We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Society Frays

29th October 2017

Read it.

A Voice of the Crust points the finger.

The roots of the current American predicament go back to the 1970s, when wages of workers stopped keeping pace with their productivity. The two curves diverged: Productivity continued to rise, as wages stagnated. The “great divergence” between the fortunes of the top 1 percent and the other 99 percent is much discussed, yet its implications for long-term political disorder are underappreciated. Battles such as the recent government shutdown are only one manifestation of what is likely to be a decade-long period.

Unexplained: Why wages ought to increase with productivity. Wages are a function of the supply of qualified employees; productivity is a function of the use of capital technology used in the enterprise. There is no obvious connection between the two, which makes it incumbent on the writer to describe what that connection might be. Since the object of the article is to cast blame rather than educate, that ball is dropped.

How does growing economic inequality lead to political instability? Partly this correlation reflects a direct, causal connection. High inequality is corrosive of social cooperation and willingness to compromise, and waning cooperation means more discord and political infighting. Perhaps more important, economic inequality is also a symptom of deeper social changes, which have gone largely unnoticed.

High economic inequality is corrosive of social cooperation on when there are large numbers of people who believe that economic inequality is somehow illegitimate; typically these are zero-sum thinkers who feel that if X has more than Y than X somehow cheated Y out of Y’s just deserts. (Listen to the DemLegHump Media for daily examples of this kind of thinking. Bloomberg News, for a start.)

Increasing inequality leads not only to the growth of top fortunes; it also results in greater numbers of wealth-holders. The “1 percent” becomes “2 percent.” Or even more. There are many more millionaires, multimillionaires and billionaires today compared with 30 years ago, as a proportion of the population.

Sign of good times? No, according to the zero-summers: sign of massive cheating, in their view.

Rich Americans tend to be more politically active than the rest of the population. They support candidates who share their views and values; they sometimes run for office themselves. Yet the supply of political offices has stayed flat (there are still 100 senators and 435 representatives — the same numbers as in 1970). In technical terms, such a situation is known as “elite overproduction.”

(‘Know as’ to whom? In what field of study is this a ‘technical term’? I think he just made it up to sound authoritative.) Rich people are more politically active because they have been, for time out of mind, targets of the envious, who use the levers of political power (when they can) to make rich people less rich. Anybody with property is a sheep ripe for shearing in the view of, say, the Democrat party and its ‘base’. If I were rich, I’d be ‘politically active’, too, the same way I’d carry a gun. There are a mob of people out there who are only too willing to take what you have, if you have more than they do.

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