The New Tribalism and the Decline of the Nation State

We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation states. The the same pattern can be seen even in America – especially in American politics. Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. […]

The Great U-Turn

Do you recall a time in America when the income of a single school teacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family? I remember. My father (who just celebrated his 100th birthday) earned enough for the rest of us to live comfortably. We […]

Inequality, Productivity and WhatsApp

If you ever wonder what’s fueling America’s staggering inequality, ponder Facebook’s acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp . According to news reports today, Facebook has agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion. That’s the highest price paid for a startup in history. It’s $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more […]

America’s ‘We’ Problem

America has a serious “We” problem — as in “Why should we pay for them?” The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor. It’s found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required […]

Fear is Why Workers in Red States Vote Against Their Economic Self-Interest

Last week’s massive spill of the toxic chemical MCHM into West Virginia’s Elk River illustrates another benefit to the business class of high unemployment, economic insecurity, and a safety-net shot through with holes. Not only are employees eager to accept whatever job they can get. They are also also unwilling to demand healthy and safe […]

The Lousy December Jobs Report and the Scourge of Inequality

The U.S. economy created a measly 74,000 new jobs in December, and a smaller percentage of working-age Americans is now employed than at any time in the last three decades (before women surged into the workforce). What does this have to do with the fact that median household incomes continue to drop (adjusted for inflation) and that 95 percent […]