ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
From 1972 to 2001, the bottom 20 percent of wage and salary earners got only 1.6 percent of the increase in this income
over the three decades. The majority got less than 11 percent. But the richest one percent received
18.4 percent of the increased income vastly more than went to the majority of Americans.
“Globalization” for Americans is Really About Income Distribution
By Mark Weisbrot
Globalization is one of the major challenges facing American workers which includes not only factory and office workers but more than 80 percent of our 144 million-person labor force. But it is widely misunderstood. Most of the people writing and talking about globalization for the major media know little about economics, and of the few who know something, most are dodging the most important issues.
The central issue for Americans facing the global economy is income distribution. Whether its international trade or investment, or immigration, the main impact on most Americans lives has been on the distribution of income. And that distribution has gotten dramatically worse over the last 30 years: the rich have gotten a lot richer, the poor have languished, and the middle class has shrunk.
From 1972 to 2001, the bottom 20 percent of wage and salary earners got only 1.6 percent of the increase in this income over the three decades. The majority got less than 11 percent. But the richest one percent received 18.4 percent of the increased income vastly more than went to the majority of Americans.
The managed globalization designed by our political leaders has contributed very much to this upward redistribution of income. The key word here is managed. It is not, as the pundits argue, simply the result of market forces combined with technological changes in communication and transportation.
The architects of the global economy have not thrown their friends and neighbors the doctors, lawyers, executives and other professionals into brutal international competition with the tens of millions of highly-educated, English-speaking people who would be willing to do their jobs at half the salary. That is why, for example, our doctors earn twice as much as their counterparts do in the rich countries of Europe.
Instead, our political leaders have devoted decades of careful and often protracted negotiations to rewriting the rules of international commerce so that the nearly three-quarters of Americans that do not have a college degree would face lots of global competition. Partly as a result of these changes, the real wage for most workers in the US has barely grown over the last 30 years about 9 percent while productivity, or the amount that is produced by an hour of labor, has grown more than 80 percent.
Immigration policy follows the same rationale foreign citizens who want to work in restaurants or as construction laborers can do so by the millions, but the same is not true for foreign dentists or engineers.
The result of this protectionism for the few, international trade and competition for the many has been exactly what economists would expect: the gains from a growing economy have gone increasingly to the protected and privileged few.
Of course, managed globalization is only part of the story. Political and legal changes have undermined the bargaining power of organized labor and its membership has steadily fallen. Health care costs have been allowed to spiral the United States now spends about twice as much per person as other developed countries and has worse health outcomes and these burdens are increasingly shifted to employees. And the tax code has been rewritten to favor the upper classes.
The Federal minimum wage, in terms of purchasing power, is now at its lowest point in half a century. The majority of Americans have so little influence in our political system that despite the overwhelming support for an increase, the party that controls Congress believes it can get re-elected in November while refusing to even allow a vote on the issue. We shall see.
Reform in all of these areas will be necessary if this country is ever to return to an economy in which most Americans share in the gains from economic growth.
Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000), and has written numerous research papers on economic policy. He writes a column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services. His opinion pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and most major U.S. newspapers. He appears regularly on national and local television and radio programs. Mark Weisbrot can be reached via email at weisbrot at cepr dot net. www.cepr.net/pages/mwbio
posted 6 September 2006
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
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#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
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#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 14 December 2011