Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 in America is Like Germany in 1925 is our Future the Same?

I came home yesterday to find my new copy of the Atlantic Monthly in my mailbox.

This in itself is so 20th century. But as a quaint response I brewed a cup of tea and read the Article Jobless America and the Future which is linked above.
Many have fatiqued to this conversation and many no longer want to discuss what the author Mr Peck describes and thus he confirms his thesis that America has changed and not for the better. Writers from the right like David Brooks and from the left like EJ Dionne have begun to make a point that needs to be spoken loudly-- America is not only in decline but if you want to see the future of large parts of America you need to go to Michigan and get used to all of America looking like that.
What has happened is that a whole generation of Men many white and in their 30's and 40's have already made the most money they will ever make in their lives. The result of this reality is going to be a profound change. Peck argues that White males who are now middle class- with college or especially no college are going to look like a group much more like inner city Black men in the future and I have to say that I see this all around me. I see formerly Middle Class men relegated to being dependant or worse violent and no one cares because in the 'old' mindset these men are the oppressors but in reality these are an old ideas whose time has passed.

It is convenient for political expediency to argue that Heterosexual White Men are the oppressor and every kind of "other" are oppressed but in fact this is no longer reality. America's colleges are now approaching 58% female. According to many studies if you are a highly educated woman you are more likely to be hired as the same man and for working class men you have no prospects. The fact is that White Males in America who are not in the elite are becoming marginalized and that is not a good place for them.

If you look at every major statistic working class males without college degrees are today America's most vulnerable population of adults apart from Black men. The problem is that no one in the Elite cares about these men and this will be to the nation's detriment. According to Peck all aspects of society are in deep decline among White Working Class Men . Religion, Civic Groups, and more are simply not serving these people's needs as huge segments of the economy melt away. The reality is that what happened in the Black community in the 1960's; that is the destruction of Black men's role in society is now happening to White Men and Boys.

It is not politically correct to say this but we have created a society where a working class, high school educated White Male is a marginalized figure but it its true and it is bad. This has moved beyond those who worked in Auto Plants. Every former middle manager I know who is jobless is a White male whose life is melting away.

There is allot of unemployment among other groups but never before have so many middle class families been reduced in this way. If you want to know where the Tea Party Movement comes from go to any unemployment office and listen to the people who cannot find work and who have no prospects. Listen to their stories. The issue for the next period in America is not what to do to make 'oppressed groups' lives better it is trying to save the Middle Class as Elizabeth Warren has said. All aspects of these people's lives are now in doubt and a man with nothing to lose is a dangerious thing as Malcolm X once said.

There is allot of kvetching about budget cuts, state budgets, education cuts et cetera and all of that is the result of the destruction of the middle class. I would tell my academic friends if you want to see the California University System funded then we need to solve the problem of Middle Class job destruction and most of those jobless are white men. The most important societal problem we have in this country is a place in it for these White working class men if they become totally marginalized we are looking at a new political order that will not do anyone any good.

There was a time in the past where a similar situation existed and that was in Germany in the 1920's. Whole segments of the German economy in the 20's were destroyed by this type of social dislocation. I would remind people that the German people did not turn to the Left for respite but to the Nazis. If you want to see a parallel to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party People look for it is Der Sturmer.


aHuman said...

Great Article. Thanks for posting.

I am quite worried actually. Lets hope it won't get that much worse before it gets better.

svobodaart said...

The working class man is looking for a working class "flesh and blood"
job. Flesh and blood jobs where employees make things or
assemble them. A can opener is made, a building or car is built or a
solar panel is manufactured. This is the world of the tangible. These are
men trained in high school, trade schools and unions to make things.

This is where their honor and manhood are made, beyond the paycheck.
Making is where their souls are. Business America has exported their
working class existence. The companies where they used to work no
longer work. They have become jobbers.

This bottom line thinking has made for high unemployment of the
working class. One possible solution to this problem is to retrain these
working class men. The problem is that current training involves
computers and intangible production. Working class men and that type
of training don't readily interface.

A real solution would be to put vast amounts of capital into small
manufacturing businesses that make things made by American workers,
products that compete successfully with foreign goods, products that
make money so that these businesses can expand and hire more workers.