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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Redistribution of wealth up as the essence of neoliberalism

Decline of middle class in the USA under neoliberal regime and rise of Economic Royalists ("Let them eat cake ")

News Swimming in Fiat Currency Waters Selected Reviews Recommended books Recommended Links The Decline of the Middle Class
Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Neoliberalism Invisible Hand Hypothesis Numbers racket Over 50 and unemployed
The Occupy Wall Street protest Casino Capitalism Notes on Republican Economic Policy Supply Side or Trickle down economics Critique of neoclassical economics Lawrence Summers
Andrew Bacevich Views on American Exceptionalism Principal agent problem Short Introduction to Lysenkoism Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Financial Humor Etc

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Isn’t inequality merely the price of America being No. 1? ... That’s almost certainly false... Prior to about 20 years ago, most economists thought that inequality greased the wheels of progress. Wealth Inequality in America Overwhelmingly now, people who study it empirically think that it’s sand in the wheels. ... Inequality breeds conflict, and conflict breeds wasted resources”

Samuel Bowles,
cited from Economist's View: Inequality and Guard Labor

From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

Nicholas D. Kristof, NYT, November 6, 2010

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans is employed to keep fellow citizens in line and protect private wealth from would-be Robin Hoods

Guard Labor Why is Inequality Bad

If labor is a commodity like any other, who is the idiot in charge of inventory management?.

Economist's View '


Introduction

As aptly noted Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems ( The Guardian,  April 15, 2016)

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, rejection of the current neoliberal elite by majority of American people and the rise of candidates like Donald Trump . But we respond to these developments as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalyzed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly? 

One of the key property of neoliberalism is that it recasts inequality as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. If you deserve to die, so be it. Of cause that does not apply to the financial oligarchy which is above the law and remains unpunished even for very serious crimes. This fate is reserved for bottom 99% of population.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations, In other words neoliberal economic model uses "unable to compete in the labor market" label for poor people in the same way Nazi used concept of Untermensch for Slavic people.

That also mean that for those outside top 20% of population the destiny is brutal exploitation not that different then in slave societies. It victimizes and artfully creates complex of inferiority among poor people trying to brainwash that they themselves are guilty in their status and that their children do not deserve better. This is why subsidies for colleges are cut. Unfortunately now even lower middle class is coming under tremendous pressure and essentially is moved into poverty. Disappearance of well-paid middle class "white collar" jobs such as IT jobs and recently oil sector jobs  and conversion of many jobs to temp or to outsourcing/off-shoring model is a fact that can't be denied. Rise in inequality in the USA for that last twenty years of neoliberalism domination is simply dramatic and medial income per family actually dropped.

Everything is moving in the direction of a pretty brutal joke: poor Americans just got a new slave-owners. And now slaves are not distinguished by  the color of their skin.

The economic status of Wal Mart employees (as well as employees of many other retailers, who are predominantly women) are not that different from slaves. In "rich" states like NY and NJ Wal-Mart cashiers are paid around $9 an hour. That's around $18K a year if you can get 40hours a week (big if),  You can't survive on those money living alone and renting an apartment. Two people might be able to survive if they share the apartment costs.  And forget about that if you have a child (aka "single mothers"  as a new face of the US poverty). You can survive only with additional social programs like food stamps. In other words the federal state subsidizes Wal-Mart, increasing their revenue at taxpayers expense.

Piketty thinks a rentier society (which is another definition of neoliberal society) contradicts the meritocratic worldview of democratic societies and is toxic for democracy as it enforces "one dollar one vote" election process (corporation buy politicians; ordinary people just legitimize with their votes pre-selected by elite candidates, see Two Party System as Polyarchy):

 “…no ineluctable force standing in the way to extreme concentration of wealth…if growth slows and the return on capital increases [as] tax competition between nations heats up…Our democratic societies rest on a meritocratic worldview, or at any rate, a meritocratic hope, by which I mean a belief in a society in which inequality is based more on merit and effort than on kinship and rents. This belief and hope play a very crucial role in modern society, for a simple reason: in a democracy the professed equality of rights of all citizens contrasts sharply with the very real inequality of living conditions, and in order to overcome this contradiction it is vital to make sure that social inequalities derive from ration and universal principles rather than arbitrary contingencies. Inequalities must therefore be just and useful to all, at least in the realm of discourse and as far as possible in reality as well…Durkheim predicted that modern democratic society would not put for long with the existence of inherited wealth and would ultimately see to it that the ownership of property ended at death.” p. 422

A neo-liberal point discussed in Raymond Plant's book on neo-liberalism is that if a fortune has been made through no injustice, then it is OK. So we should not condemn the resulting distribution of wealth, as fantastically concentrated as it may be. That that's not true, as such cases always involve some level of injustice, if only by exploiting some loophole in the current laws. Piketty is correct that to the extent that citizens understood the nature of a rentier society they would rise in opposition to it. The astronomical pay of "super-managers" cannot be justified in meritocratic terms. CEO's can capture boards and force their incentive to grow faster then  company profits. Manipulations with shares buyback are used to meet "targets". So neoliberal extreme is definitely bad.

At the same time we now know the equality if not achievable and communism was a pipe dream that actually inflicted cruelty on a lot of people in the name of unachievable utopia. But does this means that inequality, any level of inequality, is OK. It does not look this way and we can actually argue that extremes meet.

But collapse of the USSR lead to triumph of neoliberalism which is all about rising inequality. Under neoliberalism the wealthy and their academic servants, see inequality as a noble outcome. They want to further enrich top 1%, shrink middle class making it less secure, and impoverish poor. In other words they promote under the disguise of "free market" Newspeak a type of economy which can be called a plantation economy. In this type of the economy all the resources and power are in the hands of a wealthy planter class who then gives preference for easy jobs and the easy life to their loyal toadies. The wealthy elites like cheap labor. And it's much easier to dictate their conditions of employment when unemployment is high. Keynesian economics values the middle class and does not value unemployment or cheap labor. Neoliberals like a system that rewards them for their loyalty to the top 1% with an easier life than they otherwise merit. In a meritocracy where individuals receive public goods and services that allow them to compete on a level playing field, many neoliberal toadies would be losers who cannot compete.

In a 2005 report to investors three analysts at Citigroup advised that “the World is dividing into two blocs—the Plutonomy and the rest … In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer", or indeed the “Russian consumer”.

In other words there are analysts that believe that we are moving to a replay of Middle Ages on a new, global level, were there are only rich who do the lion share of the total consumption and poor, who does not matter.

We can also state, that under neoliberal regime the sources of American economic inequality are largely political. In other words they are the result of deliberate political decision of the US elite to shape markets in neoliberal ways, and dismantle New Deal.

Part of this "shaping the markets in neoliberal ways" was corruption of academic economists. Under neoliberalism most economists are engaged in what John Kenneth Galbraith called "the economics of innocent fraud." With the important correction that there is nothing innocent in their activities. Most of them, especially "neoclassical" economists are prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So their prescription and analysis as for the reasons of high unemployment should be taken with due skepticism.

We also know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That means that existence of aristocracy might not be optimal for society "at large". But without moderating influence of the existence of the USSR on appetites of the US elite, they engage is audacious struggle for accumulation as much power and wealth as possible. In a way that situation matches the situation in 1920th, which was known to be toxic.

But society slowly but steadily moves in this direction since mid 80th. According to the official wage statistics for 2012 http://www.ssa.gov , 40% of the US work force earned less than $20,000, 53% earned less than $30,000, and 73% earned less than $50,000. The median US wage or salary was $27,519 per year. The amounts are in current dollars and they are "total" compensation amounts subject to state and federal income taxes and to Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. In other words, the take home pay is less.

In other word the USA is now entered an inequality bubble, the bubble with the financial oligarchy as new aristocracy, which strives for absolute control of all layers of the government. The corruption has a systemic character. It take not only traditional form of the intermarriage between Wall street and DC power brokers (aka revolving doors). It also create a caste of guard labor to protect oligarchy.

New global caste structure and stratification of the US society

Some researchers point out that neoliberal world is increasingly characterized by a three-tiered social structure(net4dem.org):

This process of stratification and fossilization of "haves" and "haves-not" is now pretty much established in the USA. The US population can be partitioned into five distinct classes, or strata:

  1. Lower class (poor) bottom 20%. Those folks have income close to official poverty line, which varies from state to state. In "expensive states" like NJ and NY this category ranks much higher then national level, up to 40%. Official figures from a Census Bureau that state that in 2010 twelve states had poverty rates above 17%, up from five in 2009, while ten metropolitan areas had poverty rates over 18%. Texas had the highest poverty rate, at 33.4%, followed by Fresno, California, at 26.8%.

    According to figures published by the Social Security Administration in October 2011, the median income for American workers in 2010 was $26,364, just slightly above the official poverty level of $22,025 for a family of four. Most single parent families with children fall into this category. Many single earner families belong to this category too.

    The median income figure reflects the fact that salaries of 50% of all workers are less then $26,364 and gives a much truer picture of the real social conditions in the United States than the more widely publicized average income, which was $39,959 in 2010. This figure is considerably higher than median income because the distribution of income is so unequal—a relative handful of ultra-high income individuals pulls up the average.

  2. Lower middle class (60%). Depending on class model used, the middle class may constitute anywhere from 25% to 66% of households. Typically includes households with incomes above $46,326 (all households) or $67,348 (dual earners households) per year. The latter is more realistic. In order for two earners family to qualify each earner should get approximately $34K a year or more ($17 per hour wage with 40 hours workweek). Per household member income is around $23.5K
    The lower middle class... these are people in technical and lower-level management positions who work for those in the upper middle class as lower managers, craftspeople, and the like. They enjoy a reasonably comfortable standard of living, although it is constantly threatened by taxes and inflation. Generally, they have a Bachelor's and sometimes Masters college degree.

    —Brian K. William, Stacy C. Sawyer and Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2006 (Adapted from Dennis Gilbert 1997; and Joseph Kahl 1993)[4]

  3. Upper middle class (top 20%). The includes households with incomes above 91K per year.
  4. Upper class (elite): top 1%. Annual comes (AGI) for this group exceed $380K per year. Commonly called multimillionaires (net worth two millions or more). In 2010 controlled at least 25% of total nation income (23.5% in 2007, 8.9% in 1979) . Top 1% owns more than 90% of combined or 33.8% of the nation private wealth.
  5. Super rich (top 0.01%, oligarchs, super-elite, or top 1000 families). A close to this category of super-rich are billionaires. US is home of 425 billionaires, while Russia and China have 95 and 96 correspondingly. The average worth of the world's billionaires is now $3.5 billion, or $500 million more than last year.( Forbes)

Share of consumption for families outside upper middle class (with income, say, below $91K per year (80% of US households) is much less then commonly assumed. That means that in the USA consumer spending are driven by upper class and as such is pretty much isolated from decline of wages of lower 80% of population. The median household income in the United States is around $50K.

Possibility of the return to the clan society

The danger of high level of inequality might be revival of nationalism and return to clan (mafia) society in the form of corporatism or even some form of national socialism. Mark S. Weine made this point in his book The Rule of the Clan. What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals About the Future of Individual Freedom . From one Amazon review:

Weiner's book is more than worth its price simply as an armchair tour of interesting places and cultures and mores, deftly and briefly described. But he has a more serious and important point to make. While the social cohesion that the values of the clan promote is alluring, they are ultimately at odds with the values of individual autonomy that only the much-maligned modern liberal state can offer.

Even the state's modern defenders tend to view it, at best, as a necessary evil. It keeps the peace, upholds (somewhat) international order, and manages the complexity of modern life in ways that allow individuals to get on with their journeys of personal fulfillment.

Weiner shows (in too brief but nevertheless eloquent ways) that this reductive view of the state is insufficient to resist the seductive appeal of the clan, and that it will be for the worse if we can't find ways to combat this allure within the legal structures of modern liberalism.

Read alongside James Ault's masterful participant study of fundamentalist Baptism, Spirit and Flesh, and draw your own conclusions.

Dramatic increase in the use of guard labor and conversion of the state into National Security State

Of course the elite is worried about security of their ill-gotten gains. And that's partially why the USA need such huge totally militarized police force and outsize military. Police and military are typical guard labor, that protects private wealth of the US plutocrats. Add to this equally strong private army of security contractors.

Other suggested that not only the USA, but the global neoliberal society is deeply sick with the same disease that the US society expected in 20th (and like previously with globalism of robber barons age, the triumph of neoliberalism in 1990th was and is a global phenomenon).

High inequality logically leads to dramatic increase of guard labor and inevitable conversion of state into National Security State. Which entail total surveillance over the citizens as a defining factor. Ruling elite is always paranoid, but neoliberal elite proved to be borderline psychopathic. They do not want merely security, they want to crush all the resistance.

Butler Shaffer wrote recently that the old state system in the United States is dying before our very eyes:

A system that insists on controlling others through increasing levels of systematic violence; that loots the many for the aggrandizement of the few; that regulates any expressions of human behavior that are not of service to the rulers; that presumes the power to wage wars against any nation of its choosing, a principle that got a number of men hanged at the Nuremberg trials; and finally, criminalizes those who would speak the truth to its victims, has no moral energy remaining with which to sustain itself.

Low mobility created potential for the degeneration of the elite

It is pretty clear that the USA became a society where there is de facto royalty. In the form of the strata which Roosevelt called "Economic royalists". Jut look at third generation of Walton family or Rocafeller family.

Remember the degenerative Soviet Politburo, or, for a change, unforgettable dyslexic President George W Bush ? The painful truth is that in the most unequal nations including the UK and the US – the intergenerational transmission of income is very strong (in plain language they have a heredity-based aristocracy). See Let them eat cake. In more equal societies such as Denmark, the tendency of privilege to breed privilege is much lower but also exists and is on the rise. As Roosevelt observed in a similar situation of 30th:

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.

High inequality undermines social cohesion

Neoliberalism and its ideology(Randism) undermined social cohesion, making society members more hostile to each other and as such less willing to defend the country in case of real danger. Betrayal of the country is no longer an unspeakable crime.

The purpose of government should be to foster a "civil society". The slogan of the "oligarchic right" is "me first", or, as in Paul Ryan's adoration of Ayn Rand, greed is good. Objectivism became kind of new civic religion, with the goal of maximizing the wealth of a single individual at the expense of the civil society is a virtue. And those new social norms (instilled by MSM) allow the fat cats simply to stole from everybody else without fear of punishment. See an outburst from Stephen Schwarzman. If there are two societies inside of the country with bridges burned, the bottom part is less willing to spill blood for the upper part. And having a contractual army has its own set of dangers, as it spirals into high level of militarism (being in war is a new normal for the USA during the last 30 years or so), which while enriching part of the elite bankrupts the country. The quality of roads is a testament of this process.

Countervailing mechanisms and forces are destroyed. Plutocrats now can shape the conversation by buying up newspapers and television channels as well as funding political campaigns. The mousetrap of high inequality became irreversible without external shocks. The more unequal our societies become, the more we all become prisoners of that inequality. The key question is: Has our political system been so degraded by misinformation and disinformation that it can no longer function because it lost the touch with reality? The stream of outright falsehoods that MSM feed the lemmings (aka society members) is clearly politically motivated. But a side effect (externality) of all that brainwashing efforts is that nobody including players at the top of the government now understands what's going on. Look at Obama and Joe Biden.

As the growth of manufacturing base slowed down and return on capital dropped, the elite wants less government social spending. They wants to end popular government programs such as Social Security, no matter how much such cuts would cause economic dislocation and strains in the current social safety net. The claims are that these programs are "Waste" and could be cut without anyone, but the "moochers" noticing the effects. They use the economic strain felt by many in the economy to promote these cuts. They promise that cuts to vital programs will leave more money in the pockets of the average person. In reality, the increase in money will be marginal, but the effects on security and loss of "group purchasing power" economy of scale will make the cuts worse than worthless (Economist's View Paul Krugman Moment of Truthiness)

Two party system makes the mousetrap complete

The US system of voting (winner take all) leads inexorably to Two party system. Third parties are only spoilers. Protest votes in the current system are COUNTERPRODUCTIVE (i.e. they help the evil, not the merely bad). Deliberate and grotesque gerrymandering further dilutes protest votes.

Again, I would like to stress that rich consumers, few in number, getting the gigantic slice of income and the most of consumption (that's why the US consumption was so resilient during two last financial crises). There are the rest, the “non-rich”, accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

The question arise "Why we should care?". Most of the readers of this page are not at the bottom bracket anyway. Many are pretty high up. Here is one possible answer:

But should we care? There are two reasons we might: process and outcome.

Creating a strata of the outcasts aka permanently unemployed

It is very difficult to understand the real situation with inequality in the USA today without experiencing long term unemployed.

Or if you forced into job of a WalMart cashier or other low paid employee. Job that does not provide a living minimum wage. You need to watch this YouTube video Wealth Inequality in America to understand the reality. The video was posted anonymously by someone using the YouTube handle politizane. It is pretty clear that not only the USA became a society where there is de facto royalty, economic royalty but also a strata of people completely deprived. An Outcaste.

And the royalty became recklessly like it should promoting to the top the likes of recovered alcoholic Bush II or "private equity shark" Romney (and remember who Romney father was).

See Over 50 and unemployed

Education is no longer the answer to rising inequality

In the current circumstances education is no longer the answer to rising inequality. Instead of serving as a social lift it, at least in some cases, became more of a social trap. This is connected with neoliberal transformation of education. With the collapse of post-war public funded educational model and privatization of the University education students face a pretty cruel world. World in which they are cows to milk. Now universities became institutions very similar to McDonalds ( or, in less politically correct terms, Bordellos of Higher Learning). Like McDonalds they need to price their services so that to receive nice profit and they to make themselves more attractive to industry they intentionally feed students with overspecialized curriculum instead of concentrating on fundamentals and the developing the ability to understand the world. Which was a hallmark of university education of the past.

Since 1970th Neo-Liberal University model replaced public funded university model (Dewey model). It is now collapsing as there are not that many students, who are able (and now with lower job prospects and tale of graduates working as bartender, willing) to pay infated tuition fees. That means that higher education again by-and-large became privilege of the rich and upper middle class.

Lower student enrollment first hit minted during dot-com boom expensive private colleges, who hunt for people with government support (such a former members of Arm forces). It remains viable only in elite universities, which traditionally serve the top 1% and rich foreigners. As David Schultz wrote in his article (Logos, 2012):

Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that began the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity produced significant economic shocks, including to the public sector where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy.

Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals are referred to as Neo-liberalism and their aim was to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets with the belief that unfettered by the government that would restore productivity.

Neo-liberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model as support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up.

From a high in the 1960s and early 70s when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the Baby Boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. As I pointed out in my 2005 Logos “The Corporate University in American Society” article in 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states, in 2004; it was down to 64%, with state systems in Illinois, Michigan and Virginia down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities public institutions more in name than in funding.

Higher education under Neo-liberalism needed a new business model and it found it in the corporate university. The corporate university is one where colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model where faculty had an equal voice in the running of the school, including over curriculum, selection of department chairs, deans, and presidents, and determination of many of the other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation.

For the corporate university, many decisions, including increasingly those affecting curriculum, are determined by a top-down pyramid style of authority. University administration often composed not of typical academics but those with business or corporate backgrounds had pre-empted many of the decisions faculty used to make. Under a corporate model, the trustees, increasingly composed of more business leaders than before, select, often with minimal input from the faculty, the president who, in turn, again with minimal or no faculty voice, select the deans, department heads, and other administrative personnel.

University presidents became way too greedy

Neoliberalism professes the idea the personal greed can serve positive society goals, which is reflected in famous neoliberal slogan "greed is good". And university presidents listen. Now presidents of neoliberal universities do not want to get $100K per year salary, they want one, or better several, million dollar salary of the CEO of major corporation (Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds - NYTimes.com)

At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.

The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.

The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.

“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. Wood said. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

... ... ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey of public university presidents’ compensation, also released Sunday, found that nine chief executives earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012-13, up from four the previous year, and three in 2010-11. The median total compensation of the 256 presidents in the survey was $478,896, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

... ... ...

As in several past years, the highest-compensated president, at $6,057,615 in this period, was E. Gordon Gee, who resigned from Ohio State last summer amid trustee complaints about frequent gaffes. He has since become the president of West Virginia University.

This trick requires dramatic raising of tuition costs. University bureaucracy also got taste for better salaries and all those deans, etc want to be remunerated like vice presidents. So raising the tuition costs became the key existential idea of neoliberal university. Not quality of education, but tuition costs now are the key criteria of success. And if you can charge students $40K per semester it is very, very good. If does not matter that most population get less then $20 an hour.

The same is true for professors, who proved to be no less corruptible. And some of them, such as economic departments, simply serve as prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So they were corrupted even before that rat race for profit. Of course there are exceptions. But they only prove the rule.

As the result university tuition inflation outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds. At some point amount that you pay (and the level of debt after graduation) becomes an important factor in choosing the university. So children of "have" and "have nots" get into different educational institutions and do not meet each other. In a way aristocracy returned via back door.

Neoliberal university professes "deep specialization" to create "ready for the market" graduates. And that creates another problem: education became more like stock market game and that makes more difficult for you to change you specialization late in the education cycle. But early choice entail typical stock market problem: you might miss the peak of the market or worse get into prolonged slump as graduates in finance learned all too well in 2008. That's why it is important not to accumulate too much debt: this is a kind of "all in" play in poker. You essentially bet that in a particular specialty there will be open positions with high salary, when you graduate. If you lose this bet you are done.

As a result of this "reaction to the market trends" by neoliberal universities, when universities bacem appendixes of HR of large corporations students need to be more aware of real university machinery then students in 50th or 60th of the last century. And first of all assume that it is functioning not to their benefits.

One problem for a student is that there are now way too many variables that you do not control. Among them:

On the deep level neoliberal university is not interested to help you to find specialization and place in life where can unleash your talents. You are just a paying customers much like in McDonalds, and university interests are such they might try to push you in wrong direction or load you with too much debt.

If there is deep mismatch as was with computer science graduates after crash of dot-com boom, or simply bad job market due to economy stagnation and you can't find the job for your new specialty (or if you got "junk" specialty with inherent high level of unemployment among professionals) and you have substantial education debt, then waiting tables or having some other MacJob is a real disaster for you. As with such selaries you simply can't pay it back. So controlling the level of debt is very important and in this sence parents financial help is now necessary. In other words education became more and more "rich kids game".

That does not mean that university education should be avoided for those from families with modest means. On the contrary it provides unique experience and help a person to mature in multiple ways difficult to achieve without it. It is still one of the best ways to get vertical mobility. But unless parents can support you you need to try to find the most economical way to obtain it without acquiring too much debt. This is you first university exam. And if you fail it you are in trouble.

For example, computer science education is a great way to learn quite a few things necessary for a modern life. But the price does matter and prestige of the university institution that you attend is just one of the factors you should consider in your evaluation. It should not be the major factor ("vanity fair") unless your parents are rich and can support you. If you are good you can get later a master degree in a prestigious university after graduation from a regular college. Or even Ph.D.

County colleges are greatly underappreciated and generally provide pretty high standard of education, giving ability to students to save money for the first two years before transferring to a four year college. They also smooth the transition as finding yourself among people who are only equal or superior then you (and have access to financial respource that you don't have) is a huge stress. The proverb say that it is better to be first in the village then last in the town has some truth in it. Prestigious universities might provide a career boost (high fly companies usually accept resumes only from Ivy League members), but they cost so much that you need to be a son or daughter of well-to-do parents to feel comfortably in them. Or extremely talented. Also amount of career boost that elite universities provide depends on whom your parents are and what connections they have. It does not depend solely on you and the university. Again, I would like to stress that you should resist "vanity fair" approach to your education: a much better way is to try to obtain BS in a regular university and them try to obtain MS and then, if you are good, PHD, in a prestigious university. Here is a fragment of an interesting discussion that covers this topic (Low Mobility Is Not a Social Tragedy?, Feb 13, 2013 ; I recommend you to read the whole discussion ):

kievite:

I would like to defend Greg Clack.

I think that Greg Clack point is that the number of gifted children is limited and that exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies (story of Alexander Hamilton was really fascinating for me, the story of Mikhail Lomonosov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lomonosov was another one -- he went from the very bottom to the top of Russian aristocracy just on the strength of his abilities as a scientist). In no way the ability to "hold its own" (typical for rich families kids) against which many here expressed some resentment represents social mobility. But the number of kids who went down is low -- that's actually proves Greg Clack point:

(1) Studies of social mobility using surnames suggest two things. Social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated. And social mobility rates estimated in this way vary little across societies and time periods. Sweden is no more mobile than contemporary England and the USA, or even than medieval England. Social mobility rates seem to be independent of social institutions (see the other studies on China, India, Japan and the USA now linked here).

Francisco Ferreira rejects this interpretation, and restates the idea that there is a strong link between social mobility rates and inequality in his interesting post.

What is wrong with the data Ferreira cites? Conventional estimates of social mobility, which look at just single aspects of social status such as income, are contaminated by noise. If we measure mobility on one aspect of status such as income, it will seem rapid.

But this is because income is a very noisy measure of the underlying status of families. The status of families is a combination of their education, occupation, income, wealth, health, and residence. They will often trade off income for some other aspect of status such as occupation. A child can be as socially successful as a low paid philosophy professor as a high paid car salesman. Thus if we measure just one aspect of status such as income we are going to confuse the random fluctuations of income across generations, influenced by such things as career choices between business and philosophy, with true generalised social mobility.

If these estimates of social mobility were anywhere near correct as indicating true underlying rates of social mobility, then we would not find that the aristocrats of 1700 in Sweden are still overrepresented in all elite occupations of Sweden. Further, the more equal is income in a society, the less signal will income give of the true social status of families. In a society such as Sweden, where the difference in income between bus drivers and philosophy professors is modest, income tells us little about the social status of families. It is contaminated much more by random noise. Thus it will appear if we measure social status just by income that mobility is much greater in Sweden than in the USA, because in the USA income is a much better indicator of the true overall status of families.

The last two paragraphs of Greg Clark article cited by Mark Thoma are badly written and actually are somewhat disconnected with his line of thinking as I understand it as well as with the general line of argumentation of the paper.

Again, I would like to stress that a low intergenerational mobility includes the ability of kids with silver spoon in their mouth to keep a status close to their parent. The fact that they a have different starting point then kids from lower strata of society does not change that.

I think that the key argument that needs testing is that the number of challengers from lower strata of the society is always pretty low and is to a large extent accommodated by the societies we know (of course some societies are better then others).

Actually it would be interesting to look at the social mobility data of the USSR from this point of view.

But in no way, say, Mark Thoma was a regular kid, although circumstances for vertical mobility at this time were definitely better then now. He did possessed some qualities which made possible his upward move although his choice of economics was probably a mistake ;-).

Whether those qualities were enough in more restrictive environments we simply don't know, but circumstances for him were difficult enough as they were.

EC -> kievite...

"the number of gifted children is limited"

I stopped reading after that. I teach at a high school in a town with a real mix of highly elite families, working class families, and poor families, and I can tell you that the children of affluent parents are not obviously more gifted than the children of poor families. They do, however, have a lot more social capital, and they have vastly more success. But the limitations on being "gifted" are irrelevant.

According to an extensive study (Turkheimer et al., 2003) of 50,000 pregnant women and the children they went on to have (including enough sets of twins to be able to study the role of innate genetic differences), variation in IQ among the affluent seems to be largely genetic.

Among the poor, however, IQ has very little to do with genes -- probably because the genetic differences are swamped and suppressed by the environmental differences, as few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances.

kievite -> EC...

All you said is true. I completely agree that "...few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances." So there are losses here and we should openly talk about them.

Also it goes without saying that social capital is extremely important for a child. That's why downward mobility of children from upper classes is suppressed, despite the fact that some of them are plain vanilla stupid.

But how this disproves the point made that "exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies"? I think you just jumped the gun...

mrrunangun:

The early boomers benefitted from the happy confluence of the postwar boom, LBJ's Great Society efforts toward financial assistance for those seeking to advance their educations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act which opened opportunities for marginalized social groups in institutions largely closed to them under the prewar social customs in the US.

The US Supreme Court is made up of only Jews and Catholics as of this writing, a circumstance inconceivable in the prewar America. Catholics were largely relegated to separate and unequal institutions. Jews' opportunities were limited by quotas and had a separate set of institutions of their own where their numbers could support such. Where their numbers were not sufficient, they were often relegated to second rate institutions.

Jewish doctors frequently became the leading men in the Catholic hospitals in Midwestern industrial towns where they were unwelcome in the towns' main hospitals. Schools, clubs, hospitals, professional and commercial organizations often had quota or exclusionary policies. Meritocracy has its drawbacks, but we've seen worse in living memory.

College textbook publishing became a racket with the growth of neoliberalism. That means at least since 1980. And it is pretty dirty racket with willing accomplishes in form of so called professors like Greg Mankiw. For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200. An interesting discussion of this problem can be found at Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks'

See Slightly Skeptical View on University Education

New generation of robber barons: US oligarchy never was so audacious

As Jesse aptly noted at his blog post Echoes of the Past In The Economist - The Return of the Übermenschen the US oligarchy never was so audacious.

And it is as isolated as the aristocracies of bygone days, isolation reinforced by newly minted royalty withdrawal into gated estates, Ivy League Universities, and private planes.

They are not openly suggesting that no child should rise above the status of parents, presumably in terms of wealth, education, and opportunity. But their policies are directed toward this goal. If you are born to poor parents in the USA, all bets are off -- your success is highly unlikely, and your servile status, if not poverty is supposedly pre-destined by poor generic material that you got.

This is of course not because the children of the elite inherit the talent, energy, drive, and resilience to overcome the many obstacles they will face in life from their parents. Whatever abilities they have (and regression to the mean is applicable to royalty children too), they are greatly supplemented, of course, by the easy opportunities, valuable connections, and access to power. That's why the result of SAT in the USA so strongly correlated with the wealth of parents. And a virtual freedom from prosecution does not hurt either, in case they have inherited a penchant for sociopathy, or something worse, along with their many gifts.

The view that the children of the poor will not do well, because they are genetically inferior became kind of hidden agenda. These are the pesky 99% just deserve to be cheated and robbed by the elite, because of the inherent superiority of the top one percent. There is no fraud in the system, only good and bad breeding, natural predators and prey.

This line of thinking rests on the assumption that I succeed, therefore I am. And if you do not, well, so be it. You will be low-paid office slave or waiter in McDonalds with a college diploma as it is necessary for the maximization of profits of the elite. There is no space at the top for everybody. Enjoy the ride... Here is an typical expression of such views:

"Many commentators automatically assume that low intergenerational mobility rates represent a social tragedy. I do not understand this reflexive wailing and beating of breasts in response to the finding of slow mobility rates.

The fact that the social competence of children is highly predictable once we know the status of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents is not a threat to the American Way of Life and the ideals of the open society

The children of earlier elites will not succeed because they are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and an automatic ticket to the Ivy League.

They will succeed because they have inherited the talent, energy, drive, and resilience to overcome the many obstacles they will face in life. Life is still a struggle for all who hope to have economic and social success. It is just that we can predict who will be likely to possess the necessary characteristics from their ancestry."

Greg Clark, The Economist, 13 Feb. 2013

Mr. Clark is now a professor of economics and was the department chair until 2013 at the University of California, Davis. His areas of research are long term economic growth, the wealth of nations, and the economic history of England and India.

And another one:

"During this time, a growing professional class believed that scientific progress could be used to cure all social ills, and many educated people accepted that humans, like all animals, were subject to natural selection.

Darwinian evolution viewed humans as a flawed species that required pruning to maintain its health. Therefore negative eugenics seemed to offer a rational solution to certain age-old social problems."

David Micklos, Elof Carlson, Engineering American Society: The Lesson of Eugenics

If we compare this like of thinking with the thinking of eightieth century and you will see that the progress is really limited:

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment.

There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.

It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil.

Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

So all this screams of MSM about dropping consumer spending is just a smoke screen. In oligarchic republic which USA represents, consumption is heavily shifted to top 20% and as such is much less dependent of the conditions of the economy. And top 20% can afford $8 per gallon gas (European price) without any problems.

John Barkley Rosser, Jr. With Marina V. Rosser and Ehsan Ahmed, argued for a two-way positive link between income inequality (economic inequality) and the size of an underground economy in a nation (Rosser, Rosser, and Ahmed, 2000).

Globally in 2005, top fifth (20%) of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption (20:80 Pareto rule). The poorest fifth just 1.5%. I do not think the USA differs that much from the rest of the world.

Citigroup Plutonomy Research reports

There was two famous Citigroup Plutonomy research reports (2005 and 2006) featured in in Capitalism: A Love Story . Here is how Yves Smith summarized the findings (in her post High Income Disparity Leads to Low Savings Rates)

On the one hand, the authors, Ajay Kapur, Niall Macleod, and Narendra Singh get some credit for addressing a topic surprisingly ignored by mainstream economists. There have been some noteworthy efforts to measure the increase in concentration of income and wealth in the US most notably by Thomas Piketty and Edmund Saez. But while there have been some efforts to dispute their findings (that the rich, particularly the top 1%, have gotten relatively MUCH richer in the last 20 years), for the most part discussions of what to make of it (as least in the US) have rapidly descended into theological debates. One camp laments the fall in economic mobility (a predictable side effect), the corrosive impact of perceived unfairness, and the public health costs (even the richest in high income disparity countries suffer from shortened life spans). The other camp tends to focus on the Darwinian aspects, that rising income disparity is the result of a vibrant, open economy, and the higher growth rates that allegedly result will lift help all workers.

Yet as far as I can tell, there has been virtually no discussion of the macroeconomy effects of rising income and wealth disparities, or to look into what the implications for investment strategies might be. One interesting effect is that with rising inequality the share of "guard labor" grows very quickly and that puts an upper limit on the further growth of inequality (half of the citizens cannot be guards protecting few billionaires from the other half).

Now the fact that the Citi team asked a worthwhile question does not mean they came up with a sound answer. In fact, he reports are almost ludicrously funny in the way they attempt to depict what they call plutonomy as not merely a tradeable trend (as in leading to some useful investment ideas), but as a Brave New Economy development. I haven't recalled such Panglossian prose since the most delirious days of the dot-com bubble:

We will posit that:

1) the world is dividing into two blocs – the plutonomies, where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, and the rest. Plutonomies have occurred before in sixteenth century Spain, in seventeenth century Holland, the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties in the U.S.

What are the common drivers of Plutonomy? Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, an international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time…..Most “Global Imbalances” (high current account deficits and low savings rates, high consumer debt levels in the Anglo-Saxon world, etc) that continue to (unprofitably) preoccupy the world’s intelligentsia look a lot less threatening when examined through the prism of plutonomy. The risk premium on equities that might derive from the dyspeptic “global imbalance” school is unwarranted – the earth is not going to be shaken off its axis, and sucked into the cosmos by these “imbalances”. The earth is being held up by the muscular arms of its entrepreneur-plutocrats, like it, or not..

Yves here. Translation: plutonomy is such a great thing that the entire stock market would be valued higher if everyone understood it. And the hoops the reports go through to defend it are impressive. The plutomony countries (the notorious Anglo-Saxon model, the US, UK, Canada and Australia) even have unusually risk-seeking populations (and that is a Good Thing):

…a new, rather out-of-the box hypothesis suggests that dopamine differentials can explain differences in risk-taking between societies. John Mauldin, the author of “Bulls-Eye Investing” in an email last month cited this work. The thesis: Dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, is linked with curiosity, adventure, entrepreneurship, and helps drive results in uncertain environments. Populations generally have about 2% of their members with high enough dopamine levels with the curiosity to emigrate. Ergo, immigrant nations like the U.S. and Canada, and increasingly the UK, have high dopamine-intensity populations.

Yves here. What happened to “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”? Were the Puritans a high dopamine population? Doubtful. How about the Irish emigration to the US, which peaked during its great famine?

Despite a good deal of romanticization standing in for analysis, the report does have one intriguing, and well documented finding: that the plutonomies have low savings rates. Consider an fictional pep rally chant:

We’re from Greenwich
We’re invincible
Living off our income
Never touch the principal

Think about that. If you are rich, you can afford to spend all your income. You don’t need to save, because your existing wealth provides you with a more than sufficient cushion.

The ramifications when you have a high wealth concentration are profound. From the October 2005 report:

In a plutonomy, the rich drop their savings rate, consume a larger fraction of their bloated, very large share of the economy. This behavior overshadows the decisions of everybody else. The behavior of the exceptionally rich drives the national numbers – the “appallingly low” overall savings rates, the “over-extended consumer”, and the “unsustainable” current accounts that accompany this phenomenon….

Feeling wealthier, the rich decide to consume a part of their capital gains right away. In other words, they save less from their income, the wellknown wealth effect. The key point though is that this new lower savings rate is applied to their newer massive income. Remember they got a much bigger chunk of the economy, that’s how it became a plutonomy. The consequent decline in absolute savings for them (and the country) is huge when this happens. They just account for too large a part of the national economy; even a small fall in their savings rate overwhelms the decisions of all the rest.

Yves here. This account rather cheerily dismisses the notion that there might be overextended consumers on the other end of the food chain. Unprecedented credit card delinquencies and mortgage defaults suggest otherwise. But behaviors on both ends of the income spectrum no doubt played into the low-savings dynamic: wealthy who spend heavily, and struggling average consumers who increasingly came to rely on borrowings to improve or merely maintain their lifestyle. And let us not forget: were encouraged to monetize their home equity, so they actually aped the behavior of their betters, treating appreciated assets as savings. Before you chide people who did that as profligate (naive might be a better characterization), recall that no one less than Ben Bernanke was untroubled by rising consumer debt levels because they also showed rising asset levels. Bernanke ignored the fact that debt needs to be serviced out of incomes, and households for the most part were not borrowing to acquire income-producing assets. So unless the rising tide of consumer debt was matched by rising incomes, this process was bound to come to an ugly end.

Also under Bush country definitely moved from oligarchy to plutocracy. Bush openly claimed that "have more" is his base. The top 1% of earners have captured four-fifths of all new income.

An interesting question is whether the extremely unequal income distribution like we have now make the broader society unstable. Or plebs is satisfied with "Bread and circuses" (aka house, SUV, boat, Daytona 500 and 500 channels on cable) as long as loot from the other parts of the world is still coming...

What is the upper limit of inequality?

Martin Bento in his response to Risk Pollution, Market Failure & Social Justice — Crooked Timber made the following point:

Donald made a point I was going to. I would go a bit further though. It’s not clear to me that economic inequality is not desired for its own sake by the some of the elite. After all, studies suggest that once you get past the level of income needed for a reasonably comfortable life – about $40K for a single person in the US - the quest for money is mostly about status.

Meeting your needs is not necessarily zero sum, but status is: my status can only be higher than yours to the extent that yours is lower than mine.

The more inequality there is, the more status differentiation there is. Of course, there are other sources of status than money, but I’m talking specifically about people who value money for the status it confers. This is in addition to the “Donner Party Conservatism” calls to make sure the incentives to work are as strong as possible (to be fair, I think tolerating some inequality for the sake of incentives is worthwhile, but we seem to be well beyond that).

For example currently the USA is No.3 in Gini measured inequality (cyeahoo, Oct 16, 2009), but still the society is reasonably stable:

Gini score: 40.8
GDP 2007 (US$ billions): 13,751.4
Share of income or expenditure (%)
Poorest 10%: 1.9
Richest 10%: 29.9
Ratio of income or expenditure, share of top 10% to lowest 10%: 15.9

What is really surprising is how low the average American salary is: just $26,352 or ~$2,200 a month. This is equal approximately to $13 an hour.

At the same time:

Some interesting facts about upper class (top 1% of the US population). First of all this is pretty self-isolated group (a nation within a nation). They associate almost exclusively with members of their own social and economic standing, few members of the bottom 90% of Americans have ever even personally met a member of the upper class.

Now about top 400:

Here are some interesting hypothesis about affect of inequality of the society:

Higher inequality is somewhat connected with imperial outreach. As Kevin de Bruxelles noted in comment to What collapsing empire looks like - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

I’m surprised a thoughtful guy like Glenn Greenwald would make such an unsubstantiated link between collapsing public services for American peasants and a collapse of America’s global (indirect) imperial realm. Is there really a historic link between the quality of a nation’s services to its citizens and its global power? If so the Scandinavian countries would have been ruling the world for the past fifty years. If anything there is probably a reverse correlation. None of the great historic imperial powers, such as the British, Roman, Spanish, Russian, Ottoman, Mongolian, Chinese, Islamic, or Persian, were associated with egalitarian living conditions for anyone outside of the elite. So from a historic point of view, the ability to divert resources away from the peasants and towards the national security state is a sign of elite power and should be seen as a sign increased American imperial potential.

Now if America’s global power was still based on economic production then an argument could be made that closing libraries and cancelling the 12th grade would lower America’s power potential. But as we all know that is no longer the case and now America’s power is as the global consumer of excess production. Will a dumber peasantry consume even more? I think there is a good chance that the answer is yes.

Now a limit could be reached to how far the elite can lower their peasant’s standard of living if these changes actually resulted in civil disorder that demanded much energy for American elites to quell. But so far that is far from the case. Even a facile gesture such as voting for any other political party except the ruling Republicrats seems like a bridge too far for 95% of the peasants to attempt. No, the sad truth is that American elites, thanks to their exceptional ability to deliver an ever increasing amount of diverting bread and circuses, have plenty of room to further cut standards of living and are nowhere near reaching any limits.

What the reductions in economic and educational options will result in are higher quality volunteers into America’s security machinery, which again obviously raise America’s global power potential. This, along with an increasingly ruthless elite, should assure that into the medium term America’s powerful position will remain unchallenged. If one colors in blue on a world map all the countries under de facto indirect US control then one will start to realize the extent of US power. The only major countries outside of US control are Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela. Iraq and Afghanistan are recent converts to the blue column but it far from certain whether they will stay that way. American elites will resist to the bitter end any country falling from the blue category. But this colored world map is the best metric for judging US global power.

In the end it’s just wishful thinking to link the declining of the American peasant’s standard of living with a declining of the American elite’s global power. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this proven in an attack on Iran in the near future.

High inequality and organized crime

Higher pay inequality feeds organized crime (and here we assume that banksters are different from the organized crime, which is probably a very weak hypothesis ;-). That's why Peter Drucker was probably right. He thought that top execs shouldn't get more than 25 times the average salary in the company (which would cap it around $2 millions). I would suggest a metric based on multiple from the average of lower 50% full time jobs for a particular firm (for example in Wal Mart that would cashers and cleaners, people who are living in Latin American style poverty, if they are single mothers as many are). One of the particular strengths of the idea of the maximum wage base on average of lower 50% of salaries is that if senior managers want to increase their own pay, they have to increase that of the lower-paid employees too.

And in a way financial industry itself became an organized crime. The notion of exorbitant wages prevalent in financial industry (and, before it, pioneered by in high-tech companies during dot-com boom via stock options) is based on the idea that some people are at least hundred times more productive then the others. In some professions like programming this is true and such people do exists. But any sufficiently large company is about team work. No matter what job a person does and no matter how many hours they work, there is no possible way that an single individual will create a whole product. It's a team effort. That means that neither skill nor expertise or intelligence can justify the payment of 200, 300 or even 400 times the wages of the lowest-paid 20% workers in any large organization.

This is especially questionable for financial professionals because by and large they are engaged in non-productive. often harmful for the society as whole redistribution activities, the same activities that organized crime performs. Moreover, modern traders are actually play a tremendously destructive role as subprime crisis (and before it saving and loans debacle) aptly demonstrated. which make them indistinguishable in this societal roles from cocaine pushers on the streets.

Drucker's views on the subject are probably worth revisiting. Rick Wartzman wrote in his Business Week article Put a Cap on CEO Pay' that "those who understand that what comes with their authority is the weight of responsibility, not "the mantle of privilege," as writer and editor Thomas Stewart described Drucker's view. It's their job "to do what is right for the enterprise—not for shareholders alone, and certainly not for themselves alone."

Large pay also attracts sociopathic personalities. Sociopathic personalities at the top of modern organizations is another important but rarely discussed danger.

"I'm not talking about the bitter feelings of the people on the plant floor," Drucker told a reporter in 2004. "They're convinced that their bosses are crooks anyway. It's the mid-level management that is incredibly disillusioned" by CEO compensation that seems to have no bounds. " This is especially true, Drucker explained in an earlier interview, when CEOs pocket huge sums while laying off workers. That kind of action, he said, is "morally unforgivable." There can be exceptions but they should be in middle management not in top management ranks.

Put it all together, and the picture became really discouraging. We have an ill-informed or misinformed electorate, politicians who gleefully add to the misinformation, watchdogs who are afraid to bark and guards on each and every corner. Mousetrap is complete.

Recommended Books

Winner-Take-All Politics How Washington Made the Rich Richer -- and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Paul Pierson, Jacob S. Hacker

Henry J. Farrell

Transforming American politics, September 16, 2010

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover) This is a transformative book. It's the best book on American politics that I've read since Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm. Not all of it is original (the authors seek to synthesize others' work as well as present their own, but provide due credit where credit is due). Not all of its arguments are fully supported (the authors provide a strong circumstantial case to support their argument, but don't have smoking gun evidence on many of the relevant causal relations). But it should transform the ways in which we think about and debate the political economy of the US.

The underlying argument is straightforward. The sources of American economic inequality are largely political - the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public. The authors weave a historical narrative which Kevin Drum (who says the same things that I am saying about the book's importance) summarizes cogently here. This is not necessarily original - a lot of leftwing and left-of-center writers have been making similar claims for a long time. What is new is both the specific evidence that the authors use, and their conscious and deliberate effort to reframe what is important about American politics.

First - the evidence. Hacker and Pierson draw on work by economists like Picketty and Saez on the substantial growth in US inequality (and on comparisons between the US and other countries), but argue that many of the explanations preferred by economists (the effects of technological change on demand for skills) simply don't explain what is going on. First, they do not explain why inequality is so top-heavy - that is, why so many of the economic benefits go to a tiny, tiny minority of individuals among those with apparently similar skills. Second, they do not explain cross national variation - why the differences in the level of inequality among advanced industrialized countries, all of which have gone through more-or-less similar technological shocks, are so stark. While Hacker and Pierson agree that technological change is part of the story, they suggest that the ways in which this is channeled in different national contexts is crucial. And it is here that politics plays a key role.

Many economists are skeptical that politics explains the outcome, suggesting that conventional forms of political intervention are not big enough to have such dramatic consequences. Hacker and Pierson's reply implicitly points to a blind spot of many economists - they argue that markets are not `natural,' but instead are constituted by government policy and political institutions. If institutions are designed one way, they result in one form of market activity, whereas if they are designed another way, they will result in very different outcomes. Hence, results that appear like `natural' market operations to a neo-classical economist may in fact be the result of political decisions, or indeed of deliberate political inaction. Hacker and Pierson cite e.g. the decision of the Clinton administration not to police derivatives as an example of how political coalitions may block reforms in ways that have dramatic economic consequences.

Hence, Hacker and Pierson turn to the lessons of ongoing political science research. This is both a strength and a weakness. I'll talk about the weakness below - but I found the account of the current research convincing, readable and accurate. It builds on both Hacker and Pierson's own work and the work of others (e.g. the revisionist account of American party structures from Zaller et al. and the work of Bartels). This original body of work is not written in ways that make it easily accessible to non-professionals - while Bartels' book was both excellent and influential, it was not an easy read. Winner-Take-All Politics pulls off the tricky task of both presenting the key arguments underlying work without distorting them and integrating them into a highly readable narrative.

As noted above, the book sets out (in my view quite successfully) to reframe how we should think about American politics. It downplays the importance of electoral politics, without dismissing it, in favor of a focus on policy-setting, institutions, and organization.

In Hacker and Pierson's account, these three together account for the systematic political bias towards greater inequality. In simplified form: Organizations - and battles between organizations over policy as well as elections - are the structuring conflicts of American politics. The interests of the rich are represented by far more powerful organizations than the interests of the poor and middle class. The institutions of the US provide these organizations and their political allies with a variety of tools to promote new policies that reshape markets in their interests. This account is in some ways neo-Galbraithian (Hacker and Pierson refer in passing to the notion of `countervailing powers'). But while it lacks Galbraith's magisterial and mellifluous prose style, it is much better than he was on the details.

Even so (and here begin the criticisms) - it is not detailed enough. The authors set the book up as a whodunit: Who or what is responsible for the gross inequalities of American economic life? They show that the other major suspects have decent alibis (they may inadvertently have helped the culprit, but they did not carry out the crime itself. They show that their preferred culprit had the motive and, apparently, the means. They find good circumstantial evidence that he did it. But they do not find a smoking gun. For me, the culprit (the American political system) is like OJ. As matters stand, I'm pretty sure that he committed the crime. But I'm not sure that he could be convicted in a court of law, and I could be convinced that I was wrong, if major new exculpatory evidence was uncovered.

The lack of any smoking gun (or, alternatively, good evidence against a smoking gun) is the direct result of a major failure of American intellectual life. As the authors observe elsewhere, there is no field of American political economy. Economists have typically treated the economy as non-political. Political scientists have typically not concerned themselves with the American economy. There are recent efforts to change this, coming from economists like Paul Krugman and political scientists like Larry Bartels, but they are still in their infancy. We do not have the kinds of detailed and systematic accounts of the relationship between political institutions and economic order for the US that we have e.g. for most mainland European countries. We will need a decade or more of research to build the foundations of one.

Hence, while Hacker and Pierson show that political science can get us a large part of the way, it cannot get us as far as they would like us to go, for the simple reason that political science is not well developed enough yet. We can identify the causal mechanisms intervening between some specific political decisions and non-decisions and observed outcomes in the economy. We cannot yet provide a really satisfactory account of how these particular mechanisms work across a wider variety of settings and hence produce the general forms of inequality that they point to. Nor do we yet have a really good account of the precise interactions between these mechanisms and other mechanisms.

None of this is to discount the importance of this book. If it has the impact it deserves, it will transform American public arguments about politics and policymaking. I cannot see how someone who was fair minded could come away from reading this book and not be convinced that politics plays a key role in the enormous economic inequality that we see. And even if it is aimed at a general audience, it also challenges academics and researchers in economics, political science and economic sociology both to re-examine their assumptions about how economics and politics work, and to figure out ways better to engage with the key political debates of our time as Hacker and Pierson have done. If you can, buy it.

Great Faulkner's Ghost (Washington, DC)

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover) Many people have observed that American politics and the American economy reached some kind of turning point around 1980, which conveniently marks the election of Ronald Reagan. Some also pointed to other factors such as the deregulation of stock brokerage commissions in 1975 and the high inflation of the 1970s. Other analysts have put the turning point back in 1968, when Richard Nixon became President on the back of a wave of white, middle-class resentment against the 1960s. Hacker and Pierson, however, point the finger at the 1970s. As they describe in Chapter 4, the Nixon presidency saw the high-water market of the regulatory state; the demise of traditional liberalism occurred during the Carter administration, despite Democratic control of Washington, when highly organized business interests were able to torpedo the Democratic agenda and begin the era of cutting taxes for the rich that apparently has not yet ended today.

Why then? Not, as popular commentary would have it, because public opinion shifted. Hacker and Pierson cite studies showing that public opinion on issues such as inequality has not shifted over the past thirty years; most people still think society is too unequal and that taxes should be used to reduce inequality. What has shifted is that Congressmen are now much more receptive to the opinions of the rich, and there is actually a negative correlation between their positions and the preferences of their poor constituents (p. 111). Citing Martin Gilens, they write, "When well-off people strongly supported a policy change, it had almost three times the chance of becoming law as when they strongly opposed it. When median-income people strongly supported a policy change, it had hardly any greater chance of becoming law than when they strongly opposed it" (p. 112). In other words, it isn't public opinion, or the median voter, that matters; it's what the rich want.

That shift occurred in the 1970s because businesses and the super-rich began a process of political organization in the early 1970s that enabled them to pool their wealth and contacts to achieve dominant political influence (described in Chapter 5). To take one of the many statistics they provide, the number of companies with registered lobbyists in Washington grew from 175 in 1971 to nearly 2,500 in 1982 (p. 118). Money pouring into lobbying firms, political campaigns, and ideological think tanks created the organizational muscle that gave the Republicans a formidable institutional advantage by the 1980s. The Democrats have only reduced that advantage in the past two decades by becoming more like Republicans-more business-friendly, more anti-tax, and more dependent on money from the super-rich. And that dependency has severely limited both their ability and their desire to fight back on behalf of the middle class (let alone the poor), which has few defenders in Washington.

At a high level, the lesson of Winner-Take-All Politics is similar to that of 13 Bankers: when looking at economic phenomena, be they the financial crisis or the vast increase in inequality of the past thirty years, it's politics that matters, not just abstract economic forces. One of the singular victories of the rich has been convincing the rest of us that their disproportionate success has been due to abstract economic forces beyond anyone's control (technology, globalization, etc.), not old-fashioned power politics. Hopefully the financial crisis and the recession that has ended only on paper (if that) will provide the opportunity to teach people that there is no such thing as abstract economic forces; instead, there are different groups using the political system to fight for larger shares of society's wealth. And one group has been winning for over thirty years.

Citizen John (USA)

In Winner-Take-All Politics, two political science professors explain what caused the Middle Class to become vulnerable. Understanding this phenomenon is the Holy Grail of contemporary economics in the U.S.

Some may feel this book is just as polarizing as the current state of politics and media in America. The decades-long decline in income taxes of wealthy individuals is cited in detail. Wage earners are usually subjected to the FICA taxes against all their ordinary income (all or almost their entire total income). But the top wealthy Americans may have only a small percentage (or none) of their income subjected to FICA taxes. Thus Warren Buffett announced that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Buffett has cited income inequality for "poisoning democracy."

When you search the Net for Buffett quotes on inequality, you get a lot of results showing how controversial he became for stating the obvious. Drawing attention to the inequity of the tax regime won him powerful enemies. Those same people are not going to like the authors for writing Winner-Take-All. They say these political science people are condescending because they presume to tell people their political interests.

Many of studies of poverty show how economic and political policies generally favor the rich throughout the world, some of which are cited in this book. Military spending and financial bailouts in particular favor the wealthy. Authors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson document a long U.S. policy trend favoring wealthy Americans. This trend resulted in diminished middle class access to quality healthcare and education, making it harder to keep up with the wealthy in relative terms. Further, once people have lost basic foundations of security, they are less willing and able to take on more risk in terms of investing or starting a business.

The rise of special interests has been at the expense of the middle class, according to the authors. Former President Carter talked about this and was ridiculed. Since then government has grown further from most of us. Even federal employees are not like most of us anymore. In its August 10, 2010 issue, USA Today discussed government salaries: "At a time when workers' pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees' average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds."

An excellent documentary showing how difficult it is to address income inequality is One Percent, by Jamie Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson family. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jared Diamond Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed shows examples of what can happen when a society disregards a coming disaster until too late. I hope that Winner-Take-All will prompt people to demand more of elected officials and to arrest the growing income gap for the sake of our democracy.

Michael Emmett Brady "mandmbrady" (Bellflower, California ,United States)

4.5 stars-Wall Street speculators control both parties, September 19, 2010 See all my reviews

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover)

This book basically argues that Wall Street controls both political parties through the use of massive campaign contributions and lobbyists who buy off both the Republicans and Democrats in the White House,Senate and House.This is essentially correct but obvious.Anyone can go back to the 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign and simply verify that the majority of his campaign funds and advisors came from Wall Street.This identical conclusion also holds with respect to Ronald Reagan,George H W Bush,Bill Clinton,George W Bush and Barack Obama. The only Presidents/Presidential candidates not dominated by Wall Street since 1976 were Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan.

For instance,it is common knowledge to anyone who carefully checks to see where the money is coming from that Wall Street financiers, hedgefunds, private equity firms and giant commercial banks are calling the shots. For example, one could simply read the July 9,2007 issue of FORTUNE magazine to discover who the major backers of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were. One could also have read Business Week(2-25-2008) or the Los Angeles Times of 3-21-2008.Through February, 2008 the major donors to the McCain campaign were 1)Merrill Lynch, 2) Citigroup, 3)Goldman Sachs, 4)J P Morgan Chase and 5)Credit Suisse

The major donors to the Hillary Clinton campaign were 1)Goldman Sachs, 2)Morgan Stanley, 3)Citigroup, 4)Lehman Brothers and 5)J P Morgan Chase.

Guess who were the major donors to the Obama campaign ? If you guessed 1)Goldman Sachs,2)UBS Ag,3)J P Morgan Chase ,4)Lehman Brothers and 5)Citigroup, then you are correct.

It didn't matter who became President-Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama or John McCain.All three had been thoroughly vetted by Wall Street. The campaign staffs of all three candidates ,especially their economic and finance advisors, were all Wall Street connected. Wall Street would have been bailed out regardless of which party won the 2008 election.

Obama is not going to change anything substantially in the financial markets. Neither is Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Kerry or Sen. Schumer, etc. Nor is any Republican candidate going to make any changes, simply because the Republican Party is dominated even more so by Wall Street(100%) than the Democratic Party(80%). The logical solution would be to support a Third Party candidate, for example, Ross Perot .

One aspect of the book is deficient. True conservatives like Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs have been warning about the grave dangers of hallowing out and downsizing the American Manufacturing -Industrial sector, with the consequent offshoring and/or loss of many millions of American jobs, for about 20 years at the same time that the " financial services " sector has exploded from 3% of the total service sector in 1972 to just under 40% by 2007. This is what is causing the great shrinkage in the middle class in America .

Matt Milholland (California)

An Important Book, October 9, 2010 See all my reviews

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover)

This is a phenomenal book and everyone interested in how American politics works (or more accurately, doesn't work) should pick it up. It's both really smart and really accessible to a lay audience, which is rare for a political science book.

Extreme economic inequality and the near paralysis of our governing institutions has lead to a status-quo that is almost entirely indifferent to the needs of working families. Hacker & Pierson chronicle the rise of this corrupt system and the dual, yet distinct, roles the Republican and Democratic Parties have played in abetting it.

Seriously, it's top-notch. Read this book.

Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" By(Phoenix, AZ.)

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Timely, but Also Off-Base in Some Regards, September 15, 2010 See all my reviews

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover) The thirty-eight biggest Wall Street companies earned $140 billion in 2009, a record that all taxpayers who contributed to their bailouts can be proud of. Among those, Goldman Sachs paid its employees an average $600,000, also a record, and at least partially attributable to our bailout of AIG, which promptly gave much of the money to Goldman. Prior to that, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned an average of $892 million in 2007. "Winner-Take-All Politics" is framed as a detective story about how we got to inequality levels where the top 300,000 (0.1%) receive over 20% of national income, vs. 13.5% for the bottom 180 million (60% of the population).

Between 1947 and 1973, real family median income essentially doubled, and the growth percentage was virtually the same for all income levels. In the mid-1970s, however, economic inequality began to increase sharply and middle-incomes lagged. Increased female workforce participation rates and more overtime helped cushion the stagnation or decline for many (they also increased the risk of layoffs/family), then growing credit card debt shielded many families from reality. Unfortunately, expectations of stable full-time employment also began shrinking, part-time, temporary, and economic risk-bearing (eg. taxi drivers leasing vehicles and paying the fuel costs; deliverymen 'buying' routes and trucks) work increased, workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance fell from 69% in 1979 to 56% in 2004, and retirement coverage was either been dropped entirely or mostly converted to much less valuable fix-contribution plans for private sector employees. Some exceptions have occurred that benefit the middle and lower-income segments - Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medicaid, and Medicare were initiated or expanded, but these have not blunted the overall trend. Conversely, welfare reform, incarceration rates rising 6X between 1970 and 2000, bankruptcy reform, and increased tax audits for EITC recipients have also added to their burden, Social Security is being challenged again (despite stock market declines, enormous transition costs, and vastly increased overhead costs and fraud opportunity), and 2009's universal health care reform will be aggressively challenged both in the courts and Washington.

Authors Hacker and Pierson contend that growing inequality is not the 'natural' product of market rewards, but mostly the artificial result of deliberate government policies, strongly influenced by industry lobbyists and donations, new and expanded conservative 'think tanks,' and inadequate media coverage that focused more on the 'horse race' aspects of various initiatives than their content and impact. First came the capital gains tax cuts under President Carter, then deregulation of the financial industry under Clinton, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and the financial bailouts in 2008-09. The authors contend that if the 1970 tax structure remained today, the top gains would be considerably less.

But what about the fact that in 1965 CEOs of large corporations only earned about 24X the average worker, compared to 300+X now? Hacker and Pierson largely ignore the role of board-room politics and malfeasance that have mostly allowed managers to serve themselves with payment without regard to performance and out of proportion to other nations. In 2006, the 20 highest-paid European managers made an average $12.5 million, only one-third as much as the 20 highest-earning U.S. executives. Yet, the Europeans led larger firms - $65.5 billion in sales vs. $46.5 billion for the U.S. Asian CEOs commonly make only 10X-15X what their base level employees make. Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (world's largest), made $234,700 in 2008, less than 2% of the $19.6 million awarded Jamie Dimon, CEO of the world's fourth-largest bank, JPMorgan Chase.

"Winner-Take-All Politics" also provides readers with the composition of 2004 taxpayers in the top 0.1% of earners (including capital gains). Non-finance executives comprised 41% of the group, finance professionals 18.4%, lawyers 6%, real estate personages 5%, physicians 4%, entrepreneurs 4%, and arts and sports stars 3%. The authors assert that this shows education and skills levels are not the great dividers most everyone credits them to be - the vast majority of Americans losing ground to the super-rich includes many well-educated individuals, while the super-rich includes many without a college education (Sheldon Adelson, Paul Allen, Edgar Bronfman, Jack Kent Cook, Michael Dell, Walt Disney, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Wayne Huizenga, Steve Jobs, Rush Limbaugh, Steve Wozniak, and Mark Zuckerberg).

Authors Hacker and Pierson are political science professors and it is understandable that they emphasize political causes (PACs, greater recruitment of evangelical voters, lobbying - eg. $500 million on health care lobbying in 2009, filibusters that allow senators representing just 10% of the population to stop legislation and make the other side look incompetent, etc.) for today's income inequality. However, their claim that foreign trade is "largely innocent" as a cause is neither substantiated nor logical. Foreign trade as practiced today pads corporate profits and executive bonuses while destroying/threatening millions of American jobs and lowering/holding down the incomes of those affected. Worse yet, the authors don't even mention the impact of millions of illegal aliens depressing wage rates while taking jobs from Americans, nor do they address the canard that tax cuts for and spending by the super-wealthy are essential to our economic success (refuted by Moody's Analytics and Austan Goolsbee, Business Week - 9/13/2010). They're also annoyingly biased towards unions, ignoring their constant strikes and abuses in the 1960s and 1970s, major contributions to G.M., Chrysler, and legacy airline bankruptcies, and current school district, local, and state financial difficulties.

Bottom-Line: It is a sad commentary on the American political system that growing and record levels of inequality are being met by populist backlash against income redistribution and expanding trust in government, currently evidenced by those supporting extending tax cuts for the rich and railing against reforming health care to reduce expenditures from 17.3+% of GDP to more internationally competitive levels (4-6%) while improving patient outcomes. "Winner-Take-All Politics" is interesting reading, provides some essential data, and point out some evidence of the inadequacy of many voters. However, the authors miss the 'elephant in the room' - American-style democracy is not viable when at most 10% of citizens are 'proficient' per functional literacy tests ([...]), and only a small proportion of them have the time and access required to sift through the flood of half-truths, lies, and irrelevancies to objectively evaluate 2,000+ page bills and other political activity. (Ideology-dominated economic professionals and short-term thinking human rights advocates are two others.) Comments (2)

Brian Kodi

"Americans live in Russia, but they think they live in Sweden." - Chrystia Freeland, March 26, 2011 See all my reviews

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover)

No one should doubt the rising income inequality in America, which the authors trace back to the late 1970s since the latter part of Carter's presidency in what they call the "30 Year War". Zachary Roth, in a March 4th Time magazine article stated "A slew of conservative economists of unimpeachable academic credentials--including Martin Feldstein of Harvard, Glenn Hubbard, who was President Bush's top economic adviser, and Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke--have all acknowledged that inequality is on the rise."

And why should we care that most of the after tax income growth since 30 years ago has gone the way of the richest Americans in a "winner-take-all" economy? Because as Supreme Court justice biographer Melvin Urofsky stated, "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." (p. 81) Because if unchecked, a new economic aristocracy may replace the old hereditary aristocracy America's Founders fought to defeat (p. 298). Because unequal societies are unhappy societies, and inequality can foster individual resentment that may lead to a pervasive decline in civility and erosion of culture.

And why should we be concerned that this trend in rising inequality may not experience the period of renewal the authors are optimistic about? Because unlike the shock of the 1930s' Great Depression that served as the impetus for the politics of middle class democracy, the potential shockwaves of the 2008 Great Recession were tempered by massive government stimulus, resulting in no meaningful financial reform, and an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy. And because of the lottery mentality of a large swath of the population which opposes tax increases on the rich. One day, they or their children too can share in the American dream. According to an October 2000 Time-CNN poll, 19 percent of Americans were convinced they belonged to the richest 1 percent. Another 20 percent thought they'd make the rank of the top 1 percent at some point in their lives. That's quite a turnover in the top 1 percent category to accommodate 20 percent of the population passing through.

Mr. Hacker and Mr. Pierson have put together powerful arguments on the root causes of income inequality in the U.S., its political and economic ramifications, and to a lesser extent, a roadmap to returning democracy to the masses. This is an eye opening and disturbing, yet informative book, even for readers who may disagree with their opinions.

J. Strauss (NYC)

3.0 out of 5 stars great history of big money influence on policy but needs more analysis of the ways policy affects the winner-take-all economy, September 21, 2011 See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Hardcover)

Writing:

A bit hokey and repetitive for the first couple chapters. Much better after that. Stick with it if you're interested in the subject.

Content:

This book does a very good job explaining how and why certain special interest groups (notably those that represent the wealthiest .1%) have come to have such a stranglehold on government, particularly Congress. I come away with a clear understanding of how the wealthiest citizens are able to exert their influence over legislative policy and enforcement at the federal level.

What I would have liked more of are better explanations of the mechanisms through which government policies exacerbate the winner-take-all economy. Tax policy (rates and loopholes) is the most obvious answer, and the book provides plenty of stats on the regression of tax policy over the past 30 years.

But complicated, interesting, and largely missing from public discourse is why PRE-TAX incomes have become so much more radically skewed during that time. This is certainly touched on - the authors are deliberate in saying it's not JUST tax policy that's contributing to increased inequality - but I would've liked much more analysis of the other policy-driven factors. "Deregulation" is too general an explanation to paint a clear picture.

The authors make it clear that they believe the increasing divide in pre-tax incomes (the winner-take-all economy) is not the inevitable result of technological changes and of differences in education ("the usual suspects"), but of policy decisions made at the state and, especially, federal levels. Personally, I wasn't fully convinced that technological change has little or nothing to do with the skew (though I agree that while education goes a long way toward explaining the gap between poor and middle class, it doesn't explain much of the gap between middle class and super rich). But I do believe, as they do, that public policy plays a large role in influencing the extent of inequality in pre-tax incomes, even beyond more obvious market-impacting factors like union influence, and mandates including the minimum wage, restrictions on pollution, workplace safety and fairness laws, etc.

Off the top of my head, here are some regulatory issues that affect market outcomes and can influence the extent of winner-take-all effects in the marketplace (a few of these may have been mentioned in the book, but none were discussed in detail):

And many more. I know regulatory issues like that play huge roles in the distribution of pre-tax "market" incomes, but I'd like to have a better understanding of how, and also to be better able to articulate how in response to those who seem to believe taxes (and perhaps obvious restrictions, such as on pollution or the minimum wage) are the only significant means through which governments influence wealth disparities.

There wasn't a whole lot of discussion of these or similar regulatory issues in the book. I would like to see another edition, or perhaps another book entirely, that does. Please let me know if you have any recommendations.


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"You load 16 tons and whaddaya get??
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don'tcha call me 'Cause-I can't go…
I owe my soul to the Company Store"

-- "Sixteen Tons"

[Oct 11, 2017] The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations

Notable quotes:
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

...The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 09, 2017] Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

[Oct 05, 2017] How Billionaires become Billionaires - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... Billionaires in the commercial conglomerates, like Walmart, exploit workers by paying poverty wages and providing few, if any, benefits. Walmart earns $16 billion dollar a year in profits by paying its workers between $10 and $13 an hour and relying on state and federal assistance to provide services to the families of its impoverished workers through Medicaid and food stamps. ..."
"... Inequality is not a result of 'technology' and 'education'- contemporary euphemisms for the ruling class cult of superiority – as liberals and conservative economists and journalists like to claim. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion. ..."
"... Workers pay disproportional taxes for education, health, social and public services and subsidies for billionaires ..."
"... First and foremost, billionaires and their political, legal and corporate associates dominate the political parties. They designate the leaders and key appointees, thus ensuring that budgets and policies will increase their profits, erode social benefits for the masses and weaken the political power of popular organizations ..."
"... As a result, wage and salary workers are less organized and less influential; they work longer and for less pay, suffer greater workplace insecurity and injuries – physical and mental – fall into decline and disability, drop out of the system, die earlier and poorer, and, in the process, provide unimaginable profits for the billionaire class ..."
"... The bulk of repatriated profits are directed to buy back stock to increase dividends for investors; they are not invested in the productive economy. Lower taxes and greater profits for conglomerates means more buy-outs and greater outflows to low wage countries. In real terms taxes are already less than half the headline rate and are a major factor heightening the concentration of income and power – both cause and effect. ..."
"... In other words, the capitalist class as a whole, globalist and domestic alike, pursues the same regressive policies, promoting inequalities while struggling over shares of the profits. One hundred and fifty million wage and salaried taxpayers are excluded from the political and social decisions that directly affect their income, employment, rates of taxation, and political representation. ..."
"... However, worker hostility and despair is directed against 'immigrants' and against the 'liberals' who have backed the import of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labor under the guise of 'freedom'. This 'politically correct' image of imported labor covers up a policy, which has served to lower wages, benefits and living standards for American workers, whether they are in technology, construction or production. ..."
"... The pro and anti-immigrant issue avoids the root cause for the economic exploitation and social degradation of the working class – the billionaire owners operating in alliance with the political elite. ..."
Oct 05, 2017 | www.unz.com

Billionaires in the commercial conglomerates, like Walmart, exploit workers by paying poverty wages and providing few, if any, benefits. Walmart earns $16 billion dollar a year in profits by paying its workers between $10 and $13 an hour and relying on state and federal assistance to provide services to the families of its impoverished workers through Medicaid and food stamps. Amazon plutocrat Jeff Bezos exploits workers by paying $12.50 an hour while he has accumulated over $80 billion dollars in profits. UPS CEO David Albany takes $11 million a year by exploiting workers at $11 an hour. Federal Express CEO, Fred Smith gets $16 million and pays workers $11 an hour.

Inequality is not a result of 'technology' and 'education'- contemporary euphemisms for the ruling class cult of superiority – as liberals and conservative economists and journalists like to claim. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion. The ruling class has mastered the 'technology' of exploiting the state, through its pillage of the treasury, and the working class. Capitalist exploitation of low paid production workers provides additional billions for the 'philanthropic' billionaire family foundations to polish their public image – using another tax avoidance gimmick – self-glorifying 'donations'.

Workers pay disproportional taxes for education, health, social and public services and subsidies for billionaires.

Billionaires in the arms industry and security/mercenary conglomerates receive over $700 billion dollars from the federal budget, while over 100 million US workers lack adequate health care and their children are warehoused in deteriorating schools.

Workers and Bosses: Mortality Rates

Billionaires and multi-millionaires and their families enjoy longer and healthier lives than their workers. They have no need for health insurance policies or public hospitals. CEO's live on average ten years longer than a worker and enjoy twenty years more of healthy and pain-free lives.

Private, exclusive clinics and top medical care include the most advanced treatment and safe and proven medication which allow billionaires and their family members to live longer and healthier lives. The quality of their medical care and the qualifications of their medical providers present a stark contrast to the health care apartheid that characterizes the rest of the United States.

Workers are treated and mistreated by the health system: They have inadequate and often incompetent medical treatment, cursory examinations by inexperienced medical assistants and end up victims of the widespread over-prescription of highly addictive narcotics and other medications. Over-prescription of narcotics by incompetent 'providers' has significantly contributed to the rise in premature deaths among workers, spiraling cases of opiate overdose, disability due to addiction and descent into poverty and homelessness. These irresponsible practices have made additional billions of dollars in profits for the insurance corporate elite, who can cut their pensions and health care liabilities as injured, disabled and addicted workers drop out of the system or die.

The shortened life expectancy for workers and their family members is celebrated on Wall Street and in the financial press. Over 560,000 workers were killed by opioids between 1999-2015 contributing to the decline in life expectancy for working age wage and salary earners and reduced pension liabilities for Wall Street and the Social Security Administration.

Inequalities are cumulative, inter-generational and multi-sectorial.

Billionaire families, their children and grandchildren, inherit and invest billions. They have privileged access to the most prestigious schools and medical facilities, and conveniently fall in love to equally privileged, well-connected mates to join their fortunes and form even greater financial empires. Their wealth buys favorable, even fawning, mass media coverage and the services of the most influential lawyers and accountants to cover their swindles and tax evasion.

Billionaires hire innovators and sweat shop MBA managers to devise more ways to slash wages, increase productivity and ensure that inequalities widen even further. Billionaires do not have to be the brightest or most innovative people: Such individuals can simply be bought or imported on the 'free market' and discarded at will.

Billionaires have bought out or formed joint ventures with each other, creating interlocking directorates. Banks, IT, factories, warehouses, food and appliance, pharmaceuticals and hospitals are linked directly to political elites who slither through doors of rotating appointments within the IMF, the World Bank, Treasury, Wall Street banks and prestigious law firms.

Consequences of Inequalities

First and foremost, billionaires and their political, legal and corporate associates dominate the political parties. They designate the leaders and key appointees, thus ensuring that budgets and policies will increase their profits, erode social benefits for the masses and weaken the political power of popular organizations .

Secondly, the burden of the economic crisis is shifted on to the workers who are fired and later re-hired as part-time, contingent labor. Public bailouts, provided by the taxpayer, are channeled to the billionaires under the doctrine that Wall Street banks are too big to fail and workers are too weak to defend their wages, jobs and living standards.

Billionaires buy political elites, who appoint the World Bank and IMF officials tasked with instituting policies to freeze or reduce wages, slash corporate and public health care obligations and increase profits by privatizing public enterprises and facilitating corporate relocation to low wage, low tax countries.

As a result, wage and salary workers are less organized and less influential; they work longer and for less pay, suffer greater workplace insecurity and injuries – physical and mental – fall into decline and disability, drop out of the system, die earlier and poorer, and, in the process, provide unimaginable profits for the billionaire class . Even their addiction and deaths provide opportunities for huge profit – as the Sackler Family, manufacturers of Oxycontin, can attest.

The billionaires and their political acolytes argue that deeper regressive taxation would increase investments and jobs. The data speaks otherwise. The bulk of repatriated profits are directed to buy back stock to increase dividends for investors; they are not invested in the productive economy. Lower taxes and greater profits for conglomerates means more buy-outs and greater outflows to low wage countries. In real terms taxes are already less than half the headline rate and are a major factor heightening the concentration of income and power – both cause and effect.

Corporate elites, the billionaires in the Silicon Valley-Wall Street global complex are relatively satisfied that their cherished inequalities are guaranteed and expanding under the Demo-Republican Presidents- as the 'good times' roll on.

Away from the 'billionaire elite', the 'outsiders' – domestic capitalists – clamor for greater public investment in infrastructure to expand the domestic economy, lower taxes to increase profits, and state subsidies to increase the training of the labor force while reducing funds for health care and public education. They are oblivious to the contradiction.

In other words, the capitalist class as a whole, globalist and domestic alike, pursues the same regressive policies, promoting inequalities while struggling over shares of the profits. One hundred and fifty million wage and salaried taxpayers are excluded from the political and social decisions that directly affect their income, employment, rates of taxation, and political representation. They understand, or at least experience, how the class system works. Most workers know about the injustice of the fake 'free trade' agreements and regressive tax regime, which weighs heavy on the majority of wage and salary earners.

However, worker hostility and despair is directed against 'immigrants' and against the 'liberals' who have backed the import of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labor under the guise of 'freedom'. This 'politically correct' image of imported labor covers up a policy, which has served to lower wages, benefits and living standards for American workers, whether they are in technology, construction or production. Rich conservatives, on the other hand, oppose immigration under the guise of 'law and order' and to lower social expenditures – despite that fact that they all use imported nannies, tutors, nurses, doctors and gardeners to service their families. Their servants can always be deported when convenient.

The pro and anti-immigrant issue avoids the root cause for the economic exploitation and social degradation of the working class – the billionaire owners operating in alliance with the political elite.

In order to reverse the regressive tax practices and tax evasion, the low wage cycle and the spiraling death rates resulting from narcotics and other preventable causes, which profit insurance companies and pharmaceutical billionaires, class alliances need to be forged linking workers, consumers, pensioners, students, the disabled, the foreclosed homeowners, evicted tenants, debtors, the under-employed and immigrants as a unified political force.

Sooner said than done, but never tried! Everything and everyone is at stake: life, health and happiness.

conatus > , October 5, 2017 at 9:02 am GMT

Ronald Reagan can be blamed for the excess of billionaires we now have. His lauding of the entrepreneurial spirit and how we are all brave individual risk takers makes it seem you are an envious chickensh$t if you advocate against unlimited assets.

But even Warren Buffet has come out for the estate tax saying something like now the Forbes 400 now possesses total assets of 2.5 trillion in a 20 trillion economy when 40 years ago they totaled in the millions. The legal rule against perpetuities generally used to limit trusts to a lifetime of 100 years, now some states offer 1000 year trusts which will only concretize an outlandishly high Gini coefficient(a measure of income inequality).
The rationale for lowering taxes and the untouchable rich is usually the trickle down theory but, as one of these billionaires said, "How many pairs of pants can I buy?" It takes 274 years spending 10,000 a day to spend a billion dollars.
Better Henry Ford's virtuous circle than Ronald Reagan's entrepreneur.
Ban all billionaires. Bring back the union label. Otherwise .. what do we have to lose?

http://nobillionairescom.dotster.com/

jacques sheete > , October 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT

@Wally "According to the US Internal Revenue Service, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues every year – almost a trillion dollars every two years by this conservative estimate."

No, it's $458 billion that the government has not managed to steal.

https://www.ronpaul.com/taxes/


An income tax is the most degrading and totalitarian of all possible taxes. Its implementation wrongly suggests that the government owns the lives and labor of the citizens it is supposed to represent.

Tellingly, "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax" is Plank #2 of the Communist Manifesto, which was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and first published in 1848.
To provide funding for the federal government, Ron Paul supports excise taxes, non-protectionist tariffs, massive cuts in spending

"We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don't need to "replace" the income tax at all. I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair-Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better."

https://youtu.be/qI5lC4Z_T80

No, it's $458 billion that the government has not managed to steal.

There was a time that I would have agreed with that, and technically still get the point, but what it really means is that the government merely allows the corporations which they favor, subsidize, and bail out to keep the chump change they've stolen from the workers, besides that which the government steals from the workers and hands to the corporations.

Corporations and government work hand in hand to fleece the herd and most of the herd apparently think it's just fine.

Never forget that thanks to government, corporations socialize risk while privatizing profit. They are partners in gangsterism.

advancedatheist > , October 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT

Private, exclusive clinics and top medical care include the most advanced treatment and safe and proven medication which allow billionaires and their family members to live longer and healthier lives.

Sorry, I don't buy the notion that billionaires have access to some super-healthcare that the rest of us don't know about. In the real world rich people notoriously waste a lot of money on quackery, like the current fad of receiving plasma transfusions from young people as a phony "anti-aging" treatment.

More likely the kinds of men who become billionaires just enjoy better health and longevity for genetic reasons. They tend to have higher IQ's, for example, and some scientists think that IQ correlates with "system integrity" in their bodies which just make higher IQ people more resilient. Look up the growing body of research on cognitive epidemiology.

anonymous > , Disclaimer October 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm GMT

I'm disappointed there was no mention of the "Billionaires" use of social media. They've always controlled the press of course: startin' wars, hatin' on those guys, gettin' the blood up, jailin' the 'bad guys', preaching an empty delusion of social justice propaganda, payin' Ken Burns to propagandize and put a new coat of paint on the industrial scale killing of Vietnam. Probably just in time for more violence.

Let's face it, many of the workin' stiff will blow a hedge fund manager and kneel before the so-called free market corpse of Sam Walton but most importantly they'll grab their guns outa' patriotic fervor and social media will be right there with 'em. "I love Elon Musk!"

It's a great thing we're watched and datamined for our own good – information is how billionaires became billionaires along with a lot of help from the Government they usually encourage you to dislike. Keep posting!

MarkinLA > , October 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm GMT

Rich conservatives, on the other hand, oppose immigration under the guise of 'law and order' and to lower social expenditures – despite that fact that they all use imported nannies, tutors, nurses, doctors and gardeners to service their families. Their servants can always be deported when convenient.

BZZZZ – wrong. Rich conservative support massive immigration so they can get cheap labor while simutaneously virtue signaling. I thought you just got done sayiong they don't pay for the costs of the working poor? The middle class is who is against immigratioin. They bear the burden and pay the taxes that support it.

[Oct 04, 2017] Today, the main enemy is not aliens; it's division -- between rich and poor, white and black, educated and less educated, right and left. Where there is division there are fences. Mobility is retarded and the frontier is destroyed

Oct 04, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

But how "American" is the Brooks view, encapsulated in the sentence "The whole point of America is that we are not a tribe. We are a universal nation, founded on universal principles, attracting talented people from across the globe, active across the world on behalf of all people who seek democracy and dignity"? Brooks holds up the American territorial frontier as a hallmark of this ethos and of the American identity.

There are two problems with this. First, this conception of what it means to be American has propelled the nation into a lot of folly, heartache, and international treachery. Consider the implications of "founded on universal principles active across the world on behalf of all people who seek democracy and dignity." Almost word for word, that's what was said when the United States invaded Iraq, and how did that turn out? It unleashed a spate of instability and violence in that country that have generated more than 175,000 civilian deaths.

Secondly, Brooks' description of the essence of the American identity is false. His invocation of America's frontier -- as a proxy also for the country's "technological, scientific, social and human frontiers" -- misses a fundamental reality of the American story. America was in fact a tribal enterprise.

Brooks would have us believe that the United States began as a pristine crusader state on behalf of global democracy and internationalism, a "universal nation" devoted to "diverse hopefulness" as opposed to "fear-driven homogeneity." No, the people who ventured onto these shores and then pushed westward inexorably were highly conscious not only of their religious provenance but also of their cultural and ethnic heritage. They brutally pushed aside the aboriginal peoples, declined to mix with them, and created societies that mirrored those of the Old Country, even naming their towns and cities after those inhabited by their overseas ancestors.

As more and more people arrived from places removed from the English Motherland and other English-speaking regions (but almost entirely from Europe), those newcomers were abjured to accept the established Anglo-Saxon elite and bend to its mores and sensibilities. In return the elite gave the nation a relatively gentle and more or less disinterested stewardship based on a strong sense of national service inculcated at WASP prep schools and universities such as Yale and Harvard.

No one expressed more forcefully than Theodore Roosevelt this sentiment that newcomers must assimilate into prevailing American culture, for that culture had no intention of adjusting to the newcomers. "We freely extend the hand of welcome and good fellowship to every man," wrote Roosevelt, "no matter what his creed and birthplace, who comes here honestly intent on becoming a good United States citizen like the rest of us; but we have a right, and it is our duty, to demand that he shall indeed become so, and shall not confuse the issues with which we are struggling by introducing among us Old-World quarrels and prejudices."

As late as the early postwar period, the elite represented by Roosevelt still dominated many of America's major national institutions -- the big banks, the media, the universities, the foreign policy apparatus. Extensive academic treatment has been given to the ways by which the waning Anglo-Saxon elite of America, still dominating foreign policy at the end of World War II, created the postwar global structure that maintained stability for decades throughout the world.

But there were frictions, of course, as new arrivals began to chafe under America's ancient elite, and most of it was tribal. When the Irish of Boston reached such numbers that they could upend the old WASP establishment of that city, it was tribal. When American Jews thrilled to the creation of Israel and sought to bend U.S. policy toward today's special relationship, it was tribal. Ethnic politics is tribal politics, and ethnic politics has become an ever more powerful force within the American polity.

Brooks is not wrong when he says that much of the Trump constituency is driven by tribal impulses. But he is wrong to say that these sensibilities are un-American and the result of bigotry. Tribalism is a part of the American story, and Brooks can't shame it away. That he wants to is encapsulated in this paragraph:

Today, the main enemy is not aliens; it's division -- between rich and poor, white and black, educated and less educated, right and left. Where there is division there are fences. Mobility is retarded and the frontier is destroyed. Trumpist populists want to widen the divisions and rearrange the fences. They want to turn us into an old, settled and fearful nation.

Aha, the true Brooks herein steps forward. It is the Trump constituency that is responsible for all the divisions between rich and poor, white and black, educated and less educated, right and left. He doesn't quite call these people deplorable, but he comes close. If they would just stand down and give up their tribal ways, we could get back to being the America of our past and our heritage -- a "universal nation" drawing unlimited immigrants to our shores in the service of a national mission to spread "democracy and dignity" around the world. Sounds like a return to George W. Bush.

This is policy folly based upon a myth of America. The divisions Brooks laments with such invidious intent won't vanish until the fears and concerns of Trump voters are addressed in ways that can alleviate, at least to some extent, those grievances. That's a reality that David Brooks, for all his clever locutions, can't wish away.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His next book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , is due out from Simon & Schuster in November.

[Oct 02, 2017] Techs push to teach coding isnt about kids success – its about cutting wages by Ben Tarnoff

Highly recommended!
IT is probably one of the most "neoliberalized" industry (even in comparison with finance). So atomization of labor and "plantation economy" is a norm in IT. It occurs on rather high level of wages, but with influx of foreign programmers and IT specialists (in the past) and mass outsourcing (now) this is changing. Completion for good job positions is fierce. Dog eats dog competition, the dream of neoliberals. Entry level jobs are already paying $15 an hour, if not less.
Programming is a relatively rare talent, much like ability to play violin. Even amateur level is challenging. On high level (developing large complex programs in a team and still preserving your individuality and productivity ) it is extremely rare. Most of "commercial" programmers are able to produce only a mediocre code (which might be adequate). Only a few programmers can excel if complex software projects. Sometimes even performing solo. There is also a pathological breed of "programmer junkie" ( graphomania happens in programming too ) who are able sometimes to destroy something large projects singlehandedly. That often happens with open source projects after the main developer lost interest and abandoned the project.
It's good to allow children the chance to try their hand at coding when they otherwise may not had that opportunity, But in no way that means that all of them can became professional programmers. No way. Again the top level of programmers required position of a unique talent, much like top musical performer talent.
Also to get a decent entry position you iether need to be extremely talented or graduate from Ivy League university. When applicants are abundant, resume from less prestigious universities are not even considered. this is just easier for HR to filter applications this way.
Also under neoliberalism cheap labor via H1B visas flood the market and depresses wages. Many Silicon companies were so to say "Russian speaking in late 90th after the collapse of the USSR. Not offshoring is the dominant way to offload the development to cheaper labor.
Notable quotes:
"... As software mediates more of our lives, and the power of Silicon Valley grows, it's tempting to imagine that demand for developers is soaring. The media contributes to this impression by spotlighting the genuinely inspiring stories of those who have ascended the class ladder through code. You may have heard of Bit Source, a company in eastern Kentucky that retrains coalminers as coders. They've been featured by Wired , Forbes , FastCompany , The Guardian , NPR and NBC News , among others. ..."
"... A former coalminer who becomes a successful developer deserves our respect and admiration. But the data suggests that relatively few will be able to follow their example. Our educational system has long been producing more programmers than the labor market can absorb. ..."
"... More tellingly, wage levels in the tech industry have remained flat since the late 1990s. Adjusting for inflation, the average programmer earns about as much today as in 1998. If demand were soaring, you'd expect wages to rise sharply in response. Instead, salaries have stagnated. ..."
"... Tech executives have pursued this goal in a variety of ways. One is collusion – companies conspiring to prevent their employees from earning more by switching jobs. The prevalence of this practice in Silicon Valley triggered a justice department antitrust complaint in 2010, along with a class action suit that culminated in a $415m settlement . Another, more sophisticated method is importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status. ..."
"... Guest workers and wage-fixing are useful tools for restraining labor costs. But nothing would make programming cheaper than making millions more programmers. ..."
"... Silicon Valley has been unusually successful in persuading our political class and much of the general public that its interests coincide with the interests of humanity as a whole. But tech is an industry like any other. It prioritizes its bottom line, and invests heavily in making public policy serve it. The five largest tech firms now spend twice as much as Wall Street on lobbying Washington – nearly $50m in 2016. The biggest spender, Google, also goes to considerable lengths to cultivate policy wonks favorable to its interests – and to discipline the ones who aren't. ..."
"... Silicon Valley is not a uniquely benevolent force, nor a uniquely malevolent one. Rather, it's something more ordinary: a collection of capitalist firms committed to the pursuit of profit. And as every capitalist knows, markets are figments of politics. They are not naturally occurring phenomena, but elaborately crafted contraptions, sustained and structured by the state – which is why shaping public policy is so important. If tech works tirelessly to tilt markets in its favor, it's hardly alone. What distinguishes it is the amount of money it has at its disposal to do so. ..."
"... The problem isn't training. The problem is there aren't enough good jobs to be trained for ..."
"... Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. Coding can be a rewarding, even pleasurable, experience, and it's useful for performing all sorts of tasks. More broadly, an understanding of how code works is critical for basic digital literacy – something that is swiftly becoming a requirement for informed citizenship in an increasingly technologized world. ..."
"... But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. Learning to build software does not make you any more immune to the forces of American capitalism than learning to build a house. Whether a coder or a carpenter, capital will do what it can to lower your wages, and enlist public institutions towards that end. ..."
"... Exposing large portions of the school population to coding is not going to magically turn them into coders. It may increase their basic understanding but that is a long way from being a software engineer. ..."
"... All schools teach drama and most kids don't end up becoming actors. You need to give all kids access to coding in order for some can go on to make a career out of it. ..."
"... it's ridiculous because even out of a pool of computer science B.Sc. or M.Sc. grads - companies are only interested in the top 10%. Even the most mundane company with crappy IT jobs swears that they only hire "the best and the brightest." ..."
"... It's basically a con-job by the big Silicon Valley companies offshoring as many US jobs as they can, or "inshoring" via exploitation of the H1B visa ..."
"... Masters is the new Bachelors. ..."
"... I taught CS. Out of around 100 graduates I'd say maybe 5 were reasonable software engineers. The rest would be fine in tech support or other associated trades, but not writing software. Its not just a set of trainable skills, its a set of attitudes and ways of perceiving and understanding that just aren't that common. ..."
"... Yup, rings true. I've been in hi tech for over 40 years and seen the changes. I was in Silicon Valley for 10 years on a startup. India is taking over, my current US company now has a majority Indian executive and is moving work to India. US politicians push coding to drive down wages to Indian levels. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

This month, millions of children returned to school. This year, an unprecedented number of them will learn to code.

Computer science courses for children have proliferated rapidly in the past few years. A 2016 Gallup report found that 40% of American schools now offer coding classes – up from only 25% a few years ago. New York, with the largest public school system in the country, has pledged to offer computer science to all 1.1 million students by 2025. Los Angeles, with the second largest, plans to do the same by 2020. And Chicago, the fourth largest, has gone further, promising to make computer science a high school graduation requirement by 2018.

The rationale for this rapid curricular renovation is economic. Teaching kids how to code will help them land good jobs, the argument goes. In an era of flat and falling incomes, programming provides a new path to the middle class – a skill so widely demanded that anyone who acquires it can command a livable, even lucrative, wage.

This narrative pervades policymaking at every level, from school boards to the government. Yet it rests on a fundamentally flawed premise. Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn't actually need that many more programmers. As a result, teaching millions of kids to code won't make them all middle-class. Rather, it will proletarianize the profession by flooding the market and forcing wages down – and that's precisely the point.

At its root, the campaign for code education isn't about giving the next generation a shot at earning the salary of a Facebook engineer. It's about ensuring those salaries no longer exist, by creating a source of cheap labor for the tech industry.

As software mediates more of our lives, and the power of Silicon Valley grows, it's tempting to imagine that demand for developers is soaring. The media contributes to this impression by spotlighting the genuinely inspiring stories of those who have ascended the class ladder through code. You may have heard of Bit Source, a company in eastern Kentucky that retrains coalminers as coders. They've been featured by Wired , Forbes , FastCompany , The Guardian , NPR and NBC News , among others.

A former coalminer who becomes a successful developer deserves our respect and admiration. But the data suggests that relatively few will be able to follow their example. Our educational system has long been producing more programmers than the labor market can absorb. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the supply of American college graduates with computer science degrees is 50% greater than the number hired into the tech industry each year. For all the talk of a tech worker shortage, many qualified graduates simply can't find jobs.

More tellingly, wage levels in the tech industry have remained flat since the late 1990s. Adjusting for inflation, the average programmer earns about as much today as in 1998. If demand were soaring, you'd expect wages to rise sharply in response. Instead, salaries have stagnated.

Still, those salaries are stagnating at a fairly high level. The Department of Labor estimates that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations is $82,860 – more than twice the national average. And from the perspective of the people who own the tech industry, this presents a problem. High wages threaten profits. To maximize profitability, one must always be finding ways to pay workers less.

Tech executives have pursued this goal in a variety of ways. One is collusion – companies conspiring to prevent their employees from earning more by switching jobs. The prevalence of this practice in Silicon Valley triggered a justice department antitrust complaint in 2010, along with a class action suit that culminated in a $415m settlement . Another, more sophisticated method is importing large numbers of skilled guest workers from other countries through the H1-B visa program. These workers earn less than their American counterparts, and possess little bargaining power because they must remain employed to keep their status.

Guest workers and wage-fixing are useful tools for restraining labor costs. But nothing would make programming cheaper than making millions more programmers. And where better to develop this workforce than America's schools? It's no coincidence, then, that the campaign for code education is being orchestrated by the tech industry itself. Its primary instrument is Code.org, a nonprofit funded by Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others . In 2016, the organization spent nearly $20m on training teachers, developing curricula, and lobbying policymakers.

Silicon Valley has been unusually successful in persuading our political class and much of the general public that its interests coincide with the interests of humanity as a whole. But tech is an industry like any other. It prioritizes its bottom line, and invests heavily in making public policy serve it. The five largest tech firms now spend twice as much as Wall Street on lobbying Washington – nearly $50m in 2016. The biggest spender, Google, also goes to considerable lengths to cultivate policy wonks favorable to its interests – and to discipline the ones who aren't.

Silicon Valley is not a uniquely benevolent force, nor a uniquely malevolent one. Rather, it's something more ordinary: a collection of capitalist firms committed to the pursuit of profit. And as every capitalist knows, markets are figments of politics. They are not naturally occurring phenomena, but elaborately crafted contraptions, sustained and structured by the state – which is why shaping public policy is so important. If tech works tirelessly to tilt markets in its favor, it's hardly alone. What distinguishes it is the amount of money it has at its disposal to do so.

Money isn't Silicon Valley's only advantage in its crusade to remake American education, however. It also enjoys a favorable ideological climate. Its basic message – that schools alone can fix big social problems – is one that politicians of both parties have been repeating for years. The far-fetched premise of neoliberal school reform is that education can mend our disintegrating social fabric. That if we teach students the right skills, we can solve poverty, inequality and stagnation. The school becomes an engine of economic transformation, catapulting young people from challenging circumstances into dignified, comfortable lives.

This argument is immensely pleasing to the technocratic mind. It suggests that our core economic malfunction is technical – a simple asymmetry. You have workers on one side and good jobs on the other, and all it takes is training to match them up. Indeed, every president since Bill Clinton has talked about training American workers to fill the "skills gap". But gradually, one mainstream economist after another has come to realize what most workers have known for years: the gap doesn't exist. Even Larry Summers has concluded it's a myth.

The problem isn't training. The problem is there aren't enough good jobs to be trained for . The solution is to make bad jobs better, by raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form a union, and to create more good jobs by investing for growth. This involves forcing business to put money into things that actually grow the productive economy rather than shoveling profits out to shareholders. It also means increasing public investment, so that people can make a decent living doing socially necessary work like decarbonizing our energy system and restoring our decaying infrastructure.

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. Coding can be a rewarding, even pleasurable, experience, and it's useful for performing all sorts of tasks. More broadly, an understanding of how code works is critical for basic digital literacy – something that is swiftly becoming a requirement for informed citizenship in an increasingly technologized world.

But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. Learning to build software does not make you any more immune to the forces of American capitalism than learning to build a house. Whether a coder or a carpenter, capital will do what it can to lower your wages, and enlist public institutions towards that end.

Silicon Valley has been extraordinarily adept at converting previously uncommodified portions of our common life into sources of profit. Our schools may prove an easy conquest by comparison.

See also:

willyjack, 21 Sep 2017 16:56

"Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. " OK, and that's what's being done. And that's what the article is bemoaning. What would be better: teach them how to change tires or groom pets? Or pick fruit? Amazingly condescending article.

MrFumoFumo , 21 Sep 2017 14:54
However, training lots of people to be coders won't automatically result in lots of people who can actually write good code. Nor will it give managers/recruiters the necessary skills to recognize which programmers are any good.

congenialAnimal -> alfredooo , 24 Sep 2017 09:57

A valid rebuttal but could I offer another observation? Exposing large portions of the school population to coding is not going to magically turn them into coders. It may increase their basic understanding but that is a long way from being a software engineer.

Just as children join art, drama or biology classes so they do not automatically become artists, actors or doctors. I would agree entirely that just being able to code is not going to guarantee the sort of income that might be aspired to. As with all things, it takes commitment, perseverance and dogged determination. I suppose ultimately it becomes the Gattaca argument.

alfredooo -> racole , 24 Sep 2017 06:51
Fair enough, but, his central argument, that an overabundance of coders will drive wages in that sector down, is generally true, so in the future if you want your kids to go into a profession that will earn them 80k+ then being a "coder" is not the route to take. When coding is - like reading, writing, and arithmetic - just a basic skill, there's no guarantee having it will automatically translate into getting a "good" job.
Wiretrip , 21 Sep 2017 14:14
This article lumps everyone in computing into the 'coder' bin, without actually defining what 'coding' is. Yes there is a glut of people who can knock together a bit of HTML and JavaScript, but that is not really programming as such.

There are huge shortages of skilled developers however; people who can apply computer science and engineering in terms of analysis and design of software. These are the real skills for which relatively few people have a true aptitude.

The lack of really good skills is starting to show in some terrible software implementation decisions, such as Slack for example; written as a web app running in Electron (so that JavaScript code monkeys could knock it out quickly), but resulting in awful performance. We will see more of this in the coming years...

Taylor Dotson -> youngsteveo , 21 Sep 2017 13:53
My brother is a programmer, and in his experience these coding exams don't test anything but whether or not you took (and remember) a very narrow range of problems introduce in the first years of a computer science degree. The entire hiring process seems premised on a range of ill-founded ideas about what skills are necessary for the job and how to assess them in people. They haven't yet grasped that those kinds of exams mostly test test-taking ability, rather than intelligence, creativity, diligence, communication ability, or anything else that a job requires beside coughing up the right answer in a stressful, timed environment without outside resources.

The_Raven , 23 Sep 2017 15:45

I'm an embedded software/firmware engineer. Every similar engineer I've ever met has had the same background - starting in electronics and drifting into embedded software writing in C and assembler. It's virtually impossible to do such software without an understanding of electronics. When it goes wrong you may need to get the test equipment out to scope the hardware to see if it's a hardware or software problem. Coming from a pure computing background just isn't going to get you a job in this type of work.
waltdangerfield , 23 Sep 2017 14:42
All schools teach drama and most kids don't end up becoming actors. You need to give all kids access to coding in order for some can go on to make a career out of it.
TwoSugarsPlease , 23 Sep 2017 06:13
Coding salaries will inevitably fall over time, but such skills give workers the option, once they discover that their income is no longer sustainable in the UK, of moving somewhere more affordable and working remotely.
DiGiT81 -> nixnixnix , 23 Sep 2017 03:29
Completely agree. Coding is a necessary life skill for 21st century but there are levels to every skill. From basic needs for an office job to advanced and specialised.
nixnixnix , 23 Sep 2017 00:46
Lots of people can code but very few of us ever get to the point of creating something new that has a loyal and enthusiastic user-base. Everyone should be able to code because it is or will be the basis of being able to create almost anything in the future. If you want to make a game in Unity, knowing how to code is really useful. If you want to work with large data-sets, you can't rely on Excel and so you need to be able to code (in R?). The use of code is becoming so pervasive that it is going to be like reading and writing.

All the science and engineering graduates I know can code but none of them have ever sold a stand-alone software. The argument made above is like saying that teaching everyone to write will drive down the wages of writers. Writing is useful for anyone and everyone but only a tiny fraction of people who can write, actually write novels or even newspaper columns.

DolyGarcia -> Carl Christensen , 22 Sep 2017 19:24
Immigrants have always a big advantage over locals, for any company, including tech companies: the government makes sure that they will stay in their place and never complain about low salaries or bad working conditions because, you know what? If the company sacks you, an immigrant may be forced to leave the country where they live because their visa expires, which is never going to happen with a local. Companies always have more leverage over immigrants. Given a choice between more and less exploitable workers, companies will choose the most exploitable ones.

Which is something that Marx figured more than a century ago, and why he insisted that socialism had to be international, which led to the founding of the First International Socialist. If worker's fights didn't go across country boundaries, companies would just play people from one country against the other. Unfortunately, at some point in time socialists forgot this very important fact.

xxxFred -> Tomix Da Vomix , 22 Sep 2017 18:52
SO what's wrong with having lots of people able to code? The only argument you seem to have is that it'll lower wages. So do you think that we should stop teaching writing skills so that journalists can be paid more? And no one os going to "force" kids into high-level abstract coding practices in kindergarten, fgs. But there is ample empirical proof that young children can learn basic principles. In fact the younger that children are exposed to anything, the better they can enhance their skills adn knowlege of it later in life, and computing concepts are no different.
Tomix Da Vomix -> xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 18:40
You're completely missing the point. Kids are forced into the programming field (even STEM as a more general term), before they evolve their abstract reasoning. For that matter, you're not producing highly skilled people, but functional imbeciles and a decent labor that will eventually lower the wages.
Conspiracy theory? So Google, FB and others paying hundreds of millions of dollars for forming a cartel to lower the wages is not true? It sounds me that you're sounding more like a 1969 denier that Guardian is. Tech companies are not financing those incentives because they have a good soul. Their primary drive has always been money, otherwise they wouldn't sell your personal data to earn money.

But hey, you can always sleep peacefully when your kid becomes a coder. When he is 50, everyone will want to have a Cobol, Ada programmer with 25 years of experience when you can get 16 year old kid from a high school for 1/10 of a price. Go back to sleep...

Carl Christensen -> xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 16:49
it's ridiculous because even out of a pool of computer science B.Sc. or M.Sc. grads - companies are only interested in the top 10%. Even the most mundane company with crappy IT jobs swears that they only hire "the best and the brightest."
Carl Christensen , 22 Sep 2017 16:47
It's basically a con-job by the big Silicon Valley companies offshoring as many US jobs as they can, or "inshoring" via exploitation of the H1B visa - so they can say "see, we don't have 'qualified' people in the US - maybe when these kids learn to program in a generation." As if American students haven't been coding for decades -- and saw their salaries plummet as the H1B visa and Indian offshore firms exploded......
Declawed -> KDHughes , 22 Sep 2017 16:40
Dude, stow the attitude. I've tested code from various entities, and seen every kind of crap peddled as gold.

But I've also seen a little 5-foot giggly lady with two kids, grumble a bit and save a $100,000 product by rewriting another coder's man-month of work in a few days, without any flaws or cracks. Almost nobody will ever know she did that. She's so far beyond my level it hurts.

And yes, the author knows nothing. He's genuinely crying wolf while knee-deep in amused wolves. The last time I was in San Jose, years ago , the room was already full of people with Indian surnames. If the problem was REALLY serious, a programmer from POLAND was called in.

If you think fighting for a violinist spot is hard, try fighting for it with every spare violinist in the world . I am training my Indian replacement to do my job right now . At least the public can appreciate a good violin. Can you appreciate Duff's device ?

So by all means, don't teach local kids how to think in a straight line, just in case they make a dent in the price of wages IN INDIA.... *sheesh*

Declawed -> IanMcLzzz , 22 Sep 2017 15:35
That's the best possible summarisation of this extremely dumb article. Bravo.

For those who don't know how to think of coding, like the article author, here's a few analogies :

A computer is a box that replays frozen thoughts, quickly. That is all.

Coding is just the art of explaining. Anyone who can explain something patiently and clearly, can code. Anyone who can't, can't.

Making hardware is very much like growing produce while blind. Making software is very much like cooking that produce while blind.

Imagine looking after a room full of young eager obedient children who only do exactly, *exactly*, what you told them to do, but move around at the speed of light. Imagine having to try to keep them from smashing into each other or decapitating themselves on the corners of tables, tripping over toys and crashing into walls, etc, while you get them all to play games together.

The difference between a good coder and a bad coder is almost life and death. Imagine a broth prepared with ingredients from a dozen co-ordinating geniuses and one idiot, that you'll mass produce. The soup is always far worse for the idiot's additions. The more cooks you involve, the more chance your mass produced broth will taste bad.

People who hire coders, typically can't tell a good coder from a bad coder.

Zach Dyer -> Mystik Al , 22 Sep 2017 15:18
Tech jobs will probably always be available long after your gone or until another mass extinction.
edmundberk -> AmyInNH , 22 Sep 2017 14:59
No you do it in your own time. If you're not prepared to put in long days IT is not for you in any case. It was ever thus, but more so now due to offshoring - rather than the rather obscure forces you seem to believe are important.
WithoutPurpose -> freeandfair , 22 Sep 2017 13:21
Bit more rhan that.
peter nelson -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 12:44
Sorry, offworldguy, but you're losing this one really badly. I'm a professional software engineer in my 60's and I know lots of non-professionals in my age range who write little programs, scripts and apps for fun. I know this because they often contact me for help or advice.

So you've now been told by several people in this thread that ordinary people do code for fun or recreation. The fact that you don't know any probably says more about your network of friends and acquaintances than about the general population.

xxxFred , 22 Sep 2017 12:18
This is one of the daftest articles I've come across in a long while.
If it's possible that so many kids can be taught to code well enough so that wages come down, then that proves that the only reason we've been paying so much for development costs is the scarcity of people able to do it, not that it's intrinsically so hard that only a select few could anyway. In which case, there is no ethical argument for keeping the pools of skilled workers to some select group. Anyone able to do it should have an equal opportunity to do it.
What is the argument for not teaching coding (other than to artificially keep wages high)? Why not stop teaching the three R's, in order to boost white-collar wages in general?
Computing is an ever-increasingly intrinsic part of life, and people need to understand it at all levels. It is not just unfair, but tantamount to neglect, to fail to teach children all the skills they may require to cope as adults.
Having said that, I suspect that in another generation or two a good many lower-level coding jobs will be redundant anyway, with such code being automatically generated, and "coders" at this level will be little more than technicians setting various parameters. Even so, understanding the basics behind computing is a part of understanding the world they live in, and every child needs that.
Suggesting that teaching coding is some kind of conspiracy to force wages down is well, it makes the moon-landing conspiracy looks sensible by comparison.
timrichardson -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 12:16
I think it is important to demystify advanced technology, I think that has importance in its own right.Plus, schools should expose kids to things which may spark their interest. Not everyone who does a science project goes on years later to get a PhD, but you'd think that it makes it more likely. Same as giving a kid some music lessons. There is a big difference between serious coding and the basic steps needed to automate a customer service team or a marketing program, but the people who have some mastery over automation will have an advantage in many jobs. Advanced machines are clearly going to be a huge part of our future. What should we do about it, if not teach kids how to understand these tools?
rogerfederere -> William Payne , 22 Sep 2017 12:13
tl;dr.
Mystik Al , 22 Sep 2017 12:08
As automation is about to put 40% of the workforce permanently out of work getting into to tech seems like a good idea!
timrichardson , 22 Sep 2017 12:04
This is like arguing that teaching kids to write is nothing more than a plot to flood the market for journalists. Teaching first aid and CPR does not make everyone a doctor.
Coding is an essential skill for many jobs already: 50 years ago, who would have thought you needed coders to make movies? Being a software engineer, a serious coder, is hard. IN fact, it takes more than technical coding to be a software engineer: you can learn to code in a week. Software Engineering is a four year degree, and even then you've just started a career. But depriving kids of some basic insights may mean they won't have the basic skills needed in the future, even for controlling their car and house. By all means, send you kids to a school that doesn't teach coding. I won't.
James Jones -> vimyvixen , 22 Sep 2017 11:41
Did you learn SNOBOL, or is Snowball a language I'm not familiar with? (Entirely possible, as an American I never would have known Extended Mercury Autocode existed we're it not for a random book acquisition at my home town library when I was a kid.)
William Payne , 22 Sep 2017 11:17
The tide that is transforming technology jobs from "white collar professional" into "blue collar industrial" is part of a larger global economic cycle.

Successful "growth" assets inevitably transmogrify into "value" and "income" assets as they progress through the economic cycle. The nature of their work transforms also. No longer focused on innovation; on disrupting old markets or forging new ones; their fundamental nature changes as they mature into optimising, cost reducing, process oriented and most importantly of all -- dividend paying -- organisations.

First, the market invests. And then, .... it squeezes.

Immature companies must invest in their team; must inspire them to be innovative so that they can take the creative risks required to create new things. This translates into high skills, high wages and "white collar" social status.

Mature, optimising companies on the other hand must necessarily avoid risks and seek variance-minimising predictability. They seek to control their human resources; to eliminate creativity; to to make the work procedural, impersonal and soulless. This translates into low skills, low wages and "blue collar" social status.

This is a fundamental part of the economic cycle; but it has been playing out on the global stage which has had the effect of hiding some of its' effects.

Over the past decades, technology knowledge and skills have flooded away from "high cost" countries and towards "best cost" countries at a historically significant rate. Possibly at the maximum rate that global infrastructure and regional skills pools can support. Much of this necessarily inhumane and brutal cost cutting and deskilling has therefore been hidden by the tide of outsourcing and offshoring. It is hard to see the nature of the jobs change when the jobs themselves are changing hands at the same time.

The ever tighter ratchet of dehumanising industrialisation; productivity and efficiency continues apace, however, and as our global system matures and evens out, we see the seeds of what we have sown sail home from over the sea.

Technology jobs in developed nations have been skewed towards "growth" activities since for the past several decades most "value" and "income" activities have been carried out in developing nations. Now, we may be seeing the early preparations for the diffusion of that skewed, uneven and unsustainable imbalance.

The good news is that "Growth" activities are not going to disappear from the world. They just may not be so geographically concentrated as they are today. Also, there is a significant and attention-worthy argument that the re-balancing of skills will result in a more flexible and performant global economy as organisations will better be able to shift a wider variety of work around the world to regions where local conditions (regulation, subsidy, union activity etc...) are supportive.

For the individuals concerned it isn't going to be pretty. And of course it is just another example of the race to the bottom that pits states and public sector purse-holders against one another to win the grace and favour of globally mobile employers.

As a power play move it has a sort of inhumanly psychotic inevitability to it which is quite awesome to observe.

I also find it ironic that the only way to tame the leviathan that is the global free-market industrial system might actually be effective global governance and international cooperation within a rules-based system.

Both "globalist" but not even slightly both the same thing.

Vereto -> Wiretrip , 22 Sep 2017 11:17
not just coders, it put even IT Ops guys into this bin. Basically good old - so you are working with computers sentence I used to hear a lot 10-15 years ago.
Sangmin , 22 Sep 2017 11:15
You can teach everyone how to code but it doesn't necessarily mean everyone will be able to work as one. We all learn math but that doesn't mean we're all mathematicians. We all know how to write but we're not all professional writers.

I have a graduate degree in CS and been to a coding bootcamp. Not everyone's brain is wired to become a successful coder. There is a particular way how coders think. Quality of a product will stand out based on these differences.

Vereto -> Jared Hall , 22 Sep 2017 11:12
Very hyperbolic is to assume that the profit in those companies is done by decreasing wages. In my company the profit is driven by ability to deliver products to the market. And that is limited by number of top people (not just any coder) you can have.
KDHughes -> kcrane , 22 Sep 2017 11:06
You realise that the arts are massively oversupplied and that most artists earn very little, if anything? Which is sort of like the situation the author is warning about. But hey, he knows nothing. Congratulations, though, on writing one of the most pretentious posts I've ever read on CIF.
offworldguy -> Melissa Boone , 22 Sep 2017 10:21
So you know kids, college age people and software developers who enjoy doing it in their leisure time? Do you know any middle aged mothers, fathers, grandparents who enjoy it and are not software developers?

Sorry, I don't see coding as a leisure pursuit that is going to take off beyond a very narrow demographic and if it becomes apparent (as I believe it will) that there is not going to be a huge increase in coding job opportunities then it will likely wither in schools too, perhaps replaced by music lessons.

Bread Eater , 22 Sep 2017 10:02
From their perspective yes. But there are a lot of opportunities in tech so it does benefit students looking for jobs.
Melissa Boone -> jamesbro , 22 Sep 2017 10:00
No, because software developer probably fail more often than they succeed. Building anything worthwhile is an iterative process. And it's not just the compiler but the other devs, oyur designer, your PM, all looking at your work.
Melissa Boone -> peterainbow , 22 Sep 2017 09:57
It's not shallow or lazy. I also work at a tech company and it's pretty common to do that across job fields. Even in HR marketing jobs, we hire students who can't point to an internship or other kind of experience in college, not simply grades.
Vereto -> savingUK , 22 Sep 2017 09:50
It will take ages, the issue of Indian programmers is in the education system and in "Yes boss" culture.

But on the other hand most of Americans are just as bad as Indians

Melissa Boone -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 09:50
A lot of people do find it fun. I know many kids - high school and young college age - who code in the leisure time because they find it pleasurable to make small apps and video games. I myself enjoy it too. Your argument is like saying since you don't like to read books in your leisure time, nobody else must.

The point is your analogy isn't a good one - people who learn to code can not only enjoy it in their spare time just like music, but they can also use it to accomplish all kinds of basic things. I have a friend who's a software developer who has used code to program his Roomba to vacuum in a specific pattern and to play Candy Land with his daughter when they lost the spinner.

Owlyrics -> CapTec , 22 Sep 2017 09:44
Creativity could be added to your list. Anyone can push a button but only a few can invent a new one.
One company in the US (after it was taken over by a new owner) decided it was more profitable to import button pushers from off-shore, they lost 7 million customers (gamers) and had to employ more of the original American developers to maintain their high standard and profits.
Owlyrics -> Maclon , 22 Sep 2017 09:40
Masters is the new Bachelors.
Maclon , 22 Sep 2017 09:22
So similar to 500k a year people going to university ( UK) now when it used to be 60k people a year( 1980). There was never enough graduate jobs in 1980 so can't see where the sudden increase in need for graduates has come from.
PaulDavisTheFirst -> Ethan Hawkins , 22 Sep 2017 09:17

They aren't really crucial pieces of technology except for their popularity

It's early in the day for me, but this is the most ridiculous thing I've read so far, and I suspect it will be high up on the list by the end of the day.

There's no technology that is "crucial" unless it's involved in food, shelter or warmth. The rest has its "crucialness" decided by how widespread its use is, and in the case of those 3 languages, the answer is "very".

You (or I) might not like that very much, but that's how it is.

Julian Williams -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 09:12
My benchmark would be if the average new graduate in the discipline earns more or less than one of the "professions", Law, medicine, Economics etc. The short answer is that they don't. Indeed, in my experience of professions, many good senior SW developers, say in finance, are paid markedly less than the marketing manager, CTO etc. who are often non-technical.

My benchmark is not "has a car, house etc." but what does 10, 15 20 years of experience in the area generate as a relative income to another profession, like being a GP or a corporate solicitor or a civil servant (which is usually the benchmark academics use for pay scaling). It is not to denigrate, just to say that markets don't always clear to a point where the most skilled are the highest paid.

I was also suggesting that even if you are not intending to work in the SW area, being able to translate your imagination into a program that reflects your ideas is a nice life skill.

AmyInNH -> freeandfair , 22 Sep 2017 09:05
Your assumption has no basis in reality. In my experience, as soon as Clinton ramped up H1Bs, my employer would invite 6 same college/degree/curriculum in for interviews, 5 citizen, 1 foreign student and default offer to foreign student without asking interviewers a single question about the interview. Eventually, the skipped the farce of interviewing citizens all together. That was in 1997, and it's only gotten worse. Wall St's been pretty blunt lately. Openly admits replacing US workers for import labor, as it's the "easiest" way to "grow" the economy, even though they know they are ousting citizens from their jobs to do so.
AmyInNH -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 08:59
"People who get Masters and PhD's in computer science" Feed western universities money, for degree programs that would otherwise not exist, due to lack of market demand. "someone has a Bachelor's in CS" As citizens, having the same college/same curriculum/same grades, as foreign grad. But as citizens, they have job market mobility, and therefore are shunned. "you can make something real and significant on your own" If someone else is paying your rent, food and student loans while you do so.
Ethan Hawkins -> farabundovive , 22 Sep 2017 07:40
While true, it's not the coders' fault. The managers and execs above them have intentionally created an environment where these things are secondary. What's primary is getting the stupid piece of garbage out the door for Q profit outlook. Ship it amd patch it.
offworldguy -> millartant , 22 Sep 2017 07:38
Do most people find it fun? I can code. I don't find it 'fun'. Thirty years ago as a young graduate I might have found it slightly fun but the 'fun' wears off pretty quick.
Ethan Hawkins -> anticapitalist , 22 Sep 2017 07:35
In my estimation PHP is an utter abomination. Python is just a little better but still very bad. Ruby is a little better but still not at all good.

Languages like PHP, Python and JS are popular for banging out prototypes and disposable junk, but you greatly overestimate their importance. They aren't really crucial pieces of technology except for their popularity and while they won't disappear they won't age well at all. Basically they are big long-lived fads. Java is now over 20 years old and while Java 8 is not crucial, the JVM itself actually is crucial. It might last another 20 years or more. Look for more projects like Ceylon, Scala and Kotlin. We haven't found the next step forward yet, but it's getting more interesting, especially around type systems.

A strong developer will be able to code well in a half dozen languages and have fairly decent knowledge of a dozen others. For me it's been many years of: Z80, x86, C, C++, Java. Also know some Perl, LISP, ANTLR, Scala, JS, SQL, Pascal, others...

millartant -> Islingtonista , 22 Sep 2017 07:26
You need a decent IDE
millartant -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 07:24

One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time

Why not? The right problem is a fun and rewarding puzzle to solve. I spend a lot of my leisure time "doing a bit of coding"

Ethan Hawkins -> Wiretrip , 22 Sep 2017 07:12
The worst of all are the academics (on average).
Ethan Hawkins -> KatieL , 22 Sep 2017 07:09
This makes people like me with 35 years of experience shipping products on deadlines up and down every stack (from device drivers and operating systems to programming languages, platforms and frameworks to web, distributed computing, clusters, big data and ML) so much more valuable. Been there, done that.
Ethan Hawkins -> Taylor Dotson , 22 Sep 2017 07:01
It's just not true. In SV there's this giant vacuum created by Apple, Google, FB, etc. Other good companies struggle to fill positions. I know from being on the hiring side at times.
TheBananaBender -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 07:00
You don't work for a major outsourcer then like Serco, Atos, Agilisys
offworldguy -> LabMonkey , 22 Sep 2017 06:59
Plenty of people? I don't know of a single person outside of my work which is teaming with programmers. Not a single friend, not my neighbours, not my wife or her extended family, not my parents. Plenty of people might do it but most people don't.
Ethan Hawkins -> finalcentury , 22 Sep 2017 06:56
Your ignorance of coding is showing. Coding IS creative.
Ricardo111 -> peter nelson , 22 Sep 2017 06:56
Agreed: by gifted I did not meant innate. It's more of a mix of having the interest, the persistence, the time, the opportunity and actually enjoying that kind of challenge.

While some of those things are to a large extent innate personality traits, others are not and you don't need max of all of them, you just need enough to drive you to explore that domain.

That said, somebody that goes into coding purelly for the money and does it for the money alone is extremely unlikelly to become an exceptional coder.

Ricardo111 -> eirsatz , 22 Sep 2017 06:50
I'm as senior as they get and have interviewed quite a lot of programmers for several positions, including for Technical Lead (in fact, to replace me) and so far my experience leads me to believe that people who don't have a knack for coding are much less likely to expose themselves to many different languages and techniques, and also are less experimentalist, thus being far less likely to have those moments of transcending merely being aware of the visible and obvious to discover the concerns and concepts behind what one does. Without those moments that open the door to the next Universe of concerns and implications, one cannot do state transitions such as Coder to Technical Designer or Technical Designer to Technical Architect.

Sure, you can get the title and do the things from the books, but you will not get WHY are those things supposed to work (and when they will not work) and thus cannot adjust to new conditions effectively and will be like a sailor that can't sail away from sight of the coast since he can't navigate.

All this gets reflected in many things that enhance productivity, from the early ability to quickly piece together solutions for a new problem out of past solutions for different problems to, later, conceiving software architecture designs fittted to the typical usage pattern in the industry for which the software is going to be made.

LabMonkey , 22 Sep 2017 06:50
From the way our IT department is going, needing millions of coders is not the future. It'll be a minority of developers at the top, and an army of low wage monkeys at the bottom who can troubleshoot from a script - until AI comes along that can code faster and more accurately.
LabMonkey -> offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 06:46

One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time

Really? I've programmed a few simple videogames in my spare time. Plenty of people do.

CapTec , 22 Sep 2017 06:29
Interesting piece that's fundamentally flawed. I'm a software engineer myself. There is a reason a University education of a minimum of three years is the base line for a junior developer or 'coder'.

Software engineering isn't just writing code. I would say 80% of my time is spent designing and structuring software before I even touch the code.

Explaining software engineering as a discipline at a high level to people who don't understand it is simple.

Most of us who learn to drive learn a few basics about the mechanics of a car. We know that brake pads need to be replaced, we know that fuel is pumped into an engine when we press the gas pedal. Most of us know how to change a bulb if it blows.

The vast majority of us wouldn't be able to replace a head gasket or clutch though. Just knowing the basics isn't enough to make you a mechanic.

Studying in school isn't enough to produce software engineers. Software engineering isn't just writing code, it's cross discipline. We also need to understand the science behind the computer, we need too understand logic, data structures, timings, how to manage memory, security, how databases work etc.

A few years of learning at school isn't nearly enough, a degree isn't enough on its own due to the dynamic and ever evolving nature of software engineering. Schools teach technology that is out of date and typically don't explain the science very well.

This is why most companies don't want new developers, they want people with experience and multiple skills.

Programming is becoming cool and people think that because of that it's easy to become a skilled developer. It isn't. It takes time and effort and most kids give up.

French was on the national curriculum when I was at school. Most people including me can't hold a conversation in French though.

Ultimately there is a SKILL shortage. And that's because skill takes a long time, successes and failures to acquire. Most people just give up.

This article is akin to saying 'schools are teaching basic health to reduce the wages of Doctors'. It didn't happen.

offworldguy -> thecurio , 22 Sep 2017 06:19
There is a difference. When you teach people music you teach a skill that can be used for a lifetimes enjoyment. One might sit at a piano in later years and play. One is hardly likely to 'do a bit of coding' in ones leisure time.

The other thing is how good are people going to get at coding and how long will they retain the skill if not used? I tend to think maths is similar to coding and most adults have pretty terrible maths skills not venturing far beyond arithmetic. Not many remember how to solve a quadratic equation or even how to rearrange some algebra.

One more thing is we know that if we teach people music they will find a use for it, if only in their leisure time. We don't know that coding will be in any way useful because we don't know if there will be coding jobs in the future. AI might take over coding but we know that AI won't take over playing piano for pleasure.

If we want to teach logical thinking then I think maths has always done this and we should make sure people are better at maths.

Alex Mackaness , 22 Sep 2017 06:08
Am I missing something here? Being able to code is a skill that is a useful addition to the skill armoury of a youngster entering the work place. Much like reading, writing, maths... Not only is it directly applicable and pervasive in our modern world, it is built upon logic.

The important point is that American schools are not ONLY teaching youngsters to code, and producing one dimensional robots... instead coding makes up one part of their overall skill set. Those who wish to develop their coding skills further certainly can choose to do so. Those who specialise elsewhere are more than likely to have found the skills they learnt whilst coding useful anyway.

I struggle to see how there is a hidden capitalist agenda here. I would argue learning the basics of coding is simply becoming seen as an integral part of the school curriculum.

thecurio , 22 Sep 2017 05:56
The word "coding" is shorthand for "computer programming" or "software development" and it masks the depth and range of skills that might be required, depending on the application.

This subtlety is lost, I think, on politicians and perhaps the general public. Asserting that teaching lots of people to code is a sneaky way to commodotise an industry might have some truth to it, but remember that commodotisation (or "sharing and re-use" as developers might call it) is nothing new. The creation of freely available and re-usable software components and APIs has driven innovation, and has put much power in the hands of developers who would not otherwise have the skill or time to tackle such projects.

There's nothing to fear from teaching more people to "code", just as there's nothing to fear from teaching more people to "play music". These skills simply represent points on a continuum.

There's room for everyone, from the kid on a kazoo all the way to Coltrane at the Village Vanguard.

sbw7 -> ragingbull , 22 Sep 2017 05:44
I taught CS. Out of around 100 graduates I'd say maybe 5 were reasonable software engineers. The rest would be fine in tech support or other associated trades, but not writing software. Its not just a set of trainable skills, its a set of attitudes and ways of perceiving and understanding that just aren't that common.
offworldguy , 22 Sep 2017 05:02
I can't understand the rush to teach coding in schools. First of all I don't think we are going to be a country of millions of coders and secondly if most people have the skills then coding is hardly going to be a well paid job. Thirdly you can learn coding from scratch after school like people of my generation did. You could argue that it is part of a well rounded education but then it is as important for your career as learning Shakespeare, knowing what an oxbow lake is or being able to do calculus: most jobs just won't need you to know.
savingUK -> yannick95 , 22 Sep 2017 04:35
While you roll on the floor laughing, these countries will slowly but surely get their act together. That is how they work. There are top quality coders over there and they will soon promoted into a position to organise the others.

You are probably too young to remember when people laughed at electronic products when they were made in Japan then Taiwan. History will repeat it's self.

zii000 -> JohnFreidburg , 22 Sep 2017 04:04
Yes it's ironic and no different here in the UK. Traditionally Labour was the party focused on dividing the economic pie more fairly, Tories on growing it for the benefit of all. It's now completely upside down with Tories paying lip service to the idea of pay rises but in reality supporting this deflationary race to the bottom, hammering down salaries and so shrinking discretionary spending power which forces price reductions to match and so more pressure on employers to cut costs ... ad infinitum.
Labour now favour policies which would cause an expansion across the entire economy through pay rises and dramatically increased investment with perhaps more tolerance of inflation to achieve it.
ID0193985 -> jamesbro , 22 Sep 2017 03:46
Not surprising if they're working for a company that is cold-calling people - which should be banned in my opinion. Call centres providing customer support are probably less abuse-heavy since the customer is trying to get something done.
vimyvixen , 22 Sep 2017 02:04
I taught myself to code in 1974. Fortran, COBOL were first. Over the years as a aerospace engineer I coded in numerous languages ranging from PLM, Snowball, Basic, and more assembly languages than I can recall, not to mention deep down in machine code on more architectures than most know even existed. Bottom line is that coding is easy. It doesn't take a genius to code, just another way of thinking. Consider all the bugs in the software available now. These "coders", not sufficiently trained need adult supervision by engineers who know what they are doing for computer systems that are important such as the electrical grid, nuclear weapons, and safety critical systems. If you want to program toy apps then code away, if you want to do something important learn engineering AND coding.
Dwight Spencer , 22 Sep 2017 01:44
Laughable. It takes only an above-average IQ to code. Today's coders are akin to the auto mechanics of the 1950s where practically every high school had auto shop instruction . . . nothing but a source of cheap labor for doing routine implementations of software systems using powerful code libraries built by REAL software engineers.
sieteocho -> Islingtonista , 22 Sep 2017 01:19
That's a bit like saying that calculus is more valuable than arithmetic, so why teach children arithmetic at all?

Because without the arithmetic, you're not going to get up to the calculus.

JohnFreidburg -> Tommyward , 22 Sep 2017 01:15
I disagree. Technology firms are just like other firms. Why then the collusion not to pay more to workers coming from other companies? To believe that they are anything else is naive. The author is correct. We need policies that actually grow the economy and not leaders who cave to what the CEOs want like Bill Clinton did. He brought NAFTA at the behest of CEOs and all it ended up doing was ripping apart the rust belt and ushering in Trump.
Tommyward , 22 Sep 2017 00:53
So the media always needs some bad guys to write about, and this month they seem to have it in for the tech industry. The article is BS. I interview a lot of people to join a large tech company, and I can guarantee you that we aren't trying to find cheaper labor, we're looking for the best talent.

I know that lots of different jobs have been outsourced to low cost areas, but these days the top companies are instead looking for the top talent globally.

I see this article as a hit piece against Silicon Valley, and it doesn't fly in the face of the evidence.

finalcentury , 22 Sep 2017 00:46
This has got to be the most cynical and idiotic social interest piece I have ever read in the Guardian. Once upon a time it was very helpful to learn carpentry and machining, but now, even if you are learning those, you will get a big and indispensable headstart if you have some logic and programming skills. The fact is, almost no matter what you do, you can apply logic and programming skills to give you an edge. Even journalists.
hoplites99 , 22 Sep 2017 00:02
Yup, rings true. I've been in hi tech for over 40 years and seen the changes. I was in Silicon Valley for 10 years on a startup. India is taking over, my current US company now has a majority Indian executive and is moving work to India. US politicians push coding to drive down wages to Indian levels.

On the bright side I am old enough and established enough to quit tomorrow, its someone else's problem, but I still despise those who have sold us out, like the Clintons, the Bushes, the Googoids, the Zuckerboids.

liberalquilt -> yannick95 , 21 Sep 2017 23:45
Sure markets existed before governments, but capitalism didn't, can't in fact. It needs the organs of state, the banking system, an education system, and an infrastructure.
thegarlicfarmer -> canprof , 21 Sep 2017 23:36
Then teach them other things but not coding! Here in Australia every child of school age has to learn coding. Now tell me that everyone of them will need it? Look beyond computers as coding will soon be automated just like every other job.
Islingtonista , 21 Sep 2017 22:25
If you have never coded then you will not appreciate how labour intensive it is. Coders effectively use line editors to type in, line by line, the instructions. And syntax is critical; add a comma when you meant a semicolon and the code doesn't work properly. Yeah, we use frameworks and libraries of already written subroutines, but, in the end, it is all about manually typing in the code.

Which is an expensive way of doing things (hence the attractions of 'off-shoring' the coding task to low cost economies in Asia).

And this is why teaching kids to code is a waste of time.

Already, AI based systems are addressing the task of interpreting high level design models and simply generating the required application.

One of the first uses templates and a smart chatbot to enable non-tech business people to build their websites. By describe in non-coding terms what they want, the chatbot is able to assemble the necessary components and make the requisite template amendments to build a working website.

Much cheaper than hiring expensive coders to type it all in manually.

It's early days yet, but coding may well be one of the big losers to AI automation along with all those back office clerical jobs.

Teaching kids how to think about design rather than how to code would be much more valuable.

jamesbro -> peter nelson , 21 Sep 2017 21:31
Thick-skinned? Just because you might get a few error messages from the compiler? Call centre workers have to put up with people telling them to fuck off eight hours a day.
Joshua Ian Lee , 21 Sep 2017 21:03
Spot on. Society will never need more than 1% of its people to code. We will need far more garbage men. There are only so many (relatively) good jobs to go around and its about competing to get them.
canprof , 21 Sep 2017 20:53
I'm a professor (not of computer science) and yet, I try to give my students a basic understanding of algorithms and logic, to spark an interest and encourage them towards programming. I have no skin in the game, except that I've seen unemployment first-hand, and want them to avoid it. The best chance most of them have is to learn to code.
Evelita , 21 Sep 2017 14:35
Educating youth does not drive wages down. It drives our economy up. China, India, and other countries are training youth in programming skills. Educating our youth means that they will be able to compete globally. This is the standard GOP stand that we don't need to educate our youth, but instead fantasize about high-paying manufacturing jobs miraculously coming back.

Many jobs, including new manufacturing jobs have an element of coding because they are automated. Other industries require coding skills to maintain web sites and keep computer systems running. Learning coding skills opens these doors.

Coding teaches logic, an essential thought process. Learning to code, like learning anything, increases the brains ability to adapt to new environments which is essential to our survival as a species. We must invest in educating our youth.

cwblackwell , 21 Sep 2017 13:38
"Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn't actually need that many more programmers." This really looks like a straw man introducing a red herring. A skill can be extremely valuable for those who do not pursue it as a full time profession.

The economy doesn't actually need that many more typists, pianists, mathematicians, athletes, dietitians. So, clearly, teaching typing, the piano, mathematics, physical education, and nutrition is a nefarious plot to drive down salaries in those professions. None of those skills could possibly enrich the lives or enhance the productivity of builders, lawyers, public officials, teachers, parents, or store managers.

DJJJJJC , 21 Sep 2017 14:23

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the supply of American college graduates with computer science degrees is 50% greater than the number hired into the tech industry each year.

You're assuming that all those people are qualified to work in software because they have a piece of paper that says so, but that's not a valid assumption. The quality of computer science degree courses is generally poor, and most people aren't willing or able to teach themselves. Universities are motivated to award degrees anyway because if they only awarded degrees to students who are actually qualified then that would reflect very poorly on their quality of teaching.

A skills shortage doesn't mean that everyone who claims to have a skill gets hired and there are still some jobs left over that aren't being done. It means that employers are forced to hire people who are incompetent in order to fill all their positions. Many people who get jobs in programming can't really do it and do nothing but create work for everyone else. That's why most of the software you use every day doesn't work properly. That's why competent programmers' salaries are still high in spite of the apparently large number of "qualified" people who aren't employed as programmers.

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberal economic policies in the United States The impact of globalisation on a `Northern country by Kim Scipes

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Following Frances Fox Piven, "neoliberal economic policies" refers to the set of policies carried out, in the name of individualism and unfettered markets, for "the deregulation of corporations, and particularly of financial institutions; the rollback of public services and benefit programs; curbing labor unions; 'free trade' policies that would pry open foreign markets; and wherever possible the replacement of public programs with private markets" (Piven, 2007: 13). ..."
"... The case of the United States is particularly useful to examine because its elites have projected themselves as "first among equals" of the globalization project ( Bello , 2006), and it is the place of the Global North where the neoliberal project has been pursued most resolutely and has advanced the farthest. In other words, the experiences of American workers illuminate the affects of the neoliberal project in the Global North to the greatest extent, and suggest what will happen to working people in other northern countries should they accept their respective government's adoption of such policies. ..."
"... However, it is believed that the implementation of these neoliberal economic policies and the cultural wars to divert public attention are part of a larger, conscious political program by the elites within this country that is intended to prevent re-emergence of the collective solidarity among the American people that we saw during the late 1960s-early 1970s (see Piven, 2004, 2007) -- of which the internal breakdown of discipline within the US military, in Vietnam and around the world, was arguably the most crucial (see Moser, 1996; Zeiger, 2006) -- that ultimately challenged, however inchoately, the very structure of the established social order, both internationally and in the United States itself. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | links.org.au

Most contemporary discussions of globalization, and especially of the impact of neoliberal economic policies, focus on the countries of the Global South (see, for example, Bond, 2005; Ellner and Hellinger, eds., 2003; a number of articles in Harris, ed., 2006; Klein, 2007; Monthly Review, 2007; and, among others, see Scipes, 1999, 2006b). Recent articles arguing that the globalization project has receded and might be taking different approaches (Bello, 2006; Thornton, 2007) have also focused on the Global South. What has been somewhat discussed (see Giroux, 2004; Piven, 2004; Aronowitz, 2005) but not systematically addressed, however, is what has been the impact of globalization and especially related neoliberal economic policies on working people in a northern country? [i]

This paper specifically addresses this question by looking at the impact of neoliberal economic policies on working people in the United States . Following Frances Fox Piven, "neoliberal economic policies" refers to the set of policies carried out, in the name of individualism and unfettered markets, for "the deregulation of corporations, and particularly of financial institutions; the rollback of public services and benefit programs; curbing labor unions; 'free trade' policies that would pry open foreign markets; and wherever possible the replacement of public programs with private markets" (Piven, 2007: 13).

The case of the United States is particularly useful to examine because its elites have projected themselves as "first among equals" of the globalization project ( Bello , 2006), and it is the place of the Global North where the neoliberal project has been pursued most resolutely and has advanced the farthest. In other words, the experiences of American workers illuminate the affects of the neoliberal project in the Global North to the greatest extent, and suggest what will happen to working people in other northern countries should they accept their respective government's adoption of such policies.

However, care must be taken as to how this is understood. While sociologically-focused textbooks (e.g., Aguirre and Baker, eds., 2008; Hurst, 2007) have joined together some of the most recent thinking on social inequality -- and have demonstrated that inequality not only exists but is increasing -- this has been generally presented in a national context; in this case, within the United States. And if they recognize that globalization is part of the reason for increasing inequality, it is generally included as one of a set of reasons.

This paper argues that we simply cannot understand what is happening unless we put developments within a global context: the United States effects, and is affected by, global processes. Thus, while some of the impacts can be understood on a national level, we cannot ask related questions as to causes -- or future consequences -- by confining our examination to a national level: we absolutely must approach this from a global perspective (see Nederveen Pieterse, 2004, 2008).

This also must be put in historical perspective as well, although the focus in this piece will be limited to the post-World War II world. Inequality within what is now the United States today did not -- obviously -- arise overnight. Unquestionably, it began at least 400 years ago in Jamestown -- with the terribly unequal and socially stratified society of England's colonial Virginia before Africans were brought to North America (see Fischer, 1989), much less after their arrival in 1619, before the Pilgrims. Yet, to understand the roots of development of contemporary social inequality in the US , we must understand the rise of " Europe " in relation to the rest of the world (see, among others, Rodney, 1972; Nederveen Pieterse, 1989). In short, again, we have to understand that the development of the United States has been and will always be a global project and, without recognizing that, we simply cannot begin to understand developments within the United States .

We also have to understand the multiple and changing forms of social stratification and resulting inequalities in this country. This paper prioritizes economic stratification, although is not limited to just the resulting inequalities. Nonetheless, it does not focus on racial, gender or any other type of social stratification. However, this paper is not written from the perspective that economic stratification is always the most important form of stratification, nor from the perspective that we can only understand other forms of stratification by understanding economic stratification: all that is being claimed herein is that economic stratification is one type of social stratification, arguably one of the most important types yet only one of several, and investigates the issue of economic stratification in the context of contemporary globalization and the neoliberal economic policies that have developed to address this phenomenon as it affects the United States.

Once this global-historical perspective is understood and after quickly suggesting in the "prologue" why the connection between neoliberal economic policies and the affects on working people in the United States has not been made usually, this paper focuses on several interrelated issues: (1) it reports the current economic situation for workers in the United States; (2) it provides a historical overview of US society since World War II; (3) it analyzes the results of US Government economic policies; and (4) it ties these issues together. From that, it comes to a conclusion about the affects of neoliberal economic policies on working people in the United States .

Prologue: Origins of neoliberal economic policies in the United States

As stated above, most of the attention directed toward understanding the impact of neoliberal economic policies on various countries has been confined to the countries of the Global South. However, these policies have been implemented in the United States as well. This arguably began in 1982, when the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, launched a vicious attack on inflation -- and caused the deepest US recession since the Great Depression of the late 1920s-1930s.

However, these neoliberal policies have been implemented in the US perhaps more subtly than in the Global South. This is said because, when trying to understand changes that continue to take place in the United States, these economic policies are hidden "under" the various and sundry "cultural wars" (around issues such as drugs, premarital sex, gun control, abortion, marriages for gays and lesbians) that have been taking place in this country and, thus, not made obvious: most Americans, and especially working people, are not aware of the changes detailed below. [ii]

However, it is believed that the implementation of these neoliberal economic policies and the cultural wars to divert public attention are part of a larger, conscious political program by the elites within this country that is intended to prevent re-emergence of the collective solidarity among the American people that we saw during the late 1960s-early 1970s (see Piven, 2004, 2007) -- of which the internal breakdown of discipline within the US military, in Vietnam and around the world, was arguably the most crucial (see Moser, 1996; Zeiger, 2006) -- that ultimately challenged, however inchoately, the very structure of the established social order, both internationally and in the United States itself. Thus, we see both Democratic and Republican Parties in agreement to maintain and expand the US Empire (in more neutral political science-ese, a "uni-polar world"), but the differences that emerge within each party and between each party are generally confined to how this can best be accomplished. While this paper focuses on the economic and social changes going on, it should be kept in mind that these changes did not "just happen": conscious political decisions have been made that produced social results (see Piven, 2004) that make the US experience -- at the center of a global social order based on an "advanced" capitalist economy -- qualitatively different from experiences in other more economically-developed countries.

So, what has been the impact of these policies on workers in the US?

1) The current situation for workers and growing economic inequality

Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times published a piece on September 4, 2006, writing about entry-level workers, young people who were just entering the job market. Mr. Greenhouse noted changes in the US economy; in fact, there have been substantial changes since early 2000, when the economy last created many jobs.

Yet, the percentage drop in wages hides the growing gap between college and high school graduates. Today, on average, college grads earn 45 per cent more than high school graduates, where the gap had "only" been 23 per cent in 1979: the gap has doubled in 26 years (Greenhouse, 2006b).

A 2004 story in Business Week found that 24 per cent of all working Americans received wages below the poverty line ( Business Week , 2004). [iii] In January 2004, 23.5 million Americans received free food from food pantries. "The surge for food demand is fueled by several forces -- job losses, expired unemployment benefits, soaring health-care and housing costs, and the inability of many people to find jobs that match the income and benefits of the jobs they had." And 43 million people were living in low-income families with children (Jones, 2004).

A 2006 story in Business Week found that US job growth between 2001-2006 was really based on one industry: health care. Over this five-year period, the health-care sector has added 1.7 million jobs, while the rest of the private sector has been stagnant. Michael Mandel, the economics editor of the magazine, writes:

information technology, the great electronic promise of the 1990s, has turned into one of the greatest job-growth disappointments of all time. Despite the splashy success of companies such as Google and Yahoo!, businesses at the core of the information economy -- software, semi-conductors, telecom, and the whole range of Web companies -- have lost more than 1.1 million jobs in the past five years. These businesses employ fewer Americans today than they did in 1998, when the Internet frenzy kicked into high gear (Mandel, 2006: 56) .

In fact, "take away health-care hiring in the US, and quicker than you can say cardiac bypass, the US unemployment rate would be 1 to 2 percentage points higher" (Mandel, 2006: 57).

There has been extensive job loss in manufacturing. Over 3.4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1998, and 2.9 million of them have been lost since 2001. Additionally, over 40,000 manufacturing firms have closed since 1999, and 90 per cent have been medium and large shops. In labor-import intensive industries, 25 per cent of laid-off workers remain unemployed after six months, two-thirds of them who do find new jobs earn less than on their old job, and one-quarter of those who find new jobs "suffer wage losses of more than 30 percent" (AFL-CIO, 2006a: 2).

The AFL-CIO details the US job loss by manufacturing sector in the 2001-05 period:

As of the end of 2005, only 10.7 per cent of all US employment was in manufacturing -- down from 21.6 per cent at its height in 1979 -- in raw numbers, manufacturing employment totaled 19.426 million in 1979, 17.263 million in 2000, and 14.232 million in 2005. [iv] The number of production workers in this country at the end of 2005 was 9.378 million. [v] This was only slightly above the 9.306 million production workers in 1983, and was considerably below the 11.463 million as recently as 2000 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006b). As one writer puts it, this is "the biggest long-term trend in the economy: the decline of manufacturing." He notes that employment in the durable goods (e.g., cars and cable TV boxes) category of manufacturing has declined from 19 per cent of all employment in 1965 to 8 per cent in 2005 (Altman, 2006). And at the end of 2006, only 11.7 per cent of all manufacturing workers were in unions (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007).

In addition, in 2004 and 2005, "the real hourly and weekly wages of US manufacturing workers have fallen 3 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively" (AFL-CIO, 2006a: 2).

The minimum wage level went unchanged for nine years: until recently when there was a small increase -- to $5.85 an hour on July 24, 2007 -- US minimum wage had remained at $5.15 an hour since September 1, 1997 . During that time, the cost of living rose 26 percent. After adjusting for inflation, this was the lowest level of the minimum wage since 1955. At the same time, the minimum wage was only 31 per cent of the average pay of non-supervisory workers in the private sector, which is the lowest share since World War II (Bernstein and Shapiro, 2006).

In addition to the drop in wages at all levels, fewer new workers get health care benefits with their jobs: [vi] in 2005, 64 per cent of all college grads got health coverage in entry-level jobs, where 71 per cent had gotten it in 2000 -- a 7 per cent drop in just five years. Over a longer term, we can see what has happened to high school grads: in 1979, two-thirds of all high school graduates got health care coverage in entry-level jobs, while only one-third do today (Greenhouse, 2006b). It must be kept in mind that only about 28 per cent of the US workforce are college graduates -- most of the work force only has a high school degree, although a growing percentage of them have some college, but not college degrees.

Because things have gotten so bad, many young adults have gotten discouraged and given up. The unemployment rate is 4.4 per cent for ages 25-34, but 8.2 per cent for workers 20-24. (Greenhouse, 2006b).

Yet things are actually worse than that. In the US , unemployment rates are artificially low. If a person gets laid off and gets unemployment benefits -- which fewer and fewer workers even get -- they get a check for six months. If they have not gotten a job by the end of six months -- and it is taking longer and longer to get a job -- and they have given up searching for work, then not only do they loose their unemployment benefits, but they are no longer counted as unemployed: one doesn't even count in the statistics!

A report from April 2004 provides details. According to the then-head of the US Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, "the average duration of unemployment increased from twelve weeks in September 2000 to twenty weeks in March [2004]" (quoted in Shapiro, 2004: 4). In March 2004, 354,000 jobs workers had exhausted their unemployment benefits, and were unable to get any additional federal unemployment assistance: Shapiro (2004: 1) notes, "In no other month on record, with data available back to 1971, have there been so many 'exhaustees'."

Additionally, although it's rarely reported, unemployment rates vary by racial grouping. No matter what the unemployment rate is, it really only reflects the rate of whites who are unemployed because about 78 per cent of the workforce is white. However, since 1954, the unemployment rate of African-Americans has always been more than twice that of whites, and Latinos are about 1 1/2 times that of whites. So, for example, if the overall rate is five percent, then it's at least ten per cent for African-Americans and 7.5 per cent for Latinos.

However, most of the developments presented above -- other than the racial affects of unemployment -- have been relatively recent. What about longer term? Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning Princeton University economist who writes for The New York Times, pointed out these longer term affects: non-supervisory workers make less in real wages today (2006) than they made in 1973! So, after inflation is taken out, non-supervisory workers are making less today in real terms that their contemporaries made 33 years ago (Krugman, 2006b). Figures provided by Stephen Franklin -- obtained from the US Bureau of Statistics, and presented in 1982 dollars -- show that a production worker in January 1973 earned $9.08 an hour -- and $8.19 an hour in December 2005 (Franklin, 2006). Workers in 2005 also had less long-term job security, fewer benefits, less stable pensions (when they have them), and rising health care costs. [vii]

In short, the economic situation for "average Americans" is getting worse. A front-page story in the Chicago Tribune tells about a worker who six years ago was making $29 an hour, working at a nuclear power plant. He got laid off, and now makes $12.24 an hour, working on the bottom tier of a two-tiered unionized factory owned by Caterpillar, the multinational earth moving equipment producer, which is less than half of his old wages. The article pointed out, "Glued to a bare bones budget, he saved for weeks to buy a five-pack of $7 T-shirts" ( Franklin , 2006).

As Foster and Magdoff point out:

Except for a small rise in the late 1990s, real wages have been sluggish for decades. The typical (median-income) family has sought to compensate for this by increasing the number of jobs and working hours per household. Nevertheless, the real (inflation-adjusted) income of the typical household fell for five years in a row through 2004 (Foster and Magdoff, 2009: 28).

A report by Workers Independent News (WIN) stated that while a majority of metropolitan areas have regained the 2.6 million jobs lost during the first two years of the Bush Administration, "the new jobs on average pay $9,000 less than the jobs replaced," a 21 per cent decline from $43,629 to $34,378. However, WIN says that "99 out of the 361 metro areas will not recover jobs before 2007 and could be waiting until 2015 before they reach full recovery" (Russell, 2006).

At the same time, Americans are going deeper and deeper into debt. At the end of 2000, total US household debt was $7.008 trillion, with home mortgage debt being $4.811 trillion and non-mortgage debt $1.749 trillion; at the end of 2006, comparable numbers were a total of $12.817 trillion; $9.705 trillion (doubling since 2000); and $2.431 trillion (US Federal Reserve, 2007-rounding by author). Foster and Magdoff (2009: 29) show that this debt is not only increasing, but based on figures from the Federal Reserve, that debt as a percentage of disposable income has increased overall from 62% in 1975 to 96.8% in 2000, and to 127.2% in 2005.

Three polls from mid-2006 found "deep pessimism among American workers, with most saying that wages were not keeping pace with inflation, and that workers were worse off in many ways than a generation ago" (Greenhouse, 2006a). And, one might notice, nothing has been said about increasing gas prices, lower home values, etc. The economic situation for most working people is not looking pretty.

In fact, bankruptcy filings totaled 2.043 million in 2005, up 31.6 per cent from 2004 (Associated Press, 2006), before gas prices went through the ceiling and housing prices began falling in mid-2006. Yet in 1998, writers for the Chicago Tribune had written, " the number of personal bankruptcy filings skyrocketed 19.5 per cent last year, to an all-time high of 1,335,053, compared with 1,117,470 in 1996" (Schmeltzer and Gruber, 1998).

And at the same time, there were 37 million Americans in poverty in 2005, one of out every eight. Again, the rates vary by racial grouping: while 12.6 per cent of all Americans were in poverty, the poverty rate for whites was 8.3 percent; for African Americans, 24.9 per cent were in poverty, as were 21.8 per cent of all Latinos. (What is rarely acknowledged, however, is that 65 per cent of all people in poverty in the US are white.) And 17.6 per cent of all children were in poverty (US Census Bureau, 2005).

What about the "other half"? This time, Paul Krugman gives details from a report by two Northwestern University professors, Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon, titled "Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?" Krugman writes:

Between 1973 and 2001, the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 per cent per year. But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint. Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that this year, the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The Center doesn't give a number for the 99.99th percentile, but it's probably well over $6 million a year (Krugman, 2006a) .

But how can we understand what is going on? We need to put take a historical approach to understand the significance of the changes reported above.

(2) A historical look at the US social order since World War II

When considering the US situation, it makes most sense to look at "recent" US developments, those since World War II. Just after the War, in 1947, the US population was about six per cent of the world's total. Nonetheless, this six per cent produced about 48 per cent of all goods and services in the world! [viii] With Europe and Japan devastated, the US was the only industrialized economy that had not been laid waste. Everybody needed what the US produced -- and this country produced the goods, and sent them around the world.

At the same time, the US economy was not only the most productive, but the rise of the industrial union movement in the 1930s and '40s -- the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) -- meant that workers had some power to demand a share of the wealth produced. In 1946, just after the war, the US had the largest strike wave in its history: 116,000,000 production days were lost in early 1946, as industry-wide strikes in auto, steel, meat packing, and the electrical industry took place across the United States and Canada , along with smaller strikes in individual firms. Not only that, but there were general strikes that year in Oakland , California and Stamford , Connecticut . Workers had been held back during the war, but they demonstrated their power immediately thereafter (Lipsitz, 1994; Murolo and Chitty, 2001). Industry knew that if it wanted the production it could sell, it had to include unionized workers in on the deal.

It was this combination -- devastated economic markets around the world and great demand for goods and services, the world's most developed industrial economy, and a militant union movement -- that combined to create what is now known as the "great American middle class." [ix]

To understand the economic impact of these factors, changes in income distribution in US society must be examined. The best way to illuminate this is to assemble family data on income or wealth [x] -- income data is more available, so that will be used; arrange it from the smallest amount to the largest; and then to divide the population into fifths, or quintiles. In other words, arrange every family's annual income from the lowest to the highest, and divide the total number of family incomes into quintiles or by 20 percents (i.e., fifths). Then compare changes in the top incomes for each quintile. By doing so, one can then observe changes in income distribution over specified time periods.

The years between 1947 and 1973 are considered the "golden years" of the US society. [xi] The values are presented in 2005 dollars, so that means that inflation has been taken out: these are real dollar values, and that means these are valid comparisons.

Figure 1: US family income, in US dollars, growth and istribution, by quintile, 1947-1973 compared to 1973-2001, in 2005 dollars

Lowest 20%

Second 20 %

Third 20%

Fourth 20%

95 th Percentile [xii]

1947

$11,758

$18,973

$25,728

$36,506

$59,916

1973

$23,144

$38,188

$53,282

$73,275

$114,234

Difference (26 years) $11,386

(97%)

$19,145

(100%)

$27,554

(107%)

$36,769

(101%)

$54,318

(91%)

1973

$23,144

$38,188

$53,282

$73,275

$114,234

2001

$26,467

$45,355

$68,925

$103,828

$180,973

Difference (28 years) $3,323

(14%)

$7,167

(19%)

$15,643

(29%)

$30,553

(42%)

$66,739

(58%)

Source: US Commerce Department, Bureau of the Census (hereafter, US Census Bureau) at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html . All dollar values converted to 2005 dollars by US Census Bureau, removing inflation and comparing real values. Differences and percentages calculated by author. Percentages shown in both rows labeled "Difference" show the dollar difference as a percentage of the first year of the comparison.

Data for the first period, 1947-1973 -- the data above the grey line -- shows there was considerable real economic growth for each quintile . Over the 26-year period, there was approximately 100 per cent real economic growth for the incomes at the top of each quintile, which meant incomes doubled after inflation was removed; thus, there was significant economic growth in the society.

And importantly, this real economic growth was distributed fairly evenly . The data in the fourth line (in parentheses) is the percentage relationship between the difference between 1947-1973 real income when compared to the 1947 real income, with 100 per cent representing a doubling of real income: i.e., the difference for the bottom quintile between 1947 and 1973 was an increase of $11,386, which is 97 per cent more than $11,758 that the top of the quintile had in 1947. As can be seen, other quintiles also saw increases of roughly comparable amounts: in ascending order, 100 percent, 107 percent, 101 percent, and 91 percent. In other words, the rate of growth by quintile was very similar across all five quintiles of the population.

When looking at the figures for 1973-2001, something vastly different can be observed. This is the section below the grey line. What can be seen? First, economic growth has slowed considerably: the highest rate of growth for any quintile was that of 58 per cent for those who topped the fifth quintile, and this was far below the "lagger" of 91 per cent of the earlier period.

Second, of what growth there was, it was distributed extremely unequally . And the growth rates for those in lower quintiles were generally lower than for those above them: for the bottom quintile, their real income grew only 14 per cent over the 1973-2001 period; for the second quintile, 19 percent; for the third, 29 percent; for the fourth, 42 percent; and for the 80-95 percent, 58 percent: loosely speaking, the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer.

Why the change? I think two things in particular. First, as industrialized countries recovered from World War II, corporations based in these countries could again compete with those from the US -- first in their own home countries, and then through importing into the US , and then ultimately when they invested in the United States . Think of Toyota : they began importing into the US in the early 1970s, and with their investments here in the early '80s and forward, they now are the largest domestic US auto producer.

Second cause for the change has been the deterioration of the American labor movement: from 35.3 per cent of the non-agricultural workforce in unions in 1954, to only 12.0 per cent of all American workers in unions in 2006 -- and only 7.4 per cent of all private industry workers are unionized, which is less than in 1930!

This decline in unionization has a number of reasons. Part of this deterioration has been the result of government policies -- everything from the crushing of the air traffic controllers when they went on strike by the Reagan Administration in 1981, to reform of labor law, to reactionary appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees administration of labor law. Certainly a key government policy, signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has been the North American Free Trade Act or NAFTA. One analyst came straight to the point:

Since [NAFTA] was signed in 1993, the rise in the US trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 US jobs. Most of these lost jobs were high-wage positions in manufacturing industries. The loss of these jobs is just the most visible tip of NAFTA's impact on the US economy. In fact, NAFTA has also contributed to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers' collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduced fringe benefits (Scott, 2003: 1).

These attacks by elected officials have been joined by the affects due to the restructuring of the economy. There has been a shift from manufacturing to services. However, within manufacturing, which has long been a union stronghold, there has been significant job loss: between July 2000 and January 2004, the US lost three million manufacturing jobs, or 17.5 percent, and 5.2 million since the historical peak in 1979, so that "Employment in manufacturing [in January 2004] was its lowest since July 1950" (CBO, 2004). This is due to both outsourcing labor-intensive production overseas and, more importantly, technological displacement as new technology has enabled greater production at higher quality with fewer workers in capital-intensive production (see Fisher, 2004). Others have blamed burgeoning trade deficits for the rise: " an increasing share of domestic demand for manufacturing output is satisfied by foreign rather than domestic producers" (Bivens, 2005). [xiii] Others have even attributed it to changes in consumer preferences (Schweitzer and Zaman, 2006). Whatever the reason, of the 50 states, only five (Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming) did not see any job loss in manufacturing between 1993-2003, yet 37 lost between 5.6 and 35.9 per cent of their manufacturing jobs during this period (Public Policy Institute, 2004).

However, part of the credit for deterioration of the labor movement must be given to the labor movement itself: the leadership has been simply unable to confront these changes and, at the same time, they have consistently worked against any independent action by rank-and-file members. [xiv]

However, it must be asked: are the changes in the economy presented herein merely statistical manipulations, or is this indicating something real?

This point can be illustrated another way: by using CAGR, the Compound Annual Growth Rate. This is a single number that is computed, based on compounded amounts, across a range of years, to come up with an average number to represent the rate of increase or decrease each year across the entire period. This looks pretty complex, but it is based on the same idea as compound interest used in our savings accounts: you put in $10 today and (this is obviously not a real example) because you get ten per cent interest, so you have $11 the next year. Well, the following year, interest is not computed off the original $10, but is computed on the $11. So, by the third year, from your $10, you now have $12.10. Etc. And this is what is meant by the Compound Annual Growth Rate: this is average compound growth by year across a designated period.

Based on the numbers presented above in Figure 1, the author calculated the Compound Annual Growth Rate by quintiles (Figure 2). The annual growth rate has been calculated for the first period, 1947-1973, the years known as the "golden years" of US society. What has happened since then? Compare results from the 1947-73 period to the annual growth rate across the second period, 1973-2001, again calculated by the author.

Figure 2: Annual percentage of family income growth, by quintile, 1947-1973 compared to 1973-2001

Population by quintiles

1947-1973

1973-2001
95th Percentile

2.51%

1.66%

Fourth quintile

2.72%

1.25%

Third quintile

2.84%

.92%

Second quintile

2.73%

.62%

Lowest quintile

2.64%

.48%

Source: Calculated by author from gather provided by the US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html .

What we can see here is that while everyone's income was growing at about the same rate in the first period -- between 2.51 and 2.84 per cent annually -- by the second period, not only had growth slowed down across the board, but it grew by very different rates: what we see here, again, is that the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer.

If these figures are correct, a change over time in the percentage of income received by each quintile should be observable. Ideally, if the society were egalitarian, each 20 per cent of the population would get 20 per cent of the income in any one year. In reality, it differs. To understand Figure 3, below, one must not only look at the percentage of income held by a quintile across the chart, comparing selected year by selected year, but one needs to look to see whether a quintile's share of income is moving toward or away from the ideal 20 percent.

Figure 3: Percentage of family income distribution by quintile, 1947, 1973, 2001.

Population by quintiles 1947 1973 2001

Top fifth (lower limit of top 5percent, or 95th Percentile)-- $184,500 [xv]

43.0% 41.1% 47.7%
Second fifth--$103,100 23.1% 24.0% 22.9%
Third fifth--$68,304 17.0% 17.5% 15.4%
Fourth fifth--$45,021 11.9% 11.9% 9.7%
Bottom fifth--$25,616 5.0% 5.5% 4.2%

Source: US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f02ar.html .

Unfortunately, much of the data available publicly ended in 2001. However, in the summer of 2007, after years of not releasing data any later than 2001, the Census Bureau released income data up to 2005. It allows us to examine what has taken place regarding family income inequality during the first four years of the Bush Administration.

Figure 4: US family income, in US dollars, growth and distribution, by quintile, 2001-2005, 2005 US dollars

Lowest 20%

Second 20%

Middle 20%

Fourth 20%

Lowest level of top 5%

2001

$26,467

$45,855

$68,925

$103,828

$180,973

2005

$25,616

$45,021

$68,304

$103,100

$184,500

Difference

(4 years)

-$851

(-3.2%)

-$834

(-1.8%)

-$621

(-.01%)

-$728

(-.007%)

$3,527

(1.94%)

Source: US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html . (Over time, the Census Bureau refigures these amounts, so they have subsequently converted amounts to 2006 dollar values. These values are from their 2005 dollar values, and were calculated by the Census Bureau.) Differences and percentages calculated by author.

Thus, what we've seen under the first four years of the Bush Administration is that for at most Americans, their economic situation has worsened: not only has over all economic growth for any quintile slowed to a minuscule 1.94 per cent at the most, but that the bottom 80 per cent actually lost income; losing money (an absolute loss), rather than growing a little but falling further behind the top quintile (a relative loss). Further, the decrease across the bottom four quintiles has been suffered disproportionately by those in the lowest 40 per cent of the society.

This can perhaps be seen more clearly by examining CAGR rates by period.

We can now add the results of the 2001-2005 period share of income by quintile to our earlier chart:

Figure 5: Percentage of income growth per year by percentile, 1947-2005

Population by quintiles

1947-1973

1973-2001

2001-2005

Top 95 percentile

2.51%

1.66%

.48%

Fourth fifth

2.72%

1.25%

-.18%

Third fifth

2.84%

.92%

-.23%

Second fifth

2.73%

.62%

-.46%

Bottom fifth

2.64%

.48%

-.81%

Source: Calculated by author from data gathered from the US Department of the Census www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html .

As can be seen, the percentage of family income at each of the four bottom quintiles is less in 2005 than in 1947; the only place there has been improvement over this 58-year period is at the 95th percentile (and above).

Figure 6: Percentage of family income distribution by quintile, 1947, 1973, 2001, 2005.

Population by quintiles 1947 1973 2001 2005

Top fifth (lower limit of top 5percent, or 95th Percentile)-- $184,500

43.0% 41.1% 47.7% 48.1%
Second fifth--$103,100 23.1% 24.0% 22.9% 22.9%
Third fifth--$68,304 17.0% 17.5% 15.4% 15.3%
Fourth fifth--$45,021 11.9% 11.9% 9.7% 9.6%
Bottom fifth--$25,616 5.0% 5.5% 4.2% 4.0%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f02ar.html .

What has been presented so far, regarding changes in income distribution, has been at the group level; in this case, quintile by quintile. It is time now to see how this has affected the society overall.

Sociologists and economists use a number called the Gini index to measure inequality. Family income data has been used so far, and we will continue using it. A Gini index is fairly simple to use. It measures inequality in a society. A Gini index is generally reported in a range between 0.000 and 1.000, and is written in thousandths, just like a winning percentage mark: three digits after the decimal. And the higher the Gini score, the greater the inequality.

Looking at the Gini index, we can see two periods since 1947, when the US Government began computing the Gini index for the country. From 1947-1968, with yearly change greater or smaller, the trend is downward, indicating reduced inequality: from .376 in 1947 to .378 in 1950, but then downward to .348 in 1968. So, again, over the first period, the trend is downward.

What has happened since then? From the low point in 1968 of .348, the trend has been upward. In 1982, the Gini index hit .380, which was higher than any single year between 1947-1968, and the US has never gone below .380 since then. By 1992, it hit .403, and we've never gone back below .400. In 2001, the US hit .435. But the score for 2005 has only recently been published: .440 (source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f04.html ). So, the trend is getting worse, and with the policies established under George W. Bush, I see them only continuing to increase in the forthcoming period. [And by the way, this increasing trend has continued under both the Republicans and the Democrats, but since the Republicans have controlled the presidency for 18 of the last 26 years (since 1981), they get most of the credit -- but let's not forget that the Democrats have controlled Congress across many of those years, so they, too, have been an equal opportunity destroyer!]

However, one more question must be asked: how does this income inequality in the US, compare to other countries around the world? Is the level of income inequality comparable to other "developed" societies, or is it comparable to "developing" countries?

We must turn to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for our data. The CIA computes Gini scores for family income on most of the countries around the world, and the last time checked in 2007 (August 1), they had data on 122 countries on their web page and these numbers had last been updated on July 19, 2007 (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2007). With each country listed, there is a Gini score provided. Now, the CIA doesn't compute Gini scores yearly, but they give the last year it was computed, so these are not exactly equivalent but they are suggestive enough to use. However, when they do assemble these Gini scores in one place, they list them alphabetically, which is not of much comparative use (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2007).

However, the World Bank categorizes countries, which means they can be compared within category and across categories. The World Bank, which does not provide Gini scores, puts 208 countries into one of four categories based on Gross National Income per capita -- that's total value of goods and services sold in the market in a year, divided by population size. This is a useful statistic, because it allows us to compare societies with economies of vastly different size: per capita income removes the size differences between countries.

The World Bank locates each country into one of four categories: lower income, lower middle income, upper middle income, and high income (World Bank, 2007a). Basically, those in the lower three categories are "developing" or what we used to call "third world" countries, while the high income countries are all of the so-called developed countries.

The countries listed by the CIA with their respective Gini scores were placed into the specific World Bank categories in which the World Bank had previously located them (World Bank, 2007b). Once grouped in their categories, median Gini scores were computed for each group. When trying to get one number to represent a group of numbers, median is considered more accurate than an average, so the median was used, which means half of the scores are higher, half are lower -- in other words, the data is at the 50th percentile for each category.

The Gini score for countries, by Gross National Income per capita, categorized by the World Bank:

Figure 7: Median Gini Scores by World Bank income categories (countries selected by US Central Intelligence Agency were placed in categories developed by the World Bank) and compared to 2004 US Gini score as calculated by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Income category

Median Gini score

Gini score, US (2004)

Low income countries (less than $875/person/year)

.406

.450

Lower-middle income countries (between $876-3,465/person/year)

.414

.450

Upper-middle income countries (between $3,466-10,725/person/year

.370

.450

Upper-income countries (over $10,726/person/year

.316

.450

As can be seen, with the (CIA-calculated) Gini score of .450, the US family income is more unequal than the medians for each category, and is more unequal than some of the poorest countries on earth, such as Bangladesh (.318 -- calculated in 2000), Cambodia (.400, 2004 est.), Laos (.370-1997), Mozambique (.396, 1996-97), Uganda (.430-1999) and Vietnam (.361, 1998). This same finding also holds true using the more conservative Census Bureau-calculated Gini score of .440.

Thus, the US has not only become more unequal over the 35 years, as has been demonstrated above, but has attained a level of inequality that is much more comparable to those of developing countries in general and, in fact, is more unequal today than some of the poorest countries on Earth. There is nothing suggesting that this increasing inequality will lessen anytime soon. And since this increasing income inequality has taken place under the leadership of both major political parties, there is nothing on the horizon that suggests either will resolutely address this issue in the foreseeable future regardless of campaign promises made.

However, to move beyond discussion of whether President Obama is likely to address these and related issues, some consideration of governmental economic policies is required. Thus, he will be constrained by decisions made by previous administrations, as well as by the ideological blinders worn by those he has chosen to serve at the top levels of his administration.

3) Governmental economic policies

There are two key points that are especially important for our consideration: the US Budget and the US National Debt. They are similar, but different -- and consideration of each of them enhances understanding.

A) US budget. Every year, the US Government passes a budget, whereby governmental officials estimate beforehand how much money needs to be taken in to cover all expenses. If the government actually takes in more money than it spends, the budget is said to have a surplus; if it takes in less than it spends, the budget is said to be in deficit.

Since 1970, when Richard Nixon was President, the US budget has been in deficit every year except for the last four years under Clinton (1998-2001), where there was a surplus. But this surplus began declining under Clinton -- it was $236.2 billion in 2000, and only $128.2 billion in 2001, Clinton 's last budget. Under Bush, the US has gone drastically into deficit: -$157.8 billion in 2002; -$377.6 billion in 2003; -$412.7 billion in 2004; -$318.3 billion in 2005; and "only"-$248.2 billion in 2006 (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-78).

Now, that is just yearly surpluses and deficits. They get combined with all the other surpluses and deficits since the US became a country in 1789 to create to create a cumulative amount, what is called the National Debt.

B) US national debt. Between 1789 and1980 -- from Presidents Washington through Carter -- the accumulated US National Debt was $909 billion or, to put it another way, $.909 trillion. During Ronald Reagan's presidency (1981-89), the National Debt tripled, from $.9 trillion to $2.868 trillion. It has continued to rise. As of the end of 2006, 17 years later and after a four-year period of surpluses where the debt was somewhat reduced, National Debt (or Gross Federal Debt) was $8.451 trillion (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-78).

To put it into context: the US economy, the most productive in the world, had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $13.061 trillion in 2006, but the National Debt was $8.451 trillion -- 64.7 per cent of GDP -- and growing (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-1).

In April 2006, one investor reported that "the US Treasury has a hair under $8.4 trillion in outstanding debt. How much is that? He put it into this context: " if you deposited one million dollars into a bank account every day, starting 2006 years ago, that you would not even have ONE trillion dollars in that account" (Van Eeden, 2006).

Let's return to the budget deficit: like a family budget, when one spends more than one brings in, they can do basically one of three things: (a) they can cut spending; (b) they can increase taxes (or obviously a combination of the two); or (c) they can take what I call the "Wimpy" approach.

For those who might not know this, Wimpy was a cartoon character, a partner of "Popeye the Sailor," a Saturday morning cartoon that was played for over 30 years in the United States . Wimpy had a great love for hamburgers. And his approach to life was summed up in his rap: "I'll gladly give you two hamburgers on Tuesday, for a hamburger today."

What is argued is that the US Government has been taking what I call the Wimpy approach to its budgetary problems: it does not reduce spending, it does not raise taxes to pay for the increased expenditures -- in fact, President Bush has cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans [xvi] -- but instead it sells US Government securities, often known as Treasuries, to rich investors, private corporations or, increasingly, to other countries to cover the budget deficit. In a set number of years, the US Government agrees to pay off each bond -- and the difference between what the purchaser bought them for and the increased amount the US Government pays to redeem them is the cost of financing the Treasuries, a certain percentage of the total value. By buying US Treasuries, other countries have helped keep US interest rates low, helping to keep the US economy in as good of shape as it has been (thus, keeping the US market flourishing for them), while allowing the US Government not to have to confront its annual deficits. At the end of 2006, the total value of outstanding Treasuries -- to all investors, not just other countries -- was $8.507 trillion (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-87).

It turns out that at in December 2004, foreigners owned approximately 61 per cent of all outstanding US Treasuries. Of that, seven per cent was held by China ; these were valued at $223 billion (Gundzik, 2005).

The percentage of foreign and international investors' purchases of the total US public debt since 1996 has never been less than 17.7 percent, and it has reached a high of 25.08 per cent in September 2006. In September 2006, foreigners purchased $2.134 trillion of Treasuries; these were 25.08 per cent of all purchases, and 52.4 per cent of all privately-owned purchases (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-89). [xvii] Altogether, "the world now holds financial claims amounting to $3.5 trillion against the United States , or 26 per cent of our GDP" (Humpage and Shenk, 2007: 4).

Since the US Government continues to run deficits, because the Bush Administration has refused to address this problem, the United States has become dependent on other countries buying Treasuries. Like a junky on heroin, the US must get other investors (increasingly countries) to finance its budgetary deficits.

To keep the money flowing in, the US must keep interest rates high -- basically, interest rates are the price that must be paid to borrow money. Over the past year or so, the Federal Reserve has not raised interest rates, but prior to that, for 15 straight quarterly meetings, they did. And, as known, the higher the interest rate, the mostly costly it is to borrow money domestically, which means increasingly likelihood of recession -- if not worse. In other words, dependence on foreigners to finance the substantial US budget deficits means that the US must be prepared to raise interests rates which, at some point, will choke off domestic borrowing and consumption, throwing the US economy into recession. [xviii]

Yet this threat is not just to the United States -- according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is a threat to the global economy. A story about a then-recently issued report by the IMF begins, "With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy ." The report suggested that net financial obligations of the US to the rest of the world could equal 40 per cent of its total economy if nothing was done about it in a few years, "an unprecedented level of external debt for a larger industrial country" according to the report. What was perhaps even more shocking than what the report said was which institution said it: "The IMF has often been accused of being an adjunct of the United States , its largest shareholder" (Becker and Andrews, 2004).

Other analysts go further. After discussing the increasingly risky nature of global investing, and noting that "The investor managers of private equity funds and major banks have displaced national banks and international bodies such as the IMF," Gabriel Kolko (2007) quotes Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley's chief economist, on April 24, 2007: "a major financial crisis seemed imminent and that the global institutions that could forestall it, including the IMF, the World Bank and other mechanisms of the international financial architecture, were utterly inadequate." Kolko recognizes that things may not collapse immediately, and that analysts could be wrong, but still concludes, "the transformation of the global financial system will sooner or later lead to dire results" (Kolko, 2007: 5).

What might happen if investors decided to take their money out of US Treasuries and, say, invest in Euro-based bonds? The US would be in big trouble, would be forced to raise its interest rates even higher than it wants -- leading to possibly a severe recession -- and if investors really shifted their money, the US could be observably bankrupt; the curtain hiding the "little man" would be opened, and he would be observable to all.

Why would investors rather shift their investment money into Euro-bonds instead of US Treasuries? Well, obviously, one measure is the perceived strength of the US economy. To get a good idea of how solid a country's economy is, one looks at things such as budget deficits, but perhaps even more importantly balance of trade: how well is this economy doing in comparison with other countries?

The US international balance of trade is in the red and is worsening: -$717 billion in 2005. In 1991, it was -$31 billion. Since 1998, the US trade balance has set a new record for being in the hole every year, except during 2001, and then breaking the all time high the very next year! -$165 B in 1998; -$263 B in 1999; -$378 B in 2000; only -$362 B in 2001; -$421 B in 2002; -$494 B in 2003; -$617 B in 2004; and - $717 B in 2005 (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-103). According to the Census Department, the balance of trade in 2006 was -$759 billion (US Census Bureau, 2007).

And the US current account balance, the broadest measure of a country's international financial situation -- which includes investment inside and outside the US in addition to balance of trade -- is even worse: it was -$805 B in 2005, or 6.4 per cent of national income. "The bottom line is that a current account deficit of this unparalleled magnitude is unsustainable and there is no hope of it being painlessly resolved through higher exports alone," according to one analyst (quoted in Swann, 2006). Scott notes that the current account deficit in 2006 was -$857 billion (Scott, 2007a: 8, fn. 1). "In effect, the United States is living beyond its means and selling off national assets to pay its bills" (Scott, 2007b: 1). [xix]

In addition, during mid-2007, there was a bursting of a domestic "housing bubble," which has threatened domestic economic well-being but that ultimately threatens the well-being of global financial markets. There had been a tremendous run-up in US housing values since 1995 -- with an increase of more than 70 per cent after adjusting for the rate of inflation -- and this had created "more than $8 trillion in housing wealth compared with a scenario in which house prices had continued to rise at the same rate of inflation," which they had done for over 100 years, between 1890 and 1995 (Baker, 2007: 8).

This led to a massive oversupply of housing, accompanied with falling house prices: according to Dean Baker, "the peak inventory of unsold new homes of 573,000 in July 2006 was more than 50 per cent higher than the previous peak of 377,000 in May of 1989" (Baker, 2007: 12-13). This caused massive problems in the sub-prime housing market -- estimates are that almost $2 trillion in sub-prime loans were made during 2005-06, and that about $325 billion of these loans will default, with more than 1 million people losing their homes (Liedtke, 2007) -- but these problems are not confined to the sub-prime loan category: because sub-prime and "Alt-A" mortgages (the category immediately above sub-prime) financed 40 per cent of the housing market in 2006, "it is almost inevitable that the problems will spill over into the rest of the market" (Baker, 2007: 15). And Business Week agrees: "Subprime woes have moved far beyond the mortgage industry." It notes that at least five hedge funds have gone out of business, corporate loans and junk bonds have been hurt, and the leveraged buyout market has been hurt (Goldstein and Henry, 2007).

David Leonhardt (2007) agrees with the continuing threat to the financial industry. Discussing "adjustable rate mortgages" -- where interest rates start out low, but reset to higher rates, resulting in higher mortgage payments to the borrower -- he points out that about $50 billion of mortgages will reset during October 2007, and that this amount of resetting will remain over $30 billion monthly through September 2008. "In all," he writes," the interest rates on about $1 trillion worth of mortgages or 12 per cent of the nation's total, will reset for the first time this year or next."

Why all of this is so important is because bankers have gotten incredibly "creative" in creating new mortgages, which they sell to home buyers. Then they bundle these obligations and sell to other financial institutions and which, in turn, create new securities (called derivatives) based on these questionable new mortgages. Yes, it is basically a legal ponzi scheme, but it requires the continuous selling and buying of these derivatives to keep working: in early August 2007, however, liquidity -- especially "financial instruments backed by home mortgages" -- dried up, as no one wanted to buy these instruments (Krugman, 2007). The US Federal Research and the European Central Bank felt it necessary to pump over $100 billion into the financial markets in mid-August 2007 to keep the international economy solvent (Norris, 2007).

So, economically, this country is in terrible shape -- with no solution in sight.

On top of this -- as if all of this is not bad enough -- the Bush Administration is asking for another $481.4 billion for the Pentagon's base budget, which it notes is "a 62 per cent increase over 2001." Further, the Administration seeks an additional $93.4 billion in supplemental funds for 2007 and another $141.7 billion for 2008 to help fund the "Global War on Terror" and US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (US Government, 2007). According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2006, the US "defense" spending was equivalent to 46 per cent of all military spending in the world, meaning that almost more money is provided for the US military in one year than is spent by the militaries of all the other countries in the world combined (SIPRI, 2007).

And SIPRI's accounting doesn't include the $500 billion spent so far, approximately, on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq .

In short, not only have things gotten worse for American working people since 1973 -- and especially after 1982, with the imposition of neoliberal economic policies by institutions of the US Government -- but on-going Federal budget deficits, the escalating National Debt, the need to attract foreign money into US Treasuries, the financial market "meltdown" as well as the massive amounts of money being channeled to continue the Empire, all suggest that not only will intensifying social problems not be addressed, but will get worse for the foreseeable future.

4) Synopsis

This analysis provides an extensive look at the impact of neoliberal economic policies enacted in the United States on American working people. These neoliberal economic policies have been enacted as a conscious strategy by US corporate leaders and their governmental allies in both major political parties as a way to address intensifying globalization while seeking to maintain US dominance over the global political economy.

While it will be a while before anyone can determine success or failure overall of this elite strategy but, because of is global-historical perspective, sufficient evidence is already available to evaluate the affects of these policies on American working people. For the non-elites of this country, these policies have had a deleterious impact and they are getting worse. Employment data in manufacturing, worsening since 1979 but especially since 2000 (see Aronowitz, 2005), has been horrific -- and since this has been the traditional path for non-college educated workers to be able to support themselves and their families, and provide for their children, this data suggests social catastrophe for many -- see Rubin (1995), Barnes (2005), and Bageant (2007), and accounts in Finnegan (1998) and Lipper (2004) that support this -- because comparable jobs available to these workers are not being created. Thus, the problem is not just that people are losing previously stable, good-paying jobs -- as bad as that is -- but that there is nothing being created to replace these lost jobs, and there is not even a social safety net in many cases that can generally cushion the blow (see Wilson, 1996; Appelbaum, Bernhardt, and Murnane, eds., 2003).

Yet the impact of these social changes has not been limited to only blue-collar workers, although the impact has been arguably greatest upon them. The overall economic growth of the society has been so limited since 1973, and the results increasingly being unequally distributed since then, that the entire society is becoming more and more unequal: each of the four bottom quintiles -- the bottom 80 per cent of families -- has seen a decrease in the amount of family income available to each quintile between 2001-05. This not only increases inequality and resulting resentments -- including criminal behaviors -- but it also produces deleterious affects on individual and social health (Kawachi, Kennedy and Wilkinson, eds., 1999; Eitzen and Eitzen Smith, 2003). And, as shown above, this level of inequality is much more comparable internationally to "developing" countries rather than "developed" ones.

When this material is joined with material on the US budget, and especially the US National Debt, it is clear that these "problems" are not the product of individual failure, but of a social order that is increasingly unsustainable. While we have no idea of what it will take before the US economy will implode, all indications are that US elites are speeding up a run-away train of debt combined with job-destroying technology and off-shoring production, creating a worsening balance of trade with the rest of the world and a worsening current account, with an unstable housing market and intensifying militarism and an increasingly antagonistic foreign policy: it is like they are building a bridge over an abyss, with a train increasingly speeding up as it travels toward the bridge, and crucial indicators suggest that the bridge cannot be completed in time.

Whether the American public will notice and demand a radical change in time is not certain -- it will not be enough to simply slow the train down, but it must turn down an alternative track (see Albert, 2003; Woodin and Lucas, 2004; Starr, 2005) -- but it is almost certain that foreign investors will. Should they not be able to get the interest rates here available elsewhere in the "developed" parts of the world, investors will shift their investments, causing more damage to working people in the United States .

And when this economic-focused analysis is joined with an environmental one -- George Monbiot (2007) reports that the best science available argues that industrialized countries have to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent by the year 2030 if we are to have a chance to stop global warming -- then it is clear that US society is facing a period of serious social instability.

5) Conclusion

This article has argued that the situation for working people in the United States, propelled by the general governmental adoption of neoliberal economic policies, is getting worse -- and there is no end in sight. The current situation and historical change have been presented and discussed. Further, an examination and analysis of directly relevant US economic policies have been presented, and there has been nothing in this analysis that suggests a radical, but necessary, change by US elected officials is in sight. In other words, working people in this country are in bad shape generally -- and it is worse for workers of color than for white workers -- and there is nothing within the established social order that suggests needed changes will be effected.

The neoliberal economic policies enacted by US corporate and government leaders has been a social disaster for increasing numbers of families in the United States .

Globalization for profit -- or what could be better claimed to be "globalization from above" -- and its resulting neoliberal economic policies have long-been recognized as being a disaster for most countries in the Global South. This study argues that this top-down globalization and the accompanying neoliberal economic policies has been a disaster for working people in northern countries as well, and most particularly in the United States .

The political implications from these findings remains to be seen. Surely, one argument is not only that another world is possible, but that it is essential.

© Kim Scipes, Ph.D.

[Kim Scipes is assistant professor of sociology , Purdue University, North Central, Westville , IN 46391. The author's web site is at http://faculty.pnc.edu/kscipes .This paper was given at the 2009 Annual Conference of the United Association for Labor Education at the National Labor College in Silver Spring , MD. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Kim Scipes' permission.]

* * *

Note to labor educators: This is a very different approach than you usually take. While presenting a "big picture," this does not suggest what you are doing is "wrong" or "bad." What it suggests, however, is that the traditional labor education approach is too limited: this suggests that your work is valuable but that you need to put it into a much larger context than is generally done, and that it is in the interaction between your work and this that we each can think out the ways to go forward. This is presented in the spirit of respect for the important work that each of you do on a daily basis.

[Oct 01, 2017] The allure of adjuncts for neoliberal universities is that they are much cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance

Oct 01, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Her income from teaching comes to $40,000 a year. Thats significantly more than most adjuncts: a 2014 survey found that the median income for adjuncts is only $22,041 a year, whereas for full-time faculty it is $47,500. We take a kind of vow of poverty

Recent reports have revealed the extent of poverty among professors, but the issue is longstanding. Several years ago, it was thrust into the headlines in dramatic fashion when Mary-Faith Cerasoli, an adjunct professor of Romance languages in her 50s, revealed she was homeless and protested outside the New York state education department.

We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession, Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts , said in an email. We do it because we are dedicated to scholarship, to learning, to our students and to our disciplines.

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A quarter of part-time college academics are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs

Adjuncting has grown as funding for public universities has fallen by more than a quarter between 1990 and 2009. Private institutions also recognize the allure of part-time professors: generally they are cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance.

This is why adjuncts have been called the fast-food workers of the academic world : among labor experts adjuncting is defined as precarious employment, a growing category that includes temping and sharing-economy gigs such as driving for Uber. An American Sociological Association taskforce focusing on precarious academic jobs, meanwhile, has suggested that faculty employment is no longer a stable middle-class career .

... ... ...

If she were to lose her home her only hope, she says, would be government-subsidized housing.

Most of my colleagues are unjustifiably ashamed, she said. They take this personally, as if theyve failed, and Im always telling them, you havent failed, the system has failed you."

A precarious situation

Even more desperate are those adjuncts in substandard living spaces who cannot afford to fix them. Mindy Percival, 61, a lecturer with a doctorate from Columbia, teaches history at a state college in Florida and, in her words, lives in a shack which is in the woods in middle of nowhere.

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberalism Is a Political Project

Notable quotes:
"... I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor. ..."
"... In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world ..."
"... So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism. ..."
"... The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. ..."
"... Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics. ..."
"... This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them. ..."
"... With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest. ..."
"... Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor. ..."
"... At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor. ..."
"... It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project ..."
"... I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor.

In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world -- Mozambique, Angola, China etc. -- but also a rising tide of communist influences in countries like Italy and France and, to a lesser degree, the threat of a revival of that in Spain.

Even in the United States, trade unions had produced a Democratic Congress that was quite radical in its intent. In the early 1970s they, along with other social movements, forced a slew of reforms and reformist initiatives which were anti-corporate: the Environmental Protection Agency , the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, consumer protections, and a whole set of things around empowering labor even more than it had been empowered before.

So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism.

BSR Can you talk a bit about the ideological and political fronts and the attacks on labor? DH The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics.

The idea was to have these think tanks do serious research and some of them did -- for instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research was a privately funded institution that did extremely good and thorough research. This research would then be published independently and it would influence the press and bit by bit it would surround and infiltrate the universities.

This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them.

With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest.

Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor.

At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor.

It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project, and I think the bourgeoisie or the corporate capitalist class put it into motion bit by bit.

I don't think they started out by reading Hayek or anything, I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that.

[Sep 24, 2017] Inside Amazon's Warehouses: Thousands of Senior Citizens and the Occasional Robot Mishap

Sep 24, 2017 | hardware.slashdot.org

(wired.com) Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday September 23, 2017 @09:30PM from the looking-inside dept. Amazon aggressively recruited thousands of retirees living in mobile homes to migrate to Amazon's warehouses for seasonal work, according to a story shared by nightcats . Wired reports: From a hiring perspective, the RVers were a dream labor force. They showed up on demand and dispersed just before Christmas in what the company cheerfully called a "taillight parade." They asked for little in the way of benefits or protections . And though warehouse jobs were physically taxing -- not an obvious fit for older bodies -- recruiters came to see CamperForce workers' maturity as an asset. These were diligent, responsible employees. Their attendance rates were excellent. "We've had folks in their eighties who do a phenomenal job for us," noted Kelly Calmes, a CamperForce representative, in one online recruiting seminar... In a company presentation, one slide read, "Jeff Bezos has predicted that, by the year 2020, one out of every four workampers in the United States will have worked for Amazon." The article is adapted from a new book called " Nomadland ," which also describes seniors in mobile homes being recruited for sugar beet harvesting and jobs at an Iowa amusement park, as well as work as campground hsots at various national parks. Many of them "could no longer afford traditional housing," especially after the financial downturn of 2008. But at least they got to hear stories from their trainers at Amazon about the occasional "unruly" shelf-toting "Kiva" robot: They told us how one robot had tried to drag a worker's stepladder away. Occasionally, I was told, two Kivas -- each carrying a tower of merchandise -- collided like drunken European soccer fans bumping chests. And in April of that year, the Haslet fire department responded to an accident at the warehouse involving a can of "bear repellent" (basically industrial-grade pepper spray). According to fire department records, the can of repellent was run over by a Kiva and the warehouse had to be evacuated.

[Sep 16, 2017] Will Millennials Be Forced Out of Tech Jobs When They Turn 40?

Notable quotes:
"... Karen Panetta, the dean of graduate engineering education at Tufts University and the vice president of communications and public relations at the IEEE-USA, believes the outcome for tech will be Logan's Run -like, where age sets a career limit... ..."
"... It's great to get the new hot shot who just graduated from college, but it's also important to have somebody with 40 years of experience who has seen all of the changes in the industry and can offer a different perspective." ..."
Sep 16, 2017 | it.slashdot.org

(ieeeusa.org)

Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday September 03, 2017 @07:30AM

dcblogs shared an interesting article from IEEE-USA's "Insight" newsletter: Millennials, which date from the 1980s to mid-2000s, are the largest generation. But what will happen to this generation's tech workers as they settle into middle age ?

Will the median age of tech firms rise as the Millennial generation grows older...? The median age range at Google, Facebook, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Amazon, Salesforce, Apple and Adobe, is 29 to 31, according to a study last year by PayScale, which analyzes self-reported data...

Karen Panetta, the dean of graduate engineering education at Tufts University and the vice president of communications and public relations at the IEEE-USA, believes the outcome for tech will be Logan's Run -like, where age sets a career limit...

Tech firms want people with the current skills sets and those "without those skills will be pressured to leave or see minimal career progression," said Panetta... The idea that the tech industry may have an age bias is not scaring the new college grads away. "They see retirement so far off, so they are more interested in how to move up or onto new startup ventures or even business school," said Panetta.

"The reality sets in when they have families and companies downsize and it's not so easy to just pick up and go on to another company," she said. None of this may be a foregone conclusion.

Millennials may see the experience of today's older workers as a cautionary tale, and usher in cultural changes... David Kurtz, a labor relations partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, suggests tech firms should be sharing age-related date about their workforce, adding "The more of a focus you place on an issue the more attention it gets and the more likely that change can happen.

It's great to get the new hot shot who just graduated from college, but it's also important to have somebody with 40 years of experience who has seen all of the changes in the industry and can offer a different perspective."

[Aug 24, 2017] Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs. ..."
Aug 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace and, as such, has nothing to do with racial justice, the putative benefits of diversity or any other standard justification. It is this peace- keeping function that explains why the entire establishment, from mega corporations to the military, endorses constitutionally iffy racial discrimination and why questioning diversity's benefits is the most grievous of all PC sins. Stated in cost-benefit terms, denying a few hundred (even a few thousand) high-SAT scoring Asians an Ivy League diploma and instead forcing them attend Penn State is a cheap price to pay for social peace.

This argument rests on an indisputable reality that nearly all societies contain distinct ethnic or religious groups who must be managed for the sake of collective peace. They typically lack the ability to economically compete, may embrace values that contravene the dominant ethos, or otherwise just refuse to assimilate. What makes management imperative is the possibility of violence either at an individual level, for example, randomly stabbing total strangers, or on a larger scale, riots and insurrections. Thus, in the grand scheme of modern America's potentially explosive race relations, academically accomplished Asians, most of whom are politically quiescent, are expendable, collateral damage in the battle to sustain a shaky status quo.

Examples of such to-be-managed groups abound. Recall our own tribulations with violent Indian tribes well into the 19 th century or what several European nations currently face with Muslims or today's civil war in Burma with the Karen People. Then there's Turkey's enduring conflict with the Kurds and long before the threat of Islamic terrorism, there were Basque separatists (the ETA ), and the Irish Republican Army . In the past 45 years, there have been more than 16,000 terror attacks in Western Europe according to the Global Terrorism Database . At a lower levels add the persistently criminal Gypsies who for 500 years have resisted all efforts to assimilate them. This listing is, of course, only a tiny sampling of distinct indigestible violence-prone groups.

The repertoire of remedies, successful and failed, is also extensive. Our native-American problem has, sad to say, been largely solved by the use of apartheid-like reservations and incapacitating a once war-like people with drugs and alcohol. Elsewhere generous self-rule has done the trick, for example, the Basques in Spain. A particularly effective traditional solution is to promote passivity by encouraging religious acceptance of one's lowly state.

Now to the question at hand: what is to be done regarding American blacks, a group notable for its penchant for violence whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs.

To appreciate the value of affirmative action recall the urban riots of the 1960s. They have almost been forgotten but their sheer number during that decade would shock those grown accustomed to today's relative tranquility. A sampling of cities with major riots includes Rochester, NY, New York City, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA, Cleveland, OH, Newark, NJ, Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC and several smaller cities.

The damage from these riots! "uprisings" or "rebellions" according to some!was immense. For example, the Detroit riot of 1967 lasted five days and quelling it required the intervention of the Michigan Army National Guard and both the 82 nd and 101 st Airborne divisions. When it finally ended, the death toll was 43, some 7200 were arrested and more than 2000 buildings destroyed. Alas, much of this devastation remains visible today and should be a reminder of what could happen absent a policy of cooling out black anger.

To correctly understand how racial preferences at elite colleges serves as a cost-effective solution to potential domestic violence, recall the quip by comedian Henny Youngman when asked "How's your wife?" He responded with, "Compared to what?" This logic reflects a hard truth: when confronting a sizable, potentially disruptive population unable or unwilling to assimilate, a perfect solution is beyond reach. Choices are only among the lesser of evils and, to repeat, under current conditions, race-driven affirmative action is conceivably the best of the worst. A hard-headed realist would draw a parallel with how big city merchants survive by paying off the police, building and food inspectors, and the Mafia. Racial preferences are just one more item on the cost-of-doing business list–the Danegeld .

In effect, racial preferences in elite higher education (and beneficiaries includes students, professors and the diversity-managing administrators) separates the top 10% measured in cognitive ability from their more violent down market racial compatriots. While this manufactured caste-like arrangement hardly guarantees racial peace (as the black-on-white crime rate, demonstrates) but it pretty much dampens the possibility of more collective, well-organized related upheavals, the types of disturbances that truly terrify the white establishment. Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership. Violence is now just Chicago or Baltimore-style gang-banger intra-racial mayhem or various lone-wolf criminal attacks on whites.

Co-optation is a staple in the political management repertoire. The Soviet Union adsorbed what they called the "leading edge" into the Party (anyone exceptionally accomplished, from chess grandmasters or world-class athletes) to widen the divide the dominant elite, i.e., the Party, and hoi polloi. Election systems can be organized to guarantee a modicum of power to a handful of potential disruptors and with this position comes ample material benefits (think Maxine Waters). Monarchies have similarly managed potential strife by bestowing honors and titles on commoners. It is no accident that many radicals are routinely accused of "selling out" by their former colleagues in arms. In most instances the accusation is true, and this is by design.

To appreciate the advantages of the racial preferences in higher education consider Henny's "compared to what"? part of his quip. Certainly what successfully worked for quelling potential Native American violence, e.g., forced assimilation in "Indian Schools" or confinement in pathology-breeding reservations, is now totally beyond the pale though, to be sure, some inner-cities dominated by public housing are increasingly coming to resemble pathology-inducing Indian reservations. Even less feasible is some legally mandated homeland of the types advocated by Black Muslims.

I haven't done the math but I would guess that the entire educational racial spoils system is far more cost effective than creating a garrison state or a DDR-like police state where thousands of black trouble-makers were quickly incarcerated. Perhaps affirmative action in general should be viewed as akin to a nuisance tax, probably less than 5% of our GDP.

To be sure, affirmative action at elite universities is only one of today's nostrums to quell potential large scale race-related violence. Other tactics include guaranteeing blacks elected offices, even if this requires turning a blind eye toward election fraud, and quickly surrendering to blacks who demand awards and honors on the basis of skin color. Perhaps a generous welfare system could be added to this keep-the-peace list. Nevertheless, when all added up, the costs would be far lowers than dealing with widespread 1960s style urban violence.

This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs. Now, given all the billions that have been saved, maybe a totally free ride at lesser schools would be a small price to pay for their dissatisfaction (and they would also be academic stars at such schools). Of course this "Asian only" compensatory scholarship might be illegal under the color blind requirements of 1964 Civil Right Act, but fear not, devious admission officers will figure out a way around the law.

Carlton Meyer > , Website August 16, 2017 at 4:21 am GMT

This 18 second video clip is a great real world summary:

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 4:56 am GMT

Interesting take. But risky because :

1) Asians will grow in power, and either force more fairness towards themselves, or return to Asia.
2) WN idiots happy about Asians returning to Asia fail to see that Asians will return only when they control enough of America to manage large parts of it from afar (like the tech industry).
3) 2-3 million top caliber white male Western Expats might just move to Asia, since they may like Asian women more, and want to be free of SJW idiocy. This is all it takes to fill the alleged gap Asia has in creativity, marketing, and sales expertise. Asia effectively decapitates the white West by taking in their best young men and giving them a great life in Asia.
4) America becomes like Brazil with all economic value colonized by Asians and the white expats in Asia with mixed-race children. White trashionalists left behind are swiftly exterminated by blacks, and white women mix with the blacks. America becomes a Brazil minus the fun culture, good weather, and attractive women.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer At first, I was surprised that they listened to him.

After a while, I realized that many negros are stupid enough to think that Hispanics and Asians would like to be in some anti-white alliance with blacks as a senior partner. In reality, they have an even lower opinion of blacks than whites do. US blacks have zero knowledge of the world outside America, so this reality just doesn't register with them.

Diversity Heretic > , August 16, 2017 at 5:12 am GMT

John Derbyshire has made similar arguments–racial preferences are the price for social peace. But, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, we're running out of white and Asian children to buffer black dysfunction and Asians are going to get less and less willing to be "sacrificial lambs" for a black underclass that they did nothing to create and that they despise.

There are other ways to control the black underclass. You can force the talented ones to remain in their community and provide what leadership they can. Black violence can be met with instant retributive counter-violence. (Prior to the 1960s most race riots were white on black.) Whites can enforce white norms on the black community, who will sort-of conform to them as best they are able.

Finally, Rudyard Kipling had a commentary on Danegeld. It applies to paying off dysfunctional domestic minorities just as much to invading enemies.

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 5:26 am GMT

Robert Weissberg

Could care less about your smart Asians The smart Asians are enthusiastivally voting Whitey into a racial minority on Nov 3 2020 They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space

jim jones > , August 16, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer This 18 second video clip is a great real world summary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHhy2Gk_xik You can just hears someone shouting at the end "Go back to Beijing"

Wally > , August 16, 2017 at 5:32 am GMT

Once you give in, they will keep demanding more & more.

There's always a manufactured excuse.

It's time to say no.

Bro Methylene > , August 16, 2017 at 5:34 am GMT

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

This reminds me of the sinister (but largely successful) campaign to conflate San Francisco with "Silicon Valley." The two are separate in every way.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:55 am GMT

Hell with those 'smart Asians'. They are among the biggest Proglob a-holes.

Asians have servile genes that seek approval from the power. They are status-freaks.

They make perfect collaborators with the Glob.

Under communism, they made the most conformist commies.

Under Japanese militarism, they made the most mindless military goons who did Nanking.

Under Khmer Rouge, they were biggest looney killers.

Under PC, they make such goody good PC dogs.

If the prevailing culture of US was patriotic and conservatives, Asians would try to conform to that, and that wouldn't be so bad.

But since the prevailing culture is PC, these yellow dogs are among the biggest homomaniacal PC tards.

Hell with them. Yellow dogs voted for Obama and Hillary in high numbers. They despise, hate, and feel contempt for white masses and working class. They are servitors of the empire as Darrell Hamamoto said. He's one of the few good guys.

Just look at that Francis Fukuyama, that slavish dog of Soros. He's so disgusting. And then, you got that brown Asian tard Fareed Zakaria. What a vile lowlife. And that fat Jeer Heet who ran from dirty browns shi ** ing all over the place outdoors to live with white people but bitches about 'white supremacy'. Well, the fact that he ran from his own kind to live with whites must mean his own choice prefers white folks. His immigration choice was 'white supremacism'. After all, he could have moved to black Africa. Why didn't he?

PS. The best way of Affirmative Action is to limit it only to American Indians and Blacks of slave ancestry. That's it.

Also, institutions should OPENLY ADMIT that they do indeed discriminate to better represent the broader population. Fair or not, honesty is a virtue. What is most galling about AA is the lies that says 'we are colorblind and meritocratic but ' No more buts. Yes, there is discrimination but to represent larger population. Okay, just be honest.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 6:21 am GMT

@Bro Methylene

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

In their original countries they are, but in America they are almost identical in all ways except appearance and diet.

Plus, since SE Asia has always had influence from both, there is a smooth continuum in the US across all of these groups by the time the 2nd generation rolls around.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 6:28 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain

They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space

Three things wrong with this sentence.

1) I don't think you know that Native Americans (i.e. Siberians) were here first.
2) I will bet anything that all 128 of your GGGGG-GPs are not English settlers who were here in 1776. You are probably some 2nd gen Polack or something who still worries that WASPs look down on you.
3) There is very high variance among whites, and white trashionalists are SOOOO far below the quality threshold of any moderately successful white that they can't claim to speak for all whites. White Trashionalists represent the waste matter that nature wants to purge (which is the process that enables exceptional whites to emerge on the other end of the scale). That is why white women are absolutely doing what nature wants, which is to cut off the White Trashionalists from reproduction. If you care about the white race, you should be glad that white women want nothing to do with you and allow you to complete you wastebasket role.

There.

helena > , August 16, 2017 at 6:33 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer That's hilarious. Anti-ma should replace their flags with placards saying, "Hey, Hey, this is Library!" at all counter-anti-fa demos.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 6:36 am GMT

Will this really keep the peace?

Obama was one of the beneficiaries of AA along with his wife and their kids. Did that prevent Baltimore and Chicago and etc from blowing up?

In a way, AA and Civil Rights made black communities more volatile. When blacks were more stringently segregated, even smart and sensible blacks lived among blacks and played some kind of 'role model'. They ran businesses and kept in close contact with black folks.

It's like white communities in small towns used to be much better when the George Baileys stayed in them or returned to them and ran things.

But as more and more George Bailies left for the big cities, small towns had fewer top notch role models and leaders and enterprisers. Also, the filth of pop culture and youth degeneracy via TV corrupted the dummies. And then, when globalism took away the industries, there were just people on opioids. At least old timers grew up with family and church. The new generation grew up on Idiocracy.

Anyway, AA will just taken more black talent from black community and mix them with whites, Asians, and etc. Will some of these blacks use their power and privilege to incite black mobs to violence? Some do go radical. But most will just get their goodies and forget the underclass except in some symbolic way. It's like Obama didn't do crap as 'community organizer'. He just stuck close to rich Jews in Hyde Park, and as president, he was serving globo-wars, Wall Street, and homos.
When he finally threw a bone at the blacks in his second term, it lit cities on fire.

Did the black underclass change for the better because they saw Obama as president? No. If anything, it just made them bolder as flashmobs. The way blacks saw it, a bunch of fa ** ogty wussy white people voted for a black guy created by a black man sexually conquering a white woman. They felt contempt for cucky whites, especially as rap culture and sports feature blacks as master race lording over whites. To most underclass blacks, the only culture they know is sports and rap and junk they see on TV. And they are told blacks are magical, sacred, badass, and cool. And whites are either 'evil' if they have any pride or cucky-wucky wussy if they are PC.

The Murrayian Coming-Apart of whites took place already with blacks before. And more AA that takes in smarter blacks will NOT make things better for black underclass. And MORE blacks in elite colleges will just lead to MORE anger issues, esp as they cannot keep up with other students.

Even so, I can understand the logic of trying to win over black cream of crop. Maybe if they are treated nice and feel 'included', they won't become rabble-rousers like Al Sharpton and act more like Obama. Obama's race-baiting with Ferguson was bad but could have been worse with someone like Sharpton.

The Power can try to control a people in two ways. Crush everyone OR give carrots to comprador elites so that sticks can be used on masses. Clinton did this. He brought over black elites, and they worked with him to lock up record number of Negroes to make cities safer. As Clinton was surrounded by Negroes and was called 'first black president' by Toni Morrison, many blacks didn't realize that he was really working to lock up lots of black thugs and restore order.

Smart overlords play divide-and-conquer by offering carrots to collaborator elites and using sticks on masses.
British Imperialists did that. Gandhi would likely have collaborated with Brits if not for the fact that he was called a 'wog' in South Africa and kicked off a train. Suddenly, he found himself as ONE with the poor and powerless 'wogs' in the station. He was made equal with his own kind.

Consider Jews in the 30s and even during WWII. Many Western European Jews became rich and privileged and felt special and put on airs. Many felt closer to gentile elites and felt contempt and disdain for many 'dirty' and 'low' Eastern European Jews. If Hitler had been cleverer and offered carrots to rich Jews, there's a good chance that many of them would have collaborated and worked with the Power to suppress or control lower Jews, esp. of Eastern European background.

But Hitler didn't class-discriminate among Jews. He went after ALL of them. Richest Jew, poorest Jew, it didn't matter. So, even many rich Jews were left destitute if not dead after WWII. And this wakened them up. They once had so much, but they found themselves with NOTHING. And as they made their way to Palestine with poor Eastern European Jewish survivors, they felt a strong sense of ethnic identity. Oppression and Tragedy were the great equalizer. Having lost everything, they found what it really means to be Jewish. WWII and Holocaust had a great traumatic equalizing effect on Jews, something they never forgot since the war, which is why very rich Jews try to do much for even poor Jews in Israel and which is why secular Jews feel a bond with funny-dressed Jewish of religious sects.

For this reason, it would be great for white identity if the New Power were to attack ALL whites and dispossess all of them. Suppose globalism went after not only Deplorables but Clintons, Bushes, Kaineses, Kerrys, Kennedys, and etc. Suppose all of them were dispossessed and humiliated and called 'honkers'. Then, like Gandhi at the train station, they would regain their white identity and identify with white hoi polloi who've lost so much to globalism. They would become leaders of white folks.
But as long as carrots are offered to the white elites, they go with Glob and dump on whites. They join with the GLOB to use sticks on white folks like in Charlottesville where sticks were literally used against patriots who were also demeaned as 'neo-nazis' when most of them weren't.

So, I'm wishing Ivy Leagues will have total NO WHITEY POLICY. It is when the whites elites feel rejected and humiliated by the Glob that they will return to the masses.

Consider current Vietnam. Because Glob offers them bribes and goodies, these Viet-cuck elites are selling their nation to the Glob and even allowing homo 'pride' parades.

White Genocide that attacks ALL whites will have a unifying effect on white elites and white masses. It is when gentiles targeted ALL Jews that all Jews, rich and poor, felt as one.

But the Glob is sneaky. Instead of going for White Genocide that targets top, middle, and bottom, it goes for White Democide while forgoing white aristocide. So, white elites or neo-aristocrats are rewarded with lots of goodies IF they go along like the Romneys, Clintons, Kaines, Bidens, and all those quisling weasels.

jilles dykstra > , August 16, 2017 at 7:00 am GMT

" Now to the question at hand: what is to be done regarding American blacks, a group notable for its penchant for violence whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs. "

I read an article, making a learned impression, that on average USA blacks have a lower IQ.
I do suppose that IQ has a cultural component, nevertheless, those in western cultures with a lower IQ can be expected to have less economic success.
A black woman who did seem to understand all this was quoted in the article as that 'blacks should be compensated for this lower IQ'.
One can discuss this morally endless, but even if the principle was accepted, how is it executed, and where is the end ?
For example, people with less than average length are also less successful, are we going to compensate them too ?

Simon in London > , August 16, 2017 at 7:18 am GMT

"economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs"

It only stalled when the Great Society and the uplift programs started. According to The Bell Curve there was basically an instant collapse when LBJ started to wreaking his havoc. Go back to pre-1964 norms and no late-60s riots.

Kyle McKenna > , August 16, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

We have sacrificed smart white students for three generations to keep the hebraic component around 30% at our highest-ranked colleges and universities, and no one (except the jewish Ron Unz himself) made so much as a peep. And as he copiously documented, whites have suffered far more discrimination than asians have. The difference is, whites are more brainwashed into accepting it.

I hope this doesn't need linking here, but wth

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

Realist > , August 16, 2017 at 8:04 am GMT

"Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace"

It is the sacrificing of smart white students that is the problem. Of all the races whites, on average are more innovative and ambitious.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:11 am GMT

"The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace "

In simpler language, appeasement.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:16 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain "They don't belong on Native Born White American Living and Breeding Space "

Your statement would be perfectly correct if it read, "White people of European origin don't belong on Native American Living and Breeding Space "

Yet there they are, in immense, pullulating numbers. And now they have the gall to complain that other people – some of whom resemble the few surviving Native Americans far more closely than Whites do – are coming to "their" continent.

Honestly, what is the world coming to when you spend centuries and millions of bullets, bottles of whisky and plague-ridden blankets getting rid of tens of millions of people so you can steal their land – and then more people like you come along and want to settle peaceably alongside you? That's downright un-American.

Maybe you'd be more comfortable if the Asian immigrants behaved more like the European settlers – with fire, sword, malnutrition and pestilence.

Tom Welsh > , August 16, 2017 at 9:24 am GMT

@Diversity Heretic The Kipling quote is stirring and thought-provoking (like most Kipling quotes). But it is not entirely correct.

Consider the kings of France in the 10th century, who were confronted by the apparently insoluble problem of periodic attacks by bands of vicious, warlike, and apparently irresistible Vikings. One king had the bright idea of buying the Northmen off by granting them a very large piece of land in the West of France – right where the invading ships used to start up the Seine towards Paris.

The Northmen settled there, became known as Normans, and held Normandy for the rest of the Middle Ages – in the process absolutely preventing any further attacks eastward towards Paris. The dukes of Normandy held it as a fief from the king, and thus did homage to him as his feudal subordinates.

They did conquer England, Sicily, and a few other places subsequently – but the key fact is that they left the tiny, feeble kingdom of France alone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normans#Settling_of_Normandy

Wizard of Oz > , August 16, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

Ratioal cost benefit arguments could be applied much more widely to the benefit of America and other First World countries. If otherwise illegal drugs were legalised, whether to be prescribed by doctors or not, it would save enormous amounts of money on law enforcement and, subject to what I proffer next, incarceration.

What is the downside? The advocates of Prohibition weren't wrong about the connection of alcohol and lower productivity. That was then. If, say, 10 per cent of the population were now disqualified from the workforce what would it matter. The potential STEM wizards amongst them (not many) would mostly be nurtured so that it was only the underclass which life in a daze. And a law which made it an offence, effectively one for which the penalty was to be locked up or otherwise deprived of freedom to be a nuisance, to render oneself unfit to perform the expected duties of citizenship would have collateral benefits in locking up the right underclass males.

Logan > , August 16, 2017 at 9:45 am GMT

@Bro Methylene "Orientals," east Asians, or just Asians in American parlance are indeed quite different from south Asians, called "Asians" in the UK,. These are quite different groups.

But the groups of east and south Asians include widely differing peoples. A Korean doesn't have much in common with a Malay, nor a Pathan with a Tamil. Probably not much more than either has in common with the other group or with white Americans.

That they "all look alike" to use does not really mean the do, it just means we aren't used to them.

Was recently watching an interesting Chinese movie and had enormous difficulty keeping the characters straight, because they did indeed all look alike to me. I wonder if Chinese people in China have similar trouble watching old American movies.

Colleen Pater > , August 16, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer yeah and hispanics are natural conservatives. dont be a cuck once that slant is here long enough he will tumble to the game and get on the anti white bandwagon. and sure asians will eventually out jew the jews just what we need another overlord, only this one a huge percentage or world pop. .

Colleen Pater > , August 16, 2017 at 10:28 am GMT

You know weisberg youre not fooling anyone here peddle that cuck crap elsewhere affirmative action leads to nothing but more affirmative action at this point everyone but white males gets it, and you my jew friend know this so selling it to sucker cucks as the cost of doing business is just more jew shenanigans. There is a much better solution to the problem peoples deport them back where they belong israel africa asia central america.

joeshittheragman > , Website August 16, 2017 at 11:12 am GMT

This is all about nothing now. The only thing White people have to learn anymore is controlled breathing, good position, taking up trigger slack, letting the round go at exactly the right moment – one round, one hit.

Jake > , August 16, 2017 at 11:47 am GMT

When your child tosses a tantrum and tears up his bedroom, and you tell him his mean-spirited, selfish cousins caused it and then you reward him with a trip to Disneyland and extra allowance: then you guarantee more and worse tantrums.

That is what America and America's Liberals, the Elites, have done with blacks and violence.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 11:58 am GMT

ha, there is another group that is preying on the asian group and it is omitted.

TG > , August 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm GMT

A very interesting post. Really a unique perspective – who cares if it's not fair, if it is necessary to keep the peace?

I do however disagree with one of your points. " whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs."

I think you have missed the main event. Over the last half-century the elites of this nation have waged ruthless economic warfare AGAINST poor blacks in this country, to an extent that far dwarfs the benefits of affirmative action (for a typically small number of already privileged blacks).

Up through the 1960′s, blacks were starting to do not so bad. Yes they were in a lot of menial jobs, but many of these were unionized and the pay was pretty good. I mean, if nobody else wants to sweep your floors, and the only guy willing to do it i s black, well, he can ask for a decent deal.

Then our elites fired black workers en masse, replacing them with Mexican immigrants and outsourcing to low-wage countries. Blacks have had their legs cut off with a chainsaw, and the benefits of affirmative action (which nowadays mostly go to Mexicans etc.!) little more than a bandaid.

And before we are too hard on blacks, let me note that whites are also being swept up in the poverty of neoliberal globalization, and they too are starting to show social pathology.

Because in terms of keeping the social peace, there is one fundamental truth more important than all others: there must be some measure of broadly shared prosperity. Without it, even ethnically homogeneous and smart and hard working people like the Japanese or Chinese will tear themselves apart.

Anonymouse > , August 16, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT

Not New York. Wife & I were living there then and Mayor Lindsay went to Harlem and NYC negroes did not riot after MLK Jr was assassinated.

Jake > , August 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Note that there is not a word in this article about what this does to the white working class and how it can be given something in return for allowing Elites to bribe blacks with trillions and trillions of dollars in goodies. Nor is there is there any indication that this process eventually will explode, with too many blacks demanding so much it cannot be paid.

George Weinbaum > , August 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT

Was this written tongue in cheek?
Affirmative action will never end. The bribes will never end. The US made a mistake in the 1960s. We should have contained the riots then let the people in those areas sleep in the burned out rubble. Instead through poverty programs we rewarded bad black behavior.
By filling the Ivy League with blacks we create a new class of Cornell West's for white people to listen to. We enhance the "ethos" of these people.
Eventually, certainly in no more than 40 years, we will run out of sacrifices. What then when whites constitute only 40% of the American population? Look at South Africa today.
We have black college graduates with IQs in the 80s! They want to be listened to. After all, they're college graduates.
I do not believe you have found "a cost-effective solution to potential domestic violence".
You mix in this "top 10%" and they get greater acceptance by whites who are turned left in college.

dearieme > , August 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT

"The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace "

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
"We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
"Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: –

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs.

The reality of this is become a huge stumbling block. In fact this group has actually been mostly regressing into violence and stupidity, going their own separate way as exemplified by their anti-social music which celebrates values repugnant to the majority. Look at the absurd level of shootings in cities like Chicago. That's not changing anytime soon. They're by far overrepresented in Special Ed, juvenile delinquency, prisons and all other indicators of dysfunction. Their talented tenth isn't very impressive as compared to whites or Asians. Their entire middle class is mostly an artificial creation of affirmative action. The point is that they can only be promoted so far based on their capability. The cost of the subsidy gets greater every year and at some point it'll become too heavy a burden and then it'll be crunch time. After the insanity of the Cultural Revolution the Chinese had to come to their senses. It's time to curtail our own version of it.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm GMT

It really is terrible and unfair that an Asian needs to score so much higher than you white oppressors to get into the Ivy league

A Princeton study found that students who identify as Asian need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than whites to have the same chance of admission to private colleges, a difference some have called "the Asian tax."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/affirmative-action-battle-has-a-new-focus-asian-americans.html

You All Look Like Ants > , August 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm GMT

I think this is brilliant satire.
It is actually an argument that is logically sound. Doesn't mean that it's good or sensible or even workable over the long run.
It's just logically sound. It holds together if one accepts the not-crazy parts its made out of.
I don't believe it's meant to be taken literally, because both the beneficiaries and those who get screwed will grow in their resentment and the system would melt down.
New fields with the word "studies' in them would get added and everyone would know – deep down – why that is so, and Asians would continue to dominate the hard sciences, math and engineering.
Still, as satire, it's so close to the bone that it works beautifully.

helena > , August 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh "Yet there they are, in immense, pullulating numbers. And now they have the gall to complain that other people – some of whom resemble the few surviving Native Americans far more closely than Whites do – are coming to "their" continent."

Agree. The country should be returned to pre-1700 conditions and given over to anyone who wants it.

Rich > , August 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@Anonymouse I guess one man's riot is another man's peaceful night. There was a bit of rioting in Brooklyn that night, businesses burned and looted, and a handful of businesses were looted in Harlem. There was a very heavy police presence with Mayor Lindsey that night and blacks were still very segregated in 1968, so I'd guess it was more that show of force that prevented the kind of riots we'd seen earlier and in other cities at that time. Still, there was looting and burning, so New York's blacks don't get off the hook. As a personal note. my older brother and his friends were attacked by a roving band of blacks that night in Queens, but managed to chase them out of our neighborhood.

Thorfinnsson > , August 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

The costs of BRA may be lower than the costs of 1960s urban riots, though an accurate accounting would be difficult as many costs are not easily tabulated.

Consider, for instance, the costs of excluding higher performing whites and Asians from elite universities. Does this result in permanently lower salaries from them as a result of greater difficulty in joining an elite career track?

What costs do affirmative action impose upon corporations, especially those with offices in metropolitan areas with a lot of blacks? FedEx is famously centralized in Memphis. What's the cost to me as a shipper in having to deal with sluggish black customer service personnel?

The blacks are 15% of the population, so I doubt "garrison state" costs would be terribly high. I am certain that segregation was cheaper than BRA is. The costs of segregation were overlooking some black talent (negligible) and duplication of certain facilities (I suspect this cost is lower than the cost of white flight).

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT

How did America ever manage to survive when there hardly any Chinese Hindus..Sihks .Koreans in OUR America?

Answer:Very well thank you!!!! ..America 1969=90 percent Native Born White American .places two Alpha Native Born White American Males on the Moon 10 more after this Who the F would be opposed to this?

Answer:Chinese "Americans" Korean "Americans" Hindu "Americans" .Sihk "Americans" .Pakistani "Americans"

Jason Liu > , August 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm GMT

There would still be racial peace if affirmative action was abolished. They'll bitch for a while, but they'll get used it and the dust will settle.

Side note: Affirmation action also disproportionately helps white women into college, and they're the largest group fueling radical leftist identity politics/feminism on campus. In other words, affirmative action is a large contributor to SJWism, the media-academia complex, and the resulting current political climate.

anarchyst > , August 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra The statement "blacks should be compensated for this lower IQ" is no different than the descendents of the so-called jewish "holocaust ™" being compensated in perpetuity by the German government. Now, there are calls by the jewish "holocaust ™" lobby to extend the financial compensation to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these so-called "holocaust ™ survivors, stating the fake concept of "holocaust ™" transference" just another "holocaust ™" scam
Same thing.

bjondo > , August 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Smart means what?

More Monsanto, DuPont cancers and degraded foods.
New diseases from medical, biological, genetic research
More spying and censorship and stealing by Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, high IQ thieves.
All jobs overseas, domestic unemployment, endless wars, by the best and brightest.
Toxic pollution, mental pollution that dwarfs the back yard pollution of tires and old refrigs by "low IQ deplorables (white and black and brown".
Degraded, degrading entertainment and fake news to match fake histories by Phds.
Tech devices that are "wonderful" but life is actually better more meaningful without.

Poupon Marx > , August 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT

[Blacks] "whose economic advancement over the last half-century has largely stalled despite tens of billions and countless government uplift programs." No, Professor, it is Trillions spend over the last 50 years and millions before that. Countless Whites and other non-Negroid people have had to step aside in education, military, government, private industry, to let the lesser person advance and leap frog the accepted virtue-merit path to advancement. AND IT STILL IS NOT ENOUGN FOR BLECKS.

The obvious solution is to separate into uni-racial/ethnic states. For Whites, this would include a separate autocephalous, independent state of Caucasians, Asians, and Hindu. This is the Proto-IndoEuropean Family, related by genes and languages.

jim jones > , August 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Logan I have the same trouble with Korean movies, all the women look the same:

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@Thomm Interesting take. But risky because :

1) Asians will grow in power, and either force more fairness towards themselves, or return to Asia.
2) WN idiots happy about Asians returning to Asia fail to see that Asians will return only when they control enough of America to manage large parts of it from afar (like the tech industry).
3) 2-3 million top caliber white male Western Expats might just move to Asia, since they may like Asian women more, and want to be free of SJW idiocy. This is all it takes to fill the alleged gap Asia has in creativity, marketing, and sales expertise. Asia effectively decapitates the white West by taking in their best young men and giving them a great life in Asia.
4) America becomes like Brazil...with all economic value colonized by Asians and the white expats in Asia with mixed-race children. White trashionalists left behind are swiftly exterminated by blacks, and white women mix with the blacks. America becomes a Brazil minus the fun culture, good weather, and attractive women. Could agree 1 and 2.

2-3 millions Top caliber White males moving to Asia?

haha, Top caliber White males (American) will stay in America, screw the rest WN, devour all the resources available, not only in America, but from the rest of the world.

This is a real White so-called Top caliber White males enjoying in Philippines.

You can see the typical features of White in Asia

1. Bald
2. Obese
3. Lanky
4. Gold watch
5. Cargo pants
6. Flip flop

You can't get away those Top caliber White males features in Asia.

Greg Bacon > , Website August 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm GMT

I'm guessing the author would be screaming at the top of his lungs if it was Jewish students being told to go to some state university–instead of Harvard–since we have to make room for blacks.

BTW, your comment "..Recall our own tribulations with violent Indian tribes" needs clarification. Maybe the tribes got violent because of the 400 treaties Uncle Sam made with the various tribes, he honored NONE

Abelard Lindsey > , August 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm GMT

I would call it the Diversity Tax.

üeljang > , August 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

@jim jones A great part of that is because, well, let's say that the place where those actresses have got their work done is the same.

Whites have much greater natural variations in hair and eye color, but skin color among East Asian individuals is more naturally variable (especially when the effect of tanning is considered), and their facial features and somatotypes are also more diverse in my opinion. For example, East Asian populations contain some individuals who have what the Japanese call futae mabuta "double eyelids" and some individuals who have what they call hitoe mabuta "single eyelids," whereas White populations contain only individuals who have "double eyelids." Whether such increased physical variability is positive or negative probably depends on one's viewpoint; in the case of that eyelid polymorphism, the variant that is found in Asians but not in Whites is generally considered neutral or even positive when it occurs in male individuals, but negative when it occurs in female individuals, so plastic surgeons must be overflowing with gratitude for the single eyelid gene.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson The separate school facilities meant a major saving in the costs of school police and security guards, resource teachers, counselors buses and bus drivers, and layers and layers of administrators trying to administer the mess.

Separate schools were a lot cheaper in that the black teachers kept the lid on the violence with physical punishment and the White teachers and students had a civilized environment.

The old sunshine laws kept blacks out of White neighborhoods after dark which greatly reduced black on White crime. In the north, informal neighborhood watches kept black on White crime to a minimum until block by block the blacks conquered the cities.

George Wallace said segregation now, segregation forever. I say sterilization now, problem solved in 80 years.

Asians??? I went to college with the White WASP American young men who were recruited and went to work in Mountain View and Cupertino and the rest of Santa Clara county and invented Silicon Valley.

Not one was Asian or even Jewish. And they invented it and their sons couldn't even get into Stanford because their sons are White American men.

I think the worst thing about affirmative action is that government jobs are about the only well paid secure jobs that still stick to the 40 hour work week. Government is the largest employer in the country. And those jobs are "no Whites need apply".

BTW I read the Protocols years before the Internet. I had to make an appointment to go into a locked section of a research library. I had to show ID. It was brought to me and I had to sit where I could be seen to read it. I had to sign an agreement that I would not copy anything from the protocols.

And there it was, the fourth protocol.
"We shall see to it brothers, that we shall see to it that they appoint only the incompetent and unfit to their government positions. And thus we shall conquer them from within"

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT

@Thomm Actually, Europeans arrived 20, to 30,000 years ago from Europe and were wiped out by the later arriving Asians.

Beckow > , August 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm GMT

@Thomm Only 4) is remotely possible. And Brazilian women are not that attractive, they are nice looking on postcards, but quite dumpy and weird-looking in person. But that is a matter of personal taste.

The reason 1,2,3 are nonsensical is that geography and resources matter. Asia simply doesn't have them, it is not anywhere as attractive to live in as North America or Europe and never will be. It goes beyond geographic resources, everything from architecture, infrastructure, culture is simply worse in Asia and it would take hundreds of years to change that.

So why the constant 'go to Asia' or 'Asia is the future'? It might be a temporary escape for many desperate, self-hating, white Westerners, a place to safely worship as they give up on it all. Or it could be the endless family links with the Asian women. But that misreads that most of the Asian families are way to clear-headed to exchange what the are trying to escape for the nihilistic dreams of their white partners. They are the least likely to go to Asia, they know it instinctively, they know what they have been trying to escape.

It is possible that the West is on its last legs, and many places are probably gone for good. But Asia is not going to step up and replace it. It is actually much worse that that – we are heading for a dramatic downturn and a loss of comfort and civilization. Thank you Baby Boomers – you are the true end-of-liners of history.

nickels > , August 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT

Except that, of course, as with all forms of appeasement, it isn't working .

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm GMT

Bright and talented white kids from non-elite families stuck between the Scylla and Charybdis of Cram-Schooled Study-Asians with no seeming limit to their tolerance for tedium and 90 IQ entitled blacks is 2017 in a nutshell.

Realist > , August 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT

Weissberg is a nutless quisling. The proper way to handle blackmail is to stop it in it's tracks.

Peaceful demonstrations are fine, property destroying riots should be stopped by any means necessary. Blacks would soon stop their dumb shit actions

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 5:08 pm GMT

@George Weinbaum That there Cornell West is a learned fellow. I bet his vocabulary is bigger than that of GWB and DJT – combined.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@Truth That study was slanted.

Jeff77450 > , August 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm GMT

Said in all seriousness: I genuinely feel sorry for blacks but not because of slavery & Jim Crow. Those were great evils but every group has gone through that. No, I feel sorry for them because their average IQ of 85–yes, it is–combined with their crass thug culture, which emphasizes & rewards all the wrong things, is going to keep them mired in dysfunction for decades to come. Men like Thomas Sowell & Walter Williams have all the information that blacks need to turn themselves around but they won't listen, I guess because the message is take responsibility for yourselves and your families and refuse to accept charity in all its different forms to include AA.

"Thomas Sowell vs Affirmative Action's failures" (~13 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agkye3vlG0Q

MEFOBILLS > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:34 pm GMT

From the author:

some legally mandated homeland of the types advocated by Black Muslims.

Why not pay people to leave? A law change would convert the money supply from bank money to sovereign money.

AMI's HR2990 would convert the money supply overnight, and nobody would be the wiser.

At that point, new public money could be channeled into funding people to leave. Blacks that don't like it in the U.S. would be given X amount of dollars to settle in an African country of their choice. This public money can be formed as debt free, and could also be directed such that it can only buy American goods. In other words, it can be forced to channel, to then stimulate the American economy.

In this way, the future works, to then get rid of disruptive future elements.

It always boils down to the money system. There is plenty of economic surplus to then fund the removal of indigestible elements.

People automatically assume that the money supply must be private bank credit, as that is the way it always has been. NO IT HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY.

http://www.sovereignmoney.eu

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm GMT

@Alden source please, that I would like to read. something new.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@helena If Whites leave America and go back to their origin, no one, I repeat, NO ONE would complain about that. They'd be singing "God Riddance" song all along.

No one wants to migrate to Ukraine, a white country.
No one wants to migrate to Hungary, a white country.
No one wants to migrate to Austria, a white country.

Everyone wants to migrate to the place where there's an over-bloated sense of job availability. In this case, America offers an ample amount of opportunity.

Let's wait and see how universities in CA populated with merit-based Asian Americans overrule all universities in the US anytime soon.

Name any state in the US that produces more than two universities (in the Top 50 list) in the world.

No state can compete against CA. You wonder why?

segundo > , August 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT

Are you utterly oblivious to the fact that well over 95% of the blacks getting AAed into universities are then being trained/indoctrinated into being future disruptive activists? Activists with credentials, more money and connections. Entirely counterproductive and much of it on the taxpayers' dime. If there is a solution, AA isn't it.

Diversity Heretic > , August 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm GMT

@Rdm Can I count you in on the Calexit movement–followed by the purge of whites? Freed from the burden of those miserable European-origin Americans, the Asian-Negro-Mestizo marvel will be a shining light to the rest of the world!

David > , August 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm GMT

I waited to make this comment until the serious thinkers had been here. Did anyone notice the dame in the picture is giving us the finger? I did a little experiment to see if my hand could assume that position inadvertently and it couldn't. It aptly illustrates the article, either way.

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm GMT

@Rdm

Name any state in the US that produces more than two universities (in the Top 50 list) in the world.

No state can compete against CA. You wonder why?

If you took the land mass of CA and imposed it on the U.S. East Coast between Boston and South Carolina, I don't think it'd be a problem to surpass California in any Top 50 University competition.

I'm not sure what your point is here.

The Realist > , Website August 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm GMT

Here's a simpler and more effective solution-KILL ALL NIGGERS NOW. See, not so difficult, was it? Consider it a Phoenix Program for the American Problem. Actually, here's another idea-KILL ALL LIBERALS NOW. That way, good conservative people of different races, sexes, etc., can be saved from the otherwise necessary carnage. Remember, gun control is being able to hit your target.

Mis(ter)Anthrope > , August 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm GMT

The affirmative action game may well serve the interests of the cognitive elite whites, but it has been a disaster for the rest of white America. I have a better solution.

Give the feral negroes what they have been asking for. Pull all law enforcement out of negro hellholes like Detroit and South Chicago and let nature take its course.

Send all Asians and other foreigners who not already citizens back to their homelands. End all immigration except very special cases like the whites being slaughtered in South Africa or the spouse of a white American male citizen.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm GMT

@Rdm I am not referring to guys like in the picture.

I am referring to the very topmost career stars, moving to Asia for the expat life. Some of that is happening, and it could accelerate. Only 2-3 million are needed.

Wally > , Website August 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm GMT

@Kyle McKenna " And as he copiously documented, whites have suffered far more discrimination than asians have. The difference is, whites are more brainwashed into accepting it. "

And that's the function of the fraudulent, impossible '6M Jews, 5M others, gas chambers'.

[MORE]

"The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and re-organization of global society requires two essential steps: firstly, the destruction of the old established order, secondly, design and imposition of the new order. The first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy ethical barriers and social definitions, only then can the destroyed old system elements be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.

The first task of our world revolution is Destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated, individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct, traditional social norms must only be viewed as a disease to be eradicated, the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone."

from: 'The Spirit Of Militarism', by Nahum Goldmann
Goldmann was the founder & president of the World Jewish Congress

see the 'holocaust' scam debunked here:

http://codoh.com

No name calling, level playing field debate here:

http://forum.codoh.com

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm GMT

@Rdm Almost all white people would rather migrate to Austria, Hungary, and the Ukraine than the following citadels of civilization:

Angola
Botswana
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Djibouti
Ethiopia
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Gabon
Ghana
Kenya
Niger
Nigeria
South Africa
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Uganda
Zambia

You know what? I bet most blacks would as well.

Mis(ter)Anthrope > , August 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike I don't know if anyone else got it, but that is pretty damn funny.

Wally > , August 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm GMT

@Rdm - 45% of California is Federal land.

- Without US taxpayers money CA would be a 3rd world country completely filled with unemployable & dumb illegal immigrants.

- Think about this brief list made possible by the US taxpayers / federal government, money CA would not get and then tens of thousands of CA people would lose their jobs (= lost CA tax revenues):

aerospace contracts, defense contracts, fed gov, software contracts, fed gov airplane orders, bases, ports, money for illegal aliens costs, federal monies for universities, 'affirmative action monies, section 8 housing money, monies for highways, monies for 'mass transportation', monies to fight crime, monies from the EPA for streams & lakes, monies from the Nat. Park Service, monies for healthcare, monies for freeloading welfare recipients, and all this is just the tip of the iceberg

- Not to mention the counties in CA which will not want to be part of the laughable 'Peoples Republic of California'.

- And imagine the 'Peoples Republic of California Army', hilarious.

CA wouldn't last a week without other peoples money.

Calexit? Please, pretty please.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain You just want intra-white socialism so you can mooch off of productive whites.

Macumazahn > , August 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT

It's particularly unfortunate that Asians, who can hardly be blamed for the plight of America's Blacks, are the ones from whom the "affirmative action" #groidgeld is extracted.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic My impression and overall experience from interacting with White Americans is good in general. I have a very distinct view on both White Americans and Europeans. I'd come back later.

I don't recommend purging of Whites in America. Neither do I prohibit immigration of all people. But I do wish "legal" immigration from all parts of the world to this land. But I also understand why people are fed up with White America.

There is a clear distinction between Europeans and White Americans. White Americans born and bred here are usually an admixture of many European origins. They usually hide their Eastern European origin and fervently claim German, French, English whenever possible -- basically those countries that used to be colonial masters in the past.

White Americans are generally daring, optimistic and very open-minded. Usually when you bump into any White Americans born and bred here, you can sense their genuine hospitality.
Europeans, usually fresh White immigrants in this land, tend to carry over their old mentality with a bit of self-righteous attitude to patronize and condescend Americans on the ground that this is a young country.

My former boss was Swiss origin, born in England, and migrated to America. If there's an opportunity cost, he'd regale his English origin. If there's a Swiss opportunity, he'd talk about his ancestry. He'd bash loud, crazy Americans while extoling his European majesty. He became a naturalized American last year for tax purposes so that his American wife can inherit if he kicks the bucket.

Bottom line is, every immigrant to the US, in my honest opinion, is very innocent and genuinely hard working. They have a clear idea of how they like to achieve their dreams here and would like to work hard. It seems after staying here for a while, they all change their true selves to fit into the existing societal structure, i.e., Chris Hemsworth, an Australian purposely trained to speak American English in Red Dawn, can yell "This is our home" while 4th generation Asian Americans will be forced to speak broken English. This is how dreams are shaped in America.

Coming back to purge of Whites, I only wish those self-righteous obese, bald, bottom of the barrel, living on the alms Whites, proclaiming their White skin, will go back to their origin and do something about a coming flood of Muslim in their ancestral country if they're so worried about their heritage.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT

@Alec Leamas (hard at work) My point is, universities in CA are doing well commensurate with hard working students without AA action.

Saxon > , August 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT

@Thomm No, he just wants the street-defecating hangers-on like you to go back and show how awesome you claim you are in your own country by making a success of it rather than milking all of the entitlements and affirmative action and other programs of literal racial advantage given to you by virtue of setting foot in someone else's country.

Rdm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm GMT

@Wally - 45% of California is Federal land.

- Without US taxpayers money CA would be a 3rd world country completely filled with unemployable & dumb illegal immigrants.

- Think about this brief list made possible by the US taxpayers / federal government, money CA would not get and then tens of thousands of CA people would lose their jobs (= lost CA tax revenues):

aerospace contracts, defense contracts, fed gov, software contracts, fed gov airplane orders, bases, ports, money for illegal aliens costs, federal monies for universities, 'affirmative action monies, section 8 housing money, monies for highways, monies for 'mass transportation', monies to fight crime, monies from the EPA for streams & lakes, monies from the Nat. Park Service, monies for healthcare, monies for freeloading welfare recipients, and all this is just the tip of the iceberg

- Not to mention the counties in CA which will not want to be part of the laughable 'Peoples Republic of California'.

- And imagine the 'Peoples Republic of California Army', hilarious.

CA wouldn't last a week without other peoples money.

Calexit? Please, pretty please. So you're talking about Calexit in AA action?

Let us play along.

If CA is existing solely due to Fed Alms, I can agree it's the tip of the iceberg. But we're talking about Universities, their performance and how AA is affecting well qualified students.

Following on your arguments,

UC Berkeley receives $373 Millions (Federal Sponsorship) in 2016.
Harvard University, on the other hand, receives $656 millions (Federal sponsorship) in 2012.

I'm talking about how Universities climb up in World ranking, based upon their innovations, productivity, research output, etc etc etc. Which to me, is reflective of what kind of students are admitted into the programs. That's my point.

If you want to talk about Calexit, you'd better go and refresh your reading comprehension ability.

Stan d Mute > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

The thing that is forgotten is that white Americans DO NOT need the Africans in any way whatsoever. There is NOTHING in Detroit that we want – we abandoned it deliberately and have no interest in ever returning.

On the other hand, what do the Africans need from us?

Food. We own and operate all food production.
Medicine. Ditto.
Clean water. Look at Flint.
Sanitation services. Look at anywhere in Africa.
Order.

To put a stop to African behavior from Africans is an idiot's dream. They will never stop being what they are. They simply cannot. So if we cannot expel them, we must control them. When they act up, we cut off their food, medicine, water, and sewer services. Build fences around Detroit and Flint. Siege. After a month or two of the Ethiopian Diet, the Africans in Detroit will be much more compliant.

War for Blair Mountain > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

@Thomm You just want intra-white socialism so you can mooch off of productive whites. Thomm=the girly boy blatherings of a White Libertarian Cuck

The benefit to the Historic Native Born White American Working Class of being voted into a White Racial Minority in California by Chinese "Americans" Korean "Americans" .Hindu "Americans" Sihk "Americans" and Iranian "Americans"?

Answer:0 . Bring back the Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act!!!

Two Great pro-White Socialist Labor Leaders:Denis Kearney and Samuel Gompers go read Denis Kearney's Rebel Rousing speeches google Samuel Gompers' Congressional Testimony in favor of the passage of The Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act

The peril of appeasement > , August 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm GMT

As some have pointed out, the trouble with appeasement is, it never ends. Those who are used to the handouts will always want more. There's the saying parents tend to strengthen the strong and weaken the weak, that's what paternalistic policies like affirmative action and welfare do to a society. It creates a cycle of dependency.

Those who think multiculturalism coupled with identity politics is a good idea need to take a good look at Malaysia, arguably the most multicultural country outside the US. The country is in Southeast Asia, with roughly 30m people, roughly 60% ethnic Malay(100% muslim), 23% Chinese(mostly buddhist or christian), brought in by the British in the 1800s to work the rubber plantations and tin mines, and 7% Indian(mostly Hindu), brought in by the British to work the plantations and civil service.

In 1957 the Brits left and left the power in the hands of the ethnic Malays. The Chinese soon became the most successful and prosperous group and dominated commerce and the professional ranks. In 1969 a major race riot broke out, the largely rural and poor Malays decided to "take back what's theirs", burnt, looted and slaughtered many ethnic Chinese. After the riot the government decided the only way to prevent more riots is to raise the standard of living for the Malays. And they began a massive wealth transfer program through affirmative action that heavily favors ethnic Malays. First, all civil service jobs were given to only ethnic Malays, including the police and military. Then AA was instituted in all local universities where Malays with Cs and Ds in math and science were given preference over Chinese with all A's to all the engineering, medicine and law majors. Today no one in their right mind, not even the rich Malays, want to be treated by a Malay doctor. I know people who were maimed by one of these affirmative actioned Malay "neurosurgeons" who botched a simple routine procedure, and there was no recourse, no one is allowed to sue.

Thanks to their pandering to the Malay majority and outright voting fraud, the ruling party UMNO has never lost an election and is today the longest serving ruling party in modern history. Any dissent was stifled through the sedition act where dissidents are thrown in jail, roughed up, tossed down 14th story buildings before they even go to trial. All media is strictly controlled and censored by the government, who also controls the military, and 100% of the country's oil production, with a large portion of the profit of Petronas going to the coffers of the corrupt Malay government elites, whatever's left is given to hoi polloi Malays in the form of fluff job positions created in civil service, poorly run quasi-government Malay owned companies like Petronas, full scholarships to study abroad for only ethnic Malays, tax free importation of luxury cars for ethnic Malays, and when the government decided to "privatize" any government function like the postal service or telcom, they gave it in the form of a monopoly to a Malay owned company. All government contracts e.g. for infrastructure are only given to Malay owned companies, even as they have zero expertise for the job. The clever Chinese quickly figured out they could just use a Malay partner in name only to get all government contracts.

As opposed to the US where affirmative action favors the minority, in Malaysia AA favors the majority. You know it can't last. The minority can only prop up the majority for so long. Growth today is largely propped up by oil income, and the oil reserve is dwindling. Even Mahathir the former prime minister who started the most blatant racial discrimination policy against the Chinese started chastising the Malays of late, saying they've become too lazy and dependent on government largess.

Yet despite the heavy discrimination, the Chinese continued to thrive thanks to their industriousness and ingenuity, while many rural Malays not connected with the governing elite remain poor -- classic case of strengthening the strong and weakening the weak. According to Forbes, of the top 10 richest men in Malaysia today, 9 are ethnic Chinese, only 1 is an ethnic Malay who was given everything he had. Green with envy, the ethnic Malays demanded more to keep the government in power. So a new law was made – all Chinese owned businesses have to give 30% ownership to an ethnic Malay, just like that.

Needless to say all this racial discrimination resulted in a massive brain drain for the country. many middle class Indians joined the Chinese and emigrated en masse to Australia, NZ, US, Canada, Europe, Singapore, HK, Taiwan, Japan. The ones left are often destitute and poor, heavily discriminated against due to their darker skin, and became criminals. Al Jazeera recently reported that the 7% ethnic Indians in Malaysia commit 70% of the crime.

To see how much this has cost Malaysia -- Singapore split off from Malaysia 2 years after their joint independence from Britain and was left in destitute as they have no natural resources. But Lee Kuan Yew with the help of many Malaysian Chinese who emigrated to Singapore turned it into one of the richest countries in the world in one generation with a nominal per capita GDP of $53k, while Malaysia is firmly stuck at $9.4k, despite being endowed with natural resources from oil to tin and beautiful beaches. The combination of heavy emigration among the Chinese and high birthrate among the muslim Malays encouraged by racialist Mahathir, the Chinese went from 40% of the population in 1957 to 23% today. The Indians went from 11% to 7%.

I fear that I'm seeing the same kind of problem in the US. It's supremely stupid for the whites to want to give up their majority status through open borders. Most Asians like me who immigrated here decades ago did it to get away from the corrupt, dishonest, dog-eat-dog, misogynistic culture of Asia. But when so many are now here, it defeats the purpose. The larger the immigrant group, the longer it takes to assimilate them. Multiculturalism is a failed concept, especially when coupled with identity politics. Affirmative Action does not work, it only creates a toxic cycle of dependency. The US is playing with fire. We need a 20 year moratorium on immigration and assimilate all those already here. Otherwise, I fear the US will turn into another basketcase like Malaysia.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RrWfNonLDQ

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh There were only about one million Indians living in what is the United States in 1500. There are now 3 million living in much better conditions than in 1500.

I would be willing to accept non White immigration if the non White immigrants and our government would end affirmative action for non Whites.

Asians are discriminated against in college admissions. But in the job market they have affirmative action aristocratic status over Whites.

Truth > , August 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike The sno percentage is much higher an Ukraine, Hungary and Austria than here.

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic John Derbyshire has made similar arguments--racial preferences are the price for social peace. But, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, we're running out of white and Asian children to buffer black dysfunction and Asians are going to get less and less willing to be "sacrificial lambs" for a black underclass that they did nothing to create and that they despise.

There are other ways to control the black underclass. You can force the talented ones to remain in their community and provide what leadership they can. Black violence can be met with instant retributive counter-violence. (Prior to the 1960s most race riots were white on black.) Whites can enforce white norms on the black community, who will sort-of conform to them as best they are able.

Finally, Rudyard Kipling had a commentary on Danegeld. It applies to paying off dysfunctional domestic minorities just as much to invading enemies.

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace and, as such, has nothing to do with racial justice,

The Black are protesting relentlessly and loudly verbally and thru assertive actions about the racial discrimination they have been facing. I have never seen those academically unqualified blacks admitted to the elite schools have stood up using themselves as shiny examples to refute the discrimination allegations the Black made against the White.

While the policy to protect the racial peace by admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools failed miserably, the restricting the smart and qualified Asians to elite schools is blatantly racial injustice practice exercised in broad day light with a straight face lie. The strategy is to cause resentment between the minorities so that the White can admitting their academically unqualified ones to elite schools without arousing scrutiny.

Thomm > , August 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT

@Saxon I'm white, you stupid faggot.

I am extremely committed that you White Trashionalists fulfill your duty as wastebaskets of genetic matter.

Excellent whites exist only because the waste produced gets removed in the form of WN wiggers.

Like I said, there is a huge variance within whites. Therefore, you have no business speaking for respectable whites.

Worst of all, you Nationalist-Leftists are un-American.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT

@Astuteobservor II Just google solutrean theory Europeans arrived in America 20,000 years ago. Many articles come up including from smithsonian.

The east coast Canadian Indians always had the founding myth they came over the ocean.

There's a book, Across The Atlantic Ice by Dennis Stanford on kindle, Amazon and many book stores.

Priss Factor > , Website August 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

Here is one 'smart Asian' who is not a Self-Righteous Addict of Proglobalism, but what a clown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNrytSEyUoY

Dineshisms are always funny as hell.

Because KKK were Southern Democrats, Democratic Party is forever the KKK party. Never mind Democrats represented a broad swatch of people.
And Dinesh finds some parallels between Old Democrats and Nazi ideology, therefore Democrats are responsible for Nazism. I mean

Doesn't he know that parties change? Democratic Party once used to be working class party. Aint no more.
GOP used to be Party of Lincoln. It is southern party now, and most loyal GOP-ers are Southerns with respect for Confederacy. GOP now wants Southern Neo-Confed votes but don't want Confed memorials. LOL.
Things change.

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond came over to the GOP for a reason.

Dinesh seems to be stuck in 'caste' mentality. Because Dems once had KKK on its side, Democratic Party is forever cast or 'casted' as KKK. And now, 'Democrats are real Nazis'.

Actually, the real supremacism in America at the moment seems to be AIPAC-related.

Anyway, there were leftist elements in National Socialism, but its was more right than left.

Why? Because in the hierarchy of ideological priorities, the most important core value was the 'Aryan' Tribe. Socialized medicine was NOT the highest value among Nazis. Core conviction was the ideology of racial identity and unity. Thus, it was more right than left.

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Same is true of Soviet Communism. Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones. And Soviets promoted some degree of Russian nationalism. And even though communists eradicated certain aspects of the past, they also restored respect for classic literature and culture. So, does that mean USSR was 'conservative' or 'rightist'? No, it had some rightist elements but its core ideology was about class egalitarianism, therefore, it was essentially leftist.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:20 pm GMT

@Joe Wong All the Whites and Asians who are admitted to the top 25 schools are superbly qualified. There are so many applicants every White and Asian is superbly qualified.

The entire point of affirmative action is that Asians and Whites are discriminated against in favor of blacks and Hispanics. Harvard proudly proclaims that is now majority non White.

Don't worry, the Jews decided long ago that you Asian drones would have medicine and tech, Hispanics construction, food, trucking,and cleaning and Hispanics and blacks would share government work and public education.

Whites will gradually disappear and the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control the Asians and Hispanics through black crime and periodic riots.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT

@Truth Do you think Beavis and Butthead are choosing Angola over Austria?

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm GMT

@Macumazahn Affirmative action punishes Whites as well and Asians are always free to go back to wherever their parents or grandparents came from.

After 400 years, Whites can't go anywhere.

Alden > , August 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm GMT

@Thomm Do you favor affirmative action?

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 10:40 pm GMT

@Wally So you are a tough guy, and never give in anything to anyone in your life? It seems the Jews have similar view as yours, the Jews insist that if they give in an inch to those Holocaust deniers, they will keep demanding more & more, at the beginning the Holocaust deniers will demand for the evidence, then they will demand the Jews are at fault, then they will demand the Nazi to be resurrected, then they will demand they can carry out Holocaust against anyone they don't like, Pretty soon they will demand they to be treated like the pigs in the Orwellian's Animal Farm.

Liberty Mike > , August 16, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

@Thomm "Un-American" is descriptively flaccid. It means nada, nothing, zero. It is vapid and so empty and such a lame lexeme.

Any word that is hackneyed, lifeless, and so low energy would never be scripted by a White committed to excellence.

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Hell with those 'smart Asians'. They are among the biggest Proglob a-holes.

Asians have servile genes that seek approval from the power. They are status-freaks.

They make perfect collaborators with the Glob.

Under communism, they made the most conformist commies.

Under Japanese militarism, they made the most mindless military goons who did Nanking.

Under Khmer Rouge, they were biggest looney killers.

Under PC, they make such goody good PC dogs.

If the prevailing culture of US was patriotic and conservatives, Asians would try to conform to that, and that wouldn't be so bad.

But since the prevailing culture is PC, these yellow dogs are among the biggest homomaniacal PC tards.

Hell with them. Yellow dogs voted for Obama and Hillary in high numbers. They despise, hate, and feel contempt for white masses and working class. They are servitors of the empire as Darrell Hamamoto said. He's one of the few good guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bs_BbIBCoY

Just look at that Francis Fukuyama, that slavish dog of Soros. He's so disgusting. And then, you got that brown Asian tard Fareed Zakaria. What a vile lowlife. And that fat Jeer Heet who ran from dirty browns shi**ing all over the place outdoors to live with white people but bitches about 'white supremacy'. Well, the fact that he ran from his own kind to live with whites must mean his own choice prefers white folks. His immigration choice was 'white supremacism'. After all, he could have moved to black Africa. Why didn't he?

PS. The best way of Affirmative Action is to limit it only to American Indians and Blacks of slave ancestry. That's it.

Also, institutions should OPENLY ADMIT that they do indeed discriminate to better represent the broader population. Fair or not, honesty is a virtue. What is most galling about AA is the lies that says 'we are colorblind and meritocratic but...' No more buts. Yes, there is discrimination but to represent larger population. Okay, just be honest. Asia is a big continent and Asians of different ethnicity have very different voting patterns due to their culture and history. Japanese-Americans tend to be the most liberal ethnic group of all Asian groups because of their experience with internment during WWII. Somehow they conveniently forgot that it was a Democrat president who put them in internment, and are now putting the blames squarely on the right for what happened. These Japanese-Americans are drinking the kool-aid big time, but in the 90s I remember a Japanese prime minister got in big trouble for saying America's biggest problem is we have too many blacks and hispanics dragging us down.

Filipinos, Hmongs and other Southeast Asians tend to be poor and rely on government largess to a certain extent, and also benefit from affirmative action at least in the state of CA, they also tend to be liberal.

In this election cycle Indian-Americans have become the most vocal anti-Trumpers. From Indian politicians from WA state like Kshama Sawant, Pramila Jayapal to Indian entertainers like Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minaj, Kumail Nanjani, to Silicon Valley techies like Calexit mastermind VC Shervin Pishevar, Google CEO Sundra Pichai, all are socialist libtards. In my local election, several Indians are running for city council. All are first generation, all Democrats and champions of liberal policies. It's as if they have amnesia(or just lower IQ), not remembering that socialism was why they had to leave the shithole India to begin with. A Korean American is running as a Republican.

There are Chinese idiots like Ted Lieu and other asians who've gone to elite schools therefore drinking the kool-aid and insisted AA is good for Asian Americans, but most Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese tend to be more conservative and lean Republican. During the Trump campaign Breitbart printed a story about a group of Chinese Americans voicing their support for Trump despite his anti-China rhetoric because they had no intention of seeing the US turned into another socialist shithole like China.

Per the NYT a major reason Asians vote Republican is because of AA. Asians revere education, esp. the Chinese and Koreans, and they see holistic admission is largely bullshit set up by Jews to protect their legacy status while throwing a few bones to under qualified blacks and hispanics. Unfortunately it didn't seem to dampen their desire to immigrate here. Given that there are 4 billion Asians and thanks to open borders, if it weren't for AA all our top 100 schools will be 100% Asian in no time. I suggest we first curtail Asian immigration, limit their number to no more than 10,000 a year, then we can discuss dismantling AA.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Wally This is false. See:

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/#main-findings

California sends far more to Washington than it sends back. Also, there is no correlation between percentage of federal land and dependence on federal funding. If there were, Delaware would be the least dependent state in the US.

Clue: It isn't.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Wally This is false. See:

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/#main-findings

California sends far more to Washington than it sends back. Also, there is no correlation between percentage of federal land and dependence on federal funding. If there were, Maine would be among the least dependent states in the US.

Clue: It isn't.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm GMT

@Alden https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean_hypothesis

if the wiki is reliable. you shouldn't be telling others like it is a cold hard fact. But still a very interesting read. thanks for bringing it up.

Astuteobservor II > , August 16, 2017 at 10:48 pm GMT

@Alden

But in the job market they have affirmative action aristocratic status over Whites.

that is another bold claim. I know of black quotas, but asian quota???

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT

@Astuteobservor II The Indian tribe in tech is known to favor Indians in hiring. I've read from other Indian posters elsewhere that Indian managers like to hire Indian underlings because they are easier to bully.

Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys, TCS, Wipro are like 90% Indian, mostly imported directly from India, with token whites as admin or account manager.

THe Realist > , Website August 16, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT

@Truth See #65 above. You die, too, boy.

F the media > , August 16, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer That's pretty funny. The guy's got balls. Probably son of some corrupt Chinese government official used to being treated like an emperor back home, ain't taking no shit from black folks.

I suppose this is what happens when universities clamor to accept foreign students because they are full pay. His tuition dollar is directly subsidizing these affirmative action hacks, who are now preventing him from studying. He has fully paid for his right to tell them to STFU.

Joe Wong > , August 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm GMT

@Beckow Romans did not think Europe was a nice place to live, full of bloodthirsty barbarians, uneducated, smelly, dirty, foul mouth and rogue manner, even nowadays a lot of them cannot use full set of tableware to finish their meal, a single fork will do, it is a litte more civilized than those use fingers only.

After a millennium of dark age of superstition, religious cult suppression, utter poverty medieval serf Europe, it followed by centuries of racial cleanses, complete destruction of war, stealing and hypocrisy on industrial scale, this time not only restricted to Europe the plague flooded the whole planet.

Even nowadays the same plague from Europe and its offshoots in the North America is threatening to exterminate the human beings with a big bang for their blinding racial obligatory. The rest of the world only can hope this plague would stay put in North America and Europe, so the rest world can live in peace and prosperity.

Joe Franklin > , August 16, 2017 at 11:33 pm GMT

Asians receive federal entitlements the same as the other protected class groups of diversity.

Diversity ideology lectures us that Asians are oppressed by Occidentals.

1. Preferential US immigration, citizenship, and asylum policies for Asian people
2. Federal 8a set-aside government contracts for Asian owned businesses
3. Affirmative Action for Asians especially toward obtaining government jobs
4. Government anti-discrimination laws for Asians
4. Government hate speech crime prosecutions in defense of Asians
5. Sanctuary cities for illegal Asians, and other protected class groups of diversity
6. Asian espionage directed at the US is common, and many times goes unprosecuted
7. American trade policy allows mass importation of cheap Asian products built with slave labor
8. Whaling allowance for some Asian ethnic groups
9. Most H1-B visas awarded to Asians

Reg Cęsar > , August 16, 2017 at 11:38 pm GMT

@Thomm

Please stop trying to confuse Orientals with Indians and other subcontinentals. They are quite distinct.

In their original countries they are, but in America they are almost identical in all ways except appearance and diet.

And odor.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:10 am GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Thomm=the girly boy blatherings of a White Libertarian Cuck...

The benefit to the Historic Native Born White American Working Class of being voted into a White Racial Minority in California by Chinese "Americans"...Korean "Americans"....Hindu "Americans"...Sihk "Americans"...and Iranian "Americans"?


Answer:0.... Bring back the Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act!!!


Two Great pro-White Socialist Labor Leaders:Denis Kearney and Samuel Gompers...go read Denis Kearney's Rebel Rousing speeches...google Samuel Gompers' Congressional Testimony in favor of the passage of The Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act... It is MUCH better to be a libertarian than to be a Nationalist-Leftist. You have effectively admitted that you want intra-white socialism since you can't hack it yourself.

Socialists = untalented losers.

Plus, I guarantee that your ancestors were not in America since 1776. You are just some 2nd-gen Polack or something.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am GMT

@Alden

Do you favor affirmative action?

Absolutely not. It is one of the worst things ever devised.

Issac > , August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am GMT

@Thomm Sounds like a Jewish fantasy.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 12:14 am GMT

@Priss Factor Here is one 'smart Asian' who is not a Self-Righteous Addict of Proglobalism, but what a clown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNrytSEyUoY

Dineshisms are always funny as hell.

Because KKK were Southern Democrats, Democratic Party is forever the KKK party. Never mind Democrats represented a broad swatch of people.
And Dinesh finds some parallels between Old Democrats and Nazi ideology, therefore Democrats are responsible for Nazism. I mean...

Doesn't he know that parties change? Democratic Party once used to be working class party. Aint no more.
GOP used to be Party of Lincoln. It is southern party now, and most loyal GOP-ers are Southerns with respect for Confederacy. GOP now wants Southern Neo-Confed votes but don't want Confed memorials. LOL.
Things change.

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond came over to the GOP for a reason.

Dinesh seems to be stuck in 'caste' mentality. Because Dems once had KKK on its side, Democratic Party is forever cast or 'casted' as KKK. And now, 'Democrats are real Nazis'.

Actually, the real supremacism in America at the moment seems to be AIPAC-related.

Anyway, there were leftist elements in National Socialism, but its was more right than left.

Why? Because in the hierarchy of ideological priorities, the most important core value was the 'Aryan' Tribe. Socialized medicine was NOT the highest value among Nazis. Core conviction was the ideology of racial identity and unity. Thus, it was more right than left.

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Same is true of Soviet Communism. Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones. And Soviets promoted some degree of Russian nationalism. And even though communists eradicated certain aspects of the past, they also restored respect for classic literature and culture. So, does that mean USSR was 'conservative' or 'rightist'? No, it had some rightist elements but its core ideology was about class egalitarianism, therefore, it was essentially leftist. "Stalin brought back high culture and classical music. He favored traditionalist aesthetics to experimental or avant-garde ones."

Priss, you haven't the first clue what you're talking about, here. Stalin didn't favor "traditionalist aesthetics" – he favored vulgar pop-crap.

Issac > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Joe Wong Ah yes, the whites are well known for their bigotry. That's why they're so mono-racial and China is so diverse. Good point Chang.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Joe Franklin Asians receive federal entitlements the same as the other protected class groups of diversity.

Diversity ideology lectures us that Asians are oppressed by Occidentals.


1. Preferential US immigration, citizenship, and asylum policies for Asian people
2. Federal 8a set-aside government contracts for Asian owned businesses
3. Affirmative Action for Asians especially toward obtaining government jobs
4. Government anti-discrimination laws for Asians
4. Government hate speech crime prosecutions in defense of Asians
5. Sanctuary cities for illegal Asians, and other protected class groups of diversity
6. Asian espionage directed at the US is common, and many times goes unprosecuted
7. American trade policy allows mass importation of cheap Asian products built with slave labor
8. Whaling allowance for some Asian ethnic groups
9. Most H1-B visas awarded to Asians That is completely false. You just memorized that from some bogus site.

Section 8a is used more by white women than by Asians, and Asians get excluded from it due to high income. It should be done away with altogether, of course.

Asians face discrimination in University admissions, as the main article describes.

H1-Bs are awarded to Asians because white countries don't produce enough people who qualify.

Plus, Asian SAT scores are consistently higher than whites. That proves that Asian success was not due to AA.

Joe Wong > , August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am GMT

@Alden

the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control

I am not sure the Muslim and Indian will agree to that, they have a very strong birth rate that can match if not surpass the blacks too.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 12:46 am GMT

@Thomm Green isn't a color that suits you. You're a subcontinental hanger-on who's only able to garner any success in any western country due to an anarcho-tyranny in enforcement against ethnonepotism as well as lavish handouts in the form of all sorts of party favors.

There are very few non-white groups that could do any well on a level playing field with equal enforcement against nepotism, and yours isn't one of them. Your country? Sad!

Ron Unz > , August 17, 2017 at 12:47 am GMT

@Alden

Whites will gradually disappear and the 110 year old Jewish black coalition will control the Asians and Hispanics through black crime and periodic riots.

I don't think this is correct

Since California already has (very roughly) the future demographics you're considering, I think it serves as a good test-case.

The Hispanic and Asian populations have been growing rapidly, and they tend to hold an increasing share of the political power, together with the large white population, though until very recently most of the top offices were still held by (elderly) whites. Whites would have much more political power, except that roughly half of them are still Republicans, and the Republican Party has almost none.

In most of the urban areas, there's relatively little black crime these days since so many of the blacks have been driven away or sent off to prison. I'd also say that major black riots in CA are almost unthinkable since many of the local police forces are heavily Hispanic: they don't particularly like blacks, and might easily shoot the black rioters dead while being backed up by the politicians, and many of the blacks probably recognize this. Admittedly, CA always had a relatively small black population, but that didn't prevent enormous black crime and black riots in the past due to the different demographics.

Meanwhile, Jewish-activists still possess enormous influence over CA politics, but they exert that influence through money and media, just like they do everywhere else in the country.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT

@F the media that is actually true about indians. I have first hand account of a 100+ tech dept getting taken over by indians in just 3 years :/ but that is not a "quota" that is just indians abusing their power once in position of power.

Priss Factor > , August 17, 2017 at 1:26 am GMT

@Vinteuil Priss, you haven't the first clue what you're talking about, here. Stalin didn't favor "traditionalist aesthetics" – he favored vulgar pop-crap.

Right.. Ballet, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and classic literature. That's some pop crap.
Soviet Culture was about commie Lena Dunhams.

Now, most of Soviet culture was what might be called kitsch or middlebrow stuff, but it was not 'pop crap' as known in the West.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 1:35 am GMT

@THe Realist LOL, if you're the one holding the knife, hatchet, billy club or brick, I like my chances.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 1:58 am GMT

@Saxon Green isn't a color that suits you. You're a subcontinental hanger-on who's only able to garner any success in any western country due to an anarcho-tyranny in enforcement against ethnonepotism as well as lavish handouts in the form of all sorts of party favors.

There are very few non-white groups that could do any well on a level playing field with equal enforcement against nepotism, and yours isn't one of them. Your country? Sad! Whatever helps you sleep at night..

Yesterday I was called a Jew. Today, it is Indian. In reality, I am a white American guy.

You white trashionalists can't get your stories straight, can you? Well, WNs are known for having negro IQs.

Asians don't get affirmative action. They outscore whites in the SAT.

But even blacks outscore WNs like you.

Heh heh heh heh

Joe Franklin > , August 17, 2017 at 2:03 am GMT

@Thomm That is completely false. You just memorized that from some bogus site.

Section 8a is used more by white women than by Asians, and Asians get excluded from it due to high income. It should be done away with altogether, of course.

Asians face discrimination in University admissions, as the main article describes.

H1-Bs are awarded to Asians because white countries don't produce enough people who qualify.

Plus, Asian SAT scores are consistently higher than whites. That proves that Asian success was not due to AA. You have reading comprehension problems to have confused Federal 8A government contacts with Section 8 housing.

8A contracts are federal contracts granted to "socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s)."

https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/8a-business-development-program/eligibility-requirements/8a-requirements-overview

The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).

The individual(s) controlling and managing the firm on a full-time basis must meet the SBA requirement for disadvantage, by proving both social disadvantage and economic disadvantage.

http://sbda.com/sba_8(a) .htm

Definition of Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals

Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identities as members of groups without regard to their individual qualities. The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the following individuals are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

• Black Americans;

• Hispanic Americans (persons with origins from Latin America, South America, Portugal and Spain);

• Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians);


• Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands [Republic of Palau], Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laos, Cambodia [Kampuchea], Taiwan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru);

• Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal);

• And members of other groups designated from time to time by the SBA.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:20 am GMT

@F the media

That's pretty funny. The guy's got balls.

Nah, just some goofy nerd working on his PhD in Library Science.

THIS Kat on the other hand is my N-!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaTLgw_akhg

Beckow > , August 17, 2017 at 2:25 am GMT

@Joe Wong Romans lived in Europe, get an atlas, Rome is in Europe. I will skip over your silly summaries of European history, we all can do it to any civilization all day. Pointless. Try China. Oh, I forgot, nobody knows much Chinese up and downs because it was mostly inconsequential.

If you call others 'racist' all the time, they might just not take your seriously. Or simply say, fine, if liking one's culture is now 'racism', if it is a white culture, then count me in. The rest of the world is tripping over itself to move – literally to physically move – to Europe and North America. Why do you think that is?

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT

@Ron Unz

I'd also say that major black riots in CA are almost unthinkable since many of the local police forces are heavily Hispanic: they don't particularly like blacks, and might easily shoot the black rioters dead

Oh, would you stop being a make-believe pundit, Ron? That is some commentary you copped from an OJ-era LA Times expose. You've had one conversation with a police officer in your life, and that was over an illegal left term outside the Loma Linda Starbucksand culminated in disturbing the peace when exited your Bentley yelling "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!" at the top of your lungs for 4 minutes.

Whenever you've had a nudity-mandatory, eyes-wide-shut, type globalist-soiree at your palatial mansion, the only people you invited were politicians, lawyers, Ivy-league economists, Silicon Valley tech nerds and hookers.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT

@Priss Factor They had to be into all that tired, boring, 11-century old shit; they didn't have any black people.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 2:37 am GMT

@Joe Franklin We've been over this. 8a is not given to anyone with over $250,000 in assets, as your own link indicates. This means most Asians can't use it anyway (not that they need to).

The whole program should be done away with, of course.

What is funny is that you can't accept that Asians have higher SAT scores than whites, which pretty much proves that they can (and do) outperform without AA. You WN idiots can't come to terms with that.

But Section 8a should be removed just so that WN wiggers don't have anything to hide behind, since Asians don't need it to excel.

War for Blair Mountain > , August 17, 2017 at 2:44 am GMT

@Thomm These untalented Socialists you refer to would include the vast majority of America 1969 90 percent Native Born White America .a White Nation that placed two Alpha Native Born White American Males on the Moon .ten more after that. Seems that Socialism worked just fine.

If you prefer an Asian Majority you can always pack your bags and pick the Asian Nation of your choice.

uman > , August 17, 2017 at 3:09 am GMT

@Ron Unz hmm i don't know that will be the case nationally. Southern cities like Atlanta will not have hispanic or white govt. Same with nyc, no need for blacks in harlem or bronx to leave if government aid continues to pay for rent controlled affordable housing. Same case can be made for most large northern cities like chicago, detroit, boston, philadelphia, DC, etc.

So with future aa population of 14%, that's 60 million blacks in america in 2060 timeframe, although that will have an increasing amount of immigration from africa, which tends to be more educated (at least 1st and 2nd generation).

Asians will be about 8%, so that's a poweful community of 40 million. I see tech and wall street with increasing amount of asian representations.

What i would be interested in seeing if there will any maverick asian billionaires that could disrupt the narrative.

Ronnie > , August 17, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

This article may tend to take your mind off the real racial injustice at Harvard. In an article "Affirmative Action Battle Has a New Focus: Asian-Americans" in the NY Times, August 3, 2017 ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS and STEPHANIE SAUL wrote ""The Harvard lawsuit likens attitudes toward Asian-Americans to attitudes toward Jews at Harvard, beginning around 1920, when Jews were a high-achieving minority. In 1918, Jews reached 20 percent of the Harvard freshman class, and the university soon proposed a quota to lower the number of Jewish students."" In my humble opinion this is a misleading statement which implies that the admission of Jews remained below 20% in the years after 1918. In fact Hillel reports that in recent years the admission of jews to Harvard has been around 25% of the class. This means that almost half of the class are white and half of this white group are Jews. That seems like an amazing over-representation of Jews who are only 2% of our population. So, at least as many Jews as Asians are admitted to Harvard. No wonder the Asians are upset. I note that this article does not point out this Jewish bias in admissions at Harvard and neither did the Asians. Is this another manifestation of political correctness? Or is it an egregious example of racism? This problem is the real elephant in the room. This is the Jewish racism that dare not speak its name. Until lately.

Joe Franklin > , August 17, 2017 at 3:38 am GMT

@Thomm Thanks for changing the subject back to 8A contracts, a subject I first brought up.

You ignorantly labeled me a liar and then prattled on about unrelated Section 8 housing.

I've never mentioned anything about SAT scores because they are irrelevant to anything whatsoever that I've posted.

SAT scores are your irrelevant preoccupation, not mine.

I'm just a person that detests government diversity schemes, group entitlements, and federal protected class groups.

Like it or not, Asians are one of many federal protected class groups entitled by law.

I'm not a WN nor did I ever claim to be a WN; just another example of your fevered and imagined conversations with me.

You are fairly stupid to claim that "most Asians" are rich.

You appear to be a grossly ignorant and arrogant dickhead.

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 3:41 am GMT

@Truth Truth, you is so wise and true. You's right. Them Russian dummies didn't have no vibrant black folks to make fun music that could make them wiggle their butts all their night long. So, they grew stale and bored and drank too much vodka, caught fish with penis, and wrestled with bears and didn't have the all the cool stuff like the US has.

All the world needs to be colonized by superior Negroes cuz folks will just die of boredom.
At least if you get killed by Negroes, it's exciting-like.

Ron Unz > , August 17, 2017 at 3:54 am GMT

@uman

hmm i don't know that will be the case nationally. Southern cities like Atlanta will not have hispanic or white govt. Same with nyc, no need for blacks in harlem or bronx to leave if government aid continues to pay for rent controlled affordable housing. Same case can be made for most large northern cities like chicago, detroit, boston, philadelphia, DC, etc.

Well, my California analogy was self-admittedly very rough and approximate given the considerable differences in demographics. But I strongly suspect that such considerations provide a hidden key to some contentious national policies of the last couple of decades, and I've actually written extensively on the subject:

http://www.unz.com/runz/race-and-crime-in-america/#the-hidden-motive-for-heavy-immigration

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT

@Joe Franklin

You are fairly stupid to claim that "most Asians" are rich.

They have higher household income than whites. Many do not qualify for 8a (not that they needed).

But yes, 8a should be abolished, just like ALL other affirmative action.

SAT scores are your irrelevant preoccupation, not mine.

It is relevant, because it demolishes your retarded belief that Asian success would not have happened without affirmative action.

You really are quite lacking in basic intelligence. A typical white trashionalist.

MarkinLA > , August 17, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

@Anon I imagine it was far different before the defense wind-downs of the mid 90s. Along with the many cut-backs a lot of defense was moved out of California by the contractors as punishment for California's liberal Congressmen. Companies that merged with California based operation usually consolidated outside California such as when Raytheon swallowed up Hughes Aircraft Companies defense operations and moved R&D to Massachusetts.

dearieme > , August 17, 2017 at 11:02 am GMT

@Liberty Mike I know several white people who would rather live in Botswana than the Ukraine. They have the advantage of having visited . The rest of your list seems pretty sound with the possible exception of Swaziland.

P.S. If you deleted Austria and Hungary and replaced them by Albania and Kosovo you might make your point even stronger.

dearieme > , August 17, 2017 at 11:06 am GMT

@Joe Franklin Good God, how absolutely awful to hale from Portugal, Spain, or Singapore.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT

@Thomm You're non-white and really dumb to boot; you don't understand the ecology of a society. Even the white proles are better than your people's proles because they don't make functional civilizations impossible. If it were possible for a tiny minority to drag the lowers upwards you would be able to haul your lower castes upwards and make your own country work, then the Brahmins would have done it. They can't because the average abilities, intelligence and disposition of the masses is too low of quality in those countries to the point where tourists need to be given explicit warnings about rape and other problems which you will never need when visiting, say, some English village of completely average English people. The "white trash" you decry is probably only slightly below your midwit level of intelligence.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

Truth > , August 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Alright, you're finally starting to get it.

MarkinLA > , August 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm GMT

@Thomm I seem to remember you telling everybody that Asians DON'T get affirmative action JUST GOOGLE IT without ever offering proof. Of course it never occurred to you that there could never be any documented proof of something like that. There isn't even official documented proof that white males don't get affirmative action. When people claimed and linked to articles indicating Asians are considered disadvantaged by the government, you claimed those people didn't know what they were talking about JUST GOOGLE IT.

I think you made it quite obvious who the idiot is.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT

It's time to force our "Golden Dozen" (Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Amherst and Williams) to admit 100% black until the average black income($43k) equals that of average white income($71k).

I'm Asian and I approve of this message.

Azn_bro > , August 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm GMT

@Thomm The worst hate crimes I have personally witnessed were perpetrated by black men. I have also seen more casual racism against Asians from blacks than from whites. This might be different in other parts of the country or world.

Outside of the U.S., East Asians are the least likely to want to engage in some kind of anti-white alliance since all of the West's most embarrassing military defeats have come from East Asians. We have always relied on guns and not white guilt for racial equality.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT

@Ronnie In case you haven't noticed, Jews run this country. They dominate the media, academia, Wall Street, Hollywood, Capitol Hill via the DNC and lobbying firms, Silicon Valley. Per the NYT 80% of Jews are self-proclaimed liberals. They are obsessed with dismantling the WASP World Order that in their mind has oppressed them for the last 2000 years. The Ivy League is the pipeline to these 6 sectors that collectively control the country, whoever controls Harvard controls the country. Jews not only make up majority of the elite college faculty (esp. in the social sciences) but are disproportionately benefiting from legacy admission and development cases(admission of the dim witted sons and daughters of the rich and famous like Malia Obama, Jared Kushner, all of Al Gore's kids).

Asians are the next up. Practically all Asians who've gone to the Ivy League or Stanford have voiced their support for affirmative action, many are left wing nuts like the Jews. CA house representative Ted Liu is one such kool-aid drinking Asian libtard, along with the HI judge Derrick Watson and Baltimore judge Theodore Chuang, both of whom blocked Trump's temp. suspension of Muslim refugees, both went to Harvard Law. As an Asian I would be more than happy if the Ivy League simply make themselves off limits to all Asians and turn their schools 100% black. We don't need more Asians to get indoctrinated in their dumb liberal ideology and go down in history as the group next to the Jews and the blacks who destroyed America.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm GMT

@Saxon You're non-white and really dumb to boot; you don't understand the ecology of a society. Even the white proles are better than your people's proles because they don't make functional civilizations impossible. If it were possible for a tiny minority to drag the lowers upwards you would be able to haul your lower castes upwards and make your own country work, then the Brahmins would have done it. They can't because the average abilities, intelligence and disposition of the masses is too low of quality in those countries to the point where tourists need to be given explicit warnings about rape and other problems which you will never need when visiting, say, some English village of completely average English people. The "white trash" you decry is probably only slightly below your midwit level of intelligence.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

Asians do get affirmative action in employment and promotions in the workplace by the way, just not in education.

No they don't, as this very article explains. Could you BE more of a retard?

Plus, the fact that Asians get higher SAT scores than whites proves that they don't need it. There is a left-wing conspiracy to hide Asian success.

Now, regarding an underachieving WN faggot like you :

Remember that white variance is very high. Excellent whites (like me) exist only because genetic waste master has to be removed from the other end of the process. You and other WNs represent that genetic waste matter, and that is why white women are doing a heroic duty of cutting you off (at least the minority of WNs that are straight. Most are gay, as Jack Donovan has explained). Nature wants the waste matter you comprise of to be expelled.

If you cared about the white race, you would be extremely glad that white women are cutting you off, as that is necessary to get rid of the pollution that you represent.

Heh heh heh heh . it is so much fun to put a WN faggot in its place.

Heh heh heh heh

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

@Azn_bro Yes, what you say is true.

Any real American would be proud of Asian success, as that represents the American Dream that our country was founded on.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm GMT

@MarkinLA No, I talked about 8a even two weeks ago. Good god, you WN really do have negro IQs.

8a benefits Asians the least, and THE WHOLE THING SHOULD BE ABOLISHED ANYWAY. There should be no AA, ever.

8a harms Asians as it taints their otherwise pristine claim to having succeeded without AA. They don't need 8a, most don't qualify for it as they exceed the $250,000 cutoff, and it lets WN faggots claim that 'all of Asian success is due to AA', which is demonstrably false.

Read this slowly, 10 times, so that even a wigger like you can get it.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm GMT

@Abracadabra Heh.. good one.

Don't let these WN faggots get away with claiming all of Asian success is merely due to affirmative action. In reality, Asians don't get affirmative action (other than wrongly being included in the Section 8a code form the 1980s, which ultimately was used by barely 2% of the Asian community).

Remember that among us whites, variance is extremely high. The prettiest woman alongside pretty of ugly fat feminists (who the WN losers still worship). The smartest men, and then these loserish WNs with low IQs and no social skills. White variance is very high.

That is why WNs are so frustrated. They can't get other whites to give them the time of day, and white women are super-committed to shutting out WN loser males from respectable society.

Don't let them claim that Asian success is solely due to affirmative action. Remember, respectable whites hate these WN faggots.

Saxon > , August 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Thomm You're not white, though. You're a rentseeker hanging onto someone else's country and the fact that you write barely literate garbage posts with no substance to them tells all about your intellect and your "high achievement." You're not high quality. You're mediocre at best and probably not even that since your writing is so bad.

Do you even do statistics, though? Whites make up about 70% of the national merit scholars in the US yet aren't in the Ivies at that rate. Harvard for example is maybe only 25% white. Asians are over-represented compared to their merit and jews way over-represented over any merit. Now how does that happen without nepotism? The whole system of any racial favoritism should be scrapped but of course that wouldn't benefit people like you, Thomm.

George Orwell > , August 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

Whites aren't more innovative and ambitious than Chinese people. You only have to look at the chinless Unite the Right idiots in Charlottesville to dispel any idea that whites are the superior race. The

üeljang > , August 17, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

This Thomm character is obviously of East Asian origin. His tedious, repetitive blather about Asians, white women, and "white nationalist faggots" is a telltale sign. One of his type characteristically sounds like he would be so much less distressed if those white males were not white nationalist faggots.

Diversity Heretic > , August 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh An interesting historical argument My reply Land isn't money Arguably the Normans came back in the form of the Plantagenets to contest the French throne in the 100 Years War. But by that time France wasn't nearly so feeble

Giving Negroes land in the form of a North American homeland appeals to me (provided whites get one too) although I know the geography is agonizing Blacks tend not to like this suggestion–they realize how depedent they are on whites That wasn't true of the Normans–quite self-reliant fellows!

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm GMT

@Thomm I'm not sure what it was that I said that made you think I think all Asian success is due to AA. In fact I think the opposite is true, that Asians succeed in spite of AA, which is set up solely to hinder Asians from joining the club, and as far as I'm concern, it's a club of sell-out globalist libtards that I wouldn't want more Asians to join.

I've worked in tech long enough to know that in tech, no one gives a fudge where you went to school. I am surrounded by deca-millionaires who went to state schools, many aren't even flagship, some didn't even study STEM. Some didn't even go to college or graduate. The only people I know who still care about the Ivy League are 1st generation often FOB China/India trash, and a small number of Jewish kids looking to benefit from legacy admission, most are gay and/or serious libtards.

Abracadabra > , August 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT

You can tell that Jewish achievement has fallen off a cliff as Ron Unz asserted by looking at a certain popular college website. The longest running thread that's been up there for nearly a decade with over a thousand pages and over 18,000 posts is called "Colleges for the Jewish "B" student". The site is crawling with uber liberal Jewish mothers and monitored by a gang of Ivy graduated SJWs who strictly enforce their "safe space", posters who post anything at all that might offend anyone (affirmative action is always a sensitive topic) are either thrown in "jail" i.e. ban from posting for a month, or kicked off altogether. The SJW forum monitors even directly edit user comments as they see fit, first amendment rights be damned. This is the future of all online forums if the left have their way, the kind of censorship that Piers Morgan advocates.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT

@Abracadabra Not *you* , them.

There are plenty of KKK losers on here claiming that Asian success is due to AA. I am saying you should join me in fighting them.

Note the comments above from Saxon, MarkinLA, etc. They are alll White Trashionalists.

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 8:55 pm GMT

@Saxon

Asians are over-represented compared to their merit

False. The main article here alone proves otherwise, plus dozens of other research articles.

You just can't stand that Asian success is due to merit. But you have bigger problems, since as a WN, you can't even compete with blacks.

What bugs you the most is that successful white people like me never give WN faggots the time of day. Most tune you idiots out, but I like to remind you that you are waste matter that is being expunged through the natural evolutionary process.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Priss, please, please, please try to get this right:

Stalin DID NOT favor Prokofiev, or Shostakovich. He treated them exactly the same way he treated everybody else – like dirt under his feet.

Shostakovich's (admittedly disputed) memoirs are essential reading, here. Please check them out before you say anything more.

Vinteuil > , August 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm GMT

@Thomm " successful white people like me never give WN faggots the time of day "

So you've got a problem with "faggots?"

Thomm > , August 17, 2017 at 11:04 pm GMT

@Vinteuil

So you've got a problem with "faggots?"

Yes, more so if they are leftists (including Nationalist-Leftists like WNs are). But the fact that WNs are disproportionately gay (as Jack Donovan points out) also explains why they tend to look grotesque, and it supports the scientific rationale that they are wastebaskets designed to expedite the removal of genetic waste matter.

White variance in talent/looks/intelligence is high. WN loser males and fat, ugly feminists represent the bottom. In the old days, these two would be married to each other since even the lowest tiers were paired up. Today, thankfully, both are being weeded out.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 11:12 pm GMT

I just realized something. a commenter like thomm is the perfect counter to some of the others. hahaha.

Pachyderm Pachyderma > , August 17, 2017 at 11:35 pm GMT

@Saxon God! you are stupid, Saxon he isn't a Paki, he is a Chinaman. No wonder the Normans put you guys in thrall!

Pachyderm Pachyderma > , August 18, 2017 at 1:00 am GMT

@Alden Sure you can why not go back to Europe to replace the growing number of Muslims? It can kill two birds with a single shor!

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT

@Pachyderm Pachyderma Not just that, but some of these 'white nationalists' are just recent immigrants from Poland and Ukraine. They are desperate to take credit for Western Civilization that they did nothing to create. Deep down, they know that during the Cold War, they were not considered 'white' in America.

400 years? i.e. when most of what is now the lower-48 was controlled by a Spanish-speaking government? Yeah Many of these WNs have been here only 30-70 years. That is one category (the domestic WN wiggers are the other)

Both are equally underachieving and loserish.

MarkinLA > , August 18, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

@Thomm It's too late, everybody knows what I wrote is true and that you are some pathetic millennial libertarian pajama boy. The sad fact is that you can't even man up and admit that you wrote that BS about "Asians don't get affirmative action just google it". See that would have at least have been a sign of maturity, admitting you were wrong.

There is no point reading anything, even once, from a pathetic pajama boy like you.

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 3:50 am GMT

@MarkinLA I openly said that I am proud to be libertarian. Remember, talented people can hack in on their own, so they are libertarians.

Untalented losers (like you) want socialism so that you can mooch off of others.

Plus, Asians don't get affirmative action outside of one obscure place (Section 8a) which they often don't qualify for ($250K asset cutoff), don't need, and was never used by more than 2% of the Asian-American community. The fact that Asian SAT scores are higher than whites explains why Asians outperform without AA.

Plus, this very article says that Asians are being held back. A WN faggot like you cannot grasp that even though you are commenting in the comments of this article. Could you be any dumber?

I realize you are not smart enough to grasp these basic concepts, but that is why we all know that white trashionalists have negro IQs.

Now begone; you are getting in the way of your betters.

Heh heh heh heh

Thomm > , August 18, 2017 at 4:03 am GMT

Remember that White variance in brains/looks/talent/character is extremely high. Hence, whites occupy both extremities of human quality.

Hence, the hierarchy of economic productivity is :

Talented whites (including Jews)
Asians (East and South)
Hispanics
Blacks
Untalented whites (aka these WN wastebaskets, and fat femtwats).

That is why :

1) WNs are never given a platform by respectable whites.
2) Bernie Sanders supporters are lily-white, despite his far-left views.
3) WN is a left-wing ideology, as their economic views are left-wing.
4) WNs are unable to even get any white women, as white women have no reason to pollute themselves with this waste matter. Mid-tier white women thus prefer nonwhite men over these WNs, which makes sense based on the hierarchy above.
5) WNs have the IQ of Negros, the poor social skills of an Asian spazoid, etc. They truly combine the worst of all worlds.
6) This is why white unity is impossible; there is no reason for respectable whites to have anything to do with white trashionalists.
7) Genetically, the very fact that superb whites even exists necessitates the production of individuals to act as wastebaskets for removal of genetic waste. WNs are these wastebaskets.
8) The 80s movie 'Twins' was in effect a way to make these wastebaskets feel good, as eventually, the Arnold Schwarzenegger character bonded with the Danny DeVito character. But these two twins effectively represent the sharp bimodal distribution of white quality. Successful whites are personified by the Schwarzenegger character, while WNs by the DeVito character. In reality, these two would never be on friendly terms, as nature produces waste for a reason.

This pretty much all there is to what White Trashionalists really are.

TWS > , August 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm GMT

@Thomm Tiny Duck? You decided to larp under a different handle?

Incontrovertible > , August 18, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

Elite colleges are a prime example of left wing hypocrisy. The same people who are constantly calling for an equal society are at the same time perpetuating the most unequal society by clamoring to send their kids to a few elite schools that will ensure their entry to or retain their ranks among the elites. Equality for everyone else, elitism for me and my kids. David Brook's nausea inducing self-hating pablum "How we are ruining America" is a prime example of this hypocrisy.

Another good example of left wing hypocrisy is on "school integration". The same people who condemn "bad schools" for the urban poor and call for more integration are always the first to move into the whitest possible neighborhoods as soon as they have kids. They aren't willing to sacrifice their own kids, they just want other people to sacrifice their children by sending them to bad schools.

If the left didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

Tradecraft46 > , August 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm GMT

Look, the world is short handed: we need good help or we pay dues.

Affirmative action and the EEOC are not the answer.

When you need help you get help and don't care if they are green [in the color sense or have supernumerary digits.

I don't need agreement with my whimsy, I just need people who will turn to.

Gene Su > , August 19, 2017 at 1:46 am GMT

When I first saw the title of this article, I, being an Asian, was a tad insulted. It smelled like Dr. Weissberg was attempting to create (or at least escalate) racial strife between Asians and blacks. I then read through the article and evaluated the bad and the good.

First the bad: Dr. Weissberg's assertion that Asians are being hurt by the Affirmative Action promotion of blacks is a bit exaggerated. This is because most Asians go into rigorous difficult programs such as engineering, science, and medicine. Most black affirmative action babies go into soft programs such as Black Studies (and whatever else the humanities have degenerated into).

Now the good: I think this is the most true portion of the essay.

Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership.

I have once wrote that whites stopped sneering at MLK when Malcolm X and the Black Panthers began taking center stage. They sure became more accommodating of "moderate" blacks. With all of the terrorist attacks going on and with blacks converting to Islam, I don't think we're going to get rid of affirmative action any time soon.

Nicholas Stix > , Website August 19, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT

This is a politically plausible but morally craven plan, if we're in 1960.

Oops.

Priss Factor > , Website August 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Vinteuil Stalin alternated between favoritism and intimidation. The truth is he did have an eye and ear for culture unlike Mao who was a total philistine.

If Stalin really hated artists, he would have killed all of them.

He appreciated them but kept a close eye.

He loved the first IVAN THE TERRIBLE by Eisenstein, but he sensed that the second one was a criticism of him, and Eisenstein came under great stress.

Vinteuil > , August 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm GMT

OK, well, Stalin loved the movies, and may have had an eye for effective cinema. But when it came to music he was, precisely, a total philistine. On this point, I again recommend Shostakovich's disputed *Testimony,* a work unique in its combination of hilarity and horror, both of which come to a head in his account of the competition to write a new national anthem to replace the internationale – pp. 256-64. A must read.

DB Cooper > , August 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT

@Thomm Can you explain why if South Asians has such high economic productivity India is such a sh*thole?

Stebbing Heuer > , Website August 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm GMT

@Rdm That's the second comment here picking on bald guys.

What do you have against the bald?

You do realise that it's not possible to control baldness? It's an outcome of genetics, yes?

You do also realise that there is zero correlation between baldness and the quality of one's character?

Are you really as stupid as you appear to be?

MarkinLA > , August 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT

Is this the Onion?

http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/usc-mascot-traveler-comes-under-fire-having-name-similar-robt-e-lees-horse

I wonder how a Bruin is going to be a symbol of racism?

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 3:04 am GMT

@DB Cooper For the same reason North Korea is poorer than South Korea, despite being the same people.
For the same reason the GDR was so much poorer than the FRG, despite the same people.

You probably never even thought about that.

A bad political system takes decades to recover from. Remember that the British also strip-mined India for 200 years..

Come on, these are novice questions

If you think the success of Asian-Americans in general (and Indian-Americans in particular) does not jive with your beliefs, then the burden of explaining what that is, is on you.

Indians happen to be the highest-income group in the US. Also very high are Filipinos and Taiwanese.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Most WNs are far, far below the intellectual level where they can grasp the complexities of issues like this.

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

BTW, the economic center of gravity of the world has always been near Asia, except for a 200-year period from 1820-2020.

That the West would cede to Asia is really just a reversion to the historical norm.

WNs are not smart enough to understand maps/charts like this one, but others will find this interesting.

Russ Nieli > , August 20, 2017 at 8:11 am GMT

Bob,

Racial preferences were ended at California public institutions -- including the elite public universities Berkley and UCLA -- by ballot initiative. No black violence ensued. There is little reason to think the black response would be different if the 8 Ivy League universities ended their policies of racial preferences. Blacks would adjust their expectations. Fear of black rioting and the desire to jumpstart the creation of a large and peaceful black middle class may have been important motives for the initial development of racial preference policies in the late 1960s; they are not major reasons for their retention and continued support from white administrators today. Other reasons and motives are operative (including what I call R-word dread).
PS: Cornel West has moved from Princeton to Harvard Divinity School.

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm GMT

"Nevertheless, when all added up, the costs would be far lowers than dealing with widespread 1960s style urban violence."

Except back in the '60′s; the White, Euro-derived people were unwilling to fight back. They felt guilty and half-blamed themselves. Not. Any. More! The costs -- social, mental, emotional, physical; pick your metric! -- have now exceeded the patience of WAY more Americans than the media is letting on.

Did you not see 20- and 30-THOUSAND, mostly White Euro-derived, Americans rallying to candidate -- and now President -- Trump's side? (No, the media carefully clipped the videos to hide those numbers, but there they (we!) were! We're done! We're fed up! "FEEDING" these destructive vermin to keep them from destroying our houses and families (and nation and country!) is no longer acceptable! You "don't let Gremlins eat after midnight"? Well, we did -- and now we're in a war against them.

You think this capitulating in education is preventing 'widespread 1960s-style urban violence? Have you not watched the news? We pretty much already are: ask NYC how many "sliced with a knife" attacks they have there! In JUST Jan. and Feb., there were well more than 500! (Seriously vicious attacks with knives and razor blades -- media mentioned it once for a few days, and then shut up.) Look at the fair in Indianapolis; count up rape statistics; investigate the "knock-out game" ("polar bear hunting" -- guess who's the polar bear?!). (Oh yeah, and: Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago; look at ANY black-filled ruin of a city ) If (when!) we finally have to (CHOOSE to) deal with this low-grade war -- WHO is better armed, better prepared, SMARTER, and fed up?

"This peace-keeping aspect of affirmative action understood, perhaps we ought to view those smart Asians unfairly rejected from Ivy League schools as sacrificial lambs."

Wait, wait -- these are White schools, built by White Americans FOR White Americans! "Oh, the poor Asians are not getting their 'fair share' cause the blacks are getting way more than their 'fair share'?! The Asians' 'fair share' is GO HOME!! The Asians don't have a 'fair share' in White AMERICAN universities; we LET them come here and study -- and that is a KINDNESS: they don't have a 'fair share' of OUR country! How about: stop giving preferences to every damned race and nationality other than the one that BUILT this country and these universities!

Check your premises!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Call them what they are: "paperwork Americans"! Having the paperwork does NOT make them Americans, and nothing ever will!

Imagine a virgin land with no inhabitants: if you took all the Chinese "Americans" or all the Pakistani "Americans" or Black "Americans" or Mexican "Americans" (funny, why did you leave those last two out?! Way more of them than the others ) and moved them there, would they -- COULD they ever -- create another America? No, they would create another China, or another Pakistan -- or their own version of the hellholes their forebears (or they themselves) came from. ONLY White, ONLY Euro-derived Americans could recreate an America.

And this goes, also, to answer the grumbling "Native" Americans who were also NOT native, yes? Siberia, Bering land bridge, ever heard of those? Do you not even know your own pre-history?! What "America" was here when it was a sparse population of warring tribes of variously related Indian groups? What did your forebears make of this continent?

Nothing. There would be no "America" where everyone wants to come and benefit by taking; because ONLY the White settlers (not immigrants: SETTLERS!) were able to create America! And as all you non-Americans (AND paperwork "Americans") continue to swamp and change America for your own benefit -- you will be losing the very thing you came here to take (unfair!) advantage of!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

@MEFOBILLS

At that point, new public money could be channeled into funding people to leave. Blacks that don't like it in the U.S. would be given X amount of dollars to settle in an African country of their choice.

Chip 'em and ship 'em! Microchip where they CAN'T 'dig it out' to prevent them from ever ever ever returning! And ship 'em out! I'd pay a LOT to have this done!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm GMT

@Mis(ter)Anthrope

Give the feral negroes what they have been asking for. Pull all law enforcement out of negro hellholes like Detroit and South Chicago and let nature take its course.

They (we!) tried that years ago. The BLACK COPS SUED because they were working in the shittiest places with the shittiest, most violent people -- and "the White cops had it easy."

NOT EVEN the blacks want to be with the blacks -- hence them chasing down every last White person, to inflict their Dis-Verse-City on us!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT

@The peril of appeasement

The larger the immigrant group, the longer it takes to assimilate them.

Alas, typical "paperwork American" lack of understanding! I wrote this to a (White) American who wants to keep importing everyone ("save the children!") -- and, she insisted, they "could" assimilate. However, here's what 'assimilate" means:

Suppose you and your family decided to move to, say, Cambodia. You go there intending to "get your part of the Cambodian dream," you go there to become Cambodian citizens, to assimilate and join them, not to invade and change them. You want to adopt their ways, to *assimilate.* Yes? This is how you describe legal immigrants to OUR country (The United States.)

How long would it take for you and your children to be (or even just feel) "assimilated"? How long would it take for you to see your descendants as "assimilated" -- AS Cambodians? Years? Decades? Generations? Would you be trying to fit in -- and "become" Cambodians; or would you be trying to not forget your heritage? ("Heritage"?! Like, Cinco de Mayo, which they don't even celebrate IN Mexico? Or Kwanza -- a CIA-invented completely fake holiday!)

More important: since it's their country -- how long until THEY see you as "Cambodians" and not foreigners. I know a man and family who have lived in Italy for over 20 years. To the Italians in the village where they live, they are still "stranieri": strangers. After this long, to the local Italians, they're not just "the Americans who moved here" -- they're " our Americans" -- but they are still seen as 100% not Italian, not local: not "assimilated"!

Would you and your children and grandchildren learn to speak, read, and write Cambodian -- and stop trying to use English for anything much in your new homeland? Would you join their clubs -- would you join their NATIONAL RELIGION!? Does "becoming Cambodian" -- does "assimilating" -- not actually include (trying to) become Cambodian (and, thus, ceasing to be American)? (If that were even possible; and it's not.) "Assimilation" is a stupid hope, not a possible reality.

That is where my friend balked. She said: she and her family are very Christian, and no way at all ever would they drop Christianity and pick up Cambodian Buddhism. So -- how can they EVER "assimilate" when they (quite rightly) REFUSE to assimilate?!

Please stop buying into the lies the destroyers of OUR nation keep selling. There is no such thing as "assimilation"; only economic parasitism, jihadi invasion, and benefiting from the systems set up by OUR forebears for THEIR posterity!

Avalanche > , August 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm GMT

@Priss Factor

Just because National Socialism had some leftist elements doesn't make it a 'leftist' ideology.

Yes. Yes it does. Go watch/listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roMLmYnjslc

The official topic being debated is: "Are National Socialists a legitimate element of the Alt-Right?"
Greg Johnson argues, Yes.
Vox Day argues, No.

rec1man > , August 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT

@DB Cooper Socialism and Affirmative Action

In my origin state of Tamil Nadu, the effective anti-brahmin quota is 100% ( de-jure is just 69% )

Sundar Pichai or Indira Nooyi or Vish Anand ( former Chess champ ) or Ramanujam ( late math whiz ), cant get a Tamil Nadu State Gov , Math school teacher job

Also, the US gets a biased selection of Indians in terms of caste, class and education

Of Tamil Speakers in USA, about 50% are Tamil Brahmins, vs just 2% in India

The bottom 40% in terms of IQ, such as Muslims, Untouchables and Forest Tribals, are no more than 10% in the US Indian diaspora

For comparison, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslim ), perform much much lower

Thomm > , August 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm GMT

@rec1man

For comparison, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslim ), perform much much lower

This is interesting, as it puts paid to the obsession that WN idiots have with 'whiteness'.

Pakistan is obviously much more Caucasoid than India and certainly Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan is whiter still. Many in Afghanistan would pass for bona-fide white in the US.

Yet Sri Lanka is richer than India, which is richer than Pakistan, which is richer than Afghanistan.

Either Islam is a negative factor that nullifies everything else including genetics, or something else is going on.

What there is no doubt of is that Asia has been the largest economic region of the world by far except for the brief 200-year deviation (1820-2020), as per that map I posted.

UtherWhys > , August 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm GMT

@Thomm Weissberg asks, "Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's left behind in the Hood?"

Why focus on the LEFT buttock? His point would be as relevant were he to ask, "Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro's RIGHT behind in the Hood?" Either way, I smell kinkyness deep within Weissberg's question.

Saintonge235 > , August 21, 2017 at 12:34 am GMT

Not protection money. Imperialism.

"Divide and Rule" said the Romans. Incorporate the potential leaders of those you intend to rule into your hereditary upper class, and the vast majority will stay inert at the least. And many will actively support you. See this post by a black woman: Black Americans: The Organized Left's Expendable Shock Troops .

People like Cornel West are not only NOT rabble-rousing in the 'hood, they're telling blacks to support the people who actively keep them poor. "Affirmative Action" is designed to sabotage its alleged goals. Almost all who 'benefit' from it end up among people whose performance is clearly superior to their own, thus fostering feelings of inferiority, subtly communicating that it doesn't matter what the 'beneficiary' of AA does, they'll always fail. This is no accident.

Without AA, there might still be separation, (consider "ultra-orthodox" Jews), but the separate groups would have to be treated with some respect. Really, viewed amorally, it's a marvelous system for oppressing whites and minorities.

rec1man > , August 21, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

@Thomm Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam

I have data from California National Merit list, IQ-140 bar

Among Indian Punjabis ;
Jat Sikh peasants = 3 winners ( 75% of Punjabis in USA )
Khatri merchants = 18 winners ( 25% of Punjabis in USA )

Both are extremely caucasoid, both appear heavily among Indian bollywood stars ; genetically very similar, just the evolutionary effect of caste selection for merchant niche vs peasant niche

MarkinLA > , August 21, 2017 at 1:06 am GMT

@Russ Nieli Racial preferences were ended at California public institutions -- including the elite public universities Berkley and UCLA -- by ballot initiative.

But the admissions people immediately started using other dodges like "holistic" admissions policies where they try and figure out if your are a minority from other inferences such as your essay where you indicate "how you have overcome". They also wanted to get rid of the SAT or institute a top X% at each school policy.

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 3:19 am GMT

@rec1man I don't know . a lot of the richest Indians in the US are Gujratis who own motels and gas stations. Patels and such..

They were not of some 'high caste' in India; far from it.

Plus, a Tamil who is of 'high caste' is not Caucasoid in the least. Caste does not seem to correlate to economic talent, since business people are the #3 caste out of 4. The richest people in India today are not 'Brahmins'..

Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam

I disagree. Pakistan is 99% Islam, so all castes converted to Islam and/or many of the lighter-skined Pakistanis are Persians and Turks who migrated there..

Afghanistan's religion prior to Islam was Buddhism, not Hinduism

rec1man > , August 21, 2017 at 8:39 am GMT

@Thomm I don't know.... a lot of the richest Indians in the US are Gujratis who own motels and gas stations. Patels and such..

They were not of some 'high caste' in India; far from it.

Plus, a Tamil who is of 'high caste' is not Caucasoid in the least. Caste does not seem to correlate to economic talent, since business people are the #3 caste out of 4. The richest people in India today are not 'Brahmins'..


Islam is a negative factor, and the higher IQ castes did not convert to Islam
I disagree. Pakistan is 99% Islam, so all castes converted to Islam and/or many of the lighter-skined Pakistanis are Persians and Turks who migrated there..

Afghanistan's religion prior to Islam was Buddhism, not Hinduism... Afghanistan was 33% Hindu, 66% buddhist before islam, but in actual practise lots of overlap between Hinduism and Buddhism, and many families had mixed Indic religions

Pakistan was 22% non-muslim in 1947, these 22% were higher caste Hindus and Sikhs – all got driven out in 1947 ; Pakistan is low IQ islamic sludge residue of Punjabi society

I am Tamil speaking, 80% of Tamil brahmins ( 2% ) can be visually distinguished from the 98% Tamil Dravidians ;

vs

Tamil dravidian

Fotosynthesis > , August 21, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

Thomm you take up too much oxygen in the room insisting on the importance your opinions, the whole conversation is much more interesting when i skip past your stupid WN focused city boy sheltered viewpoint. Big words and that retarded hehehe thing you do would get you wrastled to the ground and your face rubbed in the dirt

Truth > , August 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT

@Fotosynthesis hehehehe

Truth > , August 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@rec1man Does anyone want to fill in my comment here in "Miss" Lakshimi?

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@Fotosynthesis By you and what army?

Remember, WNs represent the absolute bottom of every desirable trait.

Heh heh heh heh

Bill the Kid > , August 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT

@jim jones They look the same because they are all clones of the same body.

Not Another Unz Commenter > , August 21, 2017 at 10:30 pm GMT

@Thomm Why would 'idiot WNs' be happy about the fact that blacks successfully chased asians out of the country, though? That would be a sign that they are gaining a scary degree of power, would it not? Moreover how are white males who want to escape SJW idiocy going to like a country that still actively enforces all sorts of thought control policies of its own? You wannabe libertardian analysts always say silly things like this and it just sounds dumber every time.

Thomm > , August 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT

@Not Another Unz Commenter

Why would 'idiot WNs' be happy about the fact that blacks successfully chased asians out of the country, though? That would be a sign that they are gaining a scary degree of power, would it not?

It would be, but WN retards don't think that far.

You wannabe libertardian analysts always say silly things like this and it just sounds dumber every time.

This is what WNs want, not want I want. It is easy to predict WN opinions.

Plus, being a libertarian is much more desirable than being a WN socialist. Talented people thrive in a libertarian society. WN losers just want to mooch off of successful whites.

JohnMc > , August 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

"Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner."

Really? All that does is give the man a bigger sanctioned soap box. In the ghetto he might affect a couple of hundred people. Siting in academia he gets a lever than can affect tens of thousands. Not a good trade.

S. B. Woo > , August 22, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT

Dear Mr. Weissberg.

Truth is often stranger than fictions. The real reason for discriminating against Asian Ams is not to help make the other minority happy. It is to benefit the whites. The Ivy League schools are using the diversity to give the white applicants an advantage of 140 pst in SAT points. Please see below:

In Table 3.5 on p 92 of Princeton Prof. Espenshade's famous book, "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal", the following shocking fact was revealed:

Table 3.5 (emphasis added)
Race Admission Preferences at Public & Private Institutions
Measured in ACT & SAT Points, Fall 1997
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-
Public Institutions Private Institutions
ACT-Point Equivalents SAT-Point Equivalents
Item (out of 36) (out of 1600)
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-
Race
(White) -- –
Black 3.8 310
Hispanics 0.3 130
Asian -3.4 -140

Why are 140 SAT pts. taken away from AsAm applicants? To give the white applicants an advantage of 140 SAT pts. over the historically disadvantaged AsAms by using the nobility of diversity as a cover? This is the reverse of affirmative action. This is a gross abuse of affirmation action. This is outrageous discrimination. If
the purpose is to give the blacks an advantages, why not add more SAT points to blacks and hispanics?

S.B. Woo

Incontrovertible > , August 23, 2017 at 4:30 am GMT

@Avalanche That's an interesting point you brought up, whether anyone can ever really be "assimilated". Even after hundreds of years, blacks and Jews in this country remain very distinct groups. I think for blacks the reason is skin color and culture, while for Jews it is the religion. Both groups have had low out marriage rate until maybe the last couple of decades.

Assimilation is most successful when there's a high intermarriage rate, but intermarriage rate and immigration rate tend to go in opposite directions. The higher the immigration rate, the lower the intermarriage rate.

Hispanics and Asians have been in this country since the 1800s yet you rarely ever meet a hispanic or Asian person who's been here for more than 3 or 4 generations. Why is that? I think it's because many of these earlier groups, due to their small number at the time relative to the population, had intermarried, blended in and disappeared. I would say these earlier immigrants have fully assimilated. The ones who are unassimilated are the new arrivals, those who arrived in large numbers since 2000.

But for some peculiar reason blacks who are mixed with whites often continue to identify as blacks. We see this in Obama, Halle Barry, Vanessa Williams and many other black/white mixes. Black identity is so strong even Indian-black mixed race people call themselves black, like Kamala Harris.

My theory is that most white-hispanic and white-asian marriages are white males with hispanic/asian females. In most cases the white males who married hispanic/asian women are conservatives who prefer women in cultures that are perceived to be more traditional compared to white females who are often selfish and want a divorce at the first sign of personal unhappiness. Many of them then raise their children in full white traditions including as Christians and encourage them to identify themselves as whites.

OTOH, many white-black mix marriages are white female with black male, in many instances these women marry black men because they are liberal nuts who want to raise black children. Jewish women for instance marry black men at a high rate. Many of these women then raise their children as black or biracial children and encourage their children to identify themselves as black.

Education used to be the biggest tool for assimilation, but these days thanks to libtards running amok, our schools are where racial identity is amplified rather than de-emphasized. Now all minority groups are encouraged to take pride in their own cultural identity and eschew mainstream (white) culture. Lured by affirmative action, more and more mixed race hispanic kids are beginning to identify themselves as latino. Thankfully mixed race Asian kids are running in the opposite direction and now mostly identify themselves as white so they are not disadvantaged by AA.

I think assimilation can occur when you have low immigration rate coupled with high intermarriage rate and a smart education system that discourages racial and individual identity and focuses on a single national identity. The biggest reason assimilation is failing now is a combination of high immigration rate, and a failed education system that promotes identity politics and victimhood narrative. The internet and easy air travels back to the homeland also make it much harder to assimilate newcomers. For these reasons I'm in favor of a moratorium on immigration for the next 20 years. All those not yet citizens should be encouraged to return to their home countries. No more green cards, work visas or even student visas should be issued.

Incontrovertible > , August 23, 2017 at 4:36 am GMT

@S. B. Woo That's the argument of mindless Asian SJWs who've been fed the libtard kool-aid. Just look at the numbers you yourself provided. Whites who were turned down still vastly outperformed blacks and hispanics who were given admission, to the tune of 340 points and 130 points respectively. Libtards who came up with AA want everyone to turn against whites, and mindless Asian SJWs like you are parroting them without thinking things through.

So much for "smart Asians".

Truth > , August 24, 2017 at 12:02 am GMT

@Incontrovertible

OTOH, many white-black mix marriages are white female with black male, in many instances these women marry black men because they are liberal nuts who want to raise black children. Jewish women for instance marry black men at a high rate. Many of these women then raise their children as black or biracial children and encourage their children to identify themselves as black.

Yeah, and the rest of them wanted the SCHLONG!

Truth > , August 24, 2017 at 12:03 am GMT

@Incontrovertible That's the argument of mindless Asian SJWs who've been fed the libtard kool-aid. Just look at the numbers you yourself provided. Whites who were turned down still vastly outperformed blacks and hispanics who were given admission, to the tune of 340 points and 130 points respectively. Libtards who came up with AA want everyone to turn against whites, and mindless Asian SJWs like you are parroting them without thinking things through.

So much for "smart Asians". But they still needed a lower score for admittance than Asians

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[Aug 18, 2017] The Corporate fascist - with grains of salt - USA. The democracy part is fiction, camouflaged via a fools theatre two-party system and ginormous social re-distribution, amongst others.. the Core (PTB) found itself through miscalculation and loss of power subject to a challenger who broke thru the organised/fake elections, to attempt some kind of readjustement - renewal - reset...

Ethnic nationalism rises when the state and the nation experience economic difficulties. Weimar republic is a classic example here.
Notable quotes:
"... That's exactly nationalism, for sure. The work of that wealth creation by the way is done by the all the classes below the rentier class, from working to middle class. The funneling upwards thing is actually theft. ..."
"... The middle class is shrinking and being pushed down closer to rage because the wealth-stealing mechanisms have become bigger and better, and saturated the entire national system, including its electoral politics. This real face of capitalism has driven out the iconic American Dream, which was the essence of upward mobility. ..."
"... Nationalism is an ugly word, but it's easily reached for when there aren't any better words around. In Russia, they already went through what faces the US, and they figured it out. ..."
"... "In our view, faster growth is necessary but not sufficient to restore higher intergenerational income mobility," they wrote. "Evidence suggests that, to increase income mobility, policymakers should focus on raising middle-class and lower-income household incomes." ..."
"... Advocating smoothed-out relations with Russia (for commercial perso reasons, Tillerson, etc. and a need to grade adversaries and accept some into the fold, like Russia, instead of Iran ), a more level playing field, multi-polar world, to actually become more dominant in trade (China etc.) and waste less treasure on supporting enemies, aka proxy stooges, to no purpose (e.g. Muslim brotherhood, Al Q kooks, ISIS) and possibly even Israel -- hmmm. ..."
"... The old guard will do much to get rid of the upstart and his backers (who they are exactly I'd quite like to know?) as all their positions and revenues are at risk ..."
"... The Trump crowd seems at the same time both vulnerable and determined and thus navigating ą vue as the F say, by sight and without a plan An underground internal war which is stalemated, leading to instrumentalising the ppl and creating chaos, scandals, etc. ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tay | Aug 18, 2017 6:56:05 AM | 82

The US has no problem generating wealth, and has no need to force conflict with China. The US's problem is that that wealth is funneled upwards. Wealth inequality is not a meme. "Shrinking middle class" is a euphemism for downward-mobility of the middle class, an historical incubator for Reaction. And that's what we have here, reactionaries from a middle class background who now are earning less than their parents at menial jobs, or who are unemployed, becoming goons; aping the klan, appropriating nazi icons, blaming the foreigner, the negro, the Jew, the Muslim, for their circumstances. A "trade war" will not help them one iota, it will make their lives worse, and Bannon will go out and say it's the fault of the foreigner and the immigrant, their numbers wool swell. More terror, depper culture wars. I suppose that's nationalism to some people.

Grieved | Aug 18, 2017 9:51:21 AM | 83

@82 Tay

That's exactly nationalism, for sure. The work of that wealth creation by the way is done by the all the classes below the rentier class, from working to middle class. The funneling upwards thing is actually theft.

The middle class is shrinking and being pushed down closer to rage because the wealth-stealing mechanisms have become bigger and better, and saturated the entire national system, including its electoral politics. This real face of capitalism has driven out the iconic American Dream, which was the essence of upward mobility.

Nationalism is an ugly word, but it's easily reached for when there aren't any better words around. In Russia, they already went through what faces the US, and they figured it out.

Since we're looking for the grown-ups, let's turn to Vladimir Putin, always reliable for sanity when direction is lost.

Putin recalled the words of outstanding Soviet Russian scholar Dmitry Likhachev that patriotism drastically differs from nationalism. "Nationalism is hatred of other peoples, while patriotism is love for your motherland," Putin cited his words.

-- Putin reminds that "patriotism drastically differs from nationalism"

somebody | Aug 18, 2017 11:00:25 AM | 86
83
Upward mobility has fallen sharply
"In our view, faster growth is necessary but not sufficient to restore higher intergenerational income mobility," they wrote. "Evidence suggests that, to increase income mobility, policymakers should focus on raising middle-class and lower-income household incomes."

Interventions worth considering include universal preschool and greater access to public universities, increasing the minimum wage, and offering vouchers to help families with kids move from poor neighborhoods into areas with better schools and more resources, they said.

Is there any political party or group in the US that suggests this?

Noirette | Aug 18, 2017 11:56:04 AM | 90
The Corporate "fascist" - with grains of salt - USA. The 'democracy' part is fiction, camouflaged via a fools theatre two-party system and ginormous social re-distribution, amongst others.. the Core (PTB) found itself through miscalculation and loss of power subject to a challenger who broke thru the \organised/ fake elections, to attempt some kind of re-adjustement - renewal - re-set - review...

Advocating smoothed-out relations with Russia (for commercial perso reasons, Tillerson, etc. and a need to grade adversaries and accept some into the fold, like Russia, instead of Iran ), a more level playing field, multi-polar world, to actually become more dominant in trade (China etc.) and waste less treasure on supporting enemies, aka proxy stooges, to no purpose (e.g. Muslim brotherhood, Al Q kooks, ISIS) and possibly even Israel -- hmmm.

Heh, the profits of domination are to be organised, extracted and distributed, differently. One Mafia-type tribe taking over from another! Ivanka will be The Sweet First Woman Prezzie! Style, Heart, Love, Looks! Go!

The old guard will do much to get rid of the upstart and his backers (who they are exactly I'd quite like to know?) as all their positions and revenues are at risk, so they are activating all - anything to attack. The Trump crowd seems at the same time both vulnerable and determined and thus navigating ą vue as the F say, by sight and without a plan An underground internal war which is stalemated, leading to instrumentalising the ppl and creating chaos, scandals, etc.

[Aug 10, 2017] Critical thinking either not taught or discouraged.

Notable quotes:
"... John Gatto has traced the roots of western education back to the Hindu schools in India; teaching docility and obedience. His book, The Underground History of American Education, is superb. ..."
Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bolt | Aug 5, 2017 1:40:54 AM | 50

Only two continents for this one; and yes, critical thinking either not taught or discouraged.

I have found Usaian's particularly lacking in this skill; especially the last 50+ years.

John Gatto has traced the roots of western education back to the Hindu schools in India; teaching docility and obedience. His book, The Underground History of American Education, is superb.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 5, 2017 4:28:14 AM | 53

[Jul 30, 2017] Lack of Hope in America The High Costs of Being Poor in a Rich Land by Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky

Notable quotes:
"... By Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... Despite the long-held belief that high levels of inequality in the US signal future opportunity, a number of studies suggest that this is no longer the reality. This column examines trends in inequality from the perspective of well-being and focuses on non-economic aspects of welfare, including hope. The results reveal stark differences across people, races, and places in the US. Poor minorities – and blacks in particular – are much more hopeful than poor whites, while urban places are more hopeful than are rural ones, as are places with higher levels of diversity. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Education, incentives, tools, new jobs. ..."
"... I'm close to disgusted by this analysis. It shows either a complete lack of insight into root causes, or a stubborn unwillingness to speak about them. No mention of globalisation, capitalism, financial crises, housing foreclosures, predatory corporations, or corruption of law and justice. Blather about different language used in the two Americas may score points at a sociolinguistics conference, but is otherwise unilluminating. All the framing in terms of people's "willingness to invest in the future" is bogus – it should be about "ability to create futures for themselves". Only the rich have the luxury of investing, for everyone else it's the struggle to stay afloat and perhaps improve their circumstances. ..."
"... Welcome to fear .It's hope, turned inside out ..."
Jul 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Originally published at VoxEU

Despite the long-held belief that high levels of inequality in the US signal future opportunity, a number of studies suggest that this is no longer the reality. This column examines trends in inequality from the perspective of well-being and focuses on non-economic aspects of welfare, including hope. The results reveal stark differences across people, races, and places in the US. Poor minorities – and blacks in particular – are much more hopeful than poor whites, while urban places are more hopeful than are rural ones, as are places with higher levels of diversity.

The US is as divided as it has ever been. The simplest marker – which has been a topic of discussion among economists for many years – is the stark increase in inequality of both income and opportunity. A number of studies provide compelling evidence that despite the long-held belief that high levels of inequality in the US signal future opportunity, that is no longer the reality. Chetty et. al. (2017) find that the percentage of children who are able to rise above the income levels of their parents has fallen from 90% for cohorts born in 1940 to 50% for those born in 1980. Yet technical discussions among economists based on metrics such as Gini coefficients do not seem to resonate in public debates.

Divisions in the US go well beyond the income arena, and in ways that are particularly worrisome. In a new book, I document trends in inequality from the perspective of well-being, starting with standard metrics but also exploring how these relate to non-economic aspects of welfare, such as happiness, stress, anger, and, most importantly, hope (Graham 2017).

Hope is an important channel driving people's willingness to invest in the future. My early research on well-being work highlights its particular importance for people with less means, for whom making such investments requires a greater sacrifice of current consumption than it does for the rich (Graham et al. 2004). In addition to widening gaps in opportunity, the prosperity gap in the US has led to rising inequality in beliefs, hopes, and aspirations, with those who are left behind economically the least hopeful and the least likely to invest in their futures.

A Tale of Two Americas

There are, indeed, two Americas. Those at the top of the income distribution (including the top of the middle class) increasingly lead separate lives, with barriers to reaching the upper class being very real, if not explicit (Reeves 2017). Those at the top have high levels of hope for the future and make investments in themselves and in their children's health, education, and knowledge more generally. Those at the bottom have much lower levels of hope and they tend to live day by day, consumed with daily struggles, high levels of stress, and poor health.

There are many markers of the differences across these two Americas, ranging from education levels and job quality to marriage and incarceration rates to life expectancy. Indeed, the starkest evidence of this lack of faith in the future is the marked increase in premature deaths – driven largely but not only by an increase in preventable deaths (such as via suicide and drug over-dose) among middle-aged uneducated whites, as described by Case and Deaton (2017).

There are even differences in the words that these two Americas use. Common words in wealthy America reflect investments in health, knowledge acquisition, and the future: iPads and Baby Bjorns, foam rollers and baby joggers, cameras, and exotic travel destinations such as Machu Picchu. The words that are common in poor America – such as hell, stress, diabetes, guns, video games, and fad diets – reflect short-time horizons, struggles, and lack of hope (Leonhardt 2015).

Based on detailed Gallup data, we find stark differences across people, races, and places in the US. Remarkably, poor minorities – and blacks in particular – are much more hopeful than poor whites. Poor blacks are three times as likely to be a point higher on the ten-point optimism scale than are poor whites, while Hispanics are about one and a half times more likely than poor whites. Poor blacks are also half as likely to experience stress – a significant marker of ill-being – on a daily basis as are poor whites, while poor Hispanics are about two-thirds as likely.

Figure 1 Odds of being on a higher level of optimism, by race group (relative to white), within each income group

Figure 2 Odds of experiencing stress, by race group (relative to white), within each income group

These differences across race have multiple explanations. One important one is that, despite substantial obstacles, minorities have been gradually narrowing the gaps with whites, at least in terms of education and life expectancy gaps. Minorities are also more likely to compare themselves with parents who were worse off than they are, while blue-collar whites are more likely to compare themselves with parents who were better off – a trend that has been increasing over the past decade, as found by Cherlin (2016). By 2016, 26% of non-Hispanic whites reported being worse off than their parents, compared to only 16% and 14% of blacks and Hispanics, respectively. Cherlin also finds that those individuals who report being worse off than their parents are less happy with their lives and less likely to trust others.

Psychological research points to higher levels of resilience among minorities compared to whites. Assari et al. (2016) find that blacks and Hispanics are much less likely to report depression and/or commit suicide in the face of negative shocks than are whites. Our research suggests that there may be an ageing effect. While younger blacks, particularly males, are more likely to be angry than their white counterparts (even though they are still more hopeful), older blacks are significantly less likely to be angry than whites.

More generally, urban places are more hopeful than are rural ones, as are places with higher levels of diversity. In recent research, Sergio Pinto and I find that the same places have healthier behaviours – such as more people who exercise and less who smoke (Graham and Pinto 2017). In contrast, we also find that the places with more respondents who lack hope for the future tend to have higher levels of premature mortality driven by 'deaths of despair', i.e. those driven by suicide and/or drug and alcohol addiction.

These differences are reflected across a range of inter-related trends, which again are more prevalent among uneducated whites. Reported pain, which is a gateway to both opioid addiction and suicide, is higher among whites than among blacks, and highest among rural whites. Reliance on disability insurance links to reported pain due to the injuries associated with many blue-collar jobs. Rates have increased in the past decades from just under 3% of the working age population to almost 5% for men. Premature mortality has increased dramatically for uneducated whites – particularly those in rural areas and small towns – compared to their black and Hispanic counterparts. A recent study finds that civic participation of all kinds is also much lower in rural areas, areas that also tend to have far less access to broadband internet (Kawashi-Ginsberg and Sullivan 2017). These rural–urban trends map remarkably closely, meanwhile, with political divisions, voting patterns, and even alternative sources of news in the US.

The figures below depict rough geographic regularities – via state averages – in the distribution of stress, reported pain, reliance on disability insurance, and premature mortality for poor white respondents (the cohort that is demonstrating the starkest signs of despair). Our econometric analysis discussed above identifies the specific role that lack of hope plays in this vicious circle.

What Can Be Done to Reduce Despair?

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for solving widespread desperation and its negative manifestations. It is even more difficult to conceive of solutions in a political cycle that hinges on daily crises and scandals. Not surprisingly, the proposals coming out of the current administration are simply to make across-the-board cuts in social programmes – far from the creative thinking required to make these programmes part of the solution. In the short run, solutions will likely be piecemeal and bottom-up, emanating from communities themselves with support from local level political actors and organisations.

There are, of course, major policy changes that could help over the longer run. Firstly, while deaths of despair are exactly as described, the all too readily available supply of opioids and other addictive drugs is an issue that policy can productively address. Another key policy area, which I highlight in the book, is the need to re-think safety net policies in the US. Food stamps, for example, tend to stigmatise recipients, and the programmes that provide cash assistance for the non-working poor have been shrinking, particularly in Republican states. Given that 15% of prime-age males are out of the labour force – and this is projected to grow to 25% by mid-century – another approach is clearly necessary.

The technological displacement of low-skilled jobs is here to stay – and is an important issue for many countries, well beyond the US. Addressing this issue will require longer-term changes, such as education and incentives that provide the young in economic desserts the tools to move to where the new jobs are. Older displaced/out-of-the-labour-force workers pose more of a challenge. Well-being research offers some lessons, such as the benefits of volunteering, participating in community activities, and other ways of avoiding the isolation and despair that accompanies unemployment.

Finally, restoring hope is not impossible, and as a start entails reaching out to those in distress with positive strategies for the future. Experimental research, such as that by Hall and Shafir (2014) and Haushofer and Fehr (2014), shows that simple interventions that introduce a source of hope to the poor and vulnerable can alter behaviour and lead to better future outcomes. The alternative is for desperation to yield even more support for politicians fostering division, exclusion, and an impossible return to the past. The associated turmoil, as recent elections and events in both the US and the UK demonstrate, is counter-productive for all, and particularly so for the most vulnerable.

See original post for references

allan , July 29, 2017 at 2:52 am

The technological displacement of low-skilled jobs is here to stay – and is an important issue for many countries, well beyond the US. Addressing this issue will require longer-term changes, such as education and incentives that provide the young in economic desserts the tools to move to where the new jobs are.

Education, incentives, tools, new jobs.
That could be cut and pasted from a DNC press release. Coding camps for all!

It seems that even the Even the Liberal Brookings still doesn't get how bad things are,
or how much fundamental restructuring of the economy and society would be needed
to reverse things.

Livius Drusus , July 29, 2017 at 4:18 am

The answers are never things like reforming labor law to make it easier to unionize, renegotiating trade agreements to make them fairer to workers, fixing the trade deficit, true universal health care and perhaps the most obvious answer: have the government hire people directly!

No, it is always learn to code and move to New York or San Francisco. It is getting harder and harder to deny that Thomas Frank was right when he said that modern liberalism is now centered on upper middle-class professionals and their theory of technocratic meritocracy.
These people can't imagine any solutions that don't comport with their own experiences.

The credentialed professionals earned their wealth and status through schooling and moving to one of the large metro areas where professional jobs are plentiful. They assume that everyone must follow the same path that they did because they are convinced that they have merit and others do not. They can't imagine that in some cases staying in your dying town where you at least have family networks might be a more rational option than dropping everything for a chance to "make it" in an alien city with a high cost of living. Why do the "go where the jobs are" narratives always seem to ignore the fact that large cities are becoming so expensive that the lower-paid workers who service the "knowledge workers" at Google and Facebook can't even afford to live there anymore? I guess the reason is that it would reveal the social hourglass nature of the supposedly wonderful liberal big cities.

Also, I want to call attention to the obsessive focus on men not working. Dean Baker has critiqued this meme on his blog.

Americans don't need hope they need good policy. Too much contemporary political and economic analysis focuses on psychological factors. Yes, the misery and hopelessness that comes from unemployment and underemployment are real and likely fuel various social pathologies but there is nothing new or groundbreaking here.

We know from the Great Depression and the aftermath of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe that economic problems can cause social problems. The key is to find ways to fix these problems but unfortunately the only answers we seem to get are the same ones that we have been hearing for the last 30 years.

RepubAnon , July 29, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I'd suggest that real hope, as opposed to false hope, is the answer. Real hope would result from good policies, false hope is engendered by suggesting that people do things such as learning to code (unless they have an aptitude for it). Even then, telling people that uprooting oneself and moving to a strange city to learn a new skill is hardly a realistic solution. One would need to rebuild one's life (and that of one's family), and still may not find a job at the end of that effort. These types of solutions increase despair, they don't kindle hope.

What really need to happen is a big infrastructure project aimed at getting high-speed Internet connections and decent roads to the rural areas. These would make it possible for businesses to relocate satellite offices to low-cost areas, bringing jobs. People could then either train for those jobs, or get jobs in support sectors such as supermarkets, consumer stores, etc. This would offer a realistic possibility of better times, which would help people regain real hope.

tegnost , July 29, 2017 at 10:50 am

I'm going to have to pile on here as well, flagging volunteerism as an elite perspective that works (possibly) only when all your needs are met and you need something to get you out of the house to connect with people, while telling a poor person they should work for free might not answer any need they have and indeed likely make them feel taken advantage of. Along the same lines a poor artist friend has fielded the suggestion that she donate her artwork to charity for exposure, as the spouse of a wealthy so californian has done, then her work can be sold to support the charity instead of herself, but exposure! (We'll leave aside that the techies just want to take a picture with their iphone 7 and they'll print it out for free)

jrs , July 29, 2017 at 11:55 am

while being around people is often good advice, being around people does not fix the despair of unemployment (really a separate issue than poverty – as one can be poor and employed, unemployed and not poor although that situation clearly can not last).

The despair of unemployment is fear of NOT HAVING AN INCOME period (the present reality and the fear that one won't get a job in the future either), and being around others does not fix that, whether or not one is around fellow unemployed people or people with jobs. Because you can get company from others but no relief from the raw fear about whether one will have an income to pay bills or not, because others can not help one with this. They can merely provide company and emotional support, but that doesn't pay the bills.

Sure if for the older people social security age was lowered so they could now collect a check and then one told them to volunteer with thier free time, maybe they'd be good, but only if that need for an income is met first.

John Wright , July 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Volunteerism also has the stigma that a volunteer is of a lower class because they are working for free.

I remember my late mother who was volunteering in her 80's at a charity. This charity also had paid employees. She had volunteered for a few months when one of the paid staffers asked her to get coffee for the staffer.

My mother got the coffee for her. Then my mother quit.. She said the the paid workers did not respect the volunteers' time because the volunteers were willing to work for free..

flora , July 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm

+1.

flora , July 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

adding: I know of a local worthy charity that got ripped off for 10's of thousands of dollars by a paid worker. No one checked the books because, of course, the paid worker must have been reliable and serious and trust worthy. They were being paid! after all. The IRS showing up on the doorstep because of failure to report and pay taxes finally got the attention of the self-regarding and swanning board that all was not well. Several unpaid volunteers had tried to get the board's attention for a couple of years, to no avail.

flora , July 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm

adding: (why does this remind me of the CalPERS board?)

Arizona Slim , July 29, 2017 at 6:37 pm

On Facebook, there is a group for people like your artist friend. It's called Stop Working for Free and it's growing by leaps and bounds.

Tomonthebeach , July 29, 2017 at 3:30 am

Alas, Washington keeps its head in the sand by relying on unrealistic measures of the cost of living. They do a poor job of correcting for regional differences. As an example, as Dean Baker and others have pointed out, rents for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco exceed mortgage payments on a mansion in Omaha.

As long as Capitol Hill is content to go with the flow, the flow will continue downhill.

MoiAussie , July 29, 2017 at 4:14 am

I'm close to disgusted by this analysis. It shows either a complete lack of insight into root causes, or a stubborn unwillingness to speak about them. No mention of globalisation, capitalism, financial crises, housing foreclosures, predatory corporations, or corruption of law and justice. Blather about different language used in the two Americas may score points at a sociolinguistics conference, but is otherwise unilluminating. All the framing in terms of people's "willingness to invest in the future" is bogus – it should be about "ability to create futures for themselves". Only the rich have the luxury of investing, for everyone else it's the struggle to stay afloat and perhaps improve their circumstances.

It's big on "something needs to change" and "another approach is needed", but offers no new ideas. It seems entirely focused on mitigating the symptoms, such as despair and suicide, rather than identifying and addressing the causes. And it doesn't once question the idea that America is a rich land, as the title would have it, as opposed to a land where the many are ruthlessly and increasingly exploited by the few, a land where public assets are falling apart or being stolen for a song (post offices, anyone?). And the author seems surprised that communities that have long been oppressed and deprived are more resilient than those that have had recent opportunities to forget the lessons of the struggle to survive and prosper.

In the end it reads as just another tacky book promotion exercise with nothing more to offer.

Terry Flynn , July 29, 2017 at 4:45 am

Agreed. Former colleague get all enthused about interventions that are supposed to help the poor to refocus on long-term outcomes (so as to reduce smoking/opioid use/whatever) / invest in the future, blah blah blah. As you say, the despair/lack of hope people have has to be addressed by concrete changes to the system that gives them either a secure job they value, (as well as both decent monetary compensation and other non-monetary support – carers immediately come to mind) or engages them in an activity that gives value to their lives, and ideally society too, if they're too ill to go back into full-time employment. "Concerns about the future" constitute around 20% of quality of life directly (and indirectly have huge effects in terms of magnifying the malign effects of financial/monetary shocks to a person's life).

" Welcome to fear .It's hope, turned inside out ." – Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Harry , July 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

Ah yes. They're poor because they are stupid. I am always surprised we don't explain the rich as "they're rich because they are ruthless and unprincipled".

MoiAussie , July 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

Blunt people do say that, and so should all. Balzac said much the same 200 years ago, and christ said something to that effect about 2000 years ago.
To be fair, "they're rich because they are ruthless and unprincipled, or were born rich, or both".

jrs , July 29, 2017 at 12:05 pm

+1

bvian , July 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm

The system has always been rigged, maybe it's worse now than 50 years ago, maybe it's better than 100 years ago. Regardless, what changed is a business of talk radio, fox news and grievance politics that profits off of gloom and doom and specifically targets white people and rural folk. If you spend your days listening to people tell you how awful everything is, you are going to lose hope.

Anon , July 29, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Seems to me that people can recognize a hopeless economic situation (their own) without talk radio, Fox, or politics.

Jane , July 29, 2017 at 7:03 am

It isn't hope that is lacking; I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't hope for a better life. What has been lost is the belief that that hope will ever be realized. People no longer believe the life they would like is achievable. When there is nothing to look forward to, nothing to strive for, hope sinks and despair rises. That's why safety nets are so important, they prevent hope from being extinguished and remind people there is a way forward, a way up.

Ironically, the optimism shown by minorities may be an illusion; the result of closing the gap with a sinking white working class rather than of a real rise in their economic
state. The life they hope to achieve by catching up with the white working class is no longer the life they were told they would find.

Clive , July 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

It (the loss of hope) gets to a lot of us -- in different ways. I'm loathed to agree with Yves' assessment that the loss of hope is a -- what's the right word? -- necessity?

But I think Yves is right. Misplaced hope is a seductive toxin. It keeps one from making a realistic assessment of a situation and the most likely range of outcomes when analysed objectively. If you keep, irrationally, hoping for the best, you may well preclude yourself from taking more drastic but necessary steps.

The main way the lack of hope has affected me is that I cannot now happily read anything in modern literary fiction. Once I started noticing a phenomena -- which is a variation on TV houses having unreasonably large rooms or characters having a standard of living not commensurate with their jobs -- whereby the narrative of a novel is established usually in the first chapter or so, but the author has to conjure up some outrageously contrived explanation and scenarios as to how the central characters have the time and resources to participate in whatever story arc they are about to be launched upon.

Is the novel some sort of adventure? The lead characters have to be given a get-out for why they aren't tied to a job which occupies every waking hour either by working long hours or commuting (or both). Is it an urban fantasy genre? Where do the participants get their money from? If they work, what do they do which gives them the energy to pursue the plot line?

If you try to read modern fiction, watch for the sudden, hamfisted, attempts to finesse these issues. I've got cynical and jaundiced at the endless parade of antiques shop owners who can conveniently close up early when a story development needs to take place. The freelance detectives/office workers/journalists who can find themselves mysteriously between assignments but not need to look for work. The poor but honest Peggy Sues who inherit a bit of money from the convenient death of a relative.

Whenever I try to start a new modern fiction book, I brace myself for the inevitable credulity-stretching few paragraphs which have to get clumsily spliced in to achieve an explanatory fudge. I've given up hope (!) of finding one that doesn't have me throwing it in the trash.

Chauncey Gardiner , July 29, 2017 at 11:29 am

Clive,
A little off-topic, but you might try a collection of short stories by Rick Bass. Just a suggestion.

Clive , July 29, 2017 at 11:37 am

Thanks Chauncey -- I've wasted so much time (and money!) trying to find something decent to read. The TV is now so annoying, to the point of unwatchability, I've given up apart from a couple of shows. BBC Radio 4 is down to a similarly small handful of programming that I actually enjoy. And I love to read, I don't like not having a book on the go, but do prefer modern rather than classical literature when it comes to fiction. So anything by way of recommendations from the likeminded folk in the cheap seats down here is like manna from heaven.

Yves Smith Post author , July 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm

If you haven't read it already, the better (not influences by Tolkein and post the 1950s-1960s SF) that is not obsessed with science and gadgetry might appeal to you. They use other worlds as frameworks to put humans or human-like creatures in social situations different than ours and play out the behaviors.

Many readers have said they regard Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed as one of the ten most important books every written about politics. Her The Left Hand of Darkness is also a classic. The space opera A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge is a great book. Readers probably have suggestions outside warhorses like these.

Synoia , July 29, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Yes, the characters on Tolkien have the flexibility to wander off without notice, and seem to only eat once every few chapters.

I'd recommend Cyril Kornbluth's The Syndic as a good description of our current utopia. Prescient almost.

I do not read Science Fiction any more. I do not have the correct optimistic view of the future I once had.

I share Clive's irritation? dislike? of the contrived scenarios which do not account for having to work (including the commute) 11 to 15 hours a day.

I'd point out that fiction in the past generally revolved around the class formerly known as "The Idle Rich."

I suggest for fun read "Diary of a Country Parson" by Woodforde. Pay particular attention to his description of meals.

jsn , July 29, 2017 at 11:51 am

I think it was Shaw who said, "cynicism is a word frequently used to describe accurate perception by people who don't have it."

Dandelion , July 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

Very few American writers deal with class reality. I recommend "American Rust," by Philip Meyer, "The Beans of Egypt, Maine," by Carolyn Chute, and, for the office workers, "And Then We Came To The End," by Joshua Ferris.

jrs , July 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

i can just imagine reading these and wanting to kill myself though entertainment that provides no escape from reality – ouch.

jrs , July 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

is it a love affair? where are the fights about money if sharing finances, and even worries about money that cause pain to the relationship even if not?

Rosairo , July 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Clive,
I don't know if you have already heard of it but look into The Stockdale Paradox if not.

Heraclitus , July 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

It's ironic that discrimination against both blacks and poor whites was much more overt back in the day. In our Southern cotton mill towns, 'lint head' was a worse deprecation than the n-word (which is not to say that blacks were not at the bottom of the totem pole). Nevertheless, people who grew up working in the cotton mills did, in many cases, move to better lives. They often owned their own homes, and the paternalistic mill owners actually provided recreation facilities, scholarships, and supplemented the pay of local teachers. One woman, who, like many of the workers, came from the mountains to the foothills to work in the mill, said: 'I never saw running water or a toilet until I started working in the mill.'

Blurtman , July 29, 2017 at 9:05 am

These types of studies suffer from a certain amount of GIGO. To base the definition of a group upon European colonization is absurd. There are "Hispanics" of all races. Vanna White is Hispanic. In this day of ancestry.com genomic analysis, a credible study should include at least three determinants of race/ethnicity: self-identification, third-party identification and genomic analysis.

ambrit , July 29, 2017 at 10:54 am

Race and ethnicity are good for only so far in modern sociological analyses. Call me what you will but I see "class" as independent of either. Any version of "True Believer" Meritocracy would see this clearly and act accordingly. Of course, there is no such thing as a "true" version of anything. The Meritocracy we suffer under today is just another 'mongrelized' shibboleth.
"Self identification" should also be broken down into "aspirational" self identification and "cold hard desperational" self realization. The "meet me in St Louis" personal future vision serves the same purpose as "Bread and Circuses" did for the Roman Empires' elites. Well, now, the "Bread" part of that scheme is being short-sightedly whittled away by the Powers. No grand conspiracy is needed to do any of this. Plain old greed and incompetence are all that is required for an adequate explanation.

tony , July 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

'Asian' is even worse. Pakistanis, Japanese and Indonesians have almost nothing in common apart from arbitrary definition of what is a continent.

That being said, neuroticism varies between groups, and it is also a pretty stable variable across a human life. Optimistic people are optimistic in even in adverse circumstances.

Enquiring Mind , July 29, 2017 at 11:44 am

Your mention of Vanna White made me think about when we will all have to buy a vowel instead of using it for free, soon followed by all those consonants. No doubt, there is someone, somewhere, working on monetization of language. Über could even charge extra for the umlaut. /s

WobblyTelomeres , July 29, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Some how, some way, Larry Summers will be nosing about when it happens.

GlassHammer , July 29, 2017 at 10:39 am

"The technological displacement of low-skilled jobs is here to stay – and is an important issue for many countries, well beyond the US. Addressing this issue will require longer-term changes, such as education and incentives that provide the young in economic desserts the tools to move to where the new jobs are. "

Skill development (education) is not a problem/priority when capital has access to a global workforce and ever cheaper labor. You can keep your production process rudimentary and find a workforce willing to work for a pittance. If you happen to need a worker with skills/education you can select a qualified one from any nation on the planet.

Has it dawned on anyone that "access to the global-workforce" is one of the primary reasons that the U.S. has some of the worst schools in the world but has some of the best universities?

Anonim222 , July 29, 2017 at 11:54 am

Best universities. Even that is false now. Your average graduate has a similar level than a high-school student from Asia or Europe. I have taken engineering at university and some mates who when to the US to study as a part of exchange programs said that it was just a joke

It turns out that letting education become another profit center does not produce the best outcomes. But hey no wonder, the leitmotiv of predatory capitalism: the worst possible product at the highest possible price has also been applied to your universities.

Your elites have devastated your country, sold its industrial base, stolen its infraestructures and corroded everything. It's just a matter of time you lose what remains of your global leadership.

Ned , July 29, 2017 at 11:09 am

The "scenes can only be shot in a large rooms, or sets with no back walls creating false illusions of how wage earners live" comment is incredibly astute. Americans watch thousands of hours of TV and movies and subconsciously must compare their living situation to what's portrayed therein.

Besides all mentioned, I would like to add one more never mentioned item; as a former resident of San Francisco, the most phony and enraging thing is that people in movies and TV always get a parking place in front of their destination.

The reality is that drivers in urban areas waste ten, twenty or more minutes searching for legal parking after a long tiring day at work, are raped financially by parking meters, tickets and street sweeping zones.

Yes, I moved to the suburbs. The availability of unlimited safe parking was like regaining vision that I never knew I missed until I could see again.

SerenityNow , July 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Parking is not a right-it is street space usually owned (and often freely given) by a municipality. That municipalities wish to manage the use of their space property should surprise no one. No one has the "right" to drive a motor vehicle and be able to temporarily store it wherever they want at little or no cost! The real travesty is that we have spent decades creating a built environment where for many, cars are the ONLY way to get around.

It didn't have to be that way. If you lived in a place where you had to pay the actual cost of motor vehicle operation, but we're also able to easily live without one, you'd never worry about parking again.

Ned , July 29, 2017 at 5:40 pm

The Green Planner flashes his lantern of truth to light the way .
IF effective mass transit were available everywhere, your argument would hold more water. You work the only job you can find and transit is not an option. What are you supposed to do? Starve so that some Tesla or Range Rover driver can get the space that you so graciously left for them?

Let me carry–what I believe is your point of view!over to other things:
Housing and food is not a right either. If people had to pay the true cost of living in structures and raping the earth to eat, the more enlightened of them would realize that it would be better to commit suicide.

jrs , July 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm

the basic problem seems apartments etc. designed without parking spaces, but if they are very old buildings dating back to when the automobile was just coming out then that's the way it was (and of course some of san fran is quite old). Some mid century apartments also seem to have been stupidly designed this way for no particular reason it seems (just stupid).

Yes municipalities should go all in for public transit, and we as citizens should push them too. Build really really good public transit in all major cities (ok it's never going to be a panacea for rural people, but the big cities, it is possible). But individuals make the choices they do in the city spaces we actually have now.

SerenityNow , July 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Mass transit is not the only alternative to a car-centered built environment–I never called for mass transit anyway. I am instead suggesting we could have built our areas of habitation so that cars are not the most convenient (most heavily subsidized) travel mode. Driving is cheap and convenient because we've made a lot of decisions to keep it that way. And if you don't think it's cheap, you might be missing how expensive it is in other places.

You're right that we don't pay the true cost of a lot of things, and if we did, all aspects of modern life would be much more inconvenient. But the degree to which we subsidize a lifestyle based on automotive accessibility is especially noxious, and disproportionately affects the disenfranchised. Yes, there's not much we can do about it now. But people believing they have a right to store their large machines on public property (for free) for any length of time doesn't help.

Synoia , July 29, 2017 at 3:45 pm

To live in a City – lose the car. That's obvious to me.

rps , July 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

"He that lives upon Hope will die fasting." Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard's Almanac

Alejandro , July 29, 2017 at 11:19 am

The possibilities of what could be are crafted in the imagination, and the wretchedness of 'what-is' can be a powerful source of motivation. However, captured imaginations, the target of TINA, where this crafting is stifled and semiotics are displaced with a preference to conjure the mystical through religiose pious fiction, noble lies, magnificent myths etc., and more recently through pseudo-science with "magi-matical" preciseness, disguising class dogma behind an aura of {irrefutable} scientific 'credibility', has a long history hopium without wherewithal seems the road to frustration for the have-nots, yet the toll-gates always seem occupied by the haves.

Then there's gestation v. microwavable expectations , i.e., sowing and reaping v. reaping without sowing with amazon 2day delivery insidious unilateral power of dependency.

rps , July 29, 2017 at 11:24 am

"The rugged face of society, checkered with the extremes of affluence and want, proves that some extraordinary violence has been committed upon it, and calls on justice for redress. The great mass of the poor in all countries are become an hereditary race, and it is next to impossible for them to get out of that state of themselves. It ought also to be observed that this mass increases in all countries that are called civilized. More persons fall annually into it than get out of it." Thomas Paine. Agrarian Justice. 1795

edmondo , July 29, 2017 at 11:39 am

I know that this is an important paper because it has footnotes and if you want someone to take your seriously, you gotta have a lot of footnotes.

For a more mundane view of hope, poverty and despair, you may want to read this guy. Be forewarned, no footnotes.

https://www.thisappalachialife.com/single-post/2017/06/28/Poverty-Privilege-and-the-Dead-American-Dream

https://www.thisappalachialife.com/single-post/2017/05/16/Being-Poor-Aint-Cheap

WobblyTelomeres , July 29, 2017 at 11:56 am

Yves: I wonder about the emphasis on hope

Hope is cheap. Real solutions aren't.

ambrit: No grand conspiracy is needed to do any of this. Plain old greed and incompetence are all that is required for an adequate explanation.

There it is.

Bobby Gladd , July 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm

"Hope is dope, and dope is hope." – Vietnam war GI saying.

fco , July 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

Moving to the US from a "third world country" riddled with graft and corruption, it was amazing to see Americans complain so much when they had it so good. That was 45 years ago.

Now, it looks like the US is turning into the country I came from.

Back home ( and yes, it seems I still think of it as home, go figure) religion and its offer of salvation and hope, not to mention the acceptance of your lot in life, was the opiate of the poor. Here in the US, real opioids are readily accessible to those who have lost hope.

What's interesting is that now the jobs have moved over to my country of origin, the middle class has quite improved, whereas in the US, where people always seemed to have it easy, are now the ones that are in desperation.

Who or what to blame off the top of my head, Americans were prone to think they were the center of the world, that they were number one. We, too, in other countries were made to think that. Complacency kills. So does trust in elected officials who cater to multinational corporations and financial behemoths.

William Neil , July 29, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Here is a brief but powerful paper on the correlations between "Deaths of Despair" – the ills of rural Red State America – and voting support for Trump, by counties: http://aese.psu.edu/directory/smm67/Election16.pdf

The very strange thing about the American economy today is that a good portion of the top 20% of the income distribution live in the realm of the two "happy" indicators: the low unemployment rate and low inflation, which is not the reality that 60-70% of the nation is feeling, as expressed both in the Sanders campaign and the election of Trump.

In reality, the upper 20% of the nation are living in, still, the "roaring 1990's" of the Clinton Dreams, while many are experiencing 1929-1932 despair, even if the objective conditions are not as horrific.

If the nation could only cross the Rubicon of intervention into Neoliberal Labor Markets, via a WPA and CCC when the whole economy collapsed, it would help meet those needing work half-way but it won't/can't. The Neoliberal rigidity on what government can and can't do in labor markets is the obstacle, intellectual and practical. That helps explain why we can't get to FDR's Second Bill of Rights from 1944 and "the Right to a Job" or MMT's job guarantee program (as advocated by L. Randall Wray) despite so much of the nation's needed work not being addressed: social, structural and environmental.

These tensions have played out inside the Democratic Party. The Clinton's think tank, the Center for American Progress, has played two notes. In December of 2015 they put out a long policy paper touting Apprenticeship Programs to fill the business cry for the "jobs-skills gap," and it was followed by a number of shorter follow-up policy pieces pushing this direction. Then came the "Ideas" Conference of May 16th, 2017, where they proposed a Marshall Plan-WPA inspired targeted jobs guarantee program for a portion of those needed work, those without a college degree. It didn't take, as the conference speeches an panels on that day clearly showed, and this is how I interpret Senator Schumer's "Better Deal" Op-Ed in the New York Times on July 24th. Apprenticeship programs have won out, and industry is happy to have the public pick up as much of the cost as they can manage to shift.

I don't think this meets the need I see presented in today's posting by Carol Graham, or the one I linked to by Professor Shannon Monnat from Penn State. Hardly.

roxan , July 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm

I come from one of those desolate towns people talk about so much these days. My mother always said the steel mill was a good company because they didn't pay in scrip, and they built decent houses, paved streets, provided the utilities and so on. Eventually, they even built a community center and library. At Christmas, they put on a parade.

That is all gone. The steel mills and mine are not only closed, the mill has mostly been torn down. When I had to go back to care for my mother in 2004 I was shocked–downtown had always been crowded with traffic. Now, I could have slept in Main Street with no danger of being run over. All the stores were empty, or had turned into 'coffee shops' i.e. gambling dens. Even our dignified old bank building was now a coffee shop! At first I thought the coffee fad had reached us, and remarked on that to a neighbor I saw coming out of one. She laughed and said, "I work in there. We just pour whiskey, that's all. It's one-armed bandits, no fit place for women."

I could not buy the most basic things, such as getting a lock installed and a key made, glass for the windows, lumber, or even cement. The house was falling down but I couldn't buy what I needed. We lived in a nice suburban area, but most of the street was abandoned. Next door, I saw a guy who looked like Cletus (in the Simpsons) building an actual camp fire in the front yard! I was going to ask him to clean up the rat infested garbage pile in the driveway, but decided it was best to avoid him.

No one had work. One relative's teenage boy was loading trucks at night for sub-minimum wage and happy to have that. His mother, Linda, was subsisting on her mother's social security. The old lady had a stroke in middle-age, could not move and screamed constantly. She had to be lifted from bed to chair and diapered. Linda had done that since the 1980s, and now had heart trouble herself. She had no earning skills and was trying to hang onto the house. If she put her mother in a home, they would all have been out in the gutter.

Even as an RN, I could only find a few $10 hr jobs, not enough to live on considering the long commute. I had to go back to the East Coast, and send money home to hire aides. I met a lot of absolutely desperate people. One lady, who offered to help with Mom, was taking care of her uncle and father, who both had dementia. My mother was violent, listened to nothing and was difficult to manage. Aides quit as fast as I hired them but I was trying to hang onto our family home which would be lost if I put her in a nursing home.

I did not see anyone sitting around drunk or stoned, and never saw that when I grew up either. I think all those tales about violent, drunken hillbillies are just that–tall tales. Most of the young people I met were going into the service. I found them to be good steady people who did what I asked and felt bad I couldn't pay them more. They were having a very hard time, as there were no jobs one could drive to whatsoever. It is the same throughout the entire Ohio Valley. A wasteland.

The military seems to provide a decent solution but young people shouldn't have to risk dying in order to get an education. My suggestion would be something like the old CCC. Learning skills is not enough. People need to get away from the whole area and learn how to live in 'the world' as Appalachians refer to the larger society. I had more than one young person come up to me and exclaim, "I heard you was out in the WORLD. What's it like?"

Yves Smith Post author , July 29, 2017 at 1:35 pm

This is so sad and it must be terribly stressful for you too.

William Neil , July 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Roxan. I live in a county in Western Maryland which is formally part of the legal jurisdiction of the Appalachian Regional Commission, set up by Congress to bring the 13 state area up to "modern" standards of infrastructure, education and I suppose, "the way the rest of us live." I think the funding averages about $13 million per year per state, hardly making a dent; it does offer loans for creative types with business ideas, including some green ones. And I think the Trump Admin. zeroed out the funding, if not out right reached for the organization's abolition, in their current budget proposals.

But you are right, something much more powerful in terms of outreach and structure is necessary. A new CCC and WPA, yes, but much harder to achieve today, and the mission more complex than the originals, which served mainly all young unemployed men. Today it will be multi-racial, gendered and aged I don't know whether it is good to design it for the ARC needs to take the citizens out of the region

I think the structure and cultural imperatives of work, including the psychological benefits, are the way to go rather than the "guaranteed" annual income so fashionable among parts of the left, and even with some Libertarians like Charles Murray.

For most of the work designs I've been thinking of, additional training will be necessary, it's going to take more than a week of orientation, and flexibility will be crucial. I try to keep the idea alive, difficult for the reasons I put forth in first comment above, to be ready with at least some prototype, pioneer examples, to be ready for the next great economic crisis. But, of course, the crisis is already here in this region (and the urban ghettos for how long now half-a-century or more )

roxan , July 29, 2017 at 7:17 pm

People need self-respect, and that comes from feeling competent. If you feel you can't do anything worthwhile and never will, pretty soon you don't see any point in living.

Yes, a modern WPA or CCC of some sort, would certainly be different. I doubt there is any funding, too. Has anyone ever had the idea of holding town halls to find out what people in these areas think would work?

As for the Democrats, I remember when Kerry came to campaign in 2004. He went to the town across the river, and hardly got out of his stretch limo. I had planned to go see him, but they locked down both towns, and closed the bridge across the Ohio. I saw him on TV, making a speech to what appeared to be a cheering crowd. Later, I read in the paper they had paid a few old union guys to wave signs. He clearly had no interest in us. I was disgusted, remembering how JFK came to our town and and discovered–guess what? Appalachian poverty!

William Neil , July 29, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Yes roxan, I've been trying to get some momentum going for a CCC in our region because it has a strong environmental ethic, working very hard to successfully ban fracking. Trying for three years now.

I must have done a half-dozen postings at the Daily Kos on the topic, but there is just a blank when it comes to alternative thinking about the economy, except for the decentralizing, self-sufficiency, farm to table greens.

The opposition to Trump met to plan with a good turnout in Cumberland in early February, and there were three or four major directions apparent. But by early April, only the feminist caucus was still going, and they're decidedly not interested in the political economy.

Some of the small green businesses who supplied the leadership for the anti-fracking campaign have struck me as being threatened by a program that might pay $15.00 per hour plus benefits – which a CCC/WPA should do because they are competing for cheap labor as well, and find that threatening. They'll never say that openly, but the local organic farmers rely on a program called WWOOF, which is like a hostel arrangement without wages; the young nomads come and work on the organic farms, learn something, get room and board, but no wages. Here at http://wwoof.net/ Is this whole movement a serious hobby or a new economy in the making? It is troubled by all the ancient problems of small scale agriculture: turning a profit and paying wages without turning the workers into a scorned minority, like the migrants.

I think a green CCC with locally designed projects to help farmers with some of their other traditional problems – manure storage and management, fencing to keep livestock out of streams, and so forth, plus all sorts of needed restoration projects (wetlands, contiguous forests, pulling invasives, fencing large areas and culling deer to restore native vegetation ) which also should be designed for what they plant and where, multiple purposes, to combat global warming, could supply a lot of purpose to countless lives.

I'm continually amazed at the resistance; cultural, economic, ideologically, and sad to say, in too many cases, traditional business opposition to a "better deal" for labor, green causes or not. Plus the great American tradition of stigmatizing those who have served time or had addictions, who need the most help, and need purpose in their lives.

I don't know if we'll get there without a major collapse that forces the issue, forces eveyone to face the truth that the private sector can't meet our human needs as currently constituted.

My Congressman, John Delaney, got a written outline from me in a small meeting with him and just one staffer: he was stony faced about it and has never shown any interest. If you know about his plans for "infrastructure" – the terms on which he proposes to bring all that idle American "capital" home, you'll know why.

I've also done presentations in front of the city of Cumberland's Mayor and Council: it's a city in a county with 5,000 derelict structures: collapsing, abandoned, vacant. Lot's of work to handle them and turn some into affordable housing perfect match some sympathy at the council, but they also looked like I was proposing a mission to Neptune. Can't get more basic about the needs in this situation this is a problem in all the old de-industrialized cities, as well as throughout Red rural America as you so dramatically showed us.

Until I hear better proposals, I don't intend to stop pushing it. I also see this as a way to get some more "democracy" into economics, proposing, planning, refining the work that needs to be done another route that at times seems more logical, and ought to be easier, than democratizing the workplace at Target or Home Depot – or Walmart.

I'm sure that if that national, state and local conservation groups got behind this, they could come up with, easily, enough compelling projects to keep everyone at full employment for decades. I've proposed a few myself. Enough for now.

Clive , July 29, 2017 at 3:48 pm

If nothing else, your comment gives me hope that there's still such a thing as human decency -- which you exhibit.

My grandmother lived to be 101 years old and, unlike your mother, enjoyed good health or, perhaps better put not bad health considering her great age. She still lived in the town she was born in and was one of those sorts who never left where they grew up. But my father, even in the late 1970's, read the writing on the wall and moved us around (even becoming expats) before settling in the south / south east (of England).

It's a little shameful -- but honest -- to say that I loathed visits. I made excuses and did the minimum I could get away with. My Dad was the same. Although my grandmother enjoyed the last vestiges of the social safety net we still cling on to here (local county provided sheltered accommodation which had a warden and was fully accessible for someone who might not be that mobile, social workers visiting every couple of weeks, visiting nurses, a doctor who did house calls and care workers twice a day to help with personal care and nutrition) and we didn't need to concern ourselves with that side of her situation, when we visited, we felt like fish out of water.

The metropolitan sophistication and, yes, affluence, of London and the southeast made the grimness, poverty and ingrained loss of hope (there's that word again) depressing to be around. Our self awareness of our newfound snobby elitism made our discomfort even worse. It was no use, or at least not honest and too much cognitive dissonance, to try to pretend that we didn't find the small town mentality hard to take.

But then living with either no, or only poor quality jobs at minimum wage (the town is an subscale inland port, literally the last place you come to at the end of the freeway and after that it is more-or-less you fall into the North Sea) -- well, escaping is nigh on impossible with our dismally low social mobility. And the town can forget about government funded regeneration or benefitting from an industrial policy.

The short version was (both my dad and I tacitly and unspokenly concluded) that it was easier -- for us, being selfish -- to stay away. So I can fully understand the selflessness and sense of duty you've shown. It makes you a better person than I am.

Of course, none of us should have to make these unpalatable choices. There shouldn't be anywhere in our countries where we feel simultaneously alienat ed and alienat ing .

Sue , July 29, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Roxan,

I like how you write. This is a very despairing present and outlook

"Most of the young people I met were going into the service..The military seems to provide a decent solution but young people shouldn't have to risk dying in order to get an education"
A solution from no other choice. Some of the youngsters will understandably make a virtue out of necessity & claim patriotic duty as their calling. The avenues to patriotism & what patriotism is for every patriot are various. Patriotism is another big word.

Synoia , July 29, 2017 at 3:40 pm

The military seems to provide a decent solution but young people shouldn't have to risk dying in order to get an education

Join the Air Force. Only Officers get shot at.

Sue , July 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Good suggestion. How many positions are open in the joystick and gps drone division?

Eureka Springs , July 29, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Nor should people should have to murder to get an education.

makedoanmend , July 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Strumpet City (both a book and TV series) is a story about how the working class of Dublin, Ireland go on strike for better pay and working conditions. The strike is broken and the Irish story hero is last seen in a British military uniform sailing away from his home and wife to fight for a foreign government in some foreign land. (Although fictionalised, this story is a dramatisation of actual historical events.)

The story was set at the turn of new 20th century. I suppose not all that much has changed at the turn of the new 21st century.

The monied want more and then the poor by necessity set off to fight the impoverished of foreign lands in the name of

Sound of the Suburbs , July 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Where did it all go wrong?

The populists, Trump and Brexit are all symptoms of the same underlying problem.

Neo-liberalism was seen as a one size fits all model for the world.

When the neo-liberal model worked everyone was fairly happy with it before 2008.

Then it stopped working and no one seems to know how to get it working like it used to before.

The underlying economics, neoclassical economics, doesn't look at private debt in the economy and so no one was really aware the whole thing was running on easy credit.

The US economists that developed these ideas were missing certain critical information.

Monetary theory has been regressing for one hundred years:

"A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence" Richard A. Werner
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477

It has never been accurate in their life times and has only ever known by a few.

Milton Freidman started with "fractional reserve theory" and then moved to "financial intermediation theory". His early monetarism didn't work because the "fractional reserve theory" was flawed. "Financial intermediation theory" is even worse but its problems remained hidden until 2008.

The US history of capitalism missed problems in the Old World.

The US was a new country where lots of land remained unclaimed. In the Old World the landed Aristocracy were constantly pushing up wage costs with their rentier ways. The rents of the Aristocracy had to be paid by business in wages reducing their profits.

The Classical Economists of the 19th Century were only too aware of the two sides of capitalism, the productive side where wealth creation takes place and the parasitic side where wealth extraction takes place.

It all disappears in very early neoclassical economics.

The distinction between "earned" income (wealth creation) and "unearned" income (wealth extraction) disappears and the once separate areas of "capital" and "land" are conflated.

The problems with rentier activity in the economy are hidden in economics.

These things disappeared so long ago everyone forgot about them, but a free trade world required a low cost of living to pay internationally competitive wages.

The repeal of the Corn Laws to usher in the era of Laissez-Faire.

The landed aristocracy wanted high corn prices to get more land rent.

The businessmen wanted lower corn prices, to lower the cost of living, for lower, internationally competitive wages.

The conflict between rentier and business interests with free trade.

Cat Burglar , July 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm

I flag the idea "economic desserts [sic}" in the second to last paragraph. A region with no work, nowhere to buy or sell anything, and no assets of significant value? I wonder how you could map it, and how much of the area of the nation would fall into that category.

I've worked in one, a Central Oregon county that almost had to close its road department because of the lack of tax revenue. Tree cutting and mill work disappeared decades ago. Ranching is the core of the economy, but that is less labor-intensive than ever, and dealers of equipment and materials are all in other counties. Starting a family ranch is impossible if you're not already a multimillionaire. For many years the tiny Chevrolet dealer was the largest employer in the county.

Economic desert is an apt descriptor for places like that. The kids have been leaving for generations already -- the author of the article suggests education and training programs that will make it easier for them to leave. No other suggestion. No ideas for regional economic development, for example.

jerry , July 29, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Speaking of lack of hope, it occurs to me that the only way a Bernie/progressive agenda would possibly be adopted by the DNC is if the republicans were doing ok or good from a legislative and presidential standpoint, because then this puts the pressure on the Dems to put forth something that works and change their ways if they want to win back power.

However, since we are witnessing a truly impressive trainwreck and lack of competence on the part of the right, both within the house adopting legislation and within the presidency itself that is doing god knows what on any given day, all the Dems have to do is sit back and watch, and wait for their turn at the booth. As there are only two options in this wonderful system of ours, the American citizens have nowhere else to go come 2018 and 2020.. the slogan "at least we're not them" will be enough – with some "progressive" tidbits thrown in for good measure a la Schumers' latest proposal.

ckimball , July 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm

I had to make myself read this. My mind diverted to word hope and what makes it become an experience. Just to add a little to it.
I resented Obama for selling hope while he was doing it. It seemed a manufactured hope as opposed
to organic hope (such as hope arises in response to something that occurs that does not seem possible).I believe that for most black people the existence of Barack Obama's candidacy and then his victory generated a huge quota of hope. It was palpable to many of us and elicited some unsolicited hope in us too.
I believe this emotional state trumped and trumps the reasons listed in this article. The above was
transformative and perhaps many black people may feel more entitled to express their anger now.
Another example of hope arising from something that occurred that does not seem possible in the short term is same sex marriage. Both of these segments of our population have been injected with hope
unlike the "poor" category which have been inflicted both emotionally and physically with loss and
disillusionment. The erosion of the public domain is an attack on the ideals and property of the working people of this country.

Geophrian , July 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm

For what it's worth, here was my attempt at making a movie about the reality of life in America:

http://www.fraymovie.com

c_heale , July 29, 2017 at 7:59 pm

"Poor blacks are also half as likely to experience stress – a significant marker of ill-being – on a daily basis as are poor whites, while poor Hispanics are about two-thirds as likely."

I'm not sure this piece of research is correct. I haven't checked the reference, but I'm sure I read another piece of research a while back that said that suffering from racism causes a great deal of stress and psychological problems. The whole article appears to be a lot of waffle in my opinion. For example how can you possibly define hope. I once read that if you read a piece of research and you can't think of a way that an experiment can be done to show the results, then the research is invalid. I can't think of any experiment that can measure such an abstract concept as hope (the concept of hope is far more abstract than anger, for example).

DSP , July 29, 2017 at 9:50 pm

For some reason I can no longer reply to the relevant comment.This is an addition to "jane @ 7-03".
One of the most interesting things that has happened over my lifetime has been the almost complete disappearance of the past for the younger and the modern age.The element that I'm referring to is older proverbs and aphorisms,in this case "Hope makes a good breakfast but a poor supper".
I've also been told that each of the "Friends" would have to be earning $130,000 each to live their lifestyle and they wouldn't be loafing about on the sofa doing it.
Does anybody in America earn 130K rather than more or less?

[Jul 17, 2017] The dumbing down of America is going full steam

What is bunch of moron those modern educators are
Notable quotes:
"... Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics. ..."
"... Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students. ..."
"... One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software. ..."
"... Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

kirill , July 16, 2017 at 6:05 am

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-15/3-examples-show-how-common-core-destroying-math-education-america

The dumbing down of America is going full steam. This "Rube Goldberg math" is something else.

Patient Observer , July 16, 2017 at 7:08 am
Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics.

Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students.

One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software.

Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall.

Here is a tin-foil hat theory based on the linked article. If Bill Gates is promoting a method of education that stunts learning among the masses while sending his own kids to private school that does not use the same method, could this be a way help to create a society of dysfunctional masses ruled by a well-trained elites?

yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 8:11 am
When it comes to Math, I think the traditional textbook approach is the best. For History and the social sciences, though, I would recommend replacing big textbooks with individual monographs and other study materials focusing on specialized themes.

Reason being: For Math, there is a standard (finite) set of facts and techniques that need to be mastered at the school level; whereas there is no such thing as a "standard" or finite sets of historical facts.

marknesop , July 16, 2017 at 9:57 am
A commenter to the article suggested Microsoft was setting itself up to step seamlessly into public education when the IT bubble bursts.
yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 10:53 am
Somebody else suggested they are trying to prepare kids to become programmers of digital computers (like Bill Gates started out). But that doesn't make any sense either, because digital computers do not use this method to subtract. Instead, they use a method called "2's complement addition".

This YouTube video explains quite clearly how it is done in binary computer registers: https://youtu.be/vfY7bN_3VKw

Matt , July 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
Computers do use binary arithmetic, but for a human to do so, it involves converting from base 10 to base 2 and then subtracting. In order to convert from base 10 to base 2, you have to follow a step-by-step procedure which involves the remainder.

Compare converting from base 10 to 2:

https://mathbits.com/MathBits/CompSci/Introduction/frombase10.htm

to the image given in the ZH article of the new subtraction method being taught:

You can see there is some similarity in the thought process, "carrying" the remainder forward is the main lesson being taught.

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

marknesop says: July 16, 2017 at 9:55 am
That is just bizarre. One commenter suggested the methods might be geared toward more complex problems where numbers do not represent real things, but concepts; but I just can't see that, either. But then, I've never been good at math and was always afraid of it. Whatever the case, I would have dropped out of school in Grade Three if I'd had to learn this way. It makes math problems ten times more complicated than they need to be, and every time you introduce another step you introduce another possibility of making a mistake.
likbez says:
July 16, 2017 at 9:06 pm Very true ! I am pretty good in math but this is still too much artificially introduced complexity for me too. Still it would be a perfect way to work with roman numbers. And that's BTW why Arabic notation is so much superior.

What a bunch of morons !!!

[Jul 17, 2017] Hallucinating Banks Believe They Are Technology Start-Ups

Notable quotes:
"... And this begs an obvious question: if customers complain about how banks let them down, why are the banks not concentrating on what customers are telling them is wrong with the products and services the banks provide already – rather than spending time and money on creating new supposedly innovative ones? The answer is, of course, that it generates profits for the banks to do things which customers find annoying (high fees, obscure product features and even bank errors which cause the customer to lose and the bank to win). Or else it costs money, such as to train staff and then retain that knowledge in their workforces or to have sufficient numbers of staff available in the first place, to fix the problem. ..."
"... In a digital world filled with choice ..."
"... choice, empathy and ease of use designed into every interaction they have with the bank ..."
"... For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity. Banks are large bureaucracies with fiefdoms, turf wars, massive egos and driven by the need – in the cause of maximising shareholder value, the alter upon which many business have to sacrifice themselves – to implement the lowest cost solutions. ..."
"... It is not uncommon for the graduates and those recruited from the top performers in science and technology to join banks. They are lured by high pay and the promise of joining the Masters of the Universe. Sadly, they often find that the reality is form-filling, battles with nickel-and-diming accountants and internecine warfare. Boredom, for want of a better word, drives many of them to seek out vanity projects or resume-burnishing novelties such as fintech. ..."
"... There is no greater trojan horse to change an organization than design thinking,¯ said Stephen Gates, head of Citi Design. " Especially with something where there are lawyers, regulators Part of what we had to do was change thinking, not behavior. If it's new behavior on old thinking, we didn't really change anything.¯" ..."
"... lawyers, regulators "¯ ..."
"... Perhaps banking has killed off its most appealing aspects and left its minions filthy rich but with nothing stimulating to do. ..."
"... Automated decisioning has removed a lot of the skill and judgement for banks' credit officers. It has also removed a lot of credit officers! There's virtually no discretion available in retail credit policy and no-one empowered to override standard-model largely FICO derived lending decisions. As you say, a lot of local market knowledge helped banks and their lending teams make credit decisioning much more flexible in the past. ..."
"... It fascinates me how fascinated banks are with big data now. When banks were the first and ultimate big data company – just the data processors were people, not machines. Then they used the machines to streamline processes, seemingly w/o realisation that streamlining processes gets you commoditised (as its eminently copiable). So now banks are struggling to avoid a commoditization while working very very hard at it. ..."
"... I agree with Doctor Duck: the idea that because it's programmed, it's a better bureaucracy has really turned out to be a false promise. Just look at the financial crisis and reverse redlining (ie, predatory loans) was used as a financial weapon against minorities. ..."
"... Aside from racial injustices, it's pretty obvious that "the programming" is there to reify existing class divisions. There's no bureaucratic computer program that seeks to free people from the crushing bonds of class. Max Weber would have a field day. Bureaucratic technology ensures that there's no charisma appearing in the system. ..."
"... "On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset ..."
"... If you really want to get disgusted, look up "Learning Analytics". Venture capital is streaming into these startups that are aggressively data mining students. None of it ever passes through an ethics board and much of it violates FERPA, but the Department of Education seems to shrug their collective shoulders about it. Probably because many Dept of Ed personnel end up at those companies as advisors. ..."
"... And don't get me started on those tablets. Google hands out Chromebooks and swears up and down that they don't collect usage data. ..."
"... Well, see, arithmetic and maths and English and composition and Physics and Chemistry change so often that using paper textbooks would leave paper textbook students hopelessly behind students using tablets. OK, tablets cost on the order of 3 times what paper textbooks cost for the same usable time-span. But, hey! It's new! It's now! It's happening! (And also, too, rents.) /s ..."
"... One aspect you didn't cover, that I think may be more important than fighting off regulations (although that plays a role, I'm sure) is that I think execs are looking to get a piece of the silicon valley, techland infinite money-pile. They see Tesla worth more than Ford and they dream of where their stock price (and their stock options!) might go if they were thought of as tech companies instead of boring old banks. ..."
"... And part of it is fear. They are afraid of being the next Sears or local taxi company or whoever getting disrupted by the infinite silicon valley money-pile, either by the startups that can burn billions of dollars buying market share or by the big players who can leverage their entrenched monopoly positions in their core markets to spend billions trying to take over any market they feel like. ..."
"... The issue is that the banks have no incentive to address the 5 issues that you raised. They are a rent seeking cartel that does not care about the well being of the general populace at all. They certainly are not tech start-ups. I get the impression that most people think that tech startups are God, but in reality there are many bad start-ups too. ..."
"... Basically, their money is made screwing the general public over at this point. That's sad to say, but it is not far from the truth. What we need is a public bank and/or larger credit unions that can offer all the financial services of a big bank. ..."
Jul 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The first paragraph states what may be obvious to those outside the finance industry bubble. Namely that users of financial services mostly do not want or need so-called innovative financial products or any new ways of using finance in their lives. Rather, they want banks to provide simple, easy-to-understand basic financial products that work. According to the copious data available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which I've analysed, retail bank customers' top five sources of complaint are:

  1. Fees.
  2. Poor customer service.
  3. Unpaid checks or other bounced payments.
  4. "Gotcha's" hidden in product Terms and Conditions small print.
  5. Bank errors (which were either not corrected, took a lot of effort to get corrected or the corrections caused other knock-on issues).

I've worked in finance for nearly 30 years. The very first list I ever saw for complaints looked exactly the same as this.

And this begs an obvious question: if customers complain about how banks let them down, why are the banks not concentrating on what customers are telling them is wrong with the products and services the banks provide already – rather than spending time and money on creating new supposedly innovative ones? The answer is, of course, that it generates profits for the banks to do things which customers find annoying (high fees, obscure product features and even bank errors which cause the customer to lose and the bank to win). Or else it costs money, such as to train staff and then retain that knowledge in their workforces or to have sufficient numbers of staff available in the first place, to fix the problem.

Customers, even if we are supposed to be " In a digital world filled with choice " don't need " choice, empathy and ease of use designed into every interaction they have with the bank "¯. We want to not be ripped off and for the banks to act competently in our dealings with them.

It is too much of a stretch to expect that the banks, unprompted or without being cajoled by regulators, will address structural issues around their business culture, executive conduct and outlandish profitability ratio expectations. However, we should expect continued wailing and gnashing of teeth from the banks about "innovation"¯ and the need to be "competitive"¯ in "the marketplace"¯. The latter is a complete and immediately disprovable canard though, because the top 5 banks control nearly half of the market .

So why, then, do the banks keep going, broken-record like, with their claims about the need to innovate?

For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity. Banks are large bureaucracies with fiefdoms, turf wars, massive egos and driven by the need – in the cause of maximising shareholder value, the alter upon which many business have to sacrifice themselves – to implement the lowest cost solutions.

It is not uncommon for the graduates and those recruited from the top performers in science and technology to join banks. They are lured by high pay and the promise of joining the Masters of the Universe. Sadly, they often find that the reality is form-filling, battles with nickel-and-diming accountants and internecine warfare. Boredom, for want of a better word, drives many of them to seek out vanity projects or resume-burnishing novelties such as fintech.

Lining up alongside a desire to do anything to relieve the monotony push, bank C-level leaderships then adds a pull all of their own. A preoccupation with trying to escape regulatory and legal constraints. For evidence, let's return to the Tearsheet post:

There is no greater trojan horse to change an organization than design thinking,¯ said Stephen Gates, head of Citi Design. " Especially with something where there are lawyers, regulators Part of what we had to do was change thinking, not behavior. If it's new behavior on old thinking, we didn't really change anything.¯" ( emphasis mine)

Superficially, this doesn't sound especially problematic. It could even be construed as plodding old legacy businesses like banks trying to adapt themselves to the modern knowledge economy era. Such superficial analysis would be wrong. Firstly, repeating a cliché of innovation and relying on invisible hands that ceaselessly drive any and all businesses to discard everything they've done historically and start afresh is just that, clichéd.

The notion that everything a business has learned and any intellectual property it possesses has suddenly, somehow, been rendered obsolete by some vague notion of an immense technological development is repeated so often that it's become part of our prevailing culture. But aside from a very small number of breakout products, such as the personal computer, the internet and the smartphone, most products you buy or services you use are only ever incremental improvements on what has preceded them.

The same applies to banking. Without getting too bogged down in the technicalities, a bank's only functions are to intermediate maturities and interest rates on deposits taken and loans made, plus to offer some money transmission services. Within financial services, the only two true innovations in the past 50 years or more which stand up to a scrutinizing of that term are the ATM and the credit card. Changes to how customers are serviced such as the migration from the branch channel to the telephone or the internet have shifted the "where"¯ and the "how"¯ banks interact with their customers, but not the "what"¯ of those interactions.

The line I highlighted in the Tearsheet article gave the game away. The participants who's thinking purportedly needs to change are not the accountants picking through expense reports stripping out costs (which usually means reducing headcount). Nor is it the thinking of executives to reduce their outsized compensation packages. Nor is it in boards who will only look at changes through the lens of a 5-year business case which must pay back within the shortest of short-term timeframes and satisfy outlandish Return on Investment (ROI) targets. These ways of thinking have been with us for at least 20 years or more, but apparently aren't in any danger of approaching a sell-by date.

No, the thinking that needs to change is that of " lawyers, regulators "¯ who are being exhorted to change to embrace the latest design trends and technological innovations. But regulators and lawyers are not and cannot be creative types who spend their time considering new colors for logos and typefaces for websites. Their jobs are to enforce or provide advice and guidance on the laws governing a corporation's products and services or to interpret regulatory frameworks which have been enacted by regulators and lawmakers. Creativity, design thinking and behavior doesn't come into it. Just because a bank wants to label a change as being innovative doesn't -- or shouldn't -- lessen the obligations on a bank's legal team or the regulators to comply with laws or existing regulations.

Gutting regulatory compliance and trying to side-step legal obligations aren't "design thinking". They're the same connivances which would have killed the entire banking industry 10 years ago, had we not all been coerced into bailing it out.

You can't blame the banks for trying it on. They are what they are and will continue to be so until they are forced to change. You can, however, fairly and squarely blame regulators and lawmakers for not pouring a lot of cold water on this craving for technological fervour. Making the banks tackle their long-standing issues as evident in the CFPB's complaint data before they can try anything fancy like fintech would be a start.

Banking industry , Guest Post , Ridiculously obvious scams , Technology and innovation on July 12, 2017 by Clive . About Clive

Survivor of nearly 30 years in a TBTF bank. Also had the privilege of working in Japan, which was great, selling real estate, which was an experience bordering on the psychedelic.

timotheus , July 12, 2017 at 7:09 am

A question from a total outsider: if modern banking is tedious and frustrating, could this be related to the (often-mentioned here) move away from servicing credit needs to algorithm-driven mechanics? If I think of the banker who sat in a front window of his bank on the main square of my home town, he was surely engaged in figuring out who was mortgage-worthy, what businesses might be good bets for loans, etc. It might have had its routine aspects, but it was engaged, integrated into the town's life, and required complex skills including how to say no to the guy who would sit next to your family at church. Perhaps banking has killed off its most appealing aspects and left its minions filthy rich but with nothing stimulating to do.

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

Automated decisioning has removed a lot of the skill and judgement for banks' credit officers. It has also removed a lot of credit officers! There's virtually no discretion available in retail credit policy and no-one empowered to override standard-model largely FICO derived lending decisions. As you say, a lot of local market knowledge helped banks and their lending teams make credit decisioning much more flexible in the past.

I was though more referring here to the technology side of banks -- they are the antithesis of what many attracted to enter the sector think it will be like. There's so many internal bureaucracy hurdles, complexity constraints and cost-focussed management to work with, the people who unwisely buy into the hype the recruitment consultants proffer end up frustrated and disappointed. It is almost inevitable they go looking for glamour projects -- however unworkable they may be like a lot of fintech -- to try to latch onto.

Jim A , July 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

Of course the bad mortgages that were a big part of the RE bubble were approved by poorly thought out algorithms. As were the ratings on the bonds created from them. Algorithms are really only as good as the data that they are based on and the knowledge of the people who write them. And when it is profitable in the short term to ignore the long term, rest assured that somebody will figure out a way to make the algorithms do that.

EricT , July 12, 2017 at 9:19 am

Not algorithms, fraud. Mears, Countrywide and Goldman come to my mind.

Vatch , July 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

Who or what is Mears?

Tinky , July 12, 2017 at 10:20 am

Probably meant "MERS", aka "Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc."

Though "Mears" is an anagram of "reams", so

Vatch , July 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Oh, okay, that makes sense. Thank you.

MERS is the source of much trouble.

vlade , July 12, 2017 at 8:29 am

Amen.

That said, it's an interesting world out there, as banks do vary from country to country (having had experience in a number of them, on both sides of the fence).

Say in NZ, I had a bank manager, and he had some (reasonably) ability to vary the interest rate on my mortgage when I came asking. He could also offer special rates on deposits (over a certain amount).

In the UK, I also had a bank manager. Who wasn't even told by the bank's credit card department my CC application was rejected as I wasn't in the country for long enough, so he kep submitting it in the belief it got lost.. To modify an interest rate on anything was impossible. And, most recently it's even impossible to override the automated lending decision. Hurrah for automation!

It fascinates me how fascinated banks are with big data now. When banks were the first and ultimate big data company – just the data processors were people, not machines. Then they used the machines to streamline processes, seemingly w/o realisation that streamlining processes gets you commoditised (as its eminently copiable). So now banks are struggling to avoid a commoditization while working very very hard at it.

notabanker , July 12, 2017 at 8:50 am

Screams Utility, doesn't it?

programmer3 , July 12, 2017 at 8:43 am

On the flipside, removing personal discretion from credit judgement calls also makes the process more fair – less "redlining," and no denying credit based on personal prejudices (or approving loans for friends and family)

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 8:54 am

That's a valid point -- it was too easy for a friends-and-family bias and even bribery to creep in to human decisions before model-based credit decisions became the norm. The happy-medium was when predefined scoring criteria were used as the foundation for a loan but you could appeal to head/regional offices for an over-ride if you had good extenuating circumstances or other reliable evidence to back you up.

The latter option is now no longer available, for the most part.

Doctor Duck , July 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

Your nick is 'programmer' and you think an algorithm couldn't be written to include a few "red lines"? Hmmm

Harry , July 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Exactly what I was thinking

Thuto , July 12, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Exactly, see my comment below

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

I agree with Doctor Duck: the idea that because it's programmed, it's a better bureaucracy has really turned out to be a false promise. Just look at the financial crisis and reverse redlining (ie, predatory loans) was used as a financial weapon against minorities.

Aside from racial injustices, it's pretty obvious that "the programming" is there to reify existing class divisions. There's no bureaucratic computer program that seeks to free people from the crushing bonds of class. Max Weber would have a field day. Bureaucratic technology ensures that there's no charisma appearing in the system.

We've created machines in our image, with all our prejudices and all of our assumptions in place, preserved in silicon forever.

Sue , July 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm

cocomaan,
very good points!

Mel , July 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Process more objective. The red lines are the ones written into the algorithms. I recall a Ted Rall post about Dayton OH that described them demolishing empty historic buildings to get their occupancy rate up. Banks algos wouldn't grand mortgage funds in areas with high un-occupancy rates. This is death to Jane Jacobs' recommended city environment, where a range of available rents, low-to-high, nourished every kind of development. A new-scale developer, blogging as Granola Shotgun has a lot to say about this -- the linked posts and a lot before.

Scott F , July 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Actually, a recent study took a classic psychology evaluation used on humans to detect bias and modified them to apply to so-called Artificial Intelligence and found that the same biases pop-up. The authors conjectured that the training data – compiled by humans – introduced the humans' biases into the system.

https://www.princeton.edu/news/2017/04/18/biased-bots-artificial-intelligence-systems-echo-human-prejudices

David Barrera , July 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm

This reminds me of the statistical gender discrimination algorithms used in the past. Some subindustries considered cost efficient to screen out women for employment because of the probability of maternity leave-apparently there were other "average gender biased considerations too"-. This excluded first, women who did not want to have any kids, and secondly-and independently from that- diverse, able, capable and willing labor participants. Have you ever asked yourself why some jobs which would not require a college degree by any stretch of the imagination screen out electronically the non-college degree applicants? "On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset. This way the enterprise leaves out that which the average does not include and which in certain cases could bring terribly needed different approaches to a job .Yet, no one ever said enterprises were democratic, truly inclusive and open to certain changes.

In regards to the financial theme, programmer 3 commented "removing personal discretion approving loans from friends and family". Anyone who worked for a lending company in the past knows it was a matter of policy that no employee could make loans to relatives or friends.

Remember that personal discretion-as opposed to personal arbitrariness-acts within written and unwritten guidelines and rules too. Also, what your stand alone algorithmic dictatorship does to how delinquencies are currently managed by the mortgage industry it just simply has no name.

HotFlash , July 13, 2017 at 2:09 am

"On average", a college degree is an order acceptance and an endurance performance index within that order,thus, it is a cost efficient recruiting tool to exclude online non degree applicants from the very outset

.

These days, a college degree is also a prime indicator of life-controlling debt.

Thuto , July 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Not in South Africa, where race is big factor in determining the risk profile of the client. As you can probably guess, the machines have been programmed to grant punitive interest rates to black people

Mrs Smith , July 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

Someone just sent me this link, and it's a perfect example of the above.

Don't miss the "native negroni" complete with "chilled vibes" and "bonus badassness."

[A "nope" gif isn't nearly strong enough to constrain my gag reflex for this stuff.]

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/time-something-new-james-haycock?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BT57ItR8S3HRsqyVGECS1vw%3D%3D

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

That is the worst example of this kind of thing I've ever seen! And we've seen plenty here it deserves some kind of award, in the same vein as the anti-Academy Award "Golden Raspberries" does for motion pictures. It might, Clive says hoping, be some sort of parody. Unfortunately, I think it is for real.

Arizona Slim , July 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

And it's all too typical of the bovine manure that gets posted on LinkedIn Pulse. Consider the source.

Stephen Gardner , July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

But was the gin in the negroni curated by a hipster in tight pants and an ironic mustache? If not I just am not interested. LOL.

John Wright , July 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

To show my disconnect from the modern world, the linkedin article closes with "PI-shaped people"

I had to search for that, first suspecting it meant a person who levers their abilities by 3.14159xxxx

From what I found, there are T-shaped, PI-shaped and Comb-shaped people and the symbol's shape is a sort of expertise indicator.

A T-shaped person has one area of expertise under their generalist/broad knowledge top hat, a PI shaped person has TWO areas of expertise under their generalist/ broad knowledge top, while a comb-shaped person has MULTIPLE expertise areas under their generalist/broad knowledge top.

Do people make a living coming up with this stuff?

NotTimothyGeithner , July 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm

"Do people make a living coming up with this stuff?"

Delta shaped people do.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Is this satire? I know if I have to ask that I'm the negative negroni, but this can't be real.

Bill Smith , July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

From the list, the first one, fees, aren't going away given that the interest margins are so narrow.

I've seen a number of banks partner with one of the non bank fintech's (even pre IPO fintech's) to make the bank fintech savvy. To get their computer driven credit system? It will take a while to see how that works out.

notabanker , July 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

The agile design led stuff reminds me a lot of the TQM programs I went through in the 80's / 90's. Independent thinking within the group, commitment to the group to do the work, rolled out in large scale. We're even moving away from the cube farm to the factory floor, with foosball, xbox's and (sometimes free) coffee for all.

Likewise, the whole spinoff/startup thing was in vogue back in the early 90's when banks were faced with e-commerce, this is just the 2017 version.

Legacy is, and in some ways should be, their issue. Systems of record for fin transactions should have a long shelf life. With that comes people, process, costs and profits, all major drags on change. They won't be able to have it both ways.

fajensen , July 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

Me thinks that this kind of hype reaching banks and even politicians (the Danish government has created a "Disruption-council") is a sign that things are not going so well inside the engine room on the mother ship of the technopocalypse. Governments and Banks are kinda the very last people on earth to discover anything. At All. When they are suddenly "getting the vibe" whatever "the vibe" was about, is absolutely over :).

I think that Silicon Valley is leaking flim-flam merchants and "evangelists" because the money is getting thinner, the sell is becoming harder, easy consulting opportunities are diminishing and fewer are being procured by the real operators (Apple, Google, Facebook, CISCO .) to provide their stunning insights and bold visions for the future. The accountants are ascending, ROI is being scrutinised, exponential growth is levelling off so now there is time to do that.

The visionaries and evangelists still like to be paid (and the travel), so instead of canvassing Silicon Valley harder with work better suited to the actual future, they spread out and seek new markets for the same old stuff, kinda like what happened when Monsanto poured PCB into everything plasticky when the market for oil-filled capacitors was tapped out.

I'd say, in only one-two years, there will be good "SPLAT!" in the .unicorn market.

HotFlash , July 13, 2017 at 2:17 am

Thanks, fajensen, I think you are quite right. Totally looking forward to the Big Splat!

SoCal Rhino , July 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

Keeping score from recent battles among local demi deities, currently turf beats innovation, and in a stunning reversal that may not last, cost cutting prevailed over turf. These battlefields rather than the PowerPoint campaigns being where I observe corporate culture.

vlade , July 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

I'd add one innovation to the list though – smart sweep systems. That is, something that optimises the costs of an account/accounts for a client. That could be just sweeps between saving/checking accounts (not talking US here), to queuing transactions as to minimize costs etc.

But the banks that implemented this found very quickly that it led to a significant drop in client profitability (namely overdraft fees collapsed, interest paid went up), so quietly canned it.

But the story doesnt' end there – the smart ones figured out that optimization doesn't care whether you do max or min, so used the technology to optimise the profit from the client – hence things like applying debits before credits (to take you into overdraft) etc. Forunately, this "innovation" went out too, but it took regulators to get it done.

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

Yes indeedey. My TBTF stopped allowing new sweeps / pooling arrangements which was a great service for customers who wanted to keep money on deposit or even in a market-linked account but didn't want to have to worry about constantly keeping an eye on what was in their current (checking) account to make sure they weren't going to go overdrawn.

Simple to understand, easy to set up for both customers and the bank, worked flawlessly because it was just a nightly batch job with easy-peasy logic -- what was there not to like? Erm unfortunately for the customers, the hit on bank profitability.

flora , July 12, 2017 at 9:19 am

Gaaa. Let me fix a bit of the Tearsheet intro:
"In a digital world filled with choice, banks' customers need choice, empathy and ease of use need sound information, good customer service and accurate accounting designed into every interaction they have with the bank."

I use my bank as a utility, not as an exciting "experience."

Great post.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

Hey Clive, loved this piece. This really caught my attention:

For one thing, which may not be obvious to those outside the industry, working in finance is usually incredibly boring, frustrating, tedious and slow. While the outsized pay can and does attract intelligent and talented people, some of whom are quite creative, it is just about the worst place for those sorts of people to work. Systems and operations are convoluted and difficult to change because of their complexity.

I've worked in higher education and you see the same thing going on right now. Education, to me, is a social process of imparting knowledge. Simple solutions to perennial problems in education are: (1)Smaller class sizes (2) Better pay/benefits for teachers (3) Support systems for parents to help them help their children do well.

But what happens in education? Well the same thing you mention above: technology is thrown at these kids a mile a minute. Suddenly, the solution to problems in the classroom is monitoring grades through centralized systems with their databanks on the cloud, where student's every move is considered and they are flagged technologically for not living up to expectations. There's a huge complex of technological charlatan/consultants infesting higher and primary education at the moment.

Before long, the "boring" solutions are impossible. Why? As you say above, the technology becomes ensnared in itself, taking on its own inertia. Before you know it, you can't afford to change anything for the better because you have several legacy systems running simultaneously and weighing down budgets.

Clive , July 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

It takes a lot to shock me, nowadays, but I was genuinely taken aback when an educator friend of mine (in our equivalent of K-12) told me she'd been given a tablet with -- from what I could tell, I didn't see it in action -- proprietary software used by the chain academy (charter school as it would be called in the US) where she works which prompted her during lessons to capture certain metrics (numbers of students voluntarily putting their hands up when asked certain previously defined questions in class, time spent on a particular PowerPoint slide -- a PowerPoint slide I thought for cryin' out loud -- which had been similarly predefined and "tagged for follow up" versus the estimated "best practice" time slot for this classroom content, a teacher-subjective "score" for student "engagement" and similar).

As a bit of a data nerd, I was appalled not just by the intrusion into territory where, surely, experienced educators knew best what to do, how to pace lessons, how to make best use of classroom time and so on but -- more importantly -- by the risible quality of the data being gathered. It was what I call pseudo facts, things which sound like they might be telling you something worth knowing but don't actually prove anything.

It all reminded me of those animal behaviour studies, the ones which come to conclusions like "when a cat comes towards you and it has its tail upright, it is engaged with you and wants you to interact with it". Sufficed to say when I tried out the theories on my mother-in-law's cat, I got a scratched top of my hand for my trouble.

cocomaan , July 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Love the cat analogy. Glad, or rather not glad, to know that it's reached across the pond.

If you really want to get disgusted, look up "Learning Analytics". Venture capital is streaming into these startups that are aggressively data mining students. None of it ever passes through an ethics board and much of it violates FERPA, but the Department of Education seems to shrug their collective shoulders about it. Probably because many Dept of Ed personnel end up at those companies as advisors.

And don't get me started on those tablets. Google hands out Chromebooks and swears up and down that they don't collect usage data.

flora , July 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm

an aside, and off topic (apologies):

Well, see, arithmetic and maths and English and composition and Physics and Chemistry change so often that using paper textbooks would leave paper textbook students hopelessly behind students using tablets. OK, tablets cost on the order of 3 times what paper textbooks cost for the same usable time-span. But, hey! It's new! It's now! It's happening! (And also, too, rents.) /s

Clive Post author , July 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Yeah, it's not like those old fashioned printed text books wouldn't go out of date (unless there was a lot of needless curriculum churn) and not have a useable economic life, even allowing for students' not-too-careful handling, of 5 to 10 years or so. Oh wait a minute

PKMKII , July 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Example of what I like to the call the "If you want faster-than-light-speed travel tomorrow, you have to let us commit fraud today" argument. Question is, whose eyes are they trying to pull the wool over? Investors to be wooed by web 2.0 jibberish? The top brass, to justify their continued employment and/or promotions? The public, as a horse and pony show to distract us from the bezzle? Regulators, hoping that the innovation and tech talk will intimidate them from paying attention to the man behind the curtain?

Some Guy , July 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Good post Clive, as someone who's been in banking for a few decades now, the current moment is very reminiscent of the late 90's, even down to some of the details.

Was on a call with some senior folks a while back rhapsodizing about how cutting edge neural network models would revolutionize our business, and I turned to a colleague who also been around the block and said, 'yeah we tried all that in the 90's, it didn't really make a difference' (vs. the standard approach of using multiple regression for credit scoring), and he said to me, 'yeah we tried that at my bank too, same result'

One aspect you didn't cover, that I think may be more important than fighting off regulations (although that plays a role, I'm sure) is that I think execs are looking to get a piece of the silicon valley, techland infinite money-pile. They see Tesla worth more than Ford and they dream of where their stock price (and their stock options!) might go if they were thought of as tech companies instead of boring old banks.

And part of it is fear. They are afraid of being the next Sears or local taxi company or whoever getting disrupted by the infinite silicon valley money-pile, either by the startups that can burn billions of dollars buying market share or by the big players who can leverage their entrenched monopoly positions in their core markets to spend billions trying to take over any market they feel like.

DH , July 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Wells Fargo tried that where they made account creation essentially click-bait for their workers. It worked for a while until it didn't. It turned out that their account creation approach was just a retread of the 1999 dot.com model, so they really were a tech start-up after all.

Altandmain , July 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm

The issue is that the banks have no incentive to address the 5 issues that you raised. They are a rent seeking cartel that does not care about the well being of the general populace at all. They certainly are not tech start-ups. I get the impression that most people think that tech startups are God, but in reality there are many bad start-ups too.

Basically, their money is made screwing the general public over at this point. That's sad to say, but it is not far from the truth. What we need is a public bank and/or larger credit unions that can offer all the financial services of a big bank.

ScottS , July 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm

From http://m.builtinla.com/2017/06/30/4-la-startups-named-prestigious-fintech-list :

Manhattan Beach-based PeerStreet closed out 2016 with a bang, raising a $15 million Series A anchored by strong growth over the course of the year. The company developed a crowdfunding platform that gives real estate investors access to high-yielding loans, with individual investments starting from as low as $1,000.

What could go wrong?

Colonel Smithers , July 13, 2017 at 6:49 am

Thank you for this post and reader contributions.

Many of the examples cited apply (equally) to my former employer, Barclays. Having been shafted by shysters from Wall Street, the bank jumped into the frying pan of (pseudo-)techies (often from a particular part of the world). My current employer, the German twin of Barclays, is just the same as the blue eagle.

Clive , July 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

Mine too, they must be putting something in the water.

[Jul 16, 2017] There is an older abomination, known as outcomes based education, which was a scheme to destroy the syllabus, while keeping teachers too busy with paperwork (recording outcomes ) to preserve copies of the syllabus or properly teach.

Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

saskydisc , July 16, 2017 at 7:41 am

There is an older abomination, known as outcomes based education, which was a scheme to destroy the syllabus, while keeping teachers too busy with paperwork (recording "outcomes") to preserve copies of the syllabus or properly teach.

It started in USA, was rejected there, got foisted on South Africa and Australia, got rejected by 2008 in RSA, not sure when in Australia, then got foisted on Canada, although opposition is building.

Seeing that high school teachers can see through it and opposition precedes it, the OBE clowns changed tack!

Now Engineering colleges in North America must follow this tomfoolery if they want to retain accreditation.

[Jul 16, 2017] The dumbing down of America is going full steam

What is bunch of moron those modern educators are
Notable quotes:
"... Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics. ..."
"... Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students. ..."
"... One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software. ..."
"... Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

kirill , July 16, 2017 at 6:05 am

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-15/3-examples-show-how-common-core-destroying-math-education-america

The dumbing down of America is going full steam. This "Rube Goldberg math" is something else.

Patient Observer , July 16, 2017 at 7:08 am
Common core math is indeed an abomination. It nearly destroyed my son's interest in math. I'm teaching him old school math. Of course, I am also supplementing his history lessons with alternative analyses and with a more comprehensive range of topics.

Another thing – most teachers of common core math at my son's public school do not understand it themselves. I noted errors in homework assignments which only compounded the confusion among the students.

One more thing – they are expected to learn from online videos and sloppily prepared study sheets – not a real math book. The school system is trying to make education paperless. This, to me, stunts the critical skills of eye-hand coordination, the ability to express abstract concept visually (e.g. making good sketches of ideas), etc. For example, mechanical drafting skills with the associated ability to visualize have been replaced by learning how to manipulate software.

Perhaps these are cost-cutting measures but the results is that the US public education system, from my experience, is in free fall.

Here is a tin-foil hat theory based on the linked article. If Bill Gates is promoting a method of education that stunts learning among the masses while sending his own kids to private school that does not use the same method, could this be a way help to create a society of dysfunctional masses ruled by a well-trained elites?

yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 8:11 am
When it comes to Math, I think the traditional textbook approach is the best. For History and the social sciences, though, I would recommend replacing big textbooks with individual monographs and other study materials focusing on specialized themes.

Reason being: For Math, there is a standard (finite) set of facts and techniques that need to be mastered at the school level; whereas there is no such thing as a "standard" or finite sets of historical facts.

marknesop , July 16, 2017 at 9:57 am
A commenter to the article suggested Microsoft was setting itself up to step seamlessly into public education when the IT bubble bursts.
yalensis , July 16, 2017 at 10:53 am
Somebody else suggested they are trying to prepare kids to become programmers of digital computers (like Bill Gates started out). But that doesn't make any sense either, because digital computers do not use this method to subtract. Instead, they use a method called "2's complement addition".

This YouTube video explains quite clearly how it is done in binary computer registers: https://youtu.be/vfY7bN_3VKw

Matt , July 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
Computers do use binary arithmetic, but for a human to do so, it involves converting from base 10 to base 2 and then subtracting. In order to convert from base 10 to base 2, you have to follow a step-by-step procedure which involves the remainder.

Compare converting from base 10 to 2:

https://mathbits.com/MathBits/CompSci/Introduction/frombase10.htm

to the image given in the ZH article of the new subtraction method being taught:

You can see there is some similarity in the thought process, "carrying" the remainder forward is the main lesson being taught.

    • marknesop says: July 16, 2017 at 9:55 am That is just bizarre. One commenter suggested the methods might be geared toward more complex problems where numbers do not represent real things, but concepts; but I just can't see that, either. But then, I've never been good at math and was always afraid of it. Whatever the case, I would have dropped out of school in Grade Three if I'd had to learn this way. It makes math problems ten times more complicated than they need to be, and every time you introduce another step you introduce another possibility of making a mistake. Reply
      • likbez says: July 16, 2017 at 9:06 pm Very true ! I am pretty good in math but this is still too much artificially introduced complexity for me too. Still it would be a perfect way to work with roman numbers. And that's BTW why Arabic notation is so much superior.

        What a bunch of morons !!!

[Jun 28, 2017] The Hoarding of the American Dream by Annie Lowrey

That's about the class of beneficiaries from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Dream Hoarders ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com

In a new book, a Brookings scholar argues that the upper-middle class has enriched itself and harmed economic mobility.

There's a certain type of financial confessional that has had a way of going viral in the post-recession era. The University of Chicago law professor complaining his family was barely keeping their heads above water on $250,000 a year . This hypothetical family of three in San Francisco making $200,000, enjoying vacations to Maui, and living hand-to-mouth. This real New York couple making six figures and merely " scraping by ."

In all of these viral posts, denizens of the upper-middle class were attempting to make the case for their middle class-ness. Taxes are expensive. Cities are expensive. Tuition is expensive. Children are expensive. Travel is expensive. Tens of thousands of dollars a month evaporate like cold champagne spilled on a hot lanai, they argue. And the 20 percent are not the one percent.

A great, short book by Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institution helps to flesh out why these stories provoke such rage. In Dream Hoarders , released this week, Reeves agrees that the 20 percent are not the one percent: The higher you go up the income or wealth distribution, the bigger the gains made in the past three or four decades. Still, the top quintile of earners-those making more than roughly $112,000 a year-have been big beneficiaries of the country's growth. To make matters worse, this group of Americans engages in a variety of practices that don't just help their families, but harm the other 80 percent of Americans.

"I am not suggesting that the top one percent should be left alone. They need to pay more tax, perhaps much more," Reeves writes. "But if we are serious about narrowing the gap between 'the rich' and everybody else, we need a broader conception of what it means to be rich."

The book traces the way that the upper-middle class has pulled away from the middle class and the poor on five dimensions: income and wealth, educational attainment, family structure, geography, and health and longevity. The top 20 percent of earners might not have seen the kinds of income gains made by the top one percent and America's billionaires. Still, their wage and investment increases have proven sizable. They dominate the country's top colleges, sequester themselves in wealthy neighborhoods with excellent public schools and public services, and enjoy healthy bodies and long lives. "It would be an exaggeration to say that the upper-middle class is full of gluten-avoiding, normal-BMI joggers who are only marginally more likely to smoke a cigarette than to hit their children," Reeves writes. "But it would be just that-an exaggeration, not a fiction."

They then pass those advantages onto their children, with parents placing a "glass floor" under their kids. They ensure they grow up in nice zip codes, provide social connections that make a difference when entering the labor force, help with internships, aid with tuition and home-buying, and schmooze with college admissions officers. All the while, they support policies and practices that protect their economic position and prevent poorer kids from climbing the income ladder: legacy admissions, the preferential tax treatment of investment income, 529 college savings plans, exclusionary zoning, occupational licensing, and restrictions on the immigration of white-collar professionals.

As a result, America is becoming a class-based society, more like fin-de-sičcle England than most would care to admit, Reeves argues. Higher income kids stay up at the sticky top of the income distribution. Lower income kids stay down at the bottom. The one percent have well and truly trounced the 99 percent, but the 20 percent have done their part to immiserate the 80 percent, as well-an arguably more relevant but less recognized class distinction.

Why more relevant? In part because the 20 percent are so much bigger than the one percent. If you are going to raise a considerable amount of new income-tax revenue to finance social programs, as many Democrats want to do, dinging the top one percent won't cut it: They are a lot richer, but a lot fewer in number. And if you are going to provide more opportunities in good neighborhoods, public schools, colleges, internship programs, and labor markets to lower-income families, it is the 20 percent that are going to have to give something up.

Reeves offers a host of policy changes that might make a considerable difference: better access to contraception, increasing building in cities and suburbs, barring legacy admissions to colleges, curbing tax expenditures that benefit families with big homes and capital gains. Still, given the scale of the problem, I wondered whether other, bigger solutions might be necessary as well: a universal child allowance to reduce the poverty rate among kids, as the Century Foundation has proposed , say, or baby bonds to help eliminate the black-white wealth gap fostered by decades of racist and exclusionary government policy, as Darrick Hamilton has suggested. (So often, the upper-middle class insulating and enriching itself at the expense of the working class has meant white families doing so at the expense of black families-a point I thought underplayed in Reeves' telling.)

Yet, as Reeves notes, "sensible policy is not always easy politics." Expanding opportunity and improving fairness would require the upper-middle class to vote for higher taxes, to let others move in, and to share in the wealth. Prying Harvard admission letters and the mortgage interest deductions out of the hands of bureaucrats in Bethesda, sales executives in Minnetonka, and lawyers in Louisville is not going to be easy.

Members of the upper-middle class, as those viral stories show and Reeves writes, love to think of themselves as members of the middle class, not as the rich. They love to think of themselves as hard workers who played fair and won what they deserved, rather than as people who were born on third and think they hit a triple. They hate to hear that the government policies they support as sensible might be torching social mobility and entrenching an elite. That elite is them.

[Jun 26, 2017] How Can A Human Justify Asking To Be Paid $15 To Work Zero Hedge

Jun 26, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

McDonald's announced it will replace cashiers in 2,500 stores with self-service kiosks.

The story buzzed across the internet but Business Insider reported McDonald's shoots down fears it is planning to replace cashiers with kiosks .

"McDonald's has repeatedly said that adding kiosks won't result in mass layoffs, but will instead move some cashiers to other parts of the restaurant where it's adding new jobs, such as table service. The burger chain reiterated that position again on Friday."

Is McDonald's denial believable? What would you expect the company to say?

McDonald's has to deny the story or it might have a hiring problem, a morale problem, and other problems.

"Our CEO, Steve Easterbrook, has said on many occasions that self-order kiosks in McDonald's restaurants are not a labor replacement," a spokeswoman told Business Insider. "They provide an opportunity to transition back-of-the-house positions to more customer service roles such as concierges and table service where they are able to truly engage with guests and enhance the dining experience."

Move cashiers to table service? Really?

Yeah, right.

An interesting political rule from the British sitcom "Yes, Minister" is to "never believe anything until it's officially denied".

Will Humans Be Necessary?

When someone can be replaced by a robot, how can the push for $15 be justified?

Psychology Today asks Will Humans Be Necessary?

Will automation kill as many jobs as is feared? A widely cited Oxford University study predicts that 47% of jobs could be automated in the next decade of two. Price Waterhouse pegs the U.S. risk at 38%. McKinsey estimates that 45% of what people are paid for could be automated using existing technology!

No less than Tesla's Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking fear the loss of jobs will cause world cataclysm.

Lower-level jobs at risk

Let's start with jobs likely to be eliminated, starting with the present and with those lower-level jobs.

Already, don't you prefer a ATM to a teller, self-checkout to the supermarket checker, drive-through tolls rather than stop for the toll-taker, automated airline check-in rather than waiting for a clerk, shopping on Amazon rather than fighting traffic, parking, and the check-out experience with a live clerk, assuming the store has what you want in your size? Indeed, malls are closing while online retailers led by Amazon are growing.

As minimum wage and mandated benefits rise, fast-food restaurants especially are accelerating use of, for example, order-taking kiosks, which McDonald's is rolling out in 2,500 stores, robotic burger flippers and fry cooks, even pizza, ramen and sushi makers . Even that fail-safe job, barista, is at-risk, Bosch now makes an automated barista . Mid-range restaurants such as Olive Garden, Outback, and Applebee are replacing waiters with tabletop tablets . Will you really miss having your conversation interrupted by a waiter hawking hors de oeuvres and expecting a 15+% tip? If you owned a fast-food franchise, mighn't you be looking to replace people with automated solutions? Can it really be long until there are completely automated fast-food and even mid-range restaurants?

Robots are already being used as security guards. There are humanoid robots that can move heavy boxes, walk in uneven snow, and get up, not annoyed when thrown to the ground. (And won't sue for failure to supervise or an OSHA violation.)

Instead of hiring architects for tens of thousands of dollars, many people are opting to spend just a few hundred bucks to instantly get any of thousands of often award-winning house plans which, if needed, can be inexpensively customized to suit. Far fewer architects needed.

BlackRock, the world's largest fund company has replaced seven of its 53 analysts with AI-driven stock-picking.

The remaining jobs

In such a world, how can a human justify asking to be paid to work?

Four scenarios

The range of scenarios would seem circumscribed by these. How likely do you think each of these are?

  • Continue on the current path: The world continues to slowly make progress, e.g., birth rates declining in developing nations, slowed global warming, more education and health care. Those positives would be mitigated by declining jobs, more concentration of wealth.
  • World socialism.
  • Mass population reduction, for example, by nuclear war, pandemic, or, per Clive Cussler, highly communicable biovirus simultaneously put into the water supply of a half-dozen cruise ships?
  • A world run by machines and the few people they deem worthy.
  • Here is a debate between an optimistic and a pessimist on the future of the world.

    The truth may well be something we can't even envision. After all, he who lives by the crystal ball usually eats broken glass.

    Note that Psychology Today author Marty Nemko did not ask about $15. He wonders if pay for some jobs is worth anything at all.

    saudade -> 2banana , Jun 26, 2017 5:15 AM

    How about just reinstitute slavery and be done with it.

    Erek -> AVmaster , Jun 26, 2017 6:21 AM

    When all the jobs are taken over by machines there won't be anybody with money left to buy or pay for anything at all. WTF then? A world of no work is a world of little or no income. The ones who survive are the ones who know how to provide for themselves without the use of currency (barter, trade, farming, etc ).

    crazzziecanuck -> Erek , Jun 26, 2017 6:59 AM

    Before that happens, these machines will be heavily vandalized. It's all part of the inevitable ISEP problem (It's Someone Else's Problem).

    For one firm to do this, it's understandable, but for an entire sector, they're ripping their face off and everyone else's. But those making the decisions are unwilling or unable to care about even their long-term positions. To start, they largely exist to kick the can down the road until ... you guess it! ... it's ISEP. It's a problem for the next round of overcompensated intellectual-light and morally-bankrupt executives.

    But don't think "the market" is going to fix that. Markets never do. Markets have failures all the time yet people still pretend like they have this inherent magical property. Markets would be fine ... in a human-free world ... because anything a sociopath touches will be turned to sh*t. And power, be it government or "market" will attract these people. Any ideology can work, but only until the sociopaths game the sh*t out of the system and destroy it from the inside.

    Now, the less stupid people in these positions will realize the ISEP problem but know full well the government of the future can be extorted into, effectively, bailing them out somehow. Think of the "mandate" of ObamaCare and realize "thinkers" at the Heritage Institute saw this down the road back in the early 1980s. Right now, I'm starting to wonder if this whole "livable wage" is just a proxy bailout on behalf of large actors like McDonald's (who can no longer expect growth as the incomes and costs at the bottom shrink in the former and explode in the latter). That leadership knows full well that even if they took a leadership position on living wages, they'll be expected to be the only ones. The sociopaths at the other firms will think ... you got it! ... ISEP. Those firms can continue on f**king their employees while a large firm like McDonald's is expected to shoulder the entire burden or drive them into bankruptcy. In either of those cases, the status quo remains across the industry.

    FIRE-HC-E (Financial, Insurance, Real Estate, Healthcare, Education; the major rackets of ourlives) is destroying the markets for not just McDonald's employees, but also markets for other brick-and-mortar companies like Apple or Home Depot. This is why I focus heavily on our poor leadership because the leadership of the industrial sectors as a whole just sat back and watched as the likes of Wall Street slowly eroded the bedrock of the economy.

    Everything is a racket.

    Took Red Pill -> blown income , Jun 26, 2017 7:40 AM

    The author, Mike Shedlock, links to a POS article in Psychology Today, authored by Marty Nemko Ph.D. Did anyone else read that? It says under An optimistic vision "Longer term, it's even possible that we'll be able to accomplish more of what we want by using gene therapy or a chip embedded in our brain -Research to make that happen is already being funded by the federal government." Ah, no thank you!

    Mike also asks " how can the push for $15 be justified? And links to the Psycholgy Today article which say "we may also need a guaranteed basic income paid heavily by successful corporations and wealthy individuals". Which view do you support Mike?

    Psychology Today article also states "What about journalism? Even in major media outlets, many journalism jobs have already been lost to the armies of people willing to write for free. In addition, software such as Quill can replace some human journalists" Maybe in this case, that's not a bad thing.

    NidStyles -> Took Red Pill , Jun 26, 2017 8:05 AM

    More like Shylock....

    If it's being printed commercially, it's probably bullshit.

    [Jun 26, 2017] Why hurting the poor will hurt the economy

    Crocodile tears of WaPO staff... Who fully supported implementation of Washington consensus that robbed the nations in favor of international companies... this was a new mass scale economic rape of the Western countries and it was especially brutal in xUSSR area.
    Mar 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    djb : March 11, 2017 at 06:42 AM

    Why hurting the poor will hurt the economy - The Washington Post

    that this topic even needs a special article about it is proof of the sad state of affairs of economics today

    Why trying to help poor countries might actually hurt them - The Washington Post

    Nobel-winning economist Angus Deaton argues against giving aid to poor countries

    It sounds kind of crazy to say that foreign aid often hurts, rather than helps, poor people in poor countries. Yet that is what Angus Deaton, the newest winner of the Nobel Prize in economics , has argued.

    Deaton, an economist at Princeton University who studied poverty in India and South Africa and spent decades working at the World Bank, won his prize for studying how the poor decide to save or spend money. But his ideas about foreign aid are particularly provocative. Deaton argues that, by trying to help poor people in developing countries, the rich world may actually be corrupting those nations' governments and slowing their growth. According to Deaton, and the economists who agree with him, much of the $135 billion that the world's most developed countries spent on official aid in 2014 may not have ended up helping the poor.

    Angus Deaton (LARRY LEVANTI/AFP/Getty Images)

    The idea of wealthier countries giving away aid blossomed in the late 1960s, as the first humanitarian crises reached mass audiences on television. Americans watched through their TV sets as children starved to death in Biafra, an oil-rich area that had seceded from Nigeria and was now being blockaded by the Nigerian government, as Philip Gourevitch recalled in a 2010 story in the New Yorker. Protesters called on the Nixon administration for action so loudly that they ended up galvanizing the largest nonmilitary airlift the world had ever seen. Only a quarter-century after Auschwitz, humanitarian aid seemed to offer the world a new hope for fighting evil without fighting a war.

    There was a strong economic and political argument for helping poor countries, too. In the mid-20th century, economists widely believed that the key to triggering growth -- whether in an already well-off country or one hoping to get richer -- was pumping money into a country's factories, roads and other infrastructure. So in the hopes of spreading the Western model of democracy and market-based economies, the United States and Western European powers encouraged foreign aid to smaller and poorer countries that could fall under the influence of the Soviet Union and China.

    The level of foreign aid distributed around the world soared from the 1960s , peaking at the end of the Cold War, then dipping before rising again. Live Aid music concerts raised public awareness about challenges like starvation in Africa, while the United States launched major, multibillion-dollar aid initiatives . And the World Bank and advocates of aid aggressively seized on research that claimed that foreign aid led to economic development.

    Deaton wasn't the first economist to challenge these assumptions, but over the past two decades his arguments began to receive a great deal of attention. And he made them with perhaps a better understanding of the data than anyone had before. Deaton's skepticism about the benefits of foreign aid grew out of his research, which involved looking in detail at households in the developing world, where he could see the effects of foreign aid intervention.

    "I think his understanding of how the world worked at the micro level made him extremely suspicious of these get-rich-quick schemes that some people peddled at the development level," says Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT.

    The data suggested that the claims of the aid community were sometimes not borne out. Even as the level of foreign aid into Africa soared through the 1980s and 1990s, African economies were doing worse than ever, as the chart below, from a paper by economist Bill Easterly of New York University, shows.


    William Easterly, "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?"

    The effect wasn't limited to Africa. Many economists were noticing that an influx of foreign aid did not seem to produce economic growth in countries around the world. Rather, lots of foreign aid flowing into a country tended to be correlated with lower economic growth, as this chart from a paper by Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram Rajan shows.

    The countries that receive less aid, those on the left-hand side of the chart, tend to have higher growth -- while those that receive more aid, on the right-hand side, have lower growth.


    Raghuram G. Rajan and Arvind Subramanian, "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?"

    Why was this happening? The answer wasn't immediately clear, but Deaton and other economists argued that it had to do with how foreign money changed the relationship between a government and its people.

    Think of it this way: In order to have the funding to run a country, a government needs to collect taxes from its people. Since the people ultimately hold the purse strings, they have a certain amount of control over their government. If leaders don't deliver the basic services they promise, the people have the power to cut them off.

    Deaton argued that foreign aid can weaken this relationship, leaving a government less accountable to its people, the congress or parliament, and the courts.

    "My critique of aid has been more to do with countries where they get an enormous amount of aid relative to everything else that goes on in that country," Deaton said in an interview with Wonkblog. "For instance, most governments depend on their people for taxes in order to run themselves and provide services to their people. Governments that get all their money from aid don't have that at all, and I think of that as very corrosive."

    It might seem odd that having more money would not help a poor country. Yet economists have long observed that countries that have an abundance of wealth from natural resources, like oil or diamonds, tend to be more unequal, less developed and more impoverished, as the chart below shows. Countries at the left-hand side of the chart have fewer fuels, ores and metals and higher growth, while those at the right-hand side have more natural resource wealth, yet slower growth. Economists postulate that this "natural resource curse" happens for a variety of reasons, but one is that such wealth can strengthen and corrupt a government.

    curse

    Like revenue from oil or diamonds, wealth from foreign aid can be a corrupting influence on weak governments, "turning what should be beneficial political institutions into toxic ones," Deaton writes in his book "The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality." This wealth can make governments more despotic, and it can also increase the risk of civil war, since there is less power sharing, as well as a lucrative prize worth fighting for.

    Deaton and his supporters offer dozens of examples of humanitarian aid being used to support despotic regimes and compounding misery, including in Zaire, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Biafra, and the Khmer Rouge on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Citing Africa researcher Alex de Waal, Deaton writes that "aid can only reach the victims of war by paying off the warlords, and sometimes extending the war."

    He also gives plenty of examples in which the United States gives aid "for 'us,' not for 'them'" – to support our strategic allies, our commercial interests or our moral or political beliefs, rather than the interests of the local people.

    The United States gave aid to Ethiopia for decades under then-President Meles Zenawi Asres, because he opposed Islamic fundamentalism and Ethiopia was so poor. Never mind that Asres was "one of the most repressive and autocratic dictators in Africa," Deaton writes. According to Deaton, "the award for sheer creativity" goes to Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, president of Mauritania from 1984 to 2005. Western countries stopped giving aid to Taya after his government became too politically repressive, but he managed to get the taps turned on again by becoming one of the few Arab nations to recognize Israel.

    Some might argue for bypassing corrupt governments altogether and distributing food or funding directly among the people. Deaton acknowledges that, in some cases, this might be worth it to save lives. But one problem with this approach is that it's difficult: To get to the powerless, you often have to go through the powerful. Another issue, is that it undermines what people in developing countries need most -- "an effective government that works with them for today and tomorrow," he writes .

    The old calculus of foreign aid was that poor countries were merely suffering from a lack of money. But these days, many economists question this assumption, arguing that development has more to do with the strength of a country's institutions – political and social systems that are developed through the interplay of a government and its people.

    There are lot of places around the world that lack good roads, clean water and good hospitals, says MIT's Acemoglu: "Why do these places exist? If you look at it, you quickly disabuse yourself of the notion that they exist because it's impossible for the state to provide services there." What these countries need even more than money is effective governance, something that foreign aid can undermine, the thinking goes.

    Some people believe that Deaton's critique of foreign aid goes too far. There are better and worse ways to distribute foreign aid, they say. Some project-based approaches -- such as financing a local business, building a well, or providing uniforms so that girls can go to school -- have been very successful in helping local communities. In the last decade, researchers have tried to integrate these lessons from economists and argue for more effective aid practices.

    Many people believe that the aid community needs more scrutiny to determine which practices have been effective and which have not. Economists such as Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, for example, argue for creating randomized control trials that allow researchers to carefully examine the development effects of different types of projects -- for example, following microcredit as it is extended to people in poor countries.

    These methods have again led to a swell in optimism in professional circles about foreign aid efforts. And again, Deaton is playing the skeptic.

    While Deaton agrees that many development projects are successful, he's critical of claims that these projects can be replicated elsewhere or on a larger scale. "The trouble is that 'what works' is a highly contingent concept," he said in an interview. "If it works in the highlands of Kenya, there's no reason to believe it will work in India, or that it will work in Princeton, New Jersey."

    The success of a local project, like microfinancing, also depends on numerous other local factors, which are harder for researchers to isolate. Saying that these randomized control trials prove that certain projects cause growth or development is like saying that flour causes cake, Deaton writes in his book. "Flour 'causes' cakes, in the sense that cakes made without flour do worse than cakes made with flour – and we can do any number of experiments to demonstrate it – but flour will not work without a rising agent, eggs, and butter – the helping factors that are needed for the flour to 'cause' the cake."

    Deaton's critiques of foreign aid stem from his natural skepticism of how people use -- and abuse -- economic data to advance their arguments. The science of measuring economic effects is much more important, much harder and more controversial than we usually think, he told The Post.

    Acemoglu said of Deaton: "He's challenging, and he's sharp, and he's extremely critical of things he thinks are shoddy and things that are over-claiming. And I think the foreign aid area, that policy arena, really riled him up because it was so lacking in rigor but also so grandiose in its claims."

    Deaton doesn't argue against all types of foreign aid. In particular, he believes that certain types of health aid – offering vaccinations, or developing cheap and effective drugs to treat malaria, for example -- have been hugely beneficial to developing countries.

    But mostly, he said, the rich world needs to think about "what can we do that would make lives better for millions of poor people around the world without getting into their economies in the way that we