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February 9, 2020

What is a Market Economy?

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We need real solutions that will actually improve communities in our country.

The contrast between capitalism and socialism is completely out of date. When people talk about these economic models, they do not foresee technology getting stronger and more powerful. Technology is now capable of doing the work of thousands of humans in the blink of an eye. We have record high corporate profits in the United States, but do you know what else are at record highs? Mental illness, debt, stress, substance abuse, suicides, and single mothers. What we have to do is actually get the markets working to improve our families way of life instead of following GDP and corporate profits off a cliff. We should be measuring our own health, wealth, life expectancy, freedom from substance abuse, clean air, clean water, and even how our kids are doing.

The way forward is a new human centered version of capitalism, that actually uses the markets to improve our family’s lives. While our local communities are disintegrating beneath our feet, most Americans feel like the political parties have been working in their own self interests. We have automated away four million manufacturing jobs and now we’re closing 30% of stores and malls in every state. Amazon, the force behind this, is literally paying zero in taxes. These are the changes that Americans are seeing and feeling every day. If we get to the hard work of curing those problems, we will actually be able to move our communities forward.

If you look around the world at other countries that have thrown past presidents into jail, they have generally been developing countries. Unfortunately, that’s a pattern that once you establish, is very very hard to break. What’s a more American tradition, is that we move the country forward. We don’t focus on the mistakes of leaders that are leaving office. Most Americans do not care about what a particular individual did so much as they care about their family’s well-being, and their local community. That’s where our attention should be, we should not fall into a pattern that has been disastrous in other countries.

Martin Luther championed an income for all Americans of $1,000 a month or more that would end up reshaping our economy. In communities of color, we can make it so that black net worth is not ten percent of white net worth in this country, which is the most important number of them all. We can’t regulate that away through any other means except by putting money directly into the hands of african-americans, Latinos, and people of color: to allow businesses to actually flourish and grow in local communities. The only way this will happen is if black and latino consumers have buying power and that is where we have to move as a country. The median african-american household net worth is projected to be zero by 2050. Things are not getting better for people of color, if anything they’re getting worse, because we’re in the process of eliminating the most common jobs in our economy. This is something of an economic unnatural disaster and who suffers most in a natural disaster? People of color people with lower levels of capital, access to opportunity, and education. We love to champion education, but only 33% of Americans attend college and an even lower percentage of African Americans. There is no way we can prevent this economic tsunami from wiping out African American net worth unless we put straight cash into their hands sometime between now and 2050.

It’s not just minorities, it is ALL truck drivers, retail clerks, call center workers, accountants, and bookkeepers. We are in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in the history of our country and it’s going to hit minorities the hardest. We have to stop nibbling at the edges and actually start solving the real problem.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, one in five American preschoolers are still living below the poverty line, even though we’ve had 10 straight years of economic growth. What does that say about where America is today and what do we need to do about it?

We’re in the midst of the most extreme winner-take-all economy in the history of our country and unfortunately that extremity is just going to reach unprecedented heights as technology is getting stronger smarter more capable all the time. If we want to alleviate child poverty we need to put money directly into the hands of families, particularly single parents. 40% of American children today are born to single moms, and 90% of single parents are single moms. Right now we have fallen into this trap where we have allowed the market to tell us what we are all worth. What is the market value of your partner, stay-at-home parents, caregivers, volunteers, activists, coaches, mentors, artists, and local journalists?

The mission for us ahead is to disentangle economic value and human value. We need to say they are not the same things, and make the case to our fellow Americans that we each have intrinsic value as citizens, as human beings, and as owners and shareholders of the richest country in the history of the world.

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