Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. With all that’s happened lately in Washington, I wrote a special sense check, Entry #332.
This entry is a “wrap” to the technology tsunami series, at least for a while. The format for this entry is conversational. The character, Sandy (comments in quotes) is an ardent Trump and NRA supporter who has appeared in previous entries. Like virtually all the characters that appear in this blog, Sandy is patterned after someone I know with very similar characteristics. The entire technology tsunami series, including this entry is available as a eBook. (19 05 19 Tech Tsunami Booklet)
True that Venezuela was the richest country in South America and then tanked economically. The reason they went into free fall was not becasue of socialism but because of bad economic policies.
“Hold on Bubba. I’m telling you those kind of economic problems are what happens to all socialist countries. If you don’t believe me look at what happened to the economies of Cuba and to Russia. You know I’m right. Admit it.”
You are right that Cuba and Russia have suffered economically. But in the most diplomatic terms, you’re wrong about why. Let’s not confuse communism, which is more political, with socialism, which is more related to economic policy.
“Communism, socialism. They’re the same thing to me. I know one thing for sure. You can’t have all those socialist policies and still have a democracy.”
Like I said, let’s not confuse socialism and communism. There are many countries you might label as being socialist that are democracies. All the Nordic countries, for example, have many government-controlled social programs. Other countries in Europe, including Germany, have some degree of what you’re labeling as socialism. Even Canada. Yet, all those countries are democracies.
“Well, what about Greece? They had all those government programs and they went under. Italy almost went under. Call them what you want. I’m telling you government programs are what causes these countries to go under.”
OK, then let’s add one more country to the list of countries that almost went under. In fact, this country has come close to going under twice in the last hundred years. Want to guess which country?
“Probably a trick question. Who?”
The United States. We came within a hair’s breadth of the economy going into free fall in 1932 and 2008.
“I’ll tell you why. Because of the Democrats. They’re the problem. Democrats FDR and Obama were coming into office when the economy tanked. Democrats are always the problem.”
Could you please put away the Sean Hannity/Rush Limbaugh drivel and look at this issue objectively. Bad government policies under the Hoover and Bush 43 administrations created most of the problems. Notice that I said most of the problems, not all. If you want to later, we can discuss which economic policies were the primary causes. But for now, my point is without sound government policies to counteract the coming technology tsunami, the country is likely to be faced with another economic crisis.
“When you say crisis, are you suggesting unemployment could shoot up to 20 to 25% and real wages fall, just like during the Great Depression?”
Yes. If you don’t think technology can have a devastating impact, look at what’s happened to companies and employment in industries where disruptive technology was introduced.
“You mean like the coal industry? I hate to laugh but I understand even the Coal Mining Museum gets some electricity from solar panels on its roof. Anyway, technology and economics have killed the industry. Unemployment in the coal industry is what, maybe only 40-50% of what it was just 25-30 years ago?”
Now you understand why strategic planning and good government policy are so important? I hope you also have somne appreciation of the risk associated with bad government policy. Bad policy presents a real risk to the US economy and the country’s future as a democracy.
“Gee, I never looked at government policy quite that way. The real impact of government is not whether Democrats or Republicans are in power. The real impact is whether government makes policies that can sustain the well-being of the country. And, you know what? Overturning Roe v. Wade seems far less important than these other issues.”
Sandy, I’m proud of you. If more people had your attitude, the country could start to make real progress in implementing policies to counteract the coming technology tsunami.
“I think I get it. What you’re suggesting is not just more government intervention, but government intervention to avoid a economic catastrophe. Really, the need to address the coming tech tsunami is more a national security issue.”
Now, if only the Trump Administration and some key people in Congress would “get it” like Sandy.