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So Wot’s Yr Problem, Really? (1)

July 16, 2016

I’ll understate on this page, so as not to appear to be making a media play to attract readers and increase the advertising revenue of this nonfiction novel. The crisis is not that urgent.

First, I’ll set aside climate change, which does not threaten the survival of our species, at least not for a hundred years, but will only significantly reduce the homo sapiens population through drought, starvation, and war, and make the conditions of life above ground miserable for (almost) everybody who survives.

It’s like in the seventies when anti-nuclear weapons people were saying that a nuclear war would wipe out the species, when actually, more likely, it would only produce unimaginably miserable conditions of human life for those who survived.

So, turning our attention to a smaller problem: we don’t have to wait a hundred years, or even another day, to see that our inequality in the distribution of wealth will not. . .hmm. . .crisis of the imagination. . .having trouble thinking of a sensational overstatement to pull back from. I was going to say that it will not create a global economic system of neofeudalism, with island castles; but actually it will do that.  Maybe the castles are an exaggeration. And maybe the near-term effects of climate change will prevent development of a neofeudal globe. Or maybe it will exacerbate it by putting a premium on the power of extraordinary wealth. . . ?

Trying to set aside climate change, today’s level of inequality of wealth will not turn everybody in America into serfs if Republicans control all three branches of government in 2017. For one thing, we don’t do that much family farming. Our tech-based upper middle class will still command high wages and compete among themselves for the best properties to rent in regions where tech is active.

10% of the county’s wealth will still be enough to create bubbles to sustain the upper 2%. Everybody needs water. The financialization of warfare and government will continue to provide investment opportunities for the surplus wealth of the top 1%. The peak .001% can always turn to charities such as public housing, addiction services, and incremental raises in the minimum wage.

I’m trying to restrain my enthusiasm here.  I’ll keep trying.

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