Slavery has come a long way, Baby. It used to be that when you were a slave, you knew it. You were ripped out of your familiar life, chained up, shipped to an unfamiliar land, and put to work under penalty of corporal punishment or death. Today, things are so much more subtle.
Today, when you are working for the Massah, you don't even know there's a master. You think you are working by your own free will, to earn money to buy the essentials of life. What you don't know is that the money is the Massah's script, it's only good at the "company" stores, the prices are rigged, and everything you can choose to buy has been determined for you.
And slavery is no longer an "all or nothing" business. It's done now in slowly but steadily increasing increments. In that sneaky way, few ever realize how their time is being stolen from them to serve the Massah. Allow me to illustrate.
Let's look at the least privileged of the working class, those working for minimum wage. Even they need shelter, a place to call their own, a home. How long do they have to work for the Massah's "company" to earn enough to buy the average new home?
In 1956, when I was just a baby, the minimum wage was $1/hour, and the typical new home cost $11,700. The math is easy in this case. A new home would cost you 11,700 hours of working for the "company".
In 2006, fifty years later, the minimum wage was $5.15/hour, and the typical new home cost $243,067. A new home would cost you 47,197 hours of working for the "company".
You can see the trend for yourself below. Note that unlike the value of money, an hour of work is the same today as it was in 1956.
Year Home Price Min wage Hours 1956 $ 11,700 $1.00 11700 1966 $ 21,400 $1.25 17120 1976 $ 44,200 $2.10 21048 1986 $ 92,000 $3.35 27463 1996 $140,000 $4.75 29474 2006 $243,067 $5.15 47197
That's a pretty good con-game! The Massah has slowly gotten the slaves to work four times longer to buy the same stuff. And most of those people don't even know there's a master or a con-game!
Things have improved some since 2006. We're in a severe economic depression now, debt is astronomical, inflation is rampant but deliberately under-reported, and housing prices have fallen while the minimum wage has risen. It's a great time to buy a house at the bargain price of only 30,163 hours of work!
If you can find a job.
One other note – the figures used for these calculations are from the U.S. government, an entity well known for “adjusting” statistics to make itself look good. That means my calculations are probably the best-case scenario, and the true reality is worse than I have indicated.