© 2005 Greg Kaiser

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Editorial Essay: 9/30/05

Economic Endgame by Carlos Marques

   If the economy can be described with a mathematical function, the lower bound of that economic integral may be taken to be: everyone does their own work. Each individual works to gather or make everything he/she needs to live. The upper bound is reached when we all live off the work of others. That is: we are all investor/owners and nobody works for us. Between the mathematical limits is the failure of socialism, capitalism and every other system of the past 5000 years.

   Right! Capitalism hasnít completely failed yet. The rich investors are still looking fat. Some of their middle class lackeys are still better off than the rank and file. Given the direction we are moving in, how does this play out? Can you see the upper bound yet? When the service economy has made a Chinese middle class market and sells them back their own products at a markup, what happens to US ordinary folk and the used to be [formerly wannabee] middle class? When the Chinese cut out the useless parasites, middle men and investors, what happens to the profit? America is being impoverished by short sighted profit seeking mis-managers, at all levels of business/government. The corporate response to hurricane Katrina exemplifies their constantly negative effect on the economy that we depend on for the stuff of life.

   Corporate donations to Katrina relief are welcome, of course. In fact, since the ultimate source of their profit is always the consumer/taxpayers of communities, they should give proportionally more. Those who benefit the most must pay the most to maintain and repair the machine that makes their money. So, do the millions they've given represent their fair share of the burden?

   One who has a billion dollars and gives a million dollars is proportional to one with $10,000 who gives $10. Each has given 0.1% of their money. Last year Exxon Mobil reported $25 billion in profits and $18+ billion in cash on hand. For the 2nd quarter of 2005 they reported $10 billion in profits. Their first response to Katrina was to raise the price of gasoline 60 cents per gallon. As far as I know that's their principal donation to the cause. Well, I think I did hear they donated $1 million. Thatís 1/18,000th of their cash on hand. If one had $18,000 that would be like giving a dollar.

   Walmart has grown rich and powerful by formulating the outsourcing that is destroying the US economy. They had $10 billion profit last year and had $5.5 billion cash at the end. Like every business, their profit comes from the community that purchases their trade goods. A few million from them is a criminally small donation, especially when you look at the corporate/rich tax cuts that shift the burden on to the same people who provide corporate profit. The response to the disaster is typical of corporate parasitization of communities, where all profit originates. Only the pretension of support is given back, by those who grow rich on our purchases.

   In the overall economic picture, Exxon and Walmart aren't even the biggest criminals, except to the extent they have loaned out or invested their excess loot. Finance, i.e. banking, insurance and brokering don't even contribute real products. They are the purely abstract, parasitic burdens on the economy. Every penny of profit they pocket is stolen from the communities they afflict. As the scenario plays forward, as a natural consequence of national economic despoliation, individual poverty must increase. The middle class weeny is at the roast.

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