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Restructuring America's Economic Mobility
Imprimis ^ | 10.06.16 | Frank Buckley

Posted on 10/16/2016 5:14:15 PM PDT by Chickensoup

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on July 11, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. We didn’t think we were divided into different classes. Neither did Marx.

America was an exception to Marx’s theory of social progress. By that theory, societies were supposed to move from feudalism to capitalism to communism. But the America of the 1850s, the most capitalist society around, was not turning communist. Marx had an explanation for that. “True enough, the classes already exist,” he wrote of the United States, but they “are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another.” In other words, when you have economic and social mobility, you don’t go communist.

That is the country in which some imagine we still live, Horatio Alger’s America—a country defined by the promise that whoever you are, you have the same chance as anyone else to rise, with pluck, industry, and talent. But they imagine wrong. The U.S. today lags behind many of its First World rivals in terms of mobility. A class society has inserted itself within the folds of what was once a classless country, and a dominant New Class—as social critic Christopher Lasch called it—has pulled up the ladder of social advancement behind it.

One can measure these things empirically by comparing the correlation between the earnings of fathers and sons. Pew’s Economic Mobility Project ranks Britain at 0.5, which means that if a father earns £100,000 more than the median, his son will earn £50,000 more than the average member of his cohort. That’s pretty aristocratic. On the other end of the scale, the most economically mobile society is Denmark, with a correlation of 0.15. The U.S. is at 0.47, almost as immobile as Britain.

A complacent Republican establishment denies this change has occurred. If they don’t get it, however, American voters do. For the first time, Americans don’t believe their children will be as well off as they have been. They see an economy that’s stalled, one in which jobs are moving offshore. In the first decade of this century, U.S. multinationals shed 2.9 million U.S. jobs while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. General Electric provides a striking example. Jeffrey Immelt became the company’s CEO in 2001, with a mission to advance stock price. He did this in part by reducing GE’s U.S. workforce by 34,000 jobs. During the same period, the company added 25,000 jobs overseas. Ironically, President Obama chose Immelt to head his Jobs Council.

According to establishment Repub­licans, none of this can be helped. We are losing middle-class jobs because of the move to a high-tech world that creates jobs for a cognitive elite and destroys them for everyone else. But that doesn’t describe what’s happening. We are losing middle-class jobs, but lower-class jobs are expanding. Automation is changing the way we make cars, but the rich still need their maids and gardeners. Middle-class jobs are also lost as a result of regulatory and environmental barriers, especially in the energy sector. And the skills-based technological change argument is entirely implausible: countries that beat us hands down on mobility are just as technologically advanced. Folks in Denmark aren’t exactly living in the Stone Age.

This is why voters across the spectrum began to demand radical change. What did the Republican elite offer in response? At a time of maximal crisis they have been content with minimal goals, like Mitt Romney’s 59-point plan in 2012. How many Americans remember even one of those points? What we remember instead is Romney’s remark about 47 percent of Americans being takers. That was Romney’s way of recognizing the class divide—and in the election, Americans took notice and paid him back with interest.

Since 2012, establishment Republicans have continued to be less than concerned for the plight of ordinary Americans. Sure, they want economic growth, but it doesn’t seem to matter into whose pockets the money flows. There are even the “conservative” pundits who offer the pious hope that drug-addicted Trump supporters will hurry up and die. That’s one way to ameliorate the class struggle, but it doesn’t exactly endear anyone to the establishment. The southern writer Flannery O’Connor once attended a dinner party in New York given for her and liberal intellectual Mary McCarthy. At one point the issue of Catholicism came up, and McCarthy offered the opinion that the Eucharist is “just a symbol,” albeit “a pretty one.” O’Connor, a pious Catholic, bristled: “Well, if it’s just a symbol, to Hell with it.” Likewise, the principles held up as sacrosanct by establishment Republicans might be logically unassailable, derived like theorems from a set of axioms based on a pure theory of natural rights. But if I don’t see them making people better off, I say to Hell with them. And so do the voters this year. What the establishment Republicans should ask themselves is Anton Chigurh’s question in No Country for Old Men: If you followed your principles, and your principles brought you to this, what good are your principles?

Had Marx been asked what would happen to America if it ever became economically immobile, we know what his answer would be: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And also Donald Trump. The anger expressed by the voters in 2016—their support for candidates from far outside the traditional political class—has little parallel in American history. We are accustomed to protest movements on the Left, but the wholesale repudiation of the establishment on the Right is something new. All that was solid has melted into air, and what has taken its place is a kind of right-wing Marxism, scornful of Washington power brokers and sneering pundits and repelled by America’s immobile, class-ridden society.

Establishment Republicans came up with the “right-wing Marxist” label when House Speaker John Boehner was deposed, and labels stick when they have the ring of truth. So it is with the right-wing Marxist. He is right-wing because he seeks to return to an America of economic mobility. He has seen how broken education and immigration systems, the decline of the rule of law, and the rise of a supercharged regulatory state serve as barriers to economic improvement. And he is a Marxist to the extent that he sees our current politics as the politics of class struggle, with an insurgent middle class that seeks to surmount the barriers to mobility erected by an aristocratic New Class. In his passion, he is also a revolutionary. He has little time for a Republican elite that smirks at his heroes—heroes who communicate through their brashness and rudeness the fact that our country is in a crisis. To his more polite critics, the right-wing Marxist says: We are not so nice as you!

The right-wing Marxist notes that establishment Republicans who decry crony capitalism are often surrounded by lobbyists and funded by the Chamber of Commerce. He is unpersuaded when they argue that government subsidies are needed for their friends. He does not believe that the federal bailouts of the 2008-2012 TARP program and the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest and quantitative easing policies were justified. He sees that they doubled the size of public debt over an eight-year period, and that our experiment in consumer protection for billionaires took the oxygen out of the economy and produced a jobless Wall Street recovery.

The right-wing Marxist’s vision of the good society is not so very different from that of the JFK-era liberal; it is a vision of a society where all have the opportunity to rise, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where class distinctions are a thing of the past. But for the right wing Marxist, the best way to reach the goal of a good society is through free markets, open competition, and the removal of wasteful government barriers.

Readers of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose will have encountered the word palimpsest, used to describe a manuscript in which one text has been written over another, and in which traces of the original remain. So it is with Canada, a country that beats the U.S. hands down on economic mobility. Canada has the reputation of being more liberal than the U.S., but in reality it is more conservative because its liberal policies are written over a page of deep conservatism.

Mobility Rank Chart

Whereas the U.S. comes in at a highly immobile 0.47 on the Pew mobility scale, Canada is at 0.19, very close to Denmark’s 0.15. What is further remarkable about Canada is that the difference is mostly at the top and bottom of the distribution. Between the tenth and 90th deciles there isn’t much difference between the two countries. The difference is in the bottom and top ten percent, where the poorest parents raise the poorest kids and the richest parents raise the richest kids.

For parents in the top U.S. decile, 46 percent of their kids will end up in the top two deciles and only 2 percent in the bottom decile. The members of the top decile comprise a New Class of lawyers, academics, trust-fund babies, and media types—a group that wields undue influence in both political parties and dominates our culture. These are the people who said yes, there is an immigration crisis—but it’s caused by our failure to give illegals a pathway to citizenship!

There’s a top ten percent in Canada, of course, but its children are far more likely to descend into the middle or lower classes. There’s also a bottom ten percent, but its children are far more likely to rise to the top. The country of opportunity, the country we’ve imagined ourselves to be, isn’t dead—it moved to Canada, a country that ranks higher than the U.S. on measures of economic freedom. Yes, Canada has its much-vaunted Medicare system, but cross-border differences in health care don’t explain the mobility levels. And when you add it all up, America has a more generous welfare system than Canada or just about anywhere else. To explain Canada’s higher mobility levels, one has to turn to differences in education systems, immigration laws, regulatory burdens, the rule of law, and corruption—on all of which counts, Canada is a more conservative country.

America’s K-12 public schools perform poorly, relative to the rest of the First World. Its universities are great fun for the kids, but many students emerge on graduation no better educated than when they arrived. What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. One study has concluded that if American public school students were magically raised to Canadian levels, the economic gain would amount to a 20 percent annual pay increase for the average American worker.

The U.S. has a two-tiered educational system: a superb set of schools and colleges for the upper classes and a mediocre set for everyone else. The best of our colleges are the best anywhere, but the average Canadian school is better than the average American one. At both the K-12 and college levels, Canadian schools have adhered more closely to a traditional, conservative set of offerings. For K-12, a principal reason for the difference is the greater competition offered in Canada, with its publicly-supported church-affiliated schools. With barriers like America’s Blaine Amendments—state laws preventing public funding of religious schools—lower-class students in the U.S. must enjoy the dubious blessing of a public school education.

What about immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens—it deports them. As for the legal intake, Canadian policies have a strong bias towards admitting immigrants who will confer a benefit on Canadian citizens. Even in absolute numbers, Canada admits more immigrants under economic categories than the U.S., where most legal immigrants qualify instead under family preference categories. As a result, on average, immigrants to the U.S. are less educated than U.S. natives, and unlike in Canada, second- and third-generation U.S. immigrants earn less than their native-born counterparts. In short, the U.S. immigration system imports inequality and immobility. If immigration isn’t an issue in Canada, that’s because it’s a system Trump voters would love.

For those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder who seek to rise, nothing is more important than the rule of law, property rights, and the sanctity of contract provided by a mature and efficient legal system. The alternative—in place today in America—is a network of elites whose personal bonds supply the trust that is needed before deals can be done and promises relied on. With its more traditional legal system, Canada better respects the sanctity of contract and is less likely to weaken property rights with an American-style civil justice system which at times resembles a slot machine of judicially-sanctioned theft. Americans are great at talking about the rule of law, but in reality we don’t have much standing to do so.

Then there’s corruption. As ranked by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, America is considerably more corrupt than most of the rest of the First World. With our K Street lobbyists and our donor class, we’ve spawned the greatest concentration of money and influence ever. And corruption costs. In a regression model, the average family’s earnings would increase from $55,000 to $60,000 were we to ascend to Canada’s level of non-corruption, and to $68,000 if we moved to Denmark’s level.

In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center. Sadly, that is a rational response to the way things are. America is a different country today, and a much nastier one. For politically engaged Republicans, the figure is six percent. That in a nutshell explains the Trump phenomenon and the disintegration of the Republican establishment. If the people don’t trust the government, tinkering with entitlement reform is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

American legal institutions are consistently more liberal than those in Canada, and they are biased towards a privileged class of insiders who are better educated and wealthier than the average American. That’s why America has become an aristocracy. By contrast, Canadian legal institutions aren’t slanted to an aristocracy.

The paradox is that Canadians employ conservative, free market means to achieve the liberal end of economic mobility. And that points to America’s way back: acknowledge that the promise of America has diminished, then emulate Canada.

Frank Buckley is a Foundation Professor at Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he has taught since 1989. Previously he was a visiting Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and he has also taught at McGill Law School, the Sorbonne, and Sciences Po in Paris. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his LL.M. from Harvard University. He is a senior editor of The American Spectator and the author of several books, including The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America and The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: economic
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The following is adapted from a speech delivered on July 11, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. We didn’t think we were divided into different classes. Neither did Marx.

America was an exception to Marx’s theory of social progress. By that theory, societies were supposed to move from feudalism to capitalism to communism. But the America of the 1850s, the most capitalist society around, was not turning communist. Marx had an explanation for that. “True enough, the classes already exist,” he wrote of the United States, but they “are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another.” In other words, when you have economic and social mobility, you don’t go communist.

That is the country in which some imagine we still live, Horatio Alger’s America—a country defined by the promise that whoever you are, you have the same chance as anyone else to rise, with pluck, industry, and talent. But they imagine wrong. The U.S. today lags behind many of its First World rivals in terms of mobility. A class society has inserted itself within the folds of what was once a classless country, and a dominant New Class—as social critic Christopher Lasch called it—has pulled up the ladder of social advancement behind it.

One can measure these things empirically by comparing the correlation between the earnings of fathers and sons. Pew’s Economic Mobility Project ranks Britain at 0.5, which means that if a father earns £100,000 more than the median, his son will earn £50,000 more than the average member of his cohort. That’s pretty aristocratic. On the other end of the scale, the most economically mobile society is Denmark, with a correlation of 0.15. The U.S. is at 0.47, almost as immobile as Britain.

A complacent Republican establishment denies this change has occurred. If they don’t get it, however, American voters do. For the first time, Americans don’t believe their children will be as well off as they have been. They see an economy that’s stalled, one in which jobs are moving offshore. In the first decade of this century, U.S. multinationals shed 2.9 million U.S. jobs while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. General Electric provides a striking example. Jeffrey Immelt became the company’s CEO in 2001, with a mission to advance stock price. He did this in part by reducing GE’s U.S. workforce by 34,000 jobs. During the same period, the company added 25,000 jobs overseas. Ironically, President Obama chose Immelt to head his Jobs Council.

According to establishment Repub­licans, none of this can be helped. We are losing middle-class jobs because of the move to a high-tech world that creates jobs for a cognitive elite and destroys them for everyone else. But that doesn’t describe what’s happening. We are losing middle-class jobs, but lower-class jobs are expanding. Automation is changing the way we make cars, but the rich still need their maids and gardeners. Middle-class jobs are also lost as a result of regulatory and environmental barriers, especially in the energy sector. And the skills-based technological change argument is entirely implausible: countries that beat us hands down on mobility are just as technologically advanced. Folks in Denmark aren’t exactly living in the Stone Age.

This is why voters across the spectrum began to demand radical change. What did the Republican elite offer in response? At a time of maximal crisis they have been content with minimal goals, like Mitt Romney’s 59-point plan in 2012. How many Americans remember even one of those points? What we remember instead is Romney’s remark about 47 percent of Americans being takers. That was Romney’s way of recognizing the class divide—and in the election, Americans took notice and paid him back with interest.

Since 2012, establishment Republicans have continued to be less than concerned for the plight of ordinary Americans. Sure, they want economic growth, but it doesn’t seem to matter into whose pockets the money flows. There are even the “conservative” pundits who offer the pious hope that drug-addicted Trump supporters will hurry up and die. That’s one way to ameliorate the class struggle, but it doesn’t exactly endear anyone to the establishment. The southern writer Flannery O’Connor once attended a dinner party in New York given for her and liberal intellectual Mary McCarthy. At one point the issue of Catholicism came up, and McCarthy offered the opinion that the Eucharist is “just a symbol,” albeit “a pretty one.” O’Connor, a pious Catholic, bristled: “Well, if it’s just a symbol, to Hell with it.” Likewise, the principles held up as sacrosanct by establishment Republicans might be logically unassailable, derived like theorems from a set of axioms based on a pure theory of natural rights. But if I don’t see them making people better off, I say to Hell with them. And so do the voters this year. What the establishment Republicans should ask themselves is Anton Chigurh’s question in No Country for Old Men: If you followed your principles, and your principles brought you to this, what good are your principles?

Had Marx been asked what would happen to America if it ever became economically immobile, we know what his answer would be: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And also Donald Trump. The anger expressed by the voters in 2016—their support for candidates from far outside the traditional political class—has little parallel in American history. We are accustomed to protest movements on the Left, but the wholesale repudiation of the establishment on the Right is something new. All that was solid has melted into air, and what has taken its place is a kind of right-wing Marxism, scornful of Washington power brokers and sneering pundits and repelled by America’s immobile, class-ridden society.

Establishment Republicans came up with the “right-wing Marxist” label when House Speaker John Boehner was deposed, and labels stick when they have the ring of truth. So it is with the right-wing Marxist. He is right-wing because he seeks to return to an America of economic mobility. He has seen how broken education and immigration systems, the decline of the rule of law, and the rise of a supercharged regulatory state serve as barriers to economic improvement. And he is a Marxist to the extent that he sees our current politics as the politics of class struggle, with an insurgent middle class that seeks to surmount the barriers to mobility erected by an aristocratic New Class. In his passion, he is also a revolutionary. He has little time for a Republican elite that smirks at his heroes—heroes who communicate through their brashness and rudeness the fact that our country is in a crisis. To his more polite critics, the right-wing Marxist says: We are not so nice as you!

The right-wing Marxist notes that establishment Republicans who decry crony capitalism are often surrounded by lobbyists and funded by the Chamber of Commerce. He is unpersuaded when they argue that government subsidies are needed for their friends. He does not believe that the federal bailouts of the 2008-2012 TARP program and the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest and quantitative easing policies were justified. He sees that they doubled the size of public debt over an eight-year period, and that our experiment in consumer protection for billionaires took the oxygen out of the economy and produced a jobless Wall Street recovery.

The right-wing Marxist’s vision of the good society is not so very different from that of the JFK-era liberal; it is a vision of a society where all have the opportunity to rise, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where class distinctions are a thing of the past. But for the right wing Marxist, the best way to reach the goal of a good society is through free markets, open competition, and the removal of wasteful government barriers.

Readers of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose will have encountered the word palimpsest, used to describe a manuscript in which one text has been written over another, and in which traces of the original remain. So it is with Canada, a country that beats the U.S. hands down on economic mobility. Canada has the reputation of being more liberal than the U.S., but in reality it is more conservative because its liberal policies are written over a page of deep conservatism.

Mobility Rank Chart

Whereas the U.S. comes in at a highly immobile 0.47 on the Pew mobility scale, Canada is at 0.19, very close to Denmark’s 0.15. What is further remarkable about Canada is that the difference is mostly at the top and bottom of the distribution. Between the tenth and 90th deciles there isn’t much difference between the two countries. The difference is in the bottom and top ten percent, where the poorest parents raise the poorest kids and the richest parents raise the richest kids.

For parents in the top U.S. decile, 46 percent of their kids will end up in the top two deciles and only 2 percent in the bottom decile. The members of the top decile comprise a New Class of lawyers, academics, trust-fund babies, and media types—a group that wields undue influence in both political parties and dominates our culture. These are the people who said yes, there is an immigration crisis—but it’s caused by our failure to give illegals a pathway to citizenship!

There’s a top ten percent in Canada, of course, but its children are far more likely to descend into the middle or lower classes. There’s also a bottom ten percent, but its children are far more likely to rise to the top. The country of opportunity, the country we’ve imagined ourselves to be, isn’t dead—it moved to Canada, a country that ranks higher than the U.S. on measures of economic freedom. Yes, Canada has its much-vaunted Medicare system, but cross-border differences in health care don’t explain the mobility levels. And when you add it all up, America has a more generous welfare system than Canada or just about anywhere else. To explain Canada’s higher mobility levels, one has to turn to differences in education systems, immigration laws, regulatory burdens, the rule of law, and corruption—on all of which counts, Canada is a more conservative country.

America’s K-12 public schools perform poorly, relative to the rest of the First World. Its universities are great fun for the kids, but many students emerge on graduation no better educated than when they arrived. What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. One study has concluded that if American public school students were magically raised to Canadian levels, the economic gain would amount to a 20 percent annual pay increase for the average American worker.

The U.S. has a two-tiered educational system: a superb set of schools and colleges for the upper classes and a mediocre set for everyone else. The best of our colleges are the best anywhere, but the average Canadian school is better than the average American one. At both the K-12 and college levels, Canadian schools have adhered more closely to a traditional, conservative set of offerings. For K-12, a principal reason for the difference is the greater competition offered in Canada, with its publicly-supported church-affiliated schools. With barriers like America’s Blaine Amendments—state laws preventing public funding of religious schools—lower-class students in the U.S. must enjoy the dubious blessing of a public school education.

What about immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens—it deports them. As for the legal intake, Canadian policies have a strong bias towards admitting immigrants who will confer a benefit on Canadian citizens. Even in absolute numbers, Canada admits more immigrants under economic categories than the U.S., where most legal immigrants qualify instead under family preference categories. As a result, on average, immigrants to the U.S. are less educated than U.S. natives, and unlike in Canada, second- and third-generation U.S. immigrants earn less than their native-born counterparts. In short, the U.S. immigration system imports inequality and immobility. If immigration isn’t an issue in Canada, that’s because it’s a system Trump voters would love.

For those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder who seek to rise, nothing is more important than the rule of law, property rights, and the sanctity of contract provided by a mature and efficient legal system. The alternative—in place today in America—is a network of elites whose personal bonds supply the trust that is needed before deals can be done and promises relied on. With its more traditional legal system, Canada better respects the sanctity of contract and is less likely to weaken property rights with an American-style civil justice system which at times resembles a slot machine of judicially-sanctioned theft. Americans are great at talking about the rule of law, but in reality we don’t have much standing to do so.

Then there’s corruption. As ranked by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, America is considerably more corrupt than most of the rest of the First World. With our K Street lobbyists and our donor class, we’ve spawned the greatest concentration of money and influence ever. And corruption costs. In a regression model, the average family’s earnings would increase from $55,000 to $60,000 were we to ascend to Canada’s level of non-corruption, and to $68,000 if we moved to Denmark’s level.

In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center. Sadly, that is a rational response to the way things are. America is a different country today, and a much nastier one. For politically engaged Republicans, the figure is six percent. That in a nutshell explains the Trump phenomenon and the disintegration of the Republican establishment. If the people don’t trust the government, tinkering with entitlement reform is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

American legal institutions are consistently more liberal than those in Canada, and they are biased towards a privileged class of insiders who are better educated and wealthier than the average American. That’s why America has become an aristocracy. By contrast, Canadian legal institutions aren’t slanted to an aristocracy.

The paradox is that Canadians employ conservative, free market means to achieve the liberal end of economic mobility. And that points to America’s way back: acknowledge that the promise of America has diminished, then emulate Canada.

1 posted on 10/16/2016 5:14:15 PM PDT by Chickensoup
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To: Chickensoup; Maine Mariner

Very worth the read.


2 posted on 10/16/2016 5:15:06 PM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: Chickensoup
Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto in 1848. That was 168 years ago. His writings are hardly relevant. But then neither is communism.

From Google:

Current Communist Countries: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam.
Only five.

Formerly Communist countries (by current name): Formerly part of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

SOCIALISM might be more descriptive of many countries.

3 posted on 10/16/2016 5:23:19 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: cloudmountain

His writings are extremely relevant because they are what the leftists are studying at the high school and college level.


4 posted on 10/16/2016 5:38:13 PM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: cloudmountain

You left Mongolia off your list of former communist countries.

I just visited Mongolia. There are a lot of lessons to be learned there.


5 posted on 10/16/2016 5:39:01 PM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: exDemMom
You left Mongolia off your list of former communist countries.
I just visited Mongolia. There are a lot of lessons to be learned there.

You are correct. I got my "former" list from Google. Google doesn't list it as former communist for some reason.

What are ten lessons to be learned in Mongolia? Ten is "a lot."
Mongolia DID produce the world's biggest killer.
Genghis Khan's annihilation of the people of Asia is recorded as PERCENTAGE of the people of Asia he killed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolia

Also from Google: Mongolia held its first ever democratic elections since the time of the Great Khans on July 29th, 1990, when surprisingly the Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party, the former communist party, was elected. It is with much emotion that Mongolians reflect on the communist experience.

Did you enjoy yourself there? I hope so.

6 posted on 10/16/2016 5:49:29 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: Chickensoup

Read this in Inprimis. Excellent articlr.


7 posted on 10/16/2016 5:53:38 PM PDT by bigbob (The Hillary indictment will have to come from us.)
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To: Chickensoup
His writings are extremely relevant because they are what the leftists are studying at the high school and college level.

LOL. You are assuming that high school students GIVE a rat's patootie about history. All high school girls think about is their HAIR. All high school boys think about is sex.

College students might get all hot and bothered about Marx but they VERY soon get over it and him when they enter the REAL WORLD of work, commute, work, work, commute, home, food, T.V. and then MORE work.

I taught at the college level for 27 years. Let them spout and sputter. It will be a pleasant time for them to remember while they are on their daily three-hour commute to/from work.

8 posted on 10/16/2016 5:54:24 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: bigbob

I think it needs a wider audience. Love Imprimis.


9 posted on 10/16/2016 5:57:14 PM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: cloudmountain; bigbob
I agree with bigBob that this is a very good article and I agree with you as well that the appropriation of communism is a term which is unhelpful.

In fact, it occurs that the entire reference to Marxism is misplaced because although it is evocative, it is misleading. When the Chamber of Commerce seeks government subsidies directly to big industry or special privileges in trade deals at the expense of other sectors of the economy, that is hardly Marxism, but it is a very unattractive aspect of statism which is perhaps closer to fascism.

I think the attention would be better focused on the influence of technology and its contribution to bringing us to this economic and social place. Of course, technology applies equally to Canada or Denmark as it does to the United States except that as the advanced economic country of the world, the United States is potentially the most vulnerable to technological change either for good or otherwise. Which might to some degree account for the differences between the Canada story and our own.

If one wants to consider the state of our American world through the prism of Marxist class distinctions, one really ought to contemplate the impact of technology on class. We are moving into a world where production will be dominated by robots which suggests that wealth will be generated by robots and concentrated in the hands of those who own and control robots. This poses a tremendous challenge to the American capitalist ideal, assuming some politician can get into office and restore that ideal, which is a real ideological and practical challenge to the author's goal to distribute wealth.

The idea distributing wealth is anathema to conservatives but it is one that is absolutely inherent in the author's essay. He wants the opportunity to obtain (and to lose) wealth to be volatile. The question is how does one accomplish this distribution (or mobility if you prefer) of wealth when robots will inevitably require heavy-duty financing and produce concentrated wealth. One thinks of the will and cotton industries sparking the Industrial Revolution as a model.

Our tax structure is heavily dependent on taxing human wages, our social net is heavily dependent on human wages, our medical insurance system is heavily dependent on human wages, in short, our whole edifice can crash if robots replace humans at work.

I'm not a Luddite, I do not deny the spinoff in job creation of technological innovation but I do maintain that a gap exists before the payoff comes. The tendency by politicians will be to answer the cries of pain emanating during that Gap, which means, in your phrase, socialism.

A challenge for conservative capitalists is to maintain a mobile society in the face of a shifting way we work without invoking the heavy hand of government to make things "fair" or to make Marxists happy.


10 posted on 10/16/2016 6:40:22 PM PDT by nathanbedford (attack, repeat, attack!… Bull Halsey)
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To: cloudmountain

I had a wonderful time in Mongolia. I have wanted to visit since the USSR fell, and I was happy to finally have that chance.

“A lot” can mean any number, perhaps more than can be counted on one hand.

The Mongolians are very proud of their history, having established 3 empires. The second empire led to the establishment of the country of Turkey. The third, founded by Chinggis Khan (Mongolian spelling), united 81 countries and tribes across Asia and into Central Europe in the early to mid 1200s. This empire saw the world’s first postal system, as well as the first passports. Marco Polo traveled through Mongolia on the Silk Road bearing a round medallion which stated that anyone who did not respect his right to free passage was answerable to the emperor (which would have been Chinggis or his son Ugudai). The third Mongolian empire was the greatest empire the world has ever known, surpassing the British empire in the number of peoples united. Its capital, Kharakhorum, was quite cosmopolitan, with inhabitants from all over Asia and Europe, and a mosque and church for the non-Buddhist minorities. That empire lasted for three centuries, until the Chinese invaded and held Mongolia for three hundred years. Part of Mongolia (the Outer part) broke free from China with the help of the Soviets. A brave Mongolian, Sukhbatar, met secretly with Soviet officials and secured their promise to assist with their rebellion against the Chinese; the northern provinces of Mongolia became free in 1921, and a statue of Sukhbatar was erected in the center of Chinggis Khan square, which is the center of Ulaanbaatar. The Mongolians also erected a monument nearby to commemorate the Soviets.

There are a few lessons in this story. First, that the perception of history greatly depends on who tells it. Chinggis, his son Ugudai, and grandson Kublai are heroes to the Mongolians for creating that empire. Second, is that when an empire falls, those who take over might be completely brutal. This is important when considering our liberal politicians who seem hellbent on giving the US to third world nations to scrabble over—not a single American will know freedom again in our lifetimes if we can’t stop this. Trump may not be able to stop it, but Hillary is set to give away the proverbial keys if she is elected. Third, is that people hold on to their past, especially if they see it as more glorious than the present (will that be us, centuries from now, if the current trends continue?). Fourth, is that our perception of Soviets as beings of unrelenting evil may not be accurate—the Mongolians are still grateful for their help in freeing them from the Chinese almost a hundred years ago—and the Mongolians do consider that they were free under Communism.

A fifth lesson (not apparent from the history, but from conversations I had with my tour guide) is that many Mongolians miss Communism—everyone had jobs—and do not see Democracy as any boon. Democracy there is riddled with corruption and crony capitalism—no wonder they are not completely thrilled with it. However, as an outsider, I can’t help but notice that Ulaanbaatar is thriving and growing; in a few years, Mongolia is set to be a world-class destination. The government of Mongolia is busy paving the roads—most of the country is connected by rough dirt roads—this infrastructure improvement never happened under the Soviets. People who used to stay home for holidays now travel to visit family because of paved roads. And Mongolians, who used to only know Russia, are learning about the Western world.

One more lesson is that our perception of the Chinese is not unique to us. The Mongolians sense that China is taking advantage of them, taking their national treasures (their mineral resources). Several things my guide told me about Chinese activities in Mongolia remind me of their activities here—buying up property, acquiring mineral rights, unfair trade arrangements, etc.

I see opportunities in Mongolia, for college students or for entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses. The Mongolians would benefit greatly from anti-pollution technologies, such as clean coal power plants.

Mongolia is really a wonderful country. I had the opportunity to see how the nomads live in the Gobi, to taste camel meat and milk and to see true wild horses in their native habitat. I hope to be able to visit again some day, perhaps when the weather is a bit warmer (it snowed twice while I was there during the first half of October). I highly recommend visiting.


11 posted on 10/16/2016 7:20:42 PM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: Chickensoup

Note: Buckley is an adviser to Trump.


12 posted on 10/16/2016 8:35:09 PM PDT by oblomov (We have passed the point where "law," properly speaking, has any further application. - C. Thomas)
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To: exDemMom
We have already learned those lessons through ALL the despotic conquerors in history.
LOTS of nations are proud of their history. Nothing new. Outer Mongolia was subject to China.

You are just repeating what the history books say about a 13th century nation. The ROMAN empire is far, far more relevant than the Mongolian empire. At least, when one thinks of the Roman Empire's influence on us today.

It was also under the Roman Empire that Jesus lived and died.

Well, I'm glad you had such a nice time. The Mongolians RE-ELECTED commies in 1990...so much for THEIR choice of governments. Communism is godless, you recall. But, then most Mongolians are Buddhist. The Buddha was INDIAN, you know...and kept TRYING to tell the Indians that he was NOT divine. Of course, they didn't listen and deified him. Buddhists have no God. They don't worship the Buddha either.
Many Japanese are Buddhists and have nature and hero worship. No God the Father, no Jesus either.

Also, the lesson...oh never mind. You LOVE Mongolia and everything about it. I'm glad for you.

If you love it so much, go live there. If it's such a marvelous place, go live there. You sound intelligent; you can learn their language and find a place for yourself over there.
I wish you the best.
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Mongolia-so-poor-if-they-had-one-of-the-largest-empires

Maybe you will, someday, call yourself exUScitizenDemMom. OR exDemMomMongolianBabeNow. NOTHING wrong with either of those. Nothing at all.

13 posted on 10/16/2016 9:00:47 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: nathanbedford
It doesn't matter how equitable life PLANS to be, humans being what we are, there will always be special privilege to those who live in most of the world.
Wealthy, powerful families control the land, banks, politicians, military and police in all the countries south of our border, in Africa and in MOST of Asia. That about covers all the world but the "West."
Technology will simply be another tool of those in power.

It's all fairly moot as our REAL goal should be to get to heaven, that is, to see the face of our Maker and be with Him for eternity. We will be judged on how we treated others, regardless of the political/social/economic systems under which we lived.

14 posted on 10/16/2016 9:09:05 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: cloudmountain
You are just repeating what the history books say about a 13th century nation. The ROMAN empire is far, far more relevant than the Mongolian empire. At least, when one thinks of the Roman Empire's influence on us today.

Actually, I have no clue what the history books say. History as taught in school was so horrible that it was all I could do to pass the class; without history to pull down my grades, my GPA would have been closer to 3.7 than 3.5. So everything I said about the Mongolian third empire is what I learned in the museums over there. And I think I did not explain well the lesson I took away from that. The lesson was not about the Mongolian Khan empire so much as it was about our own future.

We are at a crossroads here. We have been a nation for nearly 250 years. Our media is set on destroying America, and subversive elements (e.g. Soviet plants in schools, universities, the media, etc., throughout the 1900s) have made sure that people do not receive proper educations, that they receive a steady diet of propaganda exactly as described in the novel 1984. They have conditioned a large part of the population to have no critical thinking skills whatsoever, and to substitute the state for God. The situation is so dire now that we are on the verge of electing Hillary--a woman who is motivated by unmitigated greed and lust for power, who has a history of working to destroy America and who has openly said that if elected, she will import even more jihadists (many of whom she created with her Middle East policies) and uneducated third worlders whose only "contribution" would be to increase her political power, while becoming a burden to the minority of us who still work. I am terrified that she might win the election; I do not think the country we know as America will survive.

Now compare our situation to Mongolian history. Their last empire spanned almost an entire continent, from the Pacific coast of Asia into central Europe. They invented the postal system and passports. Their empire was a model of tolerance between people of different ethnicities and religions. In other words, they achieved greatness. And who are the Mongolians now? They certainly do not have the greatness of their ancestors. They are not a first world country by any measure (although they are working to reach that level). They are a diminished people who want everyone to know how great they were, because they cannot talk about their current greatness--it doesn't exist.

The lesson is not about the Mongolians. It is about us, as we face this crossroad in history. If Hillary wins this election, I fear that America is lost. So, then, what is our future? Hundreds of years from now, will our descendants be showcasing the great glorious past of America, because their present is so meager? Is the present condition of Mongolia our future? Will we end up suffering hundreds of years of subjugation to some other power (like the Chinese, who have a history of brutality), only to emerge afterwards as a shadow of what we once were?

The Mongolians RE-ELECTED commies in 1990...so much for THEIR choice of governments. Communism is godless, you recall.

They elected communists because they remember Communism as a time when everyone had jobs. Unemployment right now is quite high. During the Communist era, the government made sure the nomads all had animals and were able to continue their lifestyle. Nowadays, all it takes is one rough winter (common in Mongolia, where it begins snowing in October) for a rich nomad family to lose their herd and become poor overnight. When that happens, they move into the city hoping to find a job--but the only skill they have is raising animals, and they end up in the ger district, where all the poor people live. Despite their nostalgia for the Soviet era, it is easy to see that the Soviets never improved their infrastructure (other than building power plants for the city, which are old and polluting); they had no paved roads or indoor plumbing during the Soviet era. But they had jobs. Now, they are struggling to develop. Their current system of democracy is riddled with corruption and cronyism. If the only political systems you have known were Communism (where everyone was equal and had a job) or a corrupt democracy (where corruption runs rampant and how well you do depends on who you know in high places), which would you think is a better system? People who do not have a long history of democracy and no history of having a republic cannot be expected to understand these systems of government, much less implement them effectively. (This, btw, is why we have not had success in the Middle East--the best we can do there is make sure the dictators are benign.)

But, then most Mongolians are Buddhist.

I do not know much about Buddhism, but I did visit many monasteries during my tour. My tour guide explained about the different gods, and clearly, bringing me to visit the monasteries gave her many opportunities to pray. Also, during the tour, we often pulled over to the side of the road to these piles of stones called owas; the custom is to throw more stones on the piles or other gifts and to pray. These prayer mounds are ubiquitous. I couldn't help but compare to religious practice in our own country. How many people stop driving several times a day to get out of their cars and pray? Their religion is an integral part of daily life, much more so than I have ever seen in the US.

If you love it so much, go live there. If it's such a marvelous place, go live there. You sound intelligent; you can learn their language and find a place for yourself over there.

Going to live in another country is not that easy, or I would have done it decades ago. I learned eons ago, when I lived in Europe for a few years, that I absolutely love being an American overseas. But now, as I approach retirement, I realize that I made the wrong life decisions along the way and steered myself away from life as an expat. Perhaps, after I retire, I will have more time to visit the world. Every people I have visited is different, and I always want to learn more about them.

15 posted on 10/17/2016 4:38:21 AM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: oblomov

He is picking good people then. Great!


16 posted on 10/17/2016 4:53:41 AM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: nathanbedford

My reading is that he was referencing Marxist class structures not Marxist economics.


17 posted on 10/17/2016 4:55:32 AM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: Chickensoup
My reading is that he was referencing Marxist class structures not Marxist economics.

"In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles."


18 posted on 10/17/2016 8:58:56 AM PDT by nathanbedford (attack, repeat, attack!… Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

Absolutely agree


19 posted on 10/17/2016 3:57:12 PM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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To: nathanbedford

Although I imagine Mark Steyn would disagree on Canada’s commitment to freedom. Of course they do not have our Constitution or Bill of Rights.


20 posted on 10/17/2016 4:56:03 PM PDT by Chickensoup (Leftist totalitarian governments are the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)
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