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Economics and trying to balance my check book

I’m no economist so I have no right to expound on the subject but here goes; confession: I once took an undergraduate economics class in college. It was a five credit course so it was important to my GPA. I didn’t understand one word of my professor’s ravings. I got a B-plus. Pretty close to an A. Does that tell you something?

Right now I am reading an article on the economic situation in America. In all the present fuss about unemployment and the covid epidemic, scholars are arguing about the decline in worker power and the obvious income equality. It ties in with the abuse of workers right here in the Midwest who are suffering the abuse by employers and low wages and the health epidemic in the huge chicken and beef industries whose workers are succumbing to the virus in alarming numbers.

Worker Unions, declining since the 1950’s, this writer tells us, are unable to protect their people.

Does anybody remember the awful Right to Work laws throughout the Midwest pushed by conservatives? Still in force.

Today’s argument, written about by this investigative reporter gives data to support her position which is: “More than any other structural change in the economy is the redistribution of income away from workers to high executives, owners, and shareholders.” (Don’t let ourselves think that we in the public are exempt because we have retirement accounts and other investments of the same source…yes?)

I guess we didn’t need writers and economists to tell us that. We have recognized that reality…we just often don’t know what to make of it! What is needed is a critique of the wealthy class of capitalists who occupy the corporate offices where money and profit is the name of the game. That center of greed is called the “wealthiest one percent. What they do with their profits and who they support in the political process is critical.

This article, called “back to the jungle” is written by my favorite public journalist, Jane Mayer and she reports on the role of Foundations and she names them as the culprits. Who are their donors? Where do they get their money and where do they put it?

I found that particularly interesting because of the project called The First Nations Sculpture Garden, and its struggle trying to get foundations very interested in the History project. The local foundations turned us down many times over the years and even the more high profile ones liked to give money to the “unfortunate” Indians, but were not much taken with the history WE WANTED TO TELL. As one the directors, I learned a lot about economics and who has the money!!! We also earned as a group WHO and WHAT foundations were and what they were (and are) interested in.

It is my suggestion to our readers that this article by Jane be put on your reading list. Economics is STILL not one of my favorite subjects but I never will forget the professor (whose name was SMYYYYTH….from Connecticut) and how he could tell us a lot about the insurance business. Well, I am still mystified by it all, even when I try to balance my checkbook. But I keep trying!

(Professor E Cook-Lynn writes a column for The Native Sun News Today, Rapid City, SD. She is a retired professor of Native Studies and she has taught at EWU, UC/DAVIS AND ASU. She is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Ft. Thomson, SD)


(Contact Elizabeth

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