Community Service

To the Editor;

The current spate of mass protests across the world have a common denominator: the global economy is not attending to the well-being of the general populace, with wealth increasing concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The same can be said of the new populism and rise of autocratic leaders pushing for national self-interest. Global trade has spawned an economic order favoring the corporate/financial sector. The power of capital today spares only crumbs for the average worker whose employment resembles more and more an enforced community service. Modern China, with a government operating essentially as a mega-corporate entity, thus far has been exemplary in raising it citizenry out of poverty, and, other than in Hong Kong, Chinese people thus far have been willing to accept an Orwellian iron hand over thought and the flow of information in exchange for economic security. (1984 should be required reading for all Chinese students in America.)  It remains questionable how far Western democracies will follow this example. 


Trickle Down

To the Editor:
Let’s call it Trickle Me Once, Trickle Me Twice.  The Trumpublican tax “reform” is a simple reaffirmation of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side, trickle down economic platform that has resulted in the wealth and income disparity we have today.  It is purely magical thinking to believe that the corporate world will share its tax windfall with the average working American whose own tax “relief”, unlike that for corporations, is set to expire.  Company bonuses are nice but, unlike pay raises, they are only temporary.  In other words, future deficits will fall squarely upon public rather than corporate income and Conservatives can amplify their disparagement of federal public well-being and safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security.  The goal seems to be to continue the transformation of America into a Banana Republic ruled by a wealthy, oligarchical elite.  All “isms” have positive and negative aspects, but coupled with the deregulation of banking and the fossil fuel extraction industries, this is Capitalism at its worst.
Robert Porath

Carrot and Stick

I have to confess my understanding of economics is only rudimentary and perhaps overly simplistic, particularly in regard to the modern interpretation of theory, but…while too much inflation is seen as negative, inflation itself is considered essential to a capitalist economy.  In my mind, consistent inflation is equivalent to a continual devaluation of currency and acts, essentially, as both the carrot and the stick moving the economy along.  Madison Avenue’s promotion of consumerism and technology envy is a similar carrot-and-stick operation.  So the question rises, is an anti-“Atlas Shrugged” moment on the horizon if people tire of being the burros creating wealth for a plutocratic elite?  Also, isn’t a bursting of the technology bubble possible?  How much more can a cell phone do? and how can people continue to pay higher and higher fees if there are not adequate wages?  I am not wishing for an “Arab Spring” here, but our economy is completely out of balance and the concentration of wealth is doing immeasurable harm to the nation.