Category: CAPITALIST SYSTEMIC POVERTY

Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class

CHRIS WRIGHT—How can society ever get to this point? Evidently only through upheavals so painful that it becomes clear there is no other option. Revolutionary change on such a scale happens only by means of unprecedented crisis, which is to say social discontent so extreme that half-measures are cast aside as pitifully inadequate. As long as a large middle class exists to serve as a bulwark of social stability and relatively conservative politics, the requisite crisis will not happen. Society has to polarize between a tiny minority of ultra-rich and a huge majority of unprotected, insecure, ecologically vulnerable, politically desperate people whose violent discontent propels the “revolution” forward.

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Reform vs. Awakening (revisited)

ERIC SCHECHTER—As I’ve already mentioned, people aren’t basically greedy and selfish. But our current culture certainly trains those traits into us. They’re built into the so-called “American dream”: You keep your stuff in your house, I keep my stuff in my house, and we’re taught that we don’t need to care about each other. Shootings in schools and shopping malls have become commonplace.

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Understanding American Capitalism (Revised)

PATRICE GREANVILLE—From the ruling orders’ perspective the wages of propaganda have been substantial. In the countries that pretend to operate as democracies, false consciousness among the masses allows the upper classes to run society in their own narrow self-interest while pretending to do so in the interest of all, as true democracy would require. Enormous, mind-boggling wealth and power are thus rapidly accumulated by the tip of the social pyramid in all societies riddled with inequality. In America, an empire on the move for at least a century now, and one of the most income-polarized nations in the developed world, the ideological stranglehold has allowed the US ruling class not only to make a mess of domestic policy, but the freedom to engage with relative impunity in constant and murderous meddling in the affairs of scores of other nations, as the case of Iran, Korea and Vietnam a generation ago, and Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria today, so eloquently confirm.

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Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team

JEFF BALINGER—Colin was just in middle school when the sweatshop story was hot. It got cooled-down quickly when Bill Clinton saw it as an implicit criticism of his unfettered free trade policies. (He leaned on some union friends to set up a talk-shop to quiet the controversy.) Nike founder, Phil Knight, was so incensed at one New York Timescolumnist who wrote three critical columns in 1996, that he demanded and received a meeting with the New York Times editorial board. The board assured Knight that the columnist could continue to write whatever he pleased, but there was never another sweatshop story involving Nike.

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