Who owns you?

American Conservative, a very good conservative publication, posted an article about how the concept of being middle class no longer includes being your own boss.

We Americans pride ourselves on being entrepreneurial, and praise for the start-up culture that created Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and other global success stories is a staple in the media. But the data paints a much different picture: when the self-employment rate is compared among the 34 wealthy countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. comes in dead-last at 6.6 percent. Germany and Japan both have self-employment rates above 11 percent.; Italy and South Korea have rates above 25 percent.

This article touches on what I’ve mentioned some of my prior ramblings but in a manner that is more understandable (guess that’s why I’m not a professional writer 🙂 ).  Traditionally, the members of the middle class were craftsmen and shopkeepers who provided goods and services.  More importantly, they owned their own labor and capital.

In today’s America, the ability to own one’s labor and capital has become increasingly scarce.  Mom and pop business have succumbed to the advances of juggernaut corporations.  Owning capital has become increasing difficult as it is increasingly being priced out the reaches of the average person.  Buying capital on credit does not count as the true owner is the lender.

Trade agreements such as NAFTA and TPP skew the advantage even further towards corporations.  Plus, government policies concerning taxes and other regulations make it even harder for someone to be successful in being their own boss.  One has to wonder, if this is not by design.

Think about it.  If a person is capable of owning their own labor and capital, not only does that create competition in the market it also removes sources of labor that our business leaders can exploit.  When a person owns his/her labor, that person is not contributing to a corporation’s profit.  When a person owns his/her capital, it denies the lender/investor the tax he/she would have collected.

Some politicians have complained that we have a class of people that just take.  Maybe those same politicians should look in the mirror to understand the cause of that.  By creating an economy where one is not capable of owning his/her labor and capital, it removes potential jobs that these so-called freeloaders can work.

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