Monday, March 5, 2018

if seneca fell in the woods 1 of 2, article 1 of 2 today

article 1 of 2 today

If a Seneca Cliff fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, did it make a sound?  Did the middle class fall off a Seneca cliff and nobody noticed it, not even the middle class?  I would theorize that yes indeed, they did.  This is in and of itself interesting, but it can also tell you that we can’t even notice our own demise.  All of us All Great Seeing prognosticators argue over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin ( debating what/how/when ) when we haven’t noticed the pin was sold to the highest bidder and it is now private property AND the owner is a strict religious fundamentalist so there is no damn dancing anyway ( cue up theme music to “Footloose” ).


We could argue over what constitutes a middle class.  I would stipulate that rather than income, a better parameter would be closer to the original, the class in the middle between peasants and rulers.  The shop owners and tradesmen and such.  Not born and kept into poverty, their livelihood assuring them a bit more freedom.  Remember, the middle class is relatively recent.  Most times, even skilled tradesmen were slaves.  A combination of population decimation from the Black Plague and the necessity of allowing central bankers to fund colonizing the bare assed savages ( so, in other words, the necessity of freeing up a large portion of the economy.  The Dutch were far more successful at the colony game than say, the Russians who clutched too tightly to the serf economy ).


In this country, I’d say the middle class was only allowed as a result of Unions and their brief rise to power, as a backlash against the robber barons.  Not that the elite had much choice, since slaves and expensive machinery do not mix well.  It is little coincidence that Unions were, mostly, a concession to the workers to avoid sabotage, and lasted through our Industrial Age as it coincided with our colonial conquests and occupations.


Once the economy rapidly changed, in one generation, from building to merely cashing in on the earlier colonial gains, the elite now monetizing and manipulating derivatives of goods, Unions ceased to meaningfully exist.  There was no more factories to trash as a means of coercion.   And the middle class was, to a large extent, Union.  But the middle class didn’t die with Unions.  They hung in there until recently.  Then, in one ( perhaps ) engineered financial crash, the middle class lost their house equity ( it “magically” reappeared after about five years, only now with the true unemployment of a third, there is no one to buy the homes at the increased perceived values.  It just made the property tax go up ) and their pensions.


They don’t think they’ve lost the only savings they ever had, but since the savings were a hallucination anyway, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.  For a time, it was true that you could make a killing on real estate.  This helped the elite, this artificial increase in home costs.  The bankers got more interest on higher loans, the locals got more taxes so the ever after increased revenues from rising property values and unchecked immigration gave them the illusion they could offer a lot of unnecessary workers pensions.  The perceived “free” profits on merely just getting into debt for a mortgage was in some places the majority of economic activity as construction goosed the economically once doomed area.


Unions ( by and large ) allowed for a prosperous middle class ( which was-again, by and large-fed by defense Cold War spending ).  There was free college, affordable housing, transportation and medical.  That all ended the day the empire was defeated in Vietnam.  From then on, the middle class hung in there, but always with depleting assets and drops in their wages and diminishing returns.  The wife went to work, but that was largely later negated by the 50% divorce rate, so the household went back to one worker incomes-now households were two people working with the divorced male brings in a quarter of the pay, and the female getting a quarter the pay from her ex and both their jobs earning a quarter of what they once did.


Then, the middle class kept their lifestyles by taking on huge amounts of debt.  Did you know the pre-Great Depression mortgage was only five years?  Or that a car loan of two years used to be considered irresponsible?  How times of peonage have changed.  How can a couple be considered middle class when they have a literal lifetime of debt?  They are no more free than the peasants.  But let’s just say that for now, the definition of middle class was having a trade you could bargain with.  Since the definition was no longer the protection and return from being Unionized ( blow me, Ayn Rand disciple pukes.  Without police and the right to carry a weapon, women would be freely molested.  Without Unions, workers are financially raped ).


Workers had a skill, even if now that skill took on a home mortgage length amount of debt to acquire.  At least the worker had bargaining power of a sort, able to move about the country to maximize his wages.  He wasn’t helpless like the factory worker was ( before effective Unionization-which ended along with the factory economy.  The Unions turned to graft to survive and then it was easy to control them.  Kind of like the NRA now ).  But that is no longer the case, is it?  Unemployment is now so bad that workers are stuck in place.  That non-equity home didn’t help.  As businesses now are free to roam around the country, or globe, workers have essentially zero bargaining power anymore.  They have lost income, purchasing power, freedom of mobility, the freedom to avoid debt-all that and more.  What still makes them middle class?  All these factors have been around for fifty years.  What was the Seneca Cliff?  Continued tomorrow.

END ( today's related link )
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  1. Religious fundamentalists who forbid dancing, do so from a "slippery slope" argument. Nowhere in the Bible does it prohibit dancing, by example it is allowed. Dancing can become a sin when it simulates sex acts or foreplay where others can observe it. Arguably that would be okay between husband/wife in private. So they protect themselves by forbidding all dancing, when in reality they should just exercise self control and choose companions that also exercise self control. The same that prohibit dancing generally prohibit alcohol consumption. There is nothing inherently wrong with alcohol consumption, but we all know it could lead to drunkenness and possibly alcoholism. Again, it would be better to exercise self control and choose companions who exercise self control rather than prohibit something that is allowed.
    Peace out

    1. However, don't forget cultural mores are more successful when they are black and white. When you allow choice, then that can easily lead to conflict/enforcement/punishment/policing. From an energy standpoint it is more advisable to eliminate the conflict. Not that there isn't the policing in many areas ( conflict resolution ), but some might choose to eliminate the need in the first place. And don't forget the average person, especially those under the influence of hormones, are dumb as dirt and need absolute rules. Then you have the whole question of indirect influence. As in this case, seeing how disciplined or conformist members can be. Although I imagine you'd want a free choice to make that marker more worthy. Regardless, religion isn't about following the bible, it is about social control.