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jerryking : partisan_politics   3

How the nineties are coming back to haunt us - The Globe and Mail
March 10, 2019 The Globe and Mail | CHRIS FREY, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years: Our nostalgia for the 1990s obscures the story of how the decade created the crises of the present.....the nineties....is...a decade we have a hard time remembering right.....No matter how well or harshly you judge the decade’s music, films, fads or fashions, this recycling is largely to be expected, given nostalgia’s tendency to follow something like a 20-year cycle......Pundits may wax on about how unprecedented our current political times might seem, but they’re not without their moments of woozy déjà vu – signal events and moments of the nineties recast and remade.....So much of that decade’s politics – decisions made, issues unaddressed – haunt our current times more than any other. From societal issues of race and gender to the global economics of trade, from the radical transformations of the internet to the corrosive effects of growing political polarization, so many of the destabilizing forces that mark this current period in the United States and much of the West were either incubated, unleashed or amplified during that time. .........The ultimate revenge of the nineties is probably that the man now occupying the highest office of the United States was, through much of that decade, its most notoriously failed businessman – bankrupt and abandoned by his lenders, his name reduced to a punch line on late-night talk shows.......Which is entirely the point. In the introduction to his 2008 essay collection Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, the historian Tony Judt argued that, in time, we would come to regard the period between the fall of communism (1989-1991) and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “the years the locusts ate: a decade and a half of wasted opportunity and political incompetence on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Quite suddenly, Mr. Judt argued, we fell under the notion that history could have little to teach us, except in the most narrow triumphalist sense. “With too much confidence and too little reflection we put the 20th century behind us and strode boldly into its successor swaddled in self-serving half-truths: the triumph of the West, the end of History, the unipolar American moment, the ineluctable march of globalization and the free market.”........Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich, who, with his populist-tinged “Contract with America,” led the GOP in 1994 to seize control of the House for the first time in 40 years......had the more lasting impact on the tenor and style of U.S. politics.....in the cover letter to a memo from 1990, entitled Language: A Key Mechanism of Control, he endorsed a call for his Republican colleagues to brand their Democrat rivals as “traitors”, “pathetic”, “corrupt”, “radical” and, of course, “socialist.”........The decision by the FCC, in 1987, to stop enforcing the Fairness Doctrine.... had unleashed a boom in conservative talk radio. By 1991, Rush Limbaugh was already the most syndicated radio host in the United States.......One of the quainter predictions made in the nineties, no doubt influenced by the post-Cold War mood, when the West thought it had triumphed over authoritarianism, was that the internet would inevitably lead to more political freedom around the world.
'90s  demagoguery  foreshadowing  fractured_internally  gridlocked_politics  Newt_Gingrich  nostalgia  partisan_politics  political_polarization  popular_culture  reboot  revivals 
march 2019 by jerryking
Steven Brill's "Tailspin": How My Generation Broke America
May 17, 2018 | | Time | By STEVEN BRILL.

From matters small – there are an average of 657 water-main breaks a day, for example – to large, it is clear that the country has gone into a tailspin over the last half-century, when John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier was about seizing the future, not trying to survive the present..............The Meritocracy’s ascent was about more than personal profit. As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment. They invented proxy fights, leveraged buyouts and stock buybacks that gave lawyers and bankers a bonanza of new fees and maximized short-term profits for increasingly unsentimental shareholders, but deadened incentives for the long-term growth of the rest of the economy.....[We need 'guardrails' against legal and financial excesses.]......Forty-eight years after Inky Clark gave me my ticket on the meritocracy express in 1967, a professor at Yale Law School jarred the school’s graduation celebration. Daniel Markovits, who specializes in the intersection of law and behavioral economics, told the class of 2015 that their success getting accepted into, and getting a degree from, the country’s most selective law school actually marked their entry into a newly entrenched aristocracy that had been snuffing out the American Dream for almost everyone else. Elites, he explained, can spend what they need to in order to send their children to the best schools, provide tutors for standardized testing and otherwise ensure that their kids can outcompete their peers to secure the same spots at the top that their parents achieved.

“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”.....
Daniel_Markovits  baby_boomers  entrepreneur  income_inequality  politics  revenge_effects  Steven_Brill  political_polarization  fractured_internally  books  meritocratic  America_in_Decline?  elitism  lawyers  self-perpetuation  upper-income  inequality  privilege  the_best_and_brightest  tailspins  guardrails  the_American_dream  cultural_transmission  wealth_transfers  partisan_politics 
may 2018 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Zbigniew Brzezinski
January 13, 2012 | FT.com | By Edward Luce.

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.

“We [Americans] are too obsessed with today,” Brzezinski continues. “If we slide into a pattern of just thinking about today, we’ll end up reacting to yesterday instead of shaping something more constructive in the world.” By contrast, he says, the Chinese are thinking decades ahead. Alas, Brzezinski says, Obama has so far failed to move into a strategic habit of mind. To a far greater extent than the Chinese, he concedes, Obama has to respond to shifts in public mood. Brzezinski is not very complimentary about American public opinion.

“Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”....Brzezinski lists "Ignorance", as one of America’s six “key vulnerabilities” alongside “mounting debt’, a “flawed financial system”, “decaying national infrastructure”, “widening income inequality”, and “increasingly gridlocked politics”.
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  China_rising  China  diplomacy  princelings  America_in_Decline?  threats  vulnerabilities  infrastructure  income_inequality  debt  political_polarization  long-term  partisan_politics  fractured_internally  NSC  ignorance  public_opinion  books  Chinese  instant_gratification  demagoguery  APNSA  gridlocked_politics  Edward_Luce  incurious  financial_system  historical_amnesia 
january 2012 by jerryking

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