Two news items that will buzz throughout the week actually have greater long term implications and are intricately linked to one another.
> News Item: Jeff Bezos sees drones delivering parcels within five to ten years.
> News Item: Fast food workers prepare one-day strike, demanding $15 minimum wage.
Mankind has always dreamed of a utopian world of universal peace, prosperity, and leisure.
In the 1800s, the idea took off initially as a scheme pushed forward by Robert Owens who had an idea of a social system (socialism) in which everything was shared versus the individual system (capitalism). In Owens' system, the outcome of competition dictated class structure and lifestyles. This scheme seemed attractive as a thesis. It was put into practice through the creation of a factory village called New Lanark, which Owen presided over from 1800 to 1825.
It was considered a success as wages were increased, infant education was promoted and a wellness fund for the sick, injured, and aged was established. The village of 2,500 was organized into neighborhood divisions that elected representatives to handle disputes. Heralded as a model of how to treat workers with greater respect yet continue to prosper, New Lanark was owned by Owen. Owen oversaw the village with the kind of paternalistic silk fist Michael Bloomberg attempted to exercise over New York as mayor.
Owens moved on to America to establish several other villages of New Harmony, but none met with even the partial success of New Lanark, which serves as the World Heritage cultural center today. Still, the idea of wages that supersede those of free market principles has always been part of the promise of a utopian society as envisioned by enlightened thinkers that embrace and promote socialism.
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