( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Karl Marx’s most profound understanding and prescient warning about the future of Kapitalism is this: It is inevitable in the Kapitalist system, wealth (generated by labor) accrues further and further away from the worker and consolidates itself into fewer and fewer hands, leading to an abyss of economic disparity between labor and “owners”, which leads directly and inevitably to rebellion by labor against Kapital.
Today the abyss between the Haves and Have-nots is greater than at any time in our history. In America the top 10% of earners swallow 50% of all income. And the top 1% takes about half of that. The top 400 richest Americans own more than the bottom 150,000,000 Americans. The wage disparity between the “C” suite executive and the average worker is more than 300 to one. In the 1970s the disparity was a mere 35 to one.
Corporations systematically created a wealth gap over the last 30 years. In 1955, IRS records indicated the 400 richest people in the country were worth an average $12.6 million, adjusted for inflation. In 2006, the 400 richest increased their average to $263 million, representing an epochal shift of wealth upward in the U.S.
In 1955, the richest tier paid an average 51.2 percent of their income in taxes under a progressive federal income tax that included loopholes. By 2006, the richest paid only 17.2 percent of their income in taxes.
In 1955, the proportion of federal income from corporate taxes was 33 percent; by 2003, it decreased to 7.4 percent. Today, the top taxpayers pay the same percentage of their incomes in taxes as those making $50,000 to $75,000, although they doubled their share of total U.S. income.
“Over the past 30 years, the income of the top one percent, adjusted for inflation, doubled: the top one-tenth of one percent tripled, and the top one-one-hundredth quadrupled,” says Pizzigati. “Meanwhile, the average income of the bottom 90 percent has gone down slightly. This is a stunning transformation.”
Stunning? Or inevitable. While the rich get richer the rest of us see our wages enter into suspended animation. In 2000 the adjusted median wage for a male worker was below the wage he earned in 1979, despite a productivity increase of more than 40%. In other words, as corporate profit exponentially spiraled, due to worker productivity – and aggressive anti-tax lobbying – the average worker was left out of the reward system. Wealth was scooped to the top, while the average worker lost economic ground.
In a nutshell, as Marx said, wealth has accrued outrageously upward into fewer and fewer hands.
So, it only makes sense we have rebellion right now, right? It is the culmination of Marx’s prophecy. Except, wait a minute, hold on now, as we watch the teabagger, deather, birther, right-wing populist explosion against the rich and powerful, we see once again how the rich and powerful have ginned the game and the popular revolt is against change for the rich and powerful. Indeed, the bitter irony of calling Obama a Marxist as he tries nothing more than to put a toe-ring on the rich and powerful is to prove once and for all America is a bastion of the dumb, dumber and truly stupid.
People parade to disrupt the Democratic process, threaten violence and twist their faces in rage, all against their own best interests. Calling Obama a Marxist is like calling Dick Cheney a humanitarian. WTF? Is it because right-wing think-tanks have spent $30 billion over 30 years to propagandize against government (the People) and for corporate deregulation, privatization of public operations and the deification of the lifestyles of the rich and famous?
Our little worker rebellion of zombie ditto-heads marching to the tune of corporatist greed makes Marx spin in his grave. There has been concerted effort over the last few generations to fashion an army of Manichean Armageddonists, virulent racists and hysterical Henny Penny nutbags to fight against the real workers who are sick and tired of the King-of-the-Hill, Ponzi/Pyramid scheme scam-artists whose only loyalty is to their personal accumulation of more wealth and power.
A little tiny ineffectual public healthcare option for citizens to choose over the Medical-Industrial-Complex’s Healthcare by Ransom? Communists!!! A $20 Trillion Dollar reverse-Robin Hood, voodoo economics transfer of wealth from the people to private banks? Marxist!!! The pursuit of empire by the full-spectrum dominance of profit at all costs on the backs of workers and the insolvency of the citizenry against their will? America Love It or Leave It!!!
No, this is the ravages of the Kapitalist model laid bare and predicted more than a century ago by a man who lived with his family in abject poverty in the Soho district of London so he could pursue his passion to study and write about political economy. And now, instead of a prophet he is a pejorative, reviled by Kapital (and its voodoo army of zombie slaves) because he had the temerity to call a snake a snake.
And so now, as a new Gilded Age class of the pampered and privileged, protected by Orwellian machinations of thought-control, power-demons, moats, electric-fences, soldiers and mercenaries – even small changes to the ever unjust and egregious Class System are met with Stupids with Pitchforks programmed to hate, not the real enemy of unbridled, unregulated and sinful greed, but their own future pursuit of Happiness.
On the other hand, our government, no longer of, for and by the People, is but a protectorate of the very forces who believe people are not human beings but commoditized chattel whose only purpose is cannon fodder, cheap labor and indentured servitude.
One does wonder why a true rebellion does not organically spring from the populace of the 90% at the bottom, but is only manufactured against the 90% by the top 1% using the tactics of the mob to control and intimidate the rest of us. At a time when millions are thrown out of work and millions more fear the pink-slip in the next paycheck; when people are in hock up to their eyeballs to the banks; when more and more fall from the safety of the middle class into the dog-eat-dog world of daily survival; when we face pandemic disease (for the sake of Big Pharma), our water and food sources privatized, contaminated and sold to the highest bidder (for the sake of Big Food); when endless wars create desolation, poverty and seething hatred on a global scale (for the sake of murderous greed-mongers), one wonders where is the change for the better, brought about by the will of human beings who, like Marx predicted, are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.
Nearly seven billion people on the planet and we are powerless to make the world we want but are held down by the very, very, very few at the top. The numbers are on our side but the will is on theirs – right now.
The only time in our history when there was some stability with the transfer of wealth to the top was during the Depression and World War II because of corporate regulation, higher taxes on the wealthy, strong labor unions, etc, all of which we don’t see today and nothing like these factors are contemplated to redress our current dire situation of income inequality.
So, as always, the ball is in our court for change. We can wait for change from the political class, wholly owned by the money class, or we can go out and bring change home to a desperate and hungry people.
Because we should be clear: Change is not something which is given, but taken.