August 5, 2011

Thoughts on our new Gilded Age

I trust that anyone who finds his or her way to this blog already knows we're living in a new Gilded Age. Economic inequality has never been more extreme. One percent of the world's population owns 40% of the wealth. In other words, "Let them eat cake," is the order of the day.

You all know how this plays out in real life. Mega-financiers rape maids and then a well-financed PR campaign turns the country against the maid -- and the financier goes off on another gilded holiday. You can't get into serious trouble if you're rich; you just can't, not today. If you don't believe me, ask the banksters who brought down the country and are now reaping record profits. This is how it works in the new Gilded Age.

But today I found myself wondering if there's another kind of inequality that's just as corrosive and prevalent. I think there is. The divide between sophistication and ignorance is ominously wide today. Sure, there were always eggheads and know-nothings mixed in among the population but there was also a growing level of shared knowledge and literacy working its way through the land. Today, that's not happening. The American people no longer read, no longer learn. They are incurious and ignorant in equal parts.

On the other hand, in many urban areas there are smart, knowledgeable people who have, you know, gone to school and read books and know things.

These two groups are in a race -- the ignorant and the knowledgeable -- and the prize is control of the future of the human race. In light of this competition, consider the import of what is happening today. Everywhere you look, they're firing teachers, cutting school budgets and closing libraries. This guarantees that the ignorant will outnumber the educated in the future. This is how the already-tipped scale tips further and further. At the end is collapse.

Things aren't looking up for the good old US of A. The Gilded Age is coupling with the Dimwit Age and they're making some nasty music together.

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