On May 5, 2016, Norman Kurland and Dawn Brown write on the Unite America Party blog site:
Think about this: We all need money.
Our central bank — the Federal Reserve — controls money. Money shapes the world. Whoever controls money, determines who will own capital (income-producing wealth) in the future. And whoever owns capital will have power over the economy and the political system.
Did you know ….
in the U.S. the top one-half of one percent own more than the bottom 90% of Americans combined?
the richest 67 people in the world, according to Forbes Magazine, own and control more income-producing property than the bottom 3.5 billion citizens of the world combined?
the wealth-and-income gap continues to widen, so that by 2016 the top 1% will ownmore than everyone else in the world put together?
the bottom 99% of Americans – if we are lucky enough to be among the “shrinking middle class” — are daily beset by economic insecurity, fear of losing our jobs, rising consumer and student debt, and disappearing retirement incomes.
over 44 million Americans live in poverty, suffering from unemployment, homelessness, hunger, poor quality education and healthcare, and no clear way out of their poverty.
personal and household debt in the U.S. is over $8 trillion, roughly $52,000 per citizen.
U.S. federal, state and local government debt has grown to $21.3 trillion — and that’s not counting a projected$95.7trillion in unfunded liabilities we the taxpayers will owe for “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicare. (Added together that liability comes to over $364,000 for you, me and every other citizen.)
Think about what all that debt means for each of us as taxpayers, and for our children and grandchildren who will shoulder that ever-increasing debt. Think about what will happen if we don’t, or can’t, pay what we owe as a nation.
Simply demanding more jobs, raising the minimum wage, cranking the Central Bank’s printing presses to bail out the government or “too large to fail” banks, or redistributing property incomes of the 1%, won’t solve the problem.
It’s time ….
to lift all our people and our nation out of unsustainable debt.
to start financing sustainable growth, new jobs and green technology.
to stop pouring money into Wall Street and their Big Government cronies.
to start delivering economic justice through capital ownership for every citizen.
We can start by delivering monetary justice — putting money power into the hands of every citizen and every family.
Section 13, paragraph 2 of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 provides the critical monetary key to opening the door to economic justice for all. This overlooked (or misused) piece of existing law could help finance healthy private sector growth and more equal capital ownership opportunities for every member of society. It could do this without using taxpayer money, or violating property rights of current owners of existing productive capital assets.
THE CAPITAL HOMESTEAD ACT – A SYSTEM CHANGER
The proposed Capital Homestead Act is a comprehensive economic reform agenda that would make our monetary and tax systems more simple and just, and would systematically spread real economic power through capital ownership to every person and family.
This Act would eliminate monetary and tax barriers to equal economic opportunity and full economic participation. Whether under “Wall Street” capitalism, all forms of State and collective ownership, or Keynesian “mixed economy” and “Welfare State” models, these exclusionary and monopolistic barriers exist in every country in the world.
These barriers have brought about bankruptcy of citizens and nations, stagnant or shrinking economies, regional conflicts over resources, and social conditions breeding terrorism and war.
Under proposed Capital Homesteading reforms, every American citizen would gain as a fundamental right of citizenship, equal access to the economic equivalent of the political ballot.
This newly recognized right is equal access to “social tools” such as money and credit within a properly managed system. Every citizen and family would be empowered with the means to purchase shares in feasible private sector projects for non-inflationary growth of the agricultural, industrial, and commercial sectors of the productive economy.
Full rights and powers of ownership and the full stream of income from their capital would then flow directly to each citizen and family. Think how that would change our economic and political system!
CREATING A MORE JUST MONEY-AND-CREDIT SYSTEM
Each of the twelve Federal Reserve regional banks already has the power under existing law to supply new, insured, interest-free credit and asset-backed money, issued by local commercial banks, in order to finance non-inflationary, private-sector growth of agriculture, industry and commerce.
Instead of being used to pay for the government’s deficits and debt, or to bail out irresponsible, “too-big-to-fail” banks, the Federal Reserve’s money-creation powers would be used strictly for financing sustainable, non-inflationary private-sector growth.
And instead of simply channeling this new money and credit to the top 1%, the twelve regional Feds would irrigate the whole economy by making ownership-expanding capital loans to every child, woman and man in the region, each and every year.
The money for these citizen ownership loans would be asset-backed — not backed by government debt or by bad mortgage securities. The loans, which would be insured against the risk of default, would be used strictly for purchasing new shares of profitable companies seeking to grow.
The loans would be repaid with the full, untaxed stream of future profits (“future savings”) of the enterprises issuing the shares. Thereafter, those company profits would flow to the citizen-shareholders as their independent source of income, over and above their wages or welfare.
Democratizing future ownership opportunities would reduce corruption and make the American market system more just, more free and more competitive in global trade.
By enabling all private, public, and non-profit sector workers, as well as welfare recipients, to gain ever-increasing earned incomes from the bottom-line profits of productive enterprises, the costs of production and prices for American-produced goods and services could remain stable or even decrease.
This strategy would also enable the U.S. economy to grow faster. It would create millions of new productive jobs and growing dividend incomes for every citizen and family, so they can meet their consumption needs, thus providing businesses with more “customers with money.”
… AND A MORE JUST TAX SYSTEM
Under the Capital Homestead Act, the tax system (which reinforces the money and credit system) would also be replaced with a more just and simplified system designed to:
remove artificial tax barriers and “tax expenditures” (tax subsidies) that perpetuate concentrated ownership of productive capital and fuel ever-increasing government deficits;
tax incomes from all sources (labor, capital, gambling, etc.) that are above a uniform personal exemption to cover basic living costs, at a single rate calculated to eliminate all budget deficits and begin to pay off old government debt;
exempt from taxation any income being used to pay off citizen- or worker-ownership loans;
encourage enterprises to pay out fully tax-deductible dividends, and finance all future capital with the issuance of new, full-dividend-payout, voting shares; and
encourage the spreading out of now-concentrated economic power as widely as possible from one generation to the next, by shifting from estate and gift taxes on the accumulated wealth of super-rich persons to taxing recipients at a single personal tax on all gifts and inheritances they receive that exceed the recipient’s holdings over $1 million dollars.
WHAT IF WE DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM?
Then — no matter whether it’s a private elite, the State, or a powerful alliance of the two — those who own will control those who don’t own. They will have power over the stomachs, the freedoms, and the futures of those who own no productive wealth.
The choice comes down to this: “Own or be owned.”
If you would rather own than be owned, let’s join together to deliver a new and unifying message to the American people and the people of the world:
The following are excerpts from Albert Einstein’s essay “Why Socialism?” published in theMay 1949 issue of the Monthly Review. In this article Einstein describes the systemic problems with capitalism. How as wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a few the elites form an oligarchy, gaining control of the media and able to sway politicians to make laws in their favor. In this way democracy is subverted…
“Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones.
The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society.
This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population.
Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights…
Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an army of unemployed almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job.
Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence.
Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions.
Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals.. This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism.
Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion.
A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.
The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual.
The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening?
How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured? Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition…”
The core problem, as Albert Einstein identified, remains CONCENTRATE CAPITAL OWNERSHIP among the few. The solution is to abate all forms of CONCENTRATED CAPITAL OWNERSHIP and broaden personal capital asset formation simultaneously with the FUTURE growth of the economy. This can be accomplished by reforming monetary and tax policies to empower EVERY child, woman, and man to acquire personal capital asset OWNERSHIP in America’s FUTURE economy using INSURED, INTEREST-FREE capital credit, repayable out of the FUTURE earnings of the investments, without the requirement of past savings or ANY reduction in wages or earnings or benefits, should one be employed.
The result can be an unprecedented engine of responsible green, sustainable growth whereby EVERY CITIZEN would be productive and OWN wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets and see their OWNERSHIP portfolios grow simultaneously with the growth of the economy, resulting in a FUTURE economy that can support general affluence for EVERY child, woman, and man.
Singling out United Technologies, Sanders also noted that the layoffs in Indiana have been happening across the nation over the last 35 years with no end in sight.
On April 29, 2016, Andrew Emett writes on Nation Of Change;
Speaking at a United Steelworkers rally outside the Indiana Statehouse on Friday, Sen.Bernie Sanders lambasted United Technologies’ decision to outsource 1,400 U.S. jobs to Mexico. Despite the fact that United Technologies recently posted larger earnings and revenue than expected, roughly 2,100 employees in Indiana are expected to lose their jobs to foreign labor willing to work $3/hour.
“I intend to do everything I can to prevent United Technologies from shutting down their plants in Indianapolis and Huntington from throwing 2,100 American workers out on the street and moving to Monterey, Mexico, where they’re gonna pay people there three dollars an hour,” Sanders asserted on Friday.
Earlier this year, United Technologies announced plans to shut down its Carrier Corp factory in Indianapolis and outsource 1,400 U.S. jobs next year to Monterey, Mexico, where workers will only receive $3/hour. United Technologies is also expected to layoff another 700 employees in Huntington, Indiana, where the parent company is closing a facility.
“Today we are sending a very loud and clear message to the CEO of United Technologies: Stop the greed. Stop destroying the middle class in America. Respect your workers. Respect the American people,” Sanders announced to the crowd of protesting workers.
In 2014, United Technologies provided its retired CEO, Louis Schenevert, a golden parachute of $172 million along with a pension worth $31 million. Making a profit of more than $7 billion last year, United Technologies also received $6 billion in defense contracts.
While receiving more than $58 million in corporate welfare from the Export-Import Bank, United Technologies also received nearly $530,000 of Indiana taxpayer money in training grants. Despite the fact that United Technologies recently posted more revenue than expected, totaling $13.357 billion for the quarter, roughly 2,100 Indiana employees will lose their jobs in an attempt for the company to “stay competitive and protect the business.”
“Look around Indiana and you will find once vibrant and strong manufacturing towns like Gary, South Bend, Muncie, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Evansville shattered by abandoned factories, shut down steel mills, sky-high poverty rates, and foreclosed homes,” Sanders observed. “You do not have to have a PhD in economics to understand that our unfettered free trade policies have failed. We need new trade policies in this country, policies that are designed to protect the interests of American workers, not just the compensation-packages of corporate CEOs.”
Singling out United Technologies, Sanders also noted that the layoffs in Indiana have been happening across the nation over the last 35 years with no end in sight. Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Indiana alone has lost 113,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs. Although Sanders fought against the NAFTA and other disastrous trade agreements, Hillary Clinton staunchly supported their passage.
“It is not acceptable to me that today the top one tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” Sanders declared. “We need a political revolution. We need millions of Americans to begin to stand up and fight back and demand a government that represents all of us.
“And if we stand together, men and women, gay and straight, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, and say loudly and clearly that enough is enough! That this country belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
On April 28, 2016, Dave Johnson writes on The Smirking Chimp:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) went dormant in Congress after election season began. It became clear that the public despises our country’s corporate-dominated “trade deals” that let companies just lay people off and close factories here to take advantage of conditions in countries that allow people and the environment to be exploited. Candidates who could sense which way the wind was blowing told voters they oppose TPP, and Congress dropped it — for now.
But now people who follow these things are hearing more and more talk behind the scenes that indicate corporate America is going to try to push TPP through in the “lame duck” Congressional session after the elections. This is a session in which the old Congress consisting of the ones who might have gotten voted out minus new ones who just got voted in, and the re-elected incumbents who won’t be up for re-election for two more years can sneak things past the public with little or no accountability.
“I think we’ll probably get it through, but it’s shaky,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said in an interview. “It will probably have to be after the elections. I think we have a better chance to passing it after, but we’ll see” what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellwants to do, he said.
McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has indicated plans not to pursue it “certainly before the election,” leaving the door open to a vote in the lame-duck session, according to trade analysts.
[. . .] Business groups are “going to put a lot of pressure on McConnell to make sure this doesn’t fall through, and they have influence,” said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University.
[. . .] Lawmakers fearing a voter backlash may be more apt to stay quiet on the issue through Election Day and take controversial votes during the lame-duck session, which can last as long as a month after the election and before a new Congress convenes in January, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Monday’s Inside Trade newsletter (subscription), had a story, “Obama Signals TPP To Move Forward After Election Cycle Ends”:
President Obama this week said the prospects for congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be best after the election season ends, signaling that the White House still believes it can successfully navigate political headwinds and push the trade agreement through Congress this year.
“And with respect to Congress and Trans-Pacific Partnership, I think after the primary season is over the politics settle down a little bit in Congress, and we’ll be in a position to start moving forward,” Obama said on Sunday (April 24) in Germany at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “But I think we all know that elections can sometimes make things a little more challenging, and people take positions, in part, to protect themselves from attacks during the course of election season.”
Where Obama says here that people running for office “take positions, in part, to protect themselves from attacks during the course of election season,” he means they lie and tell voters that they are against TPP, but they intend to vote for TPP after we’ve vote for them. Nice.
A top U.S. business leader expects a vote on a massive Asia-Pacific trade agreement after the November elections.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said Monday that election-year pressures will force the Senate to vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a lame-duck session to protect several vulnerable Republican incumbents.
Translation: they understand that the voters hate it, but the giant corporations want it, so they will try to push a vote after the election to “protect” politicians from the voters. And what the Chamber of Commerce “expects” of Congress usually happens.
Call your Representative and both your Senators and let them know how you feel about the possibility of Congress sneaking a vote for TPP after the election.
Not surprisingly, the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, or other stakeholders in democracy, AND FURTHER CONCENTRATE OWNERSHIP OF THE NON-HUMAN PRODUCTIVE CAPITAL MEANS OF PRODUCTION!
The REAL STORY is a story about the collusion among a globally wealthy ownership class to further concentrate private sector ownership in ALL FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital asset creation on a global scale. A sorta FREE TRADE ON STEROIDS!
This troubling trend explains why many voters — especially in states dependent on manufacturing — are so fired up about issues like trade. Unfortunately, it is likely we will see job losses continue in the upcoming months, in part because China’s massive industrial capacity continues unabated.
Despite promises from China officials that the country will cut its steel production, for example, one of China’s largest steel companies announced this week that will increase output by 20 percent over the next year.
Already, 12,000 U.S. steelworkers have faced layoffs because of China’s steel overcapacity. It’s not just the United States — across the pond in the United Kingdom, tens of thousands of workers could soon be out of a job permanently. On Friday, Mexico’s Economy Minister called on the United States, Mexico and Europe to come together to stop China’s steel exports.
“It makes full sense that we get together — and we’re going to get together in Brussels — to try to give a common response to the Chinese: Either you reduce your production, stop dumping on us… or we are really going to react violently, trade-ly speaking,” said minister Ildefonso Guajardo. “I’m saying with tariffs and anti-dumping measures.”
Steel imports aren’t the only issue impacting American manufacturing workers, of course. China’s currency manipulation and our growing trade deficit also continue to plague the sector. “That’s not right. American manufacturers can outcompete anyone in the world, but they need a level playing field,” said AAM President Scott Paul.
All of this, of course, has been reflected in the 2016 campaign, both at the presidential level andin down-ticket races. Voters are facing major economic problems like widening inequality and a hollowed-out middle class, in part because of manufacturing’s decline.
That’s why trade, jobs and manufacturing were such big issues in the Michigan and Ohio presidential primary races. They are likely to impact upcoming races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well — which is whyallofthecandidates are touting their manufacturing credentials.
“We’ll never experience a true manufacturing job resurgence in the United States unless we get a lot tougher with China and policy enforcement,” Paul added. “That’s something many Michigan and Ohio voters in both parties got behind, and it is sure to be a principle Wisconsinites will stand up for at the polls next week.”
On February 16, 2016 Zeeshan Aleem writes on Yahoo! News:
Thomas Piketty, perhaps the most influential economic thinker of the left in the Western world, is impressed by the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In a post for Le Monde republished on Tuesday by the Guardian, the French economist outlined why he felt the populist senator’s ascent spells “the end of the politico-ideological cycle opened by the victory of Ronald Reagan at the 1980 elections.” Piketty argues that regardless of Sanders’ fate in this particular contest, he has created an opening for similar candidates in the future —”possibly younger and less white” — who could successfully make it into the White House and “change the face of the country.”
What’s most interesting about Piketty’s analysis is that he doesn’t see Sanders as following in the footsteps of Europe’s social democratic models, but rather leading the United States toward a possible return to the nation’s pioneering 20th century experiments with extremely progressive taxation and social spending.
Two women visit a newly opened robot-staffed store run by telecommunications and mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. in Tokyo, Japan on March 24.
On March 28, 2016, Bryan Dean Wright writes in the Los Angeles Times:
A viral video released in February showed Boston Dynamics’ new bipedal robot, Atlas, performing human-like tasks: opening doors, tromping about in the snow, lifting and stacking boxes. Tech geeks cheered and Silicon Valley investors salivated at the potential end to human manual labor.
Shortly thereafter, White House economists released a forecast that calculated more precisely whom Atlas and other forms of automation are going to put out of work. Most occupations that pay less than $20 an hour are likely to be, in the words of the report, “automated into obsolescence.”
In other words, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution has found its first victims: blue-collar workers and the poor.
The general response in working America is disbelief or outright denial. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 80% of Americans think their job will still exist in 50 years, and only 11% of today’s workers were worried about losing their job to automation. Some — like my former colleagues at the CIA – insist that their specialized skills and knowledge can’t be replaced by artificial intelligence. That is, until they see plans for autonomous drones that don’t require a human hand and automated imagery analysis that outperforms human eyes.
Human workers of all stripes pound the table claiming desperately that they’re irreplaceable. Bus drivers. Bartenders. Financial advisors. Speechwriters. Firefighters. Umpires. Even doctors and surgeons. Meanwhile, corporations and investors are spending billions — at least $8.5 billion last year on AI, and $1.8 billion on robots — toward making all those jobs replaceable. Why? Simply put, robots and computers don’t need healthcare, pensions, vacation days or even salaries.
Powerhouse consultancies like McKinsey & Co. forecast that 45% of today’s workplace activities could be done by robots, AI or some other already demonstrated technology. Some professors argue that we could see 50% unemployment in 30 years.
Deniers of the scope and scale of this looming economic upheaval point hopefully to retraining programs, and insist that there always will be a need for people to build and service these machines (even as engineers are focused on developing robots that fix themselves or each other). They believe that such shifts are many decades away, even as noted futurist Ray Kurzweil, who is also Google’s director of engineering, says AI will equal human intelligence by 2029. Deniers also talk about all the new jobs they assume will be created during this Fourth Industrial Revolution. Alas, a report from the 2016 World Economic Forum calculated that the technological changes underway likely will destroy 7.1 million jobs around the world by 2020, with only 2.1 million replaced.
With the future value of human labor (read: our incomes) in doubt, what do we do?
One way to cushion the economic blow is to reclaim something from the technology realm that we’ve been giving away for free: our personal data.
Companies that sell personal data should pay a percentage of the resulting revenue into a Data Mining Royalty Fund that would provide annual payments to U.S. citizens, much as the Alaska Permanent Fund distributes oil revenues to Alaskans. This payment scheme would start with traditional data — customer, financial and social media information sold to advertisers — but would also extend to future forms of data like our facial expressions and other biometrics. If Google, Facebook or others were profiting from harvesting timber, oil, gold or any other public resource, it would be illegal and immoral for them not to pay for it. The same logic should apply to our data.
Profound changes lie ahead with implications beyond our paychecks, to be sure. Ethicists and philosophers already are debating what a world without work might look like. It’s clear that no one will escape the outcomes — negative and positive — of this economic and technological revolution.
A Data Mining Royalty Fund isn’t about helping just the unemployed factory worker who used to earn $20 an hour, the truck driver replaced by self-driving vehicles or the minimum-wage barista. It’s about taking steps to guarantee some minimum income to your family, or the one down the block, before any of us are automated into obsolescence.
This is another recent article that looks at a future where there will be hordes of citizens of zero economic value. That is, unless the system can be reformed to empower EVERY citizen to acquire OWNERSHIP in the wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets resulting from technological invention and innovation.
Because productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth it should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. The reality is if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all.
Rather than focus on Job Creation, Job Retraining, and a redistributed Minimum Guaranteed Income that holds back technological invention and innovation, our economic policies should focus on wealth-creating, income-producing capital Ownership Creation.
Given that there is no question that robotic technology will continue to expand the productivity and in large measure destroy jobs and devalue the value of human labor, the question that SHOULD be urgently addressed is WHO SHOULD OWN THE FUTURE TECHNOLOGY ECONOMY? Will ownership continue to concentrate among the 1 percent wealthy ownership class who now OWNS America, or will we reform the system to provide equal opportunity for EVERY child, woman, and man to acquire personal OWNERSHIP in FUTURE non-human capital assets paid for with the FUTURE earnings of the investments in our technological future?
The conclusions should surprise no one who is conscious and who has even causally observed the constant shift to non-human productive inputs in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales of products, as well as the delivery of services, that has been occurring during their lifetime. The first burst of this phenomena was the Industrial Revolution. But now we are in an age of technology sophistication that is permeating every sector of industry and our day-to-day lives.
There’s nothing new about machines replacing people, but the rate of replacement is exponential and the result is that productivity gains lead to more wealth for the OWNERS of the non-human factor of production, but for others who have always been dependent on jobs as their source of income, there has been a steady decline to poverty-level labor incomes.
What must be understood (which unfortunately is not understood by conventional economists) is that there are two independent factors of production––human or labor workers and non-human or physical productive capital––productive land, structures, machines, super-automation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc.
Fundamentally, economic value is created through human and non-human contributions.
Also what needs to be understood is that human productivity has not advanced (our human abilities are limited by physical strength and brain power––and relatively constant), but that the productiveness of the non-human factor of production––productive capital––is the reason that private sector corporations, majority owned by the “1 percent,” are utilizing the non-human factor of production increasingly to create efficiencies and save labor costs. It is the function of technology to save labor from toil and to enable us to do things that otherwise is humanly impossible without non-human input.
The critical question becomes who should OWN productive capital? The issue of OWNERSHIP is unbelievably overlooked by those in academia and politics, as well as by the author of the MIT Technology Review article. Yet we live in country founded upon private property rights.
Today, large streams of data, coupled with statistical analysis and sophisticated algorithms, are rapidly gaining importance in almost every field of science, politics, journalism, and much more. What does this mean for the future of work?
But what about China and Asia, the place where all the manufacturing jobs are supposedly going? True, China has added manufacturing jobs over the past 15 years. But now it is beginning its shift to super-robotic automation. Foxconn, which manufactures the iPhone and many other consumer electronics and is China’s largest private employer, has plans to install over a million manufacturing robots within three years. Thus, in reality off-shoring of manufacturing will eventually be replaced by human-intelligent super-robotic automation.
The pursuit for lower and lower cost production that relies on slave wage labor will eventually run out of places to chase. Eventually, “rich” countries, whose productive capital capability is owned by its citizens, will be forced to “re-shore” manufacturing capacity, and result in ever-cheaper robotic manufacturing.
“The era we’re in is one in which the scope of tasks that can be automated is increasing rapidly, and in areas where we used to think those were our best skills, things that require thinking,” says David Autor, a labor economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Businesses are spending more on technology now because they spent so little during the recession. Yet total capital expenditures are still barely running ahead of replacement costs. “Most of the investment we’re seeing is simply replacing worn-out stuff,” says economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics.
Yet, while the problem is one that no one can no longer ignore, the solution also is one starring them in the face but they just can’t see the simplicity of it.
The fundamental challenge to be solved is how do we reinvent and redesign our economic institutions to keep pace with job destroying and labor devaluing technological innovation and invention so not all of the benefits of OWNING FUTURE productive capacity accrues to today’s wealthy 1 percent ownership class, and ownership is broadened so that EVERY American earns income through stock OWNERSHIP dividends so they can afford to purchase the products and services produced by the economy.
None of this is new from a macro-economic viewpoint as productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth. The role of physical productive capital is to do ever more of the work of producing more products and services, which produces income to its owners. Full employment is not an objective of businesses. Companies strive to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum. Private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital’s ever increasing role. Over the past century there has been an ever-accelerating shift to productive capital––which reflects tectonic shifts in the technologies of production. The mixture of labor worker input and capital worker input has been rapidly changing at an exponential rate of increase for over 235 years in step with the Industrial Revolution (starting in 1776) and had even been changing long before that with man’s discovery of the first tools, but at a much slower rate. Up until the close of the nineteenth century, the United States remained a working democracy, with the production of products and services dependent on labor worker input. When the American Industrial Revolution began and subsequent technological advance amplified the productive power of non-human capital, plutocratic finance channeled its ownership into fewer and fewer hands, as we continue to witness today with government by the wealthy evidenced at all levels.
People invented tools to reduce toil, enable otherwise impossible production, create new highly automated industries, and significantly change the way in which products and services are produced from labor intensive to capital intensive––the core function of technological invention. Binary economist Louis Kelso attributed most changes in the productive capacity of the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to technological improvements in our capital assets, and a relatively diminishing proportion to human labor. Capital, in Kelso’s terms, does not “enhance” labor productivity (labor’s ability to produce economic goods). In fact, the opposite is true. It makes many forms of labor unnecessary. Because of this undeniable fact, Kelso asserted that, “free-market forces no longer establish the ‘value’ of labor. Instead, the price of labor is artificially elevated by government through minimum wage legislation, overtime laws, and collective bargaining legislation or by government employment and government subsidization of private employment solely to increase consumer income.”
Furthermore, according to Kelso, productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. Kelso postulated that if both labor and capital are interdependent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all. Yet, sadly, the American people and its leaders still pretend to believe that labor is becoming more productive.
The 400 wealthiest Americans and the other 1 to 10 percent richest Americans are rich because they OWN wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital assets. The disenfranchised poor and working and middle class are propertyless in terms of OWNING productive capital assets.
Because productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth, shouldn’t we be asking the question why is not productive capital the source of added property OWNERSHIP incomes for all? Why are we not addressing how the system facilitates greed capitalism and envy while concentrating productive capital OWNERSHIP among the 1 to 10 percent of the population?
The change that is necessary is to reform the system to provide equal opportunity for EVERY American to acquire wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital assets on the basis that the investments will pay for themselves––and on the same terms that the wealthy OWNERSHIP class now utilizes. They are able to use the investment’s earnings to pay off the capital credit loans used to finance their investments, without having to use their own money or deny themselves consumption.
A National Right To Capital Ownership Bill that restores the American dream should be advocated by the progressive movement, which addresses the reality of Americans facing job opportunity deterioration and devaluation due to tectonic shifts in the technologies of production.
There is a solution, which will result in double-digit economic growth and simultaneously broaden private, individual OWNERSHIP so that EVERY American’s income significantly grows, providing the means to support themselves and their families with an affluent lifestyle. The Just Third Way Master Plan for America’s future is published at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=5797.
The solution is obvious but our leaders, academia, conventional economist and the media are oblivious to the necessity to broaden OWNERSHIP in the new capital formation of the future simultaneously with the growth of the economy, which then becomes self-propelled as increasingly more Americans accumulate OWNERSHIP shares and earn a new source of dividend income derived from their capital OWNERSHIP in the “machines” that are replacing them or devaluing their labor value.
The solution will require the reform of the Federal Reserve Bank to create new OWNERS of FUTURE productive capital investment in businesses simultaneously with the growth of the economy. The solution to broadening private, individual OWNERSHIP of America’s FUTURE capital wealth requires that the Federal Reserve stop monetizing unproductive debt, including bailouts of banks “too big to fail” and Wall Street derivatives speculators, and begin creating an asset-backed currency that could enable every child, woman, and man to establish a Capital Homestead Account or “CHA” (a super-IRA or asset tax-shelter for citizens) at their local bank to acquire a growing dividend-bearing stock portfolio to supplement their incomes from work and all other sources of income. Policies need to insert American citizens into the low or no-interest investment money loop to enable non- and undercapitalized Americans, including the working class and poor, to build wealth and become “customers with money.” The proposed Capital Homestead Act would produce this result.
Through Just Third Way reforms, economic growth would be freed from the slavery of past savings (“old money”), while creating a domestic source of new asset-backed, interest-free (but not cost free) money and expanded bank credit to finance new capital repayable out of future savings (earnings). To ensure that OWNERSHIP of future private sector growth and newly created wealth is universally accessible to every citizen, such newly created money and credit would only be available through economic democratization vehicles, administered through the competitive member banks of a well-regulated Federal Reserve central banking system.
Under the first tier, future increases in the money supply (“new money”) would be linked to actual growth of the economy’s productive assets, creating new OWNERS of new capital asset wealth through widespread access to interest-free capital credit repayable with future profits. The Federal Reserve would create (i.e., “monetize”) interest-free credit, with lenders adding their normal markup as service fees above the cost of money. This would establish an unsubsidized minimal rate for financing technological growth. This would provide the public with a currency backed by increasingly more efficient instruments of production, real wealth-producing capital assets, rather than unsustainable government debt.The creation of new money and credit would be non-inflationary and would simultaneously broaden purchasing power throughout the economy. To accomplish this, a key reform is a two-tiered interest policy by the Federal Reserve that would distinguish between productive and non-productive uses of credit.
The second tier would allow substantially higher, market-determined interest rates for non-productive purposes, for which “past savings” would remain available. The Federal Reserve would be restrained from future monetization of national deficits or encouraging other forms of non-productive uses of credit, causing upper-tier credit to seek out already accumulated savings at market rates.
Capital Homesteading would also provide through capital credit insurance a rational way to deal with risk, as well as an additional check on the quality of loans being supported by the Federal Reserve. Capital credit insurance and reinsurance policies would offset the risk that the enterprises issuing new shares on credit might fail to repay the loans. Such capital credit default insurance would substitute for collateral demanded by most lenders to cover the risk of non-payment, thus enabling the poor and others with few assets to overcome the collateralization barrier that excludes poor people from access to productive credit.
On March 28, 2016, John Nichols writes in The Nation:
Any honest discussion of balancing budgets has to begin with an acknowledgement that it is necessary to audit Pentagon spending and address the bloated budgeting of the Department of Defense. As Senator Rand Paul explained back when he was Time magazine’s “most-interesting man in politics”: A serious plan for balancing the federal budget must feature a plan for the “draw-down and restructuring of the Department of Defense.”
When he entered the Republican Party’s bloated 2016 presidential race, Paul became less interesting. But he still asked some of the best questions. For instance, in Paul’s finest GOP debate performances, he demanded to know, “How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures?” As the only serious candidate in the Republican race, Paul informed his opponents: “You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs that you’re not going to pay for.”
A recognition of the need to address the Pentagon’s excessive and irresponsible spending should be at the center of the politics of both major parties. Unfortunately, despite some attempts by Paul on the Republican side andBernie Sanders (and, while he was still in the race, Lincoln Chafee) on the Democratic side, the 2016 presidential competition has not featured sufficient discussion of the pathologies that develop when Pentagon excess is encouraged.
But the Congressional Progressive Caucus has steered the discussion in a sensible direction with its 2017 “People’s Budget,” which proposes a “Prosperity, Not Austerity; Invest in America” agenda. At the heart of the CPC proposal is a commitment to a $1 trillion infrastructure investment program that includes $765 million to address the infrastructure crisis in Flint, Michigan, which has evolved into a humanitarian crisis. There are also proposals for necessary investments in healthcare, education, and programs to address hunger. And, as usual with the most fiscally and socially responsible caucus in the Congress, there is a plan to pay for it all.
The CPC retains its commitment to a financial-transactions tax on Wall Street speculation, as well as proposals to close loopholes and end practices that allow corporations and CEOs to avoid paying taxes. By combining smart policies and smart economics, says Congressman Mark Pocan, the Wisconsin Democrat who serves as the first vice chair of the CPC, which now has more than 70 members. The People’s Budget “reverses harmful austerity cuts and fixes a system that for far too long has only benefited those at the top. The Progressive Caucus Budget rebuilds our crumbling roads and bridges, creates good paying jobs, and increases educational opportunities from pre-kindergarten to college. Our budget invests in the American people and gives working families the best opportunity to get ahead.”
But what may be most striking about the CPC budget is the determination of the caucus to address the excessive Pentagon spending that eats up so much of the hard-earned tax money Americans send to Washington.
“Pentagon spending has doubled over the last decade at the expense of investments in working families,” explains the CPC document. “But as the war in Afghanistan draws to a close, we need a leaner, more agile force to combat realistic twenty-first-century threats. The People’s Budget responsibly ends operations in Afghanistan, brings our troops home, focuses Pentagon spending on modern security threats instead of Cold War-era weapons and contracts, and invests in a massive job creation program that will help workers transition into civilian jobs. The People’s Budget also increases investments in diplomacy, sustainable development, and humanitarian assistance to address the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq.”
The CPC plan features a proposal that progressives, responsible moderates, and thinking conservatives have embraced: auditing the Pentagon. “As the only federal agency that cannot be audited, the Pentagon loses tens of billions of dollars annually to waste, fraud, and abuse,” argues the CPC. “It is past time to check the wasteful practices with little oversight that weaken our financial outlook and ultimately, our national security.
With real information about current defense spending, and about the sort of spending cuts that might realistically and responsibly be made as part of a shift in priorities, the CPC outlines an approach there steers the United States toward a better balance when it comes to budgeting.
On March 19, 2016, Robert Reich writes on Nation Of Change:
The fact is, recent trade deals are less about trade and more about global investment.
I used to believe in trade agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains.
The old-style trade agreements of the 1960s and 1970s increased worldwide demand for products made by American workers, and thereby helped push up American wages.
The new-style agreements increase worldwide demand for products made by American corporations all over the world, enhancing corporate and financial profits but keeping American wages down.
The fact is, recent trade deals are less about trade and more about global investment.
Big American corporations no longer make many products in the United States for export abroad. Most of what they sell abroad they make abroad.
The biggest things they “export” are ideas, designs, franchises, brands, engineering solutions, instructions, and software, coming from a relatively small group of managers, designers, and researchers in the U.S.
The Apple iPhone is assembled in China from components made in Japan, Singapore, and a half-dozen other locales. The only things coming from the U.S. are designs and instructions from a handful of engineers and managers in California.
Apple even stows most of its profits outside the U.S. so it doesn’t have to pay American taxes on them.
Recent “trade” deals have been wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives and major shareholders, because they get better direct access to foreign markets and billions of consumers.
They also get better protection for their intellectual property – patents, trademarks, and copyrights – and for their overseas factories, equipment, and financial assets.
That’s why big corporations and Wall Street are so enthusiastic about the Trans Pacific Partnership – the giant deal among countries responsible for 40 percent of the global economy.
That deal would give giant corporations even more patent protection overseas. And it would allow them to challenge any nation’s health, safety, and environmental laws that stand in the way of their profits – including our own.
But recent trade deals haven’t been wins for most Americans.
By making it easier for American corporations to make things abroad, the deals have reduced the bargaining power of American workers to get better wages here.
The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership’s investor protections will make it safer for firms to relocate abroad – the Cato Institute describes such protections as “lowering the risk premium” on offshoring – thereby further reducing corporate incentives to make and do things in the United States, using and upgrading the skills of Americans.
Proponents say giant deals like the TPP are good for the growth of the United States economy. But that argument begs the question of whose growth they’re talking about.
Almost all the growth goes to the richest 1 percent. The rest of us can buy some products cheaper than before, but most of those gains would are offset by wage losses.
In theory, the winners could fully compensate the losers and still come out ahead. But the winners don’t compensate the losers.
For example, it’s ironic that the Administration is teaming up with congressional Republicans to enact the TPP, when congressional Republicans have done just about everything they can to keep down the wages of most Americans.
They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage (whose inflation-adjusted value is now almost 25 percent lower than it was in 1968), expand unemployment benefits, invest in job training, enlarge the Earned Income Tax Credit, improve the nation’s infrastructure, or expand access to public higher education.
They’ve embraced budget austerity that has slowed job and wage growth. And they’ve continued to push “trickle-down” economics – keeping tax rates low for America’s richest, protecting their tax loopholes, and fighting off any attempt to raise taxes on wealthy inheritances to their level before 2000.
I’ve seen first-hand how effective Wall Street and big corporations are at wielding influence – using lobbyists, campaign donations, and subtle promises of future jobs to get the global deals they want.
Global deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership will boost the profits of Wall Street and big corporations, and make the richest 1 percent even richer. But they’ll contribute the to steady shrinkage of the American middle class.
Robert Reich is absolutely correct when he states: “The fact is, recent trade deals are less about trade and more about global investment.
“Big American corporations no longer make many products in the United States for export abroad. Most of what they sell abroad they make abroad.
“The biggest things they “export” are ideas, designs, franchises, brands, engineering solutions, instructions, and software, coming from a relatively small group of managers, designers, and researchers in the U.S.
“Global deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership will boost the profits of Wall Street and big corporations, and make the richest 1 percent even richer.”
And they will contribute to steady shrinkage of the American middle class, essentially reducing the vast majority of Americans to slave wages, under-employment or unemployment.
Jo-Ann was a child Jo-Ann was a child prodigy who went to college at age 14. She graduated and landed a coveted job at Citigroup.
Soon she was flying around the world leading meetings. Then she jumped to a management role at a financial printer. She was middle class, maybe even on her way to the upper middle class … until the tech bubble burst. And September 11th hit.
The U.S. fell into a recession and companies cut back. In 2002, Jo-Ann was forced to train the Indian workers that would replace her.
After she was laid off, she struggled to find a good paying job. She melted down her savings and 401k. She got into the trap of working “dead-end crap jobs with crap wages,” including a stint at Walmart.
Her life went from American Dream to Bust. Today she’s in her mid-40s and makes $11 an hour processing payments at a financial firm despite being college educated.
Her story is exactly what so many Americans fear — that they are one step away from financial ruin. It’s why they are drawn to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election.
The anger is boiling over
“The anger is boiling over. Enough of the American people have got it through their heads that the American Dream is dead for us,” says Jo-Ann, who lives in Pennsylvania. She requested that her last name be withheld for this article so it wouldn’t impact her ongoing search for a better job.
“I thank God I don’t have a kid. I don’t know what I would tell them,” she says. Her advice to young people is to skip college and learn a trade like plumbing that probably won’t be shipped overseas. She supports Sanders. She agrees with him (and Trump) that trade deals like NAFTA are part of the problem.
Great Recession fears linger
Americans are on edge. Many CNN readers responded to a recent survey about their economic worries. Over and over, people said they were fearful of losing a job, of a health problem that would drain their savings, of wages that aren’t growing and of diminished prospects for their children.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett argues people are way too pessimistic about the economy. He says babies born in America today are “the luckiest crop in history.”
But Americans fear life could derail quickly, much as it did for many during the Great Recession.
“The job market is tough. People are scared. They aren’t leaving their jobs,” says Ashley Brinkman, 28, of Anchorage, Alaska. She and her husband have jobs they enjoy, but they look around and see mass layoffs in Alaska’s energy sector and cuts to education.
“We are living the middle class dream. We vacation once a year and own a camper,” says Brinkman, who recently received an $11,000 raise as she moved up the ranks from being a bank teller to a management job. But life hinges on staying employed.
Brinkman grew up in a small South Dakota town. She says people there describe this presidential race as akin to “picking the cleanest turd out of the bunch.”
Americans worry for their kids
People are especially concerned about the future for their children.
In a CNNMoney/E*Trade survey this year, 56% of people said they think their kids will be worse off financially than they are.
Ricardo Bustamente has worked for years as a technician at Verizon. He’s often told “do more with less.” He’s learned that means more work for him as others get laid off, but no extra pay.
“My biggest fear is that this country is going to become a nation of have and have nots. People at my level are slowing dying out,” says Bustamente, who is about to turn 43 and has three kids.
He hasn’t gotten a raise in almost 8 years, but his expenses keep going up. He drives a 10-year old car and his wife diligently clips coupons and buys items on sale.
“I’m literally making less money every year,” he says. If he loses his job, his family might lose their house.
Bustamente likes a lot of what Sanders is saying, especially on making college and health care more affordable, but he doesn’t think Congress would ever enact Sanders’ policies. Still, he is glad Sanders entered the race and has influenced Hillary Clinton.
“Slowly but surely I see myself and others around me eroding. We’re definitely not moving up. We’re moving backward,” he says.