Fast-food workers, child care workers and home care workers are heavily represented among those who depend on public assistance to supplement their subpar wages — about half of all the employees in these three industries. That is no surprise. What might be surprising is the increasing prevalence of this in “white-collar” fields. Twenty-five percent of adjunct college professors receive public assistance! So much for “lack of education” as the cause of stagnant or falling wages, as right-wing apologists for growing inequality like to claim.Dolack provides us with the findings of research from the U. of California (Berkeley) which proves what many workers especially in service industries already know from personal experience. Yes, these are the effects of an advanced capitalist economy where the concentration of wealth equals concentration of power. Thus, the inevitability of tax havens for the rich, subsidies to corporations, never-ending wars to feed the military-industrial complex, and the export of jobs to cheap labor areas of the world causing high unemployment and low wages and home. To add insult to injury, because the rich pay less than their share of taxes, the burden of supporting low wage workers largely falls on higher wage workers.
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