government by and for the plutocracy, civilization in general francos way

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich.

There are reasonable channels of cultural, economic and political checks on on such inequality. the word inequality does not do the phenomenon justice. Over time we have come to over value the contributions of wealth and undervalue the contributions of labor – and yes if you perform dentistry or jockey an office cubicle you are a laborer . College is no guarantee of producing bright people. Some less than bright bulbs go in and exit pretty much unchanged. Some very bright people never go beyond a secondary education. Though I cannot get through a day without the elitism of the non-college grad. Some reference to someone being college educated but lacking common sense, and while they may be book learning smart, they ain’t got no common sense, is still popular. These attitudes are not exclusive to the white males with a high school education, but a portion of them are the guard keepers of that eternal anti-wisdom. A slight majority of them are captives of the 1% solution. Some of their attitudes could be attributed to the American lottery mindset. They believe if they work and play by the rules, they’ll breakthrough one day. becoming well off if not wealthy. I tend to think and it has been my experience that you increase your chances at fiscal prosperity by being reliable, conscientious, and being open to learning new skills – all things which will also contribute to a sense of pride and personal accomplishment. Will those things be the things that propel you significantly up the economic ladder. The chances are slim. The chances hard work will equal a ocean front house in Palm Beach are practically nil. This partly explains the wealthy, corporate elite and Wall St appeal to special skills. Not everyone can do what they can do. No, not everyone can. Most people with the right education and training can. Why do so many high school educated white males vote to undermine tier own self interests, those of their children and neighbors. There have been some studies, but besides the real life cultural and economic consequences, it makes for an interesting it counter factual that the vast majority of people act in a practical and rational manner to protect their rights and well being.

Stiglitz goes on to look at the role of capital gains, education, the erosion of organized labor and other factors in creating this bizarre pyramid of power and wealth. This would be in the range of the umpteenth article or paper I have read on the same subject the last 12 years. The prescriptions are about the same. Until you can convince those who deeply believe in the benevolence of the plutocracy to stop abusing themselves not much will change. The plutocrats themselves ( which does not include everyone who is wealthy) are sure they can continue to make record profits mostly by keeping the top middle doing well enough to buy its products and services. That ponzi-like scheme is certain to collapse. The Great Recession being a preview. So the plutocracy itself does not seem to act in its own rational  interests as much as they act on behalf of their own blind arrogance.

Civilization in General Francos Way 1936 oil on canvas by Amelin Albin. if one could not tell by the painting, albin was antifascist. General Franco allied with the Axis powers – Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japan. this profile of franco is almost too reserved in its attempt to be fair. Out of the Crucible of Civil War, Franco’s Iron Hand Forged a Modern Spain

Coming to power after victory in a civil war that had devastated Spain, Franco clinched his grip on an impoverished and backward country by systematic terror. Then, by clever diplomacy, he took Spain through World War II as a nonbelligerent while averring his attachment to the Fascist powers. Exercising patience, he waited out years of international ostracism after the war, from which he was rescued by a United States decision in 1950 to acquire military bases in the country as a move in the cold war with the Soviet Union.

[  ]…In the war one of history’s most publicized experiments in calculated terror occurred. That was the bombing of Guernica on market day, April 26, 1937, by the Nazi Condor Legion. It was a Basque town without defenses and without military significance. The aviators, in complicity with the Nationalist command, first dropped high-explosive bombs on the townspeople, then machine-gunned them in flight and finally fired the town with incendiary bombs. A total of 1,654 persons were killed and 889 wounded in raids lasting 2 hours 45 minutes.

When the fighting ended in 1939, Franco ordered shot nearly all captured Republican officers, and his prisons contained thousands of so-called “Reds,” many of whom were also executed. The United States recognized the new Government on April 1, 1939, and the same month Franco signed the anti-Comintern Pact, formally allying Spain with Germany, Italy and Japan. Pope Pius XII, at about the same time, commended Franco for having brought “mercy and justice” to his country. World War II, which began in the fall of 1939, put Franco in a difficult position. His sympathies were with Hitler and Mussolini, but his nation was too desolated to join the fighting.

Key details of Franco’s relations with Berlin and Rome came to light with the release of captured enemy documents after the war. Some of these documents, published by the State Department in 1946 under the title “The Spanish Government and the Axis,” revealed his plans to enter the war against the Allies at an opportune moment and to obtain Gibraltar and French Morocco for his prizes.

 

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