It's not a fictional world I'm talking about. As I said, if your argument was true, then when we switched from farming by hand to using automated equipment allowing one person to harvest a field that would have required hundreds of people before, all of those people would be languishing in poverty and starvation. And yet, amazingly enough, they aren't.
The market will find work for labor.
There are no numbers that support your claim though.
Of course there are. You even provided one yourself:
Unemployment here is just about 11%...
If the market forces I'm talking about did not exist, unemployment would be at over 90% right now due to all the automation we've done over the last century. Clearly, despite massive implementation of automation on our industrial processes, we still manage to find a way to employe most of the people who are looking for work.
You're looking at immediate short term events and missing the larger long term trend that I'm talking about.
The larger trend you are talking about is not evidenced anywhere in our society though. You cherry pick number one a time and act as if they alone mean something or represent something that does not exist. Just because unemployment is not 90% doesn't mean that present day employment is covering costs associated with life. Simply looking at the stark rise in poverty, looking at the decline of the SIZE of the middle class, and the vacuum of money from the bottom earners to the top earner can tell you that employment is not providing the income required to sustain an average life style. Let alone a minimal lifestyle, as seen by the rampant sub standard of living people have based on wealth.
When some one asks Mommy, are are poor people poor?
The answer is because As of today jobs available do not pay enough to match standard of living.
You keep bringing up the old days, like it is some indicator of how our society has changed. It certainly has become much more robust, and you can pretty much get anything you could ever want. Is that truly a positive, here are just some basic numbers to reflect on in regards to personal wealth, and sustainability in the system.
In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.
In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.
In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.
In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.
In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.
In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.
In 1950, the average duration of unemployment was about 12 weeks.
In 2012, the average duration of unemployment is about 40 weeks.
In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.
In 2012, the average family spends about 43% of its income on housing.
All of these factors play on ones ability to afford life. Frankly in the US there is a serious problem. When the Average rate at a Burger Hut (since you like hitting that employment sector) brings in about 15K a year. Meanwhile all the eggheads in the US consider the minimal amount a person can reliably live is @ nearly double that near 27K year. Minimum hourly wages in the US on average are nearly 50% of what they should be in order to sustain a minimalist life style, This means bills paid, this mean house paid, food, clothes, and travel WITHOUT Government assistance.
Poverty exists solely because it is designed to exist. If everyone had money than how could we differentiate those who "work hard" for the dredges of society who are free loading along. I am sure the some 300K Fast Food worker who agreed to strike an march on Washington to force minimums of 15$ in that industry are dredges, It certainly can't be because they in fact don't make enough money to afford the basic needs of life. More over it is even more impressive that these fast food workers are taking up the same torch from the 60's when thousands of Americans marched on Washington demanding an increase to 2$ minimum wage. Even more impressive is that the actual value of that 15$ people seek, is the same value as the 2$ people sought 50 years ago.
Your problem is you don't know how to quantify facts, and numbers into an articulate argument. You have bounced and grasped on to several different issues in an attempt to point out the system is fine the system is fine. Which is what we call living in a fantasy land.
Back to your fast food worker analogy Mcdonalds makes 20 cents profit on every dollar it sells after taxes and pay. For an average 5 dollar meal this means McD's makes the company 1$. If McD's were to give all their employees 15$ an hour it would cost the company 8 Billion more a year, Which would eat into their 8.9B of recorded profits last year. It doesn't take a degree in mathematics to see the disparity between McD's corporate earnings and that of the employees. Even if McD's decided to pay everyone 15$, the company would still bring in 900M profit based on last years numbers. Not only that but that is a further 8B being put directly into the economy, not being held to rain gracious bonuses on CEO's COO's and dividends to stock holders. Even if it wasn't a direct raise and a profit sharing program they still have the financial capacity to increase the amount earned by their employees each year, without taking a trip to the red in the year end books. This also all happens without increasing the prices of the product.
Meanwhile the average american is left with less than 1$ earned per our they work. In comparison this would be like McDonalds paying you 20 cents to eat their food. Cost of living has increased some 23% over the last decade alone, wages have increased barely 10% across the board. Again a degree in math is not required to see how this is an unsustainable approach to health economy.
It gets better though, despite jobs in our economy disappearing outright due to automation, despite the large inequality in wealth distribution, and despite the rapid deterioration of the base Dollar value, at the end of the day the entire US market slows down, the entire system becomes a welfare system. Your government can not even fund itself with its own money anymore, it depends on other nations buying its money in order to simply facilitate the nation, the most Ironic thing of all is that the single largest bailouts in history didn't go to the 50% of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed, it didn't go to the some 27% of Americans who depend on Government subsidy to just get by. It went to the very people who gambled the profits of corporations and citizens down the drain.
Not only do you have all time record profits, and all time record % of population dependent on some form of Government assistance, you have the entire system being weighed down by a colossal amount of debt. It is rotting the entirety of the system. Could you imagine how many folks would not have to use government assistance if pay scaling was done based on profits and not an arbitrary valuation of a position. Could you imagine how much less money the government would need to spend if even half of the 50% of the nation who require some assistance were able to support themselves through their employment. Could you imagine the growth of industry and profits if everyone in the US had more money spend.
But ya its great that Corporate America is making twice the GDP of the US right now, up from near parity just over a decade ago, Its great that your financial system didn't collapse, despite the entire population of your nation shouldering the largest held debt in the history of the planet.
If you want to cherry pick some good numbers, go take a peak at Cost of living vs Average wages. That is about the most accurate depiction of "Why People are Poor" just because an unemployment rate isn't 90% doesn't mean the 79% of people who are employed are all making enough money for a standard of living. Average cost of living in the US is currently around 13.76/hr at full time hours. Nearly double the mean minimum wage in the US.
Its not hard math Gbaji.
Capitalism is dying because it is designed to die, once the money leaves the majority it degrades. It is a system that is designed to move money to as few hands as possible. In the case of the US what you have is Corporate Fascism taking root. The Corporate buying power of the US is now greater than the buying power of the Government that oversees it, and the people who build it.
But its ok in some years time we will be having Wealth Equality arguments all over the Western world, much like we had Social Equality marches back in the 30's 40's and in the 50's and 60's in the US. Corporations will no longer be able to horde the money and lord over the people, Profit sharing will become a new standard in enterprise, and it will be because of one thing and one thing only....People are poor because they don't make enough money working. Thats it. Simple as math gets.
Moreover for a system that boasts fairness and equality based on effort and work ethic, It is a hard system to sell when the VAST majority of the people who are in the 50% of unemployed/underemployed, are minorities whose parents and grandparents were still fighting for equal rights, while White America was basking in the peak of Capitalism and the American dream. Pretty hard to call a system fair when roughly 3/4 of the population was given a big hand up because their skin color wasn't black or brown. Edited, Oct 24th 2013 7:10pm by rdmcandie