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By Gaius Publius on 3/11/2012 09:15:00 AM

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Paul Krugman has a nice column on Republican attitudes on education, contrasting "social conservative" Santorum's approach with "economic conservative" Romney's. I'll let you go read; it's excellent.

But I want to point out the following (my emphasis):

But what about people like Mr. Romney? Don’t they have a stake in America’s future economic success, which is endangered by the crusade against education? Maybe not as much as you think.

After all, over the past 30 years, there has been a stunning disconnect between huge income gains at the top and the struggles of ordinary workers. You can make the case that the self-interest of America’s elite is best served by making sure that this disconnect continues, which means keeping taxes on high incomes low at all costs, never mind the consequences in terms of poor infrastructure and an undertrained work force. ...

So whenever you hear Republicans say that they are the party of traditional values, bear in mind that they have actually made a radical break with America’s tradition of valuing education. And they have made this break because they believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt them.
I've asked many times — Do the rich really need the rest of us?
So which is it? Have the super-rich decided they don't need America any more? Or are they just so in love with Supply Side Jesus that they don't know they're burning the house down with them inside?

In other words, when this country becomes a faltering second-world economy with a useful first-world military, have the super-rich prepared their financial escape? Do the rich really need the rest of us?
I'm not alone. Over at Digby's joint, David Atkins wonders much the same thing (emphasis added):
The underinvestment in public education is very intentional. Thanks largely to Grover Norquist and his buddies, it now costs more to attend a public university in California than it does to attend Harvard. The elites don't really need that many skilled workers in America. They need some, but not that many. A lot of the needed skilled workers can come from overseas immigration. The vast bulk of the American population is much more useful to them as desperate, unskilled labor.
I don't think they think we're needed. As the Brazilian and Indian and Chinese (etc.) consumer class comes online, consumers in America (our only value to them) can be retired. At that point, we're very Old World, serving the new.

I hope hope hope I'm wrong. But if I'm not, welcome to the backside of history, my fellow Americans. Brought to you by the very very rich and the politicians who serve them.

If it's any consolation, the Brits who emerged from the Great War and saw a new American world, they preceded you. The Romans of the fourth century weren't as lucky — they didn't speak Goth.

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
It'ts like Lysander Spooner said in his, "1837 Letter to the Massachusette['s Legislature," when he argue that, "I can imagine none advocating, at least in direct terms, so monstrous a that the rich ought to be protected from the poor." So if you are going to bitch about the disparity of wealth in this country, you have to recognize that it is primiarily government which creates it through their legislation or regulation because it ccreates price floors that prohibit the poor from starting business. There's a reason, after all, why Wal-Mart supported minimum wage hikes. They knew that their competition wouldn't be able to sort out the differences and would have to deal with the requisite costs of hiring more businesses. On the otherhan,l Wal-Mart knew that they could absorb the costs of business thus effectively pushing their smaller competitors out of business.

The fucked up thing is that it happens every time. The false consciousness of the proletariat doesn't come through the belief that material goods will bring them happiness, but in the idea that the state can bring them happiness. The people need to fulfill their owwn needs on their own without the benefit of theindustrialized system.
Mar. 12th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
without the benefit of theindustrialized system
Sorry, but Neo-Primitive Libertarianism is another dead end ideological delusion.

Mar. 12th, 2012 11:23 am (UTC)
Re: without the benefit of theindustrialized system
It's funny that you see comments as being libertarian when my concern for the distribution of wealth makes me a liberalterian (in other words, a jackalope). you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum and it prevents you from accurately engaging another person's philosophy.
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum
My impression is that yer only engagement with libertarianism is with the vulgar variety, that which is based in simplistic views and consequently your responses to it are exceedingly simplistic. It's unfortunate.
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
Re: you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum
Vulgar or sublime, you're all slaves to the Cult of The Individual and therefore easy meat for any Organization.

Mar. 12th, 2012 11:44 am (UTC)
Re: you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum
So, you copypasta shit, right? Also, you are way to caught up in how awesome you think you are. "Look, here's a link to my blog which you should read because I'm awesome and gots it all figured out."
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:46 am (UTC)
caught up in how awesome you think you are
I'm always right and I never lie. =)

Mar. 12th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Re: you are completely stuck in your ossified political spectrum
And I laughed because my world view is WAY outside the current 'political spectrum'.

Here, I lay it on ya and get it over with: http://theexplanation-nebris.blogspot.com/

You'll likely dismiss it, but that's fine. You're not my target demographic anyway. =)

Mar. 12th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
One last thing: The rich don't need us insofar as the state exists. Given that the state is a monopoly on the coercive use o force (that is, they have the "legal" right to influence your life and ways of belief regarldless of any objections to the contrary), it is a simple fact that the state athroughout human history has existed towards one end and oneend alone" The elimination of humanity's free will. These are the kind of peopke who believe that they know what kind of life is best for you, despite all epistemological evidence to the contrary. You are your own person and you, better than anyone else, knows what is best for you. (At least, you have a better idea given that you have access to your own thoughts, which no one else does.) Given that you know your own goals better than anyone else, you have the riht to pursue them insofar as you don't interfere with another's equal right to do the same. After all, that is the basic tenet of libertarianism. Sure, go around and be douchebag, but if you punch someone then yoour actions are no longer welcome. After all, as the libertarian saying goes, "The right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins."

The sum of history to this point has been the Rich's use of the state to suppress the working class so that they could control the means of production. Feudalismis the perfect example because those with access to the wealth would use the apparatus of the state to ensure that the poor couldn't start new businesses. The current situation is the same because the poor can't engage in the entrepreneurial spirit. Given that regulation increases the cost of doing business, there is no method by which the poor can start a business and build it up since regulationm by its very nature, gives the rich an advantage
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:32 am (UTC)
The Hive will always defeat The Individual.

Mar. 12th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
The individual is the basic political unit. While the individual itself cannot exit separate from the collective, as we are not some Lockean tabula rasa the fact remains that the collective is an abstraction from the concrete fact of individual existence.
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:40 am (UTC)
The Collective defines The Individual far more than the other way round.

We're conducting this interface with English text. That shapes how we think and act. It precedes us and will exist after we're gone. And that is simply one example.


Edited at 2012-03-12 11:42 am (UTC)
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
I get that, I've got degrees in philosophy and political science. But it's not about what defines who we are, because that is a vast and deep subject, but insofar as a political system is concerned, it must be based on the individual since that is concrete, and the collective is an abstraction and one must not reify an abstraction because it multiplies causes beyond necessity.
Mar. 12th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
it must be based on the individual since that is concrete
That is a false assumption. It is based upon the illusion that we all all rational autonomous beings. Nothing could be further from the truth. We're a pack species at best, a herd species at worst.

Mar. 12th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
Re: it must be based on the individual since that is concrete
Again, this is some reification bullshit, where you take the concept of the group and place it above the the concrete existence of the individual
Mar. 12th, 2012 12:17 pm (UTC)
Re: it must be based on the individual since that is concrete
Reification, schmeification. You can deny the reality of the collective till the cows come home. That don't make it so.

But you're one of those so-called 'rugged individuals' and to admit the above would amount to a personal annihilation.

And I don't care. Like I said above, you're not my target demo.


..that link's to a book 'in progress' btw..and I DO have it all figured out..lol
Mar. 13th, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
Re: it must be based on the individual since that is concrete
You cannot conceive the many without the one. - Plato
Mar. 13th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
You cannot conceive the many without the one. - Plato
So I should allow my blood platelets an equal vote on how I run my life? I suppose they might do a better job at it than the good citizens of Mississippi. lol

And it is typical of the shallowness of Libertarian thought that you'd quote a control freak proto-fascist like Plato to 'prove' the sanctity of The Individual. He'd have had the lot of you put to death without a second thought.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Spock. =)


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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For one, GDP is often revised several quarters - even years - later, as more complete information becomes available that changes the components of the earlier, initial GDP estimates in what can be very substantial ways.

For another, not all serious downturns exact as serious a toll on GDP. Often, the decline is much more pronounced in GDI (Gross Domestic Income) and/or employment. If the income or employment of a nation is undergoing a pronounced, pervasive and prolonged decline even if for whatever various reasons its GDP may be holding up, is it not foolish to deny that a recession is underway?

For these reasons and others, the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), the official arbiter of recessions and expansions in the United States, determines whether or not the US has fallen into recession using a much more holistic approach.

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Q: The financial press often states the definition of a recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. How does that relate to the NBER's recession dating procedure?

Most of the recessions identified by our procedures do consist of two or more quarters of declining real GDP, but not all of them. In 2001, for example, the recession did not include two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. In the recession beginning in December 2007 and ending in June 2009, real GDP declined in the first, third, and fourth quarters of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009. The committee places real Gross Domestic Income on an equal footing with real GDP; real GDI declined for six consecutive quarters in the recent recession.

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In the 2007-2009 recession, the central indicators–real GDP and real GDI–gave mixed signals about the peak date and a clear signal about the trough date. The peak date at the end of 2007 coincided with the peak in employment. We designated June 2009 as the trough, six months before the trough in employment, which is consistent with earlier trough dates in the NBER business-cycle chronology. In the 2001 recession, we found a clear signal in employment and a mixed one in the various measures of output. Consequently, we picked the peak month based on the clear signal in employment, as well as our consideration of output and other measures. In that cycle, as well, the dating of the trough relied primarily on output measures.

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  Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an indicator developed in Bhutan in the Himalayas, based on the concept elaborated in 1972 by the then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Since then, the kingdom of Bhutan, with the support of UNDP (UN Development Program), began to put this concept into practice, and has attracted the attention of the rest of the world with its new formula to measure the progress of a community or nation.

GNH is based on the premise that the calculation of "wealth" should consider other aspects besides economic development: the preservation of the environment and the quality of life of the people. The goal of a society should be the integration of material development with psychological, cultural, and spiritual aspects - all in harmony with the Earth.

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