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Conservative hack Glenn Reynolds has a column in USA Today in which he attacks the President's focus on income inequality, with the usual bleating about government dependency and what not. Mickey Kaus agrees.

Reynolds' main thrust is that the nation should be more focused on fixing unemployment than on fixing income inequality. Now, the obvious progressive case can be made that we could have full employment rather quickly if we were willing to let corporations pay people $3 an hour, then watch then starve on the street despite being employed full-time in the service of their wealthy paymasters.

But let's ignore that argument for a moment. After all, Reynolds is right that human beings do crave the dignity of work to a certain extent and that too much idleness can breed social malaise. Fair point. More than that, unemployment represents at a certain level a waste of human potential (assuming that we count homemakers as employed, which is an important digression but not what I want to focus on at the moment.)

If Reynolds and his conservative brethren really want to emphasize work over welfare, then a government jobs program should be right up their alley. Lack of productivity is eliminated, as is any potential social malaise. A government jobs program would help distressed communities and wealthy communities alike, and reduce income inequality as a side benefit, particularly if the wealthy and corporations provide more in tax revenue-which they can certainly afford to do given record profits, stock markets, and inequality figures.

One of the big divides among some of the left's more forward thinkers right now is whether we push for a basic guaranteed income, or a basic guaranteed jobs program. One or the other will be essential as mechanization, deskilling and outsourcing continue to ravage the middle classes of industrialized nations, reducing the natural employment rate on a yearly basis. A guaranteed income would be the more traditional progressive approach, but that does run the risk of creating large social and political problems. A guaranteed jobs program would be a somewhat more conservative approach, but it would also be more sustainable in the long run.

Methinks that Glenn Reynolds and his friends wouldn't favor that approach, however. They would consider a guaranteed job to be just as artificially constructed a "giveaway" as a guaranteed income. Much of the right-wing already considers a higher minimum wage to be "welfare", even though it's nothing of the sort.

The problem for the Right is that the middle classes of industrialized nations are not going to be dragged into a hell pit of full-time labor that still doesn't put food, shelter, education and healthcare on the table. Decent food, shelter, education and healthcare will still be available one way or another, because these things are human rights. They're certainly not going to be taken away while corporations and the wealthy are living higher on the hog than ever. Most people understand that teachers provide more value to society than Wall Street traders do; we're willing to watch the Wall Street trader make ten times as much money only so long as the teacher can still pay their bills.

So the passive income crowd and their conservative and third-way backers have basically three choices as the number of jobs dwindles and wages continue to decrease:

1) Create a society of the wealthy few with good jobs, the poor many with bad or no jobs, and a hefty basic income to make up for it, similar to wealthy petro-socialist states in the Middle East;

2) Reorient the economy toward providing everyone decent employment with a decent wage, removing the incentive from the asset class to kill jobs in order to leverage more profit; or

3) Hope that the middle class accepts its impoverishment under the thumb of a security state designed to protect the interests of the asset class, rather than engaging in violent and bloody revolution.

If I were wealthy I probably wouldn't take the third bet. It would be dangerous, and history says I would probably lose. But history also suggests that's exactly what David Koch, Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus will attempt to do. I can't say I wish them good luck, because I don't.

Cross-posted from Digby's Hullabaloo

Originally posted to thereisnospoon (David Atkins) on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:43 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  excellent post as always. (3+ / 0-)

    Clearly written and to the point.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:03:09 PM PST

  •  One of the major problems is of course that (5+ / 0-)

    too many so-called "Democrats" will aid and abet in scenario number 3.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:13:53 PM PST

  •  Guaranteed job sounds like a nightmare (6+ / 0-)

    of wasted resources and bureaucracy to create contrived jobs for everyone of all skill and education levels.
    A minimum income would create job freedom by allowing people to start their own small business, or work low-wage or part time jobs they enjoy while still getting by. It could do wonders for local, decentralized economies.

    •  Not to mention the inevitable mismatches (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Willinois, Geenius at Wrok

      between actual capacities and expected capacities.

      There's an anecdotally-reported tendency of vocational rehabilitation and other government-funded or facilitated job search resources to try to stick anyone with an Asperger's diagnosis in a call center sooner or later. Including people who absolutely cannot fluently understand any language reliably over the phone because of sensory processing issues and have documentation of this and including people whose social skills would mean constant complaints to supervisors even if they followed the call scripts perfectly. Simply because 'anyone can work in a call center, it's so easy'. And no, that level of functional disability isn't usually enough to get disability payments.

    •  it could, but then people might not (6+ / 0-)

      it's not that conservatives are entirely wrong about the culture of dependency argument: if they were, Communism would actually work. You can go too far to the left. It's just that America is so far to the Right that we shouldn't even entertain that conversation.

      The advantage of a work program is that you could do big Apollo Project style programs that the private sector would never do, and that individuals on basic incomes would never coordinate to do.

  •  Exactly how do you think this can be done? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib
    Reorient the economy toward providing everyone decent employment with a decent wage, removing the incentive from the asset class to kill jobs in order to leverage more profit; or
    Here are three basic principles of any for-profit business:
    1.profit is the difference between the money you take in and the money it costs to do that.  

    2.  You make profits by taking in as much money as possible (revenue) and spending as little as possible (expenses).

    3.  Employees are an expense.  Therefore, if you can cut emplyee expenses without decreasing revenue (by, for example,  automating their tasks) you will increase the likelihood of making a profit.  

    That is sort of fundamental.  How do you propse to change that so there is no incentive to cut expenses to increase profits?

    •  several ways (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, on the cusp, annan

      first, you can increase taxes on corporate profits to incentivize reinvestment in businesses rather than pure profit-taking;

      second, you can tax financial transactions and capital gains to reduce the incentives for executives to boost quarterly profits rather than make long-term investments in the companies.

      third, you can incentivize companies to keep workers at home rather than outsource.

      Many more things besides, but you essentially make profit-taking less financially advantageous than reinvestment.

      •  The notion that higher taxes increase reinvestment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, nextstep

        is complete fiction. Higher taxes reduce the incentive to reinvest in a business because the after tax returns are not competitive. There are numerous software packages that help companies with capital budgeting and managing expansion. One of the variables is the marginal income tax rate. A higher tax rate on new investments in plant, equipment and labor penalizes the after tax return and scores that project lower. Capital will always seek it highest risk adjusted return on a worldwide basis. Higher tax rates creates incentives to invest outside the US, rather than domestically.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:21:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and that's why ultimately the solution (4+ / 0-)

          has to be worldwide treaties on labor and capital.

          •  Treaties, like the Constitution, are not (0+ / 0-)

            self-enforcing. The bottom line is still that the people have to enforce the laws, not by putting people in prison, but by hiring competent agents and compensating them fairly.
            DIY is an attractive idea and appeals to individuals with many talents, but there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything and do it well.

            Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

            by hannah on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 02:06:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Some people have to be incentivized; (4+ / 0-)

          others just do stuff because they are inventive, creative and agents of change. The latter do not need incentives, but they do need resources to work with. Private property and exclusive use make it possible for the owners of private property (often inherited) to restrict access to resources in exchange for a significant share of the profits of an enterprise which they are not capable of engaging in themselves. Poperty owners feel entitled because they have a title to land. Makes perfect sense. That they transfer their own interests to others is just part and parcel of denying their own subjective role which, being endemically clueless, they do not recognize.

          When Willard refers to himself as a "maker," he is technically correct, if making someone else work is meant. That is, in the culture of obedience, to make is to coerce and then take credit for the result. It is the power of the word.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 02:03:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There must be cross-border capital controls again (0+ / 0-)

          as part of a restoration of the powers of nation-state sovereignty.

          It will be nearly impossible to enforce - until the first violators are rudely introduced to the capabilities of special forces combat units. In other words, the coercive power of the state. When the first Gulfstream V with a bunch of corporate banditti enroute to some Caribbean hot money haven is shot down, all those software packages will be rendered instantly useless.

          Just declare cross border capital flight international financial terrorism, apply the appropriate military capabilities. It's going to happen in within the next ten to twenty years, I think. I don't see any other alternative.  

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:22:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  NBBooks - that horse is out of the barn (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            No one can restrict access to capital or capital flight, particularly for US dollars. As the world's premier reserve currency the ability to move dollars in international capital markets underpins the entire world economy. No one in Congress, the UN, the World Bank, or any other international central bank would ever even propose restricting the ability of US dollars to move freely in world markets. The financial shock of restricting capital flows would crater the world economy, including ours.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:20:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  That needs to be cut off as well, with tariffs and (0+ / 0-)

          closure of offshore accounts, with a corporate death penalty for breaking those laws.

          None of this sounds immediately practical, but long term corruption must die for civilization to survive.  And we right now are the ones to kill corruption.

          It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

          by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:26:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Leftcandid - US based multinational companies (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            often operate in 100 countries or more. How could we restrict their foreign accounts?

             If it's corporations or individuals every US taxpayer has the legal right to own assets, including financial assets, anywhere in the world. All that is required is the reporting of those assets to the IRS. Those who fail to report foreign assets are committing tax fraud and should be prosecuted, but the ownership of them is no crime. The movement of wealth and capital anywhere in the world is an important individual freedom we enjoy as American citizens.  

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:41:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's fine, but those assets can't be shielded (0+ / 0-)

              from whatever suitable taxes we'd wish to impose on them when deemed necessary.  The nature of the concept of Investment is just as trashed as those of other concepts.  Investment overseas is good; leveraging overseas assets & tax shelters to protect & consolidate a huge income is not good, & should be eliminated.

              Capital can & should be able to travel anywhere; just not For Free.  That grossly empowers capital, & disempowers those without capital, who cannot travel freely.  Part of this discussion is that people must matter more than capital, regardless of what capital thinks, or what capital must give back to equitably balance the scales.  It has to be engineered peacefully or it will erupt violently.

              It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

              by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:27:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  As it relates to individuals it does not matter (0+ / 0-)

                where in the world the assets are domiciled, the taxes due the US are the same. This is true even if the assets are held in notable tax havens such as The Cayman Islands. As it relates to corporations it is much more complex. A company formed in China by a US corporation is a Chinese company and there has been a long debate about what right the US has to tax that Chinese company, based on its owners. Currently the US parent only has to pay US taxes if it repatriates those earnings back to the US. The US is the only member of the G8 who even tries to tax this type of offshore income.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 06:49:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But under free trade, that "Chinese" company (0+ / 0-)

                  can export its US brand product to the US parent corporation with minimal to no tariffs, while paying Chinese labor rates for the manufacture.  The results disprove the premise; if the value of domestic manufacturing is real, then there is no real debate, & the tax law must impose import tariffs on a US corporation operating overseas to reduce its labor cost.

                  The results disprove the Cayman Islands premise, too.  Taxes due aren't relevant; tax collection enforcement is.  That's also a key part of the discussion: any discussion of policy must adress effective taxes & tariffs, not just those on the books.

                  It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

                  by Leftcandid on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 07:26:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Leftcandid - tarrifs are part of trade agreements (0+ / 0-)

                    and it is up to our administrations to look at trade agreements in a holistic manner. Historically trade agreements and international tax policy haven't been connected, but you make a good point that they should be considered.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 10:53:30 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  So if lower rates don't increase investment, (0+ / 0-)

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 07:07:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The "study" is by an anti-corporate group (0+ / 0-)

            I always view with suspicion studies by groups with a known bias on the right or the left. First, it is impossible in real life to hold all the other variables constant allowing any researcher to reach a definitive conclusion on tax rates and job growth. A research group on the right would find a period of time when tax rates were lowered and job growth robust, and that data exists.

            What I know from real life, and allocation growth capital to business expansion, is that high tax rates penalize projects in those tax jurisdictions because they lower after tax returns. That's simple financial analysis.

            Plus the two are not mutually exclusive. If low tax rates don't increase jobs it does not mean the opposite is true that high tax rates do increase jobs. Job growth is likely caused by numerous variables, tax rates are only one, and some of the others may be more dominant.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:33:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Refunctionalize taxes & demolish free trade. (0+ / 0-)

      How can this be accomplished, I dunno; can it be done with sufficient public will & following electoral results, yes.

      Right now, there are incentives in the economic structure--created & paid for by the asset class--to enable the further consolidation of assets.  Clearly that is reversable policy.  But if there are taxes and tariffs to correctly, justly punish wealth when it commits evil--defining evil as reducing domestic pay & outsourcing domestic labor--then that evil activity diminishes.  Profit that cannot accrue to executives or be offshored will instead have to be reinvested; that will result in some tech upgrades, but it will also go into payroll.

      We have to effectively corral Money.  Civilization is at stake.  

      It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

      by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:24:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We are witnessing a new ideology being created (0+ / 0-)

      in the efforts of people in groups like Adbusters, Occupy, MoveOn, and even here at DailyKos. Ian Welsh has explicitly been discussing this issue: A New Ideology:

      An ideology tells us what is thinkable and what is unthinkable, what is moral or immoral, ethical or unethical.  Right or wrong.  It says that 90% taxation is right and good on great wealth, or an unthinkable burden on “value” creators.  It defines what is value, which could easily be financial innovation which actually destroys genuine good production.  It says that food that makes us sick is acceptable and that banning it is unethical.  It says that it is right and proper that men and women meet their needs by working for other people, without any ability to meet their own needs if the market deems them surplus beyond private or public charity.  It says that land that lies fallow is not available for anyone to grow food, that pumping poison into water and food and air is acceptable, that rationing health care by who has the most money is the best way to do it, or that healthcare is too important to allow people to buy their way to the front of the line.

      ....That we should regulate the world through markets is an idea which would have been absurd to virtually everyone three hundred years ago, even as the divine right of Kings is absurd to us today.  That corporations should shield their owners from liability is an idea which was bitterly opposed by most capitalists two hundred years ago.  That greed leads to better outcomes was laughable to virtually everyone, including Adam Smith, who thought it worked only in very specific circumstances and lamented that tradespeople were constantly in conspiracy against the public.

      Slowly, painfully, but surely, the ideology of economic neo-liberalism is being replaced with a new ideology which we are creating, doing exactly what we are doing here. That the ideology of economic neo-liberalism is inevitable, because the results of that ideology, such as climate change, are becoming a threat to the existence of humanity - and humanity will survive, one way or another. The only real question is how many hundreds of millions or billions of people are condemned to die until a new ideology replaces economic neo-liberalism. It now appears to me that Obama will be the last gasp of political liberalism married to economic neo-liberalism. We will probably have to endure the American people trying more iteration of political conservatism implementing even more economic neo-liberalism, before we can finally discard political conservatism AND economic neo-liberalism once and for all.

      In How to Create a Viable Ideology, Welsh writes:

      Neo-liberalism has amongst its internal contradictions the complete inability to manage climate change, this contradiction comes from its insistence on short term interest and its refusal to deal properly with public goods.  To neo-liberalism, the future exists only at the point a market starts discounting that future. Unfortunately for the world, markets suck at recognizing the future beyond a few years out, and by the time a market notices, the key decision points for heading off an undesirable future may well be long past.
      Welsh discuss the coercive power of the state in the The Role of Violence and Coercion in Saving the World,
      The third is coercion.  You will not do this, and if you do we will do bad things to you.  Lock you up, sink your ships, and if it comes to it, kill you.

      Now let’s be clear, coercion underlies virtually all social relations.  You pay taxes because if you don’t, somebody with a gun will come along and throw you in jail.  You have property because men with guns enforce your property rights.  You go to school, because if you don’t… well, you get the picture.  No society has EVER existed that did not have some form of coercion available to it.  In many hunter-gatherer societies that coercion was the simplest of all: expulsion.  If you didn’t obey the rules, they kicked you out, and that meant death because no, most people cannot survive alone, and most people don’t want to.

      Back to How to Create a Viable Ideology:
      To have relatively equal power you cannot allow the means of production or violence to be overly concentrated.  Jefferson was making a profoundly practical statement when he warned that banks and standing armies were dangerous to a republic and democracy.  Banks allow people to print money, those who print money make money, it gives them a powerful advantage over people who cannot do so.  Those who control violence: well, I’m sure I don’t have to make that point.

      ....If you want a society, then, which is prosperous and egalitarian, with the proceeds of increased production going to everyone and not just a few, you must have an internal structure of power which gives ordinary people quite a bit, makes concentration of power in private hands difficult, makes the government unable to use too much power against its own citizenry while (and this is the important bit) still being able to defend itself externally, and able to resist internal putsches.  Egalitarian societies which cannot defend themselves get overwhelmed by hierarchical societies which are better at violence.

      This extends to monetary matters. If outsiders with money can buy up your society and upset your internal political and productive relationships because they are more efficient, or just bigger, or have their capital more concentrated: if you will let them buy you up because some part of your society wants to cash out, then whatever internal relationships you have are vulnerable.

      ....So, an ideology, a belief system, among other things tells you what it’s legitimate to sell for money and what it isn’t legitimate to sell for money.  A stable system says you can’t buy the key parts of the social structure: in a functioning democracy, anything that comes even close to buying a vote, for example, is verbotten.

      If you haven't already, spend some time reading the work Welsh has posted in the last two months. Plan or budget the time if you have to.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 07:03:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There may be a way between 1 and 2 (4+ / 0-)

    There is something called Basic Income Guarantee

    A basic income (also called basic income guarantee, unconditional basic income, universal basic income, universal demogrant,[1] or citizen’s income) is a proposed system[2] of social security in which citizens or residents of a country regularly receive a sum of money unconditionally from the government.
    Switzerland is trying it;

    Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Perhaps we could try it in Detroit.  One thing is Kuwait, a different thing is an American context where all sorts of local business could start if people had money to spend.

    I am studying this idea as part of something that I'm starting to call Progressive Capitalism.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:23:38 PM PST

    •  Both Richard Nixon and George McGovern (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Cassandra Waites

      supported that in the 1972 campaign, although Nixon wanted it limited to families with children. Legislation had already passed the House. The issue was swamped by Watergate.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:47:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But if you're going to do this (3+ / 0-)

      it has to be funded almost exclusively through punitively steep taxes on ultra-luxury-level income and corporate profits. Otherwise corporations like Wal-Mart will simply drop everyone who works for them to the minimum wage and let the government pick up the rest of the tab.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:07:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Inequality" is not really the point. Like (4+ / 0-)

    "choice," the word is badly chosen because it focuses on results, rather than the agents and actions that lead to those results.
    Inequality is an objective criterion and does not address how our society gets there -- i.e. by depriving people of their human rights.
    What the culture of obedience wants is for people to do what they are told and be glad they are allowed to live. To a certain extent, the "right to life" mantra is deceptive in that it seems to negate that very objective. Surely, if there is a commitment to a right to life, the right to live follows! But, it doesn't. The culture of obedience conditions living on a person doing what he's told, holding down a job, earning a living because there is "no free lunch." To compensate a person for his/her labor with fair wages is to pay a bribe, as well as to recognize that the individual is entitled to liberty and not do what he's told. In the culture of obedience, wages undermine the authority to demand obeisance and are only grudgingly given out to tamp down resentment.
    So, what should be our social objective? Fairness. Or, if a Latin root is preferred, justice. If life is given, then living and well being must be assured. The agent's responsibility does not cease with the dropping of a seed.
    The other problem with "inequality," is that its apparent opposite, "equality" cannot be achieved and, even if it were, it would not be adequate because, as we now know, it is possible for almost everyone to be equally deprived.

    Over the last four decades, earned income has grown less and unearned income has increased. But that's not the problem, either. The income is largely irrelevant, as long as it is spent, rather than hoarded or passed around among friends. Indeed, it is the hoard which tells us that the flow of our currency has been interrupted, retarded, reduced to a trickle, providing the culture of obedience with a convenient excuse for not doing what it doesn't want to -- compensate people who do for them with fair wages.

    The culture of obedience is what authoritarians engage in. Authoritarians are different from authors in that the latter create, while the former just pretend to be making something. Authoritarian, IMHO, doesn't work as a good moniker because the distinction, between the authority that comes from origination and creation and the false claims of the authoritarian, is easily lost.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:44:41 AM PST

  •  History tells us (3+ / 0-)

    that choice number three is the path that will be taken and from everything I have seen it is the path that is being taken now. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Sadly.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:22:56 AM PST

  •  If it weren't for 30+ years of already choosing #3 (5+ / 0-)

    you'd be right to predict the rich wouldn't choose #3.

    Yet they have - and they have everywhere.

    For that reason the consequences you warn against are probably inevitable at this stage, in every particular.

    •  I can even describe how it will play out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, a2nite

      1. stagnant and declining infrastructure
      2. first economic dysfunction then disintegration
      3. stalled then declining real incomes at all levels
      4. stalled then collapsing asset values save for sustenance commodities
      5. control over water, oil, foodstuffs will be the new politics
      6. as tax bases fall apart, nation-states will fall apart.
      7. Weak states with limited infrastructure in resource-rich areas will fall apart first (oodles of places in Africa, Latin America, Asia)
      8. Richer, better-integrated economies with strong security forces will fare best but large polities with failing infrastructure and economic dysfunction will collapse not too many decades later (prediction on order of big-ticket states falling apart: Canada, Russia, United States, Brazil, and so on)
      9. Countries will fragment along social cleavages, none of which will be surprising because the chitchat precursors are already in loud-and-proud play: race, ethnicity, language, religion, ideology.
      10. This disintegration will actually be abetted as the new motif of global asset capture and speculation overwhelms the old nation-state order
      11. In time a new state paradigm will arise but for the duration the corporate raiders of nation-states will run the show, and tear the old world (ours) to shreds. From about 250-ish states will emerge, oh, about 2,000.
      12. Concurrent with this trend will be not a mitigation but a magnification of the externalities of globalism: name a public policy sphere and it will be not just worse but willfully made worse, because scarcity drives up prices. Because regulations are in the way. Because power. Because eff you, flesh and blood persons. Humanity can't compete with its gods, the corporations. Serve, or have your ashes dumped into the acidified, radioactive, extinct oceans.

      The good news is like most super-lethal pandemics, this plague of global corporate pillage will run its course and something will replace it.

      It just won't be a particularly prosperous or free society, nor will there be very many of us left.

  •  Conservatives attack the discussion of inequality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, a2nite

    Because they LIKE things this way

    You are poor because its your fault and policies that overwhelmingly favor the rich at the expense of everyone else has nothing to do with it, okay?

    Growing poverty and inequality is not a bug in conservative economics, its a feature, and the record profits we are seeing are ONLY possible if we make sure that trickle down NEVER happens

    What Reynolds is saying, other than that he is a paid shill, is that we must keep some people poor on purpose. He and those like him are saying openly that trickle down was never intended to help 'those people'. Historically people like Reynolds usually end up getting chased by angry mobs after a while.

    Good post, As always. these oligarchy boot lockers sicken me as always

    Regulate banks, not vaginas

    by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:41:47 AM PST

  •  Like so many things in conservative land (0+ / 0-)

    I just don't get what their end-game is, and don't hear even a hint of any ideas that could change things for ordinary people. They want to be able to simultaneously pay people starvation wages and at the same time cut government spending that helps people. What do they think is going to happen? As the wealthy class, it really makes no sense to squeeze consumers (their customers) to the point where they can't consume what they are selling, yet that's what they insist on doing, and I just don't get it.

  •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:53:31 AM PST

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