Thursday, April 30, 2009


From about 1950 (the completion of the “Managerial Revolution” as defined by Henry Luce [Time,Life,Fortune]) the elite was split into two parts: the Corporate Bureaucrats (or Corpocrats) represented by the Republican Party and the Government Bureaucrats (or Govercrats) represented by the Democratic Party. The Govercrats had obtained control during World Wars 1 and 2 and the Depression, and maintained it by the GI Bill, which turned a generation of potential laborers into bureaucrats. By 1970 they (now called Reagan Democrats) had identified with their bosses, and the Corpocrats took power untill 2008, when the Corpocrats had run the economy so poorly that it crashed.

The election of 2008 was won by Barack Hussein Obama, who, being a person of color, did not identify with either the Corpocrats or Govercrats but with the non-elite, who had been kept from upward mobility by both kinds of bureaucrats.

After the election of 2008 the Corpocrats were blamed by the non-elite for causing them to lose any money they had invested according to Corpocrat recomendations. They resented using any tax money to stabilize corporations, and the identification with the Republican (Corpocrat) Party dropped to 20%. Of that 20%. the professional politicians mainly continued to identify with the money-based values of the Corpocrats, while the non-elite Republicans mainly identified with the religious right. That was likely to cause a schism with the elite republicans identifying with the Govercrats and either switching allegiance to the Democratic Party or being expelled by the religious right.

In the meantime the Democratic party was having its own problems. Barack Hussein Obama. if you believe his inaugural address, was able to identify with the global non-elite, who are mostly people of color. He does not particularly identify with the Govercrats, who use the bureaucratic machinery to maintain their own status. The voice of the Govercrat wing are the self-identified “progressives” who identify with the managers of government-based infrastructures rather than their non-elite clients.

Barack Hussein Obama has considerable charm as well as charisma, so that he can visibly identify with the non-elite and, in turn, they can identify with him. There will, as a result, develop stresses between Obama’s emotion-based followers and the professional Govercrats that he needs to operate the infrastructure of government and economy. To the extent that Obama’s program is successful for the non-elite his charisma will keep that tension within limits; but he has to remember to trust his own judgement as to what it good for the non-elite, not the advice that he will get from professional Govercrats.

This is a situation of governance that has no precise analogy in the past. The closest equivalent was the election of 1948 when Harry Truman ran against three opponents: Thomas Dewey, the elite Republican Governor of New York; Henry Wallace, the left-wing Secretary of Agriculture under FDR who thought he represented the old Farmer-Labor Democratic coalition, but was being used by the far left, and the Dixiecrat candidate, Strom Thurmond, who was trying to protect official segregation.

Truman, who was able to identify with the voters, won; a result that was unexpected by the media elite. The Dixiecrats only intended to weaken the anti-segregation forces and won some southern states. The Progressives only made a good showing (8%) in New York State, and broke up into three fragments after the election.

How Obama’s situation will work out is not at all clear. The election of 2010 will show some of the tensions, but the real test will be the Presidential election of 2012, which may well resemble the election of 1948 in the number of candidates.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


If there seems to be nothing happening here, don't give up. I'm probably at a point where I need to consolidate my ideas. If you have questions or comments drop me an email at karlek76(at-not using the @ symbol confuses robots)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Future History

The normal way for a post-Neolithic civilization to end is for the ruling elite to go decadent, hire the barbarian at the gate to defend them from internal & external enemies, and then have the elite be replaced by those barbarians in the role of military rulers who run the empire into the ground. While Blackwater would cheerfully have played that role, they never got the chance because they were only used on the external proletariat. We do not have clear precedents on what will happen next because nobody has the imagination to look seriously at anything but the present infrastructure even if it is obsolete.

The status-value of money has been so deflated that making things or providing services, the things business corporations used to do, cannot provide enough status to make it worth taking them seriously. That is why the government bureaucrats are more concerned with banks than auto companies.

Only something like trading in derivatives can provide the kind of leverage multiplication that will produce enough monetary value to be worth the effort. The job of the government bureaucrats will be to prevent that kind of leverage being generated, so that the corporate bureaucrats will lose their ability to create status.

The corporate bureaucrats, and their Republican Party, will fight as hard as they can to prevent the regulation of corporations that produce status, i.e., the ones that manipulate money or other paper that represents money. The government bureaucrats, and their Democratic Party, will fight as hard as they can to limit the abilities of corporations that manipulate money or other paper that represents money. They will do this fairly quickly, while they have the emotions of the non-elite internal proletariat on their side and while they have Obama to provide leadership.

This fight will be useful in that it will screen efforts to regulate corporations that have an effect on the environment. They will provide less status than money-manipulation so they will get less defensive effort than the financial industry.

One of the things that can be done to protect the environment is to tax things based on the cost of remediating the environmental damage they produce. This can provide a strong incentive to produce "green" products. As an example if there are two products that serve the same function
and one of them has a greater impact on the environment in its use or manufacture, that impact can be mitigated by imposing a "green tax". This will provide a motivation to produce products that have less environmental impact and to produce them more efficiently in terms of "green values".

The net effect will be to direct innovation toward "green values" rather than simply multiplying monetary values or producing monetary profits, without providing a direct confrontation with the philosophy of capitalism. Regulations that control leverage will take advantage of the antagonism against Wall Street, and a "Green Tax" can be justified by accounting for costs that are now borne by the commons, and thus merely being a form of capitalism that operates without subsidy.

The net result will be that the corporate bureaucrats will lose status and the corporations that produce necessities will be taken over by the government. At the same time anyone who can invent a product better than whatever is currently marketed will have an opportunity for status without having to be concerned about money.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama's Politics


I need to write about Obama's tactics with regard to evolving to a Utopia. I have already written about his inaugural address, and how that matches the Utopia I envision fairly well; but he does things that aren't obvious in that context. On the other hand Obama is in a position in which he has to do practical things--things that work reasonably well. And he seems to realize that. I have to assume that he is doing the right thing, either because he has figured it out but he doesn't want to explain, or because he has intuited it and couldn't explain it himself if he wanted to.

Assuming Obama is right isn't too bad a tactic, because if he isn't our civilization will collapse (maybe along with a nuclear war) and we'll have a chance to do it over again. That would remove the necessity for explaing the transition between the present infrastructure and a Utopian one.

To review our evolutionary history to date, we had a paleolithic gatherer-hunter culture from roughly 100,000 BCE to 10,000 BCE. That operated on a basis of mutual conformity. Then we invented agriculture and civilization and religion and that laster from 10,000 BCE to 1500 CE. That operated on a basis of a hierarchical infrastructure supported by a popular ideology.

From 1500 to 1950 CE we were in a transitional period in which a section of the middle class gained upward mobility by exploiting some kind of tecnology. It started when the Roman Empire crumbled and there was no longer a Civil Service to bring status symbols to the elite. Independent traders filled that gap and accumulated riches, but they were still common.

That problem was solved by Calvin who invented a new elite: the "Elect". They were promoted to the elite by God's Grace, with the sign of grace being prosperity. The net result was that members of the middle class got upward mobility to the elite by accumulating money.

The next layer were the colonial planters who used slaves to operate single crop plantations. In America they had a revolution to break from the London bankers. They were replaced as the elite by the industrialists who broke the planter economy by freeing the slaves. When the industrialists became decadent their clerks and mechanics took over the corporations. Between the two world wars and the depression their "managerial revolution" made the corporate and government bureaucrats the new elite. By 1950 the society stabilized and there was no significant upward mobility.

Between 1950 and the present the ruling elite was either the government or corporate bureaucracy. After WW2 the "G. I. Bill" created a bureaucratic middle class and because their parents were used to a Farmer-Labor party the Democrats (the government party) stayed in power for a generation, i.e. until 1980. Then the Republicans took over by promising the "Reagan Democrats" that they could share if the Corporate elite made money. They stayed in power until the economy collapsed in 2008 and Barack Hussein Obama was elected.

Now, in 2009, we have something of a political standoff. There are five power groups: The Left-wing government bureaucrats (Democrats) who have nominal control, the Right-wing Corporate bureaucrats (Republicans) who blew the economic system but still remain in control of it, the non-elite who are temporarily united behind Obama because of his charisma (we'll use Toynbee's term "internal proletariat"), Obama himself, who is trying to put together a political force that is neither up nor down, right nor left, and that will let him use the votes of the non-elite to overpower the partisan squabbles between the two sides of the decadent elite, and the rest of the world (the "external proletariat"). Obama intends that his political force will satisfy everybody by making balancing compromises that will solve the economic, military and ecological conflicts; on the basis that we are all human beings with the same needs.

It isn't obvious that we are ready for that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catching Up

I've been thinking about things, especially the polarized reactions to Obama, but I haven't written anything because I've been tryingto get my taxes done. I'm duplicating iTunes (especially the calypsos) so I can do a complete reinstall of the OS on my iMac that Chris gave me. Mac OS 10.5.6 interacts badly with Mail, and the iMac can only conveniently be set up where the phone comes in, so I have to juggle things around to get things done of the internet. In any case after we have people over for a combined birthday gathering (Sally today, Shiela las week, Cecile next week) I'll start writing