In the previous two entries long term trends were presented that showed “the rich getting richer.” We have become so numb to this trend that we accept it as a truism. The rich get richer. That is the way it always has been and will be.
Trends do not go on forever, not even in systems out of balance. At some point a new balance will be achieved for a different type of system. The question is do we want that new type of economic system that balances wealth disparity at high levels? Or do we want the same type of system that balanced wealth distribution at the levels found back in the seventies? Or can we devise and implement yet a different system that balances wealth distribution in better accordance with the actual merits of economic productivity?
If you like the first option, and at least 20% of the population might, there is nothing much that needs to be done. Our current laissez faire system will achieve some type of balance in regards to wealth distribution, probably sooner at this point rather than later. The lowest fifth of the population will fluctuate around 3% or lower of total personal income; the middle fifth will fluctuate around 15% or lower; the highest fifth will fluctuate around 50% or higher. Keep in mind that personal income does not tell the whole story of who controls the wealth; the actual disparity is higher than revealed by the proportions of personal income alone.
If you prefer either of the other options then something must be done to rid ourselves of laissez faire economics, which is an abomination to free markets. The problem is that we will not weave such change into the existing components of our economic system. The system is structured to favor and be controlled by business corporations, and the larger pool of business corporations is in turn controlled by a relatively small pool of multinational corporations. Ultimate change to our economic system will have to be initiated from outside the current components.
Systems out of Balance was sequenced to reveal these underlying relationships. Economic essays came first essentially for three reasons. Long term trends are the indicators of systems out of balance and these are most easily demonstrated in our economic system. Prevailing economic theory holds that economics drives everything else in utilitarian fashion; providing economic essays first symbolically depicts this attitude. Yet Systems out of Balance hints throughout that the causal relationship between systems is reversed. To understand what drives economics we have to peel back a layer to look at politics; to understand what drives politics we have to peel back another layer to understand culture.
With the presidential elections coming up I would be remiss as a blogger if I did not dive into some political commentary. This means a few changes are coming on The Middle Class Forum, starting with the next entry. Economic data will still be presented once a week. Harmful economic trends are the easiest to demonstrate, precisely the reason why the misinformation network focuses on economics. In all likelihood economic data pertinent to the middle class will be a permanent feature of The Middle Class Forum, even as commentary and features shift to other areas. From now at least until election day the commentary will be focused on politics.
Excerpts from Systems out of Balance will continue, coming from the political essays. The pertinent essays probably will not be uploaded to the site; I do not want to provide them out of sequence at this point. I will also start featuring anecdotes about being middle class, and encourage others to do the same.