Home > The Economy > Austerity—U.S. style

Austerity—U.S. style

from David Ruccio

We often associate austerity with the economic policies imposed in Europe, especially Greece, since the crash of 2007-08.

However, as the chart above demonstrates (from the Wall Street Journal), the United States has pursued its own version of austerity in the years since the Great Recession began in late 2007. Total state, local and federal government spending, adjusted for inflation, shrank 3.3 percent since the beginning of the recession, compared with an average increase of 23.5 percent over comparable periods in past postwar expansions.

And, of course, the effects of such austerity have been unevenly distributed across the population, with large corporations and wealthy individuals gaining and everyone else finding themselves on the losing end.


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  1. BC
    August 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Are not the bottom 80-90% “losers” required to submit to “austerity” so that the top 0.001-1% to 10% “winners” can prosper?

    Does not a hierarchy of upward flows of resources, net energy per capita, production, income, wealth, gov’t receipts, and political power not require that the many submit to increasing costs and diminishing returns per capita in order to support those at the top of they pyramid?

    Why should the members of the exceedingly successful, enviably worthy Wall St. banking oligarchs, corporate-statist CEO managerial caste, Establishment intelligentsia, technocrats, and financial mass-media influentials give up anything for the sake of the lazy, underachieving, working-class “losers” who made such poor decisions about who their parents were and not to attend an Ivy League university?

    What kind of techno-utopian meritocracy for the top 0.001-1% can we have if the bottom 90%+ are NOT expected, and therefore socialized and conditioned, to live austere lives on a finite planet thermodynamically constrained by scarcity per capita?

    Surely, the first and only real, abiding mandates for gov’t and the central bank serving the owners of the central bank and gov’t is to serve the interest of the top 0.001-1% owners and not the lazy “takers”, yes?

    What is the purpose of gov’t and “the economy” but to encourage, support, enable, and protect the “winners” and owners?

    Now that the top 0.001-1% to 10% own 40-85% of all financial wealth, receive up to 50% of all income, and pay 70-75% of all income taxes, who needs (un)economic growth for the bottom 90-99%? What’s the point? Elysium has arrived. There is no longer a need to grow the economy, in large part because it can no longer grow in terms of net energy per capita for the bottom 90%+.

    If the economy cannot grow, then those who have not already secured the capitalist net energetic and financial surplus to sustain their lives and lifestyles indefinitely hereafter are just out of luck; they’ve lost the evolutionary lottery and game of survival of the fittest.

    What’s the big deal? Let’s get on with evolution and the survival of the fittest.

  2. Ack Nice
    August 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    A serious talk

    “Megabrilliant … a hefty punch to the brain … the only serious talk available about the present gigacritical human situation … breathtaking guidance in the greatest crisis in human evolution” -Alan Gates

    “The only writing that says what everyone in the world has to hear” -William Pickering


    I have a plan. It’s yours to read and use for free. It will save the human species and Mother Earth, create world peace, and maximize global prosperity, security, freedom and happiness. It goes like this:

    We institute a global lottery and draw new winning numbers once every 10 years. Everyone on Earth must invest all their income and assets in this lottery by buying as many tickets as all the wealth they have will buy.

    Every ten years this lottery will, of course, as all lotteries do, cause most of the participants to lose wealth while a very few win great gains.

    To be more specific, in this lottery 99% of people will come out with less, 1% will come out with more. The top winners will take out a million times as much as they put in. The bottom losers will come out with as little as one one-thousandth what they put in. 80% will come out with less than a 10th of what they put in. 99% will come out with between the same amount they put in and a thousandth of what they put in. 1% will come out of the lottery with between the same as they put in and a million times what they put in.

    That’s it – that’s my plan. You are already agreeing that it’s a really great new idea for ensuring sustainable global peace and happiness, right? And you’re already feeling quite certain that everyone else will agree, too, that my lottery idea is a very, very good plan for world peace and maximal global happiness, right? You’re going to pipe up and say we humans should jump on board with this plan pronto and get it going immediately, right?

    What’s that? No? Do I hear you saying no, you don’t agree? Really? You don’t agree?

    You’re saying something more like…

    “What the blazes, is this woman NUTS? Is she SERIOUS? What possible good can come of THAT idea? Why, that is the worst, the stupidest, the most no-go idea anybody ever came up with! It’s the most no-go idea possible! There are NO detectable benefits in that idea! Why, it would be utter chaos to do as she proposes. Just think of the distress, the suffering, the hardship and misery of those 80% who get between a 10th and a 1000th. To say nothing of the anger, the resistance, the violence of those so deprived. And for what? So that a fraction of 1% can be swimming in more money than they can do anything with? Why, the winner in the lottery will be under perpetual siege from the overworked, the struggling, the poor and starving. The conflict would be absolutely enormous. The violence would just escalate and escalate, as one side tried to hold onto, and the other side tried to get, what the 1% had. Anyone can see that the rich would be few and the poor many, so that the attack on the rich would be all the more concentrated. And the richer they were, the fewer they would be and the more they would stick out as objects of the fury of the deprived. Why, trying to survive on a 1000th share would mean thousands – no – millions! of deaths, unspeakable misery! Why, the 80% on less than a 10th of what they put in would be nothing but slaves. They would be fighting each other for survival. They would be combining where they could to attack the lottery winners. However great the resources for security of the winners, the winners would sooner or later fall to the ceaseless intense efforts of the losers. Which means nobody wins. It’s a crazy idea from start to finish, with nothing to recommend it at all! For the love of wild wienerwurst, what IS this woman thinking? Why, the costs in peacekeeping, in keeping law and order would be horrendous. The costs of all the broken heads would be colossal! What possible good could come of such an idea? None. The woman is mad. What on earth does she think the benefits would be? And what good would it do to have the lottery every 10 years, so that people would go from anywhere in the range of luck to anywhere else in the range of luck, from most extreme winning extremely rarely to most extreme losing 10% of the time and losing to some degree 99% of the time.”

    Well? Is THAT what everyone is already in agreement on – that my lottery idea is in fact very bad and I must be out of my mind to propose such an extremely bad idea? Is everyone confident that everyone in the world will think much the same thing about the lottery idea? Do you feel pretty certain that people hearing that idea proposed as a plan for world peace and global happiness will resoundingly reject it for being totally bonkers, laughably absurd, a complete timewaste from some utter nutter? “The poor woman! What a supreme idiot!”

    At which point it is only necessary to ask:

    Then why is the world being run like this lottery?

    For I assure you it is run like this.

    The world annual income, divided by the total number of hours worked by all workers in a year, will give the average amount of wealth produced by an hour’s work, and thus gives an idea of the proper pay for an average hour’s work. The world average pay figures out to approximately US$1,000 a fortnight per working person, while actual pay to individuals per fortnight ranges from a million times that figure to a thousandth of it, ranges from one billion US dollars a fortnight to just $1 a fortnight. (Bill Gates’ peak pay versus the lowest-paid worker in Burundi.)

    How is it that every human is intelligent enough to see that the lottery idea is absurd and almost infinitely disastrous and stupid, and yet every human participates in just exactly that idea every hour every day without the slightest comment?

    How is it that every human is intelligent enough to see that the lottery idea is absurd and almost infinitely disastrous and stupid, and yet every human participates in just exactly that idea every hour every day without the slightest comment?

    You should think more than twice about that question.

    Think of all the things that people think about, care about, strive to achieve …but they don’t strive to change a condition that everyone agrees would be, IS, the very height of folly and danger??

    Is this the supreme case of seeing leaves and not the tree, of seeing the trees and not the forest, seeing a million relatively little things and not seeing the biggest, most glaring thing?

    Just see a thing and people will fix it. What won’t people fix! People have tremendous energy. Women don’t have equal rights? A billion people are engaged in efforts doing something about it. Species are endangered? 1000s are taking action and millions are supporting those efforts. Is there crime? Millions are working against it. It’s easy to see that a problem perceived receives enormous energy to fix it. SEE this problem – that our world is being run just like the lottery idea, and it is soon fixed. Once we realize that we are simply not acting in accord with what everyone already thinks of that disastrous lottery idea, the problem’s solution is at hand and visible. If someone was rocking the boat, how quickly all would unite to stop it. How quick we are when it is a matter of safety and comfort! Just SEE this problem and see that nothing harms our safety and comfort and happiness more – and it will be fixed.

    We understand that things can be too small to be visible, and we have tremendous energy to solve that problem (microscopes etc). Let us also understand that things can be too large to be visible. Our species has tunnel vision. Our eyes are set to focus, to concentrate, to see forward. We have predator eyes, hunter eyes, gatherer eyes. We don’t have 360º vision like pigeons. We don’t have our eyes on the sides of our head so that we can see all around. But we must acquire the mental equivalent of that so we can see this most glaring big problem. Not a difficult problem. Solved as soon as seen. And solving this problem will solve many of our other problems – millions of problems, most or all of our worst problems. As cutting down a poisonous tree kills 1000s of poisonous leaves.

    A fortnight’s pay ranges from $1 to $1 billion. Carve that onto your brain. Plant the seed of that fact in your mind. Water it with reflection and good sense. Pay ranges from $1 to $1 billion – make that fact king and queen in your mind. Measure everything in your experience against that fact. There is nothing that can be anywhere near as profitable to you. If you find within yourself an aversion to considering it, ask yourself why. Ask yourself is it wise, is it good sense, have I a good reason to avoid this fact. Maybe this fact is an irritation that makes a pearl, a very valuable pearl. A pearl of vision that can make a world that will make this present state of the world seem like a deep hell, a hell that would drive children to madness.

    The true purpose of morality, also known as ethics, is happiness. Happiness is simply a maximization of good things and a minimization of bad things in our life. A minimization of Holocausts, Hiroshimas, horrors, disasters, griefs, genocides, war, crime, violence, anger, dangers, stresses, problems, crises, deprivation etc.

    The means of attaining happiness are the virtues, or excellences, of intelligence. And the greatest of these is justice. We have in this world the most egregious extreme injustice, so we have the opportunity to increase our happiness extremely.

    Justice overlaps with love, and love and justice is treating others well so they will treat us well, or, avoiding treating people badly, so that they will not treat us badly. Treating all beings well minimizes the bad treatment we get from others.

    We treat others very badly indeed by silently, passively, unconsciously supporting a status quo that overpays and underpays people extremely. Overpays them up to a million times what they earn, so that they become the objects of the attacks of all the world, and underpays them up to a 1000 times so that they must fight like wildcats even to eat.

    But if we give more to the underpaid, won’t we have less? The 1% will have less money, but more happiness. The 99% will have more money and more happiness. Happiness is the end and money is sometimes the means. Sometimes less money is the means to happiness. If a bear eats honey, it means happiness. But if the bear takes, or is given and retains, all the honey in the forest, the bear loses happiness; the good stuff in his life is decreased and the bad stuff starts to maximize. He will be besieged by all the other bears forced to grab off him what they must get back to survive. And it is no good in the human world if the bear takes all the honey and kills all the bears. Because in this human situation it is the bears who make the honey. Destroy the other bears and there is no honey being made. If someone had all the money, the money would not buy anything, because there would be no one alive to make anything money buys.

    In Rumania, Ceausescu had most of the money and everyone else stood in bread queues all day instead of working, so Ceausescu ruled over a shrinking economy – until he could no longer afford the extreme security he needed to stay alive. And the same is true in Russia and in America and in every country, in some countries more, in some countries less. And it is globally true. The greater the overpay/underpay ratio, the higher the security costs and the poorer most people are to produce the wealth to pay those costs. The rich countries and individuals become poor, forced to erode their over-fortunes paying endlessly for the security required to protect an over-fortune.

    So no one country or individual is rich for long. From rags to riches to rags in three or more generations. Today’s overpaid, tomorrow’s underpaid. And today’s underpaid are tomorrow’s overpaid. The more underpaid the underpaid are, the more they fight and work to rise, so the most underpaid rise fastest, fight their way hardest to rise. Thus the Sicilian Mafia conquered USA in a few generations. And generally the toughest survivors of the greatest poverty are continuously rising to the top and falling therefrom. Wealth makes soft and flabby and poverty makes lean and mean and keen. Americans versus the Vietcong, Russia vs. the Afghanis, British Empire against the Colonies, the Roman Empire against the Goths, the first world against the third, American law against the Mafia. Flabbiness against leanness. Today’s masters, tomorrow’s slaves.

    Overpay and underpay is good for precisely no one. Especially as the conflict is escalative and has brought us to the brink of global death. War and weaponry, overpay and underpay have been escalating for thousands of years. We have chosen misery for thousands of years, but the choice is no longer between misery and happiness, the choice is now between happiness and universal death. In the blink of an eye mankind has gone from being able to firestorm a city, which is but a dot on the globe, to being able to shroud the whole globe in smoke above the rain wash-out level: death ten different ways for every living thing – vaporisation, burning, injuries, starvation, cold, blindness, darkness, radiation, etc.

    Pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right. Do we pursue happiness? Are we pursuing happiness with any seriousness? We throw away the main and most essential means for happiness: Justice. Casually, with little if any thought about doing it. We have very extreme, super-extreme, giga-extreme injustice – and do nothing about it. Or worse; we silence or ignore or marginalize every attempt to put equality and justice front and center on the stage of our human situation. We can be much happier if we dig this means back out of the dustbin and put it to use. The improvement possible in our status quo is as great as our neglect of justice. Pick up this tool and we can go from universal misery and death to global happiness. Everyone benefits. The overpaid are released from their besieged castles, the underpaid from the suffering and the battle, and everyone from the high costs of the chaos.

    Do we pursue justice? Are we pursuing justice? How many are saying: I want out of the pool of wealth as much as I put in, no more no less? Versus how many say: I’d rather have a little more than a little less than the next person?

    Consider if you took a group of people and infected them with an unquestioned desire to be just a little higher than the next person. What would happen? Hypnotize a roomful of people to strive to be a little higher than the next person. At first they would be sitting up straighter and taller. Then they’d be climbing on the next person to make sure the other didn’t get higher. In no time at all you have a pile of people standing on anything, even other people, to get to the top of the pile. The person at the top is ceaselessly being pulled down by many hands. The ones trodden on are getting wilder and wilder to get higher. All this crazy-making struggle is the perfectly predictable outcome just from everyone wanting to be just a little higher than the next person.

    So, as well as being too big for us to see, the problem is too small for us to see. Wars, Holocausts, horrors culminating in universal death just from wanting to be just a little higher than the Joneses? If every drop in the Pacific Ocean wanted to be just a micron higher than the next drop, where would the Pacific Ocean be? Wetting the moon! If the highest point in the ocean were a million times higher than the average depth of the Ocean, the Ocean would be wetting the moon! If the ocean of pay was as smooth as a millpond, with everyone, including homemakers and students, being paid the same hourly rate, every worker throughout the world would be getting approx. $US40 an hour. Every family with 2 earners would be getting paid US$200,000 a year (more or less, as they worked more or less than the average).

    And, in addition to the increase of wealth coming in, the enormous outgoing costs all families currently pay would be drastically reduced. The routinely unseen, ignored or hidden “knock on” costs, as well as the direct costs of most wars, crimes, diseases and ignorances would be saved, expenditures rendered unnecessary in a world firmly decided to finally spread the wealth as evenly as the work is spread.

    All the money is worth all the work. No work, no worth in the money. If everyone worked half as much, the money would be worth all the goods and services etc produced by the work – half as much. So all the annual income divided by all the hours of work done in the year is the fair pay for an hour’s work at world-average hardness of working – and that is $US40.

    Gross underpay (getting out of the system less than a 10th of what they contribute by their work) for 80% of people must make everyone poor. Imagine if 80% of the body was on a 10th of the normal blood supply. Imagine 80% of people with a 10th of the education, a 10th of the healthcare, a 10th of the capital, a 10th of the tools, a 10th of the books. And that is a 10th of the world-average amount of education, medicine etc.: the reality is between a 10th and a 1000th of the average, for the 80%.

    Suppose that this idea makes good sense to you. If you take 100 copies of this piece of writing and hand them out to friends and family over time and it makes good sense to them too (and remember everyone in the world already agrees with it since everyone is confident that everyone in the world would think the lottery idea is stupid) and they each hand out 100 copies to friends and family over time, everyone in the world will hear of it in just five times the time it takes you to get 100 people to read it and agree they agree (because 100 to the power of 5 is 10 billion, more than all the people on the globe). No organization to join, no money to pay, no leader to follow, no revolution to fight (because everyone agrees).

    An extreme increase in happiness, an extreme decrease in troubles and pains for every future generation. It is low cost (just read, ruminate, see and pass on) and very good value (greatly increased happiness for trillions of people present and future).

    If you do nothing, how can you justify doing nothing for yourself, your friends, your family, your grandchildren. As miserable as the lottery situation would be – as miserable as it IS – that is how much happier we can be. How can you defend saying nothing against the current lottery juggernaut steadily grinding humanity under its wheels?

    Certainly many of the overpaid may be unable to see the truth through the mindlessness of their false self-interest (their happiness is their real self-interest, but they may be unable to distance their minds from money, from what they think is always the means), but 99% will be happier and paid more, 80% will be happier and paid 10 to 1000 times more (because they are currently being paid from a 10th to a 1000th of what they contribute to the pool of goods by their work). What 99% can see (not just see that it promises to pay them so much more, but see also, and see clearly, finally, that getting overpaid is very bad for happiness), even some in the 1% can see.

    As long as people think overpay is evil, they will tolerate it and pursue it. But if they see it is insanity, is highly dangerous, is self-crucifixion, is throwing yourself off a cliff, they will abandon it. People will applaud anyone who climbs a mountain, including a mountain of money, but not if it means the death of the species.

    The violence and disturbance of the world is proportional to the overpay/underpay ratio, which today stands at one billion. It is that ratio that makes all the bombs, all the terrorists, all the corruption, builds all the concentration camps, inflicts the torture, damages the environment, makes the spies and the traitors and the secret police and the police state. It is that ratio that drives the riots and the revolutions, the overthrows and the assassinations. It is that ratio making a constant meal of everyone’s safety and security.

    Did you know the American dream was built on control of overpay? It was obvious to the founding fathers, who were able to see Europe from the outside, that extreme overpay was tyranny (money is power, power corrupts). So in designing the land of the free, the first things the founders did were prohibit entail and primogeniture, and fix clergy’s salaries. But the American dream was defeated by the rise of the corporation. Not only Lincoln, at the time of their rise warned against them, but Jefferson, a century before warned against them. Now America is as tyrannous as anything in the Europe they fled. It was too late when the American people failed to prevent the robber barons of the late 19th century. It was too late when a US Senate Committee said that big business was more powerful than the US Government in the 1950’s, it was too late when Eisenhower warned against the power of the industrial-military complex, it was too late when the Mafia was bigger than the 5 biggest corporations.

    Have you been half in love with the superwealthy? Will you watch while overpay and underpay destroys everyone from superoverpaid to superunderpaid? While every further generation is blocked out from the possibility of existence?

    What is it that has brought us to this calamity? It is the accumulation over thousands of years of a tiny error, sand falling, one grain at a time, that makes a mountain that buries the world. Buying, selling and swapping. Transactions, or exchanges. With specialisation of work jobs, exchange came into being. We specialise in our work, and then exchange our specialised contribution to the pool of goods and services for all the other goods and services the other specialists produce. I concentrate on designing cameras, someone else concentrates on growing lettuces. Where in this is the grain of sand?

    In any exchange, the amounts of work on the two sides of the exchange cannot be equal. One must give more than the other. No one knows exactly what anything is worth. Every exchange leaves one side poorer, the other richer. Every transaction is a fair-exchange-no-robbery plus an unavoidable robbery on top. Multiply this by billions of transactions every day over thousands of years and we must arrive at extreme overpay and underpay. Most people are aiming to give as little, and get as much, as they can. Business is buying cheap and selling dear, business is just selling for more than it costs you. It is the easiest thing in the world for a business to get $11 for something that costs it $10. And no one knows that an involuntary gift has been given.

    When a business pays all its costs, including the fair pay of the managers, and finds it has money left over, it says, what a good boy am I. By definition, the leftover money has not been earned. All workers including managers have been paid out of costs. The leftover money belongs to overcharged customers and underpaid workers. But it is now legally owned by non-earners. It is a free lunch for them, paid for by others. It is money for nothing. It is injustice. It is theft. And it has buried the world in war and want. And it is soon, if we don’t face it, to bury the globe in smoke and death.

    There is no escape from the logic of this observation about exchange. No two things can be exactly equal in workweight. No two things can be of exactly equal worth. No two things can have exactly the same amount of work in them. And it is admitted that every dealer is trying to pay as little, and be paid as much, as possible. And yet no one seems able to see this. Where there is a will there is a way. The losers do not want to admit losing, the winners do not want to admit profits are freebies. Honour is falsely attached to profits. In a non-profit, non-voluntary organization, everyone gets paid, so what are profits? Surplus, after all contributors to the value of the goods or services have been paid, is by definition earned, not by its legal owners, but by overcharged customers and underpaid workers.

    A prisoner in a prisoner-of-war camp starts up a shop and in time builds up a ‘fortune’ in cigarettes. His ‘fortune’ bears no necessary relationship to his labour. Who can say a tin of Red Cross sardines is worth 10 or 20 cigarettes? No one. But as time goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer that the trader’s ‘fortune’ is more or less than his labour. Bill Gates goes from $5m to $10bn in 30 years. That is, multiplies his capital by 10,000 times. That works out to around 40% profit per year. That means that over 25% of the price of Microsoft software goes into Gates’s pocket in return for nothing. (If Gates had to pay that money out for the cost of the software, it couldn’t go in his pocket.) But Gates is only one, the largest, of the profit-takers. There are millions of profit-taking owners of Microsoft. If Gates’s share is 25%, and other’s shares are considerable, what fraction of the price of the software is the cost of the software? Maybe only 10%.

    How can price be so much higher than cost? New technology is a monopoly situation. It’s a scarcity situation: demand is high relative to supply while new factories are being built and gearing up. New technology is a pre-competition situation. The first into a market has a head start, can buy out or hamstring competitors. The competitors want to make the big profits too, so have a reason to sell well above costs too. The technology does a job more cheaply, so people are ok with paying well above cost. It is hard for people to assess cost of new technology. They are saving money relative to the old technology, so they don’t see themselves getting poorer, giving away $1000s to a stranger. A person getting $10 million an hour contributes one hour’s work to the social pool of wealth and takes out, with everyone’s blessing, a million hour’s work by others. He can buy a $10m house, which has a million person-hours of work in it, every hour.

    When no one is infected with the desire to get higher, everyone stands on the floor and all is well. When everyone is so infected, people will try to climb up the tallest heap of humans, which is a dreadful unnecessary burden for those lower, and extremely dangerous and unstable for those higher. A madness, suicidal and genocidal.

    A choice. Hell at very high cost, relative heaven at very low cost. You choose one or the other, every second. There is no third alternative. There is no waiting stage. You are either freezing to death in the sea or getting warm and dry on land.

    You are either whispering the little mad ‘more’ or saying ‘get what I give, no more, no less’.

    We can either continue supporting theft passively or actively and be soon extinct, or make overpay illegal and be happy – and bestow happiness and survival on all. The maximum hours the human body can work is about 100 hours a week, 5000 hours a year, 250,000 hours a working life. At the fair pay of US$40 an hour that means maximum earnings in a lifetime are of the order of US $10 million. Subtract a lifetime’s spending and the maximum fortune is of the order of US$8 million. Could a person working 100 hours a week for 50 years possibly be working harder on average in a unit of time than the world average hardness of work per unit of time?

    The foundation principle of an economic philosophy of work is that a person should be paid for what they lose. They shouldn’t be paid for something they don’t lose. What they lose is time spent in their specialized work that they can’t spend on the other specialized work. The specialist overworks in their specialized work (butcher, baker), producing goods for others most of the time. The compensation is to enable the specialists (all of us) to buy the products of the other specialists. Most of what a worker loses is time. Energy also is lost, but the energy loss is a small part of the loss. The energy can be replaced at a small fraction of the pay.

    People should not be paid for talents or brains, or brawn, or responsibility, or experience etc., because these things are not gained at cost. They are gifts of nature. Any work done improving talent, or learning, or acquiring experience should be paid, for time is lost in gaining them. In fact people are not paid for responsibility, or brains, or merit, or talents: for there is no science of measuring these things. There is some apparent correlation, but no certain correlation and no high correlation. We assume people are responsible if they are in high paying jobs, but it is probably impossible – at least hopelessly controversial – to define responsibility or even brains. Do we ignore the responsibility of the bus driver who can kill 40 people because bus drivers so rarely do, and highly honour the responsibility of the surgeon because surgeons do kill some? Are CEOs monitored and assessed for responsibility? CEOs after WWII were paid 30 times the average, not 1000 times the average, as now. So which is correct?

    To allow egregious overpay is to create tyrants, to sell freedom. To allow egregious overpay is to ask for revenge. To allow limitless fortunes so that there is a chance you can be paid far more than you contribute is to play Russian Roulette with life and liberty, because most lose, horribly, at that game, and all will lose at that game soon. To allow limitless overpay is to invite every scoundrel to use every dirty trick.

    To limit fortunes to some multiple of the maximum a person can contribute is to limit theft. Why tempt the weakness of all people by holding out a carrot 10,000 times bigger than the earnings of the hardest worker, the biggest contributor to society? Why allow 500 billionaires to have over a 1000 times what they could have earned? Why bother catching any thieves if you leave the biggest alone?

    If the billionaires find themselves under attack for holding on to money earned by others, will one of them reply with reason against reason? Everyone will imagine they will reply with force. And that is correct. That they will reply with force proves that they have no reason, and are bandits who don’t recognize the safety in not having more than their earnings. (Sometimes they use words with no good sense at the bottom of them, and save the expense of force if the words work.)

    It is said we never learn the lessons of history. There is one lesson that history teaches unanimously. The State built on injustice will not stand. The greater the range of overpay and underpay, the greater the shaking of the pillars of the state. States with low inequity ratios are strong, even when small, and grow (the early Roman Empire). States with high inequity ratio, even when large, are weak and crumbly (the late Roman Empire).

    The purpose of government is justice, so who can say any modern state or country is governed? For nowhere is the growth of inequity checked and limited. Nowhere yet is the goal of education to teach that overpay is misery, evil and shame, stupidity, danger and dishonour. The founding fathers of America could have made that lesson the cornerstone of education and saved America and the world and the future from tyranny. They failed 2 centuries ago. We can succeed. With careful thought.

    If you see a fault in my thought, holes in my logic and sense, okay, leave it, as rubbish (but please point me to the error you think is there, first?) But don’t walk away from this if you have no good reason to walk away from it, no good reason to neglect it, to ignore it, to step around it, to bleep it out and continue on your path to extinction. Let there be a bloodless revolution. Let there be a revolution of sanity. There are no human enemies here. We are all in the one boat. We survive together with our courage, kindness and intelligence, or die together in our blindness and madness.

    How many have heard me and are now fully alert and awake to the vast opportunity that exists? How many have heard me and may be convinced and clear if I can clear away some doubts you have? Obviously, when everyone – the general human mind – is clear that egregious overpay is fatal to happiness and survival, there is little difficulty in going from there to the practical means. Where there is a will there is a way. Where there are clear and adequate ideas, the construction, the practical manifestation, is automatic, even if there are problems to overcome. Therefore the whole thrust of the sanity revolution, the move to global survival and happiness, is in the insertion of the idea in all minds.

    Human society is always the product of the outpouring of mind, of a people’s notions, clear and unclear, and society is constantly changing with changes of understanding. The increase of the overpay/underpay ratio is a constant event, the automatic consequence of transactions. It is therefore only necessary to constantly take some of the most egregious overpay and move it to reduce the most egregious underpay, having the effects of 1/ reducing the overpower of the overpaid, thus increasing universal freedom, 2/ increasing the safety and therefore happiness of the overpaid, 3/ decreasing the misery, anger and (righteous) violence of the underpaid, 4/ increasing the power of the underpaid, increasing freedom, 5/ slowing the escalation of, and diminishing, the global conflict, decreasing the costs of conflict and therein increasing the wealth of the world.

    The fate of whatever group is the currently overpaid is hopeless, because the first world is forced to sell arms to the third world in order to try to stay wealthy. The poor man (and even poorer woman) pays for all. The overpaid are totally dependent on the underpaid. The overpaid have no other source of income. In 50 years, when the current third world is the first world, the wisdom, the necessity, of not being overpaid will be just as true.

    The only way to enjoy one’s life is to let others enjoy theirs. Although the rich are powerful, they are necessarily, unavoidably in relentless decline. Although the underpaid are weak, they are necessarily, unavoidably, relentlessly strengthening. Crests and troughs are temporary. In the longer view, being on a crest is no happier than being in a trough. Because in time, crests are troughs. Crests or troughs are not opposites, but the same: a rough ride, low quality of life. Knowing this, the Pakistani who said: the landlords oppress the peasants, may I be a landlord – wouldn’t have said it – He would have said instead “The landlords oppress the peasants, let us have an end to having peasants and landlords”. And this is the change that must be made, thoroughly, in every head.

    At the moment, everyone is thinking as the Pakistani said. The universal blind faith in the crest – just more, more than others, a little more – don’t restrict me to getting out only what I put in – kills 100 million people every year: 2% of humanity, or 1 in 50 people. And if one considers the shortening of lifespan as murder (which you would if someone wanted to shorten your life), then it murders 80% of the people who die each year.

    I hope I have explained the idea clearly, and hope I’ve been convincing. But I am aware that to explain and convince is to leave only a faint mark on mind. What is needed is power of expression. Understanding is such a small part of what governs our choices. The idea has to be put across in glorious cadences, with a rich vibrant thrilling deep voice, in order to penetrate most of the brain. And perhaps this idea has to be danced into the human mind.

    People may be confident that no one will ever push a button that will end the world, but the buttons will be pushed by the machines sooner or later – nuclear accident is a statistic certainty, inevitable. Extinction via computer glitch. If a person was living in a building that even might blow up, a response would be made. But to the fact that the world has now got bombs enough to enshroud the planet 60 times over generates no response. Danger to whales, yes. To the globe, not yet.

    How can sleepers wake themselves? By every means possible. Cover your walls with the worst pictures of war, holocaust, genocide, starvation, crime etc. Read some of this document daily. Post this document to 100 random addresses every week. Read this document to groups. Parts of your consciousness that were comfortably asleep will respond to the bustle, will wake up and ask what is going on – and discover there’s a bomb under your floorboards.

    Put it to yourself like this: I want to live, I am in danger and discomfort, the only way I can get out of life-threatening danger is to help convince the 2 billion adults that we must give up the miseries of egregious overpay/underpay. If everyone who grasps it and wakes up to it passes it on fully to 100 people in one month, 10 billion people will know of it in just 5 months, so it is easy to reach 2 billion people. If one taught just 1 person a month, 10 billion would know it in just 33 months.

    WWIII will start accidentally in 20 years, give or take 20 years, so there may be time. The chances of WWIII are high now, and rising with every transaction until effective mechanisms are in place to reduce the inequity ratio, to move earnings back to earners. The situation is desperate but not hopeless.

    Being moral or good is pursuing your happiness, taking into account all the significant consequences of all your relations with everybody in the world: the underpaid person who cut from the tree the banana you ate today.

    Conscience or consciousness is pursing your happiness with all your heart and mind and soul. Love and holiness are pursuing your happiness with maximal intelligence and devotion. Self-sacrifice is sacrificing those parts of you that interfere with your pursuit of happiness. Duty is pursuing your happiness: What greater benefit can you give your family, country and planet than happiness? Spirituality is pursuing happiness, that is, the maximization of your pleasure, peace, enjoyment, safety, freedom, easiness, lightness of heart, bliss. Real happiness comes by facing reality. Money is good and love of self-earned money is good. It is overpay – love of having the chance to have overpay – that is the root of many or most evils. Money is the token of work, and work produces the things that satisfy our needs and desires. As long as money is owned by its earners, justice, happiness, prosperity, peace and pleasure are abundant.

    Instead of an organization with followers and leader, in this plan, whoever accepts this mission becomes a leader. Global democracy exists only if the people, the individuals, have global intelligence and act as rulers. Everyone should think of themselves as global emperor or empress of their own life.

    The most painless way to actualize the new world is to continue all the mechanisms of capitalism and remove all of a fortune above earnings when the person dies and give it back to the earners of it – distribute it among the most extremely underpaid – thus at once destroying tyranny and terrorism. Call it harmless capitalism, justice capitalism, fairpay capitalism, limited personal fortunes capitalism. Communism took all property from everyone and gave it to the state – in practical effect, to Stalin etc. That is, it was the most extreme injustice, leading to the expected consequences; extreme danger, insecurity and paranoia for leaders, secret police, torture, gulags, the murder of millions of Russians, and collapse. American capitalism with unlimited fortunes is only slightly less extreme, and is collapsing slightly less rapidly.

    Japan grew rapidly because MacArthur caused land reforms in Japan after the war (spreading earnings more fairly, thus reducing internal conflict with all its waste) and because America was paying for Japanese defense – again the necessity of the richest country making itself poor buying its defense. But now the overpay/underpay ratio has grown in Japan, slowing growth. China has been reaping the benefits of having lowered the overpay/underpay ratio but is starting to feel the internal conflict effects of a ratio now growing with unbridled capitalism. Sweden is still reaping the happiness benefits of low ratio, and Bangladesh and the Middle East are suffering the effects of high ratio. Britain is languishing from high ratio.

    Humanity made murder illegal a long time ago and continues to reap the benefits. It is time (or, rather, 1000s of years overdue) to make egregious overpay illegal and reap the benefits – survival and much less war, fewer crimes and other unpleasantness.

    It is not human nature that tortures and kills so much, but human nature under the gigantic pressures of extreme overpay and underpay – like a nice dog starved and beaten to savagery.

    Wealthy people do not make wealth, they rake wealth. What they have didn’t come from nowhere; it came over a counter from people’s pockets. The only thing that makes wealth is work.

    Many things you see on TV and read in the papers will confirm the points of this document. Nothing in history past or present will disconfirm these points. As they said in Athens: justice breeds no strife. (It would be good I think to make a law: no-one shall be paid for more than 50 hours a week. This would stop people spending their family on their money.)

    I don’t agree it is, but even if it were unjust to prevent anyone being paid more than US$40, what would that injustice be, compared to throwing the world into endless conflict escalating to extinction? How much harder can any person work in an hour than the world-average hardness of working in an hour? Not more than about 10%, I think. How much harder can the hardest-working CEO work in an hour than the CEO working average hard?

    Always this struggle between the overpaid and the underpaid. How much violence, chaos and suffering do you want? Be victims of a fatal side-effect of transaction till the world goes black? Or reach up and turn the dial down on injustice? Let the engine scream itself to destruction, or ease off on the accelerator?

    Stand up for goodness and sanity, or sit for universal death?

    Science, medicine, invention and other progress go ahead at one 10th speed because 90% are not free enough from want to participate in them. Private overpay is universal poverty. When present world income (work) provides enough for US$200,000 for every family.

    Shakespeare’s Richard III tried to win by complete disregard of the effects of hurting people. How could he win by making enemies of everyone? Do we disregard our own participation in hurting most people on the globe, or is it that, as long as one person gets to fly a $100 million war-toy (the ultimate ego-dream) all the costs (including universal death) are worth it?

    There is no more government than people knowing what is vital to do. The only way to enjoy yourself is to make sure all others are enjoying themselves too, as Sweden shows. New Zealand has been relatively peaceful and friendly because it was populated by people neither grossly overpaid or underpaid. This is slowly slipping.

    Our horror over extreme overpay should be 100 million times greater than our horror over a person who murders 1 person a year, because egregious overpay kills 100 million a year, as well as stealing half the world and causing the imminence of nuclear winter.

    Think of how angry you would be if you were getting between 1 cent and 10 cents an hour your whole life. Multiply by 500 million.

    Imagine how aggrieved you would be to be getting between 10 cents and $1 an hour – and multiply by 3.5 billion.

    Think how mad you would be to be on between $1 an hour and $10 an hour – and multiply by 1 billion.

    That’s some powderkeg!

    By doing nothing with this plan, you support the suffering the ratio causes you. Spread the word at grassroots level as widely as possible. Nothing is more powerful than an idea that’s time has come. (Look what happened to the idea of the internal combustion engine, which was once just a new idea in somebody’s head.) Maybe if 100 people see the idea, it will spread to everyone else ‘magically’ (like the 100th monkey phenomenon.) Read from this document nightly.

    We ride on a very rough road, with high humps and deep dumps. Put the humps in the dumps; presto, smooth ride.

    Inheritance and lottery wins are very welcome freebies in the partial picture. They are desperate remedies for desperate diseases, and unnecessary when all are well-off. Fairpay of US $40 an hour, $200,000 a year for a two-adult family working average hard, meets all needs, satisfies many desires, provides all necessities and many luxuries. So overpay can satisfy only very marginal desires. Do we satisfy very marginal desires of less than 1% people at the expense of survival and happiness for all? Not unless we are very stupid.

    Under this plan, every worker, including mothers and other homemakers, and students, can be paid US $40 an hour. The difference between US$40 an hour and your hourly rate is the amount of your work that goes to support overpay – which the overpaid use to buy whips and chains for you and yours. For example if you are paid US$20 an hour, then you work half the time to donate money to the overpaid, your tyrants and slavemasters. People on US$1 an hour are donating US$39 an hour to make a few people overpaid and proportionally insecure. Of course these figures are rounded figures, but they are broadly true.

    The more power a person has, the higher the level of cruelty they can inflict without being stopped. Unlimited overpay is unlimited cruelty. Will you continue to support unlimited cruelty?

    It is curious that all the opprobrium falls on Hitler and none on the very overpaid captains of industry who backed Hitler to get a subdued workforce and to steal Jewish wealth. If Hitler was a heartless psychopath, his bosses were too. If Hitler hadn’t wanted what they wanted, Hitler would have been soon gone. Hitler was a puppet who performed without pulling his strings.

    Confronted with the complete realism of this idea, people engage in evasions, which should be interesting to psychology. Observe in yourself these evasions and ask what causes them – and notice their irrationality. We cannot avoid extinction and misery without conquering these evasions. The problem exists, the solution is simple and easy, but the evasions are efficient. Naming the evasions – denial, head-in-the-sand, ‘forgetting’, small vision, shoot-the-messenger, meteorite-might-fall, big-picture blindness, mummy-take-care-of-me, let-me-sleep, devil-you-know, just-want-to-have-fun, mis-prioritization, fiddling-while-Rome-burns – doesn’t answer the question. When I look for a reason for these evasions, I see nothing. Do we have no survival instinct?

    If you have a business and work out your hourly rate of pay and it is very satisfactory to you, and the next year your hourly rate of pay is double, to whom does the extra money belong? Out of 2 billion workers worldwide, how many must there be who are very, very close to you in payworthiness (hours of work, hardness of work, seriousness and responsibility etc) – and yet they are being paid right across the range of pay from $1 to $1 billion a fortnight. Can you see the complete lack of good sense and all ethics in this practice?

    Einstein said that stupidity is infinite (he was usually nicer). Prove him wrong.

    Getting priorities correct is vital: if you are picnicking on a railway line, moving the picnic comes first.

    A friend is one who warns you.

    Have I warned you as well as I can that you are picnicking on the traintracks?

    Keep this document with your most valuable papers. Read each sentence in context with the main point. It can take time to wear a new mental path, so read this paper again, with even more care. Let us escape the current poverty of our horizons, let us finally realize the solution to a million very negative consequences of having overpayunderpay is not forever discussing the terrible consequences – the solution is in helping rid each other once and for all of the diabolically stupid and geno-sadistic idea to allow overpayunderpay.

    Do you find this document Mindblowing? Unsound? Inspiring? Insane? Visionary? Stupid? Hopeful? Frightening? Overwhelming? Too Much? Positive? Sound? Convincing? Dangerous? Incorrect? Thought provoking? Challenging? Confronting? Friendly? Mature? Wise? Muddled? Eye-opening? Callous? Sobering? Vivid? Compelling? Numbing? Too hard? Questionable? Motivating? Profound? Too deep? Shocking? Over your head? Supremely Sensible? Wrong Somewhere? Good? Bad? Merely an opinion? Odd? Curious? Strange? Quixotic? The hope and change everyone has been looking for in all the wrong places until now?

    What will you do after reading it? Continue contriving rationalisations for the overpayunderpay dystem about to devour your family? Run out and buy a global lottery ticket for protection? Or…?

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