Wealth inequality is literally killing us. The economy should work for everyone. | Alissa Quart


So for some of the people I interviewed in
Squeezed, when they were going through economic hardship they’d get sick physically, they
would be psychologically troubled, they’d have to go on anti-anxiety medications—sometimes
they wouldn’t even have healthcare so that would be an added expense, and some of the
subjects might experience something called “decision fatigue” where they’d be unable
to make decisions or choices in their lives—basic choices—because they’ve been so overwhelmed
by the feeling of economic uncertainty. They were thinking constantly “How do I
survive?” rather than “How do I lead a better life?”
or “How do I get my kid on the best course?” And so that’s a commonplace—just that
overwhelmed aspect when you don’t have resources. That’s all you’re thinking about. Well, one of the challenges for people seeking
employment in a gig economy is that they’re disposable; they can always be replaced by
somebody else, they may not have relationships with another human being at Uber or at Lyft,
whatever. Supposedly it’s this idea of independence,
but it’s often in fact this kind of free-floating quality where they’re not clearly connected
to a boss or colleagues. And I think that can be really dangerous,
because then these peoples’ experiences are not humanized to the people who are hiring
them, they’re just cogs in wheels, and we should really start thinking about that because
I think they can be really debilitating. I talk about teachers who drive Uber in a
chapter, and I think for many of them they were recruited by the company. They had a motto four or five years ago: “Uber—teachers
driving our future.” So teachers and nurses were attractive to
Uber simply as middle class icons, but they weren’t attractive enough to the people
in their community who they were teaching or the politicians in their community to give
them a wage so they wouldn’t have to drive Uber on the side. So to me that’s one of the dangers of the
gig economy too, that the formally middle class can be used just as a symbol and a kind
of respectability that they can be offering these companies while they’re kind of riffling
through these once-stable professions for solid people that they can exploit. Many of the people I wrote about are not in
organizations or even in corporations or contingent, which means that they work part time, on contracts,
they work gigs, which is now a huge amount of the population, or they work too-few hours
to be counted as employees. So I’m not sure it becomes an organizational
thing most of the time, but in terms of what we’re doing at Economic Hardship Reporting
Project we’re trying to pay journalists who have fallen on hard times a dollar a word
plus expenses. And that’s just like one small way to keep
them afloat. We have people writing for us who were living
without heat, on food stamps, on government medical care, they were really struggling,
and that this is one thing that I’ve noticed has been interesting lately—I call them
sort of white collar alt-labor, this is like white collar unions, almost, for journalists,
for other employees in the past who’re not necessarily unionized freelance journalists. And what we’re doing is part of that, but
there’s all sorts of other things cropping up. There are collectives for caregivers that
I’ve written about, so they’re sort of working together, they’re owning the apps
where they rent out—where they try to get customers for housecleaning or nannying. And so I think, what can organizations do? Organizations can try to empower their poor
workers by giving them resources, both economic and from the companies themselves—for instance,
like an app that they themselves would own a part of rather than just simply the company
owning the app and the worker just this teeny piece of teeny “task rabbit,” they would
instead be a part of the app. Cooperatives is another way I think that we
can start to think about that, especially web-based cooperatives. That’s becoming really important given the
concentration of wealth where we have a teeny number of people owning these companies and
just hundreds of thousands of people working for them driving Uber, cleaning houses, et
cetera. We can start talking about people owning a
share of the digital economy and the gig work that they’re doing.




Comments
  1. "wealth inequality is bad and im going to go on about how teachers dont get paid enough and then tell you that 'we' have a program for journalists thats basically stealing their hard work"

    hypocrites. i was wondering what this left idea was doing on this conservative minded channel but now i see it, classic conservative bait and switch. they talk a lot of talk but when it comes down to actually doing what they say needs to be done, they cant even do it themselves. eat shit u fucking trump humpers.

  2. I'd say lack of resources for basic human needs (food, drinking water, shelter and sanitation) is what's literally killing us, but nevermind

  3. As life expectancy shrinks, suicide is on the rise, maternal care is third world. Americans support division, walls and gold standard health care for corrupt, self serving politicians and theocrats.

  4. Poverty is killing us, not inequality. The first is not created by the second, and capitalism is the best way to lift people out of poverty.

  5. Then elect somebody who evidently does not take corporate money. But the DNC worked against Bernie and for Clinton. Don't let this happen again!

  6. TL;DR: Socialism just makes everybody equally poor and the video is a leftist BS.
    Inequality is a natural sign of developed economy. It's a positive sign showing that there are many efficient and productive companies. People described are the few who are currently on the lower step of the ladder. Their issue is not that other people are wealthy but that that they are poor. It's always because (welfare) state's high taxes and strict labor laws are the obstacle for these people to become employable or to start their own business.

  7. It is possible to feed myself healthy, though not varied food, for less than 100 dollars per month. Savings can be found.

  8. So, roughly speaking, here's what she said:
    1. Life sucks when you're poor
    2. Companies should give more money (and other stuff) to their poor employees

    Now, pretty much everyone already knew this. This video acts as best as a reminder of obvious facts.

    But what is she actually suggesting? To force companies to pay their poor employees?

  9. School teachers make average of 40k/yr and 3mo summer vacation. That's about 3x what I make working fulltime nonstop. Why do we focus on people clearly able to get by fine and forget about minimum wage workers?

  10. K guys, time to change the name of your channel to 'Big Dink'. Cause you either have someone on who's a dink or, makes us all feel like one.
    Now get to it!

  11. It's not even figuratively killing people. This will mostly persuade people of the opposite of what she's saying.. for better or worse.

  12. Literally killing people? Who died? Not one mention of any literal deaths. She means it's figuratively killing people and she's probably wrong about that as well.

  13. The thing about inequality is that the minimum wage work force working for mega-corporations like Amazon etc DON'T GET PAID ENOUGH FOR WHAT THEY DO. Without them (talking only about the people working for minimum wage) the BUSINESS WOULD NOT RUN and yet they get paid altogether less than 5% (very rough estimate but that number goes DOWN as the company makes MORE) in total of Jeff Bezos', owner of Amazon, net worth (not even mentioning the entire companies profits since it was made) every year. There needs to be HIGHER MINIMUM WAGES. The system for raising minimum wage is broken right now. It was built in a time when no one knew inflation would rise near exponentially and so they didn't know minimum wage should've risen near exponentially as well. BUT WE SHOULD. AND WE SHOULD CHANGE IT. THIS WOULD SOLVE INEQUALITY FOR MINIMUM WAGE WORKERS.

    People who can't find work (of whom there are many and most of them it's not their fault) need a different solution entirely. Welfare isn't enough. over 1 million driving jobs will be taken by self driving cars or drones likely in the next decade. 1 MILLION PEOPLE WILL BE OUT OF JOBS FROM THAT ALONE. The job crisis will only get worse, the rate at which jobs are being taken does not match the rate at which jobs are being created despite what anyone who had their head up their ass will tell you. JOBLESS AMERICANS will make up a very large portion of the country and what you guys are saying is we should all leave them to die, or JUST GET A JOB RIGHT? It's not that easy. This video may not have a good solution but I appreciate it for at least addressing there IS AN ISSUE that can't be waved off like nothing is happening. Hoping the economy will make a shift sooner than later…

  14. Unions make every job better including management positions.From safety to job rights.They were mostly made possible by union's.I love my union and my life it has giving me.I understand there's a few bad apples that make unions look bad,but that's with every aspect of life.Now show me a politician whose good?whose not a sellout?Who in there right mind would want to give amazon tax money to build there business in there city.Company worth billions.Apple pays peanuts in taxes i could go on.There are your real crooks not the unions.

  15. Boo hoo poor Americans need to drive Uber on the side because they don't earn enough… Do you know that most people in the world have to work for decades to save for a car and most can't buy one ever? I came from a poor country, worked for a minimum wage and I can tell with certainty that if you have functioning limbs – poverty is either a choice or an illusion based on a lack of perspective. Want to be in the top 1%? Just go to almost any other country in the world. Don't try to destroy the system that made the poor as rich as they can possibly be just because you don't understand economics and lack perspective.

  16. The only point I could make out of that was essentially a communist-like start ups would be a good solution as corps are screwing us over.

  17. In Toronto riding a bicycle delivering food for one of the companies mentioned, I'll average $15-25/hour. The work is available without limitations to time or maximum hourly participation. If I am so driven to work 10 hours a day 7 hours a week the ability is had to make a rough $1400CAD. There is no plea for more hours, no searching for a new job in order to increase income. In situations where the gig worker is willing to exert the effort, the reward is had.

    In the video the dehumanizing claim is supported by reasonable ground, as the gig companies require no relationships to be formed in order for the work to be carried out. In balance to this however, there is no implemented obligation towards the worker to continue working, no deadline, no micromanaged stress.
    Gig companies, such as Lyft/Uber specifically, provide an opportunity for people that seek money intensely enough that they are willing to earn it without a labour structure so strict as an office/nurse/teaching job, whilst still through a method more structured than starting one's own entrepreneurial ventures.
    If individual's desire higher community, keep the office job that is complained so frequently about. If one wishes for higher pay one must find a job more difficult, one that less are willing to live up to.
    The world we live in is a competition of relative standing. Whether community, whether free time, there is no improvement without there first being sacrifice to afford it

  18. It seems the foundational problem in wealth inequality is education. Always, there will be inequality. Always, there will be those willing to work harder than the majority. Teach children that reward is based on the value you contribute. The lazy one's will cry and the determined one's will smile.
    Is it not more simple than long term consistency, a good attitude and budgeting advice delivered by a role model of encouragement?

    To the parents that complain of the glorious life they are not capable of living: suck it up and realize that by living frugally for your own life and putting your child (ren) first you are manifesting potential that will carry them leaps and bounds above whatever lesser quality of living you must go through.
    For them, for their children, it is worth it.

    But then, perhaps it's not, perhaps I'm wrong. Thoughts?

  19. What is this woman talking about. Take Mike Rowe's advice and go into the trades. Stop educating yourself with useless degrees. I am a chef and have never been unemployed, my husband is an electrician again never unemployed, pay is reasonable we certainly make a living at it. The USSR/Moa's China and their ilk tried equality and if you want to talk about killing take a look at the massacre of millions of people.

  20. No life has value. If life had value we would do everything we could to prevent the loss of life but we don't. Just regular human nature to look out for number 1

  21. The elites are probably giggling like little school girls when they see how so much of the working class is against themselves; mostly because they aspire to be one of those elites one day. Good luck with that! 😀

    It’s much more likely that you will get pissed on for the rest of your life, while they tell you “it’s just rain”.

    Even if you do get there: you’ll be no happier and you won’t have any real friends left. It’s lonely at the top.

    But it’s OK though. The most important thing is that you have MORE than others. Preferably at least a million times more. It’s the only way to win at life because you get to bring all that money into your grave. A person needs at least 10 Lamborghinis or his/her life is not worth living. SMH.

    EDIT: spelling & punctuation.

  22. Good companies reward quality and hard work.

    Poor companies don't. Evaluate your company or prospective companies.

    This video tells you zero.

  23. Economy works for everyone if you utilise it instead of whinning. That said, there are some extremes that should not exist that reward too much for too little.

  24. Want to know who thought how do I survive? Your grandparents or great grandparents that survived the Great Depression. You could also look at most of Africa and rural China. Do you know who was replaceable? Everyone at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

    This is more poor understanding of economics and capitalism. Compare it to how it was for everyone, everywhere for the entirety of human history.

  25. In the US we have a low birth rate. This means the value of houses is continually going down and the value of labor keeps going up. Shut down immigration and the problem fixes itself.

  26. Watching this video is like watching an economically uneducated socialist misintegrating concepts in real time.

    Equality of outcome is as evil as equality of opportunity.

    Stop looking over the fence. Find
    value in your own backyard.

  27. it comes to one thing and one thing only:

    Drive

    All obstacles in your was spill over you with the right drive and mental attitude.

    Money does not equal success, getting out of life what you truly desire = success

    Problem is when people equate doing what they want to do, and expect to be wealthy as a byproduct. If becoming wealthy is what you desire is, then do all the research on the wealthiest and most successful people in the world and what they have done and stop making excuses, because the job you're in now isn't paying you your dream $ amount.

    Find what's important first, either its money or you passion. Lucky people find a way to make both intersect. But you do need to understand what matters to you, because even the most destitute here in America are far better off than in some of the worlds most poverty stricken and tyrannical countries. So don't equate money with happiness, because there are plenty of poor people that are more happy and found their place in life than with some of the wealthiest millionaires. Lastly self reliance, those that are dependant on other people for their happiness or just outright survival, WILL be unhappy. Don't depend on the state to feed you, to cloth you, to house you, to employ you. Don't depend on your loved ones to fill you with joy, they could disappoint, find what makes you happy and go toward it, but mostly be strong when the things that make you happy change, or are taken from you. That's when you have to realize that your happiness needs to come from within, that is your zen, and when you realize this all other things in life come into focus, and what really matters becomes clear.

  28. Capitalism has an exploitive weakness. I'm not saying to embrace communism, fascism, socialism, or whatever the fuck, but here's the thing, we let people make as much as they can sell. You do the work, you get the reward, I understand and accept that; the problem is when these companies make a lot of money, then receive research on how to manipulate people to buy and employ manipulative practices. You shouldn't be able to exploit people's buying weaknesses and still be able to make as much money as you want. At the same time, we as the collective need to practice self discipline and make better financial choices. Big business are the real scammers in the world and the government will bail them out, screwing us. Greed is what's killing us and we're the only ones who can put it in check by putting locks on our wallets. We "Little guys" need to stand together and look after one another because no one else is.

  29. You know what literally means right. It means you actually die. Soooo
    You are supposed to say figuratively. That means it seems like dying.

  30. Left wingers: it's not funny because she's constantly scared of being viewed as a communist
    Right wingers: it's funny because she's constantly scared of being viewed as a communist

  31. You get paid what you are worth . It’s easy to find people to work at McDonald’s so the pay is low it’s not easy to find people to work at Space X so the pay is higher

  32. Obsession with "inequality" is a projection of our personal existential angst on to appearances of injustice in the larger world. Our existential angst is created during childhood from the injustices we experience during childhood at the hands of parents and siblings. It sensitizes our fight flight, animal brain and as an adult we are chemically triggered by the appearance of larger world injustices. Symbols are the language of the subconscious mind. We are passionate about the larger world issues, but the passion is all about our own experience of injustice and our anger about it. That is why at protests about these larger world injustices, the images of Che Guevara are often seen, supposedly a "Champion of the poor". Actually, he was just acting out his personal existential anger in an extremely toxic manner, ultimately he was evil.
    This is why all social movements never work to solve actual problems. We are satisfied with "programs" even though they are wrongly conceived to solve the problems.

  33. The economy does work for everyone! However one must cooperate with it! 50 million people in the U.S. are under 87 I.Q. where Life 101 is beyond their grasp. When you actually work with the poor of all races and genders, you realize this is their fundamental problem. Also they suffer from trauma from one generation to the next because their families are toxic. Also millions of people have addictions to tobacco, alcohol, food, sugar, street drugs.
    We should not blame the functioning part of society for the problems of individuals. Where we should apply socialism is with people who cannot function, it is they who should be put in supervised " Communes" instead of demanding that the entire functioning world be overturned.

  34. If you take all the money and sell everything the 1% owns then give that money to everyone else, each person in the us would get a few thousand dollars. Basically a tax return, but only once and all the money is then gone.

  35. High incomes for all = healthy business = growing secure stock markets = permanent surplus. But replicators make gold already exists.

  36. LOOK AT THIS IDIOTS VOTING DOWN JUST BY THINKING THEY R BETTER THAN THAN THOSE WHO DIDNT MAKE THE JOB WHAT STUPIDS ARE THEY IT IS KILLING US ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, HIGHLY INFLATED BITCHES.

  37. Huh? Why do "task rabbits" deserve a share of an app? The value of the app should accrue to the developer who developed the app.

  38. You lady are wasting your time,the North American$ LOVE capitalism,the capitalism is under their $kin,you can disagree with them in any topic,but when the topic is capitalism,and you disagree with them!!!! They can kill you or acusĂ© you of terrorims,this people don’t have feeling$,no emotion$,no $oul,and over all no brain,they think they was born to consume and pay taxe$,that’s all they care ,a drifter ‘’$ociety’’ with CER000000 MORAL$



  39. @4:48 you can do that right now! buy up some stock in whatever public company you like. Or if you'd like a bigger slice of the pie start your own company. Or if you can't be bothered or don't have the skills to do that you can enter into a consensual agreement with a company to trade your labor for money. It's all up to you.

  40. Big Think get out of politics The economy does work for every one get of the couch get a education in a field of study thats needed DO not covet someone elses money

  41. WHO EVER MADE THIS VID MUST READ THIS ALOUD!

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    you waste my time i waste yours

  42. It boggles my mind when I see the division that has been created in America. I see it in these comments, on social media, in the news, EVERYWHERE!
    We the people have the numbers living in a democracy to make positive changes for the betterment of all in this country. But somebody has done a great job in sewing division throughout.
    Take a look around people, stop being a puppet! Look at ALL the available evidence.
    Is their wealth inequality? Yup. How do we fix it? I think the answer is in our past. Take a look at the history of our federal income tax rates (16th Amendment) since it was created in 1913.
    Look at tax rates in the 1920's (great depression), 1950's,1960's,1970's (strong middle class), 1980's on (inequality)

  43. Many different societies have dabbled in this kind of governance for 171 years now and it's never proven to deliver on its promises.
    Instead of an authoritarian model of governance, perhaps we should retry freedom, this time for every person no matter their race, creed, religion, language, etc. Poverty causes violence and crime and authoritarians exasperate poverty with their incarceration and death, punishment models.
    I'd be happy to trade all that for mental health care for all supplied by government (paid for with taxes) and an end to the welfare state as we know it (a rollback of so-called progressive government like the ones that outlawed cannabis and gets all up in our grills when they don't need to.)

  44. The rich don't get that way by accident. And the poor are not poor because they are being exploited. When the poor work for someone else, it is because they are being offered more than they could make on their own. Is there injustice in the relationship? No, it's a voluntary arrangement. Should the successful give away their profit because it would make the worker more happy. No, because it would destroy that businessman's incentive for providing jobs.

    I once figured out that on a construction crew, the worker gives up roughly 25% of the value of his work to the entrapenure. But in exchange the worker gets expert supervision, bidding of the jobs, the paperwork, job financing, skill training and protection against possible losses. It is a pretty sweet deal for the worker. And few guys work on their own unless they can get big enough to make it worthwhile to be the entrapenure. Lots of guys are not smart enough, experienced enough to be able to run a crew of 5 to 10 guys.

    When the work is less complex, like lawn mowing, it may be more practical to work on your own. But you will likely find you don't have to give up as much when working for the entrapenure.

  45. Reduce regulation so that we can get more small new companies who can hire for more pay and make more products.

  46. The problem isn't wealth inequality, the problem is poverty. Bill Gates didn't make anyone poor by being wealthy, and in fact, he brought countless people out of poverty by creating new jobs.

  47. Isn't income inequality (leading to wealth inequality) necessary for capitalism? If true, wouldn't "solving it" cripple the kinda capitalism?

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