Likewise, to implement tax and other legislation highly favorable to "capitalists" (i.e. those who live principally, if not entirely, from the returns on investment of their accumulated wealth),* to the disadvantage of "labor" (i.e. those who live principally, if not entirely, by sweat, either of their back or of their brow), is also a legalized form of larceny, yet another instance (one in a rather long queue) of barriers to social mobility and a cause and aggravator of human want, despair and desperation. ["But," the capitalists will say, "you say these last as though they are bad things!"]
I give but two examples... there are a great many others.
* Thereby rendering "wealth" in its varied manifestations, never something which anyone could seriously maintain had any want of advantages for those who possessed it, EVEN MORE ADVANTAGEOUS.
Smith's writings (the ones typically NOT cited by right-wingers) make clear that he rather disapproved of the motives and practices of "masters" (today read corporations) of his day vis-à-vis BOTH (i) those "servants" in their employ, and (ii) the consuming public. They also make clear that he was quite sympathetic to the plight of the servants in such situations, and this was WELL PRIOR (by nearly a century) to the worst excesses of the industrial revolution, the collected writings of Marx & Engels, etc. I've posted some of the most cogent of Smith's writings on these topics before, and will no doubt do so again.
So for example, when potential sources of employment become more and more concentrated (bearing in mind that labor markets are mainly local, even today, because people aren't actually commodities - alackaday - and tend to have ties to family, community, etc.), this has the effect of transferring a LARGER degree of the fruits of labor to the employer than would be the case in a true Smithian "free market." And for employers to use their vast collective wealth to influence police, army and legislatures to prevent laborers from banding together (in guilds or their modern analogue - trade unions) to prevent this picking of their pockets, is to maintain an advantage allowing the legalized larceny to continue.
The (pristine) study of economics* is an attempt to answer three basic questions:
(i) what gets produced?
(ii) by whom?
(iii) for whose benefit?
To use phrases like "the free market" and "supply and demand" is only the BEGINNING of the inquiry, not the final word -- not by a country mile. Because it can be (and has been) conclusively demonstrated that the STRUCTURE of markets has marked effects on (i) and (iii), and to a lesser extent (ii).
Adam Smith made several simplifying assumptions in reaching his most touted (touted by right-wingers, that is) conclusions and observations: (i) that a very large (effectively infinite) number of producers, (ii) ACTING INDEPENDENTLY, (iii) would compete to sell their goods to a very large (effectively infinite) number of consumers, (iv) ALSO ACTING INDEPENDENTLY. Smith was not a Pollyanna, nor was he particularly naïve, about #$%$ economicus (he was in fact a moral philosopher of some repute, after all), and he knew intuitively (if not to a mathematical degree of certainty) that where one or more of these assumptions failed to hold, outcomes would thereby be skewed. And he knew further that they failed to hold QUITE OFTEN.
So where (i) fails, we get monopoly or oligopoly. Where (ii) fails, we get price fixing on the "offer" by producers. Where (iii) fails, we get monopsony, or its oligarchic equivalent. And where (iv) fails, we get price fixing on the "bid" by consumers. More complex outcomes are also possible, clearly.
* This as opposed to the actual way in which most non-academic economics is practiced in the U.S. today, whereby those holding economics degrees attempt to outcompete one another in justifying why those who have most of the wealth and income should keep it, and supplement it with every scrap of surplus produced out to the indeterminate future... Hey, they know where their bread gets buttered, after all.
[REPOST FROM 2011]
SF minimum wage of $10/hr 1 minute ago
For the same reason taking a couple of aspirins will cure your headache, but taking a whole bottle will send you to the morgue.
It's something like that.
"Nearly a third of all foreclosed borrowers who faced proceedings brought by the biggest U.S. mortgage companies during the height of the housing crisis came to the brink of losing their homes due to potential bank errors or under now-banned practices, regulators have revealed.
Close to 1.2 million borrowers, or about 30 percent of the more than 3.9 million households whose properties were foreclosed on by 11 leading financial institutions in 2009 and 2010, had to battle potentially wrongful efforts to seize their homes despite not having defaulted on their loans[.]" - Foreclosure Review Finds Potentially Widespread Errors, HuffPo, April 9, 2013
Well, how long should the working classes wait? Turns out that analogies with gravity break down rather decisively here: under RepubliCON policies, rivulets of wealth trickle up instead, and pool with the vast oceans of wealth already hovering overhead.
RepubliCONs' one great regret is that middle-class belt-tightening has to stop when it reaches bone. Alas.
* * * * *
Remember the affable idiot's claims that if workers increased productivity and agreed to give EVERY POSSIBLE BREAK to the capitalist class (while hobbling and shattering the kneecaps of the working and middle classes) it would result in these surpluses "trickling down" to the unwashed masses?
Well, that's exactly what workers did. They very nearly tripled their productivity, they lavished the highest income and highest net worth individuals with every imaginable oblation and propitiation.
Ronnie held out a straight razor to the working class, smiled in his cheerful, avuncular manner, and said "We just need to bleed you a little, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, you understand - to get the bad blood out." The middle class looked askance first at Ronnie, then at the blade, and asked "Couldn't we just use leeches, instead?" Ronnie smiled once more, and explained with offhand solicitude "This is the way we've always done it in America." So they took the words of the "Great Prevaricator" to heart, bared their throats for the flash of well-stropped steel...
I agree. He should say the following:
"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind. There are reasons why it happened, but no excuses. It was a mistake.
My fellow Americans, I have a great deal that I want to accomplish with you and for you over the next 2 years. And the Lord willing, that's exactly what I intend to do."