David Simon, the executive producer of the Wire, has reached the conclusion that “There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show!” and then starts to discus the situation from a rather Marxist point of view. He is both right and wrong.
He is right about the world becoming too polarized for it’s own good but I don’t think he understands how capitalism and the free market really work. Nevertheless he is right when saying that the western economy took of when the existence of considerable discretionary income created a huge solvent demand for goods and services.
And it’s exactly the disappearance of that discretionary income that is pulling in the reins on the economy right now. But the solution is not to increase the minimum wage but to open the market in earnest. In other words we shouldn’t make McDonald’s pay more its employees but somehow make it possible for those employees to quit their jobs at McDonald’s and open some new businesses of their own.