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Opinion

Capitalism keeps workers poor

Capitalism keeps the rich rich and the workers poor.

When I took my 7-year-old to ballet this past weekend, I noticed quite a few vehicles in the university parking lot that were in various states of disrepair.

Some had cracked windshields. Some had broken grills. Some had duct tape either masking blemishes or holding parts together. Some had patches of rust.

And all this reminded me that we live in a society that doesn’t pay its workers sufficiently.

Vehicle owners who can’t afford to save money to cover unexpected expenses, like vehicle repairs. Or who don’t have enough left over each month after they’ve paid their bills to cover unexpected expenses.

So, chips become cracks, and cracks spread and multiply. Paint bubbles become rust, and rust becomes holes. And tires get bald. And oil doesn’t get changed. And brakes wear down. And when the vehicle finally breaks down, its owner buys another cheap vehicle that’s already falling apart because that’s all they can afford.

And the cycle continues.

Because we’re opposed to a $15 minimum wage and think it’s okay for CEOs to make as much in just one workday morning as the average employee makes in an entire year. Because we think it’s okay for landlords to buy up excess housing stock and charge more for rent than the house is worth. Because we think it’s fine that a major grocery chain distributes $1.7 billion in profit to shareholders in 2018 instead of keeping grocery prices low.

Because capitalism keeps the rich rich and the workers poor. Because poor workers are desperate. They will take any job and they won’t jeopardize that job by organizing.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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