OK

A lot of people realize that something is wrong with the US and the world economy.  Conservatives believe that just shrinking government will somehow magically make our economic problems disappear.  Progressives realize that problems like inequality and concentration of wealth and power are not going to go away by themselves, and society as a whole must confront the problem.

But I think that we are at a historical turning point for the economy.  I am beginning to see a few people write about it.  If the people who are writing about it are right, then we will have to find new solutions and a whole new structure for the economy.

David Atkins (thereisnospoon on DKos) has begun to write about how a whole new economy is needed.  I am tempted to just put the whole thing here, but will just quote one sentence that I think we have to ponder:

Some of us have been pointing out for a while now that this economic downturn isn't just a blip as we prepare for a return to prosperity, and that while much of the problem is attributable to economic decisions made to benefit the plutocratic class, the world really has changed such that neither liberal nor conservative 20th century answers will solve 21st century problems.
The ultimate problem is that globalization, technology, and financialization have come together to make the labor of the average person worth less.  If the limits of production are set by the limits of energy, raw materials, and capital stock, the marginal value of more workers becomes less and less.  While not certain, and with an unknown timetable, it is possible that a revolution in machine intelligence will soon increase this tendency at an accelerating rate.

Some people are beginning to nibble at the edges of this problem.  Some have written about secular stagnation, where the economy stagnates over a long term for structural reasons.  Paul Krugman has started writing about that subject.  There is a book by Daniel Alpert, The Age of Oversupply, about the oversupply of labor compared to demand.  Some are writing about the the coming technology effects on employment, such as the book Race Against The Machine.

However, you will not see much discussion of this sort of thing among politicians and the mainstream media.  The right wing is adamantly opposed to thinking such thoughts.  But even progressives and left wing activists are too focused on the cause or story of the moment to pay attention to such things.  I firmly believe that current conservative ideology would be have a very bad result for most people in the coming world.  The goal has to be an economy that works for everyone.  I don't think that progressive politicians and activists know what the solutions are either.  But it is clear that if a whole new kind of economy is needed, the progressives will have to lead the way.

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