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The Fiction of Real America

Semiya
Posts: 405
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8/2/2016 8:33:29 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
The notion that "real America" is suffering and not the liberal/elitist/educated/Ivy League/Ivory Tower folk-envisioned America has come to define the 2016 election. Not that 2016 gave birth to this concept; it had been seething underneath the surface for some time. 2016 was simply a conduit. But let's look at this narrative and deconstruct it for what it is.

This narrative is driven by two predominant forces.

1: The modern global economy has devastated "real America." Even while the economy is improving, these groups have not felt those benefits. This is magnified when we see that working-class whites feel these losses more astutely than minorities.

In the words of sociologist Andrew Cherlin: "Working-class whites feel worse off than their parents while working-class blacks and Latinos feel better off. If you"re a white man in your mid-30s without a college degree, there"s a decent chance your father enjoyed steady blue-collar employment and a stable family life when he was your age, and you do not. Native-born black men, in contrast, might compare their circumstances favorably with those of their own fathers, who often faced intense racial discrimination. Similarly, Latino immigrants of modest means generally believe themselves to be better off than they would have been in their native countries. In this sense, at least, upwardly mobile working-class blacks and Latinos have more in common with upwardly mobile college-educated whites than they do with working-class whites."

2: Because the elite/Ivy League/Ivory Tower liberals are so horrified by Trump, they look down on Trump supporters. They scorn them and dismiss them as "stupid" or "racist," which in turn renders them incapable of understanding the political movement behind Trump's rise to prominence. If you want to stop someone like Trump, you need to communicate with the people supporting him. In the media, there is no effort to do so. In fact, these people hear nothing except that they are racist and stupid. If all they're being told is that they are racist and stupid and NOT that they've been screwed over by a changing economy and they have legitimate grievances that can be redressed, then all they're going to feel (rightly) is that they're being scorned and mocked. When they feel this way, they won't be receptive to any message coming from the people who scorn and mock them. (As an aside, this is why liberals have difficulty with the white-working class. They should be a remarkably receptive audience to liberal ideas and policies. But because they feel - often correctly - that they're viewed with contempt and disgust, that receptiveness flies out the window).

The reason Trump is doing so well and could defeat Clinton in November (setting aside for the moment the laundry list of Clinton's weaknesses), is that the coastal elites who support Clinton do not know - or worse, do not care - about the parts of America that support Trump.

But how much of what the Trump supporters cling to is the "real" America?

Like in 2012, Republicans are trying to attack a general economic malaise. They parade economic advances in their own communities. But with unemployment down to less than 5% from 10% in 2009, one of Trump's challenges will be convincing people (non-Republicans) that people aren't working when 15 million more Americans are.

Furthermore, according to the latest WSJ poll, Americans overwhelmingly support free trade (55-38) and immigration (56-35) as being more beneficial than detrimental to America.

Just as Trump and his supporters claim liberal elites don't understand the real America, it seems they don't either. The majority of Americans just don't agree with their views. This impression is merely deceptive because those who do support Trump are more likely to hold onto their beliefs vehemently (protectionists, for instance, are more passionate about their issue than free-traders).

Secondly, globalization isn't going away. That's just a fact. Global trade, for example, is now 60% of the world's GDP and 30% of the United States' (yes, there's actually a trade deficit there, but that doesn't matter in this context as much as you might think).

Cheap goods from globalization allow greater consumer spending and market stimulus, but that also leads to wage competition, which tends to unfairly harm non-college educated workers and their communities. Financial connectivity promotes great connectivity and low borrowing costs, but without oversight, it can also result in dramatic downturns. Immigration creates substantial economic and cultural benefits (and despite popular belief doesn't increase crime (http://www.wsj.com...), particularly in areas like Russia or Japan with slow-growing labor forces, but without proper oversight and management, without the resources and infrastructure to ensure a smooth transition and assimilation, well, its results should be fairly obvious.

When trade, immigration, and financial integration are ignored - either by a management failure OR by management solely from the perspective of MNCs - then you get exactly what we have today. Populist resentment and fervent nationalism.

Trump seems to believe we can "make America great again" by returning to a rose-tinted past before all these dualities existed in global trade. But that's impossible.

As Clinton herself said, and one of the few times I might agree with her, "even if America never signs another trade deal, globalization isn't going away."

It's incredibly easy to bash globalization as a Trumpian abstract. What this means, what this would actually look like in reality, is far less clear.

What we need to do is rework how we approach globalization. As WaPo puts it:

"Environmental and labor standards must come before, not after, deals are signed. In the interest of reducing our trade deficits, currency manipulation must be attacked through enforceable rules. Investors must have their own skin in the game when it comes to resolving disputes. Financial oversight and international taxation must be jointly implemented in order to shut down havens that support tax avoidance and inadequate market regulation. A small, international tax on financial transactions would be helpful in this regard.

Research shows that immigration (unlike imbalanced trade) has not been anywhere nearly as hurtful to native populations as popular wisdom maintains. Either way, people who have been persistently underemployed or suffered real wage stagnation must have more economic opportunities. This implies robust social safety nets that don"t just catch people who"ve been hurt by globalization but relaunch them with work supports, ranging from wage subsidies, health and child-care assistance, and a direct job when labor markets are persistently soft.

That, in turn, implies the need for a responsible fiscal plan that raises ample revenue to support an agenda that is complementary to globalization."

The days when elites can simply scoff at everyone who dismiss them, who dismiss globalization and trade and all of that, are gone. And that's a good thing. Maybe now people will be able to discuss and support strategies for the future that will help America find its place in the world.
Semiya
Posts: 405
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8/3/2016 6:56:41 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/3/2016 12:12:22 PM, Semiya wrote:
Push

Seeing as how everyone here is talking about these topics in different threads, I know this is relevant/of interest.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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8/4/2016 6:22:20 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/3/2016 6:56:41 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/3/2016 12:12:22 PM, Semiya wrote:
Push

Seeing as how everyone here is talking about these topics in different threads, I know this is relevant/of interest.

Why do you think people want to echo your apologies for the ivory tower?
Semiya
Posts: 405
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8/4/2016 12:29:08 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 6:22:20 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/3/2016 6:56:41 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/3/2016 12:12:22 PM, Semiya wrote:
Push

Seeing as how everyone here is talking about these topics in different threads, I know this is relevant/of interest.

Why do you think people want to echo your apologies for the ivory tower?

I'm not apologizing for the ivory tower. I'm arguing against Trump and his supporters and the fictional portrait of America they've painted.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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8/4/2016 3:39:13 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 12:29:08 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/4/2016 6:22:20 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/3/2016 6:56:41 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/3/2016 12:12:22 PM, Semiya wrote:
Push

Seeing as how everyone here is talking about these topics in different threads, I know this is relevant/of interest.

Why do you think people want to echo your apologies for the ivory tower?

I'm not apologizing for the ivory tower. I'm arguing against Trump and his supporters and the fictional portrait of America they've painted.

The ivory tower picture is far, far more fictional.
Semiya
Posts: 405
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8/4/2016 5:30:00 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 3:39:13 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/4/2016 12:29:08 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/4/2016 6:22:20 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/3/2016 6:56:41 PM, Semiya wrote:
At 8/3/2016 12:12:22 PM, Semiya wrote:
Push

Seeing as how everyone here is talking about these topics in different threads, I know this is relevant/of interest.

Why do you think people want to echo your apologies for the ivory tower?

I'm not apologizing for the ivory tower. I'm arguing against Trump and his supporters and the fictional portrait of America they've painted.

The ivory tower picture is far, far more fictional.

As this whole post proves, not really.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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8/4/2016 6:11:39 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 5:30:00 PM, Semiya wrote:

The ivory tower picture is far, far more fictional.

As this whole post proves, not really.

It is. The post goes on to say blah blah blah trust in us, this is good for the future, meanwhile we get assraped because nobody in the world plays by our rules.
Semiya
Posts: 405
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8/4/2016 6:57:46 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 6:11:39 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/4/2016 5:30:00 PM, Semiya wrote:

The ivory tower picture is far, far more fictional.

As this whole post proves, not really.

It is. The post goes on to say blah blah blah trust in us, this is good for the future, meanwhile we get assraped because nobody in the world plays by our rules.

It's readily apparent that you're not bothering to read the post or have any meaningful engagement. I've observed your conduct over a number of threads, and all you do is go around making troll/put-downer statements. It seems difficult to have a meaningful discussion with you, so please stop responding here unless you decide to do so.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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8/4/2016 6:59:14 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 6:57:46 PM, Semiya wrote:

It's readily apparent that you're not bothering to read the post or have any meaningful engagement. I've observed your conduct over a number of threads, and all you do is go around making troll/put-downer statements. It seems difficult to have a meaningful discussion with you, so please stop responding here unless you decide to do so.

I formally apologize for not echoing your babble.