In response to:

Why Do Societies Give Up?

rosalyn3 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 11:31 AM
Where is the vast difference here in USA? We still have a huge middle class and those less fortunate still have the opportunity to change their situation with hard work and talents given.
Kenneth L. Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 8:34 PM
Come on, Jack. I'm not picking on your kids. And I haven't made any blanket assertion: things don't work that way. The fact is that increasing numbers of young people are poorly educated and feel entitled. That doesn't even mean your kids are in the minority, but if you know people under 30 you know I'm right.
Jack2894 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 3:57 PM
Given that all 4 of my kids are under 30 and all are hard working folks with no expectations such as you describe, I feel pretty comfortable rejecting your blanket assertion. I do not think I misread Hansen at all; I suggest he is trying very hard to make history tell the story he wants it to tell, when it really doesn't do that.
Chester1776 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 12:18 PM
The disparity is occurring because we are evolving to a brain economy from a braun economy, as well as international competition. High blue collar wages for the uneducated don't fly anymore. Our educational system bears much of the blame.
Kenneth L. Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 12:14 PM
More important, I think you misread Hansen's article. Plutocrats have never been numerous enough to support an indolent middle class. The problem Greece illustrates, and the problem we are approaching very quickly, is that we will collapse into hunger and violence as our own productivity declines to the point we can't support ourselves because we have cultivated such a large underclass of folks who expect everything to be provided for them. If you know anybody under the age of 30 you know what I mean.
Kenneth L. Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 12:12 PM
Wealth accumulation and income are different things. The gini coefficient studies show that the supposed widening income gap is mainly due to households becoming increasingly two-income and multi-income. The study is done using IRS data, and then cherry-picked to produce the result desired. Do the same analysis using individual income and there is no widening gap.
So Mother Jones notwithstanding, Jack, I don't think you have successfully rebutted rosayn3's assertion.
Jack2894 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 11:43 AM
Roslyn, that's the myth. Wealth has been accumulating in fewer and fewer hands for decades now. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph) Marx predicted a capitalist society would eventually end up with two extremes, a tiny wealthy minority and a huge, poor majority. This disparity would produce a revolution. The US, by growing a middle class, showed Marx was wrong. As we let the middle class deteriorate, we are proving him right. The choice is ours, but anyone who thinks the growing income disparity in the US is NOT a problem is making the wrong choice.

Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?

Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure -- and who gets the most of both -- more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.

One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city's takeover...