Dr. Larry on the future of American workers

Wealth Gap 2020: The Destruction of the Anerican Dream·        American historyConscious CapitalismeconomicsEthicsGreat DebateLaborPolitical DiscussionssocialSocialism. CapitalismUnion LaborWorker rights
Is feudalism in our future?
By Larry Fedewa, Ph.D.(Washington DC, September 12, 2020) The closer the 2020 election comes, the more urgent the necessity for understanding the wealth gap which underlies the entire debate.

The fundamental issue at stake in this election is how America will deal with the fact that the American Dream we all pursue has in fact become unattainable for many Americans.

With most national politicians in their 70’s – or even older – the reality is that they simply do not understand that too many Americans today face a gloomy future. They are at a loss to explain why the nightly riots and violence can happen at all let alone why the public officials at least tacitly, and some openly, support such chaos.

What they don’t understand is that there is a great deal of anger in our land, that the traditional mantras of the American ethic just don’t work anymore for a segment of the American population. “Work hard, keep your nose clean, and you too can live the American dream” just isn’t true for these folks, and hasn’t been for a long time.  

Who are these people? And why are they so desperate for change?
One of the oldest questions in the American lexicon is, “What happens to the manual workers when the American quest for labor-saving technologies finally succeeds and the need for human labor ends?”Now we know the answer to that question: The many American workers who have lost their jobs to technology are still there. But now they have nothing – not even their pride.

There is, of course, another segment of our society which has done somewhat better financially through these years. They are the so-called “upper middle class” who have adapted to the technological society, although they are concentrated now in the service industries, since manufacturing has all but disappeared.

Even their children, however, have been affected by their estrangement from two work-alcoholic parents, whose closeness to their children is questionable as is their loyalty to each other. Many of the protesters are white, middle class youths, whose sympathies lie closer to their African American comrades, the least privileged among whom had given up the American dream long ago, than to their befuddled parents.

It is well known that a coalition opposing this President exists, consisting of the Democrat Party, the Deep State bureaucracy, and the Press, as well as the dedicated Far Left organizers and followers, who have coalesced around the  issues of class and race so prominently featured in the violent summer of 2020.

It is clear that while these players have picked by various names the wealth gap as the key issue in this campaign, their timing of the current crisis was not dependent on their discovery of this issue. They have simply taken advantage of the uproar as it occurred.  

  So, what did happen?What happened was the transfer of the asset wealth of the American population from the middle class (approximately 50% of the population) to the super rich (1% of the population). (The term, “assets”, is used instead of “income” because income can go up and down while assets tend to be more stable.)

How did this happen? Many factors came together and finally created one of the worst nightmares Americans have ever faced. The most obvious of these factors are three:
1.   Inflation: between 1971 (when Nixon ended the gold standard) and 2015, the value of the US dollar declined nearly 600%, causing the buying power of wages to become stagnant.
2. Expansion of the workforce:·      between 1960 and 2020 the American workforce nearly doubled as women entered the labor market;·      the globalization beginning in the 1990’s expanded the American labor market to the third world

3. American foreign policy which allowed, even encouraged, American firms to move production overseas.   The result of this movement on the US working man was catastrophic. As the factories left American soil, the skilled workers were left behind with no job, no marketable skill, and eventually no hope.

The principle victims of this exodus were American men. Whereas their place in society and the family had always been respected and secure, they lost that place in both as they sought and were forced to take lower paying jobs or welfare.

Their self esteem followed their decline. Divorce rates soared along with family abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, desertion, homelessness, and suicide and the decline of our cities left social services rare and bankruptcy all too common.

Through all this, the latch-key children bounced around helplessly, caught up in the whirlwind that their life had become. As they grew older, they asked “Work hard?” –“At what?” “College?” — “OK” and then no jobs available. “American dream?” — “What a crock!”

What they want is change. The old system isn’t working for them. Why is socialism suddenly becoming so popular? After all, it has been around since the 1930’s. Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President, Norman Thomas, was an avowed socialist. Few believed in socialism as long as we had the American dream. People believe in socialism now because for them the American dream is gone. And socialists are the only ones listening to the cries of our suffering youth. 

What now?

First, we must all recognize the underlying problem: it is the transfer of wealth! Prosperity for all tends to reduce all social tensions, as the Trump economy was beginning to show before COVID. 

Secondly, if we do not want to watch our beloved country go the way of Venezuela, we had better face the realities of our situation and find a solution.
Finally, while some our people were caught in a vortex of tribulation, others were developing a new way, a new path to the American dream.

A third way: Luckily, many of these pioneers of a new capitalism have been not only inventing a new type of business process, but also organizing a potentially vast new movement to what will become, in my estimation, a new America, open to all races, genders and religions.The most advanced of these renewed American businesses seem to be the Conscious Capitalist organization, currently with 16,000 member companies, representing 3 million workers.It aspires to become a new kind of business, one which is driven by its service to the community – whether that be a local factory, a retailer, or a worldwide marketplace.

The idealism of this brand of business is appealing to the young, who may not know socialism from a community swimming pool, but who do know that they are Americans who value their personal freedom and the room to grow into a happy future without a government telling them what they can and cannot do.

The dilemma facing this country is that conscious capitalists see politics, as do most Americans, in the light of partisanship. As a result, they want to be apolitical so that all sides feel welcome.

Nevertheless, in today’s America, you are either a socialist or a capitalist, either in favor of big government controlling the transfer of wealth from the 1% or in favor of devising a solution which is voluntary and based on merit rather than welfare.Unfortunately, there are no candidates running for national office who present new alternatives to the socialist programs of the Democrats. The Republican alternative stands for continuing to implement Reagan economics, believing that the wealth gap will solve itself in time.
It seems clear that this is a better alternative than the opposition. At least a victory here would buy us time. By 2024 perhaps a “third way” capitalist will come forward.

As Alexander Pope wrote in 1734, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”                                                                      
2020 © Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

Dr. Larry our choices

Survival or Depression: A False Choice
We have to ignore the alarmists and get back to work
By Dr, Larry Fedewa
(Washington DC, July 13, 2020) One of the ongoing controversies in recent days is the dispute over which should be the nation’s top priority: economic recovery or pandemic precautions? Both positions are framed in the same terms: no recovery will be successful if everybody is afraid of catching the virus; likewise, drastic prevention measures, if continued, will bring on the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The answer is that both positions are essentially correct.
We cannot afford either of these alternatives. Common sense tells us that we must resume full economic recovery as soon as possible, but we ignore the frightful prospect of an unchecked pandemic at our own peril. Each consideration has its own imperative: we must resume economic activity at its fullest capacity as soon as possible and take all reasonable precautions at the same time.
So, the key question is: what are reasonable measures for protecting ourselves as a society?
The first answer to this question is what we should not do. We should not trust the public health officials’ solution to this problem. They speak from a very limited perspective, namely, the optimal methods for avoiding the disease altogether. Obviously, the surest way to avoid the disease is to cease all human contact entirely — “shelter in place”.  There are several economic activities which can be executed alone, thanks to the internet and the telephone, such as, writing, meeting, accounting, record-keeping, reporting, selling (some items), etc. The surge of some sectors of the economy, such as mail-orders and delivery services, show the enhanced value of such activities.
Starting from avoiding all human contact as the best protection for individuals — which even public health experts realize is not doable for most people — the next step is simulating “personal quarantine”.  Thus “social distancing” and masks. This practice is marginally practical, meaning it can be done successfully by people engaged in some economic activities, such as counseling and lecturing.
Most economic activities, however, require closer contact. Therein lies the problem. Since most manufacturing and service industries are not compatible with “social distancing”, and since the nation cannot survive economically without these major sources of income, and, further, since the pandemic is not going away any time soon – in view of all these factors, another solution has to be forthcoming.
What is that solution? It seems clear that the solution is to carry on our economic life, using as many precautions as are feasible but not to the extent of continuing to suspend any significant activities which do not lend themselves to such precautions. For example, the practice of taking the temperature of all entrants to a building and requiring masks to be worn while inside – as being practiced in more and more venues already – can be adopted by far more businesses. Perhaps even on a mass scale such as ball games. Yes, it increases the cost of doing business, but that is better than no business at all. Imagination and creativity will be needed to cope with these issues. But those are characteristic attributes of Americans.
The new question needs to be “How?” not “If”.
And how do we regain the confidence of the American public? How do we answer the inevitable charge that we are putting money ahead of saving lives?
The first thing we do is to stop measuring the success or failure of our efforts to contain the virus by the number of cases identified. This number is bound to increase as more and more people are tested every day. The proper metric is the death rate due to the virus. Even with the sloppy counting being used, the rate of COVID-19 deaths is actually going down. For example, the percent of deaths to cases reported for July 11 was 1.3%. (Source: Johns Hopkins CSSE) Longer term reports are equally encouraging.
What accounts for this statistic? In general, there are several reasons for this progress:
1) therapeutics are increasingly effective – both human competence, which has improved with experience, and new medicines which have been developed specifically to treat this COVID-19 illness. Treatment can be expected only to improve with more of both human and pharmaceutical development. Also, vaccines are due to start becoming available by the end of 2020.
2) Hospitals are getting more efficient in their protocols and procedures. The metric for the early preparatory efforts by the Administration was the fear of overcrowding the hospital capacity of the United States. While this is still a possibility on a local level, the occupancy is currently under control.
3) As younger people start to constitute a larger percentage of the total test population, mortality rates are expected to continue to decline because the virus appears to be less lethal for youths. In fact, many youngsters who have been infected never suffer any symptoms at all. Their primary danger as a group seems to be their unwitting role as carriers of the disease to older contacts.
In general, America is learning to live with COVID-19 and to survive. It is now time to begin to flourish as we were before we were so rudely interrupted.

From Dr. Larry

Trump’s controversial rally
A lot to argue about!
By Dr. Larry Fedewa
(Washington, DC – June 21,2020) President Donald J. Trump held his first post-lock-down rally last evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There was controversy before, during and after the event. Criticism was not confined to the content of the speech as usual but spread over the unusual areas of the timing, location, venue, and attendance of the rally.
The earliest criticism concerned the timing of the event. A Trump rally, held in an indoor arena, was criticized as a blatant violation of the CDC current (and often changing) recommendations regarding safeguards against the “Chinese virus”, as Trump calls it. Among the most obvious violations were the lack of social distancing in the densely packed house, without compulsory masks, and held indoors (as opposed to outdoors).
After the rally, much was made of the lower attendance. Not only were there noticeable empty bleachers (which the network cameras showed frequently), but also the scheduled outdoor appearance by the President was cancelled because the only crowd out there was the ever-present (thankfully peaceful) protesters. Nevertheless, there were approximately 18,000 or more in attendance, counting the seating on the floor of the arena, out of a published capacity of 19,000.
One unaccounted-for factor was the absence of the 0ver-65 crowd who tend to be among the most loyal of the Trump base.
So, what to think about all this? First of all, there is the symbolic significance of the scheduling. The President has shown in various ways that the public health contingent – which essentially scared him (and all of us) into the lock-down in the first place – is no longer calling the shots in the White House response to the pandemic.
This column remarked very early in the process the fact that the public health perspective is necessarily limited. Never before in American history has this group been given such control over public policy. At the first sign of a public health threat, Mr. Trump, in typical CEO practice, called into service the finest experts he could find in this field – which he admitted was far from his own experience. He then followed their advice, quite uncritically. As I pointed out at the time, this was a huge gamble: if it went wrong, it could, among other things, cost him the election and even his place in history.
After a while, he did begin to appreciate the narrowness of that perspective. But he was stuck in the middle of a lock-down which he had ordered! Thus, began the journey back to recovery, to normalcy.
His diffusion of power to local politicians was a stroke of genius. Not only did he gradually shed the sole responsibility for the lock-down, but he made friends and evoked loyalties among an entire new group of politicians with whom he had had little prior contact. And it was acting out the essence of the Constitution, which sees the sovereign states as surrendering and thereby validating some of their powers to create the federal government.
This entire scenario was moving along quite nicely. Then two unexpected things happened: the Washington Democrats in Congress began to “adopt” the public health establishment, endorsing ever more stringent limitations on the population in the name of the pandemic. As this attitude began to percolate out to the state governors, the recovery slowed down.
By this time Trump and his people had fully realized that the lock-down had nearly ruined the economy and still threatened to do so. They went into overdrive to speed up the recovery.
Trump was still winning, however, until the next shoe dropped: a cellphone video of the brutal murder of a defenseless Black man by a White policeman in Minneapolis went viral on social media. The reaction was a worldwide protest against civil authority in America. After a few peaceful marches, the movement turned violent and radical leadership emerged. Among other secondary effects, the total attention of America — and much of the world – turned away from the economic recovery and toward the protesters and the rioters.
Some past events of this type have elicited soaring rhetoric from leaders such as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy to begin healing the wounds. Soaring rhetoric is not one of Mr. Trump’s talents. Nor does he have the soothing, compassionate manner of a Bill Clinton or a George Bush. In the face of these disasters, Donald Trump stumbled.
The Democrat opposition immediately made him the face of the disaster. His poll numbers tumbled, yielding to the reclusive Mr. Biden whose silence has served him well.
Trump may not be a great orator or an instinctive healer, but he does excel at one thing: he can draw thousands of impassioned participants to his rallies. This is his unique sandbox and he felt the urgency to activate it, as he sensed the election starting to slip away.
The Tulsa Rally was the first step on Trump’s road to recovery. It was an act of defiance to the public health establishment and their new sponsors, the Democrats and the press. It also emphasizes the simple truth that the virus is going to be around for a long time, and we have to learn to live with it while carrying on our normal economic activity. Our financial survival as a nation depends on it.
Whether Trump’s new strategy succeeds or not depends on the next steps. In one of Mr. Trump’s favorite sayings, “We’ll see what happens.”
Indeed, we will.

By Larry Fedewa

Conscious Capitalism:
The Moral Case (Part I)

Updating workers’ rights
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (May 25, 2019)

Until now, we have been exploring the case for Conscious Capitalism on the basis of economic necessity. It is clear that the strength (68%) of America’s economy is based on consumer demand. Most of the consumer purchases in America are bought by the families of the middle class, because there are more of them and because their needs tend to cover a wide spectrum of goods and services. It is therefore critical that a majority of Americans have enough money to buy an ever-increasing supply of consumer goods and services if our economic engine is to keep on growing.

But the fact is that more and more of the available capital is ending up in the hands of the very rich, leaving the vast majority of the population with less and less disposable income. However, the consumer needs of the very rich are limited; most of their spending goes for investments and passive income. In order for our economic progress to continue to prosper, therefore, something must be done to distribute more of America’s wealth to a larger proportion of America’s population. The alternative is the eventual destruction of the capitalist system which has worked so well for us for the past two centuries.

There are only three alternative ways to redistribute America’s wealth: 1) do nothing and continue to rely on the “free market” to distribute our wealth equitably – which it never has in human history; 2) empower the Government to collect more of the money being earned by American businesses (through high taxes on the very rich) and then being responsible for dispensing those funds as it sees fit (usually through welfare programs), or 3) reform of our capitalist system to provide for re-distribution of profits as an outcome of the normal way of doing business. While many Americans would prefer to achieve greater financial success through their own efforts rather than through a government hand-out, the mechanism by which that result can be implemented has remained elusive.

Fortunately, a new system of capitalism has been undergoing development for the past generation and has now matured into a new view of business and its role in social justice. The basis of this movement has been recognition of each worker as an individual human being, deserving of respect, loyalty, and appropriate rewards for his/her contribution to the enterprise. In the 1980’s, W. Edwards Deming introduced a democratization of the production process called Total Quality Management (TQM).

This theory depended on recognition of the ideas and creativity of workers, initially on a production line, to improve the quality of the final product. As “product quality” became a major consideration in American business culture, it was frequently presented in the context of greater worker involvement. This movement spun off ever more sophisticated standards of product quality such as Six Sigma, ISO 9000, and Lean Manufacturing, among others. These “new” management theories for production also began to be applied to services organizations. I was personally involved in introducing TQM (as amended) to the federal government during the late 1980’s and 1990’s.

This formal focus on the individual worker was picked up and expanded by a new movement called “Conscious Capitalism” in the new century. This management theory is profoundly democratic, in that every member of the enterprise is recognized as a contributor to the common effort and is responsible for participating in the culture and the activities associated with that particular organization. This includes open meetings on finances, policies and strategies. A bedrock belief of a Conscious Capitalist is that profit is not the purpose of the business, but a necessary pre-condition for the achievement of the true mission of the company.

The mission, in turn, is viewed in the context of the company’s contribution to the larger society by counting as the company’s stakeholders not only the shareholders, but also the employees, the local community, their suppliers, customers, and the physical environment.

“Conscious companies” (as they call themselves) have been proven on average to be surprisingly successful in financial terms because of several factors. First, their marketing is supported by faithful, long-term customers and suppliers. Second, their personnel costs are demonstrably less because of lower executive compensation, lower turnover, “lean” middle management, and lower G&A overall, including less legal fees. Finally, these companies do not accept investors who are on a short fuse for ROI – in fact many of their shareholders are their own employees. (A very comprehensive source for becoming and maintaining a conscious company can be found in Conscious Capitalism Field Guide, by Raj Sisodia et al, Harvard Business Review Press, 2019)

The underlying factor in conscious companies is their insistence on a long-term rather than short-term perspective which is then translated into policies and actions. Some of the more prominent conscious companies are Federal Express, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods Markets, Starbucks and 1600 others with three million employees.
That is a very brief description of a non-governmental re-distribution of wealth. There is, however, an additional case for profit-sharing: the moral case.

The moral basis of profit-sharing as the foundation of a new interpretation of “Workers’ Rights” is the paradigm of a product. A product is composed of many parts, and it is the result of many contributors, i.e. the concept, the design, the assembly of the materials, the fabrication of the parts, the assembly and testing of the prototype (and perhaps each copy), as well as the marketing, sales, warranty services, replacement parts, etc.
Our moral contention is: Compensation should be granted on the basis of how much each person contributed to the entire process.

There are direct contribution costs, based on financial requirements of the people , materials and equipment. Then there are “success” and “failure” compensations based on the presence or absence of profits – the measure of the success (or not) of the project. These compensations also should be shared according to the contributions made by the individuals involved.

The traditional basis for employee pay is hours worked. The new worker’s rights include a new basis: pay on the basis of employee’s contribution to the overall profit of the business. The detail of calculating exactly how to measure each person’s contribution to the company is truly a challenge. But the principle is simple, easy to understand – and the key to America’s future.

© Richfield Press 2019. All rights reserved.

Democrats Civil War from Red State, the Justice Democrats oppose Biden. This is who they are

From Dana Pico Redstate April 27,2019

The Justice Democrats, the Democratic Socialists of America, and ‘progressives’ in general seem to see a vaguely-defined socialism as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her $3,500 photo shoot suit, a socialism in which everyone will be prosperous. They seem wholly unable to see socialism for what it actually has been in the history of the world, in a devastated and failed Soviet Union, in the impoverishment of North Korea and Venezuela today. North Korea had the same resources, the same people and the same culture as South Korea, yet the South’s capitalism has led to a very prosperous society while the Communist North has been unable to provide even a decent diet for its subjects.  Though ethnically the same — the Korean peninsula has seen very little immigration — North Koreans are physically shorter than their brothers in the South, and “we now see a situation where the average South Korean woman is approaching the height of the average North Korean man…In Venezuela, roughly 7% of the total population have fled the country, preventable diseases, including polio, have returned, and even the soldiers on whom Nicolas Maduro depends to retain dictatorial power are going hungry…That the Justice Democrats are all in for gun control seems appropriate; Hugo Chavez banned the private ownership of firearms in 2012, leaving the people disarmed in the face of the military enforcing President Maduro’s misrule…Only a fool would think that the same socialist ideas which have brought poverty everywhere they’ve been tried — and the People’s Republic of China avoided it only by becoming functionally capitalist — would somehow lead to prosperity in the United States.  But that’s what the Justice Democrats are: fools.”
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To a New Foreign Policy by Tom Donelson

Trump’s foreign policy may be a return to the realpolitik of the Nixon era and Trump’s foreign policy may have a coherent strategy based on a balance of power view of the world. Michael Barone noted, “Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament — no more premeditated than the lunges of a rattlesnake. Others may recall that similar things were said (by me, as well as many others) about his campaign strategy. But examination of the entrails of the election returns suggests that Trump was following a deliberate strategy based on shrewd insight when he risked antagonizing white college-educated voters in the process of appealing to non-college-educated whites.”[

Historian Niall Ferguson views Trump’s foreign policy as an extension of Henry Kissinger’s worldview. He observed, “A world run by regional great powers with strong men in command, all of whom understand that any lasting international order must be based on the balance of power.”

As Michael Barone notes, Trump took a congratulatory call for his election victory from Taiwan’s president. The first visitor to Trump Tower after the election was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; this sent a message that China will not be allowed to operate in the Western Pacific unchallenged and Trump will work with our allies. Trump also appointed Terry Branstad the governor of Iowa, as the ambassador to China. Branstad first met Xi Jinping in 1985. Barone views the appointment as a “bad cop, good cop” move. He observed, “Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces. But there’s room for acceptance of China as a great power. Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces.”[

Trump’s criticism of NATO, including that NATO member states should contribute more toward their own defenses, may have seen results. As Michael Barone noted, “Finance ministers, stung by Trump’s campaign criticisms, are ponying up more money to meet their NATO defense-spending commitments; German chancellor Angela Merkel is backing down from her disastrous decision to welcome 1 million refugees.”[3]

Brexit was the first break in the European Union’s dominance of the continent. While Obama threatened Britain with being sent to the “back of the queue” if they voted to leave the EU, Trump supported Brexit and the U.S-U.K. free trade agreement. Brexit could be the first step toward the formation of the Anglosphere. Trump, as part of his “America First” foreign policy, has little use for multinational organizations. The Anglosphere is an alliance that supports Trump’s view of America’s new role in the world.

In the Middle East, Trump ditch the Iranian deal and attempted to replace it with a Sunni-Israel alliance. Trump recent strategy to pull out of Syria has shaken the core of American policy in the Middle East. Recent Congress efforts to punish Saudi’s over the murder of Khashoggi may undermine the Sunni-Israel anti Iran alliance and Trump pull out may lead to a Turkey -Kurd war which Turks should triumph. Neither Trump nor his opponents on this have explain to many Americans satifaction what our policy in the Middle East is. Andrew McCarthy wrote, “And then there’s the Kurds. I know my friends are angry about the shame of abandoning them. As noted above, I am anguished about that, too. But why are we in this position? If the congressional crusaders who wanted in on this conflict had sought authorization, we could have had a public debate about whether we wanted to hop into the sack with a faction (a) the backbone of whose forces is the Marxist PKK, which is a designated terrorist organization under our law because it conducts mass-murder attacks in Turkey; and (b) with territorial aspirations that have them in long-running hostilities with Turkey, ostensibly our NATO ally. To be clear, I’d be more than willing to entertain the cases that (1) we should not be in an alliance with Islamist Turkey, (2) the PKK is not a threat to the U.S. and should not be on our terrorist list, and/or (3) even if we think the PKK is bad, we should align with the Kurds anyway because our vital interests demand it. But no one has even tried to make those cases…. it seems to me presumptuous of the people stridently denouncing Trump to expect the rest of us to assume they have carried the burden of establishing that we should be in Syria. It seems presumptuous of them to act as if Trump were undermining a cause for which we all agreed we should be fighting. At the time intervention in Syria was being considered, I argued that, without authorization, Obama shouldn’t intervene; later, I argued that Trump was wrong to bomb Syria without authorization (which putative candidate Trump had argued when Obama did it). Someone needs to explain to me why I should be outraged at Trump, but not outraged that we got into this mess without making sure the public, through Congress, was on board. ” The problem is that no one including Trump has yet to establish a new foreign policy to reflect both the world today and its present threat. It is time to do so