This is an original work, written by Steve Kenny and posted at Open Salon.
-What's A Slave Worth?-
We have seen, during the past forty years, the biggest transfer of Wealth in the history of the world, which was, the transfer of accumulated wealth from the American Working Class into the hands of the Global Ruling Class...
The cause of the continuing worldwide economic difficulties is that the transfer of Wealth from the Working Class was completed long ago. Yet, for some reason, the Global Ruling Class still seems to think there's more money to be had...
Are All Men Created Equal?
Here's a recent headline from Bloomberg News:
"McDonald’s $8.25 Man and $8.75 Million CEO Shows Pay Gap"
That's $168, 269.00 [before taxes] shoved into one pocket, and $330.00 [before taxes] shoved into another pocket, per every 40 hour 'work' week.
But here, let the Bloomberg article explain the pay difference:
"...Johnson [the burger flipper portrayed in the story] would need about a million hours of work -- or more than a century on the clock -- to earn the $8.75 million that McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner [earned] last year. Johnson’s work flipping burgers and hoisting boxes of french fries, like millions of other jobs in low-wage industries, helps explain why income inequality grew after the 2007-2009 recession ended.
"The wage gap between CEOs and store workers wasn’t always so wide. Twenty years ago, when Johnson first started at McDonald’s, the CEO’s compensation was about 230 times that of a full-time worker paid the federal minimum wage. The $8.75 million that Thompson’s predecessor as CEO, Skinner, made last year was 580 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."McDonald’s is part of a larger trend of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, according to data from the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations. The pay gap between the average S&P 500 CEO and the average U.S. worker, which was 42 times in 1980, widened to 380 times in 2011 from 325 times in 2010..."
---quotes from Bloomberg News
President Abraham Lincoln, November 19th, 1863:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, August 28th, 1963:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.""
---What Is A Slave?--
Slaves, the idea of slavery, is nothing new. Yet, the question I have is this.
What's a slave worth?
Not too long ago, the ol' lady and I went to the show and saw the movie 'Lincoln'.
In one scene of the movie, Abraham Lincoln [played by Daniel Day-Lewis] is ruminating about the problem of slavery.
At that time [January of 1865], American Law recognized the negro as being worth only 3/5ths the equal of the White Man.
Slavery and the 3/5ths Law.Abraham Lincoln was trying to find a way to frame his legal argument, which was, that all men are created equal, and which, if successful, would lead to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which would abolish slavery in America for all time.
"Euclid’s first common notion is this," Lincoln tells a young telegraph operator, "things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning. It’s true because it works. Has done and always will do. In his book, Euclid says this is ‘self-evident.’ You see there it is even in that 2,000-year-old book of mechanical law. It is a self-evident truth that things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other."
Here is Lincoln's 13th Amendment:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
What is a slave?
Can a slave be defined as someone forced to work without adequate compensation?
Hey, I'm no lawyer. Yet, I'd like to know.
Apparently, the Founding Fathers saw themselves and their fellow countrymen as something akin to slaves. Truly. For, are not the Ideals of American Democracy firmly grounded in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? Were not the Founding Fathers' arguments with King George primarily concerned with a fair and equitable distribution of wealth?
Here is the first sentence of the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
All men are created equal...
Apparently, all men are not created equal.
As a matter of fact, some men seem to hold and protect this Truth above all else:
---"In Regards To Just And Fair Monetary Compensation, One Man Can Be More Than The Equal Of Six Hundred Other Men."
I can imagine old King George uttering such nonsense.
Furthermore, I would argue, there can be no doubt that "The Pursuit Of Happiness' cited in the Declaration Of Independence, must include the pursuit of just and adequate monetary compensation for any and all work performed for wages.
How else can one explain the astronomical rise in CEO pay in relation to Labor Pay? Can it be that CEO's are merely in 'Pursuit Of [Their Own]Happiness', which, in itself is okay...but...the egregious part is how, at the same time, these executives try -and succeed- at every turn, to stifle Labor's attempts -which is Labor's own idea of 'The Pursuit Of Happiness'- to secure something a little closer to A Living Wage.
My argument is, just as it was legally proven that no one white man was worth more than one black man, or vice versa, I believe that no one man [in terms of income earning potential] is worth six hundred times the pay of any other one man.
America abolished slavery and the 3/5 Law a hundred and fifty years ago, but we have, in fact, merely replaced it with a 1/600th Law. I think it's time we look at this seriously.
It's my belief that there is some lasting connective tissue that has survived and has been brought over from the Civil War, some connective tissue that smells bad, connective tissue that is imbued with the same arrogance that gave us the 3/5ths Law; connective tissue that allows for the egregious idea that one man can be worth six hundred.
So, what's a slave worth?
It has been said that the four million negro slaves that Lincoln freed were worth more to the American Economy than any other thing in America at that time: more than the cotton; more than the whiskey; more than the cattle; more than the buffalo; more than the Railroads.
Only the land itself, the entire United States, was worth more.
Money, like any form of energy, is finite; there's only so much to go around.
Let us all think about that in these trying economic times.
"Money...so they say...
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it's no surprise
that they're giving none away...."