My Blog Week: June 2 to June 8
A Word on the Week
Reports from this week’s beginning, had Gov. John Hickenlooper being booed at California’s State Democratic Convention, for saying “socialism is not the answer”. Well, no. Wholesale conversion to a system (if anyone were proposing it) ill-defined in most minds, and not practiced anywhere I know of in its pure state, isn’t the answer we need. It would help if we begin talking about a Social Welfare style of governing, and stop setting the bugbear called Socialism in opposition to Capitalism, as though between these two, there were any actual contest.
Let’s have a brief take on capitalism. Essentially, it is a system of exploiting surplus. If you have a surplus of profit, you may do any of the things people do with money: invest, spend, hoard. Most people with more money than they need, choose to invest. This is the exact wisdom you or I would receive, if (fingers crossed) our careers succeed to the point we have a few thousand, maybe a million dollars sitting around. Put it in securities; put it in real estate. Almost no one, advising you in these circumstances, would say, “Start a business, and hire a bunch of people.” (Business start-ups tending to be iffy.)
Corporations with surplus cash invest…when they get huge tax cuts, for example…and could invest in expanding their business. They often don’t. Which is why more money for corporations—not a thing that in itself can overcome the law of supply and demand—doesn’t always mean lots of new manufacturing and new jobs.
Surplus labor is a thing capitalism exploits—with low wages, and reduction of benefits. A protectionist government (the type associated with tariffs) would prevent corporations from exploiting labor globally, so that in a tight labor market, this commodity (ability to perform work) that belongs to the individual, which he or she sells to employers, could not be unfairly competed with. If employers can purchase labor in markets where surplus exists, they can purchase it cheaper than in America, when…as we are told…jobs here are plentiful and people to fill them lacking.
So, as to Social Welfare. Workers who specialize in particular skills, and would have trouble adjusting if their place of work closed; older workers, campaigned against these days, on the grounds of “being expensive”; middle-management job holders in small towns and rural areas, who will find nothing comparable locally if they lose their jobs, all stand to benefit as materially as possible, when our government provides health care to everyone; also, a fundamental retirement income non-discriminatory as to lifetime earnings. (How to pay for it? Ask Elizabeth Warren.) A social welfare state prevents workers from being bargained out of their jobs because of the alleged expense of providing health care and retirement benefits. There remain plenty of causes to agitate for: workplace safety, better pay and equal pay, a psychologically healthy workplace environment (no bullying).
This week, Hammersmith was back, with part one of “A Prisoner Goes Missing”, Shaw’s coming to terms with his cog-like role. Tuesday, Sequence of Events, Van Nest explaining to Summers more of the background stage-crafting that constitutes an operation. Wednesday, a new episode of Battle Stations, the sixth Folly arc; Thursday, Catastrophe, the story told in telegrams received at Fort-de-France. Friday, a new Totem-Maker, in which the character has a rise in status, and a rebuke from the god. Saturday, another new poem, “Distract Us”, jumped off from “Goods for Love”, available in The Nutshell Hatches.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: June 2 to June 8