post

A Qualitatively Higher Level: The Leading Light Communist Organization, Unique Among the Crowd

A Qualitatively Higher Level: The Leading Light Communist Organization, Unique Among the Crowd

-Comrade Kwame Ato Asiedu

(llco.org)

February, 2017

Leading Light Communism is a great wave arising to save humanity. It is a wave that brings a new Earth in which there is no discrimination between people. It is at once the great revolutionary wave, and also the very science of revolution itself. Whatever a person contributes to serve the people and liberate humanity is entirely permissible in the LLCO. The Leading Light focuses its attention on the matters that affect the world’s oppressed and exploited majority, so that the people may rise up, and use their energies in the most scientific way to make revolution.

O you who are wise! Consider this carefully: Can an ordinary gun compare with the modern rifle? Should anyone maintain that our old style firearms are good enough for us, and that it is useless to import weapons which have been invented in modern time? Or should anyone ask, “We have always transported merchandise from one country to another on the backs of animals, why should we use the steam engine?” The LLCO is a modern revolutionary organization whose path to victory is better than all the old ways of social revolution. It is our revolutionary steam engine which will take us to the destination of total freedom!

Third World countries, in spite of their achievements and great expertise in science, industry, and art, are still living in poverty, disease, racism, sexism, and humiliating oppression. The LLCO is asking why these countries have been allow to be lag behind, neglected and abandoned, while the First World is allowed to grow richer at the Third World’s expense. Our Organization is here to equip the masses with the necessary tools for the betterment and liberation of humanity! The hearts of Leading Light comrades shine with brilliance on this world in darkness. We know what needs to be done, and we understand the requirements for revolution in the modern age. We devote all our energies toward the advancement of that revolution.

Are they equal, those who know and those who do not know? Is the light equal to the darkness? Leading Lights know the way to revolution in the modern world. Our Organization is the light that shines on the path to liberation. We are lamps of guidance among the revolutionary organizations still stuck in the past, and stars of good fortune shining from the horizon, guiding humanity to freedom! We are fountains of knowledge for those who lie in the depths of ignorance, unaware of the most advanced revolutionary science; fountains of life for those who are thirsty and wander in a wasteland of their defects and errors.

The Leading Light Communist Organization heralds the dawning of a New Power! We are shining symbols of the unity of Third World countries, fighting for the triumph of a global revolution. Leading Lights are skilled physicians for the ailing body of a world in pain; an antidote to the poison that has corrupted human society. Leading Light Communists guard humanity and provide impregnable sanctuary for the sorely distressed, the anxious, the tormented, and victims of ignorance! The LLCO is unique among all revolutionary movements! Let us all be a part of this great wave for the advancement of humanity! All of the masses of the Third World: Embrace the LLCO –we are here for you. With the Leading Light illuminating the path, we will save all of humankind from bondage!

[Again on] The High Cost of Living in the Third World

[Again on] The High Cost of Living in the Third World

(llco.org) ghanapoverty

It is considered an intuitively self-evident idea among most people in the developed nations, whether they are intellectuals or otherwise, that the difference in income between those nations and the underdeveloped ones can be explained away by noting that the costs of living in the Third World are lower than in the First. This is generally seen as a truism, supported by the experiences of many a tourist from the developed world when visiting popular destinations in the underdeveloped parts, such as Egypt and Mexico, and then noting the extraordinarily low prices for basic products in these countries. Surely then with such low prices, the lower incomes must have been compensated for, so the common people in such nations are, in terms of living standards, not that much poorer, according to the norms they are used to?

Yet this idea is wholly false, as can be demonstrated by some simple calculations. Of course the relative costs of living and incomes vary by nation and also within nations, yet it is possible to give some examples that’ll show how much the difference in incomes translates into differences in living standards. The cost of living in the underdeveloped world is in fact higher than in the developed world.

The price of bread in Ghana is 0.6 Cedi (this is the minimum price guaranteed by the state), which is $0.46. The American price of bread is $1.28 (given as average price in an article in the Boston Globe, dated 09-03-2008.). The average daily wage in Ghana is $1. The minimum hourly wage in the United States is $6.55 (federal minimum); assuming eight hours of work, we get $52.40.

Now all you need to do is calculate how many local loaves of bread one local day of work is worth, to compare. We see that one day of work buys the American minimum income worker $52.40/$1.28 = almost 41 loaves of bread (40.94). One day of work for a Ghanaian average worker buys him $1/$0.46 = a little over 2 loaves of bread (2.17). Therefore, the cost of living (expressed in bread) is much higher in Ghana than in the US.

But, it will be objected, there is more to living costs than merely food prices. In the parts of the world where it’s the common staple food, bread may serve as an acceptable proxy for food costs, but another major expense is the costs of housing. What of this?  First off it must be noted that in terms of housing comparisons, they’re much more difficult to make fairly. Bread is essentially the same everywhere, but housing can vary enormously. Not just because of the differences in amenities common in the housing units, but also because of the differences in land prices, due to the influence of land rent. This in turn is affected by a great many variables, from effects of crime to proximity to work and urban areas, as well as environmental factors and so on.

Yet we need not despair for our analysis entirely. The LA Times fortunately has some information in their article of 26-03-2007 on the slum living of illegal immigrants near Los Angeles. They give the example of a family which earns $10.000 a year and pays $360 a month in rent. I’m not sure if this is household income, but I think so. Rent then is 43.2% of their income for the equivalent of an illegal hovel. From Kenya we have info on slum living, assuming the source is accurate, from a Pambazuka News article of 03-07-2007 by Humphrey Sipalla. The cost of rent is given here as KES 2,693 monthly, which is at current exchange rates $34.26 (this just to give an idea). According to the article, this represents 22% of their income, I assume this also applies to households. If this is accurate then the housing cost in a Kenya slum is just under half of what it is for illegal immigrants in California (22% versus 43%). But it would have to be 1/20th, i.e. much cheaper, to remove the difference in living costs altogether. Of course rents account for differences in costs as mentioned, but comparing Nairobi to the Los Angeles area seems to me not so unfair as to undo that entirely.

We may conclude then from this example, comparing the expenses in major cities in the United States (for average people and poor people respectively) with the living costs in food and housing in Ghana and Kenya respectively, that the common idea of the living costs being much lower in the underdeveloped world is wholly false. Indeed it makes that appearance because the prices, when valuta are calculated according to exchange values on the market, are indeed significantly lower in the Third World – the bread in Ghana costs one-third of what it does in Boston. However, our naive friends in the developed world forget that the incomes in the underdeveloped world are so much lower than theirs, that 1/3rd of the price is for them over 20 times the relative cost.

On a final scientific note, it must be taken into account that there is good evidence that the currencies of underdeveloped nations are undervalued by exchange rates in comparison to their value in terms of purchasing power. The nominal exchange rate of 16-01-2009, which is the one that I have used, is likely (as any nominal exchange rate) to undervalue the currencies of underdeveloped nations compared to their purchasing power. This has no particular implications for the living cost comparison I have undertaken, but it does affect international trade between, say, Ghana and the United States. It means Ghanaian wages as well as prices are undervalued compared to American ones in the exchange rate, causing the terms of trade to tilt strongly in favor of the United States. Gernot Köhler’s research, described in “The Structure of Global Money and World Tables of Unequal Exchange”, in: Journal of World-Systems Research 4:2 (Fall 1998), p. 145-168, indicates in the appendix that the estimated loss as percentage of GNP (PPP) on the part of Ghana and Kenya is respectively 30% and 35%. If currencies were equalized according to PPP, the relative value of the Cedi would be much greater, increasing the relative price of food in Ghana compared to the United States, but also increasing the relative value of the wage. This would not of itself necessarily alter the proportion between wage and food costs within Ghana (aside from changes in the market caused by changes in international trade in the longer run, which are outside the purview of this article), but to a significant degree it’d remove the false impression on the part of citizens of developed nations about the low costs of living, because they’d experience much higher prices in Ghana.

The High cost of living in the Third World

The High cost of living in the Third World market

by

Serve the People

(llco.org)

Comrade Serve the People wrote these words in response to a First Worldist who claimed, without evidence, that the difference in wages between the US and Ghana was due to the difference in cost of living. As Comrade Serve the People shows, the cost of living in Ghana, and the Third World more generally, is actually high and cannot possibly justify the low wages paid there. First World countries live at the expense of the Third World; they eat the flesh and suck the blood of the Third World masses.

When this article was written, the minimum wage in the US was $5.15 per hour. As of 2011, it is $7.25 per hour. Many US states set the minimum wage even higher, as high as $8.67 per hour. The following slightly edited text was originally published by Serve the People on Dec 02, 2005:

Well, all right, let’s look at the cost of living in Ghana. Here’s a list of prices (a month or two old) in cedis:

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/economy/market.prices.php

Some of these prices are hard to use because they are in vague units such as “bag” or “large basket,” and many prices are missing. Also, some of the commodities are Ghanaian things that I’ve never even heard of. Still, we have some useful data. I’ve converted them to U.S. dollars using the current rate of 1000 cedis = $0.11.

First of all, the minimum wage is 13,500 cedis per day. That’s US$1.48. In hourly terms, that’s $0.19 an hour for an 8-hour day. Compare it to a minimum of $5.15 an hour (more in some cities and states) in the U.S..

A live chicken (broiler) costs 60,000 cedis ($6.58). It would cost less in the U.S., where a processed chicken would be less than $5 (and even a roasted chicken wouldn’t be $6.58). The minimum-wage worker in the U.S. could buy that chicken in less than an hour. In Ghana, one would have to work for 4.5 days to buy it.

A bottle of beer (”Club”), 1 liter, is about 8000 cedis ($0.88). A comparable product might be 3 times as much in the U.S.. But we’re comparing half an hour to five.

You mentioned bread. The most recent price given at that site is 6,000-10,000 cedis in 2003, when the exchange rate was about 8500 cedis to the U.S. dollar. Suppose that a loaf of bread costs about the same, $1 (9100 cedis at current rates), today. In the U.S., it is about twice as much for bread of good quality. The U.S. worker earns 2.6 loaves in an hour. In Ghana, about 2/3 of a loaf in a day.

This article claims that a decent lunch at a “chop bar” would cost 30,000 cedis ($3.30), which is more than twice the minimum wage for a whole day. It says that no one can afford to rent a room (not an apartment, a room) and eat on that low wage. The author calls for raising the minimum wage to 25,000 cedis per day, which still would not be enough for lunch at a chop bar. The U.S. worker could have an extremely nice dinner in an elegant restaurant for his day’s wages of $41.20.

This article refers to the price of gasoline and the minimum wages in Ghana and the U.S.:

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=79434

A gallon of gas costs 30,000 cedis ($3.36). In the U.S. it was $2.25 (20,250 cedi), but I’m going to make that $2.70 (24,300 cedis) because Ghana uses imperial gallons, which are about 20% larger than U.S. gallons. A U.S. worker can buy that gallon of gas in half an hour. A Ghanaian worker would have to work for more than 2 days to buy it.

Here’s a Christian publication from the West that discusses the living conditions in Ghana and the cost of living:

http://gnmagazine.org/issues/gn36/livemonth.htm

It speaks of rent as being $7/month. Sounds cheap? It’s for one room in a run-down old building. The kitchen and the bathroom are communal. Often even the room itself is shared. Such housing can hardly be found in the U.S. (and I bet the condition of the building in Ghana would be enough to get it condemned in the U.S.), but let’s compare housing as a percentage of wages. That’s what a Ghanaian earning the average got for 30% of his or her salary. A U.S. worker spending 30% of the minimum wage on rent would have $265, which is enough to rent a decent apartment with roommates in many places. Also, just paying tuition (even at a public school) for one child cost about $6, or some 25% of an average Ghanaian’s earnings. Tuition at the public schools is free in the U.S..

I could go on. I’ve already spent too much time on this. But don’t you see that the cost of living in Ghana is not less than that in the U.S.? Maybe a few items are cheaper in Ghana. But the time needed to earn them is much greater. And we haven’t even talked about the cost of major items that people in the U.S. easily buy. The site mentioned 10,000,000 cedis ($1100) for a Samsung air conditioner. I don’t know what sort of air conditioner they mean, but presumably it’s a small window unit, the kind that might cost $200 in the U.S.. The Ghanaian price is higher than the U.S. price. In any case, you can bet that the Korean manufacturer isn’t selling those air conditioners to Ghana for less than the going rate.