A brief history of America - 1820 to Present
This is a short review of an academic lecture, I guess.
It actually exists as a video-taped DVD that one can purchase, but I found it online and watched it.
Wouldn't mind having my own copy....(apologies to Mr. Wolff.)
Rick Wolff is an economics professor at Massachusetts University, and he's figured out a few things, it seems.
Here's a brief synopsis of his lecture:
From 1820 to 1970, or 150 years....American wages rose (even, apparently, during the Great Depression - for those lucky enough to have jobs.)
That rise ended in the early '70's (and I'm sure both oil crises had something to do with that.)
Since that time, or for the past 35-40 years, wages have remained stagnant.
While productivity soared. Productivity = Profits. (Which = corporate wealth)
Of course, over that time, the cost of everything has gone up (except cheap trinkets at Walmart.)
So what did corporate America do with all that wealth? Jump-started a bigger, better new and improved credit industry. (plastic money and toxic mortgages, anyone? yum!)
What evolved over this span of time, was a credit industry that basically solved the population's financial difficulties due to lack of purchasing power....by offering credit to cover the difference.
What thrilled me to bits about this lecture - is the fact that all the money saved by corporate America, from not having to raise wages to keep step with rising prices....was pooled as a resource available - to offer citizens, as debt....which of course had to be paid back - with interest. (Isn't that beautiful?)
The financial industry certainly thinks so, and I can hardly blame them.
Mr. Wolff is quite an engaging speaker. He reminds me an awful lot of the General Manager at a taxi company I used to work for. Maybe that's why the language resonates with me.
The simplicity of his analysis is deceptive. At first, one might think that it's so bloody obvious, there must be a catch.
However, when one considers the tiddlywinks played by financial bozos over the past four decades - the entire sad, sordid history of what's been did and what's been hid....well - roll over, Enron. Bless my Hedge Fund!
There has to be a pretty solid reason why America is 13 Trillion in debt, and climbing.
Should you find yourself brave enough to watch this fright night financial fiasco - be prepared for the ending. I won't give it away, but it's a doozy. I'll just say, for anyone fond enough of history past to remember, or at least be aware of the legacy of FDR during the past Great Depression.....Mr. Wolff offers up some astounding possibilites.
Not for the faint-hearted.
In fact, why not make it a double-feature? Follow up the lecuture with a viewing of "In Debt We Trust."
Truly a heart-warming experience.
Rock on, America! (give 'em hell)