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Date: 2024-06-12 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00001401

Society and Economy
The unstable and unproductive structure

The Middle Class Is Dead, Long Live The Middle Class

Middle class is dead
Yes ... but Dan Wright notes that the middle class has been dead before, and implies that this can happen again. I would agree, but it will take a substantial disruption to change the exponential spiral to economic catastrophe that our capitalist market economy will reach as the ultimate equilibrium. There were very ambitious programs in the 1940s to make sure that there was no post-war depression, and these programs were successful, and the benefits kept flowing into the 1960s. The oil shock disruption of the 1970s never got addressed in a practical way, but instead it became a source of financial earnings that benefited the banks for a while, but eventually gutted the real economy.

Congressional campaign spending
The media had a field day in the early 1970s when it was said that Washington politics was at its 'lowest ebb'. Hah ... if only they could have seen the subsequent 40 years! The money flow around Washington is a scandal ... but it is a big enough flow so that everyone involved or even not involved keeps quiet. The segment of society that keeps this really quiet is, of course, the media, which is certainly one of the biggest beneficiaries of the funds that flow into and through Washington. 2012 is likely to be a bonanza year for political advertising, and it is fairly obvious that none of the news channels is about to annoy any of its advertising clients by doing something as rash as reporting news objectively.

Social Movements
Yes ... social movements are part of the solution. The instruments of democracy that have been used in the past and 'owned' by the elite have to be sidelined. The people representing the people in Washington must owe their allegience to the people and not to the powerful. The media that are owned by powerful interests must be offset by citizen reporting that is bigger and better than the established media. The money flows must be made visible so that there can be public outrage and embarrassment of the corrupt and powerful. The state, progress and performance should be brought into a framework of metrics so that good things can be supported and bad things supressed. The tools are available.

Thank you Dan Wright for posting a thoughtful piece.
Peter Burgess

The Middle Class Is Dead, Long Live The Middle Class

Is it a bang or a whimper?

Hard to say really. But the data continues to accumulate. Not only do the Top 1% own more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined [fact] - Not only do the Richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined [fact] - But this divide between the few haves and the many have nots has now become, according to a new report, a geographic phenomenon as income segregation puts the finishing touches on a separate but unequal society.

There are now, without equivocation or exception, two Americas.

The question is... Which one will survive?

Given the feudal state of the American economy it seems appropriate to invoke an old tradition from feudalism.

When a king would die in feudal societies the phrase 'The King is dead. Long live the King.' would often be proclaimed to show there was an immediate accession of a new king to the throne the moment the old one died. This policy was implemented because of the chaos and anxiety not having a clear ruler caused in those societies as ambivalence over who should rule would quickly descend into civil war and bloodshed. The lack of a king was so terrifying and destabilizing heirs were selected before the king died and brought to power instantly to try and avoid the slightest possibility of any doubt over who the legitimate king was.

It is in this spirit I proclaim 'The Middle Class is dead. Long live the Middle Class.' The last 30 years of incessant imperialism, deregulation, financialization, tax code rigging, and crony capitalism have killed the middle class. It is truly and completely finished and will not return in its previous form. It is as dead as Dixie.

So the middle class is dead. Not to worry, it has died before. In fact the last time it effectively died was around the same time as a massive financial crisis - I'm sure it's just a coincidence and not evidence that out of control wealth inequality leads to economic instability.

OK, maybe not 100% sure, just call me a 99%er.

Long Live The Middle Class

Without a middle class America has devolved into a virtual or neo-feudal society complete with a national security apparatus to protect the rich, a de facto police state. America has become what used to be called a Banana Republic code for corrupt plutocracies based on using the state as a tool to steal from everyone else.

Societies without a middle class are often ruled by force and fear because it is difficult to maintain a substantive democracy without a thriving middle class. Oh sure you can have a procedural democracy with a few political parties and some inconsequential elections, but the same people maintain control no matter who wins (remind you of something).

This is why it is not enough to focus on elections for change. If there is no middle class the elections become meaningless, the asymmetries of power overwhelm the contests sucking out the potential for impact. Sure anyone can run but if you don't have the backing of the plutocracy you can't get a real campaign going, you can't raise enough money to raise your profile in order to 'be relevant' enough to be covered by the 1%'s media - let alone defend yourself from the inevitable smear campaign that comes at anyone who dares advocate reform. And that's just to get elected wait until you try to get something done! With high powered lobbyists and your peers bought off you're going to find it rather difficult to pass legislation for the people against the plutocrats, oh and it's almost re-election time you sure you want to piss off potential donors? Go Rich or Go Home.

So what is the solution? Social Movements. Operating outside the system to effect the system. These movements can pressure the system to recreate or allow the growth of a middle class. And with that middle class elections will not only continue but be substantive. Elections will stop being merely games among elites. Instead of a strife of interests, elections would have the potential to be contests of ideas. Currently they are little more than a distraction from real issues. Contrary to the happy chatter, when it comes to economic issues, elections have few to no consequences. There's a reason for that, according to the plutocrats they aren't supposed to.

Without a middle class America is going to get a lot worse. If you think America is in poor shape now just wait and see what another five years without a middle class will do. Long Live the Middle Class because without it democracy falls and terror and chaos reigns.

NOW is the Time

Dear reader, you may think you have time - you don't. Now is the time to get involved in creating the next middle class. Middle classes are not spontaneously formed by the mindless functioning of the economy, they are created by the application of just laws to society. It is no coincidence that the period leading up to and including the financial crisis was a period of record breaking corporate predation and lawlessness as the middle class was destroyed.

Why? Because unchecked economic power is used to gain political power which is then used to protect and increase economic power which is used to gain even more political power in a self-reinforcing loop of greed and corruption.

Break the cycle, get involved in the 99% Movement today. Contribute your time, effort and ideas so America can once again have a middle class and a real democracy.

It's your future, fight for it or lose it.

Occupy Wall Street



Dan S Wright Daily Kos member
TUE NOV 22, 2011 AT 10:09 AM PST
The text being discussed is available at,-Long-Live-The-Middle-Class?via=tag
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