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America Will Keep Losing Its Middle Class as Long as 'Free Markets' Dominate the Economic Debate

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/05/america-will-keep-losing-its-middle-class-long-free-markets-dominate-economic

If nothing else is learned from the climate crisis that is upon us it should be that the word “competition” ought to be expunged from economic discussions and in its stead the word “cooperation” inserted. It is the only way to deal with the reality of living on a finite planet.

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I know this is preaching to the choir - but FAIR TRADE, not free trade. Wiley Coyote is over the abyss. Alienation plays a bizarre role in our situation. Note that this model requires cannibalistic criminality as central crutch because the system knows nothing else and is blindly regenerating paranoia that there is no other option. Insanity in other words.

Being “forced” to “respond” to the Chinese hegemon on its terms the US is getting a taste of its own types of poisons that devious nere do wells have greased its skids from the start. Keep in mind that there is ALWAYS a price - usually in another column on the accounting books. Better to study and become familiar with the principles of the Tao te Ching. The latter provides insight to modes of insight that are perennially sound - especially after the collapse that is roaring down the pike.

We all know how to self-organize for healthy, coherent communities and as always, practice makes perfect.

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As long as money is King, Capitalism will reign, and Socialism will remain a dirty word.

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As will socialist planning, the great unmentionable.

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I have read this several times over and can not come away from it without thinking there something a whole lot wrong in the article.

First and foremost we have to work towards a more cooperative world and not a more competitive world. Resources are finite and competing for the same resources is what causes military conflict. The article then suggest a closer marriage between National Security , the Corporations and the Government in the way of long term planning and making these all work as some sort of cohesive whole. This sounds a whole lot like Fascism.

The article then details how the Western Countries need to rebuild or preserve the middle class. Why are we talking about Class and why does the Western Middle Class need to be saved? From whom? At whos expense? Should we not first look at all of those peoples living in poverty first and come to a means by which the 1 percent and their control of all of the worlds wealth be dismantled first and foremost? Just as all the wealth should not be flowing up the food chain from what we deem the middle class to the 1 percent resulting in that middle class being poorer , all of the wealth should not be flowing from the lower class to the Middle class so as to make the already poor destitute.

What needs to dominate the Economic debate is not the Middle class. It is CAPITALISM itself and it the mantra of consumption and access to markets so that there more consumption and more growth so as to keep this failed model going. What is needed is de-growth and cooperation . In such a world National securityshould not even be an issue as all of us are in this together.

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You’re right 35 (more like 40+) years ago, Americans were sold a bill of goods called the “Free Markets” and how they would “save US all”. Yet in the meantime, “National Policy” which even the Taxi drivers had opinions about has been subverted to point where many regular people no longer even understand and having a “conversation” with them will end with their eyes glazing over! And that’s unfortunate for US all.

Those are the yokels that scream “hands off my Medicare/Social Security” without any understanding that those ARE government programs created by policy! But maybe IF we can keep spreading the words repeated ad nauseum - some of them will awaken.

When conditions get to the breaking point, then democratic socialism may start to be taken seriously by the great majority of the economically oppressed. I’m reminded of the words of Winston Churchill,

“You can always depend on the Americans to do the right thing, just as soon as all alternatives have been exhausted”. Sad but true.

Wise Owl said it. We call ourselves modernized and pat ourselves on the back for “how far we’ve come” but in the end, we all still live in the jungle. If we are fine with that, we can continue to operate under a framework of competition, with every person, every town, every city, every nation competing with their neighbor. Is life just a game? If not, then why do we continue to operate in this winners & losers mentality? Competition implies winners and losers. Let’s imagine we live on a desert island. All ten of us. Are we going to fight each other or cooperate to make sure we all survive? We live on one planet, people. There is only so much to go around. We will never achieve peace and prosperity until we cooperate and give up the idea that someone has to win, and someone else is just going to have to lose.

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Too bad Trump is giving tariffs such a bad rep by so ineptly applying them. This will make it harder for the “fair-traders” of the future like Bernie Sanders to use them.

A sane trade policy would involve a minimum tariff (maybe 15%) on ALL manufactured goods, no matter country of origin and with all tariff revenue divided up and paid out equally to all adult citizens once a year…and encouraging countries that trade with us to do the same.

a) They need to be on ALL manufactured goods. For example, just putting them on, say steel (a manufactured good) would hurt the nail and screw manufacturer if the tariff is not on imported nails and screws also.
b) They need to be applied uniformly no matter country of origin. If only on goods from, say China, then those goods manufactured in China will find their way into the U.S. market via other countries…or the same good will find its way here from manufacturers switching production from China to, say, Vietnam or Mexico.
c) They need to be implemented on a permanent basis (or at least a perceived permanent basis). No company (U.S. or foreign chartered) is going to spend the money to move production here (or back here) and build a factory to sell in the U.S. market and thus avoid the tariff if they think the tariff could be lifted at any moment.
d) Ideally, all tariff revenue should be divided up and paid out equally to all adult citizens once per year to mitigate the higher price problem (higher prices for continued imports and higher prices for the new American made goods replacing the drop in imports).

p.s. Bernie’s GND proposal contains what is, in effect, a ban on all imports that, when produced, emit more greenhouse gases than if produced here…which would be close to zero per the rest of the proposal…

Insanity:  “Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.”  — Einstein, IIRC.
Wise enough, IMHO, to know a duck when he saw one waddle . . .

“Free Markets”, as presently interpreted, is a synonym for unfettered big-dog-eat-little-dog monopolies and profiteering.

  *  A contraction of never-do-wells  (i.e. Tweetle-Dumb, Pence, Giuliani, DeVos, Barr and their ilk.)

**  Unfortunately, the off-the-books costs are usually dumped off on Mother Nature in the form of
     a greatly devastated environment that we will ALL have to pay for eventually.

Addams’ Law, aka P9: 
        Properly Planned Prior Practice Predictably Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

. . . and its corollary:
        Poorly Planned Prior Practice Predictably Produces Piss-Poor Performance.