Things are getting better

NYT had one of these recently, so i thought I’d throw one up for discussion.

One thing being worse, democracies are getting less democratic, so, is that temporary? It could be related to how these measures are about poorer people and oppressed, for them, things are way better. For white males in rich countries, our toys aren’t getting bigger, on average. And we can make noise about it.

Wait! In the age of COVID-19, sickness is falling? Due to COVID-19, life expectancy went down. And as for the maternal mortality rate, I don’t think the author has actually explored that. Maybe it’s decreased for white women, but other minorities, it hasn’t gone down much.

Given that people are science illiterate, I’d say education is worse.

I really don’t think I agree with this article and I’m not so sure the world is getting better. I’ve been seeing as getting worse. We went 100 years without a deadly pandemic and with Climate Change, it’s predicted we’ll have more in the very near future. Speaking of Climate Change, if we don’t get a handle on it, the human species, along with many other animals, will go extinct. How is that better?

Articles like this tend to look at longer term trends. So, even though there was/is a pandemic, they would factor in how quickly we responded with science. They do seem to ignore the part where we caused it in the first place, the collective we that is, by moving in to rain forests, packing people in too close, and putting commerce above health.

Also, climate change and running out of oil seem to be off the radar, which is really looking backwards, only at what we have done better, and not looking forward at how we are likely to handle the looming problems. I’m not sure about education world-wide, I’d say the science illiteracy is due to propaganda and devaluing public education, but, OTOH, there are people like Malala Yusafi, fighting for education for women in Muslim countries.

I’m not a believer in an extinction event of this scale:

A friend of mine heard this from some Joanna Macy presentation and it got her really upset. I think it was irresponsible to pass it along without the scientific analysis included in my link.

Somewhere, I heard humans have another 200,000 years, and think that’s a pretty good run. I don’t think we will evolve into some future space faring race. I know species are going extinct at an alarming rate, but, there are a lot species right now too. I’m not saying it’s no big deal, it’s a very big deal, but some forces of nature are really strong, including forces that lead to a species getting overpopulated and destroying it’s own eco-system.

The response wasn’t very quick, thanks to the dotard and his cronies.

In 2020, 2153 billionaires owe more wealth than 4.6 billion

Yes things are definitely getting better for the rich

Yes, and politics got in the way. Now, China is doing draconian lockdowns, because they don’t want to be the place where two pandemics in a row come from. That’s typical humans, focusing on the thing that just happened and missing, who knows what. It’s always a knife edge of knowledge keeping ahead of chaos. Will we get a handle on the environment before the disaster?

The wealth gap is bad, but that’s a cyclical thing, and it’s a question of how we handle the coming changes, usually it’s a bloody revolution, but there are stronger democratic forces in place now.

You forgot that the treatment of women has gotten worse, thanks to the Religious Reich and the far Reich dominating males.

There are plenty of things that have gotten worse relative to the say, 20 years ago, but I’m looking at longer term trends. Strom Thurmond was a senator when I was born for instance. Roe had not yet been conceived. This recent decision has thrown the nation into a discussion that we thought we could avoid. Did you hear Jim Jordan’s reaction to the 10 year old who was raped? He had obviously never considered that, despite there being a 1,000 similar cases a year.

Reality shows that capitalism is accelerating in its procession towards further concentration of wealth and power. The so called democratic forces are (there in name only) to keep this status quo marching on to the drum of monopoly capitalism. The cyclical claim is one smug liberial understanding of how the economy works.

Again, long term forces. The current monarchy of the UK descends from an empire that spanned the world. They installed a ruler in Russia, leading to the communist revolution. We are not far from our medieval heritage, but we are definitively better than that.

These arguments are always short sighted. The world is not static. We will always see periods of improvement and periods where things deteriorate. It never ends.

The people who do best in life are the ones who can accept this and adapt to it.

It’s worth noting that the concepts of constant progress and moral arcs, etc. come from the W.E.I.RD. population. No one else thinks in this way.

No, I haven’t heard. Please tell me it wasn’t something totally stupid and asinine.

Yesteryear is not as far as many people think. My great grandmother, who was alive when I was born, was born in the 1890s, having her first child at the age of 16, after marrying a man 20 years her senior. That’s how it was then. Seventy years (give or take) later, I was born and I met my great grandmother who died when I was 18. My grandmother lived to be 94 also and my older son was 18 when he was the pallbearer at her funeral. I’ve lived to know people born before the 20th century and born after the 21 century. That’s approximately 6 generations, with four alive at a given time. Many here on the forum have had the same experience. This makes time, past and future seem shorter and closer than it seems on paper… at least to me.

??? Is that an abbreviation or does one need to just read it as it is, ignoring the periods?

It’s an acronym that stands for Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic. Basically, it refers to Northern Europe and the Anglosphere.

I didn’t claim either of those

Close to feudalism you say. You could be onto something with the rise of the rentier class

Speaking of western democracies, let me recommend to everyone the speech Michael Hudson has held on Monday for China’s Global University. It digs to the core of the illness that has taken over ‘western’ societies.

The issue is debt which historically was largely forgiven by the king or high priest in case of hard times. But during the time of the Greek and later Roman empires oligarchs took over and demanded to pay back all debt in full and even in hard times. This split societies into a rich rentier class and indebted plebs. Each empire that followed that path, from the Roman to the British one, eventually came down due to over-indebtedness.

The U.S. is the current global empire which is way down on this path. It is hostile to all societies that do not open their financial markets to be robbed by U.S. oligarchs. This is at the core of the current global conflict as China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela developed from different traditions and reject to give in to U.S. demands. The U.S. is used to solve such ‘problems’ by force but is now likely too weak to achieve that.

Naked Capitalism is the first to publish the English language version of Hudson’s speech:

Michael Hudson: The End of Western Civilization – Why It Lacks Resilience, and What Will Take Its Place

The core paragraphs are probably these:

"The United States through its New Cold War is aiming at securing precisely such economic tribute from other countries. The coming conflict may last for perhaps twenty years and will determine what kind of political and economic system the world will have. At issue is more than just U.S. hegemony and its dollarized control of international finance and money creation. Politically at issue is the idea of “democracy” that has become a euphemism for an aggressive financial oligarchy seeking to impose itself globally by predatory financial, economic and political control backed by military force.
As I have sought to emphasize, oligarchic control of government has been the distinguishing feature of Western civilization ever since classical antiquity. And the key to this control has been opposition to strong government – that is, civil government strong enough to prevent a creditor oligarchy from emerging and monopolizing control of land and wealth, making itself into a hereditary aristocracy, a rentierclass living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges that reduce the population at large to austerity. "

"It will be necessary to bring down the rentier class. To recommit to a strong state that owns the public goods and services and does not hand them over to private interests. The coming malaise may well help to achieve that. "

Thanks for something substantive. It’s a nice break from your quips and put-downs. You know, if you look at most of what I post, I agree with stuff like this. I usually call it the “owner class”, but same idea.

It’s a long speech, so not sure if I’ll get through all of it. So far, it seems like he washes over some major concepts from antiquity and skips how we got from there to globalization. Also, does he ever suggest some specific policy, or does he just say ‘something must be done’? Because bringing down capitalism is not something that can be done easily.

The “washes over” parts are things like giving a wave to The Jubilee Year. I don’t think that was ever actually done, just written about. Kings might have said they were there to protect the weak, but, did they? Hudson is kind of mixing philosophy and ideas of a better world with actual economic history.

In reference to my Jim Jordan comment, i was actually thinking of this

“I’m amazed a 10-year-old got pregnant. … You really wrestle with that. That’s a tough one,” Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, said Thursday.

“Republicans shocked a 10-year-old can get pregnant after Ohio rape victim abortion story proves true” Republicans shocked a 10-year-old can get pregnant after Ohio rape victim abortion story proves true

Jordan focused first on calling the story fake, then deflected to rapist.

Not you specifically. It’s just a feature of the liberal mentality.