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View Diary: Don't think class war from above is real? Check out productivity and wage growth since 1973 (99 comments)

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  •  1973 was the first OPEC oil embargo (7+ / 0-)

    That and the following oil-price increases drove up the price of gasoline and at the time there were constant reminders that that meant everything else cost more: Food was more expensive as the truckers had to pay more, and the same thing with anything else that was shipped like office supplies or furniture. And everything was shipped. Plastics, fertilizers, etc, all more expensive, with the expense being pushed to the average person.

    So a general inflation took hold. It was following this absorption of people's wealth that people started to snap to the fact that the "American consumer lifestyle" was no longer tenable.

    Instead of changing the basic orientation of people, the traditional shame of holding debt (outside of big-ticket items like cars and homes) was entirely banished by an intensive effort in media, and everybody but everybody got credit cards. Where before it was rare that an person of ordinary means could get one.

    Debt with interest, of course, amounting to just another way impoverish people.

    So start from there, add in the breaking of the traditional bond of loyalty between worker and employer, and the rest more or less fills itself in.


    We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

    by Jim P on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 12:03:20 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  That would explain 1978 ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, walkshills

      The year those lines begin to diverge. I was trying to figure out what happened that year, and then you said "credit." Then the bell rung.

      1978 was the year the Supreme Court handed down the Marquette Bank decision, which, while it didn't change things right away, opened the doors for the near-universal extension of unsecured consumer credit that makes those two lines get wider and wider. After all, why should you, the businessperson, have to pay your employees more when you make more money if they can just charge it on their multiple credit cards to make up the difference.

      Of course, that can only work for so long.

      •  Thanks. I forgot that ruling. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        walkshills

        But it was soon after that you'd get a dozen credit card offers a day in the mail. Your cat got offers. (True story!)

        I remember being shocked and appalled that we were being officially encouraged to go into debt. There were a spate of articles on how you'd be stupid to not play one or another game with interest rates and borrowing on one card to pay another.


        We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

        by Jim P on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:36:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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