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The Evolution of Evil

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Perhaps a global political apocalypse has already arrived.

Activists and dissidents should understand that evil forces and tyrannical governments have evolved. Just as human knowledge and science expand, so do the strategies and instruments used by rulers, elites and plutocrats. By learning from history and using new technology they have smarter tools of tyranny. The best ones prevent uprisings, revolutions and political reforms. Rather than violently destroy rebellious movements, they let them survive as marginalized and ineffective efforts that divert and sap the energy of nonconformist and rebellious thinkers. Real revolution remains an energy-draining dream, as evil forces thrive.

Most corrupt and legally sanctioned forms of tyranny hide in plain sight as democracies with free elections. The toughest lesson is that ALL elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections. Few Americans accept that their government has become a two-party plutocracy run by a rich and powerful ruling class. The steady erosion of the rule of law is masked by everyday consumer freedoms. Because people want to be happy and hopeful, we have an epidemic of denial, especially in the present presidential campaign. But to believe that any change-selling politician or shift in party control will overturn the ruling class is the epitome of self-delusion and false hope. In the end, such wishful thinking perpetuates plutocracy. Proof is that plutocracy has flourished despite repeated change agents, promises of reform and partisan shifts.

The tools of real rebellion are weak. Activists and dissidents look back and see successful rebellions and revolutions and think that when today’s victims of tyranny experience enough pain and see enough political stink they too will revolt. This is wrong. They think that the Internet spreads information and inspiration to the masses, motivating them to revolt. This is wrong. They await catastrophic economic or environmental collapse to spur rebellion. This too is wrong.

Why are these beliefs wrong? Power elites have an arsenal of weapons to control and manipulate social, political and economic systems globally: corruption of public officials that makes elections a sham; corporate mainstream media that turn news into propaganda; manipulation of financial markets that creates fear for the public and profits for the privileged; false free trade globalization that destroys the middle class; rising economic inequality that keep the masses time-poor and financially insecure; intense marketing of pharmaceuticals that keep people passive; and addictive consumerism, entertainment and gambling that keep people distracted and pacified.

The biggest challenge for dissidents and rebels is to avoid feel-good therapeutic activism having virtually no chance of removing evil and tyranny. Idealism without practicality, tactics without lofty goals, and symbolic protests pose no threat to power elites. Anger and outrage require great strategic thinking from leaders seeking revolution, not mere change. And social entrepreneurs that use business and management skills to tackle genuine social problems do nothing to achieve political reforms. To the extent they achieve results they end up removing interest in overthrowing political establishments that have allowed the problems to fester.

What is the new tool of tyranny? Technological connectivity achieved through advanced communications and computer systems, especially the rise of wireless connectivity. The global message to the masses is simple: Buy electronic products to stay plugged in. Connectivity may give pleasure, but it gives even more power to elites, rulers and plutocrats. It allows them to coordinate their efforts through invisible cabals, to closely monitor everything that ordinary people and dissidents do, and to cooperatively and clandestinely adjust social, financial and political systems to maintain stability and dominance.

In this dystopian world all systems are integrated to serve upper class elites and the corporate state, not ordinary people. When ordinary people spend their money to be more shackled to connectivity products, they become unwitting victims of largely invisible governmental and corporate oppressive forces. They are oblivious that their technological seduction exacerbates their political and economic exploitation.

Increasingly, the little-discussed phenomenon of economic apartheid ensures that elites live their lavish lives safely in physically separated ways. Concurrently, economic inequality rises, as the rich extract unusually high fractions of global wealth. When the rich get richer, the powerful get stronger. Does some economic prosperity trickle down to the poorest people? Perversely, the middle class is moved into the lower class. In this new physics of evil, wealth transfer is not from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class in wealthier countries to the poor in developing nations, where a few new billionaires join the global plutocracy.

Some data on economic inequality: The after-tax income of the top 1 percent of Americans rose 228 percent from 1979 through 2005, while middle class income remained flat over the last 4 decades. The richest 0.01 percent of earners made 5.1 percent of all income in 2005, up more than 300 percent from just 1.2 percent in 1960. Bad economic times like the present just exacerbate inequality. Even as most Wall Street companies lost billions in the sub-prime mortgage debacle after they had already made billions, they gave obscene bonuses to their employees: the average topped $180,000 for 2007, tripling the $61,000 in 2002.

The New World Order is getting what it wants: a stable two-class system, with the lower class serving the elitist upper class. The paradox is that along with rising economic inequality and apartheid is mounting consumerism and materialism that is used to pacify, distract and control the masses. That’s where easy credit and cheap products from low-wage nations are critical. The poor can have cell phones, 24-7 Internet access and increasingly cars, while the bejeweled upper class travel in private jets and yachts, vacation on private islands, and have several gated mansions maintained by servants and guarded by private police. We have a technologically advanced form of medieval society. It is working in the US and China and most other places. Elections just mask economic tyranny and slavery.

The ruling class knows how to maintain stability. Keep the masses distracted, fearful, brainwashed, insecure, and dependent on government and business sectors for survival. Train people to see themselves as relatively free consumers. Maintain the myth that ordinary people can become wealthy and join the ruling class, which theoretically is not impossible, but of no statistical significance for the masses.

There are no easy paths to restore power to the people. But here are three strategies worth considering. First, the real power of the masses is as consumers, not as voters, workers, activists, or Internet users. Weakened unions, globalization, technology, and illegal immigration have sapped the power of workers. National economies, especially the US, depend on consumers. Suspensions in discretionary consumer spending used as a political weapon could force reforms. But curbing personal spending and saving money has become a rare form of civil disobedience. Consumers buy stuff when they want it, not when they can afford it. Rulers have replaced chains with debt and no political leader in a very long time has championed economic rebellion.

Second, because they are more a tool of tyranny than rebellion, the masses should stop giving credibility and legitimacy to faux democracies by boycotting elections. Plutocrats cleverly equate patriotism and good citizenship with voting while at the same time ensuring that no genuine change agents can succeed even if elected. All election results can be subverted by the forces of corruption. Those promising change, like Barack Obama, do not pose a lethal threat to forces of evil and corruption. Sadly, refusing to vote in corrupt political systems is another worthy but unpopular form of civil disobedience. The compulsion to vote is a political narcotic that sustains democratic tyranny.

Third, people must seek forms of direct democracy that give them political power. National ballot measures and initiatives are needed to make laws, impose spending mandates and recall elected officials. A most important tool is constitutional conventions outside the control of status quo preservationists to obtain systemic reforms that governments will never provide, as explained for the US at www.foavc.org. No greater example of ruling class power exists than the absence of massive public demands for using what the Founders gave Americans in Article V: the convention option to circumvent and fix the federal government that – amazingly – has never been used, and that no presidential candidate has supported, including constitutional champion Ron Raul.

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About Joel S. Hirschhorn

Formerly full professor Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, and senior official Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and National Governors Association. Author of four nonfiction books and hundreds of articles.
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The after-tax income of the top 1 percent of Americans rose 228 percent from 1979 through 2005, while middle class income remained flat over the last 4 decades. The richest 0.01 percent of earners made 5.1 percent of all income in 2005, up more than 300 percent from just 1.2 percent in 1960.

    Which actually means nothing about the welfare, wealth or living circumstances of the averge citizen. The ultra-wealthy exist largely outside of the economy and their increases in wealth in no sense come at the expense of the rest of society. Their wealth is largely created wealth which benefits the economy and is ultimately spent and reinvested to the benefit of everyone.

    As for your figure about the increase in wealth of the highest income earners, perhaps it would help to put it in context.

    Since 1979 the poorest 20% of the population has seen an increase in average income of 286% (those now earning up to $20K/yr). The second poorset quintile has seen its income increase an average of 290% (those now earning up to $38K/yr). The middle quintile has seen its income increase 300% (those now earning up to $60K/yr). The second highest guintile has seen and increase of 334%(those now earning up to $97K/yr). The highest quintile has seen its income increase 375% (those now earning up to $174K/yr).

    So contrary to your assertion, every single income group has seen a GREATER rate of increase in income than your top 1% in the time period you specified.

    Of course, a smaller rate of increase of a larger starting income does lead to more spread between the income groups, but that’s just the nature of income growth, not some sort of plutocratic conspiracy.

    As for the income of the ‘middle class’, in the last 4 decades, rather than flat income growth as you suggest, we’ve seen median income increase more than 50% even after adjusting for inflation. So on the numbers your overall thesis is just dead wrong.

    Dave

  • Jonathan Scanlan

    On your Three Strategies:

    1. Voting with your feet is ultimately flawed. There is simply not enough choice and not enough information to do so. Not only that, but by spending you are helping to provide work for other people, which in turn reduces unemployment and keeps working conditions good.

    2. When voters Boycott an election, what they really do is increase the value of those that do. You are never going to get an election without votes because at minimum the politicians will vote for themselves and in turn those that continue to will be give more sway than if everyone does.

    3. You cannot afford to have a continuous stream of referenda just so that the public knows what is going on and can make decisions. Most of what government does are drab planning proposals. Granted, it is preferable if there is a good system of feed back, but not everyone needs to be involved all of the time.

  • Clavos

    This entire article is premised on mass unhappiness on the part of the people.

    Yet, you yourself point out that the people are kept happy by the sinister cabals of rich rulers and drugged by the pharmas, so they lack incentive (unhappiness) to revolt.

    Whether or not the rich are sinisterly conniving in their millions of numbers worldwide (an impossible feat in itself), the masses certainly don’t seem to be in a revolutionary mood.

    Must be because the sinister rich are doing a great job of distracting them; which begs the question:

    Even if the middle class is being controlled and manipulated by the rich and powerful, if they (the masses) are happy in their blissful consumerism, so what?

    Another delusional tempest in a teapot from this author.

  • bliffle

    As usual, Dave comes up with astonishing statistics, given without attribution. But why do that?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry, Bliff. here’s your citation from the Census Bureau. By now I’d think you’d realize that I don’t just make this shit up.

    Dave

  • troll

    Clavos – *Even if the middle class is being controlled and manipulated by the rich and powerful, if they (the masses) are happy in their blissful consumerism, so what?*

    you’re right…I never could figure out what was wrong with being a battery

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Even if the middle class is being controlled and manipulated by the rich and powerful, if they (the masses) are happy in their blissful consumerism, so what?

    That is one of the glaring logical errors in the article, yes.

    The other one, and far more significant in the context of Joel’s argument, is his claim that the plutocrats* learn from past errors to develop better ways of wielding power. That being so, they must have learned from the downfall of the majority of past dictators that autocratic government, in the long term, simply doesn’t work.

    Joel bandies the term ‘tyranny’ around a lot. The ancient Greeks understood that a tyrant was not necessarily bad news. Many of the Greek states were effectively (and temporarily) governed by a tyrant when it was expeditious.

    * I almost typed ‘pluotcrats’. Yes, folks, we’re being oppressed by a ruling class of despotic hybrid fruit!

  • STM

    Guten morgen Herr Unterscharfuehrer das Komment, und Herr Clavos von Mexico. Wie gehts du?

  • STM

    Und Herr Troll von der Huf, und Herr Nalle, das blogcritics realpolitik experten.

  • STM

    Doc: “The ancient Greeks understood that a tyrant was not necessarily bad news.”

    Geez, I knew this was going to happen …

  • troll

    …and so quickly too

  • troll

    ah well – at least we’ll be able to say we knew him when…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ahem. Note how the above three comments have not been deleted. You pair of clowns…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Joel bandies the term ‘tyranny’ around a lot.

    I think that Joel is one of those folks who doesn’t feel like he’s serving a purpose unless he’s jousting at windmills. But like Quixote he hasn’t quite gotten the fact that they ARE windmills and not in fact evil giants.

    As for the ‘realpolitik’, when did Troll ever show any interest in it?

    As for me, I have no problem admitting that policy has to be based on idealism levened with at least some element of realism.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “Ahem. Note how the above three comments have not been deleted. You pair of clowns…”

    Wimpy pom…(oh wait,…that’s a tautology) :>)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    [sigh…]

  • C. Ikehara

    The following recent article asks:

    – Has the unbridled spread of commercialism and technology transformed us from small groups of active amateur participants and involved citizens to a large single mass of professional passive spectators and nonstop consumers?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Perhaps a global political apocalypse has already arrived.

    Joel’s first line is an unconscious clue as to what has occurred. I’m sure that Joel has no clue as to what he is really writing here, but he echoes me in many ways, albeit without the Jewish prophetic overlay or analysis.

    But let’s look at the critique of Joel’s reasoning first. Having managed a Burger King for a dozen years and sold their “dream”, their version of a “Mclife” for a living, I understand this rather well.

    There is a difference between enjoying “life” and enjoying a “Mclife”. When you enjoy life, you yourself feel some sense of wholeness, and a heightened sense of reality. You don’t get this from pot or lines of coke. Being high on life is a great feeling. When you enjoy a “Mclife”, you experience satisfaction with being one of the cows chewing the cud, along with the rest of the herd.

    If a ruling elite can substitute its version of a “Mclife” for real life – i.e, the bullshit peddled here on BC (and elsewhere) as entertainment in place of real entertainment – if a ruling elite can dumb down education and the media so that instead of a nation of independent thinkers, you have a herd of cattle following the latest fad (the great accomplishment of the 1920’s), you will have that herd of cattle distracted and chewing the cud the ruling elite provides.

    This, in essence, is what Joel is talking about. “Connectivity” is just his term for what the ruling elite has provided for bullshit to keep the sheeple occupied so that they do not rebel against conditions that worsen ever so slowly. This is what the movie Matrix is all about, by the way, and why it is so popular. Most folks do realize that there is something far better than the “consumer culture” to which they have been hooked to like so many addicts. It is just beyond their imaginations, like something just beyond the tip of the tongue….

    If I were still a secular fellow, I would simply suggest that the bullet be substituted for the ballot, and that the shit (the ruling elites, from top to bottom, the kind of people that Dave worked with for a number of years and continually makes excuses for, that Clavos sells his boats to) be murdered off. But that would only provide room for the next bunch of criminals to take their place and eventually replicate the hidden tyranny of the present elites.

    Joel’s answers are not workable either. First people have to understand in their guts that they are all in a huge McDonald’s being fed a “Mclife”. The trick is to break out of “McDonald’s” and get some real air.

    This task is virtually impossible to do via the internet – the ruling elites control the internet. It is impossible via a ballot. The ruling elites have corrupted the system of the ballot.

    In short, the dystopia has arrived. Those of us with faith will see it broken.

  • P.Marlowe

    First… Dave – work harder for your stats. Quoting raw numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t cut it. Go to the National Bureau of Economic Research and do a little work. Go to the New York Times and Washington Post and L.A. Times and TRACKING the tax sections… READ David Cay Johnston’s books – PERFECTLY LEGAL and FREE LUNCH…

    What LITTLE republicans, those folks at the higher end of the SHRINKING middle class don’t realize is that they’re being used by those who wield real power in this country.

    Just as the vested interests in the Republican Party have used and abused the Religious Right for the past 27 years so have they used Mr. Big Fish in Little Pond, America. The fellow who owns a business, perhaps employees a hundred people there in Little Pond.

    Think of a Frank Capra film… The fellow with the puffed up chest, constantly amazed at how important he is…

    He is the perfect sucker for the truly powerful. Those who’s money and influence make Mr. Big Fish from Little Pond look like some pathetic lower life form.

    What is sad is that Big Fish, not a bad guy really, is being used and abused. He gets his marching orders at the $500 a plate Republican fundraiser and marches right back to Little Pond, parroting everything he’s heard.

    What a spectacle that dinner must be! Sad little men, thinking that the massive SHARKS they’re circling give a rat’s ass about them or their pathetic, myopic views. Can you imagine Dick Cheney standing there listening to these stuffed shirts. You know all he’s thinking is, “Shut the hell up and write the goddamned check already!”

    It’s the same in every era. Those that truly HAVE the power convince a host of others – always kept at arm’s length, that “ALL this can be yours too, if you serve the Cause!”

    Marlowe…

  • Clavos

    “What is sad is that Big Fish, not a bad guy really, is being used and abused. He gets his marching orders at the $500 a plate Republican fundraiser and marches right back to Little Pond, parroting everything he’s heard.”

    And he’s happy as a clam. He either doesn’t consider himself “used and abused” or is unaware that he is. Either way, he goes back home and brags about his experience to all his cronies at the golf club. He’s happy.

    It’s the same in every era. Those that truly HAVE the power convince a host of others – always kept at arm’s length, that “ALL this can be yours too, if you serve the Cause!””

    …And everybody’s happy, except for a few malcontent do-gooders, with whom the powerful always find a way to deal, usually by co-opting or bribing.

    In all of nature, since the dawn of time, the powerful have used and abused (and devoured) the weak. I doubt that will change – ever.

    And it probably shouldn’t.

    BTW, were you just using the republicans as symbols for all of humanity, or do you actually believe they are the only animals that actually behave like that?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    In all of nature, since the dawn of time, the powerful have used and abused (and devoured) the weak. I doubt that will change – ever.

    And it probably shouldn’t.

    Another unconscious comment, very similar to Joel’s first line. It reveals a great deal, Clavos, more than you desire it too…. ;o)

  • Clavos

    Wrong, Ruvy.

    Comment was made with full knowledge and aforethought, as they say…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    First… Dave – work harder for your stats. Quoting raw numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t cut it.

    The reason I use sources like the Census Bureau, the BEA and the BLS is that they DO provide raw data, rather than data which has been massaged and redefined to suit a thesis.

    Go to the National Bureau of Economic Research and do a little work. Go to the New York Times and Washington Post and L.A. Times and TRACKING the tax sections… READ David Cay Johnston’s books – PERFECTLY LEGAL and FREE LUNCH…

    I have to ask why you think it’s better for me to parrot the ideas of others than to look at raw data and facts and form my own opinions? If I wanted to parrot someone I could just go to the Cato website and get plenty of powerful arguments to use.

    What LITTLE republicans, those folks at the higher end of the SHRINKING middle class don’t realize is that they’re being used by those who wield real power in this country.

    Everyone uses everyone. The little Republicans are using the big boys too. They go to those meetings and dinners to network and make connections and get in line for contracts for their businesses. What you’re not seeing is that everyone benefits.

    As for the shrinking middle class, I have to direct you to this past article which brings together all the data in one place to IMO pretty ably demonstrate that the reason the middle class is shrinking is not that they are being pushed down into poverty, but in fact that they are being sucked upwards into the class we consider wealthy. The evidence is extremely strong to support this thesis.

    Just as the vested interests in the Republican Party have used and abused the Religious Right for the past 27 years so have they used Mr. Big Fish in Little Pond, America. The fellow who owns a business, perhaps employees a hundred people there in Little Pond.

    Who because he goes to Republican events knows that the local Republican legislator knows his name so that when a slot comes up on a board of commission he’ll be considered for appointment, or when he submits a bid on a state contract someone will put a word in the right ear. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that exploitation is a one-way street.

    Think of a Frank Capra film… The fellow with the puffed up chest, constantly amazed at how important he is…

    Life isn’t a Frank Capra film.

    What is sad is that Big Fish, not a bad guy really, is being used and abused. He gets his marching orders at the $500 a plate Republican fundraiser and marches right back to Little Pond, parroting everything he’s heard.

    He parrots it because they mostly tell him what he already believes and what he sees demonstrated to be true and to his benefit day in and day out in the real world. Less oppressive government taxes and regulation is good for HIS business even moreso than it is for a megacorp. Heavy taxes and regulation just add to the bottom line for a big corporation. For a small businessman they are the difference between success and failure.

    What a spectacle that dinner must be! Sad little men, thinking that the massive SHARKS they’re circling give a rat’s ass about them or their pathetic, myopic views.

    You start off with a good analogy, but don’t follow it through. Your little fish isn’t sad, he’s one of the parasitic fish who lives well off of the leavings of the sharks.

    Dave

  • P.Marlowe

    Dave…

    I wonder how that “net worth” you harp on in your article (well written by the way) looks now with the bottom falling out of the real estate market.

    You forget to note that the vast majority of this supposed upward spiral (which dozens of other reports/articles refute) is wholly based on real estate appraisals going UP.

    I would direct you to the report (December 2007) of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) that shows the top 1% of the population saw their income increase exceed the entire bottom 20% of the US population.

    The poorest fifth of households had a total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while JUST THE INCREASE in income of that top 1% came in at $524.8 billion – 37% higher… (NYT 12/15/07)

    Further the report (and article state) the total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 TRILLION or 18.1% of the TOTAL INCOME OF ALL AMERICANS – up from 14.3% only TWO YEARS EARLIER in 2003.

    LONG QUOTE FOLLOWS:

    “At every income level Americans had more income, after adjusting for inflation in 2005 than in 2003, but the increases ranged from almost imperceptible for the poor to modest for the middle class and largest for those at the top.”

    “On average, incomes for the top 1 percent of households rose by $465,700 each, or 42.6 percent after adjusting for inflation. The incomes of the poorest fifth rose by $200, or 1.3 percent, and the middle fifth increased by $2,400 or 4.3 percent.”

    “The total 2005 income of the three million individual Americans at the top was roughly equal to that of the bottom 166 million Americans, analysis of the report showed.”

    “The report is the latest to document the growing concentration of income at the top, a trend that President Bush said last January had been under way for more than 25 years.

    Earlier reports, based on tax returns, showed that in 2005 the top 10 percent, top 1 percent and fractions of the top 1 percent enjoyed their greatest share of income since 1928 and 1929.”

    Poll after poll after poll shows middle America feeling squeezed. They’re working harder and getting no where, while they see those above them beginning to live in a world almost wholly removed from the one most Americans know.

    Marlowe

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I wonder how that “net worth” you harp on in your article (well written by the way) looks now with the bottom falling out of the real estate market.

    Your definition of the bottom falling out and mine are quite different. Nationwide we’re talking a 3.7% decline in value since this started, according to CNNMoney. That represents a larger percentage decline in the value of mostly low-end homes in limited areas of the country and prices which are stable or increasing in other parts of the country and for higher end homes. In some areas $300K+ homes increased more than 20% in value last quarter. All of this is a matter for concern, but mainly because of the hits the low-end mortgagers are taking, not because of the overall market, which is only down that 3.7%, and isn’t expected to go down more than 20% total in the worst case scenarios.

    You forget to note that the vast majority of this supposed upward spiral (which dozens of other reports/articles refute) is wholly based on real estate appraisals going UP.

    About 80% of those earning $150,000 a year or more do not have real estate as the primary repository of their net worth according to a report from PNC financial. So in fact, that upswing is NOT based on the rise in real estate appraisals. And even if it were, homes over $300K are rising in value slightly on a nationwide average, not declining.

    I would direct you to the report (December 2007) of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) that shows the top 1% of the population saw their income increase exceed the entire bottom 20% of the US population.

    A popular, but meaningless comparison. It’s not the AMOUNT of money which they gained, but the percentage of increase relative to their prior income which matters.

    The poorest fifth of households had a total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while JUST THE INCREASE in income of that top 1% came in at $524.8 billion – 37% higher… (NYT 12/15/07)

    You’re comparing groups with median incomes of $22,000 vs. $1.5 million a year. Before any increases. And your figures aren’t complete enough to make a valid comparison. How much was the percentage increase for BOTH groups. How much was the percentage increase for the median wage earner in each group? Those are the figures you need to compare, and you need to compare percentages, not raw dollars. Hell, you really ought to compare after tax increases, because people in the bottom quintile aren’t paying any taxes at all.

    Further the report (and article state) the total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 TRILLION or 18.1% of the TOTAL INCOME OF ALL AMERICANS – up from 14.3% only TWO YEARS EARLIER in 2003.

    That’s the obvious outcome of a boom in the stock market. I bet that in the last quarter there’s been a correspondingly huge drop in income. So what? You really can’t compare the incomes of people who earn wages and the incomes of people who overwhelmingly get income from investments. It’s apples and oranges and makes no sense at all.

    In the 4th quarter of last year overall NYSE dividends dropped 5.7%, while the net value of those investments dropped 15% in that same quarter. So those people whose income increased so much in your two year out of date report are taking it on the ass now, while incomes based on wages continue to rise at a slow and steady rate.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “Hell, you really ought to compare after tax increases, because people in the bottom quintile aren’t paying any taxes at all.”

    They do pay sales taxes which have a disproportionately greater effect on lower income families.

  • troll

    the idea that you cannot compare the ‘income’ of the owner and worker classes (obscene on the face of it) begs the question of the purpose of one’s analysis

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    It’s not obscene, troll, it’s just obvious good sense.

    The income of the top 1% comes largely from investment of various sorts. The income of the lower 20% comes mostly from salary. There’s no relationship between those two types of income, so why does it make any sense to compare them?

    Les’ point on sales tax has some validity, except that he’s got it backwards. Sales tax has a larger impact on the wealthy than the poor, because a larger proportion of their spending is on luxury goods taxed at special rates, hotels which are taxed at higher rates, and a much smaller portion of their spending is on untaxed staple goods.

    Dave

  • troll

    coordinated worker class action to increase its income directly affects the income of the owner class –

    Paula Voost and Steve Abraham (using ‘event analysis’) have demonstrated that the very act of unionizing decreases the owner class’ bottom line as do actions that empower existing unions (you’ll find their work posted at allbusiness.com)

    and if you consider the impact of owner class decisions to increase it’s income by ‘seeking cheap labor’ on the income of the US based segments of the worker class the ‘relationship’ is pretty clear

    wage and investment incomes are not independent and proposals to view them in the abstract as if they have independent histories serves only the owner class

  • Les Slater

    “Sales tax has a larger impact on the wealthy than the poor, because a larger proportion of their spending is on luxury goods taxed at special rates, hotels which are taxed at higher rates, and a much smaller portion of their spending is on untaxed staple goods.”

    Let’s talk about discretionary spending. ‘…a larger portion of their spending is on luxury goods taxed at special rates…’ They do have that discretion though, don’t they? On the other hand low income families do NOT have ANY such discretion. Such is out of the question. The lower income families’ wages do not keep up with real inflation. They are being squeezed, at least partially, by the so-called ‘volatile’ components the CPI, those not counted, like food and fuel prices. Food prices were removed from the CPI because ‘if the price of steak went up they could always eat hamburgers, anyways a diet of rice and beans is healthier’. In this scenario a sales tax on anything they buy is a much greater burden to the poor than to the wealthy.

  • STM

    Doc: I now can’t bloody look at the title of this thread without thinking of a little fellow with a bad accent strumming a ukele, and imagining the tune “they’re dropping like flies after floridaaaa”. Luckily, the superbowl’s on and the Giants have just scored with 30 second to go (which translates to about another 15 minutes’ REAL time in American Football).

    I love it when the unxderdog gets up. If they do …

  • Clavos

    It’s over; the Giants have won, and there is great rejoicing here in South Florida as the 1972 Miami Dolphins retain their place as the ONLY team in NFL history to have played a perfect season!!

    Ironic, since the 2007 Dolphins had one of the shittiest seasons in NFL history…

  • STM

    Patriots undefeated this season until today, according to a bloke at work. Is that right?

    Bad end result for them then, especially when the game was so close.

    BTW Doc .. It was the “dropping like flies in florida” thread I meant, not Joel’s bollocky one.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I got that, Stan…

    Now “The Evolution of Evil” sounds more like it could be the title of an Iron Maiden album…

    I’m not surprised the Patriots lost. I always felt that they would go undefeated in regular season play, then come a cropper somewhere in the postseason. And so it proved.

    It was a very cagey game with an exciting ending. Except for their final scoring drive, the Pats certainly weren’t firing on all cylinders. Perhaps all those Superbowl rings they already have were weighing them down. Don’t tell Mr T, but it is possible to have too much bling!

  • STM

    Lol. Clav’s obviously a Miami Dolphins fan, and possibly knows every score since 1823.

    He’s doing better than me though Doc. My rugby league team, he mighty North Sydney Bears, didn’t win a premiership after 1922, although they did make the GF in the 40s, but survived long enough to be one of the few clubs punted after a failed merger with their local arch-enemies, the Sea Eagles, a few years back when the competition became the NRL.

    Now I couldn’t give a damn about it, as I don’t have a team. I can’t understand why there’s a team in Melbourne – where they play that other, heathen game that has NO rules – of all places, ’cause no one’s interested in it, and bloody d. Why have a kiwi team in the comp?? Bring the game back to its heartland, I say. If New Zealand wants a competition, let ‘em have their own own.

    Hence, I was more interested in the yankee Superbowl today, even with all that nancy-boy padding, soft hits, stop-start umpiring and faux motorbike helmets, than I am about the game I love:) Just joking. It was actually quite exciting.

    But the very fact that I did enjoy … sad state of affairs, that …

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    But the very fact that I did enjoy … sad state of affairs, that …

    Yeah, I feel the same way. A bit worrying.

    I admitted as much to folks over here a few weeks ago, and they all got really excited and started arguing over which team I should support.

    I told them to give me a break – I’m still trying to figure out why they throw all those flags onto the field every time the coach farts or a player looks at his opponent a bit funny.

    BTW, did you notice how, not content with all the helmets and padding, some of the players have now taken to wearing little perspex windshields attached to their helmet visors? What the heck’s that about?

    And I just love the way they’re calling the New York Giants ‘world champions’ – of a game only Americans play…

  • Clavos

    It’s a seppo thing; you wouldn’t understand.

    Well, maybe — if you live to be a hundred…

    Nah.

    :>)

    BTW. Re the helmets and padding, a serious note for a moment:

    My wife is receiving treatment developed here in Miami at a foundation established at the University of Miami School of Medicine to study spinal cord injuries called The Miami Project To Cure Paralysis. It is the largest center in the world for such studies, and was founded in 1985.

    The Project, ironically, got started with funding from one of those 1972 Dolphins players, Nick Buoniconti, with funds from his own pocket initially, and subsequently from his efforts at fundraising over the past two decades. Buoniconti got involved because his son, Marc, also a football player, was injured when tackled in a college game and has been paralyzed ever since.

    Even the nancy boy padding and helmet didn’t prevent it. Those guys hit (and get hit) hard.

    [Steps down from soapbox]

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    It’s Phillips going for the corner, is he over? He is you know!

    Teehee.

    Stick that up your Sweet Chariot!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    OK, Colin, OK. You and the entire Welsh team get buns.

  • bliffle

    Talking about the evolution of evil, Phillip Zimbardo, who created a famous jail experiment at Stanford several years ago, is talking tonight on NPRs “It’s Your World” :

    It’s your World

    Earlier interviews with Michael Krasny are available here:

    interview

    interview

  • STM

    DD: “BTW, did you notice how, not content with all the helmets and padding, some of the players have now taken to wearing little perspex windshields attached to their helmet visors? What the heck’s that about?”

    It’s so they don’t a poke in the eye, the poor luvs.

    Maybe it’s for rainy-day games, and they are working on a little set of mini-windscreen wipers?

    Clav, on a serious note … the neck injury potential in American Football, Rugby Union and Rugby League is always high, mainly at the tackle in AF and RL, but also at the set piece (scrum, lineout) and the ruck or maul in RU.

    I have had a suspected neck injury myself, and luckily just got away with some pins and needles but they were pretty heavy on me at the hospital, and made me do the full battery of tests and wouldn’t let me a) move or b) go home until they were absolutely certain.

    I was always worried about my son when he was playing, as he played at a high level and the speed of the game and the ferocity of the hits were amped right up. Playing halfback too he was in the thick of the action all the time. They used to spend 15 minutes in an ice bath after each game, which gives you an idea of how much they were getting bashed around.

    In the end, it was a groin injury that got him. Although I loved watching him play, I always had that niggling worry that he might get a serious injury, so in a way I’m glad he made the decision to give it away. I like going to international Test matches and Super 14 games with him, however, as he has a great knowledge and understanding of the game and began playing it at age 7. He can see everything unfolding before it happens and will till me there’s a try (touchdown) in the offing … and then, sure enough, someone will go over.

    Much better than putting my hands over my eyes every time he gets smashed.

  • Clavos

    I’m going through the same experience now, Stan.

    My 13 year old nephew is turning out to be a much better than average (for his age) quarterback in American football, and has his sights set on playing in high school (next year) and hopefully beyond.

    I worry about him, too.

  • STM

    Colin: “It’s Phillips going for the corner, is he over? He is you know! Teehee. Stick that up your Sweet Chariot!”

    Lol.

    Wales 26
    England 19

    Must have been hard to take eh Colin, especially at the World HQ of evil (Twickenham)?

    They looked like they were goners early in the 2nd half, your mob, so that’s a specatcular comeback.

    The Poms looked like they lacked ticker in the last 20, although they made too many unforced errors and Mike Tindall’s bruised liver might have put the wind right up ‘em. How hard do you have get tackled to go to hospital with a bruised liver? Geez, that’s hard footy that …

    Not like a Welshman to gloat about beating the Chooms. The forces of goodness (well, KIND of … we have a different view of all northern hemisphere rugby players down here in the arse-hole end of the world) have once again prevailed over the forces of rottenness (apologies to Maxwell Smart).

  • STM

    Clav, I guess the reality is, if we worried about all that stuff endlessly, we’d never do anything exciting..

    Tell him to warm up and stretch his neck, though, before each game and to stay warm. Kids need to learn how to do it when they’re young.

    There are tricks at the tackle too.

    He should keep his head on the outside, ie in a tackle around the thighs from the side, use the arm at first contact that will keep your head behind the legs not under them as the tackled player goes down.

    I’ve gotta say too, I’ve seen some dumb, dangerous tackles in AF … guys going in head first around the midriff, with the arm and body only the second or third points of contact. Head on tackles should never have the tackler using his head for first point of contact.

    That should be discouraged, and it doesn’t serve any more purpose than a ball-and-all tackle that wraps up an opposing player or a tackle around the thighs or legs that brings them down with the ball.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much that be done about falling at an awkward angle when YOU are tackled, which is why the warm up is paramount.

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