Monday, March 31, 2014

Some other thoughts.

I am a student of history, with the philosophy that when we forget or ignore the past, we will repeat it.  Sometimes it is not a bad thing, I mean if we were to go back to spending massive amounts on infrastructure projects, we might once again return to a booming economy.  But for the most part we tend to ignore or forget the good, and the bad, instead opting to true the bad stuff repeatedly. 

The chart pictured above, that is a chart indicating wealth inequality.  If you look at the larger scale of the chart, you will see that income inequality has not been this severe since the "Roaring Twenties", a time when everything was going good, or seemed that way.  I mean industry was booming, we become focused on athletes and movie stars (they couldn't make a move without their fans knowing it), everything could be solved with technology or it would be solved via technology, and speaking of which, how many of us are starting to feel the disconnect due to our technology?

I know, I know, if you look at something enough you will see a pattern develop.  But look, say what you will about history, war, science, mathematics, religion, even soothsayers, you will see a pattern develop.  No this is not the Matrix, taking the blue pill won't wake you up.  Its just the flow of things.  Ideally we would see this pattern, take steps to ensure it does not happen again.  Empires are born, they age, they die.  History is littered with empires, groups that rose to prominence and faded.  We study two in high school.  If you are thinking Greek and Roman, you are mostly correct.  If we look at why they fell. Greece fell to war, eventually conquered by the Romans.  Roman itself would last a while, but invasions, economic downturns, destabilization of the economy, civil war, and a decline in education marked its fate, along with the rise of christianity.  But one thing that is often overlooked, the wealthy controlled vast amounts of land, which meant they basically did whatever they wanted.  Do you see a similarity?  The wealthy here control vast amounts capital, basically, the measure of wealth inequality had tipped to far, and the poor were basically slaves.

But yeah, patterns are everywhere.  But they are there nonetheless.  So where do we stand today?  America is dieing, or it might even be dead, but as the saying goes, the body is dead, it just doesn't know it yet.  For all purposes America is in decline, and we aren't helping the situation.  Maybe it is just a natural time, all things die, but maybe we are accelerating it.  I have railed against many things on this blog, and I feel that I am right to do so.  But what we have is a severe balance problem.  The wealthy get better everything, and more chances. 

Look at the case, well cases of Donald Trump.  Four times in his life he has had to bankrupt his businesses, yet each time he comes out, bigger and stronger.  Sure it is not him personally, it is his business, but each time that gap between him and his employees gets a little wider.  Smart people start businesses and do not tie themselves to it financially.  Many people don't realize that, they aren't educated enough to do it.  It also costs money, at some point you are going to have to put yourself out there financially to get that LLC going.  But when he over extends it, its no big deal for him, his initial risk has paid itself off.  But look at all the people who aren't in that position, the small businesses owners who are tied into the business itself; if it fails, they fail.  And trying bankrupting yourself four times in 20 years, I promise you, you won't even own a piece a plastic.  Your credit would be so bad, you would be better off paying for a new social security number, and whole new identity. 

Lets look at some other things.  Justice is blind to all but money.  If you have money, you tend to slide on things more often than not.  Its part of the reason Zimmerman got off on what he did.  He managed to gather enough money to get a killer defense team.  Imagine what it would have happened if he hadn't had access to that legal team?  He would have had the book thrown at him, and the prison dropped on him.  Look at how many poor people are arrested and convicted of a crime...  Years later we find out they weren't guilty at all.  Look at how many wrongly incarcerated are never found out. 

But back to the point at hand, wealth inequality kills nations.  It is their Kryptonite.  We should have learned for the Roaring Twenties, but we didn't.  There was no regulation, there were few standards for pay.  The wealthy were able to acquire more, the poorer less.  And this all came to a head.  We saw this in the 2008 meltdown.  But in 2008 we took some steps to avert it, but we did not take into account the important lessons.  IE, while the wealthy provide jobs, the poor provide spending.  Until the poorer people can spend more, the economy will be lackluster.  When we find the solution to that problem, America will come back.  A good start might be addressing income inequality, in more than a we say we are working on it, but doing nothing fashion.