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Friday, May 30, 2014

Opportunity and Income Inequality at McDonalds

In his text, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty claims that economic inequality increases societally when the rate of return on capital exceeds the growth rate in national income or GNP. Rather than being an aberration, this condition tends to be the case, the economist contends. To be sure, expanding opportunity can mitigate the increasing inequality, but the “floorboard” is slanted and thus is bound to favor capital over labor. Whereas Marx thought the tendency is unlimited in extent, Piketty argues that at some point the inequality of wealth will stop worsening. This idea seems like Einstein’s thesis that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.  In the light of Piketty’s theory, we can perhaps read more into Don Thompson’s response as workers were protesting the company’s shareholder meeting on May 22, 2014. In short, the CEO illustrates not only a preference for capital over labor in line with ROI>income-increase, but also the weakness in increased opportunity as a mitigating factor.

The full essay is at "McDonalds and Income Inequality: The Role of Opportunity"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rousseau and Marx: Pushing Back Against Excessive Economic Inequality

Both Marx and Rousseau are “anti-history” in the sense that socioeconomic and sociopolitical large, complex organization, well beyond the small groups of prehistoric homo sapiens people living a sustenance existence, has alienated workers from themselves (Marx) and introduced artificial, or “moral,” inequalities and inauthentic fronts (Rousseau). In other words, the human condition in the modern world is not a story of progress; paradoxically, things have gotten worse in spite, and indeed in part due to the extent of technological progress. In other words, under the subterfuge (i.e., camouflage) of “progress,” the species has actually acquiesced to increasing decadence and deterioration as human organization has become larger and more complex.

The full essay is at "Rousseau and Marx"

Monday, May 26, 2014

The 2014 E.U. Presidential Debate: An Analysis

The election, or selection, of the E.U.’s chief executive in 2014 tacitly pitted democracy at the federal level against the equally legitimate prerogative of state governments to protect their turf through their direct involvement at the federal level. This tension exists institutionally in the European Council and the European Parliament, and in the problematic procedures for how the E.U. president is to be selected. In this essay, I contend that the European project has more to do in terms of how both the states and E.U. citizens both have a role in the selection.

From: "The 2014 E.U. Presidential Election: Some Major Cracks in the Election"

European Parliament Election Results: An Analysis

In the wake of the E.U.’s parliamentary election in 2014, the media reported the results as though a number of “national elections” had just taken place. Unlike the European Council, the Parliament does not represent states; in fact, the representatives of the people do not even sit by state, but by federal-level party, renders the reportage as distortive at best. Moreover, its ideological bent can help us situate the E.U. along the interval of federal-state relations possible in federal systems; this situs in turn can tell us something about the likely trajectory for the Union—the electoral success of the Euro-skeptic parties being only a symptom. To situate the election results, I briefly cover a bit of federalism theory before discussing the election-results coverage itself.