The Class War Has Already Started

Pundits and apologists are quick to chastise anyone who even speaks of class war, as if the words alone might spark what the pundits and apologists fear.

The pundits and apologists dread the words because they know the Class War has already started. The mainstream media’s hope is that denial will somehow suppress the broader recognition that the fault lines in American society are cracking wide open.

Last week’s entries explained why increasing wealth/income inequality is the only possible output of the current social- political -economic order. All the proposed “fixes”–more regulations, more taxes, more bureaucracies, etc.– will fail because they are merely extensions of a failed system that optimizes inequality, monopoly, cronyism, stagnation, low social mobility and systemic instability.

Here is my delineation of America’s nine socio-economic classes:

The Changing World of Work I: America’s Nine Classes: Eight of the nine classes are hidebound by backward-looking conventions, neofeudal arrangements and a spectrum of perverse incentives and false choices.

A few commentators see the fault lines and understand the Class War is already rumbling. Correspondent Mark G. submitted these two articles as examples of the widening divides between various classes in the U.S.:

Are We Heading for an Economic Civil War?

How the widening urban-rural divide threatens America

In the first piece, Joel Kotkin describes the political capture of the Status QuoImperial Democrats by the Left Coast media and tech culture of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, both of which have thrived in our hyper-financialized economy of 95% losers and 5% winners, and the Right Coast financiers, lobbyists, government bureaucrats and Wall Streeters who have benefited so handsomely from the hyper-financialization of the U.S. economy, politics, media and zeitgeist.

This Class War is illustrated by this chart: a tiny financial-political Elite (the top 1/10th of 1%) now own as much wealth as the bottom 90%:

The second piece describes the widening gulf between the wealthy cities vacuuming up global capital (NYC, San Francisco, West LA, Seattle, etc.) and opportunity-impoverished rural America.

But these gaping divides do not fully explain the many fronts of the Class War.We can add another fault line–the one between those exploiting institutions to validate their indignation and victimhood, and those far from the feeding troughs of universities and state bureaucracies.

The divide between those using the media and institutions to reward their indignation and victimhood crosses a variety of ethnic, religious and income lines, and as such it is a Cultural Divide with financial ramifications: one camp sees the Central State as the infinite feeding trough of benefits, lifetime employment, and power, while the other camp sees the Central State’s limitless power as the primary threat to the well-being of the economy, nation and culture.

The first camp revels in Bread and Circuses, and demands more; the second camp reviles Bread and Circuses and sees the demanding crowd in the Coliseum as proof the nation is fracturing/falling apart.

Then there’s the demographic divide between entitled retirees and the younger workers with stagnant incomes who must support the retirees “pay as you go” social programs (Social Security and Medicare).

As I have tirelessly explained for years, the Social Security/Medicare “Trust Fund” is a fiction, a ledger entry of non-marketable securities. When Social Security runs a deficit, the deficit is filled by selling Treasury bonds– the same way any other program deficit is filled. The only way to pay for these programs is to increase the national debt. The “Trust Fund” is nothing but a propaganda Big Lie.

The younger workers are chained to a system that is completely out of whack with the real-world demographics of an enormous generation of retirees who are living decades longer than the population the system was designed to serve, with medical care costs that are the financial equivalent of a runaway train.

As painful as it might be to retiring Boomers, here’s the perspective of those facing decades of taxes to pay for programs that can’t possibly fund their retirement in the same fashion:

Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy: They chewed up resources, ran up the debt and escaped responsibility.

All of these fault lines result from one basic truth: the system is broken and cannot be reformed/fixed. As the pressures of a system that optimizes inequality, monopoly, cronyism, stagnation, low social mobility and systemic instability build, the fissures in our economy and society will widen.

Here’s what’s obvious, but unacceptable: we need a new system. Not a system modified with tiny tweaks and a feeding trough filled with borrowed money–an entirely new system designed from scratch to be sustainable and with opportunities to build capital for all. This is why I wrote A Radically Beneficial World–to start the discussion of what a new system could accomplish, not just for the top .01% or top 10%, but for all of us.

This entry is drawn from my new book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All: The Future Belongs to Work That Is Meaningful. Get a 25% discount on my new book this week only (ends 11/15/15).

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  • jadan

    Agree, we do need a new system, and that system is already implicit in our Constitution. Dennis Kucinich proposed legislation that would have become the basis of the new system before the invisible hand of redistricting put him out of office. This was 2011 in the 113th Congress and it was called the NEED Act, the “national emergency employment defense” act, HR 2990. What it calls for essentially is the return of the money power, per Article 1, Section 8, “Congress shall have the power to coin money….” to the people’s government. The government has no need to borrow from financiers and other nations and put its people in debt in perpetuity, as is done now. It can borrow from itself at no interest. A debt you owe yourself is very easy to manage. The foundation of the new system is this sovereign money, once called the “greenback” when Lincoln used it to finance the northern victory in the Civil War. It is pure fiat money. We retire the Federal Reserve System and its “federal reserve notes” and we begin to issue treasury notes. We go from there…..

    • mulga mumblebrain

      Sounds ‘antisemitic’ to me.

  • Future President Meyer

    Well said,well described Jadan.
    I second that emotion.
    On a related topic;Charles H.S.,
    Please consider comparing and contrasting Quantitative Easing and
    weather modification formula,ECOSYSTEM TRESPASS-CARPET BOMBING
    …….the unintended consequences of rash reactionarianism
    particularly as it applies to the fascist supremacist class
    and their worshipper class.

    Thank you for sharing your astute insights.

    See;’What in the world are they spraying’
    a Paul Wittenberger Documentary

  • Brockland A.T.

    Eh, its probably more accurate to say a round of class war is being concluded, not started.

    Also, there’s a problem with implementing, say, a sovereign money system to upend the fiat private debt system; what if the people in charge want scarcity for inequity, which then creates privilege. Then, sovereign money becomes a means, first to bail them out; any popular benefits would be secondary and not at all secure if not desired by the elites. Implementing a system of sovereign money alongside sovereign debt has never worked, but the US$ ability to abuse reserve currency status adds a new dimension to an old fail.

    Lets face it, the last thing the 1% of the 1% want is to be held accountable for anything. Accountability doesn’t get the girls and cool toys; psychopathically entertaining actions that declare untouchable power and status do. Yet, these are antithetical to genuine relations of respect and compassion that don’t need or wouldn’t make such declarations.

    There is no point claiming to have a revolutionary economic blueprint if there is no way to implement the political culture and oversee it at a participatory political level. Most of the abuses of representative government happen in a vacuum of accountability. The first level of a successful reset would be to bring back genuine popular accountability.

    A large country such as the United States would likely have to continue to rely on representative government. However, the main impediment at this time to popular accountability, is the first-past-the-post electoral system, which delivers majority-seat governments at the expense of genuine democracy. The solution, therefore, is to institute a system of popular representation in the United States national politics.

    Without political reform, economic reform concepts will be cherry-picked to retain some form of the status quo. Even the imaginary ‘Star Trek’ economy kowtows to present-day affectations.

    Lest one think reference to Star Trek is facetious, check out former NSA Chief Kieth Alexander’s Star Trek Bridge inspired office:

    So, the elites may have an eye on a new economic order, that at once safeguards their position yet delivers long-term stability. However, their interpretation of what it should be will likely always result in mutually exclusive fundamentals.

  • mulga mumblebrain

    The only time the class war went into a relative hiatus was during the ‘thirty glorious years’ after WW2. And then only out of fear of socialism. Once the parasite caste had had enough of mollycoddling the moochers, the entire edifice of The American Dream has been swept away, and terror inflicted across the globe, and the downhill run to ecological catastrophe markedly accelerated.