Friday, July 18, 2014

A Brief Look at How We Got Here

How did we get here and where are we headed? To understand this, one must go back to the year of 1651 to provide an account of political development of Europe and North America. A historian, Samuel Finer, left behind the history of government from the earliest times in a 1,701 page book, which went through the Liberal Revolution of the late 198th and 19th centuries that replaced the Patronage system with Meritocratic and a smaller government. Then the Fabian Revolution in the early 20th century created the modern welfare state. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan changed this government style to market/corporate-oriented governance. Each revolution tried to answer a basic question: what is a state for? Regarding liberty, in 1859 John Stuart Mill argued that the state was to prevent people from doing harm to others, which did some good, but as he grew older he became troubled by some profound questions. The questions mainly had to do with the persistence of poverty. Mill then wrote Mills Principles of Political Economy, which became the bible of British liberalism. The United Kingdom started free school meals in 1906, old age pensions in 1908, money to fight poverty in 1909, and national healthcare in 1948. They found it reasonable to tax all for the benefit of the unfortunate. But the U.S. was too busy being obsessed and still drunken from their independence victory to embrace European-style social democracy. The U.S. still was working by the Leviathan government way and the overreach of the government seemed to be spoiling everything it touched—a grinding war in Vietnam, an economy hobbled by stagflation, and cities wracked by drugs and crime. Reagan and Thatcher bought into Milton Friedman’s disastrous philosophy as outlined in his book “Capitalism and Freedom” and put it into practice, and we have never recovered. Wages have gone down or stayed flat ever since. This has caused a crisis here and in most of the world, and we are headed for the fourth revolution. We need to take all the best ideas no matter where they come from and put them into use. If we do not make changes for the betterment of the masses soon the fourth revolution will be in the streets and banging on locked gates of the oligarchies. To head this off we need to change the minimum wage to $15 to $18 an hour to help, along with free education and healthcare with pensions. This is a simplistic overview, but you can research more on this topic to understand just how our economy was hijacked to the profit of the 1 percent.