7#$ + (.  &xV@H h*g+ Ask Kropotkin - June 96


Dear Kropotkin,
What is an "opportunity wage?"
Worker, Raleigh

Dear Worker,
Although 1984 is now 12 years behind us, newspeak marches on. The key here is to recognize that, when used by Congressional Republicans, the word "opportunity" can only mean opportunity for the rich to better exploit working people or otherwise increase their profits from merely obscene to even more obscene.

Thus, a few years ago, the Republicans sought to establish a "training wage" that would allow businesses to pay workers at below the minimum wage. Today, it's called an opportunity wage and reflects U.S. businesses goal of providing American workers with opportunities similar to those available in, say, Indonesia.

Dear Kropotkin,
Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Pavao believes that a company called Vedco in Fayetteville will take Orange County's waste, recycle all that's recyclable, and turn the rest into energy with no pollution or waste residue. Can this possibly be true?
Waste Manager, Chapel Hill

Dear Waste,
Let's put it this way: Council member Pavao reportedly also believes in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the opportunity wage. He has not, however, to our knowledge, yet attempted to purchase the Brooklyn Bridge.

Dear Kropotkin,
Speaking of solid waste, why are corporate waste handlers such notorious criminals?
Lawyer, Carrboro

Dear Lawyer,
As any Republican would be quick to point out, if pollution is outlawed, only outlaws will pollute. Like any other regulated business, waste handlers see the fines associated with regulation as just one more cost of doing business. Fortunately for them, the fines represent only a small fraction of the impact on human and environmental health... unfortunately, for us.

(Send your questions to Ask Kropotkin, PO Box 16025, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516)

("Kropotkin" refuses to reveal whether he is inspired by Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist prince, or by Kropotkin the Village Idiot, a character in the Woody Allen film "Love & Death," or if it makes any difference.)

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