Inequality of wealth explored in series of articles

Considering my earlier post regarding wages and questions of public v. private sector jobs, I thought an article (a series, in fact) over at Slate.com offered some interesting insight into working, wages and money in America.

The series is looking at inequality of wealth and, as NY Times columnist Paul Krugman called it, the Great Divergence. I don’t want to go into much more detail on the articles as they speak for themselves, much better than I could for them. If you are interested, follow the link.

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  • Mike Meza

    The title itself presupposes the dispensation of wealth by one to others. It is a very liberal statement. When he you speak of inequality do you not mean “disparity”? When you speak of “wealth” do you not refer to earned income?

    In the early seventies during contract negotiations as a police officer I was told that given a million dollars today, in a year one would be asking for more. It was followed by what I took as a dictum: ” Its not how much you make, its what you do with what you do make.

    In the intervening 24 years in law enforcement as I “accrued wealth” (salary, def com, investments, real estate and toys) many, many others continued to live paycheck to pay check.

    In the last 13 years in the private sector in real estate earning an income is far more labor intensive, more ethically challenging and more importantly competitive. There is no such thing as a “marginal” sales person. You are either forced out of the market or contend with the competition by accepting the income you do end up receiving.

    As an employee in the private sector, prior to public service I was far more accountable. From making widegets, to loading trucks you had to keep up. You had to keep up with the conveyor belt or you were gone.

    In the early seventies public pay appeared to be lower than the private sector; many statistics bore that out and were used to support negotiations. But as I reflect this wasn’t the case. In consideration of the extensive leeway (the size of the water cooler in the public sector is far larger than in the private sector) public sector jobs are the better pick (if it continues to minimize accountability).

    I recall working in the docks for the US Post Office. Everyone around me disappeared as I continued to load trucks. A supervisor came over to me, told me to stop working and go into the bathroom where everybody else was. In another trailer employees hid and slept behind sacks of mail. The lunch break had just ended an hour earlier.

    Income with respect to inequality is a social issue; disparity of income is an arithemtic one (would you say that there is inequality in the school grades of children or are they disparate?)

    But wealth and income go beyond either of the aformentioned aspects. To two in conjunction are reflective of the macro-conditions of the individual. Forgoing of money for leisure time, family time, free time etc needs to be taken into account. Most people don’t live to work, they work to live in the manner that yields the most pleasure for them, which means whatever they do after the whistle blows.