World's richest 1% have as much wealth as bottom 50%, study finds | Inequality

Hmm, I don't think we agree on the Walton's giving a raise to their employees. You think it would be "nice" and I think it is a matter of ethics. In the exchange of value that the Waltons and their employees engage in (work for pay) one of them benefits to an extreme amount and the other barely scrapes by. If a human is doing the job/work then they deserve to get paid a living wage. Sure, some jobs should be considered "menial" and pay less than others, but the fact remains that without menial labor, the Waltons could never have had their business much less get ultra wealthy; to me the fact that the menial labor is essential to the Waltons's success means that it is worthy of being paid. If we don't evaluate it that way, we're asigning and absolute value to the work - a low value. We don't do this with any other product or service. We asign value according to scarcity and the time, effort, and skill it takes to do/produce, and the demand. If a human being works a full day, they deserve to go home and not worry about basic aspects of survival. They deserve to get paid enough to buy food, pay normal medical expenses, and have the basic accoutrements necessary to modern life like a heater and air-conditioner, running hot water, car, access to media and information (internet) and especially the ability to advance their situation according to their ability, talent, and motivation. A worker at a place like Walmart is treated terribly. Even if they are a good employee. This takes its toll. They also make very little money and base survival is difficult - so difficult that it is almost impossible to purchase nutritious food. Proper nutrition, especially for the young, has a HUGE effect on all aspects of brain development. This means that a person's psyche is affected. Their energy level is affected. It takes hope and drive to "build one's own success" and the life these people are born into, which the Waltons play a huge part in creating, is one which crushes that. This is unfair. It isn't just that the low wages aren't "adequate" compensation - it's that the life their paychecks afford them is one which keeps them downtrodden across generations. If the work is so necessary to the Waltons then they should pay "adequately" for it.

You could say menial labor can be done by anyone and is so abundant that it's still not worth more than what Walmart pays. I say I can go to any Walmart or equivalent and get a job i.e. the jobs are more plentiful than the labor and the corporations depend on the labor. Also, the corporations have LONG fought (successfully) to institute legislation that keeps the worker at a disadvantage.

I think it’s just natural that the Waltons have a lot of money, and other people don’t.

Sure, that is fine. You asked me what I think about this and I think it is fine: in principle.

But Let's unpack this a bit. Because I have no problem, in theory, with someone getting ultra wealthy far above and beyond the median. That said, there are two problems with the wealth disparity we have:

One of them is that the ultrawealthy are ultrawealthy and got to be so on the backs of the working class. They did it through exploitation, abusing global economies, crushing unions, paying legislators to legislate in their favor - essentially stacking the cards in their favor and against the favor of the common worker. The ultra wealthy lead unimaginably luxurious lives while the American worker is still lacking in many basic necessities of life. This is perhaps the single greatest piece of the puzzle. If I barter with you, for something you need, but I am the one who gets to assign value to what you have to barter, does that sound like a fair exchange? No, it's a conflict of interests. This is called getting wealthy at the expense of others*. We can see this especially clearly in the 3rd world where American business interests pay pennies while making millions. They get extremely wealthy off the backs of people whose lives are full of suffering. Is it fair exchange to make millions from the effort of workers and pay them so little that they live well below the poverty line without even access to BASIC medicine? NO. It is unethical. And when the people have not the power, individually to solve a problem or keep themselves safe, they turn to their governments - their collective power, and will. This is not about government sticking it's nose in the economy's business and ruining capitalism. This is the exact same reason any people have ever banded together - mutual protection. This is the same reason we have standing armies and a set of laws that we all (supposedly) follow. So:

Should we compel the Waltons to give raises at gunpoint

Perhaps. Most armies that have ever been sent out to kill have been sent out for far less righteous reasons . . . however I do not think this is the best answer. For now, I'm "satisfied" with talking about it and tryin to gain a greater understanding of all sides. As I claw my way up the economic ladder I am certainly not going to forget the struggle. I have many advantages that allow me to climb. I was lucky enough to recieve and exceptional education. I have had many jobs and they span a wide section of the working class (skilled and unskilled labor). I can tell you that my fellow workers from when I worked in a shipping warehouse loading boxes into trailers do not have a chance in hell of getting out of there. Their lives fill them with so much ignorance. And this is not their fault. They don't just lack objective "opportunities". America does have a few of those although even those are shrinking.

You obviously have no idea what it is like, in this era, to work and depend on a minimum wage job. Much less to attempt to "better" your prospects on that kind of income. It's insanely hard. Even for those of high intelligence and with good education. Because of lack of education, opportunities and other differences in upbringing, the Walmart employees don't possess the same qualities as the Waltons to go out and "build their own success". These kinds of workers are barely making ends meet. Honestly they are not actually making ends meet. The vast majority of them are in debt. The only reason most of them survive is because of social welfare government programs which means the Walton's Walmart get a "handout". This isn't even touching on the very real and concerted mass media efforts to manipulate the poor and keep them poor, to pit them against eachother, squash social cohesiveness movements etc etc. Yes, this is a war. And you're right:

You can not let every day pass by without developing skills, then expect to get rewarded by mysterious rich strangers you see around town.

But these workers we're talking about aren't even making enough money, much less have enough free time on their hands to become "an engineer or a programmer and create value for other people". Not even that, but these people aren't even living nice lives. IF the Waltons were paying better and these people were actually "coasting through life" as you say and the Waltons still had that much more wealth, I wouldn't complain for this reason.

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