Hanauer: It’s either pitchforks or a police state for rising inequality

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, panting softly

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, panting softly

If you are unfortunate¬†enough to know me in real life, I have probably already tried to make you read Nick Hanauer’s Politico piece on how rising inequality is not in the best interest of the very rich. If you haven’t, you should read it now. I’ll wait here and look at fourth-quarter economic projections cat videos. Hanauer essentially makes the same argument that Henry Ford made in his defense of so-called “welfare capitalism:” the people who make Ford cars are the same people who buy Ford cars, so it’s good for business to pay workers a higher wage. The case for welfare capitalism is a case for a strong middle class, and it’s particularly relevant in a consumer economy. I’m more interested in Hanauer’s other argument, though: if inequality continues to increase, the inevitable consequence will be either revolution or a police state.

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Ohio Walmart holds food drive for workers, enraging all

They also threw in a couple of capital letters they had lying around.

They also threw in a couple of capital letters they had lying around.

The internet was all atwitter yesterday with news that a Canton, OH Walmart was holding a Thanksgiving food drive for needy workers. The drive asked for donations from employees, not from customers as Business Insider and certain other outlets gleefully reported. Their exuberance was unbecoming but understandable. As America’s largest retailer and, now, grocer, Walmart is maybe responsible for a broad degradation of working life. The giant corporation pays its workers low wages in order to offer low prices, which drives smaller retailers and grocers out of business, which increases the share of the workforce earning low wages at Walmart. As a bonus, those people are also more likely to have to shop at Walmart. If you already have an opinion about this process, yesterday’s news was proof of concept.

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