2005/03/22

Destroying a complaint from the Right

A common complaint I hear from the Right is that beneficiaries "livelihood is being paid for by hard working everyday [insert nationality here]" (from Brendan Jarvis).

Well, hang on. I can say the same thing about the bosses. The bosses don't create the wealth they live off, the workers do. So if the Right are going to complain about beneficiaries relying on other people, then why not complain about the bosses who do it as well?
That isn't to say that they didn't work their way up. Of course they did. But they do not create the wealth they now live off. It is Joe Blogg on the factory floor.

Some consistency from the Right please.

10 Comments:

Greg,

One thing I find even more  extraordinary is the claim by shareholders of corporations they are working their asses off for their hard-earned money.

Hahaha-motherfuckin-HAHAHA!!!

One sits on one's motherfuckin' enormous fat ass collecting dividends off the produces manufactured by ppl working 35 or 40 hours a week on the factory floor not making enough money to survive on, and one still has the cocksucker gall to claim that being an arm-chair shareholder maggot parasite of society is the summit of success resulting from good & wholesome hard work!

Furthermore, the lil fuckers on the assembly line who want to be able to buy food to feed their rug-rats (fancy that, they even procreate - can you believe the hide of those assholes!) are nothing more than fuckin' lazy socialist commies who are really the scum of the fuckin' earth and if they can't feed themselves, it's their own fucking fault since all they have to do is to get off their fuckin' lazy asses and do something useful that justifies them being paid enough so they can eat.

Oh yeah, I can already hear the prudish go-to-church-3-times-a-week right wingers gasping for air as they are fainting all over the floor reading my "obscene" language. Well, motherfucking cunts, if something is obscene it is YOU and your total disrespect for humankind, other species and this entire planet.

PS: I'll let ya'll know how I really feel in my next comment. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/22/2005 01:34:00 pm  
Don't hold back WhyNot, supressed anger causes cancer as sure as smoking causes statistics. Now put the gun down before some-one gets hurt!

Depends upon your definition of "bosses" really. In the above, it is shareholders. Shareholders don't generally claim to be working, but investing. As well as the mega rich investor and the instiutional investor (yes, yes, horrible parasites, but I'll get to them later) there are the middle class investors. Mums and Dads that, after 35-40 hours on the factory floor, take a few thousands bucks and stick it in a company hoping to get a bit of profit to put towards Billy's University fees, or as part of a retirement plan.

Of course, when the company doesn't produce profits, or goes broke, the middle class investor loses their money. How did they lose it? We know from Greg the bosses don't work. The workers (a) do all the work and (b) make all the difference. Those workers are responsible for the mums and dads investors losing their money.

Lets have a look at where their investment went. Hmmm, some workers in the company were MANAGERS. They managed to lose the investors money, but got paid $300,000 per year regardless. Lets agree to call them bosses, so they are not confused with WORKERS.

Of course a few workers can lose a company money. I've seen a few people that turn up to work at 9:10 am, have a chat, catch up on email, morning tea at 10am, a bit of blog time at 11am, off to lunch at 12, back at 1:20 sharp to sort out the emails, fill in a few forms and organise the soccer pool at 3 and then off on glide time at 3:30. They got paid regardless too. So not quite every worker is a productive economic unit. Some send the company profits backwards, and make a bad name for the "proper" workers.

Should we allow investment? Of course not. Instead, lets get the aforementioned workers that (a) do all the work and (b) make all the difference and have a bunch of them set up their own steel mill. They get rid of the bosses and investors. They don't need capital to build anything. They don't need equipment. They don't need to develop a market. They just work.

Pretty soon, they create some steel and sell it at a huge profit (its that easy). They then divide the profits equally (because they ultimately all contributed equally), after first taking out a huge slice (40% is typical) to give to the bosses.

The bosses I hear you say? Didn't they get fired last paragraph? Yes, but the thrust of Greg's argument was that bosses deserved the money as much as beneficeries. Greg ignored
the fact that at the very least, a boss and a worker exchange some money for some service. Once Greg fired the bosses, they went onto a benefit. Now the workers are considered the bosses (of themselves) and in true socialist spirit, willingly hand over about 40% of their take to the Government to redistribute to the out of work bosses. Its just not fair is it?

The problem with Greg's rant is that it doesn't fairly recognise the element of risk, the cost of capital, the need for management and fairness in rewarding success and innovation.

As factory workers rise in position they get more pay. A CISCO router expert might be on $150000 a year. He's still a worker, hardly a boss, but well paid by the owner.

Workers have a chance to buy shares and become owners. How much money would a person spend on cigarettes and beer and interst on their credit card over a 10 year period? If that had gone into shares instead, over 20 years, they might be able to despise themselves for being rich, and fund cigarettes out of dividends. Their choice.

Of course, the debate is not really about the middle class, but the differences in the extremes between a successful capitalist and a low income worker. A socialist system strives for principles of equality and fairness to justify redistribution of income through taxation. My belief is that this doesn't work. Get more extreme, and you have communism, which we know fails. Looking at socialism today, and we can see it is not working. They are trying to embrace some wartered down view of capitlaism by constant invervention, fiddling with taxes, open to corruption.

Governments have been setup by the rich to protect the rich.

There is another way. I'll blog it one day. I promise. Just STAY CALM. 

Posted by ZenTiger
3/23/2005 12:51:00 pm  
"There is another way. I'll blog it one day. "

I would be very interested in your answer to a problem that has been debated for decades. Marxist continue to talk the revolution without any clearcut ideas about what happens after. It gets pretty boring outside of the intellectual masturbation.
I agree that Socialist today are playing around with watered down Capitalism and it's not working. This could be for several reasons. But, they are trying to do something and for this I give them A for effort. I certainly don't have the answers. 

Posted by Dianne
3/23/2005 02:11:00 pm  
Excellent explanation ZenTiger.

Government interfering in private business hurts far more than it ever helps. One of the things that drive Government intervention into companies (both publicly and privately trades) is class warfare. Class warfare exists primarily in the minds of politicians looking for a way to buy votes.

Liberal politicians (at least here in the US) point to the successful workers, those like that worker you mentioned at Cisco, and tell you he is rich. That he got that way, not from his hard work, but by screwing the poor uneductated factory worker. They claim people like him, and the systems that allowed him to make $150K/yr are destroying the middle class.

Of course they never tell you who the middle class is. They never put a dollar figure on what exactly IS the middle class in the US. It is a moving target.

The Republicans will "buy" their votes by telling everyone how the Democrats will raise taxes and redistribute wealth (which admittedly they try to do). They will exaggerate the issues and the dangers and scream that the Democrats must be stopped at all costs.

Each side pushes the other to become more extreme. Business is caught in the middle. When people are no longer rewarded for their vision and innovation they will stop producing. When workers no longer have the rights to the fruits of their labor, they will wuite working.

It won't matter how many workers you have then, or even how good the workers are, because there will be no where for them to work.

I suggest anyone interested in a worse case scenario of this to read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged".

 

Posted by Redneck Guru
3/23/2005 02:12:00 pm  
Government interfering with business? A little history check here. Corporations are government created entities. If by interference you mean regulated, then yes they need to do that. Corporations are unable to do this themselves in a responsible manner.

Left unchecked business will destroy everything in the name of profit. The environment, its workforce, and society as a whole.

Mindless greed based on fictitious "invisible market forces" is a sad joke.

If I hear one more CEO start babbling about "social responsibility" I think I'll have to start hanging around the rifle counter.



 

Posted by deviant1
3/23/2005 03:15:00 pm  
ZenTiger & Redneck,

The problem I have is not about investors investing and raking in money doing nothing. It is clear that the entire world (except maybe for Nth Korea) works on a capitalist economy system, and investors/investment is an obvious part of this economic model. As you point out (when I say you, I mean one of you), the lowly workers can indeed become investors themselves (that is, if their wage is enough to let them feed themselves and have a bit left over).

I DO have a problem when I regularly hear right wingers ranting investors are working their asses off.

But that's not in the least my main complaint. My REAL complaint, the one that outrages me, is this:

I regularly read (and hear in real life) entrepreneurs say that:

1. minimum wage should be abolished
2. ppl get paid for what they are worth, and if they don't get paid enough to buy their food, then it simply means they are not worth it - i.e. they can live in poverty and die.
3. if ppl don't get paid enough to survive, it's their fault, and all they have to do is get off their laze asses and find themselves better paid jobs.

That is just not acceptable in my books, sorry.

I don't have a problem with entrepreneurs slicing themselves a reasonable part of their companies profits. But it is not acceptable that the factory floor worker cannot makes 2 ends meet even if the Co is struggling, let alone when it's thriving. As you say, it's a gamble, and it is fair that when they win they should be compensated. But taking risks doesn't mean it should be done with paying ppl slave wages.

For me the most single important issue is the minimum wage, because for me it represents a whole bunch of things that are in the category of Human Rights. If we can achieve that, then I'd still be fighting for a fairer distribution of wealth, but the main hurdle will have been overcome. Among human rights that come to my mind are: food, water, lodging, electricity, health care and education. If a minimum wage allows the factory floor worker to afford the above with a minimum of decency, then the main issue is solved.

Here in France the minimum wage is barely acceptable to achieve this, but doeable. For the last 5 years since I've arrived, all my jobs have been minimum wage and we were making 2 ends meet. Fairly low wage, but some of the human rights components I listed are free (health care and education), so it's a burden off the minimum wage to be able to exist. There are other issues which I'm disgusted here with, but this is too off-topic for right now - but I'll bring them up if you guys are interested - I don't want you to think I'm bashing just the States, I'll bash anybody who's treating ppl like shit.

But in the US it is impossible to survive on a minimum wage and meet the human rights requirements I outlined. I know because I lived there. It's obvious why: the overal cost of living is similar to here, but the minimum wage is lower plus health care and education cost a fortune - not to mention things like vehicle insurance rates being 20 times what they are here.

So when corporation that are thriving can pay CEOs and other executives millions of $ or euros a year (on top of the shared profits), but can't pay their factory floor a wage from which they can live with a minimum of decency, then it's wrong. Last year the large French corporations made record profits, and yet the minimum wage has stayed the same, in spite of a slight inflation (which means an effectively reduced wage).
-----
Regarding the argument of interference of governement into the entrepreneurial world, you are both completely wrong and you know it. First, while the economic model for all countries is capitalism, all countries also have a form of socialism build into their governments, yes even the USA, although the States is a bit unique because Corporate America sleeps in the same bed as the US gov.

If there was no government control, there would be no minimum wage, there would be no limit to the pollution industries could get away with, to the dangerous drugs pharmaceutical companies would sell you and me, to the unsanitary level (both immediate and long term) food you buy would have, etc etc.

Again, it is obvious why: the sole raison d'être of an enterprise is to make profit for its owners. It is by essence only concerned with itself, and not interested in the welfare of human beings, humanitarian rights and issues, let alone the environment.

A gov is elected by the masses and as such fairly representative of the entire nation, and in particular, a voice for the low and middle income classes since they make up the majority. While there is and always be corruption in a gov, it is clear that all attempts to put some fairness in humankind, to curb the greed of corporations, come from the gov, NOT from the entrepreneurs. If the ppl are not happy with the way the gov runs, they elect another one. If ppl are not happy with the way a CEO runs his business, they can drop off. Obviously, no matter how corrupted a gov gets, it is inherantly more likely to do the "right thing" for the populace at large than any enterprised.

You say socialism today doesn't work. By socialism, I assume you mean the more  socialist trend of Europe than say the US. Doesn't work for what? For the rich to become richer to the point of obscenity? If so, yes I agree with you. Here is where it certainly beats the EU hands down:

- Back in 1980 the average American chief executive earned forty times the average manufacturing employee. For the top tier of American CEOs, the ratio is now 475:1 and would be vastly greater if assets, not income, were taken into account.
- By way of comparison, the ratio in Britain is 24:1, in France 15:1, in Sweden 13:1.
- A privileged minority has access to the best medical treatment in the world. But 45 million Americans have no health insurance at all (of the world's developed countries only the US and South Africa offer no universal medical coverage).

But what if we measure success in terms of eradicating poverty and insuring all citizens a barely decent life? Then clearly the less socialist case of the US is the one that doesn't work:

- Americans work longer hours and take fewer vacations.
- one American adult in five is in poverty—compared with one in fifteen in Italy
- The EU has 87 prisoners per 100,000 people; America has 685.
- The modern American economy is in hock to international bankers with a foreign debt of $3.3 trillion (28 percent of GDP).

A few posts back you wrote a long economical discourse to which I replied, but you never took on the challenge. In it was an issue you brought up and which is relevant here. You mentioned how France and Germany's high unemployment rate demonstrate the socialism layer these countries is at fault.

Well, for your information, here are a few facts:

- The nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc, have a much more socialitic layer than we have in France, and they are certainly not experiencing huge unemployment levels. They also have much lower levels of poverty than here.
- For the last few years, for the first time in decades we have had a triple right wing gov. The entire gov is right wing and fairly radically so, just like in the US: right wing President, gov itself (Rafarin and ministers) and Assemblée Nationale (i.e. Parliament/Congress). During these few years, the country's economy has been steadily going downhill, and is now sporting the highest unemployment level in decades, the highest profit margins for corporations in years, a constant erosion of the social benefits, and a non-stop selling off of national assets to the corporate world in a pathetic attempt to make the books look good.
- In 1932, in the middle of the great depression, the US sported a near 30% unemployment rate. In Europe, the worst affected was Germany, which neared the 25% mark, and the reason was of their extreme trading tighs with the US. Other European countries suffered a much lesser rise. And don't tell me the great depression was worlwide: it actually started in the US, and only spread because of the already huge economic influence of the US worldwide.
---
So, what can we conclude? One thing is obvious is that if something doesn't work, it's your theory and arguments. The success of economies is clearly something much more complex than dumbly stating that the more socialism the trend of gov (but still having a fundamentally capitalist economic model) the worse it gets.
The other conclusion is that unless one doesn't see world poverty as more important than bloating the pockets of the rich minority layer, then your version of an ideal system clearly fails miserably. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/23/2005 04:36:00 pm  
D1,

"Left unchecked business will destroy everything in the name of profit. The environment, its workforce, and society as a whole "

i.e., exactly what's currently happening in the US. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/23/2005 04:56:00 pm  
Howdy WhyNot.

I think you said that right-wingers said, "ppl get paid for what they are worth, and if they don't get paid enough to buy their food, then it simply means they are not worth it"

If I can be right-wing for a moment (as long as Deviant1 is not yet out of the gun counter.) I think the issue is that people are hardly ever paid what they are worth. They are paid what the job is worth, and that payment is a negotiation process with the owner (who wants to ensure the overall cost of the job does not exceed the sale price of the product) and the worker (who wants to ensure the sales of their labour produces a profit too. The profit for a worker is the amount of disposable income after paying for basic items (such as food, shelter, clothing and red wine.) The worker that negotiates a salary of $100,000 per year is obviously in a profit situation. In some sense, an obscene profit, but this is absorbed by the desire to save for the future (buy a house, pay a mortgage), protect and enhance their childrens lives (pay for health and ggod education) and pay a large proportion on taxes to improve their overall standard of living (people not starving to death will reduce crime)

Workers have been traditionally bad at negotiating. When they organised themselves into unions, collective bargaining power improved and so did wages. When more specialist expertise was required, many salaries jumped due to the laws of supply and demand. These have been good things, and may have well balanced out OK in a true free market system.

The extreme at this end is when investors think they need to pay a single person 100 million dollars a year to ensure the company makes a profit. This is the worker at the pinancle of the game.

What has thrown a spanner on the works is the ability to move offshore and start the negotiations with other workers that have governments preventing unions, supporting exploitation and so on.

The other "problem" is that unions are not what they are used to be. However, as usual, I've got a few theories on how to improve bargaining power at the bottom end, in a way that will not upset my current free market philosophy. I just haven't articulated it yet. I'm obviously just a slack worker. 

Posted by ZenTiger
3/23/2005 11:57:00 pm  
ZenTiger,

What has thrown a spanner on the works is the ability to move offshore and start the negotiations with other workers that have governments preventing unions, supporting exploitation and so on ”

Here you have unwittingly agreed with some of my points. In particular, you recognize that the only interest enterprises have is the pockets of the CEO and shareholders, and that if they can't exploit the locals sufficiently, they will quite happily not only exploit ppl elsewhere but not give a hoot about their own fellow citizens who lose the jobs in the process. You alse admit that it is the gov which is the force that keeps capitalists in check.

The law of supply and demand is inherantly unfair. When there is near 0% unemployment, it may work. When unemployment grows, then it fails - there is no fair bargaining any longer, and the entrepreneur has carte blanche to offer as low a wage as he decides because no matter how low, someone will take the job. Like D1 says in another post, enterprises are humanly immoral by definition: their aim when bargaining is not "let's see, you're just the factory floor sweeper, so we offer you just the bare minimum to survive on", or "you're a C++ programmer, so we offer you twice that minimum". It's "how far can we screw them".

I see in clearly here on the Riviera where over the last 5 years the unemployment rate has soared ski high. I now regularly see adds like this "required graphic artist, [insert a whole string of uni diplomas], minimum 2 years experience with Photoshop, Flash5, Quark Express, must be reasonably proficient with either Maya or 3D Studio Max ... - salary: SMIC". (SMIC is the across the board minimum legal wage here). So much for the right wingers argument that if ppl have too low a wage to survive on (because their job doesn't justify being paid enough to eat), all they have to do is get off their lazy asses and get a better paid one.

Yes, "ppl get paid for what they are worth, and if they don't get paid enough to buy their food, then it simply means they are not worth it" is exactly what we hear on a regular basis. Ask our dear friend Kender. He'll say "why should I pay Joe 9 bucks an hour when Jack will work for 2 bucks an hour?". And that IS exactly the entrepreneur's mentality. He'll also state categorically that the law of supply and demand is a valid criteria for determining the "worth" of a job, and that mysteriously, if at some stage job X is paid 6$ and hour, but 2 years down the track only 2$ and hour, then that's all it's worth - 2$ an hour.

So, while we all have to live with the principle of supply and demand it obviously needs to be regulated. Once again the need for gov intervention is essential.

"Obscene". Well, I don't see getting a comfy wage which allows one to fullfil all the human rights I mentioned before, plus being able to have some nice appliances, furniture, a car, go out every now and then and still some money left over to build up in the bank so that a few years down the track, one can ask a loan from the bank to buy a house and repay it over a number of years, as "obscene". But when a CEO gets 1 million a year, the Co makes handsome profits, the CEO and board of directors vote themselves a 25% increase while the factory floor worker is still on the legal minimum wage (and thank goodness for the "legal" bit) which is not enough to live with the bare minimum of decency, then yes it's pretty much getting "obscene".

The bottom line is that to eradicate poverty among the working class, the minimum wage has to be high enough. It's not a matter of unions. It's a matter of being the law, set by the gov. Then of course, there is the matter of poverty among those that are out of work, but that's another story which once again involves gov intervention and tax contributions - I don't suppose you expect the corporations to spontaneously go pay an employment ration to unemployed ppl do you? 

Posted by WhyNot
3/24/2005 04:30:00 am  
ZenTiger,

"However, as usual, I've got a few theories on how to improve bargaining power at the bottom end "

I'm looking forward to hearing them :-) 

Posted by WhyNot
3/25/2005 03:20:00 pm  

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