as the gap between the wealthiest americans and the rest of us poor bastards continues to widen, more and more people will raise objection to the effects that this growing economic disparity has on the populace and our economy. and most of those objections will have little merit.
you’ll hear people complain that serving their country and/or their communities is no longer an option when they can no longer eek out even a subsistence wage. they’ll lay some sob-story on you about how all they wanted to do was teach kids, or cure sick people, or get criminals off the streets and behind bars, or whatever. and how they had to abandon their plans for selflessness and turn to lives of crime; pushing penis enhancement pills, becoming prostitutes, making pornography and reality tv shows, or selling mortgage-backed securities.
wah! lemme call you a waaaaaaaaambulance!
others will say that they and their families have worked and strived and sacrificed their entire lives just to make this the greatest nation on the planet. and claim they’re disgusted by the treasonous behavior of those who would undermine those achievements and sell this country and its legacy down the river for thirty pieces of silver.
while still others will object to the limited options a welfare state allows them. they don’t want to let poor people die. but they don’t want to hire them, feed them, house them, or give them money, either. and then when they’re faced with only those two options, they’ll choose option three: none of the above.
these folks are so distraught they’ve quit.
what do all of these groups have in common? nothing, really. besides being annoying. we’ve heard all that before. and nobody cares.
so i guess it’s up to me to explain the real downfalls of such a near-sighted, short-term, lazy laissez-faire economic policy.
in order of importance:
1) i don’t have enough investment opportunities.
2) its retarded the future of the entire human race.
i suppose i’ll need to elaborate on both of those points. i’ll start off with the simple one. the future of the entire human race has been retarded.
lets assume we’re omniscient, and we can see before us the entire lifespan of humanity. it starts off, more or less, one or two million years ago (as far as anyone knows right now) and lasts until… whenever it ends. until a supernova fries the last human being, or aliens eat the last person alive… whatever.
over the course of our history, humans will, as a whole, advance and decline, as circumstances dictate. and for the sake of this argument, we are going to consider advances in humanity to be new ideas. new inventions, new cultural norms, new laws, new systems of government, new economic engines… etc. new stuff. new conventions that allow human beings as a whole to achieve greater heights.
and since we’re omniscient, we also know that what makes these changes… these advancements… possible, is human intelligence, creativity, and adaptability. the genius that is the human race. and this seems like an appropriate time to toss out one of my favorite quotes, so here goes.
“everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -- Albert Einstein.
everybody is a genius. there are no pre-qualifications. you don’t have to be white. you don’t have to be tall. you don’t have to be agnostic, you don’t have to have faith. you don’t have to be rich / to be my girl… you don’t have to be cool / to rule my world… wait. im getting carried away here. i’m runnin out of adjectives and just singing prince songs.
back on topic. the point is that anybody, under the right circumstances, can contribute new ideas that can benefit everybody.
so… this obviously begs the question(s)… what are these ‘right circumstances’? and how can we create them? fortunately for me, these questions have already been answered. and most of you already know the answer. so all i have to do is refresh your memories.
lets all journey back in time, to the greatest days of our lives, to our freshman year in college. psych 101. and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
the first thing every individual requires, and therefore the primary focus of every individuals effort, is physiological safety. food to eat, air to breathe, water to drink, heat to stay warm, shade to stay cool. the basics. that’s the first step. and the bottom of maslow’s famous pyramid. err… triangle.
step two… security. a home to live in. a source of income. firewood for the stove. an elk in the freezer. etc. the resources you need to maintain yourself. more basics. but slightly less basic than the life-or-death emergency situation in step one. and, obviously, this is the second layer of the pyramid shaped triangle.
next maslow lists ‘love and belonging’. friends and family. and after that his next step is ‘self-esteem’. self-respect and respect for others, confidence, achievement, etc. those are the third and fourth steps. i might just combine em all into one, but i’m no psychologist. so we’ll keep em separate.
and finally we arrive at our destination. the pyramidion. the top of the triangle. what maslow refers to as self-actualization. his definition is subjective, but it includes morality, lack of prejudice, spontaneity… creativity… and problem solving.
and now we’re back to my original subject. the progress of the human race as a species. we’ve established that for the human race to advance, as a whole, it requires innovation. in all areas. and we’ve taken einsteins word for it that everybody is a genius. everybody has the potential to advance our species.
but not everybody has the means.
everybody that’s not at the top of maslow’s pyramid is in the penalty box. they cant play. and there’s a lot of people that aren’t up there on that pinnacle. that cant contribute to the team. and that includes most of our best players.
when so many of our star players have to sit out the game, the potential of the team is restricted. its stunted. its retarded. humanity can not progress as fast as it’s able or as fast as it should. and it just might not progress far enough in the time it has left.
those cannibal aliens are unpredictable.
but now lets get to whats really important. i dont have enough investment opportunities.
a lot, probably the majority, of the star players we have sittin on our bench would contribute (if given an opportunity to play) in the economic arena. they would solve problems we don’t even know we have yet. and that’s what capitalists like me are looking for.
if you can remember the 1960’s, you might recall that the minimum wage at that time was so high that just one person could support an entire family of four. and, by my logic, its not coincidental that this country just happened to have the most powerful economy on the planet at that time. there’s a particularly strong correlation between the decline of that standard of living and the decline of our economy as well, that i’ll throw out as more indirect evidence that me and maslow and einstein are right.
i want to be able to support ideas that i think have the potential to revolutionize the world, because everybody will buy those. and i want to get in the ground floor. but there’s no way i can compete against professional investors who don’t have anything better to do than run around looking for the next best new thing. because there just arent enough new things. so i want to flood the zone. i want to put the whole god damned team on the field at once. i want to overwhelm the professionals ability to evaluate all the talent out there, so i can spot it first.
raising the minimum wage will allow more hard-working families to approach the level of security they need to achieve that third or fourth step on maslow’s pyramid. self-esteem. and that will enable them to send their kids out into the world with the ability to solve problems. and then i’ll have a whole new crop of long-shots to bet.
and it might just save the world, too.
(about the author -- flashypaws is just some random guy on your internets. he's known by few as an anonymous troll that takes shots at everything everybody else writes... and he thought it only fair to give everybody else a chance to shoot back. flashypaws is not a psychologist or an economist. he just writes stuff sometimes when he gets bored.)