We are the 99%

Posted: October 17, 2011 by writingsprint in My two cents, postaday2011, postaweek2011
Tags: ,

Yesterday’s prompt at WordPress was, “What’s your opinion of the ‘Occupy’ movement and 99%?” Getting up on the soapbox…

We are the 99%

We are the 99%

99% of the wealth of the US is owned by 1% of the people. There’s something fundamentally wrong with that.

I understand that the world has changed since 1950. I know what a comparative advantage is. The United States has a comparative advantage in information and technology. Labor is cheaper in other countries. So if it’s cheaper to build cars overseas, we should build airplanes. If it’s cheaper to build airplanes overseas, we should build nanotech. The tech tree chases the bottom line around the world. I snickered last year when I heard that Chinese labor was becoming too expensive, and companies were thinking of moving those jobs to Vietnam or Africa. I also nodded my head when I read that Americans were thinking of moving to China or India, because that’s where the jobs were. It was only a matter of time.

Sooner or later — and we might even see it in our lifetimes — there won’t be anyplace left in the world where the labor is cheaper. It’ll all come down to who’s the cleverest. Not who’s the smartest, because there’s always someone smarter, and he’ll undercut the costs of the next guy up to get the job. And it’s certainly not who works the hardest, because you can teach a machine to work hard for a lot less money than a person.

The Occupy movement and 99% are about fairness. Companies used to be about more than the bottom line. They were the foundations of communities. Employees and companies shared loyalty to one another. That’s history. I get it. That doesn’t mean I have to like it or support it. Companies that send jobs overseas should be required to invest a chunk of their profits in developing jobs at home. People don’t want handouts. They want hope. They want to know that they can work for something they can hold on to. Three hundred years ago, people marched with torches and set up guillotines when they had no opportunities. Those who look down on the protestors should be glad they’re living in another time.

Getting back down off the soapbox.


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