Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why It's Hard To Be Yourself


This post is outside my usual political format and style; above is a link featuring some brave souls that are quite bold and tact in describing the current social consciousness. Hopefully readers you can appreciate a slice of life handed to you unadulterated, because of all things the truth is more filtered than our drinking water.

There is more to be said on this topic later, but for now enjoy this brief and concise sound.

(Click Above Link)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trickle Down Politics

Companies like JP Morgan & Chase have contributed to perhaps, what will be, the most blurred election of our current generation; for the first time conservatives and progressives alike are having controversial feelings regarding the “Trickle Down” economic ideology/practice. The middle class may have more to say on the time honored idea of “Reaganomics” and “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” The real issue is that there has been a consistent state of disrepair that has not been assessed (properly). In this post I would like to discuss and identify what I feel is the middle class of politics, though ironically there is not much of a middle class economically.

I had an opportunity to speak with a team member of JP Morgan & Chase, almost immediately thoughts of animosity, misplaced resentment, and other caustic thoughts swirled through my head. Banks, my first thought is the credit default swap system failing, though ardently supported until the AIG Fallout of 2008. The person I spoke with was neither top or bottom tier associate, he was your average nine to five white guy, had kids, suits, hopes, and vacations to save up for. He is a member of the middle class, a near extinct social species.

The following are his thoughts:

Myself: “I would like to ask, as controversial now its nature more than ever, your thoughts on the upcoming election? The left, the right, and what it’s all for.”

Anonymous: “Well I’ve always found myself voting conservative, though I realize now that I once used to support "Trickle Down" economics. Trickle down to whom? Most certainly not me, I'm not hiring anyone, despite lacking the manpower to get anything done."

Myself: "Could you go into further detail?"

Anonymous: "Sure, for instance I'm really just a supervisor in my department so I obviously have limited sway in the direction and immediate resources available from Chase; though interestingly enough they're taking us in a new direction. That new direction was supposed to streamline and make the company more efficient, some parts were good but nothing really changed up or down, just different not better."

Myself: "In what sense?"

Anonymous: "Well, I can't really go into specifics but to give you an idea of the bad I would lose people, and would be forced to work with what I have even though there's demand for labor power. With that in mind, we have money so why not hire? Hell with the tax cuts, this is what Trickle Down is for!"

Myself: "Agreed."

Anonymous: "Funny, I used to support this idea and now I can't even justify making less than 8% to calculate for inflation over five to seven years."

Myself: "The average American has received 11% for inflation so you're not far off, though the highest, and smallest, percentile has received over 100% increases in wages to adjust for inflation." (This directly relates from my previous post regarding US Department of Labor Statistics.)

Anonymous: "The problem is none of that money has come down yet, hell I haven't seen a dime I won't lie to you on that, outside of the raises to adjust for inflation. Still, life isn't bad persay just I see where Trickle Down economics fails, and how it's primarily politics curtailed to the highest economic percentile."

Myself: "Thank you for your insight, if I may ask would you feel that either candidate in this upcoming election has something to offer on the table in terms of the declining middle class?"

Anonymous: "Well, considering Trickle Down doesn't work that initial platform is not going to convince very many voters, so that's out."

At this point the interview was cut short due to time constraints and we parted our ways.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Opinion of the Week

Hello readers this is Independent Cataclysm, I decided to tackle a weekly opinion based on morals, reflective insight, and to begin to insert my feelings on the absurdity and weaknesses of the western model.

In this post I'd like to keep it simple, tyranny. Such a ubiquitous word, however it is also subjective. I feel the Wall Street Bull is that very symbol, an economic bully pushing those not willing to go along into their "appropriate class." Those whom are too timid to take on the bull run, or perhaps go along; those who don't know better do not know how to handle the bull himself.

The bull is a symbol of applied greed, tyranny in the sense that "Wall Street" is the Kings of the future, corporate buildings their castles, legal teams their knights clad in suits. How is can people be subjugated without violence or any immediate physical duress? You reduce the transparency of how money is handled. You make auditing as difficult and tedious as possible for even the experienced or diligent investigator.

Transparency has always been met with resistance because the banking and market system is built on deceit and opportunism, this statement though strong is historically relevant. When the AIG Fallout occurred in 2008, who was there for the banks we the tax paying people were. All $786.6 Billion of us; who's been there for us since the middle class began decaying? Not the banks, not the aristocratic, and oddly not the government either. In fact education is only being utilitzed as an income source for the state, rather than an investment from the state to its people to grant them a better future (since we pay taxes anyway).

Again the bull, to me, is a harsh reminder of how the system (and by system I mean Americanized hybrid of neopolitical rhetoric, lobbyists, and economics) does not support its people and that politics as a whole bears limited significance on social matters (outside of the economic arena).

A good symbol would be a herding dog, because the herding dog cannot afford to lead the sheep astray for their fates are interdepedent, and the sheep can therefore depend on the herding dog. There is a fairness in their interdepency, more importantly a relative transparency because the sheep can actually see where they are going though they know not the destination each step of the journey is no more mystery than the previous step.

This is my opinion of how economics should be run, how politics should model themselves (if leadership is where the emphasis lies), and finally this is my opinion of the week.

Thanks for reading and getting through readers, this is one of my more direct posts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Middle Class Decay: The Service Class

In my last post I commented and constructed a very brief analysis on NYTimes writer David Leonhardt article "The Agenda." His piece was meant to research and quantify what has lead to the middle class decline; in great depth he researches and performs comparative analysis on recessions in the United States through past decades as well as their perspective recoveries. Though what is unique about the most current recession is there has been little or no growth in the middle class sector, this I feel can be suggestive depending on the evidence provided.

My interpretation of the issue (middle class decay) is that the new middle class has become what I call "the service class," because a boost in manufacturing was the original method of recovery for the middle class during previous recessions, and also the key form of sustainability for the middle class as long as the United States was a key exporter. Though concepts like outsourcing and off-shoring have removed the manufacturing element from the United States almost entirely (partially due to the role reversal as a key importer rather than exporter), this is not breaking news to just about anyone by any means, though this metamorphosis of a manufacturing middle class to a service lower-middle class is quite a distinct, and perhaps mortifying, adaptation to the globalizing economy.

In this post will I discuss the service class, one of the most identifiable aspects of middle class decay and outsourcing/off-shoring.

Interestingly enough, unemployment rests at 8.3 percent (according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statstics) as of July 2012 and yet Americans are still struggling to adjust to the costs of inflation, why is this?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics "Employment Situation Report" for July 2012:

"The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to asinvoluntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. Theseindividuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job."

Though unemployment percentages are at better ratios, the reality is that people are still having trouble making ends meet due to only being able obtaining part-time jobs or having labor hours cut back. These figures are current summer data, this implies seasonal summer labor into the mixture, during "colder" times there will be less part-time employment available and hours could be cut back further.

This, again, is partially due to our reversal of fortune being the key importing power rather than exporter, this has its own weight in the global economy though this also bears a most unique significance in that the middle class and the lower-middle class become blurred together and since the United States produces compartively insignificant amounts, this is due to labor laws ensuring fairer labor practices (to be discussed later), therefore we have one other option, sell what we import (or little that we actually produce). By this point the national market is at mercy of the fickle supply and demand fluctuations.

Simply put, if people do not desire it, it will not be shipped, if it doesn't get shipped it's not in stock, and therefore won't be sold. If there isn't an item to be sold, that means less people to sell it, in otherwords less jobs (full or part time alike). The service class systems' primary means of expansion relies on growth via leadership opportunities, there is not necessarily need for education whereas experience can and will suffice. This can suggest that because the service industry requires less education that these standards may be reflected nationally based on global economic demand.

One can surmise that most teens or uneducated persons work at either Wal-Mart, Home Depo, or smaller retailers as either associates, cashiers, or sales clerks. This generally does not require more than a high school diploma, and often a place for people that do not have more than a Bachelor's Degree potentially leaving the Associates degree as a superfluous debt or stepping stone at most.

And "declining unemployment rates" are supposed to be reassuring.

Thanks for reading and I feel now, in retrospect, that it would be more appropriate to examine the labor law structure globally at a later time; for instance subcontractors with clothing outlettors (which I will go into greater detail during future posts). Also, I would like to address how, I feel, education has "gone through inflation" as well in future posts.

Employment Situation Summary Link for July 2012:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Analyzing Middle Class Decay: Commentaries on the Agenda

Hello Bloggers,

This is Independent Cataclysm, in this post I will begin with my own commentaries and insight based on the New York Times article series "The Agenda" Written by NYTimes writer David Leonhardt.

Leonhardt begins by addressing statistics pertaining to economic decline from the Great Depression and how these compare to present day middle class decay. His details point towards the fact, however, that despite the waning size of the middle class that the affluent have actually been only earning more as each quarter progresses. The affluent in the United States making $1.5 million in 2010, that figure has literally doubled since then (more than 100 percent) adjusting for inflation; whereas the middle class have only received 11 percent increases to adjust for inflation (Leonhardt).

Some Perspective:
The United States had, according to Bernake, had a annual growth percent of 4.6 during the 1920-1929 decade (far surpassing the stable growth of 3.5 percent through the 80's and 90's); in these decades the Middle Class was not fighting for survival rather thriving (EHA).

This, for some reason, has gone on uncontested as the decades have progressed only fueling economic inequality, the only capital available to individuals in the poor and middle class sectors is intellectual capital. The gap between the affluent and the poor/middle class sectors only increase; "The top-earning 1 percent of households now bring home about 20 percent of total income, up from less than 10 percent 40 years ago" (Leonhardt). This can be directly linked to the streamlining of globalized capitalism, not a particularly negative phenomena though I feel as if without having international trade laws or policies (similar to labor laws of the United States) off-shore capitalist ventures are far more profitable than national labor.

This ventures into murky waters however, with the entire laissez faire system at risk. In my next post I would like to address those hazards, the pros and cons of the globalized system ranging from technological growth potentials and providing jobs overseas, to the realities of unfair labor practices and the lack of policy to protect workers overseas (providing us with the bargains we Americans need).

Provided below is the NYTimes article link to the series "The Agenda: A Closer Look At The Middle Class Decline."


(Information and Statistics were also retrieved from the Economic History Association).

Monday, July 25, 2011

This will be my first piece in the topic Sociology so these are mere idyllic musings from a young frustrated mind.

Here goes.

In times where people are nothing but expendable, low-grade tools, few high-powered industry leaders utilize these tools to the highest potential, without proper maintenance and care. The tools linger in their drawers, in the dark ignorant to the darkness itself. The “low-grade tools” are people who own pubs and gas stations, people who work in corrections buildings or teach at public schools, these are all people who pay taxes and contribute to a broken government stacked with fractured morals and shady motives. These people are you, me, and the guy who just served you the locks and eggs.

We are a group of people who never have any idea how we’re being used day to day, we eat our corn pops, or slurp our piping coffee and complain about a clinic arguing abortion or too much of an inconvenient race of people in the local supermarket. As ubiquitous as complaining menial things, that’s our morals that actually are worth fighting for only they won’t change the real problem that needs to be targeted first. The people who abuse their tools, who abuse us.

They don’t know and don’t care how they abuse us, because it isn’t personal. It’s manifest destiny, why wouldn’t it be? It’s their god damne-given right to take what isn’t theirs in the pursuit of happiness, because the system told them it’s alright to do so. Whether its hydrofrackers polluting the environment or mining companies trading blood for diamonds they all want to put smiles on their share-holders and investors, get that signing bonus, or get that new secretary who looks astonishing in a black slip.

We know why they do it, it’s started since one person had more grain or meat than the other in the caravan, to have more and to never lose what they had when they started having more. Why is it done? It’s obvious, when greed was discovered it became a high maintenance lover to keep. First, it took adequate use of force, then took proper use of people, next cunning, then as history would have it using all of the above. But how was this integrated to a point that everybody was being polluted without realizing they’re choking on this corrupt air? By making them need it. Making a system need corruption is the longest term investment a company can have, starting with inciting war in countries with the necessary raw materials, then continuing the war and glorifying the struggle. Next, you instate or purchase the necessary congressman or political officials that can contribute to the parties/groups responsible for making decisions within a governmental structure that effect the businesses that extract the raw materials they need, for cheap. Afterwards, you take the people who oppose the issue and send lobbyists (or retired corporate lawyers…or both) to combat the issue with incessant arguments wearing down their foes with money and rhetoric, desperate or feeble minded alike. Finally, you put the pieces together in this concerto of corruption you justify the industrious rape of the economy by injecting particular political views that agree with the methods used to accomplish the means of improving business at the cost of the people who are affected by them. The people responsible for encouraging this system, and for supporting it, combat criticism by eloquently justifying the blatant thievery with “survival of the fittest” mentality.

Nevermind who you push off the ladder on the climb up, it’s all yours so as long as you take it. When that becomes the nation’s mentality you’ve successfully completed the concerto by making people not only need the system turn them into tools for the system. Like making Wal-Mart a household name, turning homemade goods, such as pottery or cloth, into expensive fads, by having people weigh out the use of rBSTs in their cattle to produce more or just maintain the healthy and honest course. By making honesty and integrity expensive you’ve officially and successfully corrupted the system itself. This noxious air which we breathe we can’t pinpoint the source, but we can generalize it. It’s ourselves, it’s industry itself, it’s the trickle-down effect that turns bargain raw materials extracted with blood and despair into our savings and thereby killing the honest industry that once existed.

Who cares? You can get that Chiquita Banana at $0.69 per pound rather than pay for something grown without hormones and exploitation for $1.49 per pound. These are actual figures from bodegas and supermarkets in Brooklyn, something done with honesty will cost more because the dishonest method will kill the competition.

What creates unemployment? Exploitation. When a given corporate entity can cheaply mine resources without educating the people or instating fair trade agreements where the economic climate receives improvement in exchange for safe removal of the resources. The act of doing so is glorified by the exploiters, through political wisdom and sharp use of antiquated ideologies, also by keeping the exploited uneducated about and throughout the entire process; and by distracting them with war, separation/segregation, and hate. Hence, blood money is born, exploitation ensues and unemployment will flourish back in the given areas because the exploiters need the government from other countries to support their policies which give their actions the big green to go. Meanwhile, everyone back at home receives no support, no work, just cheaper prices to buy things and keep the goods coming in. Not out, and not fairly.

The western way of thinking has long since been antiquated, but has not been updated appropriately. Exploitation has created a bubble that will soon pop causing recession and shift, the need for change is imminent.

The speed of which ideologies can be implemented (or hopefully change) coincide with the technologies, for instance the internet and fiber-optics with trade and commerce. With the internet highway to move information exploitation hasn’t been easier, more can be accomplished and kept from the people than ever before. There are boundaries which privacy should prevail, absolute privacy means severe deregulation, which in turn means unstoppable corruption. Sharing is caring no?