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Two recent news items of note. First, this extraordinary piece by News Hour’s Paul Solman, which illustrates the disconnect between what people think about America’s income distribution and the shocking reality:

Land of the Free, Home of the Poor

Harvard economist Richard Freeman tells Solman of the “astounding” growth of income for America’s upper 0.1 percent. “We’re about the same level of inequality as China, and of course in China half the population are rural peasants and not a part of the modern world.”

Also notice that it's the poorer workers interviewed by Solman who seem to know the most about the state of inequality in America.

Next, Joel Kotkin writes at Forbes about increasing incidents of street violence in Western countries suffering from similar problems of income inequality, especially those nations that responded with austerity programs that hurt the lower classes most. He concludes:

"[M]odern society cannot run according to the individualist credo of Ayn Rand; economic systems, to be credible and socially sustainable, must deliver results to the vast majority of citizens. If capitalism cannot do that expect more outbreaks of violence and greater levels of political alienation — not only in Britain but across most of the world’s leading countries, including the U.S."

As more Americans come face to face with the reality of an economy spinning dangerously out of balance, will increasing incidents of violence occur here as well?

I think how we respond to the tremendous crisis of inequality in America is the largest challenge our nation has faced in decades. So far Washington has failed to adequately address this. Can we afford any further mistakes?

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Comment Preferences

    •  There will never be a class war. (0+ / 0-)

      Because neither side will be organized.

      OTOH we will have anarchy, chaos, martial law and such.

      I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

      by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:39:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry - didn't mean to reply to your tip jar. (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

      by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:39:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I did it again. Bad habit. (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

    by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:40:08 AM PDT

    •  In response to your comment under the "tip jar", (0+ / 0-)

      almost all "class wars" begin as protests, riots, strikes, or some combination of these without a real focus other than getting the attention of the government and the powerful.  Many of those involved would have told you that they are out in the streets because they are hungry or unemployed or don't want to go to war but they would not have told you that their purpose was to wage war on the rich or even bring down the government.  What turned many of these situations into "class wars" is a violent reaction or series of violent reactions without any bold actions to address the needs of those "in the streets".  The riot/wide spread protest/strike is, in many instances a last warning.  They are history's way of telling you to PAY ATTENTION, or else.

      banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

      by Saint Jimmy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:02:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, absolutely. Except.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...when I hear "war" I assume the two sides are fairly well organized on a large scale.

        I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

        by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:17:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, they get organized in a hurry. Read good, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dov12348

          detailed histories of the French and Russian revolutions or the Phillippines' "people power" revolution.  Unorganized and random, at first, but there is ALWAYS someone there to give the anarchy focus and to direct it.  If the rich do not think that there are capable "someones" waiting, right here, right now, they are in bigger trouble than it seems.

          banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

          by Saint Jimmy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:32:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Point taken, but... (0+ / 0-)

            ....wouold that not be much more difficult here - especially with martial law ordered at the first signs of serious unrest?

            I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

            by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:48:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Martial law???!!! Oh no! LOL! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dov12348

              Is he kin to Marshall Law???  ;-)  I think I've got a new name for a rock band.... "Marshall Law and the Drones".  

              Seriously, I ain't 'fraid of no marshalls, law or otherwise and I don't think people who are desperate and very, very angry would be, either.  

              Also, go ahead, impose martial law, LOL, and watch your world break down more quickly.

              banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

              by Saint Jimmy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 11:33:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It would be much more difficult to meet. (0+ / 0-)

                And test their firearms, and so forth.

                I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

                by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 11:42:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Test their firearms". Sounds like FUN, (0+ / 0-)

                  doesn't it?  A reg'lar ol' hippie and ni**er turkey shoot, jes' lak in tha ol' dayz!  ;-)  Really, if it gets that far and they are "testing their firearms", "they" will not be protecting anything any more but the generals' asses and it won't be long before the privates through colonels realize it and refuse to fire.  Look, one shooting starts, most of the momentum is with the people and not the rich.  Almost always works that way.  However, should you, like the short sighted red neck military and 'bidness types think that "might always makes right", all I can tell you is that you really don't want to travel that path.  

                  It's NOT a big screen action movie for the WHOLE FAMILY! LOL....

                  banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

                  by Saint Jimmy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 11:56:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I hope you don't think I agree with any of that. (0+ / 0-)

                    Because I don't.

                    I didn't care for math, but when I first understood the concept of finding the slope of a curve at a point, I wanted to grab the first girl I saw and kiss her with wild abandon, just like in that WW II photo.

                    by dov12348 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:34:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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