Found in 3 comments on Hacker News
specialist · 2021-09-05 · Original thread
TLDR: Hoarding wealth is normal. Redistribution is necessary to keep the peace. This last cycle, wealth was accrued faster than normal counter balancing measures could respond.

I wholly agree that technological change begets social unrest. And that regulation, applying rules to the open market, with competent referees, has struggled to keep pace with technological change.

However. OC does not propose a theory for technological disruption leading to accelerating inequity.

My best guess of the probable root cause is when wages were decoupled from productivity. Productivity boomed, wages remained stagnant. The Productivity-Wages Gap. There are insightful, complimentary narratives of this phenomenon from Piketty, Turchin, many others.

Buy why did this happen when it did?

My current best guess is when finance got super charged by IT. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

When the majority of wealth creation transitioned from doing real world stuff to massaging balance sheets. When Capital transitioned from investment to rent seeking.

Advances in IT was the enabler, force multiplier, by dramatically decreasing transaction costs and improving financial analysis (eg playing what-if with spreadsheets),

Ok, fine. But why did wages stay decoupled?

At the same time, Capital led a sustained attack on Labor. Which hobbled the expected normal efforts society has historically done to redistribute wealth. There are many, many useful complimentary narratives about Milton Friedman, Chicago School of Economics, Heritage Foundation, etc.

Another "also true" story is Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA https://www.amazon.com/Lobbying-America-Politics-Business-So... Whereas other histories detail the obvious persons, ideologies, and culture war stuff, this book details the legislative knife-fight that actually made it happen.

PS- My starting assumption is the fight is, and always has been, wealth vs democracy.

specialist · 2021-07-11 · Original thread
Around 2005, I asked Kevin Phillips:

Me: According to your book, America's political parties have flipped every ~70 years. It should have happened around the time of Ross Perot, so I guess we're overdue. Do you think another realignment is emminent?

Phillips: No. It won't happen while Wall St. and finance remains in control of our political discourse.

--

It'll be amazing if Biden Admin is able to uncork the next cycle. But I'm not holding my breath.

Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich [2003] https://www.amazon.com/Wealth-Democracy-Political-History-Am...

Here's a more recent account:

Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA [2015] https://www.amazon.com/Lobbying-America-Politics-Business-So...

Edit: I changed "Last decade" to "Around 2005". Time flies. My bad.

specialist · 2020-06-12 · Original thread
Have you heard of the Business Roundtable? (Most recently in the news for statement that corporations will have to abandon primacy of shareholder value and start considering all stakeholders. A major reversal of position.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Roundtable

This is an illuminating history of the lobbying and policy efforts to rollback The New Deal and so forth.

Lobbying America: The Politics Of Business From Nixon To NAFTA

https://www.amazon.com/Lobbying-America-Politics-Business-So...

TLDR: The titans of industry who partnered with government for the greater good were pushed out by those opposed to government.

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.