I was thinking about the Edge of Apocalypse book today in the context of events like the governor of Arizona sticking her finger in Obama’s face. If we go back to when Joshua Jordan was speechifying about how horrible the USA was getting, and the book’s attribution of nefarious motives to the Obama Administration, the book has the same tone of disrespect for forms of government not run by Republican white guys.
I’ve also been reading Third World America and amid the depressing stuff in the book, the thing I keep remembering is that in another book I read back in the 1990s (which came out just prior to the tech boom of the late 1990s), the author basically took the trends happening in the United States almost twenty years ago and extended them in straight lines.
Conclusion: The USA would fit every definition of a Third World country by 2020 or 2030.
The fact that in 2010 Arianna Huffington could write a book that showed that for all intents and purposes the basic nature of the “game” ordinary Americans are being asked to play is still so stacked against them, that for all the economic and social transformations of the last 20 years nothing fundamental has changed – that’s just unconscionable. And it shows how severely out of touch the elites of the USA are with respect to how the vast millions of ordinary people are faring in the bold new post-Cold War America, which doesn’t have a Soviet Union to compete against and keep sharp lest the Commies prove they could do anything better than can-do Americans.
I waver between the notion that the Democratic and Republican politicians are not really different and that they do differ in important ways. Right now, it’s more on the “Republicrat” side because so few Dems are willing to push against the massive volumes of money showered upon them by wealthy special interests who have every incentive to keep the money rolling in.
You know how if you can take just one dollar from every American you’d have $300 million? One dollar from every Canadian and you’d have $30 million? That’s what banks have basically been doing to people for the last couple of decades. Charge a little fee here – a little fee there – and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
The same goes for all the ways other corporations manage to game the system. Take a tax dollar here – a tax dollar here – and pretty soon it’s more profitable to game the tax system than to actually put people to work doing stuff.
I want to round this out with a few links:
Young black professionals are having a harder row to hoe this time around stumping for Barack Obama. Something like 90% of the blacks in the USA vote Dem to begin with, but that’s mostly because even in the “Republicrat” paradigm there’s one crucial difference: Democrats don’t have central policy planks based on hidden racism towards minorities. So what could happen? Blacks just won’t vote. And given the issues over voter turnout and ongoing vote suppression, this is actually a critical issue.
The ongoing whitewashing of slavery (I use it in both contexts*) is something that just flabbergasts me. Way back in the mid-1980s I had an Encyclopedia Britannica set largely sourced from stuff printed in the 1970s. Well, back then it seemed very settled to me that the Civil War was fought over slavery and that the North winning was a darn good thing. It seems of a piece with the bizarre attempts at historical-revisionist attempts by people on the political right to try and get the albatross of their extremist policies being associated with fascism, by making the most ridiculous claims of Hitler and the Nazi party being “socialist”.
Apple’s Steve Jobs caused iPhones to be made in China. Why is this important? Because it points up the dawning consequences of a mode of thinking I was worried about over ten, twelve years ago when the stock market started getting the big press and everybody and their dog wanted to be a stock trader. When the USA even back then was graduating something like three financial analysts for every engineer, I could only conclude that it would come some day that the USA’s population would realize that the US was no longer capable of making anything for itself, just creating more and more wealth-sucking machines to transfer large amounts of money from actual workers outside the financial sector to the pockets of those in the financial sector.
In the words of Jim Stanford, a similar form of this phenomenon (though less dangerous) has happened in Canada. The “paper economy” is hobbling the “real economy” in both Canada and the US. Well, the “real economy” in the USA, judging from that depressing Apple article (seriously, when Chinese workers exhibit the kind of derring-do that used to characterize American workers…**) is verging on the “needs life support” stage of life and something seriously needs to be done about this.
* “Whitewashing” as in substituting the white-majority viewpoint for the minority one, as well as the meaning of covering something up by slapping white paint all over it.
** Remember the stories from World War II when the USA’s factories and shipyards rebuilt an aircraft carrier in something like three weeks going 24 hours round the clock and had it on the ocean in time to beat the crap out of some Japanese ships? Yeah, like that.