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Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going
(09-15-2018, 06:32 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(09-15-2018, 06:22 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(09-15-2018, 12:06 PM)David Horn Wrote: But we still need a viable alternative.  Where's the 21st century's John Maynard Keynes?

Piketty, but he is better described as a neo-Marxist. He admits it.

Well, it is often said that Marx was half right.  It is possible to hate the division of wealth without advocating autocratic government.  I wouldn't entirely dismiss Piketty.

Piketty sees history as a succession of elites, with the size of the elite creating the oppression instead of the autocratic character of a leader. Elites are highly selective in nature, selecting for either morality of some standard -- or, if Donald Trump exemplifies America's elite of ownership going in a vile direction, amorality. Entry by merit alone (as in technical proficiency) is inadequate. Being born into the Right Family is more important. Inheritance is obvious enough with the elites of ownership, with a comparatively rare parvenu like John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, or Sam Walton making it and demonstrating the means that allow the origin of the elite.

The executive elite of America is no less oppressive than plutocrats, and it may be even more exclusive. The educational criteria which in recent decades were adequate are becoming more difficult to attain. The elites want formal education to be fiendishly expensive and education for its own sake to not be remunerative. After all, well-educated people with miserable jobs and a strong conscience might find a 'sinful' text by Karl Marx that demonstrates the depravity of the early-industrial capitalism that Marx knew... and depraved variants of modern capitalism such as the pay-to-play economy that we Americans now know all too well.

Add to this corporate attorneys and lobbyists, politicians, and some well-paid journalistic hacks, favored academics, and clerical hacks who remind the common man that his lot is to suffer for the elites in This World. The Koch brothers might have a very different culture than Pat Robertson, but both share a common love for  plutocratic order.

if one sees urban landlords as analogues to the landed magnates of medieval times (if one lives in the more prosperous parts of America one pays a high price for the privilege of living in their midst) one has much the same elite. Landholding elites have typically been the most hide-bound reactionaries in any society, and they were much of the support for Ku Kluxism, Fascism, and Nazism  -- in the latter, Nazis got their start in rural areas in suppressing the pressures of landless farm workers against aristocratic elites. That is one oppressive, demanding elite, and most Americans know such an elite. Add to this elite the class of capitalists -- well, mostly heirs of capitalists. Then add a class of executives,and then sell-out intellectuals that include political operatives, politicians above a certain level, corporate attorneys, and a few academics and clerics who do exceedingly well, and would do well even in a 'classless' society.

So let us suppose that you are a dentist in northern Virginia. That's a well-paying profession, but not wildly so. If you are new to the profession you have a huge student loan to pay. You probably rent, and you pay sky-high rents for a tiny apartment. The insurance company dictates what dental procedures you can perform and what you cannot. You also recognize that the lobbyists pull the strings on the politicians -- at least the current majorities. Those elites are doing an expensive root canal on your economic teeth.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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RE: Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going - by pbrower2a - 09-16-2018, 06:16 AM

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