...over the last 35 years, most workers have not shared in all of the increased wealth that the productivity has generated. Between 1948 and 1979, two thirds of the aggregate income growth went to the bottom 90 percent. One third went to the top 10 percent -- so the richest did gain disproportionately, but at least everyone shared some. In stark contrast, between 1979 and today -- the same period that saw the drastic erosion of the minimum wage -- all of the aggregate income growth has gone to the top 10 percent!Meanwhile, there is seldom any problem that our capitalist masters have in funding the military-industrial complex, funding for 1000 foreign military bases, funding black-budgets of the CIA that are often used to destabilize governments, and funding terrorist armies like Al-Nusra in Syria.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear the country-club set self-righteously proclaim that people need to tighten their belts. That we cannot afford a hike in the minimum wage. That our very modest Social Security benefits, averaging just $1,330 a month for retirees, must be cut.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up