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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
  • The Hunting Ground: Human Truths of Campus Rape

    Susan Rose
    CALIFORNIA MOVES AGAINST RAPE-On May 13, California moved aggressively against rape on campuses, issuing a directive to all state colleges to “notify authorities when a sexual assault is reported.” Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.C. president Janet Napolitano jointly issued a set of guidelines to encourage collaboration between campuses and…
  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

We're Becoming a Nation of Servants

OTHER WORDS - Fire fighter, basketball player, lion tamer, teacher, nurse: Ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, and you'll get all sorts of answers. But you'll never hear this one. You'll never hear youngsters say they want to devote their careers to serving rich people.
 
Today's youth might want to reconsider. They're facing an American economy where serving rich people increasingly seems to offer the best future with real opportunity. We're well on the way to becoming a full-fledged "servant economy," as the economist Jeff Faux puts it. 
 
We've had "servant economies" in the world before. At times, people even rushed toward servant status. In the early industrial age, jobs in mines and factories would be dangerous and pay next to nothing. Domestic work for rich families could seem, by comparison, a relatively safe haven.
 
But that calculus changed as workers organized and won the right to bargain for a greater share of the wealth they were creating. Over the first half of the 20th century, America's super-rich lost their dominance, and fewer and fewer Americans worked as servants for them.
 
This state of affairs didn't last long. Since the late 1970s we've witnessed an assault on the building blocks of greater equality — strong unions, progressive taxes, regulatory limits on business behavior — that has hollowed out the American middle class.
 
Good manufacturing jobs have largely disappeared, outsourced away. Most Americans no longer make things. They provide services.
 
We could, of course, have a robust "service" economy, if we built that economy on providing quality services to all Americans. But providing these quality services, in everything from education to transportation, would take significant public investment — and significant tax revenue from America's rich.
 
A half-century ago, we did collect significant tax revenue from America's wealthy. No longer. Tax cuts have minimized that revenue and left public services chronically underfunded. That leaves young people today, Faux notes in his new book The Servant Economy, with a stark choice.
 
Young people can either become engineers and programmers and spend their careers in "pitiless competition with people all over the world" just as smart and trained but "willing to work for much less." Or they can join the servant economy and "service those few at the top who have successfully joined the global elite."
 
In this new "servant economy," we're not talking just nannies and chauffeurs. We're talking, as journalist Camilla Long notes, "pilots, publicists, art dealers, and bodyguards" — a "newer, brighter phalanx of personal helpers."
 
Want to see the world? In the new servant economy, you can become a "jewelry curator" and voyage to foreign lands to pick up gems for wealthy clients.
 
Want to face daily challenges? You can become a concierge and hire an elephant for a wealthy patron's wedding reception.
 
Or, if you lean traditional, you can always shell out $12,000 for a course that will certify you as a manservant in good standing with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
 
A butler can annually pull in over $100,000. But serving the rich can be far more lucrative than that. Interior decorator Michael Smith pulled in an $800,000 fee for his work on a Wall Street CEO's office. John Blackburn, an architect in Washington, DC, specializes in designing horse barns for wealthy equestrians. His fee can run up to $300,000 per barn.
 
But we have a basic problem here. We have a limited pool of super-rich people who can afford to commission horse barns and hire elephants.
 
As of this past summer, calculates the Credit Suisse Research Institute, only 38,000 Americans had fortunes over $50 million. The entire world has only about 3 million people worth at least $5 million.
Even if those 3 million gave gainful "servant economy" employment to 100 people each, we would still have another 4 billion folks on the outside of the "servant economy" looking in.
 
The "servant economy" can only be a dead end. We need to change course.
 
(Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. This column was provided to CityWatch by OtherWords.org a project of The Institute for Policy Studies.) -cw
 
 
 
 
 
 
CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 88
Pub: Nov 2, 2012
 
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