Don’t ever tell me that poverty is a condition that will always be around or is something that laissez-faire economics will take care of. Quite frankly, it’s lazy thinking and unfeeling to view a challenge such as poverty or extreme poverty as a feature of human society that has a place in such global abundance or that doing nothing will solve the problem. Furthermore, I am willing to hypothesize that these efforts to relieve poverty, using time, energy, and resources from the production of wealth in our societies will not come at a great expense to that production of wealth and may, in fact, balance out or exceed on its returns for the overall global economy, especially with more consumption, increased savings to protect against shocks, and if it is done in an environmentally sound and sustainable way. It’s science, but it’s not rocket science. Enjoy!
While the idea of raising the minimum wage is broadly popular, efforts to do so at the national level have stalled. We gathered key facts looking at the issue. While the idea of raising the minimum wage is broadly popular, efforts to do so at the national level have stalled repeatedly in Congress, leading advocates to focus more of their efforts on cities and states. A Pew Research Center survey from January 2014 found clear partisan differences in support for raising the minimum wage: Overall, 73% of people favored an increase in the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour, mirroring a Democratic-backed proposal that failed to move ahead in Congress last year. But while large majorities of Democrats (90%) and independents (71%) said they favored such an increase, Republicans were more evenly split (53% in favor and 43% opposed).Here are five facts about the minimum wage and the people who earn it
It is, quite honestly, criminal that we permit so many people live on so little so that a few people can have so much more than they can ever hope to spend in a lifetime. These people are people too, and they are entitled, as human beings and American citizens, to live and have the ability to thrive and pursue happiness as well. What good comes for those who take so much while delivering so little in return for the rest of us by comparison to the labor and potential contributions of these tens of millions of people?
Social scientists have never understood why some countries are more corrupt than others. But the first study that links corruption with wealth could help change that.
The question then becomes whether wealth, or the lack thereof, is a cause of corruption or wealth is caused by a lack of corruption. It makes sense in my mind that a lack of corruption leads to increased potential to make wealth because the appropriate use of resources (ie, using resources for their stated purposes) and the honesty that underlies that point could, in my view, make for more wealth than the dishonest methods and inappropriate usage of public funds would. We could hypothetically run simulations to test which one is the case, similar to the Sugarscape experiments. On the other hand, a lack of resources may incentivize those who don’t have much to take more from the public resources and use them for private uses (ie, what I call the Jean Valjean effect). More experimentation should be done to tease this out. Perhaps by knowing what they’re giving up by having corruption, the officials will be more circumspect about how they live off and take from the public till.
The science of policy-making, governance, and politicking from the perspective of improving, enhancing, and maintaining power structures all stem from the science, principles, practices, and ethics of good medicine from the perspective of benefitting all patients. Policy-making and governance are the technical, scientific parts of it. Advisors, staff, and researchers are like the specialists, surgeons, and medical researchers who develop the techniques full time; potentially great at what they do and at operating technically, but sometimes not so great at the bedside manner which is important in communicating medical treatments and policies to and for the general public. Politicians and those who work with the public need to be more like the family doctor or the general practitioner; trained and aware of the science and limitations and able to do experimental treatments sometimes, but ultimately owing a lot of advice and knowledge to the researchers and technical specialists. The communication processes with the public and with people in the public is an art. It can be practiced and taught; but not all will be great at it due to personality, temperament, or preference.
The politicians are the ones who need to be able to synthesize all of the research and knowledge and practices of every field of medicine in order to come up with an accurate, general, and overall picture of societal, economic, and environmental health in order to make the day to day management choices over the governing agencies and the social body that is human society. Advisors, researchers, and staff help fill in the technical cracks in their knowledge, awareness, and function, creating a detailed yet holistic synthesis of information for the politicians to do. All members of the government and the governing and research bodies are interdependent on one another and on the health and well-being of the society that is in their technical charge. Any failure in the society that can be addressed by government is ultimately a reflection of the failures within the government. Any failure in the society that the government cannot get at due to a matter of political choice and preference on the part of the society is a fault of the society. These can possibly be remedied by the government through its policy and choice making systems in given moments and over time, especially as the benefits and costs are made more known to the public. There is also the fact that there are diverse “correct” answers in policy making depending upon the given situation that a planet, international region, country, intra-country region, state, intrastate region, or locality may be in that does no harm to others or to themselves and enables the given area to thrive due to its favorable circumstances and choices. All of these layers must work together and communicate with one another freely, openly, and honestly in order to ensure optimal functionality in the long term, both within governmental organizations and across social organizations and people. Otherwise, we get less effective and efficient policy-making and governance in our social world and across societies, which ultimately costs lives, well-being, health, quality of life, resources, energy, and effort for disappointing or negative returns.
The principles of free trade must also be balanced with the insurance of well-being within the given society. Jobs will be lost as a result of trade and since the free market will not likely provide opportunities for retraining, it would behoove the government to ensure effective training programs to help people transition to new jobs that are more valuable in the context of the given global market economy. This must also be done while ensuring that wages are not left to stagnate for the sake of businesses’ profits or executive compensation, which will ultimately cheapen the any bargain from the perspective of human society and prevent meaningful growth, health, and improved well-being from manifesting in the given society. With these two caveats in mind, free trade, indeed, does ensure a certain degree of improved quality of life by making goods cheaper to the general public. However, without jobs, there will be no room for people to afford the cheaper goods and without the insurance of fair wages, all of the benefits will go to the top executives and shareholders at the expense of the general public that the deals were intended to help. There is also the issue of national defense which has to be considered when making calculations in trade deals, as a loss of meaningful manufacturing capacity can make a country by default less sovereign and able to protect itself from those who have manufacturing capacity. The societies in question will have to balance these points when making trade deals that truly benefit everyone in their given societies. Otherwise, it’s just a transference of wealth from the many to the few with no room for advancement and improvement for the many, along with a potentially weakened strategic position in the context of an overall global system.
The American governments at all levels and in all places are going to have to come to terms with a few things. The first set of things are their own anti-social, repressive, oppressive, and anti-democratic tactics and methods and policies that they have enacted towards the general public. The American people cannot and will not voluntarily be marched into a neo-feudal serfdom without some form of resistance springing forth. Worse still, the people who will be behind such a resistance will also be the least qualified, least able, and least willing to establish a functional and effective new order from the ashes of the old. The second set are the anti-social, anti-progress, moronic, baboon-like group of radical right wing personalities and people whose anti-social, anti-progress, and anti-democratic tactics are what have brought us to the point where one is dead at NSA headquarters. These are the fat cat millionaires and radical right wingers who are sitting in our Congressional delegations, posing as bankers and businesspeople, making a mockery of the American spirit and the nature of Americans throughout all levels of society. We can either be cleansed of these people by ignoring them, voting against them, and by defending ourselves with lethal force if necessary. Or we can continue to sit around and do nothing while they dismantle our entire society and environment in the name of profit, control, and some abstract notion of liberty that they’ve never questioned or seriously examined.
I’ve always suggested that we turn our attention towards ridding our human societies of these conservative elements and the more pragmatic economic elite who fund them. The shooting at the NSA should be taken as a wake-up call for all Americans to unite against the growing right wing despotism that is threatening to erode our nation’s core integrity and to disband the dysfunctional and ineffective establishment “left” in favor of a new progressive state in America that relies on science, evidence, and the well-being of all people, not just the rich, as the benchmarks for good policy and good policy-making. Financial wealth for wealth’s sake should not be the end all of a society’s goal, nor should we condone or accept those who can’t get that through their heads.
A government and its members are never self-sustaining entities. A government and their members rely on the legitimacy, acceptance, and authority that is granted to them. These are things which can be revoked with disastrous consequences to follow for all people, including for the governments’ members, when and if they are revoked. Governments can fail; their existence is not guaranteed. Best to continue working with the general public in a dialogue for the sake of improving the quality of life for people rather than act as if there are no consequences for your actions. The sooner our governments in the United States and throughout human society get this through their heads, the sooner we’ll all be better off. We need to eliminate the right wing by allowing them to eliminate themselves, and the world will be that much closer to being reasonably settled, even though it will never truly be settled in the long term or short term. This will never be a utopian world; some problems will continue, old ones fade away, and new ones will rise. What we can change is how we live, interact with, and respond to the changes and common reality, first, by acknowledging that there is a common reality where all opinions, hypotheses, and perceptions are not equal and should not be given an equal light if they prove to be unfounded and without evidence to support them. The second thing we need to do is learn about this universe as thouroughly, deliberately, and accurately, specifically with regards to ourselves and to our own place within it relative to all other things on the individual and collective level. The third thing is to apply the lessons in our daily lives, policies, laws, programs, and actions, such that we can live healthier, happier, and more sustainable lives as individuals within the context of our environment and our societies. We can follow these three steps and all the subsequent steps and implications, or we can all collapse as a civilization and ruin ourselves and the world around us in the name of senseless greed and baseless ideology. These are the options. What side will you be on?
Think about it.