June 29, 2014

So like when will they get here?

There was an interesting item in Politico a day or so ago by Nick Hanauer, an "unapologetic capitialist." It was basically a warning to "my fellow zillionaires" that there is a limit to the amount of inequality and exploitation the American people are willing to put up with.

Here's a sample:

..the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.\
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
Hanauer predicts something on the order of 21st century peasants with pitchforks, metaphorically speaking. So far, I haven't seen a whole lot of signs of that.

WHILE WE'RE AT IT, here's Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz arguing that the level of inequality we have today aren't inevitable but are the result of political decisions.

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