billions of people all over the world applying their time and education to scientific study. The more people who collaborate on research, the faster it generates results.

If instead of forcing everyone to devote the bulk of their lives to menial work for just enough money to survive, we devoted our resources to give as many people as much education and free time as possible, we could speed up humanity’s technological development exponentially. If we didn’t have our priorities so backward, we could easily be living on the moon before Generation X dies of old age. If we had never oppressed anyone in the history of mankind, we would have been building android factories on Mars a hundred years ago.

Even though the rich may be freer than their employees and customers, their freedom comes at an unnecessary cost. A wealthy person can walk through an inner city ghetto safely, but they’d need to hire paramilitary escorts. Their family is free to sleep soundly without fear of burglars, but that’s only because they have million dollar security systems and security guards. The rich can bypass all the cumbersome and demeaning security measures at airports by flying in their own planes, but they never stop to really ask themselves, “Why do we need security measures in airports at all? Why do we need locks on our doors? Why do we need bodyguards?”

 

 

We need security because there are billions of stupid and/or desperate people in the world. The reason the world isn’t filled with billions of intelligent, content, philosophers is because the leaders of the world have designed the system to exploit the majority of the world’s population. If we dedicated our resources to helping people instead of oppressing them, we wouldn’t need to lock our doors or carry guns or have metal detectors at airports and schools. We probably wouldn’t even need armies because everybody would have enough resources to survive and thus wouldn’t need to fight each other.

Until that day comes, freedom will always be so expensive that only the wealthy will be able to afford it, and it will always be an unnecessary expense for the rich because they created it by exploiting those with less financial leverage than them. It would be so easy for rich people to leave their children a Utopian world. All they need to do is treat everyone as equal human beings. The only cost to them would be not being able to hoard more money than they could ever possibly spend.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

The Downside Of Economic Growth

Economic growth increases some people’s chances of getting a job or a raise, but it doesn’t mean everything is getting better. Quite the opposite, economic growth isn’t bringing the world closer to Utopia. It’s making life unbearable for the poorest of the poor and bringing the entire human race closer to extinction.

In order to understand why economic growth is so perilous, you have to understand what makes the economy rise and fall. Thousands of mind-bending books have been written on that subject, and understanding the economy has become more complicated with the invention of the stock market, futures, short sales, trade sanctions, treaties, and taxes.

Ultimately, economic growth mainly boils down to how much money people spend, and this concept is easy enough to see with your own eyes. The more customers buy goods and services, the more money businesses have to pay employees, hire new employees, expand/improve their business and ultimately sell more goods and services. The less money people spend, the less money businesses have to invest. If their profits are too low, they’ll eventually have to fire some, or all, of their employees. The more businesses go bankrupt, the more “the workforce” turns into “the unemployed.”

 

 

That’s basically common sense, and on the surface, it sounds reasonable. The problem lies in how businesses increase profits and what they do with those profits. Business is war, and war is hell. In this economic climate, the most ruthless companies rise to the top, because in order to be the most competitive, they have to underpay employees, gouge customers, lower health standards for workers and customers, eliminate employee benefits, create meaningless and hidden fees, manipulate stock prices, outsource jobs to countries where slavery is less ambiguous, manipulate customer’s minds through disingenuous marketing and exploit tax loopholes and tax havens.

Every blue-chip company does this, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. This is the standard business model for the entire economy. The most successful companies just do it better than anyone else. The “health” of blue-chip stocks is one of the ways we measure the “health” of the American economy, but when companies grow using a slash-and-burn business model, it doesn’t mean life is getting better for most people. It means those companies are bankrupting their less oppressive competitors and creating more jobs in their financially crippling, bureaucratic hell. That’s not taking us closer to a better world. That’s taking us closer to a dystopian novel.

To make matters worse, when the economy is making record-breaking profits, it means businesses are selling an unprecedentedly high number of goods and services. This means our factories and highways are working faster than ever to convert all of the world’s natural resources into consumer garbage destined to become toxic landfills.

If you want to know what the future of the world looks like, go to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Businesses took the quintessential example of paradise and paved it over with urban sprawl until there wasn’t any room left to build. Now half the beaches are too toxic to swim in, and many have turned into homeless camps that the government bulldozes every few years to keep up appearances.

The cost of buying or renting property in Oahu is astronomical, even in the slums. It takes an hour to drive twenty miles in any direction. Meth use is epidemic among the poor. Brown-skinned workers toil in the tropical heat and humidity harvesting pineapples for barely enough money to survive, while across the island, millionaires get blowjobs from high-priced call girls in penthouses. This is not the world you want to live in, but every day we’re laying more concrete in every direction, solidifying our future in that world.

When the entire world has been converted into strip malls and suburbs, blue-chip companies will have secured every human being as guaranteed customers for life, because in suburbia your only access to food, water, clothing, shelter, education, and amusement are predatory businesses. When every city looks the same, you can run as far as you want; you’ll still end up somewhere identical to where you started. You’ll still work for the exact same companies and have to buy the same cheap, toxic products.

Even if you like eating at McDonald’s and working for Max Lumburg at Initech, you’re still left with the problem that everyone’s employers are converting the world’s natural resources into trash as quickly as possible. I doubt we’ll reach the point where every square inch of usable land in the world is covered in grimy suburban sprawl because we’ll have burned through our resources before the system has a chance to reach its inevitable end.

 

 

If I had to bet money on whether or not suburbia will succeed at consuming the world’s resources to apocalyptic proportions, I would bet that it will, because the more economic growth there is, the more money predatory business owners are able to spend influencing public opinion and government policies. The bigger the marketing industry grows, the more Orwellian our world will become. The more influence companies have over politicians, the more they can design the laws to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.

The richest men in the world already have practically unlimited access to political power. So at this point, it’s not about the rich gaining power; they’ve already got it. Now they’re just tightening their grip, and the greater economic inequality grows, and the more time they have to mold the law, the more guaranteed their financial security and growth will be. The more guaranteed “economic growth” is, the more guaranteed the suburbanization, and thus, destruction, of the entire world is.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

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