Political Consensus Is Splintering Into Class Wars

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Understanding how these many wars will be waged is critical to surviving them intact.

In years past, we spoke of class war between the haves and the have-nots. It's no longer that simple. Now the traditional political consensus is splintering into multiple class wars between overlapping camps of the protected and the unprotected, those who've been promised entitlements and privileges that are no longer affordable and those expected to pay more taxes.

In the modern era, the phrase Class War is rooted in the socialist/Marxist concept that the conflict between labor (the working class) and capital (owners of capital) is not just inevitable—it’s the fulcrum of history. In this view, this Class War is the inevitable result of the asymmetry between the elite who own/control the capital and the much larger class of people whose livelihood is earned solely by their labor.

In Marx’s analysis, the inner dynamics of capitalism inevitably lead to the concentration of capital in monopolies/cartels whose great wealth enables them to influence the government to serve the interests of capital. Subservient to capital, the laboring class must overthrow this unholy partnership of capital and the state to become politically free via ownership of the means of production, i.e. productive assets.

This Class War did not unfold as Marx anticipated. The laboring class gained sufficient political power in the early 20th century to win the fundamentals of economic security: universal public education, labor laws that prohibited outright exploitation, the right to unionize, and publicly funded pensions.

(The alternative explanation for this wave of progressive policies is that prescient leaders of the capital/state class ushered in these reforms as the only alternative to the dissolution of the status quo. Labor reforms began in Germany and Great Britain in the late 19th century Gilded Age, and another wave of reforms were enacted in the decade-long crisis of capitalism in the Great Depression.)

Though the conventional view is that this failure of capitalism to devolve as expected proves Marx’s analysis is without merit, it can also be argued that the state-capital partnership was far more flexible than early Marxists anticipated: sharing enough of the wealth generated in the industrial revolution with the laboring class to enable a stable, productive middle class benefited the state-capital class by creating a new strata of consumers (of goods, services and credit) who greatly enriched industrial and financial capitalists and the state, which could raise unprecedented sums in payroll and income taxes.

Basking in the luxury of hindsight, it’s easy for us in the present day to forget the often-violent struggles between labor and capital that characterized the early 20th century: anarchists bombed Wall Street, and the Powers That Be sent in armed forces to suppress efforts to unionize entire swaths of industrial workers.

While the middle class of professionals, small business owners, traders and entrepreneurs can be traced back to the birth of modern capitalism in the 15th century, the emergence of a mass middle class of tens of millions of wage-earners with the purchasing and borrowing power created by stable employment was a unique feature of 20th century capitalism.

In effect, the middle class was the Grand Truce in the class war: the state’s imposition of regulations and a social safety net on unfettered capital resolved labor and capital’s primary conflict by sharing the output of capitalism’s bounty.

Many assets had to be put in place to enable this vast distribution of wealth to tens of millions of laborers: a cheap, abundant source of energy (fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas), an efficient, accessible transportation network, a financial system that could extend credit to millions of households, and a government with the tax revenues and resources to fund public works that were too risky or out of reach for private-sector capital.

In the latter third of the 20th century, the permanence of this version of state-capitalism was unquestioned: laborers would always be able to enter the middle class, and opportunities for advancement would always be open to those with middle class access to education and credit.

There was no compelling reason to believe this consensus was about to fray and potentially dissolve, and no reason to think that rather than being a permanent feature of advanced capitalism, the middle class was a one-off based on cheap energy, surging productivity and the boost-phase of credit expansion.

But now income and wealth inequality are rising sharply, and capital is pulling far ahead of labor, which is creating a vast and quickly-widening divide between the classes.

Class Warfare: It’s More Than Just Income

Fast-forward to today, and an unexpected series of class wars are emerging as this longstanding social contract frays: social mobility has declined, fostering a divide between the traditional working class (also known as the lower-middle class) which finds itself increasingly exposed to the corrosive winds of globalization and neoliberal policies, and the upper-middle class of highly educated professionals and technocrats who have benefited from these policies, securing protected employment in higher education, government and Corporate America.

Commentator Peggy Noonan’s influential essay described America’s nascent class war as pitting the protected class—those with secure pay and benefits —against the unprotected class of those with insecure employment and benefits.

In other words, the divisive economic issue is not simply the quantity of each class’s income and wealth, but the quality of their respective economic security.

For example, if an unprotected household earns $80,000 in wages and $30,000 in benefits in a good year of full employment in benefits-rich jobs, and $30,000 in wages and no benefits in the following not-so-good year of zero-benefits part-time work, their average total earnings are $70,000 per year—a very respectable middle class income.

But compare the difficulties posed by losing healthcare benefits and getting by on a $50,000 decline in wages vs the secure $70,000 earned year-after-year-after-year by a protected household.

Consider the anxieties burdening the insecure household of two workers who cannot count on having benefits and full-time employment, who see their savings or retirement accounts built up in good years drained in bad years. Houses bought in good years are forced into foreclosure in bad years.

To take another example: compare the security of a tenured professor in higher education with the insecure zero-benefits earnings of a lecturer whose annual teaching contract is subject to cancelation or modification every year of his/her career.

Not only is the lecturer paid about half the salary of the tenured professor, when the lecturer nears retirement age, he/she has no pension other than Social Security, while the tenured professor has an ample retirement package of pension and healthcare coverage. Both taught the same number of years, but one faces a sunset of poverty or the need to keep working far past the conventional retirement age of 65, while the other can retire comfortably and continue teaching or doing research for satisfaction rather than financial necessity.

The underlying problem is the number of tenured positions is far smaller than the number of qualified candidates. The overproduction of highly educated workers is dividing the middle class into haves and have-nots along new fault lines.

Class Warfare: Economic and Cultural

This widening gap between the Protected and the Unprotected is not just economic; it's also cultural.

The Mobile Cosmopolitans who secure protected positions have little exposure to the challenges of the unprotected, whom they typically interact with only as an employer giving instructions to maids, nannies, dog-walkers, waiters, etc. Sociologist Charles Murray described this widening cultural gap in his 2012 book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010.

Murray made the case that America’s cultural elite—the mobile, highly educated and largely urban upper middle class, i.e. the protected class—is a reservoir of the traditional values (marriage, attending church, setting goals, etc.) that are fading in working-class unprotected America.

Murray posited that various behaviors and associations characterize each class. The working class, for example, volunteers to serve in the U.S. military, while the elites are in civilian positions of power (for example, those who order the working-class volunteers into America’s permanent wars.) The working class attend NASCAR races, the elite class pursues cultural enrichment, and so on.

While many commentators view Murray’s conclusions as overly negative, the recent presidential election has heightened the cultural divide he described between Hillary Clinton’s "deplorables" (who President Obama chided for their attachment to "guns and Jesus") and the self-described (and oh so morally superior) "progressives."

(The word is in parentheses because I have suggested that these self-anointed "betters" are at best fake-progressives, as they support exploitive neoliberal policies that are anything but progressive.)

It’s painfully obvious that the economic division between protected and unprotected overlays all too well on Murray’s cultural divisions.

The upper-middle "progressive" class has the sort of social/financial mobility and security—both higher quantities of income and wealth and higher qualities of security--that are out of reach of most of the country's much larger number of unprotected households.

All the advantages that accrue to the upper-middle class—social mobility, access to higher education minus the crushing burdens of student loan debt, family and social connections that lead to lucrative careers, parents who can afford to give their offspring cars and down payments for homes—are accretive: each reinforces the others.

The intensity of life’s challenges is considerably different for each class. With higher income and greater security (such as having stable healthcare insurance), the protected class can afford to take better care of themselves; they have multiple layers of financial cushions against life’s inevitable difficulties such as layoffs, illnesses that require sick leave/costly procedures, auto accidents, etc.

For the protected elites, the intensity of these challenges is lessened by financial and social resources. Social connections lead to new employment in the same profession, gold-plated healthcare insurance covers most of the costs of illness, and ample auto insurance replaces the wrecked vehicle with minimum disruption.

Meanwhile, to the unprotected household, each of these difficulties is potentially devastating: a secure job may never be replaced, an illness may lead to bankruptcy, and the loss of a reliable vehicle may cripple the household’s ability to get to work and earn the money needed to buy another car.

The social contract of the 20th century established state-funded safety nets for those who experience layoffs and medical emergencies. But these programs were by and large designed to provide temporary aid to those who were “getting back on their feet.”

As the foundations of middle class mobility and security erode, these programs are now morphing into permanent, lifelong welfare systems. This is creating new social stresses and divisions.

The Pitchforks Are Being Sharpened

But this protected vs. unprotected isn't the only Class War that’s brewing. Many of the protected feel their security is increasingly vulnerable, and others are tired of being tax donkeys. Everyone feels defensive and entitled to their current slice of the pie. As the pie shrinks, few will relinquish their claims voluntarily.

The net result: a shattering of political consensus into warring camps.

In Part 2: The Class War Playbook we show why the shrinking resource pie—of cheap energy, of cheap debt, of labors’ share of the economy, of the low-hanging fruit of globalization - will soon cleave any mass movement into competing classes. Our complex, interdependent civil society will spawn equally complex and interdependent class conflicts as a result. In short: there won’t be one class war, there will be many, raging across social, political and economic battlefields. Understanding how these many wars will be waged is critical to surviving them intact. Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Feb 16, 2017 1:38 PM

It's Americans versus Globalists.  It all comes down to that.

nmewn's picture

Correct. 

Now, let's all break into the old Coke commercial song:

I'd like to teach the world to sing 

In perfect harmony...lol

Mercury's picture

As per Noonan: "America’s nascent class war as pitting the protected class—those with secure pay and benefits —against the unprotected class of those with insecure employment and benefits."

-which means it's those who work for the state, dependents of the state and the very rich vs. everyone else.

The old, Marxist labels of labor and capital have been replaced with with the new, cultural-Marxist labels of race, class and gender and this is now the cudgel used to beat "everyone else".

 

 

JRobby's picture

It is people that can reason and know they are getting destroyed by BIG CORP OLIGARCHY / GOVT.

vs

Idiot Sheep who believe all of the propaganda and think that the past 8 years of "hope and change you can believe in" is the truth.

SWRichmond's picture

The class war that is being ginned up by the provocateurs is designed to keep us fighting among ourselves.

Thanks NSA

falak pema's picture

Nope as the Prime globalists were US Oligarchy of Reagan, Bush and Clinton as follow on to petrodollar handshake that put Saud into the loop after having "Ajaxed" Iran in 1953.

You have to understand US history before you make "one liners" like the Duck did  when he said : a One state Israel is fine with me.

It tore apart 60 years of US and UN political resolutions that defended the contrary.

You don't know what American means. Your America could be McCarthyist red baiting...or... Jim Crow laws...

Neither correspond to the view that most Americans have of the ideals of their founding fathers, which did not espouse either of those values. As put into print by the constitution and Bill of rights. Freedom of speech and no racial origin as criteria for those who came as immigrants.

booboo's picture

mmm, yea, but McCarthy was correct, but most confuse the Congressional Hearings on Hollywood with Senate Hearings on Communist inside the State Department which the unclassification of the Venona Files showed that indeed there were Communist inside the State, White House and IC. McCarthy was run out of town by the Deep State, (hmmmm, where do we see this happening again) Red Baiting is one of those Pavlonian words invented by deep state that is used to back down any approach to the subject. Kind of like the term McCarthyism, we are supposed to run away but the cats out of the bag so go fuck yourself, it don't work anymore buffy

falak pema's picture

Its called an Inquisitorial "bogeyman" mindset. Its a very old argument and its a travesty of both freedom of speech as of freedom of thought.

As history has proven the damage done to the fabric of society in "presumption of guilt, by association or by inuendo"; as proven during the middle ages ---as in all totalitarian regimes where broad-brush usage by the power elites end up in dictats (not due process of law) where truth and suspicion get greatly mixed to achieve a predetermined objective which is "inavowable" but politically expedient --; is much greater than the few who betrayed their nation. It creates ideological divides and misuses the process of discovery and constitutional law.

SmackDaddy's picture

Too bad we didnt realize that back in 1939

WernerHeisenberg's picture

President Charles Augustus Lindbergh, elected in 1936 after the globalist communist FDR failed to end the depression ended the Fed.  Surviving several assassination attempts by hirelings of Prescott Bush, President Lindbergh went from strength to strength.  When DC fire inspectors accidentially discovered J Edgar Hoover being sodomized by Clyde Tolson, the director quietly resigned, which was followed by the dissolving of the FBI itself.  The President also resisted calls to embargo imperial Japan, saying it is not the business of the USA to pick winners in the wars of Asia.  Faced with no possibility of assistance from a neutral America, Great Britain and France declined any involvement in the German Soviet war.  The war in eastern Europe became an eastern replay of the Great War, a bloody impasse leading to the downfall of both the communist and Nazi regimes.  This is why today the world is a well balanced multipolar system of peaceful sovereign states.

Syrin's picture

With the caveat that liberals in America are actually globalists.

Ghordius's picture

and the caveat of 95% of this world's people asking:
"are you pointing at me?" "eh, why?"

excellent article

"I have suggested that these self-anointed "betters" are at best fake-progressives, as they support exploitive neoliberal policies that are anything but progressive"

indeed

ConnectingTheDots's picture

Unfortunately, both political parties are the hired servants of the globalists.

sgt_doom's picture

Pretty good article, but divide and conquer isn't exactly new, but their tools are somewhat new and clever and far more subtle.

 

Two books of late which demonstrate Identity Politics and Fake News, which have confused and bewildered many over the past several decades:

Foundations and Public Policy:  The Mask of Pluralism    by Joan Roelofs

The Book of Matt    by Stephen Jimenez

 

(The first by Prof. Roelofs details the underlying agenda behind Identity Politics, while the second is a perfect example of the fusion of Fake News and Identity Politics.)

Consuelo's picture

 

 

Oh Charles ---- Please...

 

Enough already.

quax's picture

There was hardly ever a class war in the US. The elites have been playing the divide and conquer game way too successful and kept the commoners stupid enough. Heck there is hardly a class consciousness in the US.

Rather than recognizing that black and white workers have common interests they go at each other. As Buffet said, the class war is over and his class won - I may add, long ago. 

Salsa Verde's picture

"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity"

 

Sun Tzu

BandGap's picture

Tht's why I think Trump and those who have joined him will keep introducing all sorts of changes, just to keep the deep state off balance.

BandGap's picture

Talked to a guy I have known off and on since my college days. He started in with this and that about Trump, thinking I was a liberal. I just told him I think the guy should get a chance. He told me we are world's apart after a few more sentences.

All I said was I have six kids and a mortgage. Whatever happens from this point forward is not in my control and it doesn't look good. But the look on his face when I told him I voted for The Don was priceless.

I imagine there are shitloads of people waiting to go full bore when the economy tanks. They want red meat now, who knows what happens when the EBT spice stops flowing. These are students in school, recent students on the government dole and older people just biding time. Clash is gonna happen and in an effort to defend our ideologies we are going to, at least initially, ignore going after the true criminals here.

Interesting times.

IridiumRebel's picture

You're a fucking racist!
Love Dems

Batman11's picture

The working poor, the result of Western neo-liberalism, are now leading to democratic shocks.   

The misleading headline stats. leading to shocked global elites.

The jobless figures look good; the working poor are not unemployed.

The other figures are held up by the 1% and the exponentially rising rewards within the 1%.

The bias of rewards towards the 1% makes it a democratic time bomb.

The democratic time bombs have started to go off.

A neoliberal Left are driving a global shift to the right.

The headline stats. are missing the working poor, leaving the elites in a state of shock over Brexit and Trump.

After Brexit the Conservatives find the JAMs, the working poor.

The Trump graph:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/wages-productivity-Figure-A.png

This graph says productivity gains haven't been passed onto US workers since 1973, the working poor.

“Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time” more working poor to tip the scales at the ballot box.

The neoliberal Left refuse to acknowledge the problem and desperately try and place the blame elsewhere, e.g. Russian hacking, fake news, populists, the deplorables, xenophobes, misogynists, racists, homophobes .........

The neoliberal refusal to acknowledge the problem just leaves them behind as the world moves on.

It’s their funeral, leave them to it.

 

 

Batman11's picture

I remember now, we had small state, basic capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The rich lived in luxury and the poor lived in squalor, they were housed in slums where men, women and children worked every hour god sent as this maximised profit.

That’s what we are heading back to after the Keynesian era led to the lowest levels of inequality in recorded history within the developed world.

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

The Classical Economists thought the poor would never rise out of a basic subsistence as that was the way it had always been, society produced a surplus that was taken by the rich and the poor were left with enough to keep them alive and reproduce.

Only organised labour movements allowed those at the bottom to get a larger slice of the pie and we have almost got rid of them.

It’s back to the future.

How does this sit with a democracy of universal suffrage?

It doesn’t.    

 

At the top end of the exponential within the 1% lie the smart people who already see the writing on the wall.

They are buying New Zealand real estate.

Who’s going to be carrying the can?

 

 

gatorengineer's picture

.01% in New Zealand between 99 and 99.99 will be on ropes.

Chupacabra-322's picture

The Global Elite Mathematical number is:

.000000000001

Batman11's picture

They need the other people to do the work.

They can then place derivative bets on who will die from malnourishment first from their minimal wages.

 

swmnguy's picture

This all makes sense, except the neoliberals are in no way "left."

jimmyfromminny's picture

Better we admit this now - we hitched our wagon to the wrong horse.  Trump is simply a moron.   He doesn’t think, doesn’t plan, and probably doesn’t care about much other than the perception that he “wins.”  He governs by the seat of his pants and is too petty to accomplish any real change.  He is too easy a target and soon the right will bail on him too once they realize they can’t beat the Washington machine.  I even thought if things went badly (but not this badly) he would step aside and Pence could move on taking down spending, but DJT’s ego is simply too big.   

 

Back to this post -- the one thing he’ll probably accomplish is a trade embargo which as a true libertarian is sickening to me.  CLASS WARFARE??? I WANT MY THINGS AS CHEAP AS I CAN GET THEM – IF MY NEIGHBOR CAN’T TAKE A COMPUTER PROGRAMMING CLASS AND REALIZE FACTORY WORK IS DEAD IN THE USA, WHY SHOULD I PAY MORE AND MAKE MYSELF POORER???

 

 

DEPRESSSSSSED.

edifice's picture

Not everyone is made to be a developer. That's what all of these STEM advocates don't understand. The issue is misallocation of capital, not a specific line of work. Gains in productivity are not going to the working class. Yes, STEM in general is good to shoot for, if one is so inclined, but you can't expect everyone to do it. If everyone took this path, the fields would be inundated, wages would come way down (they already are, due to immigration and quota-hiring), and there would be no jobs.

vato poco's picture

"It's been almost 3-and-a-half whole WEEKS!"; "We had a setback recently, so it's OVER!"; "This is just too HARD!"; "I totally give UP!!" Jimmy and the Useless Gaping Pussies Brigade moaned......

is EVERYONE under 40 a sniveling candyass lightweight??

devnickle's picture

Sorry. Welfare is not a panacea for failure. The left has been buying votes with other people's money for decades. That is socialism. It doesn't work. As Maggie Thatcher said, "It works until you run out of other people's money".

Black Warrior Waterdog's picture

CHS has had some interesting insights over the years, but he also has a skill for replaying the same broken record over and over and over...

andrej's picture

The Pyramid of Capitalist System (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Pyramid_of_Capitalis...) changed significantly since the Marx's times.

"We rule you" tier is more or less the same.

"We fool you" priests were replaced by the mass media.

"We shot at you" was extended by the mafia. PMC's were part of it since the time immemorial, Pinkerton for example.

"We eat for you" was extended by the entitled welfare class.

"We work for all/We feed all" class became significantly smaller because of automation, about 5% of the population or less in developed world. It's very diverse, not all of it is at the bottom.

So- yeah, the article is right. The class situation is much more complicated nowadays.

 

VWAndy's picture

 Dramatized. Like a bunch of teenagers over some BS story.

gatorengineer's picture

70K a year a very respoctible middle class income?  Where?  Really?  Middle class own a home (2k a month with insurance taxes  and upkeep(double that in MANY areas), have 2 cars (800 minimum, gas tolls, maintenance insurance payments), save for college (750/month minimum), have medicl insureance ($600 minimum) save for retirement (1500 a month minimum, go on vacation (400/month), Eat and clothes ($1200) Utilities ($500)  With Pocket money that's 8K a month take home and that isnt living large........ or around $130K/yr Gross.....  that would also be a rural living... you arent doing it on that in the North East or left coast.

centerline's picture

Word.

If someone were to tell me 20 years ago what my household income would be now, I would have probably jumped up and down thinking we were living large.

If someone then told me it was just enough to hold on what is left of a middle class existence, I would have thought it crazy.  But, here we are.

moonmac's picture

If it wasn’t for the Fed destroying our Dollar anyone working full time would be living like a King with plenty of money to save. Now lower middle class Americans who don’t work have a much better quality of life than those who do. They’ve found out it’s much easier to open up your paycheck at the local bar than the local factory sweat shop.

Saucy-Jack's picture

It's savers versus debtors.

Debtors like easy money and hand outs.

Savers like to work hard and save.

East Indian's picture

It is savers and debtors vs banksters.

 

Debtors are indebted to banksters.

Savers entrust their lives' savings with banksters. 

Both are at the mercy of the banksters.

And banksters fund "movements" that agitate for this or that so that debtors and savers are kept divided...

MASTER OF UNIVERSE's picture

Professor Emeritus Karl Marx was bang on with respect to the overthrow of Ponzi Casino Narco Crony Capitalism Climate Change. Without a Marxian thesis operating I, for one, would have been unable to overthrow the so-called 'elites' and their collusive so-called 'Capitalism' March 10th 2008 around 11:00am Bear Stearns time New York shitty, man.

 

Note: All so-called 'elite' so-called 'Capitalists' may now get in line to lick my balls in deference to my intellect & intelligence over their own.

Whewt's picture

As long as we live in this everybody-gets-a-pony fake economy, no real choices can ever be made.  Lay it out on the table and divide it up, I say.  We can't have an honest debate unless the budget is balanced.

Inthemix96's picture

Forgive me for being blunt Mr Smith, but you are talking shit.

The reasons the 'Proletariat' are getting restless is purely because of the 'Interweb'.  Do you know, when you know you are being fucked over, but dont know why?  The 'Proletariat' years ago were fed that much bullshit propaganda, they couldnt find truth from fiction.

But now they can Mr Smith, all your complicated words of wisdom are wearing fucking thin on an ever increasing number of righteously fucked of people.

The simple fact of the matter my good man, is the cunts who rule through script have lost control of the narrative through their very own narrative.

Deal with the cunt.  Or dont, I myself have seen the future, and I see the truth.  The pontification has run its course of cause, as it always did.

;-)

Bay Area Guy's picture

Politicians and professional pimps that get their money from government social programs have a vested interest in creating as many classes as they possibly can.  Years ago, as AIDS was first emerging in San Francisco, the City instituted an AIDS program that was designed to help AIDS patients both medically and socially.  After a year or so, vaious splinter organizations so the money flashing in their eyes and demanded that the City fund special AIDS programs for various groups because one program couldn't possibly meet the needs of all these different groups.  I recall reading the absurdity of two specific programs, one for Asian/Pacific Islanders and one for Gay Asian/Pacific Islanders.  The people running these programs were the same people, but they demanded two different programs because they found they could scrape twice the administrative overhead out of the City.

Carlin had it right in three of his classic routines.  First, it's a big fuckin' club and you're not in it!  Meaning, of course, the elites versus the rest of us.  Second, these politicians do nothing but keep people divided so their buddies, the elites, these 1% cocksuckers, can swoop in a take the money.  Third, the upper class gets all the money, pays none of the taxes; the middle class pays all the taxes, gets none of the money; the lower class is there to scare the shit out of the middle class to keep them working at those jobs.

Politicians and the elite understand that people want to gather in groups for self-protection, for companionship, for any number of reasons.  They also understand that the larger the group, the more likely it is that the group will finally figure out what Carlin has been saying and overthrow the politicians and the elite.  So they constantly look for ways to make sure the groups that are formed are as small as possible.  They want to balkanize groups so as not to let any single group get too powerful.  If the Blue Team thinks that any group is getting too large and getting close to sentience, such as, for example, Occupy Wall Street, they'll toss in a Black Lives Matter group into the mix to discredit Occupy.  Similarly, if the Red Team thinks that a group like the Tea Party is reaching sentience, they'll toss in a Westboro Baptist Church to muddy those waters.  And if, God forbid, some kind of cooperative relationship forms between followers of the two teams, they'll toss in a black church bombing by some purported racist right-winger, or have a mass shooting of police officers by some purported Blank Panther.

Their job is to keep people fighting each other so they and their buddies can swoop in and ransack everything.

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

This article gets it totally fucking wrong. A correct list of top 3 negative influences (in order) which deteriorate the middle class:

  1. Monetary destruction.
  2. Oenerous taxation.
  3. Oenerous regulation/barriers to entry/anti-competition.

People cannot get ahead if they cannot build capital. When labor is all you have, and the money that labor is priced in gets destroyed--it destroys the value of that person. No savings. No investment. Things have gotten very competitive in a global economy. Shrinking margins would still leave massive surplus wealth if it were not for The State plundering 15-60% of everything across multiple levels of production. Now compound this with punative regulation that makes it very difficult for people to challenge established players, and you've fucked your population. Neofeudalism in three simple steps.

FreeNewEnergy's picture

Just by the headline,

Political Consensus Is Splintering Into Class Wars

I knew this was written by Charles Hugh-Smith and I DID NOT READ IT, but felt an obligation to out this simpering, pseudo-intellectual sap for the benefit of anyone who might be swayed into a false ideology by reading anything he writes.

It's always the same line from CHS (BTW, I was told as a young boy by my cowboy father never to trust anyone with three names), the world is ending, our politicians hate us, the elites have sold us down the river, blah, blah, blah. We already know all that and CHS dos nothing to improve our condition or change the consciousness of the slumbering masses or the enlightened here on ZH.

All CHS does is try to make money, selling limited access or kindle books in an effort to boost his own tiny ego. As a sometimes writer on politics and economics, I can certainly understand his motivation, but, to be honest, I write mostly for entertainment or exercise or to see if I actually understand what the hell is going on in the world. CHS wants us all to believe he knows, and postulates from some awkard positions, using pretzel logic to make his points.

I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm saying he's misguided, misinformed and obtuse, which, I suppose, is close enough to being wrong that it may as well qualify him. I suppose he emulates his heroes in the real world - the thinkers, the elitist professorial class and the misinofmration machine that is the mainstream media - and wishes to be like them, making bold proclamations from high in his ivory tower to the plebians below.

Honestly, I find the guy rather preachy and pedantic, boring and out-of-touch. I used to read his articles from time to time, but find now that he simply takes too long to make a point, and I haven't got the time nor the patience.

I hope you're reading the comments, CHS, because maybe you can learn something. For the time being, I loathe your efforts at journailism/opinion and think you're second rate.

I also hope the Tylers are reading these comments, because I'm not the only one around her who thinks this guy should be given the heave ho. ZH provides a ton of traffic for this guy, but I don't believe he deserves it. More Max Keiser would be my preference instead of this second rate imposter. And, if I want doom porn, I'll gladly listen to James Rickards or Peter Schiff, who have some skin in the game.

Final word to CHS: Get away from the computer for a while and out into the country. It may do you some good.

In.Sip.ient's picture

And all this fooy is solved by simply

raising interest rates and restricitng

bank reserve requirements...

 

But hey... that wouldn't give anyone an

excuse to muddy the water now would it ;)