Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 13th, 2012

Maximum yearly wage limit protests: A multiple of minimum salary?

What is the current minimum wage in your country? For example, if it is $15,000 a year (you don’t have to pay a dime in taxes at that level) do you think this evaluation was meant to be able to survive in New York City? Is the minimum wage meant to exclude “unwarranted” people from overcrowding “VIP cities” without imposing explicit discriminatory laws prohibiting entrance to the “sacred cities”?

The New York Times published an alternative recourse to limiting individual maximum yearly revenues “Don’t tax the rich. Tax inequality itself” by Ian Ayres and Aaron Edlin. These “eminent” economists and jurists suggested that the max. revenue should be set at 36 times the median income.  The median revenue is the cut-off line between 50% of population income:  income lower than the median represent 50% of the poorer citizens.

Suppose the median income is $35,000 oer year. Can you rent a condo in any major city (since renting is far more economical than purchasing properties…)? Can you own a second-hand quality economical car and maintain it adequately?  Can you buy fresh fruits and vegetables and once a week steak meal?

How many houses, cars, and luxury items can someone generating $15 million a year spend on? That what 36 times median income amount to!  Do you think “perception of inequality” would vanish if the government set this limit?

Do you know that in 1918, individual revenues surpassing one million were taxed 77%?  In 1944, Congress imposed 94% on incomes above $200,000.  Even during Ronald Reagan the tax break was 50% of the rich classes, before reaching 28% in 1988. What is the tax break now on high income?

It is 35% with a stitch: All profits resulting from transactions in capital gains, shares, obligations… are taxed 15% only.  Basically, the ultra rich are plainly paying 18% tax rate.

Do you know that in 1955 the richest 400 people in the US gained only $13.3 million (after factoring in inflation) and paid 51% in tax rate?  That in 2008, the 400 richest generated $270 million and paid only 18% in tax rate?

Do you know that the same alternative suggested in the New York Times article was proposed a century ago?  Felix Adler, founder of National Child Labor Committee, had launched a vigorous campaign demanding that individual revenue be limited to $100,000 (about $2 million in current dollar)?

Back then, Amos Pinchot, chairman of American Committee on War Finance, declared to Congress:

“Two percent of the richest American capture 65% of the total wealth.  If the State has the right to confiscate the life of a citizen for the general interest (dispatching him to war battle fields), shouldn’t the State enjoy also the right to retain the wealth of the richest class in critical periods?  How can a state go to war and pretend to defend democracy and plutocracy in the same vein?”

Back to beginning: How can you spend $15 million and not exhibit status of inequality? Would Congress abolish cult clubs for strictly the rich?  Do you think the sense of inequality would vanish if you knew someone standard of living revolves around $15 million a year?

Suppose the community or State provides quality public schools for free, cover healthcare expenses, secure jobs, and cover apartment rent…How much an individual should earn maximally in order to reduce the sense of inequality among th citizens?

Note 1: Is it a coincidence? In 2011, Egypt government fixed the max salary for public servants to 35 times the minimum salary of $100.

Note 2: Post inspired from an article by Sam Pizzigati in the French monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique” # 695

Pirates of Somaliland (Puntland): “All our fish resources have been exploited…”

A popular song in Somalia (Puntland) says:

Ya kale, ya kale oo Somalidu dandeeda kafinkara oo aan aheyn burcaat badhet…” (If not of the pirates, who else think of our critical conditions as Somalis…?)

The States of European Union imposed fishing rights accords among themselves to exploiting fish in Somali territorial water.  Hundred of thousands of fisherman families were denied the basic natural survival foodstuff…

According to UN control group on Somalia, there are at least 7 pirate gangs that capture ships and take hostages for ransom.  These pirate gangs bring home over $40 million yearly.

This amount is a strike comparison to the puny $4 million in development aids provided by England and the US to creating agricultural and animal stock job opportunities.  The entire budget of the Puntland “government” is a miserly $15 million!

Actually, this Puntland government automatically take more than 30% cut on the pirates’ “bounty”

The Somali journalist Mohamed Kadir (pseudoname) wrote:

“One pirate gang “Afweyne“, headed by the 70 year-old Mohamed Hassan and his son Abdi Kadir Abdi, has captured 7 ships in 2009 and pocketed around $8 million, an average of $800,000 per ship.

A young wife of 15 said: “The pirates are our coast guards. For decades our territorial water has been polluted and its quality deteriorating due to foreign fishing ships exploiting our fish resources.  We can no longer survive of fishing.  Our pirates are supervising the illegal activities in our territorial water…”

Abdi is one of 1,500 pirates stretching the Indian Ocian, the Gulf of Aden (Yemen) that links with the Red Sea.  Abdi says:

“Everytime we get hold of a ship, we replenish our livestock in cereals and food…And we are able to purchase goats and cows and khat (a drug green leave shewed mostly in Yemen in the late afternoon for hours on…).  How our people would survive without our activities?”

Anab Farah, 26 year-old, has found a business niche: She cooks 3 meals to prisoners and cash in $400 a month.  Anab is preparing to buy a car soon…

Zeinab Abdi, 58 year-old great grand mother of 4 kids, (all her sons died during the long Somali civil wars), says: “I am very pleased with the better conditions we are enjoying thanks to the pirates largess to our community…”

Jean Ziegler, special UN reporter on food availability, said that the multinational corporations, particularly oil and mining conglomerates, are the main gangs and outlaws in Africa.

For example, Shell has totally polluted the Niger Delta in Nigeria and not paying its dues to the Nigerian government and the Delta provinces. The multinational mining company Gencore (copper) covered 70% of Katanga (Congo) budget in 1982.

Currently, the mining companies are manipulating numbers and data and barely restituting 7% of that budget.

Apparently, pirates’ wealth are raising real estates values in Nairobi (Kenya) three folds.

Note 1: The CD-Rom (Crime.doc) list over 100,000 crime gangs in 187 States.  The list is generated by Interpol.

Note 2: Jean Ziegler published “The Gold of Maniema“, “Lord of crime: The new mafias against democracy”, and “Massive destruction: Geopolitics of famine”…

Millennial, Boomer, and Gen X generations: What’s the differences?

I assume that what is meant by “Millennia generation” are those born about 2000, or most probably, the kids born about 1995 and experienced the turmoil of hearing of the drastic changes occurring to the world as we cross the second millennial  or possibly the parents who gave birth to kids at the crossing of the second millennial…

When I hear about research studies done on the Millennia generation I need to know whom the research is targeting exactly. Cheryl Swanson said in an interview with Debbie Millman that described the characteristics of Millennial generation:

First, this generation (parents) will not be caught without car seat or safety belt in the back of the car:  The parents are safety conscious…Why? Parents are giving birth later in life and have made several trips to fertility clinics:  They want their kids and are the product of cultural expectation...

Second, this generation wants pure sugar in their soda cans and not concentrate fructose corn syrup…For example, Pepsi has switched to brown sugar-water soda, and Coca-Cola has followed suit…

Third, Smoking and drinking behaviors have decreased with this “cohort” group

Fourth, their SAT scores have increased (this time Cheryl might be talking of the kids?)

Fifth, They are achievement-oriented

Sixth, They don’t want to let their parents down,

Seventh, they feel very powerful with a sense of “entitlement” confronting authority figures

Eight, they are institutionally driven and trust in authority

Ninth, they love heritage brands that has stood the test of time, such as Levi jeans, Gillette, Coke…

Millennial generation is now getting all the media attention, as the boomer and the Gen X (aged 35 to 50 by now) before them.

The Boomer generation feel that they have exclusive rights to brands, they had adopted and nurtured brands as a cult: There are no differences among the brown sugar-water soda, and yet consumers behave as a cult toward a particular brand.  Do you know that in Mexico, every person consumes Coca-Cola three times a day?

The Gen X, sandwiched between the Boomers and the millennial, exhibited skeptical tendencies toward brands.  The irony is that marketers are boomers, the advertising agencies are Gen X, and they are all trying to talk to millennial...Consequently, everything that Millennial use is branded.

Brand help focus the direction to go for millennials, to figure out their “identity“…

Cheryl said:

“There are three pillars to a brand: the functional, the sensorial experience, and mostly the emotional compelling story.  Stories about a place in culture that say: “Where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going.  Stories that have transcended their transactional economic functions…(as long as corporation sticks to its core product and message…)

The artwork, the visual language communicates what is important to a particular consumer group.  A success brand becomes a cult, a totem, until it is accepted internationally and reverts to a sort of substitute religion…

It is very probable that with so many choices in brands, brands would devolve to wallpaper background status, instead of retaining and sustaining the brand story.

The research on Millennia generation was conducted before 2008.  It has to be reconducted and revised. Why?

First: The US millenials are Occupying Wall Street and other institutions.  The State police forces are dispersing the protesters in every major cities, using tactics learned in Israel.

Second, Obama adopted the “unlimited detention” doctrine on the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay without trials…

Third, the US has withdrawn from Iraq and is getting ready to “throw the sponge” in Afghanistan…

Fourth, the administration has a list of 2,000 “terrorists” to drone out with utmost prejudice, without any recourse to validating these targeted individuals…

Maybe the millennial were  institutionally driven and trusted in authority, but is that impression still valid? Time to creating a label for the newer “resisting” generation.

“Resisting is creating” and there is no optimism in a better future unless the spirit of resisting the conventional structure is alive and kicking…

We all want that the new generation retains its very powerful sense of “entitlement” confronting authority figures.  I suggest the term: “entitlement generation

Note 1:  Cheryl Swanson was involved in designing the Method brand, a household cleaning launched in 2001.  The Venus brand of female shaving cream positioning is revealing the “inner goddess beauty”…

Note 2: Debbie Millman published “Brand thinking and other Noble Pursuits” where she interviewed 22 famous brand designers




February 2012

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