Humans are persons, too
from David Ruccio
Humans are persons, who are forced to have the freedom to work for someone else, without union protection, when millions of jobs are disappearing, and still make much less than those at the top.
State senator Virginia Lyons has presented an anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont legislature.
The language in the Lyons resolution is unabashed. “The profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings,” it states, noting that corporations “have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws.”
Denouncing this situation as an “intolerable societal reality,” the document concludes that the “only way” toward a solution is the amendment of the Constitution “to define persons as human beings.”
Forty percent of the global workforce was employed full time for an employer in 2009 and 2010, according to Gallup surveys from 129 countries and areas. Nineteen percent were underemployed, including 7 percent who were unemployed. The data are not, as Gallup maintains, an indicator of the number of “quality jobs” but, instead, of the extent to which people are forced to have the freedom to sell their ability to work.
Union membership continues to decline in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
In 2010, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
15 million jobs have disappeared. The fact is, under capitalism, jobs are created when and where and to the extent capitalists decide to create them.
“Globalization isn’t the problem,” says Howard F. Rosen, a labor economist and visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute. “U.S. companies are investing in plants and equipment, just not in our borders…. They are privatizing the gains of globalization. That’s really it. They’re our gains!”
The Economist‘s S.D. is surprised at the income thresholds for the top 10 percent ($107,540) and 5 percent ($150,000) of U.S. households.
To me, it’s something of a wake-up-call to realise that a couple who make $75,000 each are in the top 5% of American households. I’m curious whether this is surprising to others, too? Would you, like me, have guessed the thresholds were higher? Does this change what you think about who is “rich” in America today?
Clearly, S.D. needs to get out more.*
* Or just take a look at the U.S. Census Bureau data.