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Economist Sam Bowles is right: The current system is a terrible system in a variety of ways.
It must be said in all this that labor is a commodity and some jobs are simply worth more than others. But when those who are willing to diligently work (at food service jobs, for instance) can't make a living here, it is the system that is at fault.
Right off, the most significant thing that can be done is to break outside of the box and creatively bring the low-wage earner into financial modernization. Your article mentions individual development accounts, a very dynamic piece of a new socioeconomic puzzle and stratagem. Here we draw our country's bottom economic strata into a mode of vitality by financial literacy programs and then put them in the driver's seat of IDAs—secured savings accounts with a matching-fund and multiplying feature. Now we have a hand-up and not a handout dependency scenario going that, with the incentive of upward mobility, will really change the heads of the poor and low-wage earners.
I've twice met the founder of IDAs, Washington University's Michael Sherraden, once at the first annual national IDA conference in Chicago and then at a Minnesota IDA conference that I was on the organizing committee of. There such sleight-of-hand ideas were thrown around such as converting apartment buildings to tenant-owned condos [for members of] IDA programs, with the installments spread out over time that would be less, monthly, than rent payments.
Let's be the progressive City Different in ways like this.
Richard Dean Jacob
…It's been shown repeatedly that people who win the lottery are back where they started within one year (e.g., still in a trailer with no job). It takes more than cash to change our habits and 'comfort' zone. Bowles' idea has merit, but some kind of education on how to leverage or truly invest one's nest egg would be in order…
—posted by mariemorgan
…Perhaps Samuel Bowles and Robert Kiyosaki, the inventor of the [Cash Flow 101] Game, should get their heads and hearts together and put together an education plan for all those 18 year olds who would receive the $250,000 that Samuel proposes. Then it might really make a difference!…
—posted by pamelayates
Giving everyone $250,000 when they turn 18 is "practical advice" ??
Like THAT is going to motivate students to work hard, study, be competitive, and take personal responsibility for their lives !
This guy is in La La Land.
—posted by ZenCushion
…Calling Bowles a "radical" (calling himself one) seems to undermine that his ideas…really aren't that out-of-step with tradition classical economics. Loosely defined (but a perfectly reasonable definition) is that economics is the study of how individuals and much larger entities (nations) are rewarded for, or reward work (how value works) for the benefits of individuals and the greater prosperity of the whole, and how these reinforce or weaken each other…
—posted by MinnItMan
…Historically, as the disparity in income diverges, haves and have nots become more aggressive towards one another, which always and eventually leads to a revolution, where many people die. I don't want that, promote it, or condone it, but there is certainly a reason that ammunition is in short supply right now in the USA…
—posted by MrWizar