Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian writer and political activist, in Mexico City in 1976.

During all those years I spent working in and on Latin America, reading the works of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez (along with those of a few others, such as Mário de Andrade, José María Arguedas, and Carlos Fuentes) helped me understand what was going on—from the real effects of colonialism and the wielding of power by corrupt dictators to the magic contained in everyday life.

Now that we are beginning to understand that the United States is an oligarchy, not a democracy, where is our own García Márquez?

 

collectivists-1

Special mention

147124_600 147148_600

146819_600

Special mention

146961_600 Martin Rowson 12.4.2014

quits

In a recent speech, Fed Chair Janet Yellen admitted that “the recovery still feels like a recession to many Americans, and it also looks that way in some economic statistics.”

Some of those statistics are contained in the just-released Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). While there may have been 4.2 million new job postings in February, 300,000 more than in January, many of these are low-wage jobs (temp jobs in business services, food-service jobs, jobs in retail trade, and so on), many of them at or just above the minimum wage. And, even though they’re less-then-desirable jobs at less-than-desirable wages, there were still 2.5 unemployed workers for every job posting. So, given that reserve army of labor, employers have absolutely no reason to offer higher wages. Which is why the so-called quits rate—the number of job quits divided by total employment, a measure of the willingness of workers to leave their current jobs in search of new, better, higher-paying jobs—remained at 1.7, virtually unchanged over the last 4 years.

The economic statistics are thus clear: American workers have been jolted and they’re still waiting for their recovery.

Roaring 20s

This chart, from the work of Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman [pdf], illustrates the large increase in top 0.1% wealth share since the 1980s (top 0.1% = wealth above $20 million today. In other words, the inequality in the distribution of wealth in the United States is back to what it was just prior to the first Great Depression.

146654_600

Special mention

USSCCampaignFinance 146650_600

146238_600

Special mention

wuerker140325_605-1 and032814web-600x446

incomeinequality

Special mention

1sPK2w.AuSt.79 146117_600

minwage-avg

source

As Michael Reich and Ken Jacobs explain,

One measure of employers’ latitude to absorb higher wages compares the minimum wage to the median wage. From the 1960s into the 1970s, the minimum-median ratio in the United States varied between 41 and 55 percent. Since the mid-1980s, it has been much lower, varying between 33 and 39 percent. A minimum wage increase to $10.10 by 2016, as President Obama proposed earlier this year, would restore the national ratio to 50 percent.

bolling-24-03

Special mention

146073_600 Moneyboarding Torture