16 August 2006

Bread and Circuses



There were two pieces of news today. One was very important as it showed another increase in the distance between CEO Salaries and that of the average worker. The other was the confession by someone in Thailand to the ten year old murder of Jon Benet Ramsay.

The mainstream media gave us wall to wall coverage of the arrest and a rehash of the original murder and the subsequent ten years complete with "knowledgeable" panalists. The other story of the rape of the middle class was not mentioned at all. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, various groups were bought off with bread and circuses so that they wouldn't pay attention to what the wealthy and powerful were doing. Has America now entered the stage where the general public is so ignorant, uninvolved or cynical that they no longer care or simply do as they are told according to their group's talking points?

Does the modern version of "Bread and Circuses" with things such as the Ramsay case signal the end of America as a republic or even democracy? It took Rome a long time to die. The British Empire took a little less time. The United States may set the speed record of all time unless the public starts to wake up to the predatory actions of politicians and corporations at the expense of the functional middle class.




4 comments:

rebellious renee said...

CLAP! CLAP!
Jamie....great post.
My friend with the boat thinks the rich won't be stupid enough to collapse the economic engines of the middle class. He thinks their riches are dependent on our continual buying of new cars and refrigerators. I do see his point
...but history has shown us over and over again that greed is self-absorbed...
it won't be any different here...

Jamie said...

Renee,

There is a historical viewpoint to the current situation and it is population. When there are more bodies than jobs, wages go down and surfdom becomes the order of the day.

When population become scarce, wages go up. The Plague brought on the rise of the middle class. It took a long time before things got crowded again and then various wars and disease diminised human beings again.

In the U.S. the Civil War, WWI and then Influenza gave us a whole empty continent to fill with immigrants plus WWII gave rise to the current middle class. Now world wide populations are such that wages in the U.S. must fall to compensate.

The wealthy and powerful will always screw the average guy.

rebellious renee said...

Gee Jamie, if your premise is true...and I'm not arguing that it isn't....than future generations would benefit if avian flu did mutate to person from person contact....

I guess when you come down to it...
our societies work just like animal populations....when there's too many deer, there's starvation..
when the population is low, the browsing is plentiful...

Jamie said...

Renee,

That's about it. Courtesy of modern medicine, it has become very hard to kill human beings. I know that sounds harsh but consider when women had eight or nine children because they could expect to lose several in childhood. This is still true in many third world countries and among poverty stricken populations.

China's one child policy and virtual disregard for their famine areas are the result of a decision that they simply have too many human beings. To enter the modern world and establish a functioning middle class, they have to decrease population in relation to the land and resources.

Most of the developed West has been protected from the harsher realities because the strong middle class cushioned by a well a developed technology. To keep pace with emerging nations we sent women to work which allowed for stagnant wages for the past 20 years. Now we have outsourcing, reduced benefits, cuts in the budget. All of these items are to keep pace with a world that works for so much less than we do.

Techonology in some form may still save us, but for every human being on earth to have a Western nations lifestyle complete with water, clean air, and food supplies, the world should have only about 2 billion people. We currently have 6 billion with 9 billion predicted within 30 - 50 years.