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The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class
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    Useful book.

    Media talking heads complain that Washington is “dysfunctional.” But it is functioning very well—in the interests of those at the top of the economic pyramid. Growing inequality is not an accident. The rich are getting richer from the same policies that are making American workers poorer.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Servant-Economy-Americas-Sending/dp/0470182393/

  • 124 Replies sorted by
  • Fascism is alive and well!

  • Is Our Future Going to Be Keeping Rich People Happy in a Servant Economy?

    http://www.alternet.org/our-future-going-be-keeping-rich-people-happy-servant-economy?paging=off

  • Since Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour in 1996, broadcast golf has enjoyed a decade-and-a-half-long financial boom. That same year only nine players earned more than $1 million. By 2012, that number had ballooned to 100. But even as the money in televised golf has grown, participation has shrunk. The sport loses about 1 million players per year. That dwindling pool of paying customers has made the competition to sell them equipment ever more fierce.

    http://grantland.com/features/a-mysterious-physicist-golf-club-dr-v/

  • Another book on the same topic that was published in English this month: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (currently Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics).

  • @karl

    Thanks, will check it soon.

  • Piketty's main point is simple enough even for business economists to understand: the rate of return on capital today is higher than GDP growth.

    So, every year, the rich get richer, creating family dynasties, and it's impossible for workers to ever catch up, because in a casino economy money makes more money than work does.

  • Piketty's main point is simple enough even for business economists to understand: the rate of return on capital today is higher than GDP growth.

    Btw this numbers also tell that bank system must be eliminated like cancer.

  • The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest

    The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that honor, and many Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the country. “Things are pretty flat,” said Kathy Washburn of Mount Vernon, Iowa. “You have mostly lower level and high and not a lot in between.”.

    APRIL 22, 2014http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/upshot/the-american-middle-class-is-no-longer-the-worlds-richest.html?_r=1

  • One explanation why this trend is so marked in the U.S., as compared to other industrialized democracies, is the extraordinary support among the American upper income and super-rich, to cut government benefits and subsidies which go to anyone but themselves.

    Meanwhile, the U.S., among OECD countries, collects far less in taxes than our trading partners as a measure of GDP (only Mexico and Chile are below our levels), and yet still manages to offer most workers a lower standard of living than in most of Western Europe. It's even worse when you consider that these other countries provide health insurance for the price of their higher taxes. Which means in effect that taxes+medical costs as a percentage of income are as high or even higher on the American middle-class than in France or Germany, but without any of the social safety net benefits, while taxes on high wealth in the U.S. are far lower than in Europe.

    Put all this together, and it explains a lot.

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  • When Congressmen are among the richest...

    Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club. The wealthiest lawmakers with breakdowns of their assets and liabilities is found below.

    http://media.cq.com/50richest/the-50-richest-members-of-congress-113th-2013.html

    "Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor"

    Believed to have been first popularised by Michael Harrington's 1962 book The Other American which Harrington cited Charles Abrams, a well-known authority on housing.

  • I agree with everything that's been posted in this thread. It's slowly starting to become more widely know among the average U.S. citizenry, but still not enough to cause change. More books and reports in the media will help to spread the word and counter the propaganda from the monied interests pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.

  • I live in this world. In my place, there's this overclass and then everyone who works for them. The people who work for "Them" are carpenters, maids, and even lawyers and doctors. The troubling thing for me is that the overclass, almost to a person, has this sense of entitlement. There's a sentiment that everything on this planet for their exclusive benefit. If they're called on it, the response is typically "Class envy". That's infuriating. It has nothing to do with envy. It's about social justice. Some recent research supports the observation with real data.

  • A recent policy study from Princeton has been making headlines with the claim that the US is far more like an oligarchy than a representative democracy. Interestingly, their data set runs from 1981 to 2002, following the bust of the internet bubble and well before the 2008 crash. Such a large scale oligarchical system of course needs plenty of servants. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/14/1292085/-DINO-New-Scientific-Study-Says-Yes-But-It-s-Not-What-You-Think#

  • I think to call the US a democracy today, is a convenient bit of propaganda by the handlers...when you're buying votes and laws, democracy is history and what's the point of being the ruling class if you don't have a vast number of servants?

  • Another book on the same topic that was published in English this month: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (currently Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics).

    Checked the book, still reading, but can say that it is not very good book, written by guy who think that long complex definition and explanations can make something look smarter.

    Author position can be described as follows:

    Imagine five wolfs with plates full of sheep bones.
    They talk politely about current situation while few remaining sheep are shaking in far dark corner.
    And smartest wolf declare:
    - I think all the problems are because we are sitting in wrong order
    - I don't think it is the case - answer the second wolf
    - May be, but we must be very concerned with all this inequality, as it is just pity to look at the shaking shits, and it is not good for their health, hence - for our health.
    - I agree - but do not even attempt to start any socialist talks as being 2 years old child I vividly remember TV news were they said how horrible socialism is. So I have cure for whole life now against totalitarian wolfs hating regimes.
    - No, no, do not worry. I think we must just write and publish declaration of sheep rights. Teach sheep on TV how to behave properly to preserve meet taste while waiting for their round. And I still insist that we must restrict consumption to five sheep a day and sit in reverse order.
    - Sounds wise.
    - So, be it.

  • Another book on the same topic that was published in English this month: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (currently Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics).

    ...yea, because we all know that the government's control of interest-rates, the creation of the federal reserve, and monopoly of currency are all just shining bastions of free-market capitalism. sarcasm-face

    How do books like these even get published? There's more dogma in books like these than in the bible itself...

  • because we all know that the government's control of interest-rates, the creation of the federal reserve, and monopoly of currency are all just shining bastions of free-market capitalism.

    Sadly, free market capitalism is not possible in modern developed countries.

    But people where it exists (usually the poorest countries) will meet any proponent of free markets with few bullets.

  • "Sadly" free market capitalism is not possible. Please explain the "Sadly"

  • "Sadly" free market capitalism is not possible. Please explain the "Sadly"

    Second sentence pretty much explain it. Otherwise it is just sarcasm.

  • Mine was 100% sarcasm and 100% rhetorical. Having grown up under Thatcher I can assure you that they can stick their free market Capitalism up their arses.

  • There's more dogma in books like these than in the bible itself...

    You mean, unlike your own implied view that if governments didn't control interest-rates, create federal reserves, and monopolize currencies, we'd all be fat and happy -- or, at least, Ayn Rand fantasists would be -- because somehow or other, despite the lack of any remotely convincing example in human history, past or present, your untested ideas would actually sustain decent and prosperous societies of hundreds of millions of people?

    In the absence of any actual evidence, this view sounds about as grounded in reality as believing that life began 6000 years ago in the Garden of Eden.

  • -- because somehow or other, despite the lack of any remotely convincing example in human history, past or present,

    Ok well, this is like saying that the idea that "less religion causes less conflict" also lacks evidence because there have been no completely atheist societies and therefore, is untested and should be abandoned. It doesn't matter because it's IMPLIED by the evidence. If we treated every facet of human progress with this mindset we would never get anywhere, as we never see 100% examples of anything anywhere. I mean, I really don't know how much more evidence you need than what is already available in history. If the death toll by peoples' own government's throughout history, and the innovation and wealth that has occurred when governments leave people alone, doesn't convince you that the alternatives than nothing I say ever will.

    You mean, unlike your own implied view that if governments didn't control interest-rates, create federal reserves, and monopolize currencies, we'd all be fat and happy

    So you're making a case FOR centralized control of the economy that is determined by small political 1%? If so, how is this better than an economy determined by 100's or 1000's of smaller entities and business that, at least, have to provide products and services to people to have any kind of real influence? Why are economic-monopolies (even though they're only possible WITH support of States) so feared, but POLITICAL monopolies of currency and force are not only allowed, but lauded as "the only way civilization can work"? This is dumber than religion, IMO. Do you not see how it's all just another trick for control and power? It's nothing but Stockholm Syndrome on a larger scale.

  • I mean, I really don't know how much more evidence you need than what is already available in history.

    I agree, but not in the way you intend. You may recall that the so-called "Chicago-boys" did indeed experiment with entire economies, among them Chile and Russia, on so-called "free market" principles. In all cases, the result was a disaster for the vast majority of citizens.

    By contrast, societies organized around principles you despise -- central banks, heavy taxation, high regulatory burdens, powerful unions, etc. -- have a proven history of delivering what, in historical terms, is a shockingly high quality of life for huge numbers of people, and over the course of generations. How many Frenchmen, Norwegians or Germans would trade their highly centralized economies for either the U.S. version, in order to produce Donald Trumps and billionaire hedge managers of their own, and run up hundreds of thousands in student debt and medical bills, or for life in unregulated Guatemala or Nigeria?

    So yeah, I am making a case for centralized control of the economy, absent a proven alternative.

    Unlike you, I'm not a utopian. I don't expect to see society ever fulfill my ideals. I just want to get through it as pleasantly and productively as possible, with some balance between state oppression and that of monied interests. And the last place I would look for either pleasant or productive is the Randians or the Austrian school.

  • ayn rand. a shame such a marginal figure still finds a following.

  • @brianl

    Good idea is read and think by yourself. Ayn Rand books have few good ideas.