The poor need the rich so the poor can go to work

(Cross-post from my other blog, Freedom is Moral.)

If you need anything other than the clothes you wear in order to do the work needed to get a paycheck, you are dependent on “the rich” to provide the tools and equipment to get your work done.

That is the point in a 1-25-13 letter to the editor at the Wall Street Journal from Mr. Fred Anderson of Pittsburgh.

He says:

If a man wants to be paid more (and assuming he won’t steal from his neighbors), then he must produce more. The easiest way to produce more is to use a tool. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the U.S. had $34 trillion of net private fixed assets being used by 110 million nongovernment workers in 2009: Our average employee works with $309,000 of plant and equipment. If required to supply their own tools, most workers couldn’t have their jobs. Since they can’t afford their tools, workers are dependent on someone richer to supply them. Not only are tools expensive, but most last for decades. So most investor returns are far in some unknowable future. Thus the investor must be rich enough to buy those tools and be sufficiently wealthy that the occasional bad bet won’t ruin him. (emphasis added)

Excellent comment.  Let’s ponder.

If you work in an office, you are dependent on ‘the rich’ to invest a grand to buy a workstation, a couple grand to buy the software you use, and a few million to put up the building you are in and install the electrical and HVAC.

If you work on the plant floor, you are dependent upon ‘the rich’ to invest millions constructing the building and buying all that heavy equipment.

See the pattern?

If you work for a paycheck, you are depending on someone else to front the money so you can do your work.

If you had to bring a hundred grand of equipment with you on the first day, most of us would be unemployable.

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