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Disappearing Middle Class Americans

John Talton of the Seattle Times recently wrote an article "How Middle Class Lost Its Place in Economy" where he highlights some literature that eloquently conveys the history of increasing income inequity in the United States. Click read more to dig deeper into this issue.

Essential Reading 

"Who Stole the American Dream" by  Hedrick Smith

"The Price of Inequality" by Joseph Stiglitz

"The Betrayal of the American Dream" by Donald Barlett and James Steele

Essential Movies 

"Inside Job" 
From the Seattle Times Article

Hedrick smith Quotations
"The plutocracy owns the place"
"If people believe they do not have power, they don't"

"President Nixon claimed that the US was the closest thing to a "Classless Society"

Approximately : "While middle class (inflation corrected wealth) has stagnated for decades, the super-wealthy in society have amassed fortunes similar in size and scale to those extricated and horded by robber-barons of the late 1800's."

In the Campaign News of Late 

President Clinton recently gave a speech endorsing Obama for a second term. "We can't afford to double down on trickle down" said Clinton in reference to Regan Era Economic Mythology that suggested that wealth and prosperity is shared when the top 0.5% hoard it for themselves; where the wealth then supposedly trickles down through the spending and investment of the wealthiest people so that prosperity can be shared by all.

Wealthy Wealthier While Poor are Poorer

You can feel it all around you. Companies no longer have any loyalty to their employees. The focus of corporations is profit, and often profit alone. In their effort to maximize short term profits for investors, horrendously unethical choices are made. Companies lay off all of their employees and liquidate their hard assets, sending the jobs where people actually "do" something, overseas where billions of rural poor in developing countries flock to cities to take these manufacturing jobs. With every 40 manufacturing jobs, one engineering and one legal/ management job is also created. No only have we sent our means of production to Asia and elsewhere, we have also send away millions of white collar intellectual jobs. That is part of what underscores the shrinking of the American Middle Class.

Sharing the Wealth with 7 Billion 

If people cannot eat they cannot do anything else. Soil is the foundation of life, from which plants grown. Animals eat plants, and together we eat plants and animals to survive. The natural world, our environments, thus produce the life sustaining food we all need to fuel the human experience. Hunger is however widespread: the relationship between overpopulation and poverty is undeniable.

Limited Energy Technology

We do not have the energy technology, land area, water resources, waste management technology, recycling access, sustainable industrial chemistry or other technologies required to enable the the sustainable thriving of billions of people. Earth is not an unlimited resource for exploitation. The natural systems that gives us food are sensitive to toxic wastes and emissions. It took hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of years for plants to pull carbon from the atmosphere, sequestering it in bio-mass which became coal, natural gas and oil. In what amounts to the blink of an eye in the historical timeline, we have dug up, stripped, drilled, pumped and sucked every easy bit of this stored ancient sunlight in our relentless pursuit of global development driven modernity.

Carbon Energy is too Limited

The coal and oil that fuels the industrial revolution of developing nations and post modern development of Europe and America is far too finite and to "Jones" every person on earth. Human innovation is now required to engineer solutions to the problems we created in expanding our civilization with reckless abandon. Things that seemed unimaginable to people only a century ago are now commonplace. Carbon energy has liberated billions of people from toiling in farms, hand to mouth. We have machines and synthetic oil derived chemicals to fertilize the future of food. Sadly this industrial model is unsustainable because it relies on a finite energy resource (coal and oil). Our global air traffic and ground transportation is totally reliant on oil! Our food systems, the trucks that move the food, totally reliant on oil. Everything from paint, to synthetic fibers, plastic, glue, fertilizer, logistics, construction: all completely reliant on oil. Drugs, Dyes, Explosives: completely reliant on oil. Made in China : completely reliant on coal! 

We Were Warned

Intelligent people from our recent past warned us about depleting carbon energy and hydrocarbon chemical sources. Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla both warned us that coal and oil, if abused, would cause society to collapse with ferocious intensity. We have engineered our entire economy to run on cheap oil. Now as the resources become more scarce, harder and more expensive to find/ mine/ refine and distribute: the chemical energy that fuels our economy is become more rare, more expensive and more limited; slowing down our economy. In the world there is only matter and energy.... interestingly matter is made of energy. We need energy to manipulate matter to add value to materials and provide essential services. We need an abundant amount of energy to enable our civilization to thrive. Think about it: even with all of the easy coal, gas and oil: did we raise every person from poverty? No: we ignorantly tripled our population in just the last 60 years, diluting all of that progress such that poverty, hunger, malnutrition and famine still afflict billions of us!

Claims of More Fuel

Pundits in the carbon energy industry trumpet hyperbole statements "We have hundreds of years of coal", "New oil fields are just waiting to be tapped if these eco-liberals made it easier for us to operate" as if they had some kind of magic wand to increase the net energy return on investment of their operations. The fact that Canadians are sucking oil out of sand is evidence that all of the easy oil is gone.... they want to pump it to texas in a big XL pipe so that we can refine it, creating smog here in America, so that they can then sell their products finished here to China.... Canadian Oil for China... Keystone XL:::: and the blowhard GOP seems to think that this will solve America's energy problems... I am not sure what kind of crack pipe they are smoking?

Frack This

New fracking technology has liberated parts of the natural gas sector to produce abundant amounts of relatively cheap and clean burning natural gas. Their is a very light drive in the US to convert vehicles to run on this domestic fuel. Elsewhere in the world, natural gas is flared off as waste-product of oil production. In these distant oil fields it is considered uneconomical to capture, compress, liquefy and distribute natural gas. Huge flare columns oxidize this wild natural gas with a magnificent orange glow of wasted heat and light. The fossil fuel industry cares little for the ethical problems with this waste, their focus is on maximizing profits alone: ignorantly they throw away valuable fuels in a smog heavy process that is bad for their fiscal bottom line. They end up paying fines for fouling the air with this waste, but only in countries who's leaders enforce environmental laws.

Carbon Dwindling Continues

We still have a lot of chemical energy to yield with carbon fuels: but it is far to limited for "Star-trek". If we want to go where no man has gone before, be need to tighten up the leaky parts of our energy systems. Clean and efficient go hand in hand. We can and must do more with less energy. We have an ethical responsibility to the future of humanity to invest in sustainable energy.

The Sun is Abundant

The suns heat and light powers all life on earth. The coal and oil we depend on for modern society is but a shadowy essence of ancient sunlight that powered plants to capture carbon, sequester it and fester in the ground where coal and oil formed over millions of years.  We dig and suck this ancient sunlight from the earth at an incredibly unsustainable rate. The ignorant pundits claim that ripping it from the earth faster is the answer to our energy problems........ Long is the flame that burns away progress, diluting wealth in an ever larger population living more like Americans every year. 

Our middle class is shrinking for a lot of reasons. Read about why! Get Informed! Think About It

Other Background Materials Considered in this Posting

The concept of Ancient Sunlight (as carbon energy) I used in the preceding text was derived from a book of a similar name and subject matter. 

"The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight"

I touched on topics about economy history, science, technology and society that were based on reading the following book. 

"The Lever of Riches"

Pick up any modern academic text on ecology or botany and you can find a breadth of knowledge about life on earth and its value to Humans.

A great movie about life called "Dirt" 

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