Thursday, November 24, 2011

Busting the Republicans' 5 Most Recent "Myths"


MYTH #1: The congressional Super Committee failed because both sides refuse to compromise.

REALITY: The Super Committee failed because Republicans’ number one, non-negotiable priority is to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying even one more penny in taxes.1 Democrats repeatedly offered deep spending cuts (far deeper than most progressives would like) in exchange for raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes, only to be refused again and again.2 So even though the vast majority of Americans say they want to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and raise taxes on the rich and corporations,3 that won’t happen until Republicans put aside their extremist stance.

MYTH #2: Nobody knows what Occupy Wall Street is about.

REALITY: Occupy Wall Street may not have a formal list of demands, but anyone who’s been paying attention understands the core problems that occupiers are protesting–that corporations have far too much power in our political system, that Wall Street banks crashed our economy but were never held accountable, and that the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans–156 million people–combined.4

MYTH #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job.

REALITY: As anybody who’s looked for a job in the last few years knows, there just aren’t jobs out there. That’s a big part of why occupiers are protesting. In September, there were four times as many unemployed people as job openings.5 And for those who are lucky enough to find a job, median wages today are lower than they were a decade ago.6



MYTH #4: Occupy Wall Street is intent on provoking violence, especially against banks and the police.

REALITY: Occupations across the country have committed themselves to nonviolent protest, in the greatest traditions of protest movements. Some of their protests have been met with acts of police violence–tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets7–but in many cases, protesters have reminded police that the police are part of the 99%, too.8 And in the few cases when people have shown up at occupations and committed acts of vandalism, other protesters have even repaired their acts of vandalism.9

MYTH #5: The biggest crisis facing our country is out of control government spending.

REALITY: The two biggest drivers of our deficit–by far–are the economic crash and the Bush tax cuts.10 We have millions of people out of work, corporations hoarding cash, and factories sitting idle. If we put all those people back to work–rebuilding infrastructure, educating our children, and researching new technologies–it’ll shrink the deficit and make our economy stronger for the long haul. And we can easily afford it if we make sure the rich–who are taking home a larger percentage of income than any time since 191711–pay their fair share.

Sources:
1. “No, ‘both sides’ aren’t equally to blame for supercommittee failure,” The Washington Post, November 21, 2011
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/no-both-sides-arent-equally-to-blame-for-supercommittee-failure/2011/11/21/gIQAj31ehN_blog.html
2. “Wonkbook: In supercommittee, Dems moved right and Republicans moved righter,” The Washington Post, November 22, 2011
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-which-party-gave-more-ground-in-the-supercommittee/2011/11/22/gIQAVugkkN_blog.html?wprss=ezra-klein
3. “CNN Poll: What The Super Committee Produced Is…Exactly What We Don’t Want,” Talking Points Memo, November 21, 2011
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/11/cnn-poll-what-the-super-committee-produced-isexactly-what-we-dont-want.php
“Medicare, Social Security & The Deficit,” National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, September 2011
http://www.ncpssm.org/pdf/poll.pdf
4. “Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined,” Politifact Wisconsin, March 10, 2011
http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/mar/10/michael-moore/michael-moore-says-400-americans-have-more-wealth-/
5. “Fact: 4 job seekers per opening in U.S.,” CNN, September 12, 2011
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/12/fact-4-job-seekers-per-opening-in-u-s/
6. “Median household income,” Wikipedia, Accessed November 22, 2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income#Median_household_income_and_the_US_economy
7. “Occupy movement: police reaction in pictures,” The Guardian, November 21, 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/nov/22/occupy-movement-police-brutality-pictures
8. “Occupy Demonstrators Mark Two Months of Protests,” NPR, November 17, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/11/17/142462305/occupy-demonstrators-mark-two-months-of-protests
9. “Occupy Oakland protesters assist in cleanup efforts,” News 10 ABC, November 3, 2011
http://www.news10.net/news/article/161383/2/Occupy-Oakland-protesters-assist-in-cleanup-efforts-
10. “Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 10, 2011
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3490
11. “Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY,” The Huffington Post, September 14, 2009
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/14/income-inequality-is-at-a_n_259516.html

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Conservative Solution to Human Equity: The Disadvantaged Should Work Harder!

My conservative buddy has taken a shot at "standing up for conservative support for the status quo" in an email:
Are people ready for the reality check? The current social “safety net” (which coincidentally didn’t exist at all prior to the great depression but has only really only come into force in the 60-80’s) is based on the premise of consistent economic and population growth.
The current generation isn’t “screwed” as you put it, like the generations that preceded it they will need to work for what they believe in and shape the world into what they want.  Every proceeding generation has had to overcome their own set of difficulties for what they believe in.
If I were to take issue with the entire Occupy movement is seems they want something for nothing. Nothing gets you nothing and the social experiments of the 20th century have proved that just redistributing wealth does not eliminate homelessness, does not lower the poverty rate (these have remained essentially unchanged since the 60’s). This is simply not the solution.
Further in contrast to Occupy, not all high income earners are bad. The Bill Gates of the world give more to charity than 100 million of us average guys. They created something from nothing that as arguably changed all of our lives and so you want to hang him out to dry. Wealth and social hierarchies have as well been part of human societies for thousands of years. I bet in Egypt 3000 years ago it was a lot less than 1% that held the majority of the wealth. But in our current society don’t you think the rest of us have a much higher standard of living than the slaves building the pyramids did?
I am all for reducing corruption, and properly going after those that take advantage of or manipulate the system…both tall orders given our current Governments and the voting process…but the reality is we need to also encourage people to have greater personal accountability, to work harder and be more creative. These attributes have been the key drivers for advancing our society for the past thousands of years. We need to remind ourselves that we are the architects of this and we are the only ones that will get ourselves out of this.
The occupiers are long on finger pointing but short on solutions…other than more taxation. At least in our society if you want and have the will you can accomplish almost anything. So I would suggest to those who complain get on with it and get to those positions where you can affect the change you want. The processes are already in place.
Hm.  Apparently all the Occupy Movement wants, having begun as a protest designed to force those whose actions precipitated the global financial meltdown make some reparations, or at least suffer in some meaningful way, is to get handouts from the government.  The rest of us weren't aware of that, but then we've actually been looking into what they are trying to accomplish.

While my friend is clearly 'out to lunch' on the actual overall goals of the Movement, the fact that he honestly believes this at the moment is pretty devastating to those involved in the protests.  It strongly suggests they have to withdraw, rethink and try again!  The name they chose, all on its own, no longer makes their real (new?) goals clear.

I addressed my problem with the 'strategy' and 'goals' of the Occupy Movement the other day, disagreeing with their 'camping out' efforts as an effective tool to help accomplish their as yet unclear and disjointed objectives.  Let's take a look at the conservatives' strategies to undermine and marginalize the Occupy voices calls for what conservatives like least -- change.  (Republicans have advocated letting the raft sink rather than changing the way anything is being done!  It's like being in a seawater-filled, inflatable life raft that's leaking air -- the conservative who has been bailing furiously in a losing battle against the incoming water for hours will vote to keep bailing as it's what seems to make most sense to empty the interior of water, while the only real lifesaving solution is to try to stop the air from leaking out.)

The easiest way to start a senseless fight is to call someone names -- not just "You're a boo-boo-head", but things that are unproven and even patently untrue, like calling the biggest heterosexual goon in the bar a homosexual.  The gibe is not intended to illicit a discussion about the man's sexual history or proclivities, it is a provocation designed only to induce fisticuffs, not a conversation.  This is what Michelle Bachmann has done in calling the Occupy protesters "unpatriotic Socialists", a fanciful label given that the Occupy Movement has yet to articulate a clear, unified goal of any kind. 

In part, reality has worked very negatively against the movement since those protesters who had the wherewithal to articulate their point of view AND who have the credibility to stand behind it (i.e. they are currently employed taxpayers) have long since stopped camping out and have gone to work at their jobs.  The people who are still camping out are the unemployed, the unemployable and the fringe, none of whom the media or authorities are going to take too seriously.

What my friend is doing in his diatribe is to 'whitewash' the entire movement with the brush that the left-over campers are wielding, "We want something for nothing", that is: "We are not currently paying taxes but we're making demands upon those who are."  As long as this is the light the Occupy Movement (now turning out to be a very unfortunate choice of name) is spotlighted in, they are never going to accomplish much.  To be fair, the original impetus behind the name was "We, the 99% of Americans who got screwed by the financial sector, aren't going to give up until they get punished/pay reparations."  This was a laudable goal, the execution of which isn't working out so well....

The Occupy Movement would be well advised to regroup, re-strategize, get clear about their single-minded, simple goal, and re-brand themselves before attempting further messaging.  The notion of "occupying", while it seemed it could work as well as it has in places like Liberia and Mexico City, turns out to be less than effective, if not mis-directing, in a country where tax dollars actually ARE the government's largest source of revenue.

Back to my buddy's point of view, however.  Using Bill Gates as an example of 'good rich people' is a bit problematic, as Gates spent many, many years accumulating his vast wealth without any overt philanthropic efforts.  He only became a philanthropist later in life.

The real issue he ignores is the drop in the 1%'s tax rate over the past 20 years.  The seachange that the world is going to go through in the next 20+ years is not that poverty/homelessness is going to be eradicated, but that the wealth of the human species has to be more fairly distributed/shared.  At the end of the day, the reality is that there is only so much wealth in natural resources and human work-hours to go around.  As the global recession has demonstrated, it is NOT limitless, it is finite.  The only way to ensure stability amongst us is to spread the wealth.  Even because one child is born with a high IQ and his brother is a dullard, should not entitle Mr. Smarty-pants to vast wealth at the expense of his brother -- both are human beings we should support equally. 

As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the existence of an 'entrenched upper class' who's members don't actually do anything to entitle them to wealth other than being born into it, makes no real sense to our species, and we have a built-in tendency to embrace entitlement for ourselves.  If we are born into circumstances, whether it be a rich daddy or Western-world citizenship, we very aggressively believe we deserve everything we are used to.  Like the sons of Mohummar Ghadafi or Saddam Hussien being suddenly impoverished, they don't fundamentally believe they deserve to live an average, much less impoverished, lifestyle because they are 'special'.

In response to my pal, I can only say yes, you raise some valid points about contributing, making an effort and choosing where to focus one's attention, however to suggest that change is not needed to ensure the vastly wealthy are not forced to do what Bill Gates is doing is a bit like putting your head in the sand and hoping things will sort themselves out on their own.  Debate and a genuine open-mindedness to change BY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is what is going to improve our species' collective lot on this planet.  Painting those who have some very valid points with the same brush benefits no one but the status quo.  Leaving the vastly wealthy foxes in charge of all the henhouses is not going to lead to anything but more wars fought by the poorest citizens against other poor citizens for the benefit of the wealthy decision-makers.

Just a Bunch of "Unpatriotic Socialists", Who Happen to be YOUR Neighbours


Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy For What?

While I support the so-called "Occupy" movement's core (though as yet poorly articulated) goal, I don't support their tactics or strategy.  Not just their actual occupations of city properties, whether publicly or privately held, but what they are trying to accomplish.


Why not?  Firstly because 'camping out', while tons of fun in your parents' backyard as a kid, doesn't really communicate much more than determination.  What it says is "Look at the discomfort we're willing to go to in order to keep attention focused on our cause".  All well and good, but the next obvious question is "So what do the decision-makers need to do in order to make you happy enough to go home?"  The answer from the "Occupy Movement" currently seems to be "We don't really know."

The movement's initial momentum is now winding down as the proverbial wind goes out of their sails.  The police and city governments are helping, but as they represent the majority and the "Occupy Movement" has failed to articulate a simple and clear enough message to win over the populace, their removal by the authorities was inevitable.

Right now their occupy tactics are helping to water down their goal.  How?  The longer they camp out, the more legitimate voices they lose to the reality of life (jobs and families) and the more illegitimate voices are attracted to the promise of a nice campsite, food and resources (the homeless).  Street protests like those against the G20 in Toronto in 2010, in this age of instant cellphone communication, face a similar risk of 'hijacking': the moment a bunch of violence loving sociopathic boys with black shirts and ski masks infiltrate a crowd, the original goal of the protest is null and void.

What will be interesting to see is whether the movement dies out, or re-groups and gets serious and effective.  Recall that the 'protest movements' of the 50's, 60's and 70's employed large rallies and marches as tactics, bringing out quantities of voters that politicians found hard to ignore, and their goals were simple and clear:
  • Give women the vote.
  • Racial equality.
  • End US participation in the Vietnam war.
Only when the so-called "Occupy Movement" gets crystal clear about it's demands will it become a real force of change.  Sadly what started as "Occupy Wall Street" with a simple goal: "Make the people who benefited from the mortgage bubble of 2008 pay for the global crisis they instigated" got side-tracked.  What happened seems to be that the financial sector's lobbyists convinced the protesters that it wasn't their sector that were really responsible ("We were just doing our job!"), it was the rich people who hold most of the stock in their firms and steer the government in their best interests.  Oops!  Not so easy to target a bunch of rich people living everywhere in the country and demand they 'share their wealth'!

To be fair, if the government said "OK, you made your point, we're going to raise taxes on the rich back up to a reasonable rate" most of the smart, focused protesters would consider that they'd won a major victory.  The reality is pretty horrifying, as back in 1980 in America the 1% paid 70% income tax, now their rate is 35% and most use loopholes to pay just 17%.  The effect on the US economy is devastating, since the top 1%'s portion of total income in the US has risen from 10% to 20%.  A more than 50% drop in tax revenues on one fifth of all the income in America is clearly going to have a serious effect on the public purse.

The reality is that nothing short of outright revolution is likely to effect any real change in the US, or anywhere else in the world where the rich run things.  (Mexico's Carlos Slim went from being a political sycophant to the richest man in the world by manipulating politics to his advantage -- he and his rich buddies are Mexico's decision-makers, not the politicians or government.)  Everyone who is in control in most of the world is rich, and unless they are forced to change, they're not going to.  And you can trust human nature -- if you were in their shoes, you wouldn't voluntarily share your wealth either!

Denmark's Mysterious Secret to The World's Highest Standard of Living:   

Share the Wealth

There is a simple secret that the few countries with the highest standard of living in the world know and live by.  It is called 'share the wealth'.  The system is very simple: a sliding tax rate through which the poorest pay nothing and the richest pay a lot.

The reality is that once your family has a reliable disposable income of over a few hundred thousand dollars a year, you really don't NEED any more money.  You may want it.  You may really, really LIKE it, but you do not need it.

What's Wrong With the World in 2 Minutes



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Obama's Biggest Boo-Boo: Not Adopting Change

All Obama had to do to become a revolutionary new type of president was to keep the one thing going that was so remarkably different about his 2008 election.  It was the first thing he abandoned.  He has only begun to re-leverage it now for the 2012 campaign -- quite possibly too little, too late.

2015 addendum from Time, Sept. 28th edition, Bernie Sanders points out: "What President Obama didn't understand when he took office is that you have to keep your movement alive.  'Barack Obaman ran one of the great campaigns in American history.  The biggest mistake he made is that the day after the election, in so many words, he said, 'Thank you very much, but I will take it from here,'' Sanders says."

When Obama got elected back in 2008 I was a big proponent of pointing out how he'd not only leveraged the concept of "Hope for Change" as a consistent platform for his campaign, he'd 'owned it' so successfully no one else could co-opt it (though they all tried -- most pathetically and ironically the province of Ontario's Conservative candidate for Premier in 2011, Tim Hudack, a no-change megalomaniac if ever there was one!).  Obama's 2008 campaign embraced change all the way down to changing the tools of campaigning, adopting social media in its then fledgling formats and changing the notion that young people are not interested in voting and electoral issues.  

Admittedly, if you could put a 'face of change' on American presidential elections, a younger-than-the-average-presidential-candidate, half-black man was it, but he did bring a new open mind to the process.  What he didn't share during the election was that, if elected, it was his intention to try to effect his promise of change from within the Washington status quo system, not by trying to shake it up in any real way.

What the past years, or especially the first year, of Obama's administration have demonstrated was that the ego necessary to take an underdog through to the presidency had to be SO LARGE that he actually believed he was sufficiently messianic to make things happen from within.  Oops!  Almost anyone, even those unfamiliar with the way politics work, would have told him this was a really stupid conceit.  Just because he was very smart, 'fresh' and not 100% white would not make a whit of difference in making things happen in Washington, a place of well-established 'old boy' networking and 'you wash my back, I'll wash yours' deals.

All that this strategy has done is to allow his opponents to leverage the systems/processes they're most familiar with against the young, upstart, 'black' man and attempt to demonize him in the prejudiced minds of their most loyal (and least analytical) constituents.  The placards of the "Tea Party" participants demonstrate this, Obama as Hitler, Bin Laden, the devil, the Joker from Batman.

Ironically, the one thing that many of his supporters thought he'd leverage to effect change once he was voted in, one of the biggest things that helped him seem like an 'agent of change' and would actually exert a new kind of influence in Washington was the first thing he walked away from: social media and a deep level of engagement with America's youth.  Before his election I predicted that this cohort would help him win because they are colour-blind and open to change, and they did, but he immediately abandoned any further real communication with them (a sad, ineffective little website, change.gov, now whitehouse.gov, is not what I'm talking about), wading deeply into the depths of Congress and backroom dealing. 

My point?  If Obama had only kept his 'grass roots' social media political machine going during his presidency, using his supporters to organize local 'town hall' meetings in their homes to discuss and promote his health care reform plan, for example, the success of his first term would likely have been much more remarkable, and much more of a guarantee of a second term, than it has been.  More thoughts on this point here.

Watch Bernie Sanders make my point for me in 2015:



How the Money Disappears

If you can ignore the over-simplification and blatant 'scare propaganda' (e.g. nuclear plants actually are environmentally safer and cleaner than coal-fired), they point out some interesting things about the 'status quo' of subsidies and lobbying:



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Capitalism is NOT the Natural Outcome of Natural Selection

Today's reality is that old, simplistic socio-political descriptions will not work in this century.  The rules are going to be re-written, though the 'change-averse' (who by nature tend to be conservative) will scream "NO CHANGE!".

A dyed-in-the-wool conservative friend recently suggested that I was hypocritical in being in support of the "Occupy Movement" while suggesting that most companies don't like to hire visibly unhealthy workers (yes, including those with unhealthy body mass indexes), because of a natural human tendency that evolved in our species to marginalize individuals who cannot actively benefit 'the tribe'.  

His point is that capitalism seems to be the natural outcome of natural selection, survival of the fittest, as is my point about evolution-affected decision-making bias in hiring employees.  I believe that capitalism is not at all the product of NATURAL selection, it is the product of SOCIAL selection and the result of humans having far too much time on their hands over the past 10,000 years.  In just 3% of our species' existence (Homo Sapiens Sapiens), we've moved from 350,000+ years of living in the natural nomadic, hunter/gatherer, tribal state our genes/instincts most naturally were designed to cope with, to being sedentary, urbanized and living in isolated nuclear families.  We no longer live in the shared environment of a tribal village, like these un-contacted cousins of ours photographed in Brazil a couple of months ago:

You'll note obesity is not "normal", it's extremely rare in our natural tribal human state.

The “Darwinian” forces are certainly at work when it comes to selecting genes for generating more wealth for the tribe.  In our natural tribal state, the tribes that had the best “entrepreneurs” did better than their neighbours' tribes, for sure.  In a tribe, however, wealth was automatically distributed.  There were just too many pressures in nomadic human life/survival over our initial 350,000+ years of existence (actually 7 million years since Homo split from the chimps) for the accumulation of personal wealth at the expense of the tribe.

This was an ongoing "haves-have nots" problem in aboriginal communities: as 'Western influence' began to be adopted and some individuals/families began to become wealthier, the tendency of their fellow tribe members to ‘borrow’ the vehicles of others because they need the truck to go do something they needed (or personally feel inclined) to do, like drive to town.  There was no sense of wrong-doing in using someone’s truck without permission as it was considered by the 'have not's' to be part of the tribe’s communal property. The notion that one individual deserved exclusive access to that truck because they had 'worked harder' for it and had taken out a bank loan to buy it was a foreign concept to the rest.

So, yes, the smartest and most aggressive individuals helped their gene pool survive and get passed along.  The inherent desire for more than we need is part of the human condition/genome, but we live in times that are totally artificial for our species’ instincts and tendencies.  Our species has proliferated to the point of decimating the planet NOT by thinking individually, but by acting tribally/socially.  The individual drive is ‘I want to have sex with my cousin’s wife’, but the social decision is “if she gets pregnant and they recognize the kid as mine my cousin will hate me and I'll have to provide for that additional child...  Not good.”  Or “I want Chief Grok’s shell necklace because it gets him all the chicks, so I’ll stab him and take it” vs. “Hang on!  I’m too weak to take over his role as Chief and bring in more food/wealth for the tribe and my own kids might die because of my actions AND I’ll get my ass kicked/killed by the stronger guys in the tribe for doing it, so I better not.


Living in a society forces us to modify our naturally 'greedy' selfish interests for the benefit of our shared genes.  Our 'unnatural' modern societies have long glorified what are actually anti-social tendencies to accumulate personal wealth at the expense of the health of the tribe.  Anathema to most 'capitalists' today, yet clearly the most natural state for human beings to survive best in the environmental/social conditions we evolved to live in.  From the 'what's best for the tribe' point of view, 'capitalism' is pathological.  The ideology of "manifest destiny" continues to pervade the thinking of the Republican party and is evidenced even more blatantly in all the underpinnings of the Tea Party movement (though they have all learned it's best not to verbalize it).

In recent studies it has been revealed that becoming wealthy alters people's behaviour, making them arrogant, more prone to unethical decisions like taking candy left out for children and cutting people off in traffic.   While this phenomenon suggests that ANY one of us who becomes wealthy is likely to also become arrogant, it's not an excuse for their behaviour, but does provide scientific proof for something we all have experienced and know intuitively. 

From the natural selection perspective, the tribe had to make tough social decisions.   The pair of swans at my boat club chased off their 7th gosling last season when it reached the age of about one month old.  Turns out, when the Humane Society arrived to capture it, that the gosling in question had been born blind.  With humans, too, for the vast majority of our long existence, blind or very sick babies, the very old, or those who could not run fast enough, got left behind when the herds migrated.  Nasty by today's standards, but the entire tribe would have suffered and been killed off, or died off, had the sick or infirm been kept around.  The same natural force was at work: the balance between wanting to improve the lot of your tribe and tolerating the weak: greediness at work to effect the long-term benefit one’s own genes in a social species, no matter how painful the short-term cost was.   

Today what’s began with the Tea Party movement and carried over to the Occupy Movement is a new revolution.  The old order of the late 20th century is about to come unglued.  The Tea Party is filled with old farts who cling to what worked a half-century ago and expect these formerly successful tactics will continue to work best to keep themselves and their prodigy alive.  It cannot work the same way ever again, but their change-averse, atrophied old brains can’t grasp this fact.  Ironically, it was the Tea Partiers' protests that helped give birth to the "Occupy" protests.  The young and very liberal members of America, galled by the old farts proactivity, were spurred into action.  The Occupy group is generally young, flexible and determined (after all, the survival of their genes are at stake).  The latter "get" that things have to change, and radically, if their own kids are to survive, let alone do as well as their parent's generation.  


[Feb. 2016 addendum: It was the 2011 Occupy protests four and a half years earlier, following the failure of the government to in any substantive way punish the perpetrators of the global financial crisis of 2008 (that wiped out the retirement and university fund savings of so many of the middle class) that both led to the activism that won Obama a landslide second term and, amazingly, opened the door to a Socialist, Bernie Sanders, emerging from the shadows of McCarthyism and the manipulations of the Billionaire Class via the Republican Party, to go head to head with Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the Presidential race.  Without a conflagration to inspire the many to rise up and look for radical solutions, REAL societal change rarely takes place.]

The old financial model worked fine when everyone was struggling out of the general poverty of the late 19th century, but post WW II, largely because of “The American Dream”, the entire world’s poor have moved into, or been exposed to the possibility of moving into, the middle and higher classes.  Now that the Internet has put every American movie ever made into the hands (literally on smart phones, more broadly on TV’s via DVD players) of even the poorest of the poor via their richer cousin/neighbour owning a TV, everyone on the planet wants some wealth and understands what that wealth looks like.  (I've lived in 'developing world countries' for many years -- they learn a lot about what 'normal' can look like with some exposure to Arnold Schwarzenegger's old comedy movies, watching them in the evenings on a communal TV and DVD player on a bunch of folding chairs under a bare light bulb).

The antiquated 19th century model of the ‘landed gentry’ and ‘privileged few’ making all the money from the poor and keeping it for themselves isn’t going to cut it anymore.  What this newly wealthy and fairly well-educated (in part by Hollywood) group is starting to demand is fair distribution of all the wealth that exists on the planet.  Most of that wealth comes from the privileged few paying off the politicos in power to get natural resources for virtually free (oil, gas, minerals, forests, etc.), processing those 'free' resources and selling them back to the masses (Coke and Pepsi do this with tap water today).  


There’s really zero reason that these privileged few are entitled to the cash.  Really none. They did not work any harder to become the owner of the diamond mine than the poorest poor worker who puts in 80-100 hours a week for years without a day off down in the muck doing the mining, but there they are, spitting down on the workers.  Many of those workers have higher IQ’s than the mine/factory owners, but they have had no access to education, so the claim that the mine owner is 'smarter' and therefore more deserving is utter bullshit -- they were simply luckier (born into a richer family), or more cut-throat (low empathy and highly aggressive).

Mark my words, in your lifetime you are going to witness one of the greatest social upheavals in our species’ history (watch this video clip from a 1985 BBC show). Shit is going to go down and the idea that the entire global human population’s fortunes depend on the ‘concerns’ of a bunch of 1% traders on the world’s few stock exchanges is going to be challenged.  That system was built in the privileged men’s club rooms of the 19th century (“I say, old boy, if you lend me a million to risk on digging up some diamonds, I’ll cut you in on the potential profits, and I’ll invest a million in your latest venture down the road!”). 
What all of this shit is REALLY based upon, is our natural human tendency to very quickly start feeling entitled.  Ghaddifi and Hussein’s kids were raping and pillaging, driving around in their Lamborghinis a year ago.  (Turns out they aren’t as entitled to be ‘special’ as they’d been brought up to believe!)  This new generation (60% of all the population in the Middle East is under 15) isn’t going to stand for a few pathological megalomaniacs holding power over them and keeping them poor.  Neither are the Millennials in Canada, the States or other 'developed nations' (and you KNOW that those rich old boys have done their share of assassinating to keep things going their way for the past 200 years).

Join the eventual winning side with all the soldiers in it, or cling to the ancient winners of the past.  Your call!


On a similar note: The Poor Deserve to Stay Poor Because They Are All Lazy, Stupid (and Genetically Inferior, of Course) 

Friday, November 4, 2011

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