David Seaton's News Links
Transitive verb: to remove from a class; especially to assign to a lower social status
It is ridiculed by poets and libertines; idolized by moralists; the target of speeches by politicians, popes and all others who climb into the pulpit to recruit voters or followers; evasive of revolutions; the pillar of families and communities; the lifeblood of public treasuries and guarantor of the welfare state. The middle class is the true face of Western society. In a globalized world, where even in the poorest country you can always find someone with enough money to go for a ride in a space shuttle, only the pre-eminence of the middle classes distinguishes so-called developed nations from the rest. Countries cease to be poor not because of the positions their millionaires occupy on the ranking of the world's largest fortunes -if this were true, Mexico and India would be at the top of the list- but because of the size of their middle class. Ramón Muñoz - El País
The problem with US manufacturing is not that it has been shrinking – despite the “offshoring” of textile and electronics manufacturing to China, US manufacturing output rose by 3.9 per cent a year between 1997 and 2007. However productivity grew 6.8 per cent annually in the same period, so millions of jobs were lost. If manufacturing carries along the same path, McKinsey estimates that it could shed another 2.3m jobs by 2020, while the economy needs to create 21m more jobs to return to full employment. The mini-recovery in manufacturing jobs – 164,000 were added in the six months to April – recently stalled. John Gapper - Financial Times
Anders Behring Breivik has killed and maimed dozens of people and we have yet to see how many millions of Americans and others around the world will have their lives and futures mangled by the Tea Party, but be sure that they too will be legion.
At bottom, both the evil-hearted Norwegian massacre and the obstinate, nihilistic stupidity of America's congressional Tea Party, have the same origin: the crisis of the stagnating middle class in the industrialized countries. Their anger, paranoia and their resentment lie beneath the surface everywhere in the developed world, ready to erupt without warning like the magma of a volcano.
Why such hideous, stupid, selfish, mean-spirited, hatefulness and why so much of it?
You needn't go far to find the answer, it is all around you... if you are immune to it, count yourself as fortunate.
Millions of people in developed countries, people whose ancestors were always poor or who barely scraped by, began to live opulently after WWII; they were surfeited with full employment and a consumer cornucopia for several decades; in some countries this was accompanied by a generous social system. As we have seen, since the 1970s a placebo version of this lifestyle has only been maintained by easy credit both for individuals and for the governments themselves, and now this ease of financing has dried up.
Coming down in the world is always harder than going up... There always has to be someone to blame... The politicians and communicators and those who finance them, the ones who find a convenient "someone", are the only "winners" in times like these.
It is certainly easier and more convenient to blame Muslim or Mexican immigrants, climate science, homosexuals, multiculturalism, or George Soros for that matter, than to look under the hood of the economic system to see if something there is broken that could be fixed....
More regulations? More taxes? Better to blame the Koran or Barack Hussein Obama's "socialism" than to examine a system that can give so generously one moment and turn into a wicked old stepmother the next.
Utoya island and Capitol Hill are only stops on what promises to be a long journey. Read Breivik's "manifesto", read and listen to what the Tea Party have to say. Study them all with care and intent and if even the smallest thing in them resonates for you in any way, stop and study yourself carefully, knowing that you are a valuable "sample" of the zeitgeist yourself. We all live in the same world as these murderers and imbeciles and nobody, but nobody, is immune to what is coming down. DS