Today we visited the Occupy Wall Street Movement encampment on Wall Street, here in Bend, Oregon. In my world view I always coöperate with people in their quest, at least in the short run, because I know they are trying to improve their world in specific and the whole world in general. It becomes a question of their world view relative to mine which needs clarification, and they can never be identical, so there must inevitably be some adjustments. But I start off on a positive footing because I know they want to help improve the world in general and my personal situation in particular. They are attempting to do this by explaining their convictions in such a way that I will understand what they are attempting to do, and they are soliciting my coöperation to help them do it.
The Occupy Movement is still very much in a state of flux, because it is made up of so many different individual conceptions of what it is and what it might become, but at the moment it isn’t much more than a generalized dissatisfaction with the way the world economy is treating the working person unfairly. There is general agreement that the wealthy people, represented by Wall Street financiers, are stealing from everyone else. The poorest people, that is those living closest to primal needs of food and shelter, have felt the downturn of the economy most sharply, but it is the larger middle class working people who are feeling, perhaps for the first time, the pinch of downward mobility and they don’t know which way to turn to stop this trend.
My view is that the American worker has transitioned into a World worker and that they are now competing with workers everywhere else in the world. However, now that many of those foreign workers have just as good an education and technical skills and financing as local ones, they can compete for the same jobs. The problem is that they can work for a much lower wage than American workers, because they have far lower living expenses. The cost of living in the US is far greater than elsewhere for several reasons, each of which has synergistic effects which feed back on themselves with a sort of compound interest, which makes things even worse. It is the American taxpayer, mostly workers, who are supporting the American police force which has provided the peaceful world, and prevented major conflicts for most of the last century, and that has permitted workers in those other countries to work in security. But, those workers do not have to support the cost of their own security; the American worker provides that. It is the American military which is the greatest economic drain on our economy, and it is a drain which the other countries, and their taxpayers, the workers, have not been forced to suffer.
Americans pay extra in several ways, (military taxes are not reinvested into productive infrastructure, soldiers are not value producing workers, dead soldiers lose future productivity) and the foreign countries gain extra in several ways, (no military means lower taxes, citizens are workers not non-productive soldiers, living men have longer working careers) and it is a cumulative process which has gone on destroying American workers’ productive advantage for decades. With all the extra capital the workers of the world have been given by this process, they become much more productive, and with American capital flowing into foreign work forces they become even more productive. If a new process is developed for making new products the capitalists send the jobs abroad where the new items are manufactured. The American worker’s wage is headed toward the lowest paid worker’s wage anywhere in the world – and that is really low.
When China catches up to America, it will take over the role of policeman, but that transition will not be very friendly.