For so long, capitalism has been placed on a pedestal as a glorified model of government that, in theory, is meant to serve in the best interests of its people. However, the facade we live in does not reflect the true nature of our modern society. Capitalism as a system does not serve the broader good of our society. The middle and lower class work towards economic prosperity for the rich elites, while others are left with crumbs that do not reflect the work and effort put in. This flawed system has spawned the issues of income inequality and lack of stability. As a collective whole, we have been brainwashed into telling ourselves we are okay. We do not address the systematic equality and flaws in our system. In the essays, Show Me The Money, The Shame Game, Are Adjunct Professors the Fast Food Workers of the Academic World?, and Is Capitalism in Trouble? We get to dive deep to pop the bubble we have been placed in that we know is not serving the society good.
From the great American skyline, to the little components which make America great, it was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of the working and lower class; however, the rich hold the wealth while the other classes scrape and struggle to get by. As a matter of fact, the richest 10% in America hold 76% of the wealth. In Walter Mosley’s article Show Me The Money, he addresses the fact that we American’s don’t talk about poor or income inequality because we have adapted it as the fact that will never change. He also divides the middle class into two separate sectors the working and the privileged middle class.
“The rich get richer,” is a common phrase accepted by almost every middle class American. No one questions it because this is how it is and we have no way of changing it. Well, this is what we think. When looking at the middle-class many Americans feel this is a good place to be. They sit in between poverty and riches. But what exactly is the middle class? It is difficult to define the middle class because it covers a broad spectrum of people with differential incomes and careers. This is why the author proposes that we divide the middle class into the privileged middle class and the working middle class. The privileged middle class is defined as “ people who have to work for a living, but who can almost buy anything they desire. He gives examples of items like “prestige cars,” and “summer cottages.” These are the people hold jobs as lawyers, real estate developers, and owners of small and successful businesses. When looking at the working middle class, they are defined as “wage slaves.” They live right on the edge of poverty, but tell themselves they are doing alright. They live moderate lives and they buy almost everything on credit; therefore, they are commonly in debt. One big difference between the two is that if someone in the privileged class loses their job they will be able to maintain their lifestyle for a few months without finding a job. On the complete opposite of the spectrum, if someone in the working middle class loses there job they would almost immediately need to find a job to avoid having to go into even more debt. This indicates, to us as a reader, that the privileged middle class has saving while the working does not. This is because they only make enough to pay their bills. People in the working class and especially those in poverty cannot establish savings because of their income. They tell themselves they are okay, but it lurks in the back of there mind what they will do for retirement or if they sick. People in the working class and wage slaves tell themselves that “they’re better off.” However, “this fantasy more than any other confusion hobble us.” We don’t want to accept we live this way because in our capitalistic society being poor is viewed as a sin. Being poor or viewed as poor is barred with shame, we don’t want to be associated with the sin. This means that even if people pretend like it doesn’t bother them, in reality, it truly does.
After presenting the sad truth the author ends the article with a sense of hope he shares that “ poverty is not our fault” and that “ we the poor working class, have built this nation and it, along with it fabulous wealth belongs to us.” Here he means that the poor and middle class helped shape our nation, therefore it belongs to us and we should be proud. “ A man can rich, but only a nation can be wealthy. And if any person of any age suffers from poverty, then our whole country bears the shame.Not the person. Us as American were critical parts of creating a country so great therefore we as a country should be ashamed of the poverty and do something to change
Shame, a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.It commonly felt by the unemployed who were laid off from their jobs. The Shame Game by Barbara Ehrenreich illustrates how our culture inappropriately makes our newly unemployed, chronically poor, and welfare recipients feel a sense of shame as if their economic downfall was their fault. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, goes on to state that the real people who should feel shame are ‘Ford and GM, CEO’s who make eight-figure incomes”, and Congress. Due to these “Rich and Powerful” entities, millions of jobs have been eliminated in the U.S. in the past few years.
People who feel shame because they are laid off don’t feel because is what they think, they feel this way because they are told them to feel this way. Barbara gives the example of Hester Prynne and how she “didn’t pin that scarlet A’s on her sweater.” Prynne was pinned with the A because she action was seen shameful by the society around her. Therefore, she felt shame because she was told to feel that way. This draws parallels to the unemployed because they are told by the society around them that they are sucking leeches, therefore they feel shame for something that was out of there control. Shame is used as a form of social control, by making people feel shame for taking these benefits. People will be less likely to file for unemployment and support legislation that reduces it. She shares the story of “young (white) woman who professed great enthusiasm for draconian forms of welfare reform-only to admit that she herself had been released on welfare.” The woman felt shame for growing up on welfare. Therefore she supports welfare reform as a result, even though it is what supported her. It is her way of relieving herself from the “deeply internalized shame”. The shame society we live in is so deep there is a whole market based on selling the idea that people who are laid off are just “negative” and need a better attitude. They don’t talk about problems in the economy or job market. The whole center of attention to why you can’t find a job is because you are doing something wrong.
“The ultimate trick is to make people ashamed of injuries inflicted on them.” Like how rape victims are told it is what they wore, the unemployed are shamed for being in that situation. Barbara Ehrenreich shed lights on the shame that is placed on the unemployed. Like in Show Me The Money, people borrow to form the facade they aren’t in this crumbling situation. This happen because of the deeply stematic shame pounded into us.In the end of the essay she illustrates through elevated language and a clear point illustrates who clearly is to feel the shame. The CEO’s who make eight-figure incomes and our own U.S Government.
An adjunct professor is a part-time professor at a university of college. They are given part-time pay and commonly work at multiple schools.On the surface it doesn’t seem like problem , but in reality it is a big problem. Which reflect an even bigger problem in our current society. In James Hoff article “ Are Adjunct Professor the Fast-Food Workers of the Academic World?” He illustrates these issues and the negative effects it has on our higher education system. Many students spend there years in the higher education system not knowing just how many professor at their school are part-time. As a matter of fact “adjuncts(…) made up 70% of the faculty at American Universities and Colleges.” This is a problem because these Professors are overworked and overextended due to to the fact that they need to work at multiple colleges to even get by. A professor teaching “four courses per semester at two different colleges,” makes around “$24,000 a year and received no health or pension.” The fact that these Professors need to teach so many classes at multiple colleges lowers the quality of education. This also happened at the same time more first generation and color students entered the college scene.This reflects our societal norms of not wanting to educate the lower classes and keep the power in the hands of the elites who can afford to attend prestigious private Universities. It’s not that these Professors are bad, it’s just that they have too much ln there plate. With the rising cost of education in turn students should be receiving better education. However this is untrue. Where does the money go? The money to administrative workers. A majority of Universities spend more on administration than teachers. “Between 1985 and 2005 administrative spending increased by 85% while administrative support staff increased by a dramatic 240%. Meanwhile spending on faulty increased by only 50%.” Not only does this extreme use of adjuncts creates a hierarchy within academics. It also reflects the issues of increasing income inequality in our society. Full time professor make between “$60,000 to $198,00” for a course load of two or three courses. While adjuncts are making “$2500 to $4000 per course.”Many people wonder why these teaching Professional don’t just quit, however this does nothing to solve the problem.This is the wrong question and again reflects the deeply systematic shame that the higher class wants us to feel.This is just like blaming the unemployed for their unfortunate circumstance. Once one leaves the position there is a line out the door of people willing to do the work. The question shouldn’t be why don’t they quit. It should be why we have decided as society that it is “ok to pay so little for such important work.” This again is a case of the issues of the corrupt system.The unethical high education system is based upon generating wealth for the college, while undercutting the educator and students alike.
Is Capitalism in Trouble by Chrystia Freeland exposes modern capitalism and the distortion on society it has spawn.Capitalism original intention was good, it was created to serve broader society. However, Capitalism has taken a horrific turn to crush broader society to the benefit of the shareholders and ceo’s. In the 70’s the reality we now live in began to take its grim turn. Milton Friedman, an American economist, declared that maximizing profits and driving up stock prices should be prime objective of a ceo and company. He declared this as a “divorce of business from society.” Our modern society is a reflection of these ideas. Worker are seen a part of the machine. If they want additional accommodation they can be “let go of “ like a machine that no longer works in the business. Capitalism “ currently isn’t delivering for the broad swath of society”
The author presents the solution and future of capitalism when looking a recent development of B Corps. The objective of B corps is to bring capitalism back to serving the broader doors and installing social responsibility in business. They are revoluntries to the way business have been run for too long. B corps shatter the perception that business is only for the good of the elites and that it can once again benefit the working class. There goal is to reinstate “collective action to serve society” and bring capitalism back to the people.
In the 50’s and 60’s that rise of communism caused change to foster a connection to the community and workers. During this time workers wages increased faster than ceo’s salaries. Elites were fine to agreeing to higher taxes because they were looking over the collective good not their own interests. Freeland affairs that the same changing is uprising in our society. He declares we are at a “ similar tipping point in the relationship between business and society.”
Not only Freeland, but Mosley in his article declared that there needs to be change to our corrupt system. Freeland feels when people open their eyes to the true reality and stop blaming themselves they will become the “advocate of extreme change” if the system isn’t changed by corruption or the government. Freeland throughout the article declares change that need to made by corporations, but also in the end talks about the critical role the government plays. Ceo’s and corporations can not stop the loss of jobs from the innovation of technology and outsourcing that has evolved from globalization.Therefore as a society we can’t just rely on corporation for change. We need government to take action and implicate laws to motivate other corporations to follow the b corp inative and keep competition alive.
For too long our society has been living in a bubble. Saying we are doing okay when in reality we’re living on credit cards which we can barely afford to pay off. For too long we have been shamed told we are are the problem we don’t have jobs.We are the problem when we need help to get back on our feet. For too long, we have being undercutting our students with adjunct professors. Underpaying for important work and betraying the minority and first generation students who we need to be helping. For too long corporations have been discounted from the greater good of society. Focusing only only profits to the shareholders and elites. For too long we have accepted this standard and have done little to enact change. We, as a society, need to burst the bubble, demand change, and have the government enact legislation for our greater good. The four essays shed a light on the serious issues in our system and tie together to form this main idea.
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