Friday, October 16, 2009

Across the Line - Economics and Racism

They are talking about Wall Street going over 10,000. What does that have to do with the man in the street or the average American Joe? The elites have their cash box retirement all rigged in perhaps the last ponzi scheme going with bailed out banks now declaring record profits (?) (yeah right). And like human nature – that could never happen to me. Yeah right.

I believe there may be a disconnect from reality in America even now when they are calling it the Great Recession that is likely to last a decade and not recognized by the people with any assets left or skills that are still in demand on a global market.

The title of “across the line” is a reminder of the invisible line, the county line between Philly and Montgomery County. This past summer there was a seeming flashback of racism when a bunch of black kids from the inner city in a day camp were supposed to go swimming in a swim club in Huntingdon Valley and were told they had to leave.

The bottom line on that was typical present day American mismanagement. The contract for use of the pool had not mentioned numbers and there was the problem of safety, life guards needed etc. The whole thing got blown out of proportion in the press because of the lily white nature of Montgomery County - many on both sides of the issue jumped to standard boiler plate assumptions about it all.

That in the sixties, many white people in the so called liberal north just had to cross the county line to not have to deal with civil rights or segregation etc. This article is not really about racism. We have crossed many barriers to be a more united people of all races. We have more hurdles to go. The recent example of the swimming pool in white suburbia illustrates how America has dealt with economic reality since it became an empire after WWII.

Following that crossing the county line theme, our economics, our view of secular American needs and how they happened over the recent decades leads us to our present situation.

You cross the line to escape racial issues. You don’t build factories in the suburbs. They don’t follow you there. You don’t see the need for them from your local POV. The white mall burb service economy is now the only reality to be seen or be of any use in everyday reality by the elites in the media and the boardroom. It is still the dominant view in our collapsed economy.

The concept of a “service economy” was the driving force in the colleges back in the 1960’s. Make money here. Manage money here. The third world countries can do all the dirty work with raw materials. America remains separate and rich from the rest of the world. Yeah right.

The factories in the cities are still active for a while but there is no renewal. Money gets lent to India to build factories there etc. The inner city decays and then the white kids in the suburbs want to live in downtown and hey, you can convert factories into condos. It makes money.

The disconnect in economics in America has come down around, and perhaps has paralleled the racial lines of our cities and counties etc. The rich white kid in the suburbs goes to college to service money. Money is created out of money and not out of local sweat anymore.

Making money and making jobs are now two very distinct economic points of view – separate and not equal.

While the old low tech jobs in factories is not the most desirable route to go, the old bones, factories made of concrete are there and ready to be retooled and turning out high tech products.

The divisions of race in the past have perhaps developed into opposing economic patterns as well, two economies that fight one another for cash only capitalism and true investment in infrastructure (people). Opposing economic points of view still split the nation and are more keenly and clearly discernible in troubled economic times.

In many ways, America’s greatness has always been its geography separating it physically from the rest of the world and the world’s problems. Now in a global age of communications, that separation remains and is more psychological than physical.

The neocons and the fundamentalists are working 24/7/52 to build walls and design blinders between us and global reality. Theirs is a losing battle.

The true battle is in returning to old fashioned “classic” economics and feeding your local needs first before you feed the global beast.

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