That's the title of a recent paper by Jordan Brennan of George Brown College. Tom Walkom writes in today's Toronto Star that:
Brennan’s paper is a critique not only of the economy but of the way most of us look at the economy. He takes on the widespread, if unstated, assumption that people get what they deserve — that CEO’s or derivative traders earn their seven-figure paycheques because they are in some way uniquely productive, while the rest of us don’t because, well, we’re not.
He advances a view that is not new but that is rarely heard today — that income is not distributed through the competitive magic of the impersonal market, but through naked power struggles in institutions that are near-monopolistic. Think National Hockey League.
The central tenet of Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign was that the rich deserve what they've earned. Brennan claims that they didn't earn it at all. Governments have simply made it easy to pick up all the chips on the table:
Free trade with the U.S. and Mexico sandbagged much of Canada’s manufacturing base. Trade with China sandbagged the rest. Investment protection deals such as NAFTA and the new Canada-China pact have weakened government’s ability to regulate. All of this has decimated unions, allowing bosses to pay their workers less and themselves more.
Non-union shops, as always, have quickly followed suit.
Our present state of affairs is not accidental. It has been carefully planned and executed by the courtiers who have built their careers by serving their wealthy patrons.