Saturday, August 4, 2012
Anerica 2050. What Will We Build? Part 5.
I am an historian, not a psychic. America in 2050 is just a nice round date. I believe that our destiny lies reliably in the past. If you want to know where we're going, we have to look at where we (and Western Europe) have been.
Nanny State: Path To Revolution
The recipe for a social and political revolution is fairly simple. Have a large percent of the population of a country in perpetual poverty, with a tiny rich minority holding the majority of all wealth. Insure the middle class is small and powerless. Mix in rising expectations with too slow progress, and a lost war or declining power and respect for social/religious/political structures (like caste systems, the Catholic Church, or the King). Finally add a spark, and voila, we have a full on 'blood in the streets' revolution.
The French Revolution in 1789 and the Russian Revolution in 1917 follow the above pattern pretty closely. The mass of society willingly participated, because they had little to lose and everything to gain by overturning an established order that largely excluded them from power and confined them to a tenuous periphery.
Today in 2012 in America we can view Middle and Near Eastern revolutions on our flatscreens nightly. The Libyan dictatorship has fallen, along with Egypt and soon to follow Syria. Iraq and Afghanistan are boiling under the surface, and are likely to erupt once the American military presence has withdrawn. Certainly these world events are cause for grave concern, but my focus is drawn to a much closer arena...America.
The civil rights struggles and riots in the late 50's and 60's were nothing less than a partially successful revolution. An oppressed underclass (African-Americans) rebelled at the second class citizenship that they had endured since the slaves were freed in 1865. "The long, hot summer," was something Americans heard a lot about that as the summer months approached in 1968, and it filled them with dread. By 1968, just the word "summer" was conjuring not just beaches and vacations and re-runs on TV, but also what were almost universally known as "race riots," events that today, with more circumspection, we call "urban rebellions." Large swaths of Los Angeles were devastated in summer 1965; much of Newark and Detroit (and Buffalo, and Milwaukee, and Minneapolis) went up in flames in summer 1967. By the mid-70's, however, they had largely petered out.
Why did the civil unrest end abruptly? Answer: They were paid off!
The Nanny State
America of 2012 is a semi-socialist country where over 48.5% of all households contain at least one person who receives some form of government aid. The social and economic safety net has reached an extent where our national deficit (including monies promised in the future), is estimated at $100 Trillion dollars, or over $300,000 per American citizen!
Many complain about the bloated government-sponsored entitlement programs, but few consider the relevance of the timing of their creation. Social Security was rolled out during the Great Depression. The Food Stamp program was introduced in 1964, as was the lesser known Job Corps (free trade school education for poor, urban youth). Welfare too was dramatically expanded in this decade, and the era of the "government cheese" stories were born.
One way to look at the expanding social and economic programs above is to say they were merely responses by a receptive government to a petitioning electorate. Another, less naive way to explain these expensive programs, was that they were simply bribes paid to the restless underclass to cease their troublesome activities! Current precedents are Arab Kingdoms like Saudi Arabia pouring oil money into the streets to keep their populations docile and obedient. The USA did much the same in the 60's, and has only accelerated the process to our 2012 America where the government is always expected to be there when a citizen is hurting...like a good Nanny! And who would ever rebel against an entity that supplies food, housing, and the other basic needs of life?
Finally, the fiat paper dollar is the last refuge of a controlling American state. If you rebelled centuries ago, the King's head might end up in a basket, but your money was still good. Anyone in any country would've been all-to-happy to take your gold or silver coin, even if it had the face of a very dead sovereign upon it. Not so with the fiat paper dollar of 2012!
The paper dollar of 2012 is reliant solely on the 'good faith and credit of the USA'. That's it, brothers and sisters. No gold or silver is available to back these 'promises'. If you rebel against the government of the USA and win, then every dollar in your pocket instantly reverts to their inherent worth...zero! If you actually succeed in throwing out the bums, you become penniless. All your hardwork over all those years was for nothing more than to build a supply of greenbacks to feed your homeless campfire!
How's that devious method for keeping your slaves loyal and peaceful?
The social program bribes are already falling short in America 2012. Social Security is admitting to projected future shortfalls. Unemployment is high and likely to remain so. The dollar is weak, and with further QE (Quantitive Easing, or money creation out of thin air) it must continue to grow weaker based on simple supply/demand economics. Eventually between now and 2050 the US dollar will ultimately fail. When that happens the social net bribe will fall to pieces. The poor will form the majority of the populace, with the very rich occupying the tip of the new economic pyramid. The middle class will be virtually erased, and their stabilizing social and political power dramatically weakened. The America of 2050 will be a second or third rate power, eternally on the verge or in actual blood-stained revolution.
Of course, there is one possibility to forestall this revolutionary state - military run or supported dictatorship. Shooting thousands of people does make quite an impression on rebels, at least for a while. However, we need look no further than an exploding Arab world to know the end results of playing that heavy card!