Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Something that really matters

I can't tell whether Americans really are completely obsessed with the birth of an heir to a useless, anachronistic institution in a faraway land, or if the corporate media just assume we will be or would rather manufacture a meaningless frenzy over nothing than actually, you know, report the news.

So here's a thing, via Brad DeLong (he alas does not provide a link to the original source):

Median household income in the U.S. today is about what it was in 1989, and has continued to decline throughout the recent "recovery." This of course as per capita GDP has increased, meaning, via simple arithmetic, that the rich have gotten richer while the middle class has gotten poorer. In other words, the recovery isn't actually happening for most people. So why is this?

It's partly because of an ongoing substitution of capital for labor, because of the continual decline of union power, because of continuing declines in public sector payrolls, because multinational corporations continue to pursue the lowest possible wages around the earth.

And yet, in the aggregate, the country is wealthier than ever. We can provide people with a better standard of living, but capitalism isn't doing it. Ergo, we need to try something else. Let's have that conversation.

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