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Class War

April 17th, 2008

You might want to read this article in The Politico by Joel Kotkin about the emerging class war in the United States, and how it will replace the culture war:

Increasing numbers of Americans find it ever more problematic to maintain a “middle class” lifestyle. The current mortgage crisis, which has eroded the value of the most valuable asset of millions of Americans, only exacerbates these concerns. In such a situation, it’s hard to see how micro fractures among ethnic and gender identities will continue to be the defining issues of our politics as they were during the last half of the 20th century.

… [E]conomic issues seem certain to become more important in the next decade. This is a matter for not only older Americans: As the large millennial generation ages, it could well face an increasingly difficult economic climate. In the past, a college education alone has been the sure ticket to upward mobility; in this century, the newest research shows that it no longer guarantees any such thing. Wages for recent college graduates, particularly males, have been dropping since 2000, even as less-educated workers, at least in some places, have done better.

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  1. Tim Kane
    April 17th, 2008 at 17:31 | #1

    The whole social contract has been ripped to shreads, and with it, everything else is falling apart too. That which is unsustainable will not be sustained. I see the U.S. as an underdeveloped country in 20 years, 10 or less, if McCain gets elected. I’m not talking Argentina poor, I’m talking El Salvador poor. That was and is the Neocon end game: immense poverty for the masses; a small middle class to provide intricate services to the wealthy, and a small but highly wealthy uber-class.

    Actually, by now our disintegration, like global climate change, is gathering momentum, speed, and inertia. Where we perceive things is always behind where we are. It’s getting late for stopping this gathering problem. It’s like trying to pull a plane out of a nose dive before it crashes into the ground.

    This stuff can happen really quick. I was just reading last week about North Korea. Its economy was pretty much thriving through much of the 1980s. South Korea only achieved per capita economic parity in 1979 (ish). From there, an economic crisis in the South held it back until its patrons in the United States and Japan stepped forward with large loans. The economic crisis kept the two country’s fairly close for the next five years or so. In the late 1980s the South then hit one of its growth spurts while the north’s patrons in the old Soviet communist block started collapsing. The year 1989 stands out because that was when the Berlin wall fell and shortly after that the North lost all its patrons and most of its trade partners but the downward trend probably began a few years before 1989 for North Korea.

    Then the Berlin wall fell, it lost its patrons and many of its trade partners; then it was hit with two years of heavy flooding, and then a year of drought. As the North ran out of money, it’s equipment aged and the cost of petroleum became too much to fund the needs of raw material inputs to its chemical industry. Soon the North lacked fertilizer and the energy to apply farm the fields. The floods and drought and lack of fertilizer destroyed its agricultural output. In about a decades time North Korea went from a highly urban industrialized command economy to an economy unable to provide basic necessities. All it took was some stupid policies and a series of bad luck occuring close to each other. One of the reasons the North bargains so hard with the west is that its still thinks of itself as it was and not how it is.

    Things can happen really quick. And you can’t say we wouldn’t be deserving of it. I think maybe Obama can pull us out. But if McCain gets in all it will take is a few unlucky events to go along with the unsound policies, and were in for a very rough patch.

    It doesn’t help that Hillary is ripping Obama to shreds. Its critical that he wrap up this primary season so he can get on with the job of disposing McCain.

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