I wrote this yesterday during the inauguration to keep me sane.
I wrote this yesterday during the inauguration to Cape May sign.
Trump: how we got here what can happen.
I like to look at the current state of things, including all the messy problems, and ask, how did we get here, and what can happen?
ww2 led to American success and excess. Bureaucracy was in the ascendant, along with an economy that could afford it, and afford contracts with labor that paid well. As we entered the ’60’s, that economy started to pay off less well. The lawyers, politicians, large foundations and institutes started arranging things so the payoff to the rich remained high and the difference was mad up by drawing cash away from the poor. Declining wages, increased taxs and bubbles were key mechanisms.
The self serving one percent did not notice the pain they were causing and felt no sense of ownership of the process – but benefitted. Watching middle level managers pulling children out of public school and into private schools was just one indicator. At the same time the way the one percent lived was narrowing into a pattern of home, mall, work, school and vacation destinations that never intersected the lives and living conditions of the poor.
The professional classes were the enablers and did well for themselves , becoming the one percent. The continuing decline of the share of income to the middle class and the poor led to nasty politics.
The unvoiced pain was seen by a rich bully playboy in the construction business who while profiting, saw the exploiters and the exploited first hand. As the political parties divided into a primitive Christian right rural and white and into Sanders style lets make up the difference with taxes and stimulus and education and health (in a declining economy?), and a Democratic party led by the 1%, the professionals and elites and high salaried who benefitted.
That party failed, in part with votes drawn off by sanders and trump (who appealed beyond the Republican party into the independents and Democrats who had had it with Obama promises and Hillary’s bland urgency . Trump was the winner in that chaotic context. “rebuild the country and disrupt the status quo”.
Trump will make moves that try to repower the corporate elites but not the government professionals. He will militarize society and lead toward war because war creates jobs and allows for repression in the name of nationalism. We have to recall that to him “the people” mean a population left free to do its own things, which means rapacious capitalism and corruption because business is the world he knows and no other. The super rich are “the people” who won at the game. No need for welfare. We will give the people opportunities and they will fail to seize them.
So we now have a populist president who is part of the one percent in a Wizard of Oz world who will disappoint his followers and this lead to social protest and further militarization. This provides the opportunity for a new kind of strong man – or woman – to `take leadership of the new militarized authoritarian regime.
He probably will not be able to deliver on the goals of raising incomes because the context is so full of serious problems that will break up his initiatives.
international trade caution
weak governments everywhere.
bad investment environment (greedy banks and lack of promising projects)
and in the background looming shadows across the whole of society
The rich will miss all this and trivialize, fir example divert federal budget to protect ocean front property, an infinite sink hole.
The overall failure will lead to protests which will lead to increasing police activity and war talk which will stimulate the economy with military expenditures, deepening the debt. Trump or a successor will seize the policy, the militarization and nationalism creating a truly authoritarian regime that will choose war as the only way to hide the realities of social dysfunction. That war, won or lost, devastates the economies and the climate and total social reorganizations with some successful enclaves will follow.
The war will collapse the morale of society and lead to rebuilding with higher levels of participation needed to do that. The economics will look good but social morale will be terrible and culture will disappear.
The future questions are what happened to population – mostly killed off – and to the planet – temperature higher, can it support life? Probably in enclaves. The state of education of the survivors and surviving useable technologies will be starting points on an earth that has been stripped of most of what was cheaply accessible and useable.
In the meanwhile, lots of small experiments, most people in conversations, more awareness of the “system” than ever. The strength snd appeal of this will surprise, but so will the devastation. Somewhat like rebuilding after the plague took 40% of the world’s population in the 1380’s. Anything we can do now to increase chances eill help. As Obama said – all fired up and ready to go. Going.