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What if they held a class war and nobody noticed? For decades, liberals and progressives have been bashed for conducting a "class war" every time they suggest that it would be appropriate for the extremely wealthy to shoulder a bit more of the burden of paying for government. Meanwhile, a swarm of far-right think-tanks and political action committees have been working tirelessly to promote the idea that taxes on the wealthy should be lowered further from their historic lows, and that entitlement programs such as social security and medicare are too expensive to sustain (and in any case, immoral). The latest attempts to delegitimize public employee unions are the logical next step in what genuinely appears to be the systematic dismantlement of the middle class. This blog will highlight some of the more extreme examples of this activity that may not always show up in your news feeds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In Search of An Anthelmintic

Here is an excellent New York Times article by Chrystia Freeland on the destructive behavior of the super-rich.  It aptly mentions Karl Marx's quote that capitalism "...carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction" as a result of the inevitable excesses that will occur in a system that relies on exploitation of labor by the owners of capital.  (For a related discussion, see this nice post at Crooked Timber describing a recent piece in the London Review of Books.)

I have come to view these destructive mega-rich as harmful parasites--perhaps like tapeworms that consume an every larger amount of the nutrient stream while contributing nothing to the host, only sickening it.  In an extreme case, the parasite causes the death of its host; this is understandable in the case of mindless worms or protozoa.  But at the level of human society, I am always amazed by behavior that may result in some short-term benefit, but is clearly not in the best interests of the actor's long-term survival.  In short, maybe the rich are not really much smarter than worms, and we should feel very little compunction about ridding ourselves of them.

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