The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Use the Benefits of Productivity to Create Jobs

Nov 25, 2013

The stock market blasted to a new record high of 16,000 on November 22. The event was celebrated as a sure sign that the U.S. economy is on its way to recovery. Time for champagne and roses!

The billionaires’ financial world is surely recovering, and recovering very handsomely. But for the rest of us and for the working class in particular – no such thing!

Still the one message about the economy that Wall Street wants us to believe is the “trickle down” message. We are supposed to believe that things have to get better for the companies before things can get better for workers.

Well, stocks are soaring, profit margins are expanding, the vaults are overstuffed with excess profits – but where are the jobs? Where is our share of the wealth? In fact, jobs continue to disappear.

The real unemployment level, behind the massaged statistics, is nearly 25%. That is, one out of four workers in the U.S. cannot find full-time work.

The “participation in the labor force,” that is, the percentage of available workers who have work plus those actively seeking work, is 62.8%. Less than two thirds of the adult population is in the work force – this is the lowest figure in 35 years.

Nothing has “trickled down” to the working class. Every family with adult children knows they can’t find work, or only work that pays so little they must live in the parents’ home or rely heavily on the parents’ support. Everyone knows someone who has put in dozens and hundreds of job applications with zero response.

And yet, even while no jobs can be found, production is up. Way up! How can this be? Production of goods and services this year will top 15.6 TRILLION dollars – up from 14.9 trillion last year, up from 13.9 trillion in 2010.

Production is up, but jobs are down because year after year, the capitalist class and their Wall Street bankers have extorted more work out of fewer of us. Productivity is soaring, and the capitalists have stolen all its benefits.

In fact, on Wall Street, the way to boost a stock price is not to announce the creation of jobs, but to announce the thousands of layoffs that come from “restructuring” a firm.

Why should they be allowed to get away with this? We need to stop waiting and stake our claim to the fruits of our labor – and there are plenty of fruits to be picked!

Why should increases in productivity be an excuse to lay off workers? Why can’t the hours worked per week be reduced instead? Why can’t more workers be hired to maintain production? Why can’t wages be raised to a comfortable level?

If using the profits in this way would mean less money for the capitalists to gamble, speculate, and wheel and deal on the market – so what? Do we care?

No company, no employer, should be allowed to lay off one single worker more!

No company, no employer, should be allowed to pay poverty-level wages!

The capitalist class must be made to provide work for everyone who is ready to work.

Everyone could work fewer hours – with no loss of pay for anyone!

It won’t happen if workers continue to wait for “trickle down” to get to us. But it can happen, if workers join forces, using our irreplaceable power over production to impose what we need on Big Capital and Wall Street. Take the benefits of our increased productivity for ourselves and the whole working class!