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COVID-19 is the climax to this 4T
(04-28-2020, 11:07 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(04-28-2020, 08:21 AM)Isoko Wrote: It is becoming clear to me then ever that the people themselves do not really want change. Sure, they vote for Trump, Brexit and other populist uprisings in protest but when it comes to building a better tomorrow, they simply do not have an interest in doing so. Nature, beauty, true diversity, all is shoved under the bus to make way for me, me, me.

I disagree.  The populists do want change:  they want to share in the fruits of success that had been going entirely to the elites since the early 1970s.

The issue is that the elites don't want to give up their privileged position.  The elites don't want change, since that would mean they might not stay on top.  They may want to extract the last drop of blood from the workers, but they're not going to risk change to do that.

Since the elites have control of the press and the bureaucracy, they can force a stalemate, at least until the populists get so fed out violence breaks out.

I'm in agreement with Warren for a change, but can't see how backing a sleazeball rich guy gets anyone closer to equity.  Moving that way requires prying the power and control of the wealth production out of exclusive hands, and that requires the power to make it happen.  Dismantling government is the exact opposite of the that. You can't win by standing in the street and yelling. The PTB don't care.  Government is the only possible counterbalance.  


Look at history.  The Gilded Age happened at the point that government was both weak and bought. When FDR changed the rules, the balance improved. It never got to even, though.  Once capital got a slight advantage, things went downhill fast.  The arrival of the Boomer human wave made labor weak, and thank the Saudis for the rest.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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Not sure about the U.S but in Europe, the Populists generally have a love to their homelands. It's not necessarily about a huge power grab for power's sake but more loyalty to the old country. It is an alien concept to Americans but it is a common mindset in Europe. Out of the two, Europe is always going to be the right wing case.
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(04-28-2020, 01:10 PM)Isoko Wrote: Not sure about the U.S but in Europe, the Populists generally have a love to their homelands. It's not necessarily about a huge power grab for power's sake but more loyalty to the old country. It is an alien concept to Americans but it is a common mindset in Europe. Out of the two, Europe is always going to be the right wing case.

It's not an alien concept to Americans.  The populists here are the ones who embrace a "God and country" view of America.

The technorati reject that view, but in Europe, the technorati are the ones who reject nationalism for a cosmopolitan, EU centric viewpoint.
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(04-28-2020, 12:35 PM)David Horn Wrote: Look at history.

When I look at history, I see concentration of power reaching a maximum at the beginning of each Crisis period, with the crisis war destroying some of the elites, making room for upward mobility again.  By 1850, field slaves were heavily concentrated on large plantations, and the industrial powers of the North were also concentrated; destruction of the South and elimination of slavery facilitated upward mobility first by carpetbaggers and then by the rest of the Gilded.  Concentration of wealth and power again peaked around 1930 - there's plenty of statistical evidence for this - and things stayed stagnant until World War Two destroyed Europe and again made room for growth.  Most recently, concentration of wealth and power again reached a peak around 2000, resulting in the current stagnancy.  One way or another, some of that is again going to be destroyed, again making room for others to grow.
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(04-28-2020, 02:45 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(04-28-2020, 12:35 PM)David Horn Wrote: Look at history.

When I look at history, I see concentration of power reaching a maximum at the beginning of each Crisis period, with the crisis war destroying some of the elites, making room for upward mobility again.  By 1850, field slaves were heavily concentrated on large plantations, and the industrial powers of the North were also concentrated; destruction of the South and elimination of slavery facilitated upward mobility first by carpetbaggers and then by the rest of the Gilded.  Concentration of wealth and power again peaked around 1930 - there's plenty of statistical evidence for this - and things stayed stagnant until World War Two destroyed Europe and again made room for growth.  Most recently, concentration of wealth and power again reached a peak around 2000, resulting in the current stagnancy.  One way or another, some of that is again going to be destroyed, again making room for others to grow.

The extreme concentration of wealth (and wealth and political power go together) at the 3T/4T cusp creates far more hardship and distress than prosperity, In the 3T. Trickle-down ideologies  become acceptable for what they promise: in return for more glaring inequality and more demanding management the economy will produce so much wealth that the added inequality will be worth it. People accept privatization and monopolization as 'economic discipline' by rooting out 'destructive' competition. At the end the methods that allegedly promise unprecedented wealth culminate in a financial bubble that devours capital more than it creates it. Paper prophets disintegrate, and the economic elites suddenly claim to be unaccountable for the failure. 

I am old enough to remember people who were adults in the 1920's, and although they considered the early 1920's horrible, they had no nostalgia for the 1920's except for youth. I suppose many of us would like to have our youth back so that we could enjoy it more fully or not make the same mistakes. (Oh, would I do many things differently!) But given the choice between the late 1930's and the late 1940's they saw the late 1930's as better in practically every way. Of course these people were farmers or factory workers, and things got better for them with farm subsidies or union wages as opposed to what preceded. OK. Gershwin wrote some music that well stands the test of time... but all in all the 1920's were a slum of a decade. Prohibition did not make life more fun' it made drinking more costly, dangerous, and troublesome. The perverse combination of self-righteousness and cruelty gave America the fascistic 1915 Klan that we can all be glad imploded before it had a chance to do genocide and war as did causes with similar viciousness and bigotry. Economic distress that began in rural areas ensured that any semblance of a consumer boom would implode.  

A 4T begins or culminates with political leadership not up to the challenge. This one began with such and will probably approach its end with such. People who thought Dubya awful recognize Trump as far worse. 
.
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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(04-28-2020, 02:45 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(04-28-2020, 12:35 PM)David Horn Wrote: Look at history.

When I look at history, I see concentration of power reaching a maximum at the beginning of each Crisis period, with the crisis war destroying some of the elites, making room for upward mobility again.  By 1850, field slaves were heavily concentrated on large plantations, and the industrial powers of the North were also concentrated; destruction of the South and elimination of slavery facilitated upward mobility first by carpetbaggers and then by the rest of the Gilded.  Concentration of wealth and power again peaked around 1930 - there's plenty of statistical evidence for this - and things stayed stagnant until World War Two destroyed Europe and again made room for growth.  Most recently, concentration of wealth and power again reached a peak around 2000, resulting in the current stagnancy.  One way or another, some of that is again going to be destroyed, again making room for others to grow.

I don't buy your version of events in total, but let's say you're right.  The imbalance today is much worse than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and the imbalance is now threatening our social stability.  Except, there will be no crisis war this time, so alternatives need to be pursued. The only viable alternatives I see are political: tax the rich heavily -- the 1950s is a good benchmark.  Reinstitute mandatory universal public service.  Right now, the elite of the elite never even see, to say nothing of interacting with, anyone not part of their class.  That needs to change.  And for heavens sake, start a real program to do what the Chinese have already done: build all new infrastructure.

Rectifying the power imbalance of rural v. urban is harder.  It may require that urban America refuse to pay for their rural cousins unless power is rebalanced.  It will be messy.  I'll be missing that one, by simple demographics.  It will take decades, and I'm short of decades to wait.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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Nitpick.  The United States didn’t originally have a federal power to regulate the economy.  They didn’t need it early.  To some extent in the Gilded Age, the major rich bankers tried to intercede.  By the time FDR came around, the problems with the boom and bust economy got too big.  The federals were the only ones with enough power and certainly there was a need to regulate the economy.

FDR decided that gaining this power by constitutional amendment would take too long and might never happen.  Thus, there was an argument with the Supreme Court that he eventually mostly won.  The government assumed a power to regulate the economy.  The president, court, Congress, robber barons and people approved of the result.  A change in how the government worked was necessary, but they got it though legislation from the bench rather than constitutional amendment.

We perhaps paid for it when various courts went wild with legislation from the bench, but that always seemed to happen.  Note how the Jim Crow court nullified the Bill of Rights.

I agree that changing the imbalance of rural against urban is hard.  It would be extremely difficult to get rid of the slavery compromises from the bench, even assuming a progressive court, which isn’t likely in the short term.
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(04-29-2020, 11:27 AM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: Nitpick.  The United States didn’t originally have a federal power to regulate the economy.  They didn’t need it early.  To some extent in the Gilded Age, the major rich bankers tried to intercede.  By the time FDR came around, the problems with the boom and bust economy got too big.  The federals were the only ones with enough power and certainly there was a need to regulate the economy.

FDR decided that gaining this power by constitutional amendment would take too long and might never happen.  Thus, there was an argument with the Supreme Court that he eventually mostly won.  The government assumed a power to regulate the economy.  The president, court, Congress, robber barons and people approved of the result.  A change in how the government worked was necessary, but they got it though legislation from the bench rather than constitutional amendment.

In the 1930's the Robber Barons were wise enough to know that if things got appreciably worse there might be a revolution of the sort that had happened a few years earlier in Russia. Unlike the situation in Germany, where Nazis ended up doing the bidding of German tycoons, financiers, and big land owners America had no powerful fascist group (it is a good thing that the 1915 Klan disintegrated when it did!) to overthrow a weak democratic government and install a totalitarian right-wing regime. Note well that the 1915 Klan had much the same hatreds as the German Nazi Party and a similar proclivity to violence -- and genteel support until a prominent Klan leader disgraced himself with a murder. 

What good is property if the Commies take it away?      


Quote:We perhaps paid for it when various courts went wild with legislation from the bench, but that always seemed to happen.  Note how the Jim Crow court nullified the Bill of Rights.

America was then a terribly-flawed country with at best an inchoate democracy. It was democratic in some places fairly reliably and democratic for whites and (in accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo), Mexican-Americans. Blacks? Asians? Native Americans? Forget it! 

Human rights exist as a rule only where people have a meaningful vote. That rules out single-Party systems like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Ba'athist Iraq and Syria, Apartheid-era South Africa, or the Jim Crow South -- let alone places such as Pinochet's Chile, Libya under Qaddafi, or contemporary Saudi Arabia. The state that gives you no meaningful choice in voting can murder you. 

Quote:I agree that changing the imbalance of rural against urban is hard.  It would be extremely difficult to get rid of the slavery compromises from the bench, even assuming a progressive court, which isn’t likely in the short term.

Rural America has been better shielded from the nastiness of economic reality of exorbitant rents, cost of government through high taxes, and high commute costs from distant suburbs than has urban America. One might live better as a farm laborer in rural Michigan than as a barber in New York City or Los Angeles -- such is an expression of the costs. (Of course one would be better off as a barber than as a farm laborer in rural Michigan -- at least before COVID-19 messed up so much).

The most rapacious and demanding interests in America have put off necessary reforms to our economic system almost as long as they can. To protect themselves against such reforms they will need to find people to impose a fascistic regime upon America, the sort of regime that makes America a place that wise people leave if they can --- a nightmare of brutal management, abysmal wages, and economic insecurity; a mindless world that will steadily debase any mind, and in which conscience or being part of the wrong religion can be a ticket to an all-American version of a gulag or a KZ-lager, if not summary execution or murder following torture. 

Given a choice, our privileged elites will sacrifice the rights of everyone else to protect their sybaritic indulgence. Such is the character of every materialistic elite that has ever existed.
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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