The United Nations currently lists 18 “Global Issues.” Among the many are poverty, hunger, water, and health. Poverty-stricken communities are not only disrespected, they are often disregarded due to their low socio-economic status. This occurs even within affluent countries. However, according to the World Food Program, countries with the highest level of food insecurity also have the highest outward migration of refugees.
One in nine people on our planet goes hungry each day while also suffering from the lasting effects of nutritional deficiencies. Restricted growth, and the deaths of about 3.1 million children under the age of five occur each year as a result of our collective neglect. For countries with the means, the failure to provide comprehensive healthcare to its citizens hobbles their economies as well as their overall competitiveness.
Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor. In the late twentieth century he noted “We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist.”
During an interview in 1981, with Norie Huddle, Fuller said: “Those in supreme power, politically and economically, aren’t yet convinced that our Planet Earth has anywhere nearly enough life support for all humanity. They assume it has to be either you or me, that there is not enough for both. Those with financial advantage reason that selfishness is necessary and fortify themselves even further.” Later in the same interview Fuller observed: “We can now take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever known. It does not have to be “you or me,” so selfishness is unnecessary and war is obsolete.”
And yet they persisted. For some there is never enough power or too much military hardware. The resources necessary to effectively address all of the global issues listed by the United Nations and the World Food Program are closely held by the inheritors, skimmers, and hoarders of wealth. They avoid and object to taxes while being the first to complain when their shiny new ride hits a pothole. They claim to abhor socialism while running their companies in ways that privatize gains while socializing expenses and losses.
They make extensive use of the nations roads, bridges, and airports while promoting a definition of infrastructure that encompasses only those things. Then, when given the opportunity to support such narrowly defined infrastructure, about 20% of Fortune 500 companies pay none of federal income tax that undergirds such structures. They underpay the workforce, forcing employees to seek housing, heating, and nutrition assistance while subjecting their public charges to conspicuous ridicule, scorn, and indignity.
Oligarchs have no loyalty to the United States or any other country. If the American farmer is too pricy, big-agri will clear new farmland by burning the Amazon forest along Brazilian Route 163, just as they did during the trade war with China in 2019. Ever since the United States Supreme Court made it legal for corporations to own and operate our elected representatives, the country has become less competitive not more.
Millions of our highly creative, potential entrepreneurs, are reluctant to venture out because their health care benefits are inextricably and unnecessarily linked to dead-end jobs where such benefits are routinely hollowed out or eliminated. There is wage stagnation coupled with worker uncertainty that prevails when unemployment rates are high or low.
On September 1, 1997, the federal minimum wage was $5.15 an hour where it remained for ten years. On July 24, 2009 the minimum wage reached $7.25 per hour where it remains today. This means that over the course of about one quarter of a century, the minimum wage increased by less than half the rate of inflation, about 29% whereas over the same amount of time, inflation resulted in a cumulative cost of living increase of over 66%.
Even as we enlarge our time-frame and scope beyond the minimum wage analysis, the Economic Policy Institute reports that, over the course of about forty years, Corporate CEO pay increased 940% while the typical worker’s pay increased only 12% during the same period. The penny-wise, pound-foolish, pseudo-conservatives holding elective office today, typically receive regular automatic pay raises to avoid public scrutiny.
There is no performance metric for such prevaricating politicians and they have actively harmed the nation by dampening the enthusiasm of our workforce. Grifters favor companies that operate in the most parasitic fashion. And, as they feign reverence for our constitutionally grounded democratic republic, they work to corrupt it at all levels. As long as the entrepreneurial executive takes a back seat to the custodial, as long as wealth without work together with greed is somehow fashionable, the drudgery experienced by the rest of us will undoubtedly continue. And, as Buckminster Fuller made clear in 1981, there is no excuse for it.