Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The New Catch-Phrase is 'The New Gilded Age'

The Supreme Court just made another decision in favor of employers, rolling back worker protections that were borne of blood. As old as they are, the justices seem to have forgotten the coal mine wars. Oh, you never heard of the coal mine wars? This is where the term 'Redneck' originated.
Rent's going up, and so are evictions:
Now everyone is starting to talk about "The New Gilded Age."

The pressure is on. What and where the breaking point will be is anyone's guess.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Antebellum Cycle

When you learned history in school as I did, you were likely bored to tears. The way I was taught was filled with names and dates of people long-dead and their accomplishments, Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, etc., etc., We had to pass tests to make the teachers look good, so they could keep their jobs. Nobody actually told me that, if they did it would be easier. It teachers straight-out said "here's what you need to remember so I look good and can keep my job," that would be fine, because when you feed the teacher good scores, he or she reciprocates with little favors too. It's human nature.

When you don't know why you must remember things, and the basic answer to the question why is "because your grades will go down," then you either rebel by ignoring the work or you just remember "whatever" with zero context and even less care. I became averse to history of any kind because of this. I hated it.

It wasn't until I was laid-off from what I thought would be a life-long career, that I became interested in economics. When I dug into the history of my own plight, I found countless examples of history, repeating. It's one thing to warn people that "he who ignores history is condemned to repeat it." but it's an entirely different thing to teach students only the rudimentary history of conquests.

I'm certain many people assume that Russia was the aggressor for invading and annexing Crimea, but one can go back to the late 1990's when Gorbachev was promised again and again that NATO would not expand any further east beyond the boundaries at that moment. By 2002 during the Prague Summit, former eastern bloc nations were invited to join NATO. Because as part of the Helsinki Formula, a loophole in the accord allows states to choose their own alliances. Foreign Affairs posits this argument and other possible explanations.

When Japan declared war on the U.S. did anyone ever tell you why? It all started on 18 September 1931. Japan created a false-flag pretext to invade Manchuria by setting off weak explosives near a railroad track. After years of gradual expansion into the Asian continent, the United State started an oil embargo in response. I wonder what would have been if the oil embargo never happened and Japan was allowed to try expanding throughout China unfettered?

Capitalism has cycles of booms and busts, yet we rationalize it's existence because it's most appealing to our desires. There is a larger, more menacing cycle, the Antebellum Cycle that builds up over generations of growing economic inequality and repression, until the final result is violent revolt.

Our global capitalist economy is entering a phase that remotely matches but is drawing gradually closer to conditions that meet the criteria for revolution. France 1789, Russia 1917, etc. Indicators are violent police action against peaceful protesters, politicians ignoring the needs of voters in exchange for the needs of their donors, news media criticism of political issues disappearing because of acquiescence to corporate owner gate-keepers, the injection of corporate ideologues on academic boards of trustees through bribery.

The Occupy movement started a year after the Arab Spring. They both appear to have been tamped down by brute force, the only difference is the U.S. is brimming with distractions and the Middle East is literally on fire with proxy wars over oil and gas. Things are not getting better.