23 March 2009

Reality Sets In

It appears that the economic Calvanism* of the past 3 decades is on the wane.

Michael Hiltzik notes that one of the characteristics of the AIG scandal is the reemergence of the concept of the "undeserving rich" in the public discourse:
That the point is even open for discussion suggests that a sea change is taking place on the American political scene. For decades, the wealthy have been held up as people to be admired, victors in the Darwinian economic struggle by virtue of their personal ingenuity and hard work.

Americans consistently supported fiscal policies that undermined middle- and working-class interests partially because they saw themselves as rich-people-in-waiting: Given time, toil and the magic of compound interest, anyone could retire a millionaire.

That mind-set has all but been eradicated by the damage sustained by the average worker's nest egg, combined with the spectacle of bankers and financial engineers maintaining their lifestyles with multimillion-dollar bonuses while the submerged 99% struggle for oxygen.
Here's hoping that this is a generational change, and not a 15 minute fad.

*Traditional Calvanism sees profit, and wealth, as a sign of God's grace.


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