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09 December 2009

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David

Walrus,

Regretfully, I have to agree with you that American elites tend to be fearful of a strong middle class which would always have the potential to at least moderate elite behavior.

Tyler

I find it amazing to look around and see how far the US has gone since I was a child. We are fast on the way to a quasi Phillipine state, where we have the most highly educated taxi drivers. Our women will go across the world as nurses.

As far as our men, it seems that we have already been sent across the world in the form of mercenaries or at home in the form of well paying police jobs.

Border Patrol/Customs agents are now GS-12s and you don't even need a high school diploma (A GED will do just fine thank you). Just speak passable spanish and shoot straight and you too can make a 100K a year.

Omo Naija

"American" elites today are not the same national oriented "Yankee" types as they were in the 19th and early 20th century. Between the late 19th century and say World War II, the financial and industrial complex of the United States arguably shifted gradually out of "Yankee" ownership and control. This was reflected in the changing nature of Wall Street and to more "cosmopolitan" influence control.

The current "American" elites to which you refer, IMO are the cosmopolitan circles represented by people like Geitner, Bernake, and Summers, for example."

Is this a veiled reference to Jewish domination of Wall Street? Implicit in this statement is assumption that in the past National interest was aligned with the interest of Wall Street. This could not be more farther from the truth. What rules Wall Street is greed - we can at least agree that cuts across race, gender, nationally or whatever vector suits you.

john intheboro

Thanks for the link to Ortiz's article. Seems many of us are caught up in end-of-the-worldism. After the past 8 years, some might say 30, I can empathize. Obama promised change: now change rises above the level of reform and falls below the level of revolution. In no way can it be seen as status quo. Yet, as the Ortiz article indicates, we are stuck in the same old, same old. That would not be so bad if the same old has anything going for it.

Those who study history find striking similarities to the current state of our union with empires past. Those who study politics find striking similarities with our neighbors. American exceptionalism arguably is rooted in our refusal to think we are like anyone else. Thus, in one mental gymnastic, we are exempt from all that has afflicted mankind over the centuries. What has become manifest is that we are not exceptional or even excepted. The gap between our talk and our walk gets wider every passing year. We have wonderfully crafted values; we just don't live up to them. We have a wonderfully crafted constitution; we just find it quaint. Somewhere, some time, over the past 30 years, we just decided to stop being a nation and became what we are today.

Now if someone could put their finger on a cure, that would be fantastic and oh so American. The silver bullet, the sound-bite solution, the easy to remember slogan (jingo?) may do the trick one more time. Or maybe not. Our belief in the better future receives a daily reality mugging at the hands of the serious people on the idiot box. Well, here's my one recommendation, dress up every politician in a NASCAR uniform with all of his sponsors' logos clearly visible so I can vote for the corporation of my choice.

Cold War Zoomie

Americans now seem to be largely ruled by passion and ignorance. Most of the public does not read anything of value.

We've always had a lot of ignorant (literal sense) people in this country. In fact, that's the entire concept behind the Electoral College. Mencken made a living writing about them. Leno used to make us laugh interviewing them.

What makes our current decline so striking right now is our very recent past where science, critical thought and the arts were not labeled "elitist" and scorned.

I'm patiently waiting for a new intellectual awakening in my country. But I have resolved that it may not appear before I check out for good. In fact, it will probably get worse over the next 15 years, and then remain bottomed out for another 10 years before the spark of revival.

Let's just hope that we haven't turned into nothing more than a Colony of Consumers for our Chinese Overlords by then. There may not be enough kindling for that spark by that point.

Clifford Kiracofe

Omo Naija,

My focus is on economic history as opposed to "theory." That businessmen seek profits has been the case since ancient times. In a Christian perspective, however, avarice ("avaritia") traditionally is considered a sin.

It is useful to make a distinction between "productive capitalism" which emphasizes the real physical economy (and long term investment and credit) and speculative "finance capitalism" which focuses on financial manipulation.

As to my points, the historian Paul Emden provides excellent context in his "Money Powers of Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" (London: Sampson Low). Count Corti's two volume study of the Rothschilds (New York: Cosmopolitan, 1928) is a classic and there are many other scholarly works available covering the period.

Also, B.C. Forbes, "Men Who are Making America" (New York: Forbes, 1916) is pertinent as is Frederick Lewis Allen's "The Lords of Creation" (New York: Harper, 1935).

Working through some of this history, it helps to keep in mind the relationships between the various London and Frankfurt and Paris banking circles and their associated interests and relationships in New York.

Omo Naija

Cliff,

From your reply - my hunch was right. I typical disavow grand conspiracy theories spanning generations and what you implied in your two comments is no different.

Clifford Kiracofe

Omo Naija,

I am pleased to hear you disavow things.

However, you misread my posts and make false attributions. I have not advocated any "grand conspiracy theories" in the posts.

As I indicated, I am interested in economic history not "theory." The books I cited are standard works.

I take it you do not read history but, for example, Emden's work is available from Barnes and Noble:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Money-Powers-of-Europe/
Paul-H-Emden/e/9780824053574

And Corti is available in paperback from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Rise-House-Rothschild-Caesar-Corti/
dp/0766144356

As is Allen's Lords of Creation:
http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Creation-Frederick-Lewis-Allen/dp/0812960335

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