- File Size: 337 KB
- Print Length: 94 pages
- Publication Date: April 20, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01ELXQZGE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform Kindle Edition
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One area in which I disagree with the author, however, is his contention that continued borrowing will inevitably lead to runaway inflation. That might happen if resources actually became scarce. But so far the corporate "machine" has been able to produce more manufactured goods than the populace can consume, thus keeping inflation in check. Right now the main constraint in this area is on demand rather than supply.
The real inflation right now is in things like medical services and higher education. Though homes (including their attendant property taxes) in prestigious locations have also risen significantly in cost. Fine art and gourmet meals have also escalated in price, but these are intrinsically luxury items which tend to charge what the traffic will bear, so their effect on the general society is limited.
Where the inflation that currently exists is particularly evident is in areas that are cartel-controlled. Thus the availability of medical doctors in the U.S. Is effectively regulated by both medical school quotas and their costs, even though it's pretty clear that this particular profession will not soon be replaced by automation. (Notwithstanding the fact that some 90% of Dr. visits could probably be handled successfully by an app with legal drug-prescribing power. Would/could such a system be abused? Might it make mistakes? Yes, but that happens now with human doctors.)
So buy the book. You won't be disappointed--unless that is you're one of the status quo elite or aspire to be such.
Smith explains that today's economic problems are due to self-serving elites who chase worldwide profits through Globalization regardless of the consequences for the areas they leave or enter. The mechanism is the worldwide mobility of capital to seek lower costs and higher profits. The political-economic theory supporting this is neoliberalism, supported by both the Bush and Clinton Dynasties.
There is of course nothing new about elites serving themselves at the expense of everyone else. It has been going on for thousands of years. What is new is that today's elites have modern global technology, which accelerates the process. People increasingly recognize this but they are not that familiar with how capital moves behind the scenes.
What people are most familiar with is the institutions that promote this status quo to the public. These institutions include the news media, academia, and Hollywood. The journalists, professors, and entertainers inhabiting these institutions get upper middle class pay, or higher in some instances, to support the neoliberal status quo and thus they take the front lines in defending it. Politicians and government bureaucrats doing the same thing are a bit less vocal.
This book was written just before Trump was elected but the elite response to his victory shows how it operates. The 2016 election was supposed to be between the Bush and Clinton Dynasties. When the outsider Donald Trump entered the race, the three main propaganda elements (media, academia, Hollywood) went into a state of hysteria which has continued to this day. He attacked the two main elements of the neoliberal status quo: open borders for more profits and welfare for the victims.
The teleological imperative (as Smith would say) for the neoliberal state in America is a small elite which owns most of the capital and thus most of the profits from this system. After the well-paid propaganda elements get their take, the next level would the technicians (preferably from cheap foreign labor) who would manage the increasingly computer-automated economy. There would still be a small lowly paid service sector to do those things computers cannot do. But the fate of most of the population would be some form of welfare.
It used be that the Republican Party stood more for Wall Street but now both parties are equally indebted there. The main difference seems to be that the Democrat Party has adopted the welfare state as its main constituency while the GOP sees it as a necessary evil to be limited whenever possible. Meanwhile Hollywood and television try to keep the masses entertained with endless rubbish while the news media does the same with sensational news which is rapidly emulating the National Enquirer.
Above all, elections have become a form of entertainment meant to make voters feel they control things. The country is already mostly run by nonelected officials such as government bureaucrats, federal judges, and Federal Reserve bureaucrats who control much of the economy. But this is not enough, the elites cannot even stomach the pretense of any outsider controlling the diminished power of the White House, which is why the elite attacks on President Trump are non-stop.
Charles takes a rather antiseptic approach. He still believes in the perfectibility of man, in our ability to make intelligent choices if the alternatives are presented in a logical way. I think the evidence goes the other way.
I've referred this book to a few of my more traditionally leaning friends and it has provoked some interesting discussions and changing of minds which is much appreciated.
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