What We Have Been Told To Do…

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I am doing something a little different today; I am leading off with the words that inspired this post.  I can’t say it better so why not just show it to you up front.

In the mid-1980s when the capitalist decided to change the rules of the game hardly any of us noticed it.  Up until that point, American capitalism was generally deemed a three-legged-stool. It was driven by the customer buying the product or service, those holding stock in the company, and finally the people creating the product or service. As long as the three legs were pretty much the same length our economy prospered.

Then came the MBA’s (Masters of Business Administration) which was a new degree in the business world.  When those new graduates started entering the business world the three-legged stool was discarded in favor of a total focus on the capitalists. Employees went from being an asset in the company to a liability.  Given our consumer-driven economy, they decided the customer would be there regardless of how they were treated. Corporate R&D organizations like Bell Labs were tossed aside as being unnecessary.

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As long as the capitalists could convince the rest of us (workers/customers) that when the stock markets went up everything was fine.  With this strategy, the stock market went from 800 to 26,000 over the resulting 38 years. That’s about a 33 times increase. The wage increase over the same period of time rose 3.5 times which was about the same as the cost of living increases.  In other words, the capitalists have taken home ALL the increase in prosperity!

I know the argument goes that more people own stocks now than in 1980 so that prosperity is shared by more of us.  In reality, now that pensions are pretty much a thing of the past, the percentage of families with stock ownership has barely budged in the same time period.

The fact is that the top 10% of American households hold about 85% of the total stocks and almost 50% of everyone else don’t own any stock at all.

How long will it take for us to understand that we have been fed a line by the capitalists? That is the question to end this post.

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