Comment 28551

By LL (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2009 at 13:11:23

Interesting article, Ben. Much to think about.

Wasn't social mobility (the American dream) and the "middle class" always a myth anyways?

Corporate capitalism is bureaucratic, which tends to obscure things. So does the "immaterial" nature of the G7 economies. But generally, if you work for the owners of capital and derive most of your income that way, you are part of the working class - white collar or not. We all want prosperity. But at some point, it's time to start considering a collective strategy.

Another thing struck me about this article. Generally, people find it unjust when they are shown the way wealth is distributed in society - especially at times like this. But there is very little clear thinking about this. Most people are hesitant to see economic value as objectively, materially rooted in labour (and nature). Even more, they are unwilling to consider the notion that these inequalities arise from exploitation of labour (and nature). "That's marxist and leftist. We can't think about that."

But if value really is just subjective - a marginal utility - aren't the elite "entitled" to as much as they can "legally" horde? On what ethical basis do we say "enough"?

Finally, I want to comment on the specific problem of overpriced real estate in downtown TO. One obvious solution would be to reform downtown Hamilton so that it's attractive for these white collar workers to settle here and commute by transit. I'm not talking about kicking out the poor people, just getting some decent transit and quality of life features.

This raises the problem of gentrification. But I think we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Also, I look around the neighbourhoods downtown and I can't help but noticing that most of them are already populated by white-collar types. It's just City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce that haven't caught up with the reality by prioritizing the inner city with their subsidization arrangements. They're still stuck on putting the bulk of public funds into sprawl. It just blows my mind.

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