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TheStreet Open House

The Prison Economy May Be Our Only Economy: Opinion

VANCOUVER ( Silver Gold Bull) -- Back in March I wrote "The U.S. Prison Cell Economy" . At that point I was speaking in metaphorical terms. However, as Bloomberg reveals to us in a recent article, the U.S. "prison economy" is a very literal concept.

Every month, year after year, U.S. homebuilders start construction on 50% to 100% more units than they sell. Yet, the propaganda machine claims inventories of U.S. new homes have been plummeting.

In my article I stated a simple conclusion: Either the official U.S. housing numbers were total fabrications or more than half of these "housing starts" were units that did not require a "sale" to an individual owner in order for the builder to be paid .

In attempting to come up with an answer to this riddle I could only formulate one possibility: All of these phantom "housing starts" were, in fact, prison cells.

This conclusion should hardly be surprising to informed readers. The U.S. warehouses more of its own population in prisons than any other Western nation by a vast margin. Canada is a distant second, and then there is a further drop once we move past North American "incarceration mania." Furthermore, the Corporate Media has been gushing over the fantastic growth curves of U.S. private prison corporations.

Nonetheless, it would undoubtedly be greatly disturbing to the vast majority of (under-informed) Americans to learn their own government is secretly and rapidly expanding the "maximum occupancy" of its entire, (increasingly private) prison system.

Want to "compete" with Chinese and Indian labor in the U.S. but you can't find workers willing to work for 1/10th their (previous) wages? Just lock 'em up and force them to do that labor for even less. What will be the secret to Corporate America's "success" in the 21st century? Chain gangs.

Now we see apparent (corporate) confirmation of this new Prison Economy taking shape in the U.S. When one retailer moves into a particular market, we see that as "filling a niche." However, when a plethora of retailers congregate in that same market, we see a "growth sector."

The phony numbers produced on U.S. retail sales cannot hide the fact that month after month U.S. retailers are selling fewer goods (they simply cost more because of soaring inflation). This is due to the fact that (in real dollars) U.S. wages have fallen by more than 50% over the past 40 years.

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