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Billionaires Stole Your Three-Day Workweek
You deserve double your wages for half the hours
The promise of capitalism was that productivity would rise, prices would fall, wages would rise, we’d all get to work far less, and everyone would become richer… at the planet’s expense.
This was pretty much the case from the start of the industrial revolution until about fifty years ago.
(To be clear, life was and still is pure hell and misery for the bottom quartile, but at least most of the human population no longer dies in their twenties due to the ravages of plagues.)
We used machines to productively savage the planet, and even though workers got absolutely ripped off by their corporate overlords in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they fought hard and won historic victories including minimum wages, 40-hour workweeks, and the end of child labor.
But then everything changed in the early seventies.
Corporations captured the government, changed key laws, and started hoarding all the wealth that rightfully belonged to the contributor class.
In other words, billionaires stole your three-day workweek.
All the wealth to all the workers
After World War II, millions of battle-hardened dudes came home from obliterating the Nazis and went to work in factories and office buildings.
Corporations were smart enough not to mess with them.
Thanks to all these well-trained ridiculously-talented men and women, worker productivity soared by 90+% between 1948 and 1971.
And wages kept up.
In fact, workers received nearly 100% of the wealth they created. They bought houses and cars, took family vacations, and sent their kids to college. They worked hard, and they got paid for the value they created.
In 1971, a new house averaged $25,200 and the average income was a dreamy $10,622, meaning houses only cost a 2.5X multiple of a single earner versus a crushing 10+X today. (Rent averaged about a third of the current multiple.) People were working and saving and building for the future.
Things weren’t perfect by any stretch, but they were on the right track. Civil rights were rapidly expanding, poverty was evaporating, and if things had kept on that same track, we’d all be making double and working just three days per week right now.
But in 1971, Republican corporatist Richard Nixon decided to nuke the American economy.
The end of sound money
Nixon closed the gold window and officially got rid of the gold standard.
It needed to happen for plenty of reasons, but we won’t get into them today.
It was what happened next that’s been destroying the working class every since:
The Feds started printing truckloads of money backed by zero wealth.
Corporations realized there was way more cash in the system and they started raising their prices, causing massive inflation.
Corporate-captured governments then tried (and still try) to hide the true inflation numbers by manipulating the CPI, but reality speaks for itself:
The $US dollar devalued rapidly, destroying the purchasing power of the contributor class.
Living costs rose.
House prices soared.
Tuition at Harvard went from $2,600/year to $52,659… plus $24,104 for room, board, and “fees”… plus $1,000 for books… plus $4,080 for mandatory health insurance.
Meanwhile, the extractor class put their corporations into overdrive, suppressing worker wages in order to create today’s oligarch class. There was only one billionaire in the world in 1957, but those numbers exploded in the seventies thanks to robbing real contributors. Today, they’ve metastasized like cancer to 2,755 billionaires.
Here’s what that robbery looks like on a graph:
By 2022, our collective productivity is ~3X compared to 1971, but our true inflation-adjusted wages have actually declined.
I’ll say it again:
If we got rid of billionaires and reigned in their anti-human corporations, we would all be making double and working just three days per week.
Check it out in visual form:
Imagine how much better our world would be if:
You were paid double
You only had to work three days per week
You had four days for rest, recreation, and service to your community
Billionaires didn’t exist to monopolize industries, push prices higher, suppress worker rights and wages, and destroy democracy
Capitalism promised that prices would fall and everyone would become richer.
Yet now, even the three basic family activities — going to the movies, a baseball game, or a theme park — are three times more expensive than in 1960.
How pathetic is that?
We’re literally not making any economic progress.
In fact, we’re actually losing ground. Rapidly.
There are, of course, myriad tools to rid our civilization of the pox of billionaires — living wage job guarantees, sound money, wealth taxes, asset/land value taxes, etc— but it will be nigh impossible to get any of these passed because elites bought Congress years ago.
Billionaire corporations are killing culture, the working class, and human wellbeing for private profits. They want everyone to work all day for pennies and spend 100% of what they make on interest payments, rent payments, energy payments, and wildly overpriced goods and services.
They don’t want you to have double your wages and a three-day workweek.
They want to buy a second hyper-yacht and bend your government to their will.
They want you to be a slave.
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