A client recently wrote wrote to me about dehumanized he feels with just trying to earn a living.
Client said, “I'm looking at moving to Virginia with family soon- as I can't afford to live in Maryland anymore. It's one thing when you consider truck driving has minimum living expenses, but another when you can't even make the income to cover a minimum living situation at a regular 40-hour job. I'm hoping the move will get me on track- and also hopeful I can find a job there too!”
Hope spring eternal. I am not so optimistic that Virginia will be any better.
WHY CAN'T WORKERS EARN A LIVING WAGE?
Take a moment and think about what this client is saying. He works a 40-hour-work-week and can’t live on what he is paid. How is that a living wage? How can workers survive when they work a full-work week and yet cannot pay the basic living expenses? What if they were injured on the job? Then what?
A stock analyst writes this bit about the bizarre capitalism that Amazon is practicing.
THE BIZARRO ECONOMY AMAZON IS CREATING
"Remember, as we've discussed, Amazon has become a master of "bizarro capitalism."
The last several years have seen the rise of companies that are experts at exploiting technology to reduce labor costs. Free capital and zero per-unit marginal labor costs equals a whole new form of capitalism that's genuinely unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
These are companies with massive scale, massive sales growth... and virtually zero profits.
Amazon is the most famous example. In just the last three years, the Internet retailer's revenues have almost doubled (from $80 billion to $140 billion). Meanwhile, its profit margins haven't budged. They remain less than 2%. With this kind of scale and almost no profit, Amazon has been able to grow faster and faster, into all kinds of new businesses. The company doesn't have to worry about cash flows to power investments into new lines of business because, after all, capital is free.
So even though Amazon has only earned profits of $3 billion over the last three years, it has been able to invest $17 billion into growing its core business and building new businesses...
It's a for-profit company that doesn't intend to make a profit. And it doesn't have to because there's unlimited amounts of additional investment capital, available essentially for free."
I AM NOT ALONE WITH MY APPRECIATION FOR THE PLIGHT OF THE WORKING CLASS
I am constantly lamenting about the Amazon effect destroying jobs for humans while it creates work for robots. Another lawyer practicing in Chicago writes to me about the larger issues being ignored by the main media outlets. Whether it be for lack of an understanding or simply feeling this is not on the front burner, it should be and it is important to the pitch-folk crowd.
HOW COME ABC, CBS, AND NBC ARE NOT COVERING THIS STORY?
“What do you have identified is part of the larger, the far larger issue that no one is covering, least of all the flagship stations like CNN and MSNBC and that is the diminution in human value that is being created by artificial intelligence. It's not just workers we don't need, it will be humans, as well. Look at what Elon Musk is saying. Meanwhile, large chunks of the population are consumed with bathrooms, gender-neutral pronouns, and wedding cakes. I agree with you: this is not going to end well.” Chicago Lawyer
CONSERVATIVE HYPOCRICY IGNORES THE LIVING WAGE
I am left wondering why a CEO should earn a $100,000,000 bonus or even a $10,000,000 bonus when the company earns record profits on the backs of an economy that cannot figure out how to pay its workforce a living wage. Where is the moral compass for that CEO?
LIKE IT OR NOT THE PITCHFORK CROWD IS ALIVE AND GROWING ANGRIER AND ANGRIER
What I say may make some people uncomfortable, but we either come to grips with artificial intelligence, robots and how they destroy the living wage or the pitch-fork crowd will rise beyond the economic grave they find themselves in. The will take control by force, if the ballot box fails to change the status quo.
“Elon Musk began warning about the possibility of A.I. running amok three years ago. It probably hadn’t eased his mind when one of Hassabis’s partners in DeepMind, Shane Legg, stated flatly, “I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this.”
ONE SOLUTION TAKING SHAPE
What we are seeing in response to Amazon’s dominance is Walmart, Target and a group of traditional retailers moving away from buying any services from Amazon, a move that will hopefully take that 2% profit and move it into negative territory. When that happens Amazon’s, price will drop from $960.00 to $200.00 per share.
And on that day I am rejoicing for jobs...then leaving the office and taking a vacation.