. But as we try to figure it out, we ought to be focusing at least as much on how to roll out life and meaning that can sustain Americans again as we are on blaming Putin for our recent failures to do that.
Ideology Precedes Policy Which Determines Outcomes
Working class white mortality rate 30% lower than blacks in 1999, now 30% higher than blacks. https://t.co/6dg8FNegaK
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 23, 2017
The results are rather worse than that, actually, and anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware that, for example, working class white male wages peaked in 1968, in real terms. It’s not as if every other demographic has gotten off, either. Slowly the scourge has worked its way thru the demographic and socioeconomic classes, till practically everyone but the top 5% or so is being hit to some extent or another, even if they haven’t lost lifespan—yet.
Which got me wondering: to the extent this is driven by a failure in ideology — by the failure of the American dream — which comes first, the failed ideology or the rising mortality rates?
Ideology tells tells you how the world works, what to do, how to do it and why you’re doing it. For example, NeoLiberal ideology has an axiom that “jobs are created by those who have money.” On the face of it, this seems obvious: nobody without the ability to pay you has ever given you a job, I’d bet.
The corollary of this is “the more money that rich people have, the more jobs there will be”. So, under Neoliberal ideology, you funnel money to the rich and corporations and they create jobs.
Doesn’t actually work, mind you, but that’s what the ideology says.
The ideology also says “money is earned by people because they fill the needs indicated by the market, which represent what people and society want.”
Which means “if you have a lot of money, you deserve to have it because you got it filling other people’s needs”. It also then follows that people with a lot of money are the sort of people who are good at providing what other people want, so therefore they should have more money so they can provide even more.
Poor people, by this ideology, do not deserve to have much money, because if they were doing something that other people wanted a lot of they’d have a lot of money.
Ideology tells people what policies to pursue. Those policies then create results. With different ideologies, you get very different results. FDR’s New Deal and the Keynesian consensus after WWII had as its thesis “the more money ordinary people have, the more they will buy, creating demand for products, which will create more jobs.” It also had “money in the hands of rich people doesn’t create demand and does create political problems which damage markets, therefore we should keep them from having too much money.”
The result of those propositions was the best economy in American (and European history), with growth rates higher in the middle and lower classes than in the upper and the rich classes (rich is not upper class, it is beyond.)
Ideology Determines Policy.
Policy Determines Outcomes.
(One might ask “what determines ideology”. Part of the answer will be in the upcoming “Creation of Inequality booklet” I’m about three-quarters finished.)
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