In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits – the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.
The two tiers of the New Class have always had different sources of rents, however. For the upper tier, since 1990, it has come through its ability to take the benefits of generations of US social investment in education and sell that expertise across global markets – leveraging expertise and access to capital and technological markets in the 1990s to places in Asia and the former communist world in desperate need of it.
As Lasch said, the revolt and flight of the elites, to marketize themselves globally as free agents – to take the social capital derived over many generations by American society, and to go live in the jet stream and extract returns on a global scale for that expertise. But that expertise is now largely commodified – to paraphrase David Swenson on financial engineering, that kind of universal expertise is commodified, cheaply available, and no longer commands much premium. As those returns have come under pressure, the Global New Class has come home, looking to command premiums through privileged access to the public-private divide – access most visible at the moment as virtuous new technology projects that turn out to be mere crony capitalism.
The lower tier is in a different situation and always has been. It is characterized by status-income disequilibrium, to borrow from David Brooks; it cultivates the sensibilities of the upper tier New Class, but does not have the ability to globalize its rent extraction.
The helping professions, the professions of therapeutic authoritarianism (the social workers as well as the public safety workers), the virtuecrats, the regulatory class, etc., have a problem – they mostly service and manage individuals, the client-consumers of the welfare state. Their rents are not leveraged very much, certainly not globally, and are limited to what amounts to an hourly wage.
The method of ramping up wages, however, is through public employee unions and their own special ability to access the public-private divide. But, as everyone understands, that model no longer works, because it has overreached and overleveraged, to the point that even the system’s most sympathetic politicians understand that it cannot pay up.
The upper tier is still doing pretty well. But the lower tier of the New Class – the machine by which universities trained young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down.
The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up. The agony of the students getting dumped at the far end of the supply chain is in large part the OWS. As Above the Law points out, here is “John,” who got out of undergrad, spent a year unemployed and living at home, and is now apparently at University of Vermont law school, with its top ranked environmental law program – John wants to work at a “nonprofit.”
If You Can’t Sell Your Hysteria To Adults, Try Kids
Hysterias are to the Left what oxygen is to biological life.
The entire American left — the mainstream media, the environmentalist movement and Democratic politicians in particular — are celebrating the involvement of teenagers and even younger children in protesting the world’s “inaction” with regard to global warming.
And not just the American left, of course. The left throughout the world is celebrating. A 16-year-old Swedish girl whose contempt for adults is breathtaking is an international hero. Congressional Democrats invited her to testify in Congress, and the United Nations has likewise invited her.
The mayor and city council of New York City further politicized their city’s public schools by allowing students to skip school to actively participate in a global warming protest.
The message of young climate change activists is: “You adults aren’t doing your job. As a result, we have no future.” As a sympathetic reporter — are there any non-sympathetic reporters? — for the Los Angeles Times put it, “(T)eens are still waiting for a sign that their elders get it.”
The Times’ coverage is typical. It reported: “Underneath the activism lies a simple truth: Young people are incredibly scared about climate change. They see it as a profound injustice and an existential threat to their generation and those that will follow. …
“‘They do worry, and they worry kind of a lot,’ said Maria Ojala, an environmental psychologist at Orebro University in Sweden. …
“Arielle Martinez Cohen” — an 18-year-old Los Angeles activist with the youth climate group Zero Hour — “remembers reading a report from an Australian think tank that warned the human species could face extinction by 2050 if society doesn’t get its act together.
“‘I almost imagine, like, an apocalypse-type thing happening,’ Arielle said.
“Many young people say they can’t fathom bringing kids of their own into the world. …
“‘It’s not ethical. It’s literally a burning house,’ Lana said.
“‘That’s something that’s not realistic,’ agreed her twin sister, Yena.
“And how can they even think about college or contemplate their careers when faced with so much uncertainty?
“‘It’s something I feel every single day,’ Yena said. ‘I work really hard at school and I do all these things, and I’m like, “What am I working for? Do I have a future?”‘”
It is critical to remember that hysterias — such as Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, “endemic and systemic racism in America,” the heterosexual AIDS “crisis” in America and the “rape culture” on American college campuses — are to the left what oxygen is to biological life. No oxygen, no life; no hysteria, no left.
Apparently, however, the left-wing hysteria about global warming leading to the virtual extinction of life on Earth has not moved enough adults. Many adults who do not deny that the Earth is getting warmer — such as Danish writer and environmentalist thinker Bjorn Lomborg — do deny that the threat is “existential” and do believe that the left’s solutions, such as the Green New Deal, will damage the world far more than will carbon emissions. Proof that the left is hysterical is its unwillingness to promote nuclear power — a completely clean, non-fossil fuel-based source of power. It provides France with 70 percent of its energy. Anyone who really believes life on Earth is endangered would grasp at the nuclear power lifeboat. That they do not proves what many of us have believed from the beginning: The “existential threat” scenario is another left-wing falsehood used to whip up hysteria that will lead to the left’s control of the economy and society.
And that takes us back to the children: If you can’t sell your hysteria to adults, try kids. And that is what the left has done. After all, no one is as malleable or as easily indoctrinated as children.
‘in spite of‘?
But anyway, when you’ve lost The Hill, noted for being left of center…..
Anti-Trumpers agree: The president’s trade battle with China is hurting our economy and, in particular, America’s farmers. We are told that the tariff tiffs have caused a collapse in U.S. agricultural exports to China, and consequent heartbreak in our heartland.
It isn’t true.
As with most criticisms lodged against the Trump White House, this oft-repeated narrative is way overblown. Turns out, far from suffering what CNBC recently described as “a devastating year for farmers” the farmers of America overall are doing quite well.
The Department of Agriculture recently forecast that net farm income will rise nearly 5 percent this year, to $88 billion. That growth comes on top of increases in both 2017 and 2018 and is, just for the record, faster than the overall growth of the economy.
For sure, times could be better. The forecast for this year means that real net farm income would come in 36 percent below its peak of $136.5 billion in 2013 and slightly below its 2000-18 average ($90.1 billion). Farmers suffered a severe drop in total revenues during the Obama years, collapsing from $484 billion in 2013 to $412 billion in 2016. Weirdly, I don’t remember the media paying much attention.
Not all farmers are expected to enjoy rising income this year. Commodities receipts are forecast to decrease $2.4 billion, or less than 1 percent, to $371 billion, while sales of animals and animal products should climb modestly.
And that dreadful soybean collapse? The DOA is estimating that revenues for all crops will decline $3 billion, or under 2 percent, thanks to crimped soybean sales. But payments to farmers under the administration’s Market Facilitation Program, in addition to other subsidies, will rise almost $6 billion this year, more than offsetting the fall in crop receipts.
Perhaps most startling, the DOA forecasts that the average farm will see net cash income increase more than 11 percent this year, “the first annual increase after 4 consecutive years of declines.” Moreover, the median income of farm households will be up almost 4 percent this year.
At the same time, farmers are getting richer; the net worth of the farm sector is likely to rise slightly this year, to $2.7 trillion, mostly because of higher real estate values.
In short, it turns out that as a whole our farmers are doing ok, or maybe even better than ok.
The anti-Trump media were expecting a drop in employment numbers, but they were wrong. More new jobs were reported in August, than in July.
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT REPORT
195,000 Change in U.S. nonfarm private sector employment
SMALL BUSINESS REPORTS
Change in employment among small businesses with 1-49 employees
NATIONAL FRANCHISE REPORT
Change in U.S. franchise employment