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Class War

by Zwackus Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 09:25:27 AM EST

A familiar idea here on ET is that the 1% crowd is pushing for the creation of a neo-feudal order, waging a class war of the very richest versus everyone else in which they progressively destroy every ounce of economic and social security and independence held by those outside their circle, and neuter the ability of the state to step in and protect individuals from economic exploitation.  This is simply the end result of a push to maximize relative status.

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The plan of attack seems to be something like this.

1 - Ensure that access to the basics of human sustenance is entirely contingent upon the     possession of money.  Food, shelter, health, and education must all be paid for by the individual, with no outside help available.  

2 - Ensure that money can only be obtained by signing up for short-term, at-will employment contracts.

3 - Strategically manage levels of investment and capital availability so that labor is never scarce.

3 - Offer debt bondage as a way to cover the gaps.

4 - Enjoy the race to the bottom.

Gradual reformism and consensus politics has its time and place, but the present moment is neither that time nor that place.  With the forces of capital going all-in on neo-feudalism, it's only appropriate that they be opposed with a similar level of total commitment, and that the left adopt a maximal agenda that aims to break their power in every sphere, forever.

The complete destruction of the political and social power of the reigning elites would, of course, be a revolutionary moment, and should it be completed through the democratic process and without civil war, it would be unprecedented.  However, one might as well dream big.

The way I see it, such an agenda would need to have three major prongs.

1 - Break the political power of the wealthy elite, so that other reforms can take place.  The system of electoral democracy is incredibly potent, as it grants the masses the formal power to control the laws and the government.  As it works at the moment, the ability of the elite to control information and to control discourse has allowed them to control elections somewhat reliably.  This needs to change before anything else becomes possible.  As I see it, the first key steps here is to end modern bribery, in the forms of the public/private revolving door, the wingnut welfare network, and the private funding of political campaigns.  The second step would be to end the current domination of the media by a handful of rightwing millionaires and their pet media conglomerates.  While I have absolutely no clue how one could effectively stop bribery, media reform is at least conceptually simple.  Strict ownership caps, a reform of the airwave allocation process, strong rules on network neutrality and network openness, and funding for locally-operated media outlets oughta take care of most of it.

2 - Break the power of capital to use its economic power to punish states and individuals who do not play by its preferred rules.  In the current system, organized capital can bully states by threatening a capital strike - withdrawal of jobs and investments.  Capital can bully workers with the threat of mass unemployment.  Here on ET, we spend a lot of time discussing ways that the state could make this impossible.  First off, government can create money via the treasury, and allocate it via fiscal policy to directly counteract any such capital strikes.  Second, it can use regulation to more or less destroy the financial sector, as it exists today.  One of the reasons Capital can wield the power it does is its ability to counterfeit money via fraudulent derivatives, and to then multiply the economic power of this counterfeit money via leverage.  This has allowed for the wholesale enslavement of the productive sectors of the economy, and whole nation states, via debt.  End this, and the natural action of the numerous and energetic peoples of the world will spread the wealth around via the fairly ordinary processes of small-scale capitalism.  Finally, a comprehensive social safety net, paired with the active creation of jobs by the government, can break the power of Capital to degrade and exploit ordinary citizens.  Basic access to services, the ready availability of basic employment, and the public provision and management of savings and retirement, will allow the ordinary individual freedom from the forces that wish to enslave them.

3 - Break the corporate form and the generational transfer of large estates.  Large corporations are both immensely rich, sociopathic in behavior, and immortal.  They engage in incredibly destructive activities, protect their investors and managers from any effective prosecution or loss, and keep their accumulated gains forever.  Why is this a good thing?  Obviously, some modern industries need certain economies of scale to operate properly.  I'm not really arguing against size, so much, as I am against the complete freedom from any sort of responsibility that the modern corporate form allows.  I am also against its immortality, and against the immortality of any grouping of accumulated wealth and assets.  Inherited wealth breeds destructive mediocrity, and any activity that truly demands inter-generational continuity should be managed and controlled via the democratic process anyway.  Return to owner management and owner liability, force a transfer of ownership or a breakup of assets upon the owner's death, and prohibit the inter-generational transfer of wealth.  A proper social safety net means that individuals who start with nothing will still have a reasonable chance of making the most of their talents and abilities in the world, and the absence of generous inheritances will force those lucky children of the successful to make their own way in the world, rather than coasting on the wealth of the past.  Nobody should be entitled to a life of idle leisure.

Pie in the sky dreaming, obviously, but dreaming is free.

Display:
Opportunity here for me to stand on my "most people would prefer the feudal system" soapbox.

Give the proletariat bread and circuses, or in modern wording, beer and football, with some vague promises about the possibility of class mobility if you work hard enough, plastered with a layer of religion, and the 1% are home free.

The poorest states over here are also the reddest. That is the fundamental problem...

by asdf on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 01:12:01 PM EST
I wouldn't quite call it feudalism or even neo-feudalism. After all, in feudalism the lord had obligations to his serfs. It was a fidelity contract.

When feudalism was finally abolished in Sicily in the 1840's, it created a disenfranchised lumpenproletariat without any means of subsistence. And of course the elite land holders, the Church included, simply refused to register their lands. It's still a mess.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 09:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that is how such a large number of Sicilians ended up in New York City.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 10:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is hopeless...People are well... as we Serbs say "stoka" (meaning sheep , cows and other domestic animals).
I am just watching here in Australia how in this September election people are voluntarily going to vote for those who will ( and are openly promising to)"slaughter" them. They not only, like hypnotized, are going exactly to a slaughter, they are even cheering it...
Honestly it's not that Labor is not going to " slaughter" some of them too by striping them of some basic services but with conservatives it is going to be "bloodbath"... For some totally unknown reason people simply can not see themselves being the part of the group that is going to be slaughtered. For example conservatives are going to get rid of a lot of public servants , and they openly are promising this ( and on a state level here in QLD they already are doing this) but for some reason people do not believe that they personally are going to lose either their job ( they probably need a memo with their name on it) or service that those public servant provided.It is always about someone else being a loser...For some unknown reasons people tend to see themselves as a part of establishment that conservatives are working for, just because they managed to get a huge mortgage ,loan on their few cars including  4WD , and huge loan on their numerous Visa cards...Incredible. They simply do not get it that they are in " debt slavery"...that there is no way that they will repay their debts ever and that in a nano second they can be striped of all their "possessions".
It is hopeless...      

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 09:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that it seems hopeless, but if we accept that it is hopeless we tend to give up. If we do we might miss an actual opportunity to change things. So hope has to become a choice. Or just read my sig line.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 11:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you are young you can easily harbor some hope...but not me...too old for that...lived long enough to learn a lot about people. And what I learned I don't like...
Unfortunately if any change ever comes it will going to be trough spilling a lot of blood...and as we see it now , even then it is only temporarily because time will come again when whatever progress  we as a human race have achieved trough history can and will be reversed.
We are fighting for gay rights and against racism (and that's great) but at the same time they are striping us of our basic rights: to work and receive dissent pay for our work so that we can live on it, to have roof above our heads, to enjoy our pensions with whom they are playing roulette on the so called market (casino), to have dissent and affordable healthcare and childcare and education for our children ... to have dissent age care for every single old person... Governments  are going to cut it to the bone everywhere because our  1% of rich can't stand the thought of not having record profit every single year...let alone endure some real loses (not loses on projected profits that are actually projected on a fairy tale economy of risky loans ).
I admire you who have a will to fight (all tho is there anyone out there to hear you or you are preaching to the choir...) hoping that change can come peacefully and on time. Unfortunately I am not one of you and I am preparing myself for the worse...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 01:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you are young...

I am over 70. But I am also trying to be prudent. Hence my interest in and efforts towards gardening. At the least I get fresher, better tasting and healthier vegies, we are getting used to preserving food via canning, etc. and I am getting needed exercise. An added benefit is that time in the garden soothes my mind. Voltaire's advice in the face of French Absolutism was "tend your garden."

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 10:39:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The system of electoral democracy is incredibly potent, as it grants the masses the formal power to control the laws and the government.

This proposition warrants a discussion. One could just as well substitute the term "masses" with "elites." Besides, your argument leads in that direction. Electoral systems were invented by non-hereditary elites to contrast or replace hereditary elites. They were not in the beginning recognized as being "democratic." The process of voter enfranchisement- perceived as a sign of democracy- continues to this day. We owe the association of "democracy" and electoral systems to Woodrow Wilson, a gentleman who had his day seven score after the great constitutional revolutions.

Are electoral systems really "democratic" and all one needs to do is a little tinkering to set it straight? Do voters actually feel obliged to deliberate their choices or are they more taken by peripheral cues such as which candidate wears the snappier shoes?

The actual "crisis" does recall the legend of the foundation of the Roman Republic. The abuse and greed of the Roman elite drove the people to abandon the city in what could be considered figuratively a total massive strike, perhaps the first in history. Perhaps the elite perceived the action as a two-fold danger: that the Roman citizens would soon represent a military danger under another banner, and that Rome had lost it's military force. Following this legendary conflict- which may have some factual basis- the Roman Republic was created as a hybrid state with competing institutions that represented the instances of either the elite or the masses, with ample deliberative and veto power granted to the people, their institutions and elected officials (or tribal representatives as some authors put it).

This is hardly the place to detail the history of that experiment but it was the primary source for Machiavelli's theories of the state and political power. In his vision the defining characteristic of the elite is to oppress, whereas the defining characteristic of the commons is the desire to be left alone (i.e., not to be oppressed.) Since there is no way to eliminate elites and since they also can have a beneficial function, the elite must be checked by popular deliberative and/or judiciary assemblies. Machiavelli further notes that in his republic parties would not be allowed because parties cause strife and factionalism in the masses- but, above all, parties are subject to manipulation. It is in this optic that members of certain institutions ought to be chosen by lot or rotation rather than vote.

Voting does have a strong psychological valence, although one need not delude oneself in believing it has a tangible effect. After all, one is most often delegating power to the less worse of choices and the toss of a coin or the snappy shoe works just as well in decision-making. Ideally one feels voting contributes to a sense of civic community and a manner of resolving conflict through the peaceful means by the "tyranny of numbers." But if each citizen felt that he of she could be chosen by chance to deliberate on crucial issues for the common good for a determined period, would that not also foster a sense of community and citizenry within the state?

Not quite off the mark, back to Machiavelli. He maintained that the commons never resort to violence, and gives ample demonstration that the elites not only resort systematically to violence, but also to treachery and treason. Anything goes to oppress. His is a running commentary on what's going on today.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:21:59 PM EST
I think a big difference between modern and ancient society is that modern society really doesn't need the skills and knowledge of the economic elites.  Minus a few examples who tend to become celebrities thanks to their incredible accomplishments, Pretty much across the board, they are dumber and less competent than the striving middle class beneath them.

In the past, a massacre of the elites would result in the more or less complete collapse of a culture and a civilization.  They were the ones who could read, who had studied stuff, and who had the social skills to (in theory) keep things going.  Without the tiny group at the top, you'd have a mass of marginally educated townspeople, and illiterate and more or less neolithic peasants.  Sure, the people would survive, but it wouldn't be anything recognizable as civilization.  Post-Roman Europe comes to mind.

Nowadays, it would merely be the lifting of a parasitic rentier class.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 08:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the USA we are likely talking about fewer than 20,000.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 10:43:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly agree with your last point and your characterization of modern economic elites. It is however difficult for me to distinguish it from the past, partly because some ancient societies, which lasted longer than our present day constitutional republics, such as the Roman Republic and the Athenian democracy, enjoyed mass participation in politics that managed to keep the various elites in check much of the time. Beyond Pol Pot and Cortez, Carthage and Taranto, I can't think off hand of any wholesale massacre of the local elites. And all massacres were perpetrated by invading armies or rival elites. As for the gradual collapse or transition of the Western Roman Empire, there was no elimination of the elites. They were perhaps just as dumb and parasitic as their modern heirs and got along on expedience, corruption and private armies.
  Elites, through greed, stupidity and banking on immediate short-term gratification, always owe their acquired intelligence and skills to a social contract with the commons. Without an institutionalized conflict between classes there is only brute tyranny, indiscriminate oppression by the one class that can afford the costs of violence management.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 07:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't think off hand of any wholesale massacre of the local elites.

The French and Russian Revolutions leap to mind.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 11:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rival elites.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 03:17:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The groups establishing themselves as elite after the revolutions were as far as I know not part of the elite, rather they belonged to an educated middle-class. Naturally in perfect accordance with Goldstein's The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 04:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pareto!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circulation_of_elite

Now did Orwell read Pareto?

by IM on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 05:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Orwell was at least familiar with Pareto.

Here is Orwell writing a review of Burnham in 1946.

George Orwell - James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution - Essay

Burnham lays much stress on Pareto's theory of the "circulation of the elites". If it is to stay in power a ruling class must constantly admit suitable recruits from below, so that the ablest men may always be at the top and a new class of power-hungry malcontents cannot come into being. This is likeliest to happen, Burnham considers, in a society which retains democratic habits--that is, where opposition is permitted and certain bodies such as the press and the trade unions can keep their autonomy.


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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 06:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should have remembered that review.

A sound thrashing, that.

by IM on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 07:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll have to check whether Machiavelli read Pareto (along with Livy)- or vice versa...
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 05:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely it is Pareto that read Machiavelli, unless time travel was involved.

Vilfredo Pareto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto (born Wilfried Fritz Pareto; Italian: [vilˈfreːdo paˈreːto]; 15 July 1848 - 19 August 1923) was an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist and philosopher. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices. He was also responsible for popularising the use of the term "elite" in social analysis.

He introduced the concept of Pareto efficiency and helped develop the field of microeconomics. He was also the first to discover that income follows a Pareto distribution, which is a power law probability distribution. The Pareto principle was named after him and built on observations of his such as that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He also contributed to the fields of sociology and mathematics.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 03:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The Pareto principle was named after him and built on observations of his such as that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population."

Which is pretty much communist by today's standards...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 07:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is more accurate to say that what actual democracy does is allow the masses to pick and choose among elites.

That is why gerrymandering is such a corrosive assault on democracy, since it allows the elected to choose the electors that they prefer.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 06:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It allows what it allows in any particular time and place.  Most of the time, yes, you're entirely correct.  The modern era is a particularly extreme example of that, but it's also the product of a decades long attack on an electoral democracy that in the pre-war and post-war period had set up a legal and economic system that was distinctly unfriendly to the mass accumulation of the richest few.

I also think there's an element of systemic stress and danger that promotes effective policies and effective government, on the one hand, and (in the modern era) opens the door to greater political participation by the commoners.  The difference in the political atmosphere between pre-WWI and post-WWI was like night and day.  Part of this was the recognition of just what a full mobilization of the state for war would require.  Part of this was the recognition that the working classes were really necessary in a way that a lot of the elites had let themselves forget in the long and lazy 19th century.  Part of this was the recognition by the working classes that this necessity gave them the power to demand political participation and economic reform.  And part of it was that the Red Terror.

Nowadays, it seems that too many people think there's no real danger to the system remaining, so it's time to get fat and lazy and inefficient.  We've won, so it's time to divvy the spoils.

by Zwackus on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 12:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The development of public perception of the actual state of the union in the USA is likely to best be described by the rules for chaotic systems in that the trigger will turn out not to have been predictable. In the UK one such trigger was the hacking of the phones of the family of a dead girl. In the USA it could turn out to involve public reaction to the capricious coverage of healthcare.

At New Economic Perspectives Joe Firestone cites the reaction to an Arizona town hall meeting held by John McCain as covered on MCNBC's Up With Steve Kornacke:

Woman: "It kills me every time i hear senators, especially republicans, talk about those takers. they're just taken. the takers. i paid taxes for over 30 years and i have a rare illness and now i'm disabled. the state of arizona raised the eligibility for a program that was paying $100 a month for my medicaid to 3.4%. consequently, i was cut off. $100 a month, which meant (breaks down) i could no longer go to physical therapy. do it intentionally to cut as many people as they can for as long as they can from benefits that are desperately needed and it's just not right. we're the takers."

McCain tried to console her by assuring her she was not a taker. He did not acknowledge the different sense in which she used 'taker'. For Romney  a 'taker' is one who is contrasted with a 'maker' - a taker of other peoples wealth. For her a 'taker' was one who was taking abuse from an uncaring system. Krystal Ball, a guest commentator on the show noted:
"And it's easy to talk about the numbers and put it in this big context, where you're not seeing the those human faces. and i think that interaction that you just played is the republican party problem in the nutshell. when people actually hear the rhetoric and it occurs to them, they're not talking about some faceless other. they're talking about me. they are never going to vote for a party that sees them as a bunch of mooching takers."

Joe Firestone took it to another level:
"This, of course, was a very direct point. But I wondered what happened to the other side of the makers/takers issue? Namely, that the people who call the rest of us takers, delight in all the largesse they bestow on the FIRE sector, the pharmaceutical industry, the private health ensurers, the big energy companies, the telecommunications industry, the hedge funders, the corporate leverage buy-out raiders, and the most wealthy among us, in general. Even when their actions are illegal, as they are with the mortgage fraudsters, they are allowed to take with impunity, and they take far, far more than any of the people they so callously call "takers."

They take Trillions that they do not earn in an honest day's work. They crash the world economy and destroy the savings of many hundreds of millions. They take jobs, and dreams, and health, and education, and human happiness, and a sustainable environment from people. And they are helped by our politicians and officeholders who serve as their handmaidens and take great rewards from their financially more well-off masters. So, these are the real takers, the ones who despoil society and create a desolation in the name of order and neoliberal profit-taking."


Firestone goes on to conclude:
That's the point the DC/New York "villagers" don't want to talk about very much. They'll credit people with not being likely to vote for people who label them "moochers," but they won't credit people with understanding that the real "takers" are not themselves, but the very people who are projecting that insult onto them.

Maybe that's because the villagers don't intend to talk about who the real takers are. But I think that people are smart enough to come to understand that anyway. And when they do, there will be hell to pay for those who guilt-tripped them in order to distract them from the reality of the real takers and their outrageous takings.


It will be when that realization dawns on the majority of the cultural descendents of the Scots-Irish diaspora in the USA that fundamental change might be possible. The challenge will be insuring that the change is in a beneficial direction.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 10:09:43 AM EST
Yes, and this is why I cannot be totally pessimistic about things.  Situations can change on a dime in bizarre and unpredictable ways, and the conversation, the discourse, the government, and the society can change overnight.

I also think it's key to have ideas and proposals out there, fermenting in the mass, so that when the moment comes there will be people ready to take advantage of it.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 08:05:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It will be when that realization dawns on the majority of the cultural descendents of the Scots-Irish diaspora in the USA that fundamental change might be possible."

Good luck on that one. If it weren't for the Central European immigration of the 19th century, America would be toast.

by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 11:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. It is not a given that such an awakening will ever occur, but if it does...well, things will change. That demographic is the largest one underpinning the status quo.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 12:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scots-Irish could turn easily enough given that "leave me alone" is their narrative. I think the deep south is the main problem with their intractable belief in slave states.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 02:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, the deep south, where the white population is Scots-Irish. Up in Union territory, it's Germans and Polish and Scandinavians...
by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about Appalachia versus the deep south. Scots-Irish are intermixed in both, but the former gets its values from the Scots-Irish experience, whereas the latter derives its values from English descendants of West Indies slave colonies.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.

by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That shows it pretty well, of course the Black community isn't creating the dominant culture where they are the majority.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:42:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is this "American" ancestry that is not "American Indian"?

If it's self-description, that map really does show an image of a cultural divide.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:00:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe it is a shorthand for 'whites who were present before the creation of the USA' which has been conflated with the English speaking lower class immigrants and those from other groups who have been assimilated by marriage, linguistic replacement and cultural identification into that group. The geographical distribution of this 'demographic' is very much what I have seen elsewhere identified as Scots-Irish, redneck, etc. The definitions for the graph are that the color represents the group with the largest number of members per county or parish.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 10:10:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point was mainly that it's self-identification. In most of those majority "American" counties, there were no whites to speak of present at the time of Independence (unless French or Spanish). So this means these people claim descent from pre-revolutionary stock present in the coastal colonies, having since moved into and over the Southern Appalachians.

There may be some historical backing for it, and it certainly looks like it fits to some extent with the "Scots-Irish" legend. But the self-identification seems to me more a tribal choice than one rooted in genealogy. It so happens, of course, that it fits with the Confederate South.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 10:58:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that it involves self identification and that there are mythic elements. But there are large numbers of this demographic in southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The thing that struck me most about the map is the number of light blue (German) counties. But I had a significant number of German surnamed classmates in school, so that is consistent. Perhaps I have been thrown off by confusing ancestry with surviving heratige of which there are much fewer isolated pockets.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 11:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
there are large numbers of this demographic in southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois

Well, that isn't exactly a surprise.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 05:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point was that the demographic is more than just the states of the Confederacy.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 07:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always been aware of German demographics in the US, although I grew up in Minneapolis, so I'm familiar with the northern tier of states. And they're obviously not all progressive by a long shot - there are plenty of old angry white people voting republican in Nebraska, Kansas, and the states bordering the south. I think the German influence is in large part responsible for why I feel at home in the Bay Area after growing up in Minneapolis. Boston I could not handle - it's a blue state in the sense that in believes in funding a public sector, but socially it's (to me shockingly) conservative and steeped in social class as a prime form of identity.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 09:55:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a blue state in the sense that in believes in funding a public sector, but socially it's (to me shockingly) conservative and steeped in social class as a prime form of identity.

And heavily Catholic - some correlation there.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 11:00:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another interesting feature of the map is that the 'Mexican' demographic only appears in the USA, while the country of Mexico is shown in a different color identified as 'Hispanic/Spanish'. Most curious, but US Census categories have always been politically influenced.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 11:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd never seen it as a demographic label until this chart. It reminds me of the childish "real Americans" chant that was commonly spoken during Bush's term in office.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 01:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Drew can enlighten us as he has actually worked at the Census Bureau, but I can just hear lots of my brethren complaining to their congressmen: "Ethnicity? I don't wan'a list any foreign country. I'm American. We've been here since colonial times. We're the ones who founded this country. The ones who came later are the 'ethnics'. Why can't we just have the category 'American'?"  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 04:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These are not the ethnic categories of the US Census itself. So I take it they are on a list offered to poll respondents, ie people check the box they consider corresponds to them.

Drew may know otherwise, or we could take a look at the census site. I'll do that tomorrow, if no one does between time.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 05:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a US census data representation. I tried to find one for the 2010 census without success. I did see one statement to the effect that they were not updating that format.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 07:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bear in mind that this map was generated during the Bush 43 administration. Who knows what lame political appointee might have influenced its content.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 07:40:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems like pre-1776 immigration from the UK ~ most of Appalachia has been a net source of internal immigration for over 150 years, so the waves of immigration over the past 150 years has mostly passed them by.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 06:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The traditional view is that this demographic settled in the highlands and families or most of the offspring of families moved further west as they came of age. As a youth in the mid-18th century Daniel Boone was an early explorer and, literally, trailblazer into Kentucky and then settled in and helped settle what became Kentucky. He moved on into Missouri where he spent the last 20 years of his life.

During the 19th century the movement of the demographic continued into Missouri, northern Arkansas, Texas and, starting in 1889, Indian Territory, which became Oklahoma. My paternal grandfather considered himself to be of Scots-Irish descent, was a redhead - and, presumably, literally a redneck, and my paternal grandmother settled in Indian Territory in the early 1890s on Cherokee land. My maternal grandparents were also in Indian Territory in the 1890s and settled in the same county, Dewey County, sandwiched between Osage county on the west Nowata and Rogers county on the east and Tulsa county on the south. Kansas was the northern border.

Almost all of my mothers siblings settled elsewhere - several in Texas, one in California, one in Florida. Most of my father's siblings stayed closer to home, though my cousins on that side have mostly left Oklahoma. Both my mother and father were born at the tail end of large families. My mother's family was more prosperous than was my father's.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 08:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington County, not Dewey. Dewey is a small city in Washington County now virtually swallowed by Bartlesville.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 11:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A quarter of the trees in much of Appalachia were chestnut, and you could grow about as much pork on an acre of chestnut as you could on an acre of corn ... and the acre of chestnut did not need to be level.

But then the chestnut blight hit.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 11:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew about the chestnut blight and have heard an old saying: "Ever so often even the blind old boar will stumble onto a chestnut" but I never realized the importance of chestnuts to Appalachian homesteaders. The blight must have accelerated out migration. It made those who remained even more dependent on coal mining or moonshine.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 12:27:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, though running hogs on mountainside chestnut is not an activity that encourages investment in agricultural improvement, which is a substantial difference between the chestnut belt of Central Appalachia and the corn belt to its immediate north and northwest.

Still, the chestnut blight put Appalachia into an agricultural depression starting around the turn of the last century that combined with the negative impacts of extraction of mineral wealth.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 05:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back to my original point - there is no intrinsic draw for Appalachian folk to vote for people oppressing them. The republicans managed to capture them with their racism, and I think the overall appeal is very shakey when you start thinking in decades. The white people from the deep south are the people who will continue to believe that social castes are natural and handed down by god himself. Their timeline for change is measured in centuries, I think, beyond being dragged into the present by the more progressive areas of the US.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 09:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All that is needed is for a substantial portion of that demographic to wake up and act accordingly. Perhaps primarily women and the college 'educated', given the seemingly almost hereditary antipathy to unions. (Note: my father was a registered Republican who helped organize and was the founding president of a local of the Operating Engineers in the Oklahoma oilfield in 1955.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 11:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its not just the Republicans, though ~ the type of progressive populism that was the Democrats strongest drawcard in Appalachia was strategically abandoned in the 1980's with the move to recruit the Hedge Fund wing of the party.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 05:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their abandoning of left-wing politics didn't help in general either.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 03:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But among various left wing positions, it was the economic populism that was a net positive in Appalachian politics ... and there it was a big net positive.

Being socially liberal corporate toadies just isn't a big drawcard in that area.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my mind "liberal corporate toadie" politics isn't left wing. The republicans threw away their own main street, pro-small-business angle as they started to take on more big corporate money as well. It didn't come out as poorly in the wash since they've done well with the nationalism and fundamentalism angles.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are overestimating the size of the problem.

Top down warfare is not happening because that is what the organizing principle the one percent is unified behind - after all, being rich in Sweden is vastly preferable to being rich in Zimbabwe, and the enserfment of the middle class is extremely counter to the interests of everyone that makes their money by actually making and selling things, rather than just being a corrupt banker. Poor customers means poor business, and the class solidarity exhibited by the upper crust is every bit as insane as the voting habits of Kansas. Single payer healthcare would almost certainly have saved the bacon of the Detroit automakers and countless other titans of industry, but lobbying for it was unthinkable to them because they were, and are, bamboozled by economic propaganda.

In other words, it is not a requirement of victory to defeat the unified ranks of the economic elite, it ought to be sufficient to break the heritage foundation, the clones of that foundation, and break the back of the finance sector.

In that order.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 03:30:34 AM EST
I suppose you refer to the Heritage Foundation. Breaking that would be anti-constitutional, a pretty tall order, whereas legislation could redimension the rampant fiscalization of economies. A much harsher version of the Glass-Seagull Act is an absolute necessity. (Larry Summers should be tarred and feathered.)

Most titans such as GM beat the production sector by going into services and fiscalization. With fiscalization poisoning economies, the production of goods as community identity and value is dead. Companies that produced goods are simply no longer an integral part of the local social fabric. It's an optional. That involves dealing with messy humans, their present and future needs, as well as investing in long term projects. Why bother when a company can be made, broken, dismembered in seconds by economic rape and plunder?

The elites no longer have a nation nor a loyalty, and they possess and move a mass of funny money many times over the effective annual world production. With the crises, they've never had it so good: land, rents, strategic resources, state capture. Production of material goods and their placement is just one issue from their point of view.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Discrediting Heritage to the point where they are no longer taken seriously would pull their teeth, and then cost them their funding. Do not see how doing that requires any unconstitutional actions, merely getting them exposed for the frauds and liars that they are would suffice - These institutions are not doing honest research, and it ought, by golly, be possible to get people to laugh in their faces when they propose policies.
by Thomas on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:04:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that it makes no real difference if an argument is carefully debunked by serious scholarship. It happens all the time. This does not change a bit the public impact of artfully contrived propaganda masked as objective research. The false memes are simply reproduced by multiple sources to the point they become common knowledge.

The strategy is to get a falsehood advertised with the maximum of emotional impact so as to fix it in the mind of the public.

There are many examples of false commonplaces, such as the American landscape peppered with Soviet era nuclear suitcases, which despite being debunked continues to be an issue with rightwing pundits. The Team B findings have been debunked yet continue to make up an integral part of chickenhawk readings of history. False scholarship on alleged Soviet ties to Italian judges produced by the CSIS at the behest of Berlusconi continues to be used in Italy to attack the judiciary branch.

My impression is that deception, imposture and falsehood are the main staple of political conflict-  and not only- throughout history. Ideally, one might hope to educate youth to analyse public discourse and perceive false reasoning and hokum as second nature. I would like to recall Tudor England in which public school teaching was based on the Trivium- Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric- the three fundamental instruments we have for interpreting reality with a no-shit Sherlock attitude. Of course, educated commoners may not have significantly reduced the ruthless pretences of Tudor elites in the final analysis but it certainly contributed to progress in all human endeavors.

Back to think tanks, the American rightwing realized as early as the Sixties that the best way to sell their ideology was to package it in mock-liberal pseudo-scientific jargon. Rightwing think tanks that resort to militant and stridant discourse simply are not taken seriously, despite Rush & Company (I'd say they pace the mood and keep attention high regardless one's attitude). It is far better to attack, say, Chomsky's theses, from a mock-left position rather than an arch-conservative stance. This has become so commonplace especially in the golden age of Reagan that the baricenter of American political discourse has markedly shifted to the right, thanks above all to liberal punditry and the institutions that manufacture opinion. As has been often remarked here, the American left is conservative by European standards. We owe it to the seizure of public discourse as you no doubt may agree. But it does involve more actors than recognizably conservative think tanks.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:50:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually do think the Heritage Foundation, and lie factories like it, could be broken.

1 - Change the laws regarding charitable donations, and their tax exemption.  Right now, giving to a partisan operation like Heritage is a tax-deductible charitable organization.

2 - Tie tax-exempt NGO status to the actual performance of charity, with a maximum %20 percent overhead and expense cost, or something like that.  Current law allows organizations to maintain their tax-free status while barely doing any work that could be considered charitable.

3 - Organization like this would not have the resources to keep up the wingnut welfare network if there were few people in the USD $1 million dollar range of total assets, and almost nobody in the $5 million dollar and up range.  The simply couldn't raise the donations.

4 - Decentralized and independent media would also help.  Some would be conservative, as is only appropriate in an open and free society.  Many would not be, and some would be militantly so.  Shouting down BS in public can help.  Sometimes.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The partner of Senator Glass was Representative Steagall.

But the spelling is hard to hear from the pronounciation.

Henry B. Steagall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest it was stee-gall (like the words tea and gall), with equal stress on each syllable. He added, "This pronunciation is generally used throughout the South, and rarely used in the North. American northerners persist in stressing the first syllable and rhyming the name with 'eagle'."[1]


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 01:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wondered if, perhaps, de Gondi was utilizing some obscure metaphor when he referred to the Glass Seagull Act.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 01:50:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard it as Seagall, Segall, so Seagull is close enough.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 02:49:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wrote off the top of my head or maybe slightly above the amygdula, w/o looking it up. Perhaps I have an association down under with glass seagulls, a memory image. I'm very bad with names and it's getting worse with age.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 03:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how many times I have googled 'Glass-Stegul' or some such variant to come up with the correct spelling. That is my recourse when spell check doesn't work or seems questionable. Google is a better, more flexible checker.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:07:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Tennessee, good Buckeye that I am, I pronounce it to rhyme with Eagle.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 11:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Tennessee was it pronounced Stea gall, even accents on both syllables?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 11:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may not be a requirement, but it would certainly be the cherry on top.

In fact, it would be a lot more than just a cherry on top.  It would be a huge service to humanity.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:58:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I happen to think that the people who make their money by making and selling things are for the most part a minority these days amongst those with any amount of money and position.

That is, people who would be willing to spend the time and energy actually building a business, focusing on product development, and competing in a relatively open market on cost and quality of product or service, are in a dwindling minority.  Business these days is more and more about breaking the market and setting up rent-extraction services, and doing everything possible to avoid any sort of honest competition.

I'm not actually anti-capitalist, in I do think that private enterprise which competes in a regulated marketplace on price and quality is something that is worthwhile and produces value.  However, I also think that there's a tendency common to pretty much all human society for people at a certain level of wealth and power to get lazy.  Being a capitalist is hard work if you do it right, even at the top.  Even serious investors, like Warren Buffet, work their asses off.  I don't really mind people like that at all.  I don't begrudge them their wealth and their status.

My problem is not with them so much, as with the tendency of their compatriots to take the lazy way out.  Break the marketplace, establish monopolies, sweat the workers, and let the system run itself.  You don't have to compete if people have no choice but to buy your product, after all.  You don't have to compete if you can just print money.  And their kids are even worse - they grow up thinking they are naturally entitled to be rich and powerful, and that they deserve it because they really are smarter and harder working than the normal people.  It's the second and third generations that break the system, because they didn't build it, they don't understand it, and they're stupid little entitled brats.

Let a real industrialist or entrepreneur build their empire and reap their horde, within some reasonable limit.  But what they build dies with them, and their kids need to get a job just like anyone else.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 08:13:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are so many of the conservative think tanks that the only feasible way to counter them is to undermine their viability, as Zwackus suggested. But that is much more likely to be accomplished   after   the political power of their contributors has been curbed. Chickens and eggs.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 10:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the sensible response is to get in on the marketplace used by the 1%. Luxury goods are selling like hotcakes, both in the West and to the new elite in China.

  • Leica never had it so good, they're selling as many $10,000 M9 cameras as they can put together. And all the decent museum-quality antique cameras have moved from the U.S. to the Far East.

  • Oprah's $38,000 handbag incident should set everybody back on their heels. Not really because of the suspected racism, but just the fact that there is a handbag that costs that much.

  • Luxury car brands, innumerable. Not to mention antique Ferraris and the like that are going for millions.

  • Even Apple with its new bifurcated phone market, where the 1% will buy the new 5S and the rest of us will buy the plastic 5C. Or whatever their names turn out to be. Apple has already differentiated itself from the generic PC marketplace by charging 4x of what you can get in a regular PC, and you can already tell somebody's economic status by whether they have an iPhone or a Droid--again with a 4x or so price differential. Now they are going to peel off the really high end...

  • Clothes, obviously.
by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:28:16 PM EST
Funny thing about cellphones in Japan.  No matter what I do, my bill somehow stays the same.  Plans change, sometimes I'm paying for a phone and sometimes I'm not, sometimes I use more, sometimes I use less, but the bill for the past 8 years has ranged no more than 1000 yen up or down.  Just a couple days ago I went and got the new iPhone 5, and even with the payments wrapped into the bill, somehow with the new plans and everything, the bill is the same.
by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cartel fixes prices?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't blame anyone who wants to use the marketplace for their own betterment.  That's one of the things it's there for, after all.

However, my various attempts to become a bought and paid for lapdog have ended before they began, and I just don't think it's a viable course of action for me.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mechanical watches is another amazing thing. Why are people willing to spend so much for a mechanical contraption when a $10 Timex works better? <-- Rhetorical question.

So the thing to do is find some existing old brand name that is undervalued, and revive it with over-priced new stuff. Best if the stuff is made in Europe, to maintain the aura. Maybe get the components made in China and then final assembly in the EU somewhere. Get a copy of a fashion magazine from 1960 and hunt down a brand that went broke...

???

by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck with finding the brand that somebody hasn't already snaffled.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
Best if the stuff is made in Europe, to maintain the aura.

that's all we got left, folks...

but it is the cultural mecca it claims to be, chinese, (and the rest of the rich world) worship at the shrine of euro aesthetics, millions for an old ferrari indeed.

some of this aura can be remade in china, but it's a long road to accumulate all the cultural icons we have here, some, like the colosseum, hard to break up and move abroad.

although americans, back in their hegemonic economic growth heyday, did dismantle a london bridge and remake it in arizona, so...

we should run the whole continent as a historical museum, as, except for the germans and their bmw's, panzers etc, we're pretty much running on funny money fumes right now.

onward to the past, the glorious yesteryear!

meanwhile italy has run out of funds to stop the colosseum falling over on the tourists, and with imminent social breakdown on the streets, what tourists are going to come queue outside the louvre, or come and gawk at the acropolis?

riots are everywhere these days, we need peace in the streets to serve those 10E coffees in front of st mark's in venice.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 03:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is going to need to do something more than just keep the Colosseum from falling down to maintain its place in the world. It does take a while to develop globally desirable cultural icons, but as China's economy and overall situation improves--assuming it continues to do so--then they will start to build them up.

Consider Japanese cars. Nothing worth even looking at until around 1960, but then compare the Mazda Cosmo 110S (~1965) to the Lotus Elite (~1960), for example. Both made in roughly the same small number, both technical innovators, and both now worth roughly the same amount on the classic car market. So it is very possible, over a period of only a few decades, to get those cultural icons going.

And China has lots and lots of interesting stuff, and a long history...they just need to clean up some of the historical sites...

by asdf on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 01:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China still has the perception of being cheap, nasty, unreliable and rather communist.

Unlike jolly old Europe, which is cultural gravitas personified.

It's easy to forget that Chinese and Indian culture have been around so long they make Euro culture look adolescent.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 01:44:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Unlike jolly old Europe, which is cultural gravitas personified.

haha, yes i am aware that china is just as interesting as europe, as attractive to tourism from all over etc.

also how incredibly pompous and constipated the cultural gravitas of which you speak!

the important distinction with an economic difference is that the emergence of a burgeoning chinese middle class with disposable income combined with the current global mania for cheap air travel makes for a window to open wider, cultural tourism is low impact compared to other types like waterfront disfigurement a la torremolinos, or casino gambling a la macao/atlantic city.

we have been saturated with chinoiserie for centuries, they are ready to return the favour and learn from our archetypes.

it's far from ideal, but it can help us tide over the interim between a crumbling oil-maintained infrastructure and the uptake of sensibly sustainable alternatives that still have regrettably low traction, due to suicidally tenacious interests who would rather crash the titanic fantasy world economy as long as they can continue to eat our lunch off gold plates.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 05:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? Somehow a discussion on how to win a class war turns into a reprise of US 60s-80s cultural development, if you can call it that: specifically: hippies --> yippies --> yuppies. :-)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 09:05:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds great, except that it's rather like exporting to Mars.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
Oprah's $38,000 handbag incident should set everybody back on their heels. Not really because of the suspected racism, but just the fact that there is a handbag that costs that much.

i saw a philipp plein one on the web yesterday for E100,000.

made of crocodile leather and aircraft steel remnants, IIRC

phillip plein handbag 100000 euros - Google Search

Oct 29, 2011 - Der Designer Philipp Plein hat mit seinen auffälligen Kreationen ... "Wir haben Taschen für 100 000 Euro verkauft", erinnert sich Plein.


"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 02:55:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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