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posted by n1 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the will-code-for-gold dept.

The NYT reports that in a unanimous vote, the Seattle City Council went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality. "Even before the Great Recession a lot of us have started to have doubt and concern about the basic economic promise that underpins economic life in the United States," says Council Member Sally J. Clark. "Today Seattle answers that challenge." High-tech, fast-growing Seattle, population 634,535, is home to, Zillow, and Starbucks. It also has more than 100,000 workers whose incomes are insufficient to support their families, according to city figures and around 14% of Seattle's population lives below the poverty level. Some business owners have questioned the proposal saying that the city's booming economy is creating an illusion of permanence. "We're living in this bubble of Amazon, but that's not going to go on," says businessman Tom Douglas. "There's going to be some terrific price inflation."

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:51PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:51PM (#51668)

    It's a proxy for work.

    Correction: It's a proxy for work for most of us poor schlubs. For rich people, it's a proxy for their ability to invest successfully.

    At the risk of being seen as a dirty commie, here's Karl Marx's idea of what happened, described in the first section of Capital:
    1. People originally made all their own stuff, or operated under a command economy depending on which cave man had made himself in charge by force or popular acclaim.
    2. People started realizing that specializing could improve productivity, and barter is born: Og is better at making spearpoints, Mook is better at throwing them at mammoths, so Og will trade spearpoints for Mook's mammoth meat.
    3. Because bartering gets really complicated when there are a lot of commodities out there being traded, eventually everyone decided to use just one commodity for bartering all the time. This commodity, such as gold, became money. And so now Og would go to a market, sell his spearpoints (a commodity) for money, then use his money to buy Mook's mammoth meat (another commodity), or what Marx shortens to C-M-C. In this scenario, money is indeed a proxy for work.
    4. Some people are able to collect more money than others and build up savings. Others are not. For the sake of example, some new guy Clob has been able to collect money, whereas Mook and Og have not.
    5. Those with money start finding for ways to turn money into more money without doing the work of making a commodity themselves. For example, if Mook doesn't have any money for spearpoints, and Clob has money, Clob might tell Mook "I'll buy your spearpoints, you go out hunting for mammoths and give me 1/4 of the money you make from the meat to pay me back." So Clob has used his money to buy some commodities (Og's spearpoints) in exchange for what he hopes will be a larger quantity of money (1/4 of Mook's meat sales). As soon as this happens, at least some of Clob's money doesn't represent Clob's work, but rather how much of Mook's work Clob is able to collect, and now the pattern is M-C-M' rather than C-M-C. This use of money is what Marx termed "capital".

    Not part of Marx's analysis but also quite relevant: Once you introduce the concept of family inheritance, Clob's no-good son Fob might well be collecting a great deal of money from the work of Mook and other people like him, while doing absolutely no real work himself.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by fadrian on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:24PM

    by fadrian (3194) on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:24PM (#51687) Homepage

    And, to add on what a more recent Capital (Piketty's) had to say, the reason why inequality grows is that returns from labor (g) are much smaller than returns from capital (r). When r > g, inequality grows because capital begets capital more quickly than labor does.

    That is all.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:54PM (#51951)

      His 700-page scholarly work shortened into 1 page. [] (orig) []

      tl;dr: People who make their money from labor (the working class) slip farther behind every day; people who make ALL their money from money (aristocratic capitalists) are the only ones who advance.
      Hard work doesn't get you squat.
      The elites are just laughing at your puny efforts to "make it".

      -- gewg_