On this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution (The Socialist Podcast) , Heather is joined by Brandon Castro from NJWEC for a discussion about income inequality. They explore the reasons that american workers have not had a wage increase since the 70s. Despite the fact productivity has never been higher. They delve into how the financial sector has been systematically extracting wealth from the american economy for years. This is having devastating impacts on local communities and critical services. Finally they discuss how you can get involved in the movement to return wealth to the workers instead of the corporate raiders.
“There is nothing in the economic universe that will automatically rescue us from runaway inequality. There is no pendulum, no invisible political force that “naturally” will swing back toward economic fairness. Climate change is not going to heal itself. Either we wage a large-scale battle for economic, social and environmental justice, or we will witness the continued deterioration of the world we inhabit. The arc of capitalism does not bend toward justice. We must bend it”
– Les Leopold on Runaway Inequality.
Brandon Castro is an activist employed by the New Jersey Work Environment Council. The council runs a variety of campaigns ranging from occupational health to renewable energy. One of these campaigns in the “Public Need Over Corporate Greed” campaign which Brandon heads up. They train activists to facilitate lessons about income inequality. Les Leopold is the author of Runaway Inequality, which the core curriculum is based from.
Finacialization has been strip mining wealth from the economy to put it into the hands of the economic elite. Power and influence has expanded outward under fictionalization. They don’t just funnel money from the American economy but the global economy.
Worker productivity has steadily been increasing forever. Wages grew with productivity for a while. Around the 1970s that trend changed. If wages had kept up with productivity would should have double the buying power or be working half the amount of hours. Instead all the surplus value is funneled into the hands of banks and Wall Street. This was brought about because of the introduction of The Better Business Model. The BBM called for massive deregulation and slashing taxes on the wealthy. This has come to be known today as Neoliberalism. Both parties supported this model, which has failed miserably. This model has led to massive income inequality.
Lewis Powell constructed a manifesto on how businesses could organize themselves. The goal was to take power away from working people and deliver it into the hands of the global elite. This is not a conspiracy theory, but can be found on google. Corporations fought back against people power. Everything in the Powel Memo has come to pass. It is frightening how effective this plan was.
To find out how you can book a class on Overcoming Runaway Inequality, you can reach out to us here at NJRR.