The Silent Exodus Nobody Sees: Leaving Work Forever

The comments below are an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Charles Hugh Smith

The exodus from work that will unravel America’s economic and social orders is getting zero attention. Like the exodus from troubled urban cores, the exodus from work has long-term, complex causes that the pandemic has accelerated.

The Silent Exodus Nobody Sees: Leaving Work Forever | BullionBuzz
Blurry reflection silhouette of one person walking alone on wet city park sidewalk on a rainy day

Shareholder value was the super-wealthy’s justification for unlimited greed as corporations became financialization machines whose sole purpose was enriching insiders.

Financialization of shareholder value put all gains into the hands of those at the top at the expense of the many. The top 0.1% have enjoyed income gains of around 350% since 1979, while the bottom 90% barely topped 20%—a number that would be sharply negative if inflation were included.

These trends will drive both the top and bottom wage earners out of the workforce. The managerial class can either retire or use their human/financial capital to find other, less stressful, ways to make a living and downsize their expenses to match their reduced income.

To equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage earned in 1970 ($1.65/hour), the minimum wage would have to be almost $20 now. The CPI claims that a minimum wage of $12 now equals the purchasing power of $1.65 in 1970, but this is not true. Inflation calculation has been driven by the need to mask the collapse of the purchasing power of wages.

Once the workforce wakes up to this, the exodus will quicken. Permanent unemployment payments, Universal Basic Income, free Fed money; these will enable a mass exodus of those at the bottom of the pay scale, while burnout will decimate the ranks of essential managerial/skilled workers.

It’s payback time. Hey, financial aristocracy, clean your own floors and butcher your own meat. Hey, corrupt politicos, wipe your own tables and watch your own kids. The ‘take this job and shove it’ exodus is gathering momentum.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Paul Crosby

    I read somewhere recently that in the early 1960s, the U.S. minimum wage was US$1.25 per hour. The author commented that it meant that for each hour worked, a person received five quarters. That seemed like a paltry sum until I realized that five silver quarters weigh 1.25 ounces. The silver quarters back then contained 90% silver. This means that each worker received 1.125 ounces of pure silver for an hour’s work. At today’s price of US$23.69 dollars per ounce on Kitco, the modern-day equivalent is US$26.65 per hour. Suddenly, that no longer seems so paltry. In the early 1960s, the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar often traded close to par. Today, the Canadian dollar is trading at 1.33. This means that using silver as a proxy, the minimum wage in Canada today would be C$35.44 per hour to have the same value as the early 1960s. Suddenly, calls for $15 or $20 per hour no longer seem so unrealistic to me. Paper currencies simply hide the deterioration in purchasing power that cannot be hidden using precious metals.

  2. Paul Crosby

    REVISED WITH CORRECT SILVER CONTENT

    I read somewhere recently that in the early 1960s, the U.S. minimum wage was US$1.25 per hour. The author commented that it meant that for each hour worked, a person received five quarters. That seemed like a paltry sum until I realized that five silver quarters contain 1.00 ounce of silver. At today’s price of US$23.69 dollars per ounce on Kitco, the modern-day equivalent is US$23.69 per hour. Suddenly, that no longer seems so paltry. In the early 1960s, the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar often traded close to par. Today, the Canadian dollar is trading at 1.33. This means that using silver as a proxy, the minimum wage in Canada today would be C$31.50 per hour to have the same value as the early 1960s. Suddenly, calls for $15 or $20 per hour no longer seem so unrealistic to me. Paper currencies simply hide the deterioration in purchasing power that cannot be hidden using precious metals.

  3. Paul Crosby

    WHOOPS– ONE LAST TIME

    I read somewhere recently that in the early 1960s, the U.S. minimum wage was US$1.25 per hour. The author commented that it meant that for each hour worked, a person received five quarters. That seemed like a paltry sum until I realized that five silver quarters contain 0.9 ounces of silver. At today’s price of US$23.69 dollars per ounce on Kitco, the modern-day equivalent is US$21.32 per hour. Suddenly, that no longer seems so paltry. In the early 1960s, the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar often traded close to par. Today, the Canadian dollar is trading at 1.33. This means that using silver as a proxy, the minimum wage in Canada today would be C$28.36 per hour to have the same value as the early 1960s. Suddenly, calls for $15 or $20 per hour no longer seem so unrealistic to me. Paper currencies simply hide the deterioration in purchasing power that cannot be hidden using precious metals.

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