Sept. 30, 1934, Fireside Chat, President Franklin D. Roosevelt

To those who say that our expenditures for Public Works and other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order. Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade. What may be necessary for those countries is not my responsibility to determine. But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed. On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed and that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return. I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.

Read the entire speech. It’s kind of relevant.

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  • Consumer Unit 5012

    FDR only had to deal with the Axis, not the Teabaggers.  :-P

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    FDR only had to deal with the Axis, not the Teabaggers.  :-P

  • Guest-again

    FDR, relying on the decency of his fellow Americans, crushed the teabaggers and wall streeters of his time,  and it has taken them this long to come back.

    And as is now clear, they are trying to make up for lost time. Sadly for them, no Roosevelt seems available to save them from themselves again.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I think there’s also a slightly different problem today as well:

    Back then, there were things like LIBERAL Republicans.  Not just moderates – actual Liberals and Progressives.  (Remember Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency was only 20-25 years old at the time.)

    Likewise media was different – you didn’t have places like Fox Noise monopolizing the information intake of a vast swath of the populace, lying like mad to keep their side in power.  There was more willingness to speak actual truth, which isn’t to say there weren’t lies and fabrications – there were; I’m not trying to say this was some golden age or anything – but if you look at our media vs the media of the 30s-40s period… it’s a world of difference.

    Additionally progressive politics had a lot more purchase at the time – people like FDR felt that a populist message had enough purchase to carry them through politically – and they were generally right.

    So we live in an age where we lack an FDR in part because FDR would have no chance of being elected at present.   Hell, Ronald Reagan, quite far removed from FDR, would have a rough go trying to run as a Republican today.

    Oh and last but not least, there was a genuine concern of a communist revolution here.  Remember the Russian Revolution was only 15 years old at this point – fairly recent; it’s not like today where the closest you’ll get to that kind of concern is Bircherites and Teabaggers (usually the same people) crying about Commie-Islamo-Fascists trying to take their money.

    So there was shall we say some significant leverage on the part of the more moderate left wing to push a progressive agenda.

    Basically what I’m saying is:  Obama can’t be FDR, because Obama lives in a different world.  That’s not exonerating Obama for failing to lead in several instances (though that may (I hope) be changing) – but there is a limit to what he can do when he still needs to get votes from a fairly poorly informed middleground section of the electorate.  The base (us), is simply not big enough by itself to carry that.

    FDR was, imo, a great man – but he wasn’t some magic fairy prince who waved his wand and fixed the country; he fought a lot of hard legislative battles, had a lot of setbacks, and started having some nasty deadlock around 1936 despite broad public support.

    Obama could do better than he is, no doubt; but he can’t be our FDR;  the country isn’t set up to accept that kind of thing; just as it probably wouldn’t accept a Theodore Roosevelt or Ike Eisenhower today.

    That’s really all I’m trying to say;  this is going to be a long, hard, probably 30-year slog, not so different from what the Republicans did to get us to this point really.  They didn’t just overnight go “Aha!” and yank the Overton Window all the way to the right in one go; and so we’re going to have to draw it back left the same gradual way.

    *And that anger is aimed generally in the right direction.  Not all of it of course – racism and bigotry in general were still present, but being as it was more omnipresent at the time it was easier to just ignore that and focus on the general populist message.

    Also don’t forget the Solid South, which was at the time, Democratic, not Republican.

  • P J Evans

     There are still people around – people too young to remember, at that – who nearly froth at the mouth when you bring up FDR.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Sad but true.  I think in a lot of ways it’s because they’re too young to have been their first hand, and also don’t study history with any kind of critical eye.

    I mean I’m only 28, obviously my knowledge of FDR is entirely second hand – but I study history as a hobby and also because I feel it is *essential* to being a good voter to understand what it was that came before – because what came before almost invariably has ties to what is happening *now*.

    I mean the Civil War ended around 146 years ago.  It still has a very, very direct impact today on our national politics.  It should be no surprise then that something that happened a mere 70-80 years ago has a powerful impact.

    Blergh, I’m not even sure what my point is except “Yes, there are people that stupid, and yes, it drives me up the goddamn walls.”

  • chris the cynic

    For a class I had I was required to write an op-ed* I decided to do it on debt and taxes.  My point was that as a percent of GDP the debt was higher before (World War II was expensive and after it was over we were in deep debt) and yet it wasn’t apocalyptic and didn’t force us to cut back on government, instead we expanded making government bigger and better.  The difference being taxes.  (The top marginal tax rate averaged 90 percent over the period I looked at.) 

    Ok, so onto the point of this post: when my father read what I had written he assured me that it was very radical because I was asking people to remember all the way back to the 50s and 60s.  Gasp.  He then shared this quote from Utah Phillips, “The long memory is the most radical idea in America.

    * I was required to write it, not send it into a paper.  I did eventually send it to the local paper in part because my teacher’s feedback was something along the lines of, “Put a comma here, I like this bit, for the love of God get this published.”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    That is fantastic – I’m glad your teacher pushed you to get it published too that’s a great thing.

    And yeah, it’s scary just how rebellious and radical a concept like history is in this country.  Which is a damned shame.  The irony that so many people who allow themselves to be duped so easily for a willful lack of understanding history, are the same people who VERY LOUDLY proclaim how much they love their country AND how individualistic they are is… just sad honestly.  It’s not even funny anymore.

  • Guest-again

    FDR, relying on the decency of his fellow Americans, crushed the teabaggers and wall streeters of his time,  and it has taken them this long to come back.

    And as is now clear, they are trying to make up for lost time. Sadly for them, no Roosevelt seems available to save them from themselves again.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I think there’s also a slightly different problem today as well:

    Back then, there were things like LIBERAL Republicans.  Not just moderates – actual Liberals and Progressives.  (Remember Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency was only 20-25 years old at the time.)

    Likewise media was different – you didn’t have places like Fox Noise monopolizing the information intake of a vast swath of the populace, lying like mad to keep their side in power.  There was more willingness to speak actual truth, which isn’t to say there weren’t lies and fabrications – there were; I’m not trying to say this was some golden age or anything – but if you look at our media vs the media of the 30s-40s period… it’s a world of difference.

    Additionally progressive politics had a lot more purchase at the time – people like FDR felt that a populist message had enough purchase to carry them through politically – and they were generally right.

    So we live in an age where we lack an FDR in part because FDR would have no chance of being elected at present.   Hell, Ronald Reagan, quite far removed from FDR, would have a rough go trying to run as a Republican today.

    Oh and last but not least, there was a genuine concern of a communist revolution here.  Remember the Russian Revolution was only 15 years old at this point – fairly recent; it’s not like today where the closest you’ll get to that kind of concern is Bircherites and Teabaggers (usually the same people) crying about Commie-Islamo-Fascists trying to take their money.

    So there was shall we say some significant leverage on the part of the more moderate left wing to push a progressive agenda.

    Basically what I’m saying is:  Obama can’t be FDR, because Obama lives in a different world.  That’s not exonerating Obama for failing to lead in several instances (though that may (I hope) be changing) – but there is a limit to what he can do when he still needs to get votes from a fairly poorly informed middleground section of the electorate.  The base (us), is simply not big enough by itself to carry that.

    FDR was, imo, a great man – but he wasn’t some magic fairy prince who waved his wand and fixed the country; he fought a lot of hard legislative battles, had a lot of setbacks, and started having some nasty deadlock around 1936 despite broad public support.

    Obama could do better than he is, no doubt; but he can’t be our FDR;  the country isn’t set up to accept that kind of thing; just as it probably wouldn’t accept a Theodore Roosevelt or Ike Eisenhower today.

    That’s really all I’m trying to say;  this is going to be a long, hard, probably 30-year slog, not so different from what the Republicans did to get us to this point really.  They didn’t just overnight go “Aha!” and yank the Overton Window all the way to the right in one go; and so we’re going to have to draw it back left the same gradual way.

    *And that anger is aimed generally in the right direction.  Not all of it of course – racism and bigotry in general were still present, but being as it was more omnipresent at the time it was easier to just ignore that and focus on the general populist message.

    Also don’t forget the Solid South, which was at the time, Democratic, not Republican.

  • P J Evans

     There are still people around – people too young to remember, at that – who nearly froth at the mouth when you bring up FDR.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Sad but true.  I think in a lot of ways it’s because they’re too young to have been their first hand, and also don’t study history with any kind of critical eye.

    I mean I’m only 28, obviously my knowledge of FDR is entirely second hand – but I study history as a hobby and also because I feel it is *essential* to being a good voter to understand what it was that came before – because what came before almost invariably has ties to what is happening *now*.

    I mean the Civil War ended around 146 years ago.  It still has a very, very direct impact today on our national politics.  It should be no surprise then that something that happened a mere 70-80 years ago has a powerful impact.

    Blergh, I’m not even sure what my point is except “Yes, there are people that stupid, and yes, it drives me up the goddamn walls.”

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    For a class I had I was required to write an op-ed* I decided to do it on debt and taxes.  My point was that as a percent of GDP the debt was higher before (World War II was expensive and after it was over we were in deep debt) and yet it wasn’t apocalyptic and didn’t force us to cut back on government, instead we expanded making government bigger and better.  The difference being taxes.  (The top marginal tax rate averaged 90 percent over the period I looked at.) 

    Ok, so onto the point of this post: when my father read what I had written he assured me that it was very radical because I was asking people to remember all the way back to the 50s and 60s.  Gasp.  He then shared this quote from Utah Phillips, “The long memory is the most radical idea in America.

    [added]
    Actually I think he might have said it was, “The long memory is the most radical thing in America,” and attributed it to Clair Spark, but I’m not completely sure on that point.
    [/added]

    * I was required to write it, not send it into a paper.  I did eventually send it to the local paper in part because my teacher’s feedback was something along the lines of, “Put a comma here, I like this bit, for the love of God get this published.”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    That is fantastic – I’m glad your teacher pushed you to get it published too that’s a great thing.

    And yeah, it’s scary just how rebellious and radical a concept like history is in this country.  Which is a damned shame.  The irony that so many people who allow themselves to be duped so easily for a willful lack of understanding history, are the same people who VERY LOUDLY proclaim how much they love their country AND how individualistic they are is… just sad honestly.  It’s not even funny anymore.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And no Eisenhower exists to be able to confidently say how much they suck, either.

    http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/words-from-eisenhower/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And no Eisenhower exists to be able to confidently say how much they suck, either.

    http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/words-from-eisenhower/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that
    for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as
    other countries have had them for over a decade.

    I’m suddenly wondering which countries Roosevelt knew of that already had economic problems since the 1920s. If I had to guess, perhaps Eastern Europe, or perhaps parts of Asia or South America. Even in the 1920s, South America was fairly well developed, but as I understand it depended far more on agriculture and cattle ranching than today.

    Given that the USA had several years of bumper crops, it may be that American overproduction ended up undercutting other agricultural nations and threw farmers out of work.If that’s so, Roosevelt showed a pretty keen understanding when he proposed the farm supports program in order to try and limit not only the busts of agriculture, but the booms as well.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m suddenly wondering which countries Roosevelt knew of that already had economic problems since the 1920s.”

    Ahem, GERMANY. More generally speaking, you don’t have a large nation suddenly go into a nosedive economically and expect no international repercussions. This latest bubble should have proved that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Germany managed to recover from the hyperinflation by 1924 and enjoyed an economic boom over the remainder of the 1920s, so the question of “sitting around and tolerating millions of unemployed” doesn’t seem to fit.

  • Anonymous

    Great Britain would fit; they (or rather, the bankers running things) had a hard money/high interest rate/deflationary policy since the end of WWI, and unemployment was high through the 20’s.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Thanks, I forgot all about Britain’s hardships after going back on the gold standard and throwing millions out of work in the miner’s strikes in the years that followed.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that
    for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as
    other countries have had them for over a decade.

    I’m suddenly wondering which countries Roosevelt knew of that already had economic problems since the 1920s. If I had to guess, perhaps Eastern Europe, or perhaps parts of Asia or South America. Even in the 1920s, South America was fairly well developed, but as I understand it depended far more on agriculture and cattle ranching than today.

    Given that the USA had several years of bumper crops, it may be that American overproduction ended up undercutting other agricultural nations and threw farmers out of work.If that’s so, Roosevelt showed a pretty keen understanding when he proposed the farm supports program in order to try and limit not only the busts of agriculture, but the booms as well.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m suddenly wondering which countries Roosevelt knew of that already had economic problems since the 1920s.”

    Ahem, GERMANY. More generally speaking, you don’t have a large nation suddenly go into a nosedive economically and expect no international repercussions. This latest bubble should have proved that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Germany managed to recover from the hyperinflation by 1924 and enjoyed an economic boom over the remainder of the 1920s, so the question of “sitting around and tolerating millions of unemployed” doesn’t seem to fit for Germany.

  • Anonymous

    Great Britain would fit; they (or rather, the bankers running things) had a hard money/high interest rate/deflationary policy since the end of WWI, and unemployment was high through the 20’s.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Thanks, I forgot all about Britain’s hardships after going back on the gold standard and throwing millions out of work in the miner’s strikes in the years that followed.

  • Jenny Islander

    “I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.”  Seems as though a lot of modern politicians feel the same way–but their solution is to shorten the relief rolls so that people fall off the ends and disappear from official notice.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s amazing how widespread such mean-spirited thoughts and attitudes are among politicians. The worst part is when they then blame the poor for misfortunes brought on by exactly the kinds of attitudes that pushed them “off the ends” in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    I started a job in 2008, just as the recession was getting really bad.  And there was an intersection that I passed on my way home.  One day there was a beggar there.  Eventually I saw several others, although rarely more than two at a time.  The growth in beggars also coincided with lay-offs withing my company.  One time at work I reflected that the beggars were sort of like an economic gauge for me.  I also lamented that it was sad that they had to be there.  But one coworker really shocked me with his response.  He only said “Yeah, the police should do a better job of keeping them away from there”.  I didn’t even know what to say because I was just so surprised.  To him, the problem wasn’t that there were starving people who had to beg for money, but that law enforcement wasn’t doing a good enough job of keeping them hidden.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.

  • Lori

     Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.  

     

    I lived in California for more than 15 years, first in the SF Bay Area and then in LA county so I know what you mean about large homeless populations, even in boom times. I think there are a couple major things at work there. The first is the lack of mental health and addiction services and the other is that once you fall far enough off the edge to become homeless it is incredibly difficult to claw your way back to anything like a normal life, let alone what we would normally consider success. It happens, but it’s rare enough that they make movies about it. 

    I was reading a book recently about a person who went West because his farm had failed. He simply sold what he could, packed what he could carry and lit out for the territories. No one there knew anything about him that he didn’t tell them, so he started over with no real baggage from his old life and without people having much in the way of preconceptions about him. It made me think about how impossible it is to do anything like that any more without committing multiple felonies. 

    The stories/jokes that people used to tell about stuff in school going on your Permanent Record has now become reality. It’s just called a credit report now. Once things have really gone to shit for someone they are going to be dragging that around like an anchor for so long that it’s hard to effectively move on, especially since bankruptcy “reform”. We’ve created a situation in our economy where if you screw up and you don’t have a good enough personal safety net (via family money or something) you are totally and completely screwed and at the same time we blame people for not being more ambitious. We’ve raised the cost of risk to the point where a large percentage of the population would have to be nuts to it on, and then labelled those people make perfectly sensible cost/benefit analysis as “lazy” or “worthless”. 

  • Anonymous

    This. Is. Capitalism.

    If you look at it from a cost/benefit view of an immortal sociopath (ie, a corporation) it makes perfect sense.  Push the risk onto somebody else.  If they complain that it’s not fair, complain that they are complaining.

    I have a comment somewhere on the internet wherein I call some HR drone a big fat liar for claiming they would “work with” people who would just come clean about their bad credit (they were running credit checks on applicants.)  BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID.  Why? It’s like the economic version of Pascals Wager.  Be an accountability obsessed, punitive hardass and prevent something from going wrong, it’s because you were a hardass.  Be a hardass when nothing WOULD have gone wrong, and nobody will never know.  Fail to be a hardass and something GOES wrong, and you should’ve been a hardass.

    Until you align the rewards / punishments at “don’t be a dick” people are going to continue to be dicks.

  • Lori

     This. Is. Capitalism.  

    It’s one form of capitalism. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

    I have a comment somewhere on the internet wherein I call some HR drone a big fat liar for claiming they would “work with” people who would just come clean about their bad credit (they were running credit checks on applicants.)  BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID.  Why? It’s like the economic version of Pascals Wager.  Be an accountability obsessed, punitive hardass and prevent something from going wrong, it’s because you were a hardass.  Be a hardass when nothing WOULD have gone wrong, and nobody will never know.  Fail to be a hardass and something GOES wrong, and you should’ve been a hardass.  

    This is true, which is why I think it should be illegal to run credit checks on applicants for any job not directly related to having unsupervised access to money. However, the rules don’t work this way across the board. There is no equivalent pressure on the people who hire upper management. 

    The NY Times has an article today looking at the on-going BS in compensation for failed executives.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/business/outsize-severance-continues-for-executives-even-after-failed-tenures.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

    A hallmark of the gilded era of just a few short years ago, the
    eye-popping severance package continues to thrive in spite of the
    measures put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to crack down
    on excessive pay.

    [cut]

    “We repeatedly see companies’ assets go out the door to reward failure,”
    said Scott Zdrazil, the director of corporate governance for
    Amalgamated Bank’s $11 billion Longview Fund, a labor-affiliated
    investment fund that sought to tighten the restrictions on severance
    plans at three oil companies last year. “Investors are frustrated that
    boards haven’t prevented such windfalls.”

    [cut]

    Some critics believe investors have become inured to the hefty payouts.
    In addition, the continuing financial crises in Europe and the United
    States have pushed compensation into the backseat on the shareholder
    agenda.
    “People are preoccupied with the bigger issues,” said Frederick Rowe
    Jr., a hedge fund manager and president of Investors for Director
    Accountability which has sought to curb excessive pay.        

    Yeah, people just can’t quite tear themselves away from the important work of demonizing members of the lower classes who experience failure to do anything about curbing the rewards for those of the higher orders who screw up, let alone do something to punish the boards of directors who hired the screw ups in the first place. 

    That’s not how capitalism is supposed to work in theory. Market forces are supposed to apply top to bottom. The fact that people are gaming the system for the benefit of those at the top, while being increasingly punitive toward those at the bottom is not a surprise, but I think that accepting that idea that that’s just capitalism is neither helpful or correct. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    This. Is. Capitalism.

    And now I am imagining a political cartoon where Leonidas, wearing a “Corporation” label kicks a messenger wearing a “Middle Class” label into a pit while yelling that.  

  • Anonymous

    Excellent.

  • Albanaeon

    With a little side cartoon of Leo yelling down the pit, “Now hurry up and bootstrap your way back up here so we can do this again!”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    … I may need to draw this, because I’m laughing pretty darn hard right now ><

  • Lonespark

    Oh please do.  Maybe make t-shirts?

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Hehe well I dunno about T-Shirts, but I think I’m going to give it a shot as part of my warm up drawing for the day.  If it’s worth a damn when I’m done I’ll post it here.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Alright, just for lolz, here’s the Leonidas-as-Wall Street political cartoon >_> I’m not very good at the whole political cartooning style though, so it’s hardly perfect.  Still, its’ not terribad I guess.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/mistharm/LeonidasPoliticalCartoonCapitalism.jpg

    As an added bonus, I’m posting the old John Calvin Whizzes on Free Will sticker concept as well >.> not sure if anyone even remembers that idea but it was from a thread where we got to talking about those Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) peeing stickers some people have in their windows and… … things happened.  I committed an artrocity ><  It ain't great, why I didn't post it sooner, but… I admit combined with the above I think it's OK.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/mistharm/JohnCalvinWhizFreeWillSticker.jpg

    Thus probably ends my career as a political cartoonist lol

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.

    Oh, I get the impression it went away for a while, but Ronald Reagan brought the Good Old Days back for us.  :-P

  • Anonymous

     I remember being seven or eight, and walking to Union Station with my mother, late in the evening. This was Chicago, in the late nineties. The weather had just recently transitioned into our customary late autumn chill. I had my winter coat on. On our way, there was a building with a stone work facade that created little raised alcoves, with a bottom edge had a very slight incline towards the street, much shallower than similar examples in the city. The bottom was just wide enough and long enough for an adult to lie down in with some contorting. Every single one of those alcoves had someone sleeping in it. Some were using newspaper as blankets. Newspaper.

    Never let anyone tell you homelessness isn’t something to be concerned about. As long as there are men and women using newspaper for blankets, trapped outside on nights that drop into the 40’s, we have have failed as a country and as a society.

  • Anonymous

    @bananacat
    Yes.  The intersections in the neighborhood where I grew up used to have no panhandlers at all.  Since the recession, there have been three to four there every day.

    Lori:

    No one there knew anything about him that he didn’t tell them, so he started over with no real baggage from his old life and without people having much in the way of preconceptions about him. It made me think about how impossible it is to do anything like that any more without committing multiple felonies. 

    This reminds me of a story one of my HS teachers told me about his grandfather.  When Grandpa was in his late teens he went up to the Klondike area with only the clothes on his back.  He applied for a job at the post office and was asked to verify his identity and age. (He needed to be 18.  I think it was 18.)  Having no papers, he was asked if there were anyone local who could vouch for his identity.  He was about to leave because he knew no one when a person standing near spoke up and said, “I can vouch for him.  This is my friend John Doe and he’s 18 years old.”  They’d never met before but Grandpa got hired.  Later, he went to thank the man and introduced himself.  The name of the person who had spoken for him?  Jack London.  Yeah. 

    Anyway, back to my real thought.  The American myth of being able to start over fresh and remake oneself belongs to a past time.  Immigrants could come off the boat and, if they chose, take on completely new identities and no one would know.  A person could move from one area to another and be a different person in each place.  Due to the level of technology and interconectedness now, this just doesn’t happen anymore.  Instead of being inspiring, the myth is now just harmful.  People constantly say “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” but you can’t do that with a hundred past mistakes clinging to you.  Our society no longer gives anyone the chance to start from a clean slate.

  • Beepymusics

    You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.

  • Lori

     You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.  

     

    I’m not sure that, on balance, this is true. Yes, modern technology can result in catching criminals of all sorts who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That doesn’t seem to be vastly reducing the number of rapes though. That’s because there are a great many factors at work beyond the CSI-stuff. 

    My issue is not with interconnectedness per se, it’s with the way we’re using it. We’ve turned the tools of interconnectedness into weapons against people we shouldn’t be fighting. That has jack to do with catching rapists. 

  • Lonespark

    Yeah, and rape is a bad example, because of all the social factors that go into defining/preventing/discouraging/punishing it.  I suppose it is harder to…abandon a bunch of families in different states, maybe?  But not impossible.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    “You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to
    start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial
    rapist harder.”

    This crossed my mind as well. I think it does make serial criminals easier to catch, but it has lots of negative consequences. It makes it necessary for anyone wishing to start over with a clean slate to become a criminal (obtain a false ID, falsify documents, etc). It makes it so that if anyone is discovered to have done this, people will assume they are a serial rapist/criminal/embezzler/whatever, no matter what the actual reason was for wanting to start over. It makes it more difficult to escape an abuser or a stalker, and easier for past abusers/stalkers to track you down again. It makes it more difficult in general for people to escape bad economic situations. It makes it impossible to get a job or a place to live if the law decides you aren’t who you say you are.

    I’m not sure the one benefit really offsets all that.

    It kind of reminds me of the “real name only policy” blowup Google+ is having right now…there’s a big debate around the internet over whether people should have to declare their real identities online (thus preventing people from “starting over”, in a sense), or whether they have the right to use an avatar or separate online identity.

  • Lonespark

    You’re…not wrong.  Certainly.  But you do reach a point where people who use information are flooded with it and can’t get to the useful information quickly enough.

  • Jenny Islander

    “I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.”  Seems as though a lot of modern politicians feel the same way–but their solution is to shorten the relief rolls so that people fall off the ends and disappear from official notice.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s amazing how widespread such mean-spirited thoughts and attitudes are among politicians. The worst part is when they then blame the poor for misfortunes brought on by exactly the kinds of attitudes that pushed them “off the ends” in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    I started a job in 2008, just as the recession was getting really bad.  And there was an intersection that I passed on my way home.  One day there was a beggar there.  Eventually I saw several others, although rarely more than two at a time.  The growth in beggars also coincided with lay-offs withing my company.  One time at work I reflected that the beggars were sort of like an economic gauge for me.  I also lamented that it was sad that they had to be there.  But one coworker really shocked me with his response.  He only said “Yeah, the police should do a better job of keeping them away from there”.  I didn’t even know what to say because I was just so surprised.  To him, the problem wasn’t that there were starving people who had to beg for money, but that law enforcement wasn’t doing a good enough job of keeping them hidden.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.

  • Lori

     Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.  

     

    I lived in California for more than 15 years, first in the SF Bay Area and then in LA county so I know what you mean about large homeless populations, even in boom times. I think there are a couple major things at work there. The first is the lack of mental health and addiction services and the other is that once you fall far enough off the edge to become homeless it is incredibly difficult to claw your way back to anything like a normal life, let alone what we would normally consider success. It happens, but it’s rare enough that they make movies about it. 

    I was reading a book recently about a person who went West because his farm had failed. He simply sold what he could, packed what he could carry and lit out for the territories. No one there knew anything about him that he didn’t tell them, so he started over with no real baggage from his old life and without people having much in the way of preconceptions about him. It made me think about how impossible it is to do anything like that any more without committing multiple felonies. 

    The stories/jokes that people used to tell about stuff in school going on your Permanent Record have now become reality. It’s just called a credit report now. Once things have really gone to shit for someone they are going to be dragging that around like an anchor for so long that it’s hard to effectively move on, especially since bankruptcy “reform”. We’ve created a situation in our economy where if you screw up and you don’t have a good enough personal safety net (via family money or something) you are totally and completely screwed and at the same time we blame people for not being more ambitious. We’ve raised the cost of risk to the point where a large percentage of the population would have to be nuts to take it on, and then labelled those people making perfectly sensible cost/benefit analysis as “lazy” or “worthless”.

  • Anonymous

    This. Is. Capitalism.

    If you look at it from a cost/benefit view of an immortal sociopath (ie, a corporation) it makes perfect sense.  Push the risk onto somebody else.  If they complain that it’s not fair, complain that they are complaining.

    I have a comment somewhere on the internet wherein I call some HR drone a big fat liar for claiming they would “work with” people who would just come clean about their bad credit (they were running credit checks on applicants.)  BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID.  Why? It’s like the economic version of Pascals Wager.  Be an accountability obsessed, punitive hardass and prevent something from going wrong, it’s because you were a hardass.  Be a hardass when nothing WOULD have gone wrong, and nobody will never know.  Fail to be a hardass and something GOES wrong, and you should’ve been a hardass.

    Until you align the rewards / punishments at “don’t be a dick” people are going to continue to be dicks.

  • Lori

     This. Is. Capitalism.  

    It’s one form of capitalism. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

    I have a comment somewhere on the internet wherein I call some HR drone a big fat liar for claiming they would “work with” people who would just come clean about their bad credit (they were running credit checks on applicants.)  BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID.  Why? It’s like the economic version of Pascals Wager.  Be an accountability obsessed, punitive hardass and prevent something from going wrong, it’s because you were a hardass.  Be a hardass when nothing WOULD have gone wrong, and nobody will never know.  Fail to be a hardass and something GOES wrong, and you should’ve been a hardass.  

    This is true, which is why I think it should be illegal to run credit checks on applicants for any job not directly related to having unsupervised access to money. However, the rules don’t work this way across the board. There is no equivalent pressure on the people who hire upper management. 

    The NY Times has an article today looking at the on-going BS in compensation for failed executives.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/business/outsize-severance-continues-for-executives-even-after-failed-tenures.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

    A hallmark of the gilded era of just a few short years ago, the
    eye-popping severance package continues to thrive in spite of the
    measures put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to crack down
    on excessive pay.

    [cut]

    “We repeatedly see companies’ assets go out the door to reward failure,”
    said Scott Zdrazil, the director of corporate governance for
    Amalgamated Bank’s $11 billion Longview Fund, a labor-affiliated
    investment fund that sought to tighten the restrictions on severance
    plans at three oil companies last year. “Investors are frustrated that
    boards haven’t prevented such windfalls.”

    [cut]

    Some critics believe investors have become inured to the hefty payouts.
    In addition, the continuing financial crises in Europe and the United
    States have pushed compensation into the backseat on the shareholder
    agenda.
    “People are preoccupied with the bigger issues,” said Frederick Rowe
    Jr., a hedge fund manager and president of Investors for Director
    Accountability which has sought to curb excessive pay.        

    Yeah, people just can’t quite tear themselves away from the important work of demonizing members of the lower classes who experience failure to do anything about curbing the rewards for those of the higher orders who screw up, let alone do something to punish the boards of directors who hired the screw ups in the first place. 

    That’s not how capitalism is supposed to work in theory. Market forces are supposed to apply top to bottom. The fact that people are gaming the system for the benefit of those at the top, while being increasingly punitive toward those at the bottom is not a surprise, but I think accepting the idea that that’s just capitalism is neither helpful or correct.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    This. Is. Capitalism.

    And now I am imagining a political cartoon where Leonidas, wearing a “Corporation” label kicks a messenger wearing a “Middle Class” label into a pit while yelling that.  

  • Anonymous

    Excellent.

  • Albanaeon

    With a little side cartoon of Leo yelling down the pit, “Now hurry up and bootstrap your way back up here so we can do this again!”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    … I may need to draw this, because I’m laughing pretty darn hard right now ><

  • Lonespark

    Oh please do.  Maybe make t-shirts?

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Hehe well I dunno about T-Shirts, but I think I’m going to give it a shot as part of my warm up drawing for the day.  If it’s worth a damn when I’m done I’ll post it here.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Alright, just for lolz, here’s the Leonidas-as-Wall Street political cartoon >_> I’m not very good at the whole political cartooning style though, so it’s hardly perfect.  Still, its’ not terribad I guess.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/mistharm/LeonidasPoliticalCartoonCapitalism.jpg

    As an added bonus, I’m posting the old John Calvin Whizzes on Free Will sticker concept as well >.> not sure if anyone even remembers that idea but it was from a thread where we got to talking about those Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) peeing stickers some people have in their windows and… … things happened.  I committed an artrocity ><  It ain't great, why I didn't post it sooner, but… I admit combined with the above I think it's OK.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/mistharm/JohnCalvinWhizFreeWillSticker.jpg

    Thus probably ends my career as a political cartoonist lol

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Even in the relative boom years of the late 1990s and most of the 2000s, the number of homeless in my city has always made me feel like some things about the Great Depression never went away.

    Oh, I get the impression it went away for a while, but Ronald Reagan brought the Good Old Days back for us.  :-P

  • Anonymous

     I remember being seven or eight, and walking to Union Station with my mother, late in the evening. This was Chicago, in the late nineties. The weather had just recently transitioned into our customary late autumn chill. I had my winter coat on. On our way, there was a building with a stone work facade that created little raised alcoves, with a bottom edge had a very slight incline towards the street, much shallower than similar examples in the city. The bottom was just wide enough and long enough for an adult to lie down in with some contorting. Every single one of those alcoves had someone sleeping in it. Some were using newspaper as blankets. Newspaper.

    Never let anyone tell you homelessness isn’t something to be concerned about. As long as there are men and women using newspaper for blankets, trapped outside on nights that drop into the 40’s, we have have failed as a country and as a society.

  • Anonymous

    @bananacat
    Yes.  The intersections in the neighborhood where I grew up used to have no panhandlers at all.  Since the recession, there have been three to four there every day.

    Lori:

    No one there knew anything about him that he didn’t tell them, so he started over with no real baggage from his old life and without people having much in the way of preconceptions about him. It made me think about how impossible it is to do anything like that any more without committing multiple felonies. 

    This reminds me of a story one of my HS teachers told me about his grandfather.  When Grandpa was in his late teens he went up to the Klondike area with only the clothes on his back.  He applied for a job at the post office and was asked to verify his identity and age. (He needed to be 18.  I think it was 18.)  Having no papers, he was asked if there were anyone local who could vouch for his identity.  He was about to leave because he knew no one when a person standing near spoke up and said, “I can vouch for him.  This is my friend John Doe and he’s 18 years old.”  They’d never met before but Grandpa got hired.  Later, he went to thank the man and introduced himself.  The name of the person who had spoken for him?  Jack London.  Yeah. 

    Anyway, back to my real thought.  The American myth of being able to start over fresh and remake oneself belongs to a past time.  Immigrants could come off the boat and, if they chose, take on completely new identities and no one would know.  A person could move from one area to another and be a different person in each place.  Due to the level of technology and interconectedness now, this just doesn’t happen anymore.  Instead of being inspiring, the myth is now just harmful.  People constantly say “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” but you can’t do that with a hundred past mistakes clinging to you.  Our society no longer gives anyone the chance to start from a clean slate.

  • Beepymusics

    You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.

  • Lori

     You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.  

     

    I’m not sure that, on balance, this is true. Yes, modern technology can result in catching criminals of all sorts who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That doesn’t seem to be vastly reducing the number of rapes though. That’s because there are a great many factors at work beyond the CSI-stuff. 

    My issue is not with interconnectedness per se, it’s with the way we’re using it. We’ve turned the tools of interconnectedness into weapons against people we shouldn’t be fighting. That has jack to do with catching rapists. 

  • Lonespark

    Yeah, and rape is a bad example, because of all the social factors that go into defining/preventing/discouraging/punishing it.  I suppose it is harder to…abandon a bunch of families in different states, maybe?  But not impossible.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    “You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to
    start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial
    rapist harder.”

    This crossed my mind as well. I think it does make serial criminals easier to catch, but it has lots of negative consequences. It makes it necessary for anyone wishing to start over with a clean slate to become a criminal (obtain a false ID, falsify documents, etc). It makes it so that if anyone is discovered to have done this, people will assume they are a serial rapist/criminal/embezzler/whatever, no matter what the actual reason was for wanting to start over. It makes it more difficult to escape an abuser or a stalker, and easier for past abusers/stalkers to track you down again. It makes it more difficult in general for people to escape bad economic situations. It makes it impossible to get a job or a place to live if the law decides you aren’t who you say you are.

    I’m not sure the one benefit really offsets all that.

    It kind of reminds me of the “real name only policy” blowup Google+ is having right now…there’s a big debate around the internet over whether people should have to declare their real identities online (thus preventing people from “starting over”, in a sense), or whether they have the right to use an avatar or separate online identity.

  • Lonespark

    You’re…not wrong.  Certainly.  But you do reach a point where people who use information are flooded with it and can’t get to the useful information quickly enough.

  • Anonymous

    FDR remains my favorite president.  In addition to what Fred posted there’s also his 1944 State of the Union Message.  Read the whole thing. Obama could just read this today and it would be as relevant now as it was then.

    http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/address_text.html

  • kbeth

    Wow, I read that and was stunned by this paragraph:

    ” One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has
    rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently
    emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All
    clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction
    should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to
    the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even
    though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad,
    we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home. ”

    …Whoops.

  • Anonymous

    FDR remains my favorite president.  In addition to what Fred posted there’s also his 1944 State of the Union Message.  Read the whole thing. Obama could just read this today and it would be as relevant now as it was then.

    http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/address_text.html

  • kbeth

    Wow, I read that and was stunned by this paragraph:

    ” One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has
    rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently
    emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All
    clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction
    should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to
    the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even
    though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad,
    we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home. ”

    …Whoops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804043045 Abdul Jah

    Given that
    the USA had several years of bumper crops, it may be that American
    overproduction ended up undercutting other agricultural nations and
    threw farmers out of work.If that’s so, Roosevelt showed a pretty keen
    understanding when he proposed the farm supports program in order to try
    and limit not only the busts of agriculture, but the booms as well.

    That’s exactly what happened! That, and a spiderweb of WW1 military debt in Europe, reparations, and hyperinflation, but farm thing was a pretty huge problem; it probably made the other problems with Europe a lot more difficult to manage than they would have been.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804043045 Abdul Jah

    Given that
    the USA had several years of bumper crops, it may be that American
    overproduction ended up undercutting other agricultural nations and
    threw farmers out of work.If that’s so, Roosevelt showed a pretty keen
    understanding when he proposed the farm supports program in order to try
    and limit not only the busts of agriculture, but the booms as well.

    That’s exactly what happened! That, and a spiderweb of WW1 military debt in Europe, reparations, and hyperinflation, but farm thing was a pretty huge problem; it probably made the other problems with Europe a lot more difficult to manage than they would have been.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I like the way this guy thinks – someone should elect him president!

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I like the way this guy thinks – someone should elect him president!

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    With a quote from 1934, a blog post on The Federal Reserve, Then and Now:
    http://www.archelaus-cards.com/blog/2011/08/25/the-federal-reserve-then-and-now/
    (It may seem like an odd blog post for a greeting card company, but it’s an odd greeting card company.)

    Oh, and did anyone else notice that airline pilots have joined in the Occupy Wall Street protests?  Anyone else trying to imagine Rayford’s reaction?

  • Lori

     Oh, and did anyone else notice that airline pilots have joined in the Occupy Wall Street protests?  Anyone else trying to imagine Rayford’s reaction?  

     

    I’m so glad that I wasn’t the only one who thought of Captain Ray. I’m sure is head would explode at the very idea of pilots lowering themselves to associate with DFH in the street instead of hob-nobbing with the Right People. 

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Rayford is probably busily spit-shining his bosses shoes.  Inside he’s grumbling about it, but he’s doing it anyway.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    With a quote from 1934, a blog post on The Federal Reserve, Then and Now:
    http://www.archelaus-cards.com/blog/2011/08/25/the-federal-reserve-then-and-now/
    (It may seem like an odd blog post for a greeting card company, but it’s an odd greeting card company.)

    Oh, and did anyone else notice that airline pilots have joined in the Occupy Wall Street protests?  Anyone else trying to imagine Rayford’s reaction?

  • Lori

     Oh, and did anyone else notice that airline pilots have joined in the Occupy Wall Street protests?  Anyone else trying to imagine Rayford’s reaction?  

     

    I’m so glad that I wasn’t the only one who thought of Captain Ray. I’m sure his head would explode at the very idea of pilots lowering themselves to associate with DFH in the street instead of hob-nobbing with the Right People.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Rayford is probably busily spit-shining his bosses shoes.  Inside he’s grumbling about it, but he’s doing it anyway.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     We’ve created a situation in our economy where if you screw up and you don’t have a good enough personal safety net (via family money or something) you are totally and completely screwed and at the same time we blame people for not being more ambitious. We’ve raised the cost of risk to the point where a large percentage of the population would have to be nuts to it on, and then labelled those people make perfectly sensible cost/benefit analysis as “lazy” or “worthless”.

    When I’m feeling especially paranoid, I wonder if that’s not deliberate social engineering by our Benevolent Corporate Overlords.  To misquote Dave Barry, their ultimate goal is a society of employees so desperate to keep their jobs that the boss can put out his cigar on their foreheads and they’ll THANK him for it.  :(

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     We’ve created a situation in our economy where if you screw up and you don’t have a good enough personal safety net (via family money or something) you are totally and completely screwed and at the same time we blame people for not being more ambitious. We’ve raised the cost of risk to the point where a large percentage of the population would have to be nuts to it on, and then labelled those people make perfectly sensible cost/benefit analysis as “lazy” or “worthless”.

    When I’m feeling especially paranoid, I wonder if that’s not deliberate social engineering by our Benevolent Corporate Overlords.  To misquote Dave Barry, their ultimate goal is a society of employees so desperate to keep their jobs that the boss can put out his cigar on their foreheads and they’ll THANK him for it.  :(

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    To quote today’s xkcd, “If your quick with a knife, you’ll find the invisible hand is made of delicious invisible meat.”  

    The question here is, who is eating whom?  

  • Lori

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick.

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you can see why that becomes a problem.  

  • Mackrimin

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that
    communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where
    individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective
    effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the
    wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will
    not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you
    can see why that becomes a problem.

    So… how is this any different from any other economic system? My boss gives me a list of things to do in the morning (1-day plan?). His boss gives him a production plan for the week (hopefully before Monday). And lots of people I know simply ride the wave, doing only the absolute minimum required to not get fired (sent to gulaks in Soviet Russia).

    Also, it’s worth noting that communism turned Russia, which had collapsed in WWI and been a joke long before that, into an empire bent on world domination in a mere few decades. Soviet Union ultimately lost, but the measures required for that is ultimately the foundation of USAs current troubles, so it could still turn out to be a draw. And frankly, it could be argued that Reagan didn’t so much out-fight but out-evil the Evil Empire, which wasn’t willing to respond in kind and escalate things to all-out nuclear war.

    So, the three single biggest issues communism has is that it was on the losing side of “World War 3: Cold War”, provided a nice ideological coating for a fight for domination, and still remains a useful strawman to shoot down any attempt to equalize economy. Lack of productivity is not amongst them.

  • P J Evans

    I don’t think communism was what made the Soviet Union try world domination. Remember the Romans? And the British Empire? And the US? World domination, but not communism.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It is one of those “not so different” things. 

    I would actually prefer communism as a system, I am just not sure it can work in a culture that tends to focus on “what’s in it for me?” 

  • chris the cynic

    It is one of those “not so different” things.

    So sort of like the old Soviet joke, “Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man; communism is the exact opposite” ?

  • Mackrimin

    I would actually prefer communism as a system, I am just not sure it can
    work in a culture that tends to focus on “what’s in it for me?”

    And I would prefer an economic system where problems are solved based on what’s likely to work best rather than what solution best adheres to an economic ideology, such as communism or capitalism. I simply don’t think that we can have that unless we neuter communism-as-strawman first.

    Of course, continuing economic collapse due to hubris will eventually force reconciling economic policy with reality, but that will be… painful.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And I would prefer an economic system where problems are solved based on what’s likely to work best rather than what solution best adheres to an economic ideology, such as communism or capitalism.

    This.  

    I think that all policy should be governed by pragmatism over ideology, with maybe a moral edge of “greatest possible good for greatest number of people,” to smooth off an excess of ruthlessness.  When people yell “That’s socialism!” in response to pragmatic plans to enact financial industry restrictions, my response to them is, “So what?  What does it matter so long as it works?”  

  • Lonespark

    Yes. 
    This.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    To quote today’s xkcd, “If your quick with a knife, you’ll find the invisible hand is made of delicious invisible meat.”  

    The question here is, who is eating whom?  

  • Lori

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick.

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you can see why that becomes a problem.  

  • Mackrimin

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that
    communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where
    individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective
    effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the
    wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will
    not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you
    can see why that becomes a problem.

    So… how is this any different from any other economic system? My boss gives me a list of things to do in the morning (1-day plan?). His boss gives him a production plan for the week (hopefully before Monday). And lots of people I know simply ride the wave, doing only the absolute minimum required to not get fired (sent to gulaks in Soviet Russia).

    Also, it’s worth noting that communism turned Russia, which had collapsed in WWI and been a joke long before that, into an empire bent on world domination in a mere few decades. Soviet Union ultimately lost, but the measures required for that is ultimately the foundation of USAs current troubles, so it could still turn out to be a draw. And frankly, it could be argued that Reagan didn’t so much out-fight but out-evil the Evil Empire, which wasn’t willing to respond in kind and escalate things to all-out nuclear war.

    So, the three single biggest issues communism has is that it was on the losing side of “World War 3: Cold War”, provided a nice ideological coating for a fight for domination, and still remains a useful strawman to shoot down any attempt to equalize economy. Lack of productivity is not amongst them.

  • P J Evans

    I don’t think communism was what made the Soviet Union try world domination. Remember the Romans? And the British Empire? And the US? World domination, but not communism.

  • P J Evans

    I don’t think communism was what made the Soviet Union try world domination. Remember the Romans? And the British Empire? And the US? World domination, but not communism.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It is one of those “not so different” things. 

    I would actually prefer communism as a system, I am just not sure it can work in a culture that tends to focus on “what’s in it for me?” 

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    It is one of those “not so different” things.

    So sort of like the old Soviet joke, “Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man; communism is the exact opposite” ?

  • Mackrimin

    I would actually prefer communism as a system, I am just not sure it can
    work in a culture that tends to focus on “what’s in it for me?”

    And I would prefer an economic system where problems are solved based on what’s likely to work best rather than what solution best adheres to an economic ideology, such as communism or capitalism. I simply don’t think that we can have that unless we neuter communism-as-strawman first.

    Of course, continuing economic collapse due to hubris will eventually force reconciling economic policy with reality, but that will be… painful.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And I would prefer an economic system where problems are solved based on what’s likely to work best rather than what solution best adheres to an economic ideology, such as communism or capitalism.

    This.  

    I think that all policy should be governed by pragmatism over ideology, with maybe a moral edge of “greatest possible good for greatest number of people,” to smooth off an excess of ruthlessness.  When people yell “That’s socialism!” in response to pragmatic plans to enact financial industry restrictions, my response to them is, “So what?  What does it matter so long as it works?”  

  • Lonespark

    Yes. 
    This.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I pasted the picture because these days, it apparently is more important to focus on relatively transient and minor issues than on the deeper structural problems that people like FDR focussed squarely on and made their mission to solve.

    It worked, too, as we got the Great Compression:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Compression

  • Anonymous

    Oh, great. Now you’ve got me contemplating the thermodynamics of the Great Compression and the Great Divergence. There goes my Saturday…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I pasted the picture because these days, it apparently is more important to the media to focus on relatively transient and minor issues than on the deeper structural problems that people like FDR focussed squarely on and made their mission to solve.

    It worked, too, as we got the Great Compression:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Compression

  • Anonymous

    Oh, great. Now you’ve got me contemplating the thermodynamics of the Great Compression and the Great Divergence. There goes my Saturday…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://www4.picturepush.com/photo/a/6667357/img/6667357.jpg

    Some of the more determined Republicans haven’t changed in 70 years. Talk about people who’ve never learned to walk forwards!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://www4.picturepush.com/photo/a/6667357/img/6667357.jpg

    Some of the more determined Republicans haven’t changed in 70 years. Talk about people who’ve never learned to walk forwards!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh yeah, for some fun, watch this old ad from 1940:

    http://www.archive.org/details/TruthAbo1940

    The more doctrinaire Repubs haven’t changed their tune in years. They still love trashing Democrats for spending money on poor people while dressing themselves in the flag.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh yeah, for some fun, watch this old ad from 1940:

    http://www.archive.org/details/TruthAbo1940

    The more doctrinaire Repubs haven’t changed their tune in years. They still love trashing Democrats for spending money on poor people while dressing themselves in the flag.

    Oh, and I found an interesting book on the Internet Archive that discusses the “Republican Ascendancy” from 1921-1933 and it has some very unflattering things to say about the 1920s in the USA. :P

    http://www.archive.org/details/republicanascend017977mbp

  • Lori

    Earlier today, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, lead an event at the Brookings Institution on addressing the jobs crisis. (Transcript & video link here: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0930_jobs_trumka.aspx)

    At the event he was asked about the Wall St. protests, which many unions will be joining next Wednesday. His response:

    I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a
    problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this
    country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance
    between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the
    real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to
    the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully
    protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/163737/afl-cios-trumka-hails-occupy-wall-street-protests

    This is what I was talking about in my earlier comment. Capitalism is supposed to be a 3-legged stool; with the needs of capital, workers and consumers in balance. What we have now is a bar stool, only capital matters, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • Lori

    Earlier today, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, lead an event at the Brookings Institution on addressing the jobs crisis. (Transcript & video link here: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0930_jobs_trumka.aspx)

    At the event he was asked about the Wall St. protests, which many unions will be joining next Wednesday. His response:

    I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a
    problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this
    country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance
    between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the
    real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to
    the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully
    protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/163737/afl-cios-trumka-hails-occupy-wall-street-protests

    This is what I was talking about in my earlier comment. Capitalism is supposed to be a 3-legged stool; with the needs of capital, workers and consumers in balance. What we have now is a bar stool, only capital matters, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of Republicans blaming Democrats?

    http://imgur.com/gallery/QYlUS

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of Republicans blaming Democrats?

    http://imgur.com/gallery/QYlUS

  • Anonymous

    Ah, not bad JJohnson… although I think the beard looks a little… bushy, perhaps?  I dunno.  Something off about the face that makes him look more like ‘frumpy bearded guy’.  Moreover, I think the ‘poverty’ label is uneccessary, and the ‘Wall ST’ label is too small.  It’d require a redraw, but it’d be *really* nice to see it from the opposite side, so you could put ‘Wall Street’ on the shield…

    Sorry.  Don’t mean to criticize, and this isn’t dA…

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    No no, I appreciate it actually!    Believe me, constructive criticicism like that is very, very helpful to an artist, especially someone like me who’s only just starting to break beyond the amateurish phase.  Calvin* I was unhappy with when I first drew him, which is why he’s sat on the sidelines this entire time instead of being posted months ago hehe

    But yeah, there are definitely a lot of flaws – some of which are due to me rushing (I only spent maybe 3 hours total on both), some are just me being unused to cartooning*.

    Err but yes I really appreciate the feedback.  Believe me, on the off chance I try this kind of thing again it’s good stuff to know.  Hrm… Disqus won’t let me give you a llama badge <_< so you'll have to make due with a like I suppose.

    *I was trying to exaggerate his beard to make him look a little bit sinister, in the same way the Calvin and Hobbes sticker it's based on gives Calvin that scrunched up face and evil grin… but I didn't pull it off so well.  He almost looks like old pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini ><

  • Anonymous

    Ah, not bad JJohnson… although I think the beard looks a little… bushy, perhaps?  I dunno.  Something off about the face that makes him look more like ‘frumpy bearded guy’.  Moreover, I think the ‘poverty’ label is uneccessary, and the ‘Wall ST’ label is too small.  It’d require a redraw, but it’d be *really* nice to see it from the opposite side, so you could put ‘Wall Street’ on the shield…

    Sorry.  Don’t mean to criticize, and this isn’t dA…

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    No no, I appreciate it actually!    Believe me, constructive criticicism like that is very, very helpful to an artist, especially someone like me who’s only just starting to break beyond the amateurish phase.  Calvin* I was unhappy with when I first drew him, which is why he’s sat on the sidelines this entire time instead of being posted months ago hehe

    But yeah, there are definitely a lot of flaws – some of which are due to me rushing (I only spent maybe 3 hours total on both), some are just me being unused to cartooning*.

    Err but yes I really appreciate the feedback.  Believe me, on the off chance I try this kind of thing again it’s good stuff to know.  Hrm… Disqus won’t let me give you a llama badge <_< so you'll have to make due with a like I suppose.

    *I was trying to exaggerate his beard to make him look a little bit sinister, in the same way the Calvin and Hobbes sticker it's based on gives Calvin that scrunched up face and evil grin… but I didn't pull it off so well.  He almost looks like old pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini ><

    *edit*

    Wanted to add – In addition to being helpful, it's also *rare*. Usually when I get comments on DA they're either "Nice." or something along those lines, or "You suck" in some variation thereof. (At least on my old account, part of why I switched to the current one.)

    So believe me – CC is rare and valuable to me m

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    No no, I appreciate it actually!    Believe me, constructive criticicism like that is very, very helpful to an artist, especially someone like me who’s only just starting to break beyond the amateurish phase.  Calvin* I was unhappy with when I first drew him, which is why he’s sat on the sidelines this entire time instead of being posted months ago hehe

    But yeah, there are definitely a lot of flaws – some of which are due to me rushing (I only spent maybe 3 hours total on both), some are just me being unused to cartooning*.

    Err but yes I really appreciate the feedback.  Believe me, on the off chance I try this kind of thing again it’s good stuff to know.  Hrm… Disqus won’t let me give you a llama badge <_< so you'll have to make due with a like I suppose.

    *I was trying to exaggerate his beard to make him look a little bit sinister, in the same way the Calvin and Hobbes sticker it's based on gives Calvin that scrunched up face and evil grin… but I didn't pull it off so well.  He almost looks like old pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini ><

    *edit*

    Wanted to add – In addition to being helpful, it's also *rare*. Usually when I get comments on DA they're either "Nice." or something along those lines, or "You suck" in some variation thereof. (At least on my old account, part of why I switched to the current one.)

    So believe me – CC is rare and valuable to me m

  • chris the cynic

    I was thinking that Sarah Vowell did a thing on the fireside chats and maybe that would be a book to look into.  I was remembering wrong.  She didn’t listen to them as research, she listened to them because she wanted someone to reassure her and she wasn’t getting any in the here and now.  (Well, the there and then, this was 3 years ago.)

    You can see where she talked about it here.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    … why did I not know about this woman?   She’s hilarious.  And awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Sharing the love for Sarah Vowell. If you want to hear more, she’s a frequent contributor on This American Life.

    And if you’re thinking you’ve heard her before, she’s the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I was thinking that Sarah Vowell did a thing on the fireside chats and maybe that would be a book to look into.  I was remembering wrong.  She didn’t listen to them as research, she listened to them because she wanted someone to reassure her and she wasn’t getting any in the here and now.  (Well, the there and then, this was 3 years ago.)

    You can see where she talked about it here.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    … why did I not know about this woman?   She’s hilarious.  And awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Sharing the love for Sarah Vowell. If you want to hear more, she’s a frequent contributor on This American Life.

    And if you’re thinking you’ve heard her before, she’s the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sorry for the old post necro, but I saw this and I wanted to say that I have seen this memorial with my own eyes and FDR’s bitter denunciation of war perfectly captures its ultimate futility and uselessness in solving the world’s problems.

    Would that people so gung-ho for wars in the 2000s had read this!

    http://i.imgur.com/OGLuO.jpg

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sorry for the old post necro, but I saw this and I wanted to say that I have seen this memorial with my own eyes and FDR’s bitter denunciation of war perfectly captures its ultimate futility and uselessness in solving the world’s problems.

    Would that people so gung-ho for wars in the 2000s had read this!

    http://i.imgur.com/OGLuO.jpg

    The full speech is here, in which FDR excoriates the gold-rush mentality of war profiteering as well:

    http://www.academicamerican.com/twentiesdepww2/worldwar2/docs/FDRChautauqua.html


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