Class Warfare And All That-Some Monday Links

The view from the neo-liberal summit?-From The Economist, ‘The Onrushing Wave,’ (registration required).

There is genuine progress and technological change going on all around us, but will there necessarily more jobs for more people?  As the article points out, the last time there was such serious dislocation going-on was during the Industrial Revolution.  Many ideas and thinkers emerged which are still with us today (Adam Smith and Karl Marx, for example).

Walter Russell Mead:  ‘Hipster Idealists Lose Faith In The Valley

‘Today, Silicon Valley is rediscovering the importance of a strong relationship with a strong state power. Communication companies like Google need the US to defend their position in cyberspace against the attempts of EU-, Russia- and China-based companies, among others, to remake the digital world in their own interests. Government, in return, is intensely interested in the information that the tech companies carry and in both the software and the hardware they build. The frontier of national power today is closely related to the development of high tech, and the security and prosperity of big tech companies is bound up in the policies and the power of the state’

But don’t forget even if tech companies are no longer hip and cool, they’ve still driven-down the price of that device in your pocket.


David Brooks tries to rein-in all that class resentment that’s been whipped-up in America during this progressive period in our politics. Columnists are always looking for middle-ground.  Worth a read:

‘Some on the left have always tried to introduce a more class-conscious style of politics. These efforts never pan out. America has always done better, liberals have always done better, when we are all focused on opportunity and mobility, not inequality, on individual and family aspiration, not class-consciousness.

If we’re going to mobilize a policy revolution, we should focus on the real concrete issues: bad schools, no jobs for young men, broken families, neighborhoods without mediating institutions. We should not be focusing on a secondary issue and a statistical byproduct’

He may be a youthfully reformed social democrat with conservative tendencies, but he makes some good points.

You know, it’s entirely possible to appreciate the liberal arts, high ‘culture,’ literature and cartoons (as the New Yorker is wont to do), without necessarily signing-on to the ‘social democratic’ political philosophy, nor the postmodern drift into in-group/out-group liberal-Left collectivism.

David Remnick at the New Yorker tags along with Obama:

There are mysteries afoot:

‘One of the enduring mysteries of the Obama years is that so many members of the hyper-deluxe economy—corporate C.E.O.s and Wall Street bankers—have abandoned him’

Hyper-deluxe!  It couldn’t have anything to do with his policy failures:

‘Obama bruised some feelings once or twice with remarks about “fat-cat bankers” and “reckless behavior and unchecked excess,” but, in general, he dares not offend. In 2011, at an annual dinner he holds at the White House with American historians, he asked the group to help him find a language in which he could address the problem of growing inequality without being accused of class ‘warfare.

How do you extract money from your donors, favoring their interests and creating a very uneven economic and political landscape, while at the same time using rhetoric far enough Left as to keep your coalitions active, thus potentially denigrating your donors?

A thorny problem.

‘The President of the United States cannot remake our society, and that’s probably a good thing.” He paused yet again, always self-editing. “Not ‘probably,’ ” he said. “It’s definitely a good thing.’

Better late than never, I suppose, even sane, skeptical people judged politicians by what they say, rather than what they do.

Addition: Surely, if Obama had the policy success to match his idealism, inexperience, and the demands his political coalitions place upon the rest of us, he would still be so very appreciative of the constraints upon the power of the Presidency.  Surely

Maybe it’s better to have folks over at the New Yorker step back from the ledge of solidarity with some pride intact.

Happy MLK day.