From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Canada has become a nation of Dupes

Ever get the feeling that you're working harder and not only getting nowhere but falling behind , well that's because unless you're rich or a high level executive , you are.

In the past decade wage gains and I use the term gains in the loosest manner possible, have been even lower than during the Great Depression. From the years 2000 to 2009 the average wage increase was 4% yet during the Depression the average increase was 5%. I know that sounds counter intuitive but there is a possible answer to why this has occurred.

During the Depression Unions were still a force giving workers bargaining power resulting in higher wages, however during the last decade and beyond as Union membership has declined so have wages.Some may pass this off as a mere coincidence,I don't. Workers and the masses in general have never received any benefit from those in power without a putting up a mighty fight ,once too many of us abandoned the battlefield our bosses busied themselves in regaining lost ground and man have they ever succeeded.

Lest you think things are starting to improve the annual pace of wage increase in June was 2%, far below the reported rate of inflation of 3.7%. That inflation number of 3.7 is a work of pure fiction. Just look at the rapidly rising costs of gas, electricity and food and ask yourself if that number bears any semblance to your reality.If you're like me and those I know it doesn't come close. As for the wage side of the equation I haven't seen a "raise" equal to or greater than  even the fictionalised rate of inflation in well over a decade and that is true for the vast majority of the people I have talked to.

Yet we are incessantly bombarded from the likes of Stephen Harper with the message that the greatest threat to the economy is greedy workers. This is understandable of Harper for he is a devout disciple of NeoLiberalism. He pursues this vile philosophy with an evangelical zeal and will likely never be deterred from his quest for the Holy Grail. What truly irks though is that he and his ilk are, as witnessed during and after the Postal lock out, cheered on in their quest by their victims.

These dupes are so intent on seeing everyone suffer their fate that they can't see that they are in fact cutting off their own noses to spite their faces and that the only way out of this horrible mess  is to support all workers in their quest for a fairer share of the pie. The point that must be hammered home to them is that if you keep lowering the ceiling eventually you'll need to lower the floor in compensation. Hopefully some day they will figure out that simple equation.

With our economy artificially propped up by China's massive appetite for our commodities, Harper and his army of dupes can maintain their fiction that things are alright and getting better, however like all booms, China's will go bust someday.When this happens and their wall of denial crashes down around them, it's  a given that the dupes will react with fury and anger, the question is who will they blame.


  1. With our country in the grip of the fiscal gravity of the US wage stagnation should come as no surprise. We continue to do somewhat better than the US but not as much better as we like to believe. Meanwhile our income inequality gaps widen dangerously, albeit (again) not as dramatically as America's. It's just one part of a systematic progression to dismember the Middle Class.

  2. Whether people believe it or not, this is a form of neoliberal slavery.
    Imagine human beings as creative and productive entities. By working 8-12 hours a day, we lose our level of creativity outside of work. We also lack the time to fully engage in activities that would help people develop personally, spending time within their communities, and actively engaging in politics.
    The result is what we have become: slaves.
    My definition of slavery would be: a process by which an individual is forced to work for exchange of resources just enough to maintain their lives, no more, no less.This in turn chains us into a vicious circle of self-oppression. We oppress ourselves by allowing our social roles as labourers take over our civil liberties and human rights.
    We are kept alive to serve our bosses at work, to serve the overall economy while we neglect our human needs of socialization and individual development.

    Thank you for this post.

  3. It's probably worse than that, actually. Beware of the term "average" when there's reason to believe the figures have a skew. Since those making the most have had very strong gains, it's likely they're skewing the average, meaning that the vast majority are doing much worse.
    Median household incomes have stayed flat or worse, from what I've heard. And households have tended to increase the average number of workers, which would suggest the median individual income would have fared even worse than that.

    Overall, the closer you look at the figures, and the more issues you factor in, the worse it seems to get.

  4. OK, so what should be done, and how will it work?

    It's fine to sit around staring blankly and complaining, but how about providing a solution that addresses poverty, wages, etc?

    The world is never changed or made better by navel gazing.