If proof were ever needed that trickle down economics does not work it is the reports coming out that soon the richest 1% will have more than the 99%. It is sad that we are still using a man from the 18th Century as any kind of economic authority. For trickle down economics to work there needs to be a trickle. What we have instead is the priviledged few hoarding their wealth as if it were food in a post apocalyptic society. One of the worst proponents of modern day economics was Milton Friedman, a man whose theories on laissez faire economics was thoroughly embraced by the right wing in America and championed as a visionary deserving acclaim. The main problem with this is that we have to go even further back to find he origins in 17th Century France. A time when a completely agrarian economy was controlled by a monarch and and the aristocracy who knelt in his presence. It is one of the most libertarian views available and seems to be the way in which a lot of modern capitalist societies have chosen to govern. As has become increasingly evident though it does nothing to aid equality. When you let the market govern itself you let those in power and authority dictate where the world will head. Self interest wins of course and they choose to maintain the status quo. Or in most cases push policy to benefits them as much as possible.
What then is the answer to this? There is no simple one and none which are likely to happen. Why would the uber wealthy decide to have a sudden sense of altruism? They wont. As a Brit it is sad to see that we are following the Americans blindly down this path towards the widest income gaps. What is wrong with a little bit of socialism? Social justice? I am not a bleeding heart liberal and firmly believe that people should be working and paying their own way. But is it so wrong that people who work a full week in 1 job should be able to support themselves? The minimum wage should also be a living wage. That should not be a controversial statement. If you work 40 hours in a week, your pay at the end of that should be enough to cover all of your bills comfortably. Instead people have more than 1 job, work countless hours and still struggle to keep their head above water. This is the legacy that we are leaving for societies of the future, huge inequalities and a growing sense of hopelessness. You study, work and what are you hoping for. There are of course the lucky few who will break out and become successful, but for the majority that is not going to be the case. If you are wondering whether that is true then look at the statistics. Chances are you are in the 99%.
Which is not to say we should give up hope. Life is really not so bad for most of us. If you live in a functioning democracy you have access to a variety of services that work the way that they are supposed to. Mostly. The birds are singing and the whisky is flowing, life could be fairer though. Utopia is not attainable but a living wage shouldn’t be beyond reach should it?