In his Cleveland speech, Thiel pointed to what should really matter – issues of community, of economic opportunity and, yes, pride in being a citizen of the most powerful republic in world history. Many in Silicon Valley and the media prefer that the big issues are those of gender, race and sexual preference. But Thiel rightly consigned them to secondary importance, saying: ‘Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?’
But so far these culture war distractions have been quite effective in distracting the intellectual plebs (i.e. those with humanities and social science degrees working mid to lower scale white collar jobs). Props to the propagandists.
What's different this time: The divisions in America are not a two sided split any more. We've got multiple splits, deepening distrust, and growing mutual incomprehension. We are in Peter Turchin's disintegrative phase of civilization.
Feeding this process: We are in a slow-growth world where factions can't get bought off by handing out slices from a growing pie. Check out the graphs here. Check out also the employment:population ratio by education level and ask yourself what are the less educated thinking about their positions in life. No wonder they want to Make America Great Again.
Signs of economic stagnation have elicited a lot of commentary from economists and others about what it all means.
Read the whole thing. It’s illuminating. The most important insight I found in it is that the sense of security for middle class people is gone, or at least severely compromised. I can see that in my own life and circles, and not just economic security. There is a pervasive sense that everything is in flux, that everything could change because of economic and cultural forces beyond one’s control. That there are no guardrails anymore, and that hard work and playing by the rules doesn’t guarantee nearly what it used to.
A lot of movement conservatives think Trump will lose and then they'll get control of the Republican party yet again and eventually national power again. I think they are wrong even if Trump loses. The Republican party is going down and splintering. That's partly due to immigration making the Republicans the minority party. But other factors are at work. The religious faction is weakening as younger generations are less religious. Also, the middle class is shrinking and under pressure. The middle class feels stressed and is not inclined to follow Republican elites who are not looking out for their interests.
My guess (really just a guess) is that Hillary Clinton wins the White House in the November 2016 election. One of the less obvious consequences of this turn of events: The press will not go negative about the economy. We can experience a much bigger decline in the fortunes of the less skilled with a Democrat in the White House without triggering a serious discussion in the Democrat-dominated mainstream media. More imported cheap labor, more depressed wages at the bottom. This will lead to interesting consequences in 2024.
We have some pretty severe employment outcomes on the horizon wherever $15 minimum wage is passed. Suppose Hillary or Tim Kaine is in office in 2022 and robots are rolling out into fast food restaurants in response to $15 min wage and Otto trucks are replacing long haul truckers. That will start a debate for 2024. What politics does that cause in the 2024 election? If a populist fails to win power via the Republican nomination path in 2016 does a populist win the Democratic party's primary in 2024? With what policy proposals to deal with the inability of a substantial fraction of the workforce (or wannabe workforce) to compete for jobs against rising automation?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2016 September 05 12:25 PM|