Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Industrial Devolution

The phenomenon occurring in the West can best be described as the Industrial Devolution, exactly the opposite process that occurred in the Industrial Revolution. Rather than wages increasing, capital accumulating, and manufacturing expanding, real wages are declining, peoples' capital is being whittled away through consumption, and the manufacturing base is disappearing.

Let's look at what is happening to America in more detail:

Since 1971, real median income for the 25-34 demographic has actually declined. This effectively means that despite all of the new technologies created since 1971, things like the internet, mobile phones, and multi-GHz computer processors, the lives of this generations' young are harder than they were for the young that lived in 1971.

The average savings rate has reached historical lows, now in the negative. This can be seen in the following chart:

People are spending more than they have, to buy products from merchants based in East Asia. East Asia is under going its own industrial revolution, complete with rising standards of living, mobility, and increased life expectancy, while America is traveling the road to serfdom.

Every election cycle more plans to fix what previous plans created are peddled by the same political class. These plans are enriching the political class like never before:

Washington is all about the money, he writes. In 2005, the Census Bureau listed seven suburban counties around the capital as among the 20 richest in the country. And it’s not just Republicans cashing in on their service. “Upon leaving office,” he notes, “more than half of the senior officials in the Clinton administration became corporate lobbyists.”
-New York Times

Meanwhile political ignorance is overwhelming the ability of the populace to control its destiny.

Every cycle, a new savior is peddled by the political class, be it Obama, Clinton, or McCain, offering a different version of economic salvation, while promoting policies that fundamentally are exactly the same as that of their predecessors, with the only difference between them being cosmetic. Meanwhile, Washington's dirty little secret is ignored:

When someone like Ron Paul does arrive, someone who tells the truth and offers the correct prescription, he is systematically sidelined by the media, who have long ago cross-pollinated with the political class:

"For a variety of reasons, some of them are obvious and some of them are mysterious, Ron Paul gets less coverage than he does raise money, and he gets less coverage than he gets votes. We can go on and on about this. There is no doubt, it’s an objective fact, that the press has decided Ron Paul is not a viable candidate."
-Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism

The forces that have overtaken the West stem from our own failure to maintain cultural harmony. We have pitted ourselves against one another, too fixated on winning the various political/social blood feuds we find ourselves in to look out for the national interest. We have tried, using various ideologies -be they black empowerment, feminism, environmentalism, evangelism, conservatism, or multi-culturalism- to find absolution, but none have brought America into harmony.

Various forces, each separate and fighting for its own identity, have torn the national identity apart, and turned America's political system into a sad farce.

The question is, what is the answer? How do we stop the devolution? Every one is too paranoid to become a follower of someone else's movement, but perhaps the ideology of liberty provides the room needed for big egos to coexist. The Ron Paul movement only asks that you respect others' liberty, social and economic, for the same from others in return, and this mutual respect binds its followers. Perhaps this sort of flexible and tolerant ideology is what can allow America to regain its national vigor, and propel America to another golden age of expansion.

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