The mariner is challenged about the dark side of plutocracy suggesting that the citizen and labor rebellions described in history do not exist today – a challenge that has merit. First, Mariner wrote a recent post that said watching culture change was too slow, unfocused, and too broad to watch closely. What everyone notices, however, are incidents that seem unusual; incidents are signs of cultural shift but one must step back to measure broad circumstances, that is, to observe cultural shift.
Second, here using extremes to demonstrate differences, the wave of bankruptcy that occurred in Massachusetts in 1786 was caused by the same manipulation of mortgages that caused the recession in 2008. Yet, times were greatly different in a cultural sense. One doesn’t have to grab the shotgun in the corner and march down to the bank offices and blow the door off or threaten the courts with physical harm if they didn’t clear the docket and get out – though this older behavior seems more gratifying. Note that the age of one corner, one gun has returned; is that an indicator of dissatisfaction with government, concern with exposure to physical harm and mistrust on a grand scale? Today, is this is a form of rebellion framed in a more mature culture with millions of citizens?
Continuing in today’s “mature” culture, has society allowed law enforcement to deal with the underclass just as the sheriffs in 1920 that shot first and shot again to keep dissidents in line? Has one noticed the relative innocence of the victims and the number of bullets used in today’s shootings? Were the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore not a replication of labor riots in 1920?
Is denying a share of the “company’s” profits to the workers who were virtual slaves in 1885 the same as denying worker raises in line with inflation and productivity since 1980 – yet raising prices at what constitutes modern Company stores so much that the husband and the wife have to work?
Today, using collusion between government and corporations permits blatant destruction of unions by using the “right to work” law. (This is bordering on short-fuse behavior in some industries)
Has one noticed, in a more mature culture, that the “Company” (corporations) has the same resistance to regulations and imposed responsibility for citizens?
Has one noticed the war-mongering bully who leads the republican party in the 2016 Presidential campaign? His followers certainly are in a rebellious mood – particularly toward a do nothing government fully owned by corporations.
Has one noticed the history-making difference between fat cat wealth and flaunted waste compared to public wages that oppress sharing success with the disappearing middle class? Does one remember the “Occupy” movement that protested abuses in Wall Street? Mariner suspects that when the middle class becomes sufficiently abused, there will be more outbreaks over the cost of living and the loss of a great democratic dream.
The mariner makes the case that we live in different times than we did 100 years ago. Still, even in today’s litigious culture, the issues are simmering and rebellion grows more and more obvious.
A lot hangs on changes in Congress, state legislators, Governors and especially who the next President will be.
Regarding the puzzle from the previous post: The question was posited “How was the conman able to correctly project whether stocks would go up or down ten weeks in a row?”
The conman started with a large mailing list, perhaps 1,500 recipients. To one half he sent a flyer saying the price would go down; to the other half he sent a flyer saying the price would go up. The next day, he discarded the half that was wrong; to the half that was right, a week later he repeated the process with half saying “up” and half saying “down.” Again, the next day he discarded the half that was wrong; a week later, he divided the correct remainder in half sending half with an “up” prediction, the other half a prediction that was “down.” This continued for ten weeks. Eventually, a mark would respond willing to make a large investment through the broker – an amount that never reaches the stock market because the conman absconds with the cash. From How Not to Be Wrong: the Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordon Ellenberger.